Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Daddy issues

This whole thing with the Cowardly Lion recently has got me thinking about my male role model. Obviously your main male role model, if he is around, is your dad. I am a daddy’s girl. My daddy meant the whole world to me growing up. I wanted his love, his approval and his attention. My parent’s marriage was bad from pretty much the moment of my conception. My mom worked hard at being a mom while my dad worked hard and doing as little as possible. My mom did girl scouts, was room mother and made every effort in the rearing and raising of my sister. I guess she got burned out or pissed off, maybe both but I remember her telling my dad at probably 5 years old that I was his problem to deal with, she had taken care of the other one.
And so, that is how it started out, just my daddy and me. We joined Indian Princesses through the YMCA with my best friend and her dad. It was for just dads and daughters. This was the early 80’s at the start of the divorce boom and I think it was a way for dad’s to connect with their kids. We had date nights, a race day each year where we built our own cars to race. We had monthly meeting with other dad’s and daughter near us. I absolutely loved it. My dad’s Indian name was Dark Moon and I was Moonlight. We had vests with patches just like the scouts. My dad was even chief of the whole Indian nation one year!
Indian Princess is where I start this story because it was the beginning of the end for me. I was about 7 when my dad started petitioning the YMCA to allow mothers and sons to join the group. If divorce was ransacking father/daughter relationships it must be doing the same for mother/son, right? That is my dad, always thinking of others. I hope you can taste the sarcasm dripping off of that statement. My dad, as I have learned by now, is only ever out for himself. So he gets his way, a fresh crop of single moms and I get pawned off on my best friend and her dad for our father/daughter outings. MY dad is too busy boinking anything that will flash a smile at him so the father daughter bonding is lost on him. About 6 months into what is now a dirty adulterous affair with a mom from group, I overhear my dad on the phone with her one night after I am supposed to be in bed. I think I know who it is. I know something is going on (my mother is not quiet in her late night insinuations). And then he asks about her son who I know. There it is; my confirmation. I carried this burden with me for months. My parents hated each other as it was. If my mom found out he was skating on his fatherly duties to bang hoes things were not going to be well. My mom did eventually find out although I am not sure how. She also found out I knew about it which I am also unsure of how. I felt her disappointment in me. She was in a rage and lashing out at anyone in her way. I happened to be home.
Fast forward a few years later, post divorce (I know it’s shocking but the family fell apart after that) and I have chosen to stay with my dad and my mom has moved out. My sister left for college around this time so there was a heavy sense of abandonment on my part. Since my dad was dating during his marriage, it was no shock that he continued after its demise. We had rules once my mom left though. I could be open about my opinions and distaste. I think he knew how wrong he was to subject me to that because he did actually value my opinion on the subject at that time. The rule was that I didn’t care where he went or what/who he did but I was not to wake up to anyone in my house. I remember this conversation like yesterday. He was getting ready for a date and I just busted this out. I was 12 years old. When his date arrived (in her Gloria Vanderbilt painted on jeans) I informed her of the rule as well. I was not holding back. I knew my father did not respect her. I felt as if she did not respect herself so I made it very clear that I did not respect her. This was truly my example of a man growing up. He said nothing about my disrespect to his date and he did respect my request.
Fast forward a few more years and I take a summer trip to see some family in Utah. I am gone a total of 2 weeks. By the time I board the plane my dad has met a new woman that he is gushing over when I call to tell him I have arrived. They spend the entire 2 weeks that I am gone together. When I arrive home from my trip our bachelor pad has been converted into a cougar’s den. We now had cloth napkins with napkin rings. The towels in the bathroom matched the curtain. There was new furniture, new smells and this new woman, of course. I won’t bare too many details here because this new woman is now my step mother of 15 years. She is a dear woman who probably deserves better than my dad will ever be. The fact of the matter is that she was married, still living with her husband and dating someone else in California. My dad was recently divorced, broke and losing his grip on reality. The first night I was home my dad came to ask if it was ok if his future wife stayed the night. She found it odd that he would ask. I found it necessary to let her know who was in charge. I was never asked again about her staying over. She was a staple very soon. She moved in and within a few months I moved out. I never lived with my dad again. I think I was 13 when I finally packed up and moved along. Our relationship was strained for sure.
