Personal Story – Father’s Day never served any real importance to me. How could it? Although my dad lived about an hour away from me in New Jersey, I could count the number of times I remember spending any real face time with him on my fingers. His excuses, broken promises, and overall disappointments are another story as the majority of my memories of him involve one of those three things.
Growing up, I wasn’t angry about it. I actually barely noticed because my mom did an amazing job upholding the responsibilities of two parents. It was also just the way things always were. My mom has three brothers who took good care of their families so I was aware of the two-parent structure, but again, I never put much thought into the idea that I was missing something.
I’m an adult now and have heard many of the stereotypes of what growing up in a single parent home or without a strong male figure was supposed to have done to me. Honestly, not having a father around when I was younger bothers me more now only because I feel like I have to explain what made the difference in my life or why I didn’t turn out to have the deeply rooted “daddy issues” that most women in my situation supposedly have.
Even deeper than that is seeing how people’s response to me changes when they find out that I lacked a father growing up. Mixed reactions of shock, sympathy, curiosity, and undisguised disapproval are some of the responses I’ve gotten and it’s one of the most uncomfortable feelings in the world because usually the discussion goes from whatever conversation we were having to “deadbeat fatherhood” and how it inflicts poison on the Black community. I’m sorry but I’ve heard it all before and I’m tired of having to defend my upbringing which was sometimes much better and way less tumultuous than many of the people I’ve met who had both parents present.
Whether you come from a single-parent home or a two-parent home, I’m sick of hearing how “daddy issues” is used to cripple and divide us. Not having a father around is NOT the cause of bad children, children who act out, or women with false expectation of men. I’ll acknowledge that it helps to have an extra hand around, but it definitely doesn’t guarantee your kids will be model citizens of the Black community.
“Daddy issues” or “my dad wasn’t around” is, in my very honest opinion, nothing more than an excuse after a certain age. In your teen years you acted because that’s what teenagers naturally do and it’s much easier to fool one parent than it is to fool two. I do sympathize with my readers out there who do have “daddy issues” and I’m not saying it’s not a very real issue, but understand if you’re in your twenties or older you need to find a way to let them go and stop trying to fall back on it for your shortcomings. If you’re angry that you’re dad was never around, understand what that bitterness could mean for your attitude towards your relationships.
My understanding is that women without fathers hold on to their “daddy issues” too long. Let them go. Don’t accept the sympathy you receive because there’s nothing for anyone to feel sorry about. It was unfortunate but no matter where you are in life, you have made it past that point and now it’s your responsibility to decide what your future will be.
Any thoughts you have are always welcome in comments!
About Carla Clunis
You can find more of Carla’s musings on love and relationships at www.theheartmalfunctions.com where she blogs about the ups and downs of dating and relating.
Also, help Theheartmalfunctions.com win “Best New Blog” for the 2011 Black Weblog Award HERE.
—— By: Carla Clunis