How Do I Heal From a Relationship I Never Had? – An Absent Father and How It Affected My Adult Life

The 23 year old dog mom sure has been quiet lately. Honestly, I think we are all navigating the near-end-kind-of-still-happening pandemic because no body knows what direction we’re heading in and let’s be real, the world has got some issues ATM. Well, just incase there was nothing more important for you to read, and you end up here- here’s some emotional sh*t.

Very long story shortened, my biological father was somewhat around until the age of 3 and then he wasn’t. All my life, I never really felt like I was missing out on anything because my mom did such an amazing job filling both parental roles. I have also had to step dad‘s in the last 20 years, and I’ve been and still are close with both of them. But would I say they feel like father figures? No. It almost feels more like that close uncle that’s always there for you. To sum it up, I never felt like there was anything missing since I never really had it to begin with that I didn’t even know what I was supposed to be missing. Until one day, on a Monday night, at 7:55 PM, I opened up the family photo albums that were given to me recently. There’s photos, souvenirs, and the usual things that are typically in those boxes and such.

There’s a man. I don’t recognize him. Until I do. I realize that man, the blank void with no visual memory or meaning in my brain, is my dad. Visual images or sights can change your perspective by A LOT, hence why marketing and ads became a thing. They are meant to make you feel emotion or capture your feelings. Well… these photos captured mine. It never really mattered until I saw that he was there and once upon a time, we had a father-daughter connection – even if I was an infant. Even saying “father-daughter” makes me feel uncomfortable. Why do we respond to things like this? What do I have to feel awkward about? A foreign concept, I guess.

These are the few photos I’ve selected to show, though there were hundreds more. To answer some questions you may be wondering, no I have never seen the photos before until that day (which alone is a lot to emotionally process.) and he does not live in the same country. I don’t even actually know his address or the whereabouts of where he lives, and he is also re-married now.

Here’s where things get vulnerable… 

Daddy Issues.

I think this thought process has occurred to most women at some point or another honestly. It’s become so normalized and like a joking term that it’s thrown around without people really understanding what it means. I, myself, have always assumed that I do have daddy issues automatically because I don’t have a father around. I almost didn’t want to know if I actually did or not because this way it could still be a joke. But do I? Before writing this, I literally just then did some research on what having daddy issues is really like and what the signs are. If you’re curious: 

·         You’re only attracted to older men 

·         You are clingy, jealous, or overprotective.

·         You need constant reassurance of love and affection. 

·         You give the impression that you only care about sex. 

·         You’re scared of being alone. 

·         You know you’ve got a complicated relationship or no relationship with your dad. 

Did reading some of those confirm my fear of why I didn’t want to know if I really had daddy issues? Probably. 

But interestingly enough, the only thought that really stood out to me in that moment is that I only felt like they applied to my years of growing up, a lot more than my current life and relationship. I believe that a big part of falling in love and I can’t stress this enough, finding the right love is that you learn to naturally grow out of the characteristics you may have inherited from the childhood you particularly had. I do feel that I’ve always thrived off of male attention because it gave me some sort of validation probably because I didn’t get it at home. The reason I feel secure and confident enough to say now, that I don’t relate to these qualities any longer, is that I am lucky enough to have found a partner at a young age, who has shown me over and over again throughout the years we have been together what it means to be unconditionally loved. It’s very hard to explain someone a feeling that they have physically never felt before because they will never truly understand it; that someone can make you feel beautiful and loved without any of it having to do with your physical looks. (Shout out to you, babe)

So yeah, it’s cool to find a partner who loves you inside and out. Does it magically fix and erase the questions I’ve had no answers to regarding my father my whole life? Not really. Remember earlier when I mentioned how his absence had affected my younger years? Well I also did some reading on this. Here is what I found:

  • Father involvement (who are loving with clear boundaries and expectations) will lead to better emotional, academic, social & behavioural outcomes for children.
  • Children who feel a closeness to their fathers are twice as likely as those who do not to enter college, find stable employment and are 75% less likely to have a teen birth.
  • 80% less likely to spend time in jail, and half as likely to experience depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Fathers occupy a critical role in child development.

So. I’ve let a draft of this post sitting for days & I’m not sure how to continue it because I don’t think I am done processing, learning, and feeling. But you know what they say – who needs therapy when you have a blog! (no one says that.)

To Be Continued.

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