Happy Sunday all,
This post is deeply personal.
Even as I write it I have no idea if I will find the courage to actually post it, but it’s a message that may go some way to give much healing if discussed.
It all started when I sat down (Monday 25th) to write today’s post. The TV was on watching itself and providing background noise. As a film starring the poor Amanada Bynes and Colin Firth unrolled its plot I began to feel really rather emotional and it took me completely by surprise.
This girl had grown up without ever knowing her father and who worked as a waitress found herself sad and despondent every time she watched the Fathers & Daughters do the traditional dance when employed to work at weddings.
The Fathers and Daughters Dance
I felt an overwhelming sadness slowly creep over me and before I knew it I was desperately upset. I guess it struck a chord, no a nerve because I knew that I never had and I never would receive that complete loving devotion, that adoration and care, that protection and comfort that that kind of father gives to his daughter on her wedding day and no doubt every day from the day she was born.
I began to wonder if fathers truly understand what they are responsible for when they create a daughter.
A healthy relationship between Fathers & Daughters creates a happy world. We become the mothers of the next generation and influence how they live, love and express their love and greatness in the world.
Girls, Girls, Girls…
I come from a family in which the women outnumber the men. On my father’s side I am the eldest of eight girls (there are boys too) and on my mother’s the eldest of just three girls.
You’ve gathered my father has many children and I’m not, at this stage going to go into social conditioning or social pressures or programming, nor stereotyping as a way of explaining the family dynamics on my father’s side of my family as that isn’t the point of this post.
I have been married twice now. I believe in the institution of marriage, so perhaps I will marry again one day? But I DO feel a huge sense of having failed somehow and I am nervous when it comes to relationships because I fear ‘getting it wrong’ again and perhaps unconsciously re-creating being abandoned in my younger years.
Coincidence or no?
Now what caused the upset in me was the realisation that I’d Never had a ‘Father & Daughter dance’ and at 50 years young it was unlikely I was ever going to either! But as thoughts are often want to do, one led to another and again I found myself mulling over the lives my sisters and I have led and there is a common denominator.
We Are ALL Single!
Our ages span two decades; from 30s to me at 50 yet each of us, have for the majority of our lives lived in single-dom. Either single single or as single mothers.
Methinks there is no co-incidence here!
Sharing is caring
Caveat: Let me just add at this point that these are MY musings and reflections on MY life. These are MY evaluations and conclusions, I am not judging my sisters or men in general or saying that my thoughts and conclusions are in anyway definitive. Anything I say here I have probably already said to my father. I am not a psychologist, but I have a right to my view of the world and if that resonates with others, then that’s all I hope for. But if I am to help others effect change I can only take them as deep in their analysis of their journey as I am prepared to go in mine.
If someone finds peace or clarity or a deeper understanding from hearing my story, then I have achieved something great. What we all need to understand is that each of our stories maybe just the story another person needs to hear.
That is the reason I share.
Now don’t be thinking I’ve abandoned my ideas that we create our own lives. We do and I know this unequivocally, however for many of us, creating can mean spending half a life-time un-creating the life handed to us as children and over which we had very little/no control. If that life is complex and has created a blueprint of dysfunction then it can take time simply understanding yourself and that you’ve created or continued a the pattern of the dysfunction, before you actually get to ‘creation’
With no father in the home or maintaining regular contact, a girl feels abandoned and exposed. Now I know fairy tales aren’t real, but I have always thought life should be like it is in films, we should be as kind and loving, we should never give up, we should strive to be our best, we should support one another perhaps that’s my failing.
You see with no model then maybe I created an idealised model of men & relationship and who knows, maybe it was too much for each of my partners to live up to? I have been told more than once or twice that I think I am better than everyone (whatever that means?) How can one EVER have standards that are TOO high? But then that’s another post I guess?
But I don’t think so. The reality of not having a loving father around (not necessarily in the home), but around making his presence felt. A Father letting you know through his actions and words and unfailing commitment to your wellbeing, that you are precious to him, that you deserve to be protected and cherished; means it’s easier to fall for the fakery and the swagger and for the insincere, the takers and the leeches.
Because we don’t know what a real man looks, feels and smells like. We have no experience of what it feels like to have our wants and needs met, of knowing we deserve to be cherished. We have not had the confidence and reassurance of knowing when we are scared or upset that someone (the male figure) will show up and be there and make us feel safe. (and yes feminists I know we should be our OWN safety/heroes), but again, I say; these are MY thoughts, MY life experiences.
We have not had the practise of negotiating and articulating our fears knowing they will be listened to. There is no knowing how to give ourselves permission or that we have the right to ask. Whether it’s for help, love, support care, attention or even to take the rubbish out.
For we, the abandoned daughters it means the trial and error of sifting through a variety of scenarios with one or other of the types in the previous paragraph; as we work through in adulthood what we should have learnt as young girls.
Some of us never learn it, as the succession of dysfunctional relationships from passing though one type after another or a repetition of the same type! (who probably had absent fathers too) leads to more and more of your energy seeping away and your spirit being broken. Until one day you give up!
Our situations take different guises.
We’ve been physically abandoned; Partners who:
- Won’t commit
- Create situations leading to Imprisonment
- Are Pathologically unfaithful
Emotional abandonment; Partners who:
- Are emotionally attached to others and so won’t/can’t commit
- Needy partners who create situations of dependence on you financially and emotionally but offer none in return and drain you in every aspect
- Jealous/insecure partners who have to compete with you and negate your achievements or successes
- Violent partners who’s own pain is projected onto you
- Insist you’re ‘strong’ and use this as an excuse to abdicate their care and support
- Critical partners: Who say things like: “You think you’re better than, you’re not good enough, you always get things wrong, you wear the wrong clothes, say the wrong thing, too loud; too soft; too….Just too something”
My sisters and I have consistently experienced relationships where the abandonment is recreated time and time again as we bravely keep searching and learning and hoping to ‘get it right’ and receive what every (heterosexual) woman deserves: The love and protection and care of a man who truly loves her and will work with her to create a life of genuine kindness and support.
What I need you to know fathers, is that when you abandon your daughters, this is the legacy you create. I’m sure when she was born, you wanted the best for her, you wanted her to have a life that is richer, more vibrant, happier and more abundant than yours.
If that’s the case it starts with you
Make sure she feels, rich in the love you give her, that she feels vibrant because of the affection and care you show her, she is happy because she knows she has a right to be herself, to be listened to by the man in her life and have her needs met; a right to ask for and be given support. Make sure she is she is happy because she knows what she deserves because you modelled for her what true manhood looks and feels like. Ensure she is abundant because you reflected back to her that she is a Queen and deserves to be treated as such.
My admiration and respect goes out to those fathers out there who have not abandoned their daughters!
Blissings & Much love
More articles from Pauline can be found on her blog here.