From this point forward my dad ceased being a dad for the most part. He checked out for lack of a better term. His wife and his life were more important and he actually wrote that in a birthday card to me years ago. This man had been my lifeline. I stayed with him when my mom left. I was by his side through all of the whores, the unemployment, and the lack of food, money or resources. It was just me and him. At 15 I moved in with a friend and her parents. At 16 I lived with my stepmother’s brother. By 17 I was living with my sister and just before my 18th birthday I moved in with my boyfriend. I WAS STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL. My dad never said a word. I think I was testing him. He failed and so did I. What I should have been worried about was what I thought and where I thought I was going but at the time all I could think about was how much dear old dad didn’t care.
This same father did not speak to my sister from her early 20’s until maybe 5 years ago and then again for the past 3 years. The reasons are not good enough and I bet if you asked him he honestly couldn’t tell you why he checked out on his own daughter. He missed out on her first college graduation and her 1st wedding during that first long stretch away. They did eventually reconnect for a short time. Her marriage ended and my dad was not a great support. A while later, my sister announced her marriage to SIL and daddy flipped his lid, he refused to give his daughter away to another woman. His excuse was that he was a Vietnam veteran. WTF? What does that have to do with loving your daughter? Then he tried to use GOD. A God he has no relationship with, a God that he mocks and a book he has never read. Really? His absence at BOTH of my sister’s weddings has secured the fact that he will not have the opportunity to give me away should I get married someday. I have a brother, a gay husband and too many girl friends to allow him that honor. Ultimately I realized that it wasn’t my sister marrying a woman (who loves and respects her more than any man ever did, btw) it was the fact that daddy didn’t have control anymore. He is not equipped with the skills to express himself or his feelings so he shuts down. Does anyone see a coincidence here????????
Cowardly Lion was (I thought) the only person in the world that could just shut off his emotions, love and heart like he does. However, after closer examination on my life I realize that I have dealt with this in one form or another since I was a kid. I always knew in the back of my mind that if I didn’t please my dad there was a risk of him not loving me or approving of me. My first act of rebellion against him was leaving my ex fiancé whom my father adored. He called him Boy Wonder and he believed that was true. This boy could do no wrong in daddy’s eyes. The ex didn’t work steadily, he was a label whore that couldn’t afford the label and we weren’t a good match. Period. It took a lot of self analysis and the loss of one of my very best friends to make me see that life was too short to live it for others. I decided to leave my fiancé. I got my own place and I told my family. My father thought it was a mistake. He shunned me. He didn’t help me move. He didn’t speak to me for a while. He continued his relationship with my ex and that hurt me but there was nothing I could do.
I picked myself up and brushed myself off like I always do. My dad didn’t like anyone I dated after my ex fiancé. He hated the Cowardly Lion. I think he hated not being able to control what I did. After CL and I broke up last year my dad was relentless in his attack of him. Needless to say he was non-to-pleased when we got back together just 1 month later. He was never nice to CL, let alone cordial. Most of the time, I felt like he went out of his way to not be nice. I saw my dad with CL probably 4 times in the last year. I probably only saw him another 5 or so without CL. That is 9 times the whole year. #1 dad actually sent me a text message (no phone call) for my birthday and never returned the calls I placed to him the week before for his birthday. Oddly it was the same as the boyfriend of 2 years ignoring it completely. Hmmm…
Is it so hard to see how I fell for a completely emotionally unattached fuckwit? I was driving in my car the other day thinking my frequent thought as of late, “how can someone just completely check out on those that they love? How can you just shut it down one day and act as if you never loved or cared for that person?” It seemed so insane to me until.it.hit.me. My dad is a cowardly lion too. Perhaps this is why I was drawn to CL and his ways? I have consciously always stayed away from men like my dad (for obvious reasons) but it seems I missed my mark with CL. What is even worse at this point is that I am starting to recognize how messed up I am because of the things I saw at such a young age. When you are subject to infidelity from a source that should be one of trust and love IT FUCKS YOU UP! No wonder I was so controlling in my early relationships. I was trying to be the strongest and take charge so that what happened to my mom wouldn’t happen to me. I was actually BEING my dad. Once I saw that and moved forward I allowed people to hurt me in ways that I shouldn’t have because I believed in their love. I see now that I was overcorrecting. I stayed too long in too many relationships. I was the sad lonely girl looking for love in all of the wrong places. After years of being single and figuring out what I wanted, CL seemed like the perfect fit. I was blinded by the love and maybe so into the idea of love that I didn’t consider my situation from all angles. I knew what I wanted and I guess I was going to make him into that. We all know how that works out. Someone is either what you want or they aren’t. I never wanted to be with anyone that was anything like my dad. This is all food for thought and future at this point but what an ah-ha moment for me!

UPDATE: I guess it could be worse: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,26388459-401,00.html

1 comment:

  1. Don't let the bastard get you down! Some final advice from dear old dad!