Private schools and beautiful vacations, big parties and expensive gifts, custom made homes and over the top holidays together, but no relationship whatsoever to show for it.
Poor little rich girl.
I knew nothing about struggle or bills. I didn’t even understand the concept of money until I married a man who didn’t have it. I grew up never having chores, learning to cook or doing my own laundry. Everything was already done for me before it was even a thought to ask. When things would break, they’d be replaced or fixed immediately and I wanted for nothing.
My first car was a graduation gift I didn’t earn or ask for, but it was given to me without rules or stipulations. I didn’t pay for insurance or maintenance because it was taken care of for me. When I got my first checking account money was put into in and when I’d overdraft my account, it got paid off. I didn’t feel entitled, but I knew I had advantages growing up that other children didn’t. I can’t remember wanting something that I didn’t eventually get.
Each year I was given money to buy a new wardrobe and shoes, even when I didn’t need them. College and books were paid for, even though I’d often ditch to be with whatever boy I had interest in at the time. I didn’t really understand repercussions and consequences because I never was forced to pay them. I had everything I wanted and more, but I was so emotionally empty on the inside. I know from the outside looking in, I had it all and in many ways I did but no one knew at what cost. Everything comes with a price.
The flip side to such a comfortable lifestyle was never really getting to know my father. Some had absentee fathers physically, but mine was absent in the emotional sense. He worked long hours, leaving for work before we woke and getting back long after we’d already gone to bed. My father didn’t invest time in me or try to get to know me, because his focus was on work. It didn’t stop me from wanting his love, affection and praise, that sadly even up until this day he’s never given me. I supposedly was the fruit of his love, but his actions or lack thereof, seem to state the opposite.
At the age of fourteen, my father decided to divulge many secrets about his past that rocked the entire foundation I once stood on. My father told us he had an illegitimate child we never knew of, had dealt drugs, suffered from every addiction you could think of, attempted to commit Suicide, was a known womanizer and had a violent past. The truth was my father had once been a monster and was nothing like the innocent poverty stricken child he had led us to believe. Everything my father hated he had been, and every form of judgment he passed down, he himself was guilty of. It left me feeling deceived and unable to fully trust anyone anymore. I couldn’t justify my fathers absence and lies, and after learning the truth about him, I came to understand some things about myself.
I could forgive a plethora of sins committed before me or done to me, but I could never forgive someone who repeatedly lied to me. I was hurt, confused and irate for many years following his confession. I also came to discover how other men I’d admired, loved and respected had done similar things in their past as well. It left me wondering if all men were really monsters at their core, or if all they really needed was saving. That mentality planted in me as a child caused me to look at every man and question the very same thing over and over again; is he a monster or is he a good man?
I developed a painful addiction of loving the wrong kinds of men. Through trial and error I learned that knowing something and feeling something are two entirely different things when it comes to love. I guess I always wanted to be the inspiration for change in another persons life and by healing others I thought maybe I could heal myself. I was still trying to come to terms with all the issues I never addressed as a child. I was the girl that wanted the time and not the diamond watch. I wanted my daddy and not all the stuff he gave me to fill his place. I think to me that became more apparent as my rebellious acts grew. I was running with the wrong kinds of guys, sneaking out and putting myself in dangerous situations. I couldn’t vocalize my pain so I buried it thinking it would just disappear, but it didn’t. My Dad and I wanted different things. He wanted my submission and total control, I wanted to be loved and free.
I️ desperately wanted his approval, but he wasn’t the kind to even pay a compliment. All he did was criticize, judge and control. He was emotionally detached and physically unavailable when I needed him most.
As a little girl I remember watching t.v shows where Kids were being smothered with fatherly affection, praise and unconditional love. I often wished to have a dad like the ones I saw portrayed in the movies, and found myself imagining what it must feel like. I still hoped for random hugs and kisses, sweet notes left at my bedside to wake up to, but those things never came. I learned to cope by living in my world of dreams and fantasies, focusing all my attention on my little sisters, while quietly praying for the day that my Dad would finally notice me.
So I worked hard, got awards, was well like with teachers and popular among my classmates. I was a star athlete when I decided to play sports and favored among all my teachers. I later showed him I had true talent by serenading him on a family road trip when I was thirteen. Al of it was a conscious effort to get his approval and attention yet every accomplishment was followed with complaints and negative criticism of some kind.
I could never win..which to me meant..I could never really be worthy of love.
I know my first real rejection by him came when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I asked him if he could play “make believe” with me, but he told me no and said he had given me four little sisters for that purpose, and I should go ask one of them instead. I can still remember the burning in my throat and the turning in my stomach, but I couldn’t show him my hurt. I smiled and acted like I understood, then ran straight to the bathroom to cry in the dark.
That is one of many moments he neglected and disregarded me, talked over and corrected me. Eventually I learned to stop hoping, stop asking and stop expecting something that would never be returned. He was too tired, too hard headed, too distracted by responsibilities to notice that I was learning to live without my daddy.
Raised like a princess, but treated like a soldier; I learned how to mask my sadness with surface indifference and humor. I was expected to be submissive and practical, but those concepts always seemed so foreign to me, much like my father. The things I️ did come to know about him, I didn’t like or understand, so I made excuses for him and assumed that the problem had to be me.
He never did apologize or acknowledge any all of the hurt he’s caused me over the years, nor has he validated me in any sense. Even at 33 years old, my father has rarely to never shown me any emotion beyond disappointment and anger. And now I see how that negativity, disregard and neglect has eaten away at my heart and soul.
