Sunday, June 19, 2011
The Daddy Syndrome
On Easter Sunday, I remarked to my girlfriend that I spent half an hour on the phone with my father. It was almost alien to me, a foreign concept. We talked about everything except my STBE, which was weird because he hates him and would jump at any opportunity to disparage him.
My dad and I had a loving relationship until I got up in age, say around 12 or so. My dad was not around when I was growing up. My mother was his mistress so to speak. I did not understand that. I just knew that my dad lived abroad and would come home every year for 3 weeks at a time, and he would bring me all the toys my heart desired, we would go on vacations and do fun stuff. I always had nice things. Shoot! I was the first person on the block to own a Nintendo when they just came out!
But as I grew up I learned a few things. I had other sisters who had no knowledge of my existence. My father had a wife he was still married to and lived with. It was too much for my simple mind at 9 years old. My mother tried to keep it a secret for as long as she could but eventually I found out.
I did not care about any of the extramarital stuff, all I knew was that all my other friends had their dads in their lives. Dads to pick them up and drop them off at school. Dads to teach them all the things that moms couldn't teach them. I had a telephone to say hi to mine and to tell him what I wanted.
I went through a rebellious stage in my teens. Can't say I was over the top, but I had a lot of anger and took it out on my mother. I saw how she was. She was a lion in his absence and a lamb whenever he was around. When I was about 5 or 6 she had a boyfriend who lived with us for a couple years. My father found out about it and the man was gone. Her boyfriend was a surrogate father to me. He took me out to the circus, the beach, amusement parks, wherever. He was kind to me. He joked with me. He took care of me. He was the father I had but never had. Then all of a sudden he was gone, and I was left with her.
It was not until I got older that I realized why my mother was so miserable while I was growing up - because of him. I remember once when I was 8 years old I caught her in the kitchen crying. I asked her what was wrong but of course she never replied. So she was miserable, not being able to have the love that she wanted, and felt obligated to wait for the father of her child to finally marry her as I am sure he must have told her.
So, I did not grow up with my father but when I was 17 I went to live with him and my step-mother God rest her soul. This was against my will, but my father used the promise of a college education to coerce me into doing so. I stayed there for a while, enduring all sorts of hardships until I met my future husband and got out of dodge as fast as I could. I never intended to be with my STBE husband when we first hooked up but the problems I had with my dad and step mom helped drive me into his arms.
But yes these married guys are greedy cake-men. Love to have their cake and eat it too. And why shouldn't they? Women allow them to carry on with their b.s. If my dad loved my step-mom he should have been a true husband to her and end his affair with my mom. If he loved my mom more he should have been a man and ended things with my step-mom. But both women are to be blamed as well because they allowed it. My step-mom died of cancer, but really, she died of a broken heart. She could have treated her cancer from an early stage but decided that life was not worth fighting for and gave in. I never want to be her. And I never want to be the woman that was part of that doing. I also never want to be in a marriage like that. Because of that I have always been distrustful of men. My STBE used to get frustrated with me because I (subliminally, never outright) accused him on several occasions of cheating. He could very well have been, I don't know for a fact. But all I know is I trust no one and it is bound to cause ongoing conflict in any future relationship that I should pursue.
In retrospect, my dad was not always a bad person. I have some fond memories of him and our time together when I was a youth. I remember us baking cookies, him taking me to the river to catch fish, going swimming with him at the beach. He was both selfish and kind. He did so many things for so many others. I just wished he did more for those closest to him. But he is still my father, and even though it is Father's Day I will not pick up the phone and wish him a happy one because I am so overcome with a numbness. I cannot even say I am bitter. I don't hate him or wish him ill. But I can't love him the way a daughter should love her father.
Happy Father's Day to all the responsible dads out there who not only provide for their children financially, but take the time to be an active part of their lives, molding them, supporting them unconditionally, reassuring them of their worth, and constantly showing them love. Shoutout to all the single moms who have to be dads too. Your burden is great but never unappreciated! ♥