My dad abused me as a child. No, not physically, but emotionally. I was constantly neglected and begging for attention from a depressed alcoholic. My dad tried to be there for me, but when it came to getting his attention, I was always competing with a bottle of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes. I was never enough for him.
My dad passed away at the end of my freshman year of high school, yet the feelings of never being good enough have bruised my self-esteem for the past 16 years. His abuse on my soul is why I’ve been single my entire life.
I know what you’re thinking; your dead daddy isn’t why you’re single, it’s probably just you.
Well, you’re wrong. My “daddy issues” are why whenever I meet a guy I automatically make it my mission to impress him and when it doesn’t work, I’m right back to feeling insignificant. My dad may be gone, but his toxic negativity follows me like a shadow even on my brightest days. My “daddy issues” are also why I can rarely trust men I’m interested in because he always lied to me. He always promised to quit smoking, get healthy, and be a better dad. Those promises faded year after year. So, after he passed I built a thick shield around my heart and I vowed that I would never let a man hurt me the way he did.
Yet, that shield suffocates me whenever it comes to getting to know someone. If a guy expresses interest in me, I put up a wall of defense because it’s better than taking that risk. You could say I found my comfort-zone in the friend zone.
Though I complain about constantly only being guys’ friends, those are the relationships where I know I won’t get hurt. I friend-zone myself by hiding behind my humor and sarcasm, when in reality my inner-self shivers at the thought of potentially getting close with a guy. I’ve even had male friends who I’ve shut out at times. I became good friends with a guy last year that became a roller coaster of a friendship. After a certain point, I felt suffocated by how much he cared for and needed me. So, naturally, I became distant and ran away as far as I could.
I rarely felt wanted by my father so the sudden feeling of being needed by a man frightened me. It was unfamiliar territory that I wasn’t sure I could navigate through. Even more, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be enough for him because I was never enough for my dad. This fear of disappointment fed my need to hide behind my shield. I choose to be attracted to men I’ve deemed “out of my league” because it cancels out the option of anything going wrong. I refuse to open myself up to someone who could inflict even the slightest pain on me like my dad.
Simply put, I’m reluctant to letting anyone in. I set my standards too high because I know I’ll never settle for anything less than I deserve. I’ve probably met a bundle of amazing guys, but because I take my expectations too far, I choose to find the faults in every one I meet. I suppose that comes from only looking at the faults in my dad.
I know my “daddy issues” will never go away and I’ve come to accept that. However, I know that when I meet the right guy, those issues will be seen as blessings in disguise.
I believe in silver linings. My dad told me I’d never be good enough but in a way he helped me realize that someday I will be good enough not only for someone but for myself. In order to love someone else, you must be able to love yourself first. This is something I’m finally beginning to process. The less time I spend harping on what I don’t have because of my father, the more time I have to love myself and appreciate what I have to offer. There will come a moment in life when I forget the “daddy issues” just for a second and when that happens, Mr. Right will come sweep me off my feet. Until then I’m going to focus on not only loving who I am, but also reminding myself that I’ve come too far in life to settle for anything or anyone.
I have such high expectations because I know what I want out of a relationship. They say you should be with a man who reminds you of your father, but why in the world would I want that? I want a man to show me that I can be wanted no matter my looks, weight, or personal baggage. I want a man to help me let my guard down. I want a man to show me that I am worthy of love.
I want a man to show me that I am enough.