What Impact Does Your Daddy Issues Have on Your Relationships?

0 Posted by - May 6, 2013 - Dear NWSO, Relationships, Love & Marriage

Angry-Father-&-SonDear NWSO,

After speaking with my estranged father, unresolved feelings that I never knew I had have begun to surface. He left when I was born, and wouldn’t give an explanation for walking out. That enrages me, but I need to forgive him because I believe he may be at the root of my commitment phobia, and I think forgiving him may help with that. I read that you went through something similar. How did you forgive your father? Did your talk with him help you make that ultimate commitment?

Dear Fatherless Child,

Forgiveness is a choice and one that should be extended for those that deserve it not “just because” someone is related to you. I know just how you feel about getting enraged when speaking to your father. I tend not to speak or think about him much but when he would catch me on the phone I would often find myself angry and just wanting to get off the phone.

It was just real awkward conversations with him doing much of the talking and me just grinning and bearing it. What I realized now is it’s because I wasn’t saying what was really on my mind and not asking the questions I needed to ask for me to feel better and have closure. At the end of the day, though, you have no control over your father, his actions, or lack thereof, or even him giving you a straight answer. The sad fact is sometimes there is no answer.

You don’t “need” to forgive him. Like I said early that’s your choice. If that’s what it takes to make you heal and move on as a healthy adult most definitely do, but don’t feel an obligation to forgive just because you feel you should. Sometimes there are things that are not forgivable. Yeah, you can be cordial if you choose but it’s hard to forgive someone who has no remorse for something that clearly still hurts you. I’m not saying that’s the case here or that you shouldn’t forgive him, I’m just saying it isn’t a must-do for everyone.

Ultimately what you really need is closure. For me, my father had no real answer either but I got my closure by letting my feelings off my chest and letting him know how he hurt me. I always feared that he would die before I could vent and I’d have no choice but to carry that anger around for the rest of my life. Did the convo heal everything? No, but it’s helped tremendously.

My father and I may not be friends or best of buds but I can better deal with him now. Still, he isn’t a major part of my life but the door is open for a small role—albeit on my own terms. As I always say, I feel too old for a daddy at this point in my life but that could just be my resistance and stubbornness. But I feel that I needed a daddy when I was a child and thankfully my grandfather [R.I.P.] filled that role for me then.

So have I forgiven my father? Somewhat but I’ll never forget. Any trust to be in my life has to be earned. For you, I just say get what closure it is that you need, whether that is forgiveness, venting or whatever. Your well-being and mental and emotional well-being is what’s most important, so focus on that more than your father’s. He was always the adult in the situation so if anything you’re the one that should be asked to forgive not the other way around. Regardless of the outcome just pay it forward by giving all the love you never got to your future child(ren) so that they have what you never had a chance to experience from a father.

Wishing you the best of luck on your journey.

CLICK HERE to listen to my live response to this letter when I discussed the topic on an episode of Naked Radio Show. 

Do you feel that a child should forgive a parent who has no remorse for abandoning him/her? Are a lot of people’s commitment phobias rooted in their daddy issues? Do you feel that once this man finds closure with his father that he’ll be happier in his romantic relationships?

Speak your piece…

  • Rastaman

    Much of the discussions about parents, children and family
    are often so idealized that we fail to discuss these issues in real world terms
    such as the fact that bad people have children too. Having children do not magically transform the
    lazy, irresponsible or selfish into number 1 Mom or Dad. Of course that myth is miraculous transformations
    are constantly reinforced by anecdotal tales of someone’s cousin or a friend
    they knew…..what has really happened in most cases is that someone who
    exhibited immaturity was spurned by the responsible of parenting to grow the
    fuck up.

    I don’t know about commitment phobes and “daddy issues”. I had been described by some in my life as a
    commitment phobe and I have a rather close relationship with my father. Close enough to know that I should hope to be
    half the father he is and twice the husband he ever was. Parenting is one of the more difficult roles
    we taken on in life and not all of us are cut out to be parents and very often
    that does not become apparent to many until the children are here. What happens then?

    I was lucky to grow up in an environment where there was no
    overwhelming family/social pressure to get married early, have children or settle
    down. Because what I know about myself
    is that I am a late bloomer when it comes to the responsibility of taking care
    of other people. I have done very well
    getting that education, getting that profession and getting my finances in
    order. Those things were easy and no way
    as intimidating as being a parent. It
    is that type of insight that makes me feel a little for men or women who were
    overwhelmed by the idea of being parents before they were ready to emotionally
    handle that role. It does not make me
    excuse them though. Because parenting
    is one of those life changes that you are either in or you are out, you can’t
    be half stepping.

    Your romantic relationships will be successful when and if
    you make the decisions to make that your primary goal. Closure with a bad parent is not about that
    parent it is about you and whether you have decided to no longer make their
    failing yours. It goes back to that
    whole idealizing I discussed earlier because we so feel the need to somehow
    love and admire our parents whether they deserved it or not we contort our
    emotional innards in all manner of ways to achieve that goal. The truth is our parents are humans with all
    manner of human failings and some of that makes them poor representative for parents
    and in some cases poor human beings.
    That is not any child’s burden and we need to start children to make those
    distinctions as a society. Because it
    cripples them in their lives and makes life much more difficult than it already
    is.

  • six seveneighty

    First thing, I hate when people blame not having a father around, for their mishaps in life. Most of the kids I grew up with even if they did have their father in their lives, turned out no better then those without one. There were so many other male influences around growing up. Myself my brother and my friends, we influenced each other, with the help of strong mothers behind us. Some didn’t have a mother or father and they turned out just fine. If anything,not having a father should have made you an even better man or woman, to want to be able to lead a better example for your kids and your younger siblings. As a grown ass man or woman you should not be holding grudges against parents that wasn’t around. When I was a kid, I didn’t understand why my dad wasn’t with us. I wasn’t mad at him, I was just curious. Wasn’t until I got older and had kids of my own that I understood, that a lot of factors play into why men and women leave their families behind. Sometimes its even best that they are not there. Life don’t always go as planned, and it’s just simply a case of “Sh!t Happens.”

  • Lia

    Hmmm, I think it’s different strokes for different folks. Daddy issues probably do create commitment phobes, but everybody with daddy issues doesn’t have to be a commitment phobe. I think that it would be naïve for anyone to assume that a child would be unaffected by rejection of a parent. If nothing else, a child should be able to count on the love from those two people and I don’t think that’s at all an unfair expectation. Commitment phobia definitely comes from a dysfunctional relationship of some kind, sometimes the parent, sometimes it’s a failed romantic relationship, it might even be a strained friendship. Another commenter noted that parents can be bad people too. But it’s common knowledge that children naturally idealize their parents. It’s not until adolescence that their brains are even able to comprehend that their parents aren’t perfect. Unfortunately, neglectful parenting can do some pretty serious damage before that time comes.

    If the issue really does lie with his father, then getting closure will solve the problem. However, he needs to be prepared to do some more soul searching if it turns out to be something else.