How Having An Emotionally Absent Father Still Affects Me Today

Twenty20 / brittleighhhh
Twenty20 / brittleighhhh

There are many things in my life I cannot complain about. And this article is not meant to over-exaggerate, nor is it meant to take the spotlight away from people who have probably had it way worse than I have.

The purpose of this article is to shed light on a personal issue that as a matter of fact, I did not even realize was an issue whatsoever for so long. The goal of this is to share the emotions behind a void I have learned to conceal and how this has subconsciously translated into other aspects of my life, mainly relationships.

Growing up, I physically had both my mother and father in my life. Emotionally however, I can say that I have only had a mother- one that has played the mental and support role of both parents simultaneously.

My father was not nor is he now, a monster. He was however, with me, extremely cold and emotionally unavailable.

I do not remember one instance where my father has told me he loved me. That is not to deny that he doesn’t.

Growing up, the main emotion I recall having towards my father was that of fear and discipline. I recall having to act in certain ways as to not upset my father. I had to behave accordingly and not do anything that may be perceived as a nuisance to him to avoid being punished.

Growing up, I avoided my father as much as I can. Physically, he has always been there. But in my memories, he is close to being absent.

I recall my mom during important days of life such as my birthdays and graduations and school choir performances. I don’t recall ever having my father being there during my elementary, high school or university graduations.

I do remember always looking out at the audience – whether it be my 4th grade choir recital or my walking on stage to receive my degree, and seeing my mom beaming a big proud smile.

That is not to say that my dad wasn’t proud of me. I am indeed sure that he was. However, throughout my entire childhood and even onto my adulthood, I never received that love or assurance.

So I lived nearly my entire life never feeling that I was missing something paternally. My mom has always ensured I had a parent to support and love me, and for that I am forever grateful as she is the person I am today.

It is not until recently that I began to realize that the emotional absence of a father throughout my entire life has indeed had a toll on me. And these are 5 reasons as to how this is so:

1. I have only ever ended up with emotionally unavailable men.

Throughout all of my relationship and dating history, I have only been with men that were either emotionally abusive or distant. As most women who end up in these types of relationships, it is not something I had ever wanted – yet it has always somehow just ended up this way. I realized that subconsciously, this is the type of relationship that I am familiar with. It’s the only type of relationship with men that I had ever known.

2. I fear letting someone close to me.

When it comes to dating and relationships, I am extremely hesitant about letting someone know the depths of me. It is very difficult for me to share my fears and passions as I subconsciously think that this what makes a man leave.

3. I have an unattainable sense of self-perfection I cannot live up to.

I realized that I subconsciously feel that I have to pretend to be perfect to sustain attraction. Throughout all of my dating scenarios, I have always tried to put on a front that ends up failing. Perhaps because I feel like no one would want to see my true self, with all my inner flaws and still express their love and devotion.

4. Severe trust issues.

When I notice that a guy is just starting to become emotionally involved, I subconsciously set off many red flags. “He’s untruthful!, He has ulterior motives, He just wants to pretend to get what he wants!, He is too good to be true!” These are the types of thoughts that run through my head when a man is coming off as genuine. Perhaps that is why the only dating situations I have been in have been emotionally exhausting and ultimately, toxic.

5. I fear saying something that will inflict an attack.

I have an inherent fear of saying something that I will end up paying for emotionally. This is in the form of being belittled or ignored or as a form of punishment. As a result, rather than being comfortable addressing my concerns with someone I am dating, I try to avoid this in fear of retaliation. I subconsciously feel that I do not have the right to feel or act in a way the other person wouldn’t like.

There you have it. I never had a father that made me feel beautiful or worthy or loved. And as much as I never wanted to admit it, this had an impact on my relationships with men.

Though this issue is something I can admit has subconsciously impacted me in one way or another, it is something I am learning to address and heal.

We all have our share or personal trauma and one of the most important steps is acknowledgment to reach self-growth. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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