Daddy (issues)

“It is from her father that she begins to infer messages that will linger a lifetime— I am, or am not, considered by men to be pretty, desirable, valuable, dependent, weak, strong, dim-witted, brilliant; Men are, or are not, trustworthy, loving, predatory, dependable, available, dangerous.” – Victoria Secunda

As I celebrated my 35+ birthday last week, I started to answer some important life questions. One question being, “Why am I still Single?” When I’ve pondered over this question in my 20’s and early 30’s, my immediate response would often place the blame on the other side:“I can’t find a good man”; “Black men don’t know how to be real men”; “Men can’t accept my independence and strength.”; “Men make it hard to date in LA.”

But today, I’m ready to answer the question — At 35+, I’m still single because I have “Daddy” issues.

My parents separated when I was eight years old. Although my father was mostly absent from my life when my parents were together and became practically non-existent afterwards, I loved my father and constantly blamed my mother for the separation. It wasn’t until high school that I accepted the truth. I began to regret my ill feelings towards my mother for all of those years and the resentment against my father multiplied.  I finally confronted him in my 20’s; however, after I released the anger that festered in me during my childhood years, I invited it back in because I thought it had a right to return to the place it called home for so many years.

Over the years, I’ve held a tight hold on all of the issues that created the resentment and have found delight in the fact that I’ve been strong enough to recognize and hold on to the promise that, “I will never allow a man to treat me like my father treated my mother.” This hold has allowed my negative feelings for father to spill over in my personal relationships with men. Because of my issues with my father, I have never fully warmed my heart to depend on and trust a man. I created a list of expectations that I placed on my father and have passed on to men in my life. My strong grip of my unresolved past with the only man I once adored and trusted  have caused the reach to an optimistic future with a man to constantly move farther away and slip through my fingers.

In September, my father turned 80 and one of my brothers organized a big, birthday bash at my home. Before the party, I was on the fence. I thought, Why are we giving this man a party? Why am I rewarding him for not being a good father? But that day, as all of his eight children celebrated a father who had been absent from all of our lives, I realized it was possible to exist without the anger.  So, I’m finally taking the steps to forgive my father.  

At 35+, I’m taking responsibility in my part of why I am still single. I finally accept my father for the man he is. And I thank him for his role in my independence and strength. My father has taught me how I should be treated by a man and I have to trust that those lessons are enough.  So, today, I am looking forward to releasing all of my “Daddy” issues and I’m finally opening myself up to the possibility of being vulnerable, being understanding, and being loved by a man.

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