I am 22 years old and still dealing with daddy issues. When I was younger, like any other little girl, I was a huge daddy’s girl.
He was my hero, my best friend, and he treated me like I was a princess. My entire side of my dad’s family is in the church from my grandmother to my youngest uncle, who is only 6 years older than I.
One day, during a night service at our family’s church, when I was about 8 years old, my uncle similar in age to me brought me to the back where the kids usually napped, and he began to touch me in my private area and on my breasts. Although I didn’t know much about sex and rape at the time, I knew enough to know that I felt uncomfortable and that what he was doing was not right, but I was too afraid to say anything to my dad because that was his brother and I didn’t think he would believe me. So, I pretended like nothing ever happened.
A few weeks later my mom said she noticed how my body was changing and had “The Talk” with me and my older sister, who is 2 years older than I, about puberty and the female body and the possibilities of pregnancy. She also talked about what you should do if someone was to ever make you feel uncomfortable or force you to do something that you don’t want to do. Even though I am able to talk to my mom about anything I was still afraid to open up to her about what my uncle did to me.
About a month later I hit puberty. Yeah, at 8 years old! A few days later I was hanging out in front of the church and my uncle walked up and asked me what bra size I wore. I really didn’t know what to say so I just ran in the church to be with my grandma. Later on that day, I was playing in the old church van and my uncle came in and told me to unzip my pants. I said no, but he just forced them opened and he put his hand down my pants and began to molest me once again.
My dad heard me crying and ran back to see what was wrong with me and I told him what had happened. I also told him what he did months earlier and to my surprise my dad took me home and punished me! I’ve never seen my dad so angry. He beat me like I was a grown man. He beat me so bad that my mom told him if he made one more move that he would be thrown in jail for child abuse. I told my mom what he had done and my mother pressed charges on my uncle. Since he was a minor, he only received 18 months in the Juvenile Detention Center, 24 months probation, and had to enter the registry as a sex offender.
My dad was angry at my mother and me for sending his little brother to jail, and he left us later that year and moved about an hour away. My mom decided to file for divorce and raise me and my siblings on her own. I was heartbroken because despite how my father treated me I was still a huge daddy’s girl and I didn’t want to be away from him. My dad would come get me on the weekends to spend time with him and I noticed he was spending a lot of time with this woman, who later became my stepmom.
The visits became less and less frequent, and halted altogether. I did not understand why my dad was shutting me out when I never shut him out. At school one day, my cousin revealed this huge wedding my dad had and that my dad was having a little girl. I was so hurt by this news. I cried about it for weeks. My dad finally reached out to me and tried to make it right. Of course, I forgave him and I accepted my new stepmom and baby sister with open arms.
As I mentioned before my dad was in the church and my stepmom is as well. I saw a huge change in the man my father was becoming. I thought everything was perfect again. I had a pretty great childhood despite the bad things I had to go through. My mom always made sure we went on family vacations at least twice a year. She made it possible for me and my siblings to participate in anything we had interest in. She threw us amazing parties and created a lot of happy memories for me and my siblings.
When I was 13 my mom had just remarried and decided to move me and my sister to Orlando so that we would have better opportunities than what the small town that we grew up in could provide. Once again my dad went back to the minimal visits and phone calls. As I was getting older and older I began to get angry with him for the way he was treating me. He would post on his Facebook page all the things he would be doing with my little sister, and to top it off a lot of his friends never even knew he had an older daughter.
I wanted to cut off all communication with my father, but I had a really strong relationship with my baby sister and my stepmom so I tolerated it.
Fast forward to my senior year in high school and as I was approaching a few days before my graduation my father texted me that he wasn’t going to come because he didn’t have directions. I told him that if he didn’t come to my graduation then he would forever be dead to me. He along with my stepmom and baby sister showed up and we had a great night. I then moved to his town to attend college at the University of Florida and began my life.
I began dating an old childhood friend and everything seemed to be going smooth until the relationship turned abusive and one night my ex forced himself on me. As a result, I found out that I was pregnant. I moved in with my dad for my safety. I confided in my stepmom about my pregnancy and I told her that I was not ready to be a mom and wanted to terminate my pregnancy. This did not sit well with her and my father and they made me move out. I terminated my pregnancy and my mom helped me deal with the aftermath and provided me with a down payment to an apartment.
Since then, I have been living on my own. I have tried to date, but my lack of trust and confidence in men has been the downfall in any relationship I have tried to have and I know that this is because of the traumatic pain that I had to endure in my life, as well as the relationship that I have with my father.
I am now a senior in college maintaining a 3.8 G.P.A., and I have a full-time job at the best hospital in Florida. I recently just got accepted to nursing school. My dad lives 15 minutes away from me and he never comes to visit me. We only see one another at church, or on rare family dinners. He is an ordained minister now.
