Daddy issues

Wow…I really am going to go on a very long rant about the issues I’ve got with my father.

After years of being angry, I realized late last year the primary component of the anger that’s been plaguing me for so long. I finally understood the root of the evil feelings that have always jumped out at the most inopportune times throughout my life. I finally could admit to what I’ve really known all along is the reason why I’m constantly so unhappy with myself.

My father.

My insecurities…my self-doubt…my self-loathing…my self-contempt…my anger. 

Let me stress, however, that I love my father. I love my father dearly. The issue…still ongoing…is just how he makes ME feel, not the way he feels. And that’s the key, isn’t it? It’s all about the interpretation. 

I bring this up today because a phone conversation with him last night got me mad for the second time in eight months (the first time was last month with him, actually).  Other than those two times, I haven’t been really upset in eight months…which is a big deal because I had a “meltdown” of sorts (another blog for another day) and had to do a lot of soul searching and therapy in order to become the better person that I am today.  Since my “turn-around” (for lack of another term) I’ve dealt with grief and sadness and anger and happiness and have been living a life that’s been extremely mellow and content and fulfilling.  From this new-found self-examination has come enlightenment, and I’m really a happy person these days and have found reasons to like myself, really like myself, for the first time ever. 

I got into an argument with my dad last night and was made to feel like a total f*ck-up…yet again.  And I hate that.

For the record, I’ve made a lot of changes to my life over the past eight+ months to become a better person.  I don’t just blow up at the drop of a hat anymore.  I don’t get mad over the smallest thing and then five minutes later forget why I was mad to begin with anymore.   I don’t want to shun myself away from the world and refuse to open myself up to others anymore…

…until I talk to him.

Again, it’s the way I feel when he talks to me. The guilt trips…the constant lack of faith in myself…the wanting to not just be loved but be respected as an individual or even as a man. These are the feelings I get from him.

But I don’t hold it against him. In fact, I forgive him. He doesn’t do it on purpose. He doesn’t realize that’s how he makes me feel, nor does he really care. It’s my cross to bear. It’s my issue to deal with. And I am.

I’ve got a beautiful son that lights up the room every time I see him. I’ve got an amazing daughter that, while I don’t see enough and feel like I can’t spoil the way I want to, still loves me to death and would love to be with me all the time if given the opportunity. I’ve got an amazing girlfriend in my life that makes me feel like the world is at my doorstep and that anything is possible.  I’ve got a good job that I enjoy and I’m actually good at.  There are too many positives in my life right now…I simply refuse to revert back to the person I used to be. 

The problem, though, is money (isn’t that always the issue?).  He pulled my butt out of the fire after the separation from my wife.  Where she decided on joint-legal custody where I would have visitation pretty much any time I wanted (currently it’s 3 nights a week and every other weekend), I assumed the debt and kept the house and the car.  The problem, though, is that I very quickly realized just how difficult it was to go from two incomes to one…especially when the spouse was the one making all of the money.

I’ve got two children that I pay child support for.  I’ve got ZERO problems with that, just to be clear.  It’s not even a question about it being my “responsibilty”, rather it’s just something that needs to be done.  Why in the world would I not want to support my children’s upbringing??  So the majority of my paycheck goes to them, and I have no issue with that.  It doesn’t however, leave a lot leftover once bills are counted in.

So I sold my house to my dad over a year ago and rent from him.  I let my car lease run out and assumed the lease of my mother’s car (paying through my father, of course) once she was diagnosed with a brain tumor because she wouldn’t be able to drive it herself.  My father won’t let me forget either one of these things and uses them as ways to chastise or belittle.

The case last night?  I got a phone call telling me that I got a parking ticket when I visited K a few weeks ago.  I knew that and was planning on paying it.  Of course, because the car is in my mom’s name that means the ticket goes to their mailbox.  I told him that I was going to pay it and he told me that he already did.  

“Well…thanks but I was going to do it.”

“So now you owe me $25.  I don’t want any more parking tickets showing up.”

“Right.  I don’t think that’s going to be an issue going forward.”

“So you owe me $25.”

“Okay…I’ll get it to you when I visit this weekend.”

Then came the chastising over driving to see K twice a month.  Because the car is a lease and, as I’m constantly reminded, not mine he doesn’t want me “pouring on the miles”.  


So now I’m in a dilemma.  At 36 years old, I’m accepting help from my father in order to re-establish myself.  But at the same time, I feel like I’m 16 because I’m constantly reminded how nothing is mine anymore and is actually all his.  So do I continue along this path in my decent little house and my pretty reliable little car until I’m hopefully back on my feet in a decent time period, or do I venture out and rent a tiny little bachelor apartment and try to buy a little beater to drive around?

This is one reason why I don’t have hair anymore.


3 thoughts on “Daddy issues

  1. First, I love this post: so honest and feeling. Thank you.

    Second, we have a lot in common! I’m a 36-year-old single parent, too.

    My father and I have had an incredibly tumultuous relationship. We’ve had periods of not speaking. Long periods.

    But this saved us: going to therapy together. No kidding. We only had a few sessions, but something shifted. We both wanted to have a real relationship.

    He really saw how his words were effecting me, how he’d belittled me.

    Let me give you hope: change is possible. I changed, he changed. We are now incredibly good friends. And he’s an incredible grandpa.

  2. Thank you for the comments, SMS.

    I almost feel guilty about my post because my dad and I get along great most of the time. Not only that, but after my marriage ended, when he wasn’t lamenting for a miracle reunion (both he AND my mom took almost a year before fulling accepting the break-up), he was incredibly giving and supportive and has continued to help me get back on my feet financially (which, obviously, he likes to remind me of).

    I would love to think that therapy is a possibility. But I don’t know that…in his early 60’s…he’d even be open to it.

    But you know what? I’ll at least suggest it. It can’t hurt any, right?


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