Being raised by a bunch of very opinionated, outspoken, hardcore, strong, kick-ass black women, I would have to say that I never cared too much about the fact that my father was in and out, or hardly ever around. So after reading blogs and listening to podcasts concerning Daddy/Daughter Relationships, I decided to sit myself in the hot seat and see if I can compare my relationship with my Dad to some of my life situations when dealing with other men. This should really be an eye-opener…. and, maybe a little humorous.
“Daddy” was a Marine/Police Officer/every little boy or grown man’s worst fear. My girlfriend’s dad is licensed to kill. Somehow, at a young age, I knew this and loved to brag about the fact that “My Daddy is better than your Daddy,” or any boyfriend, for that matter. Back then, we had an awesome relationship. When he was over in Desert Storm, he sent me letters on the regular. Plus, the fact that he lived in DC was never an issue because he visited on a regular basis, as if it was right around the corner. It had taken me years to understand that he actually lived 4 hours away. I spent my summers up north with my mother, where “Daddy” and I spent a great amount of time together doing girly things, riding go-karts, going swimming, you name it, we did it or made plans to do it. This is where all of those clichés began to make sense, the American Dream, Daddy’s little girl…blah, blah, blahblahblah.
With middle school age came changes. Not because I was going through adolescent attitudes, flowing red waves, or finding out where penises really go. “Daddy” had met someone new. The fact that he had yet another girlfriend was nothing strange to me. I was always #1. But there was something different about this situation, because now my Daddy/Daughter dates were limited and cut short. And then, voila! They’re married. To make matters worse, she was jealous of our relationship and their arguments consisted of my name and something to the effect of her sons not receiving the same treatment. This resulted in him having to sneak and give me money or buy me things; as well as, making bullshit efforts assisted by excuses for mishaps on the journey or protesting to me what he had to do in order to make things happen. It wasn’t long before I came to the realization of where I stood with him, but I became numb. The things he said would go in one ear, and out the other. But that was “Daddy” and you can’t stay mad with your Dad, even when you know he is in the wrong.
So, let’s apply and re-apply. In a nutshell, I’m left with a high tolerance for bullshit. He made it really easy to forgive and forget. “Sorry, honey, I know I’m late but _____ here’s ____”. Sound familiar? The same words that came from my father’s mouth are the same words I hear all too often from a man’s mouth, which makes me quite accepting of the disappointments. Whether or not it was late, at least I did get a gift. At least he said he was sorry. (NOTE: at LEAST) It was either that or he came to town with a pity party about what is going on in his house and how unhappy he is; this is, also, an effective application that I like to call the “reverse effect”. Now my anger quickly subsides and turns to sympathy and I began to empathize with the enemy. I have become accustomed to revolving doors and have always made myself readily available to whomever I have delved into with my all. This is what my “Daddy” taught me, and although he felt that he was making up for lost time, he was only instilling in me a life full of bad habits.
You see, where the strange scenarios roll in… it’s easy for me to let go. Out of sight, out of mind. That has never been the hard part. The part that frustrates me is I’m too gullible within a commitment. The commitment to my father or the commitment within a relationship. As long as I had no communication with my father, I was fine. But to add fuel to the fire, once he was back in the picture, I was Daddy’s little girl again which stayed consistent with trial and error. Same difference with any man that I have loved (which are very few…very) My timeline would probably show a pattern of “off again, on agains”. Men who did wrong and came back through these revolving doors with apologies out the wa-zoo, long enough for me to classify them as repeat offenders and to, also, hold onto resentment (which could go either way). It never failed, as long as I was free and available, I was open to listen. A new male role model never came into my life, so I would always be accepting to what I was dealt. See the pattern here? No new man? Keep the old one.
And all this time, I thought I wasn’t affected. But when bad habits begin to turn into real problems, you have to analyze and strategize in order to exterminate. This is only the beginning to piecing myself together.