He should’ve been the life vest that saved me all those times I isolated myself in bathrooms and closets, trying to hide my tears; instead he ended up being the anchor that stunted my growth, by weighing me down and eventually drowning me. No matter how many times or ways I’ve expressed my pain, my cries have fallen on deaf ears. It’s made me question why I am not worth more than his pride or his need to be right.
How can one man can be both the problem and solution? Builder and destroyer? Sickness and cure?..
..And how is it that everyone else can see me, except him?
Apart from the emotional stuff, my father was an excellent provider and planner for the future. Today he is completely debt free. He owns all his cars, motorcycles and homes. His hard work has finally paid off, but it has cost him dearly. He’s missed out on years of quality time with his wife and five daughters. He has everything he’s ever wanted, but now no one to truly share it with. A big beautiful house that remains empty most nights, because we’ve all gone our separate ways. It’s sad that my father thought that providing financially and giving gifts would be enough.
I’ve grown tired of telling him what I need to feel accepted and loved. He doesn’t understand how his cold indifference, harsh words and abusive actions have hindered our relationship throughout the years. I suffered physical abuse at his hands and took the blame in order to protect my family, all while never feeling truly loved or accepted by him, ever. Yet somehow I’m supposed to believe there’s a man out there capable of loving me in the ways I need?..
My own father can’t even do that.
People understand up to their own experience and perception of life. And I guess the same could be said for how people love as well.
I know when it came to talks of the future, love and marriage, my father always pushed his opinions about the kind of man I should desire. I’d tell him all the characteristics I wanted in a partner and he’d laugh. My desires were always for emotional fulfillment, words of affirmation and quality time. My father’s desires were superficial, logical and more so action over words. He wanted a man with money, education and power for me and my sisters. He felt marrying less would be beneath us. He’d say “it boils down to this, you can marry the rich man or the poor man. Suffer in luxury or in poverty.” I never understood why suffering and pain were realities my father always foresaw in his daughters future relationships, but they did. I often challenged him on his stance because I’d argue back saying I wanted to love and be loved for things money can’t buy. I desperately wanted to believe that not all men were going to treat me the same way my father had, but one thing he instilled in me was my fear of love and inability to fully trust a man. I never wanted to be a man’s trophy wife left on a mantle to gather dust and be forgotten. I wanted to be a passionate partner who could be an inspiration to her man on his own path to fulfilling his lifelong goals. It was clear that my father wanted the reality but I was set on the dream.
At 19, I eloped to Vegas with the boy who brought me flowers and wrote me poems. The boy who called me “Pretty” and who couldn’t keep his hands off of me. I fell in love with the boy who couldn’t sleep without my body next to his or start his day without a kiss from me first. I fell in love with the dream I had in my heart and the lies this beautiful boy told me. I learned the hard way that my father was right and how the worst kinds of men hide behind attractive facades. It wasn’t until I left my dads protective bubble that I came to know the world of chaos, secrets, addictions, drugs, lies, manipulations, infidelity and pain. It was naive of me to believe that the boy who came from total dysfunction could ever promise me a happy life of peace and sobriety. After years of abuse and suffering in silence, I left the beautiful boy I once loved and accepted the reality of who he truly was all along. I️ never had my dream as a child or as a adult; they were all just nightmares in the end. And sadly, he’d be the first of many, in the long succession of men I’d come to love and leave.
Nothing could ever compare to the pain I️ experienced when I️ lost my first love. To this day, he is the only man I’ve ever truly committed to in every sense. I’ve never loved, adored, obsessed over, fucked, forgiven, fought, protected or lusted over another man like I️ did him. Letting him go took years to get over and literally almost killed me in the process. But after surviving the absolute worst, I knew that I️ could handle anything after.. and I️ did. The rest of the procession over the years became a blur. I no longer wanted the nice guy or the quiet bystander. I wanted the bad boys and rebels who were possessive, obsessive and treated me with the same cold detachment my father had treated me. Unavailable, under developed “man boys” who never got over their own issues long enough to realize that I had some of my own. They all followed the same patterns of addictions and abuse. All abandoned by their fathers at a young age, never taught how to become real men. They also had major mommy issues from childhood and subconsciously sought out women like me to heal them. Their mother’s were resentful, selfish and too caught up in their own vices to give enough affection or attention to their little boys while growing up. They never learned how to love and respect women, so they mistreated, manipulated, abused and used them. In most cases without them realizing, I had to fulfill both roles of mother and lover with these broken men. I’d give the little I had to fill their needs and leave them more empty and insatiable than before. Like two asteroids colliding in space, we’d crash into one another and be left in more pieces than we were before. I guess my dad was right about one thing, you can’t look for a man’s love in broken boys.
So here I️ am, back to the beginning, picking up the pieces, trying to rectify any fragment of a relationship I could possibly ever have with my father. I️ realize forgiveness and healing takes time, but I’m determined to heal this gaping wound, even if it’s just for the sake of my own sanity. I’m tired of subconsciously searching for love and approval in the eyes of men more fucked up than I am. It’s time I face all my insecurities and issues and try to see the ways my father has tried to show me he loves me. Tough love and provision may not be how I want to be loved or shown love, but I’ve accepted that it’s the only way my Father will ever know how to express his love for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so thankful for the beautiful childhood my father provided, I️ just wish he could’ve been a part of it. I’m not sure if I’ll ever break free of this vicious cycle, but tonight I guess I’m just too lonely to care.
Lucky for you…