I would think that with him being a changed man that he would treat me so much better than he did when I was younger. He still pretends as though he has one child. All I want is a relationship with my father. All I want is to hear my dad say “I’m proud of you,” and “I love you.”
We have been in this on and off relationship for 14 years. I keep giving him chances and we have moments where things are so good, then he disappears on me for months. My father hates that I am so close to my mom. She is one of my best friends and really all that I know.
How do I get my father to understand that he made it this way? How do I tell my father that he cannot continue to treat me this way? What is it going to take for him to forgive me for sending his brother to jail? My mom always told me that even though your child turns 18 that doesn’t mean you stop being a parent. How do I get my dad to love me the way that I love him? How can it be so easy to turn his back on me when I have never given up on him despite wanting to? What do I do? – Daddy Issues
Dear Ms. Daddy Issues,
Throughout your letter I noticed that the one true nurturing support you had was your mother. Your mother has always been then there for you through every instance, situation, and ordeal. She has been the one constant that acted and did her job as a parent. Yet, you’re so focused on your father and trying to win his affection and love.
Yes, he is your father, however, remember it was your mother who stepped in and intervened when your uncle molested you. She was the one who called the police, pressed charges, and protected you. Your dad beat you, made you feel guilty for telling on his brother, and then he left the family because of this. Now, I get that you were a daddy’s girl, however, a man who is protective of his daughter, his children, and his family would not allow anyone, not even his own brother, to get away with touching or hurting his family, and especially his daughter.
Therefore, there is something else going on, and it may have to do with something between your mother and your father. There was something else already happening in the family between your parents, and the molestation that occurred when you were younger probably tipped the scales. I’m sure your mother was already hipped that your uncle wasn’t to be trusted, and she probably mentioned it to your father, but he brushed it off and ignored her. Mothers, and women with children, have insight and intuition about men who prey on girls.
This may have caused tension between them, among other things that may have been going on. But, you were young, 8 years old, and were caught up in child bliss and daddy’s love. So, you don’t and didn’t know what was going on between them. Besides, any man who can easily up and leave his family without any remorse or regret, then, trust and believe that there was something else already going on in your family between your parents.
Look, I understand you want your father’s love, and you want a relationship with him, and you want to be acknowledged. But, you can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do, not even your own parents. Yes, I’m sure he does love you and he is proud of you, but you do notice that everything you do is to appease him. What about doing something and doing things that make you happy? Your main focus it to get his attention, just like the 8 year old little girl seeking her daddy’s love, and as a result you are having failed adult relationships, and now you don’t trust men. You are still the 8 year old little girl running after daddy trying to get his love, and affection.
You are going to have to grow up, be an adult, and make adult decisions on your own and see this relationship for what it is. He is holding on to some resentment, harboring anger, and still upset over the past. And, you’re trying to have a future with a damaged past.
I suggest you have a conversation with your mother and ask her what was going on during that time. Ask her what was happening between them. Was there tension in their relationship? Were they on the verge of a divorce? Also, I’m sure there is more to your uncle and his story that she can shed light on. I think your mother knows more and just hasn’t told you because she wants to protect you. Which most parents do when they don’t want to overwhelm their children. Their issues had nothing to do with you.
Also, at some point you’re going to have to stop running after your father. You can either write him a letter, or sit and talk with him and express how it makes you feel that you don’t have a relationship, and how his treatment of you makes you feel unwanted, and as if you’re not his child. You can talk with him about all of this, but unless he is willing to hear this, be honest about what’s going on, and accept his part in all of this, then you can’t force him to acknowledge or even apologize for his behavior. He doesn’t think he’s done anything, and he probably doesn’t feel he’s been out of your life. He will say he gave you place to live, gave you money, is always there and available for you. He will put it back on you. If he’s not ready to accept responsibility, then you will spinning your wheels, and waiting on his “I love you,” and “I’m proud of you.”
And, I’m sorry, but why do you want your dad to forgive you for sending his brother to jail? He deserved to go to jail. He molested you. There is no forgiveness you need to seek. That is one of your problems right there. You’re willing to dismiss everything, including being molested by your dad’s brother in order to make things right with your dad. No! No! No! Your dad needs to apologize to you and seek your forgiveness for not believing you, protecting you, and that he didn’t send his own brother to jail.
Get into counseling and work on yourself. You need to heal, and healing begins with addressing your molestation that happened when you were younger. Also, you need to deal with your ex who forced himself on you, and you terminated the pregnancy. That is a lot to deal with, and I’m sure you have not properly dealt with those issues. In therapy you can talk about your dad, and the therapist will help you resolve the issue with him, and how he may be an underlying root to your relationships, but, you need to work on you, and heal your spirit, mind, and body. Otherwise, you will end up in another abusive relationship, and you will continue this unhealthy back and forth relationship with your dad seeking his approval, love, and attention. – Terrance Dean
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