I guess we’ve arrived. That blog for another day or at least one of them. With Father’s day right around the corner I figured it was time I purge it out. Yep, you got it: daddy issues. What are they and why do I have them? Have a drink. Shit, I might have one too, because the places that I have to go in my mind aren’t that great.
Shoutout to my therapist for trying to no avail.
I was daddy’s girl from day one. He has another daughter before me with another woman, but he wasn’t allowed to be in her life or at least that’s how the story was told. The other truth was he hit her Mom and she kept her and her daughter as far from him as possible. So, I was it. His golden child, his pretty little princess. In his mind, his first. I have the good memories of us dancing in the living room (the reason I love to dance). He and I always going on car rides. Him carrying me when I was too tired to walk. Jordans on my feet that matched his. And naps. And watching football/basketball games together. Him defending me against my Mom when she wanted to whip me for something stupid. He was my idol and my hero.
Then there is the one story that shut it all down. My dad was a cheater and I was a dry snitch. Because he took me everywhere with him, he decided it was okay to bring me with him to see another woman. He didn’t count on my Mom asking me about our day and what we did. My Mom wasn’t expecting to be told that my dad was on a couch with another woman kissing, not the word I used at four, but it’s what I saw. The other woman was “the lady” and I re-enacted what I’d seen. I’d created a big blowout between my parents that would no longer allow me to nip at my father’s heels. Him leaving me home all of a sudden would make my Mom more suspicious of him and things would only get worse. There pet names for one another would go from babe to bitch and they would use me to trade insults.
I remember a time when my mother cooked dinner. She sent me to tell my father that it was ready. He looked thoroughly disturbed at the audacity of my mother not to serve him as she always had. He sent me back down to tell her to bring him his food. She responded by having me tell him to get his damn plat himself. She told me to make sure I said damn. He ran down the stairs to confront her. Another fight. Another chance for my mother to remind him about the other women (bitches and hoes).
My Mom would do all the crazy things that women do in order to make the infidelity stop: moving, changing our phone number, fighting the other women (yes women plural), fighting my dad, crying, begging, pleading until she was exhausted. The last resort would be making the playing field even. She’d start wearing less and going out more. This life would remind her that she never wanted to be a wife or a mother. My aunt would wait outside in the car to pick her up for a night of clubbing. Once, I stood there with my cabbage patch doll in my hands as my father blocked the door with his arms stretched out. He told her she couldn't leave because she had him. She had kids. She didn't care and when he refused to move out of her way she dug into her purse and pulled out a box cutter that she'd gotten from the K&B where she worked. She started swinging it at him, slashing his shirt in hopes she'd hit skin.
This is what love looked like. My own violent outburst were happening in real time twenty years ahead.
He let her go after realizing I'd been standing there the whole time. He sent me up to my room with my sister and called the police on my Mom. I stood at the top of the stairs watching as he explained their situation and tried to get them to go after her. She'd never lashed out like that before. It was the first that I remember and it wouldn't be the last.
She’d meet a man and my dad would find out. Next, his pride would accept that she was only lashing out because of his own bad behavior. He’d give her an ultimatum. Do you want your husband or your boyfriend? After fourteen years, she’d decide that a man that gave her false promises and cheap thrills was worth more than keeping her family together. I don’t know this man, nor do I remember him. As far as I know, he never existed. The story continues with this mystery man not wanting her in the same way. Maybe a year or so had passed.
My heartbroken and drunken mother would try to crawl back to my father. He was hurt and starting over and did not anticipate the amount of guilt and regret she’d showed up with to his front door. My father was a new cop on the force at this time. He told her that they could talk in the morning and put her in his bed while he took the sofa. He laid down to close his eyes and moments later a loud pop would awaken him.
She’d shot herself in the chest with his gun.
My sister and I were at my aunt’s house. She’d tell us the next day and we wouldn’t understand. We were too young. Even with her bloody clothes in an open bag in front of us we would not get it. What I did know was there was no coming back from that or so I thought. My parents were bonded somehow and couldn't leave one another alone, even when they started seeing other people. I would see my father sneaking out of my Mom’s bedroom up until I was about seven. This gave me hope. I’d pick up the phone at the back of the house and hear them having inappropriate conversations. I thought he’d be back.
I hadn’t even noticed when he stopped coming around, but when he did return it was with a woman. Her face drooped, her hair was short, she had rings around her eyes, and a protruding belly. I was going to be a big sister again.
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. My mother couldn’t stand the sight of him. You could see the hurt on her face. She went from not talking about him at all to in so many words saying our father wasn’t shit. She liked to say “You’ll see for yourself how he is when you get older.”
I don’t know if he paid child support, but here is what he did do. He bought me a jewelry box that I kept until it was broken. He brought me a talking computer to learn shit. He gave me some clothes and shoes that he’d taken from a booster he pulled over while on patrol. He gave me his Nintendo when our house got broken into and they stole mine. He showed up to my school when a boy wouldn’t stop touching my legs. He always came over to yell at me when I got in trouble. I found trouble on purpose since it made him show up. He remembered my birthday twice in 33 years. He got me Christmas gifts twice maybe three times. He gave me $200 once for gas. He threatened one boyfriend on a first date. He told me it was okay not to believe in religion. He reminded me often that my Mother was “crazy.” He picked me up whenever my mother would put me out of her house. He told me I was his favorite, because I looked the most like him and had most of his ways. I was him. He always opened my doors. He carried my bags. He picked up checks at dinner. He only let me drive his car. He showed up to all of my volleyball games and bought the team gatorade. He taught me how to throw a football. He chased off a dog that was chasing me. He bought me a bike. He had my prom dress custom made. He always had cops in the city watching my every move, even when we weren’t speaking. He made me his Valentine one year. He got his side chick to rent me a car. He taught me how to tie a tie. He said “I love you,” once.
I haven’t spoken to my father since 2016. I’ll never forget it because it was my ex's birthday weekend. It was raining and I was driving. I almost killed us both several times as I engaged in a screaming match with my father. I’d had it up to wherever “here” is that night.
All I did my entire life was try to please him, but nothing had ever been good enough. My mind goes back to the time I scored a 95 on a test. He says, “That’s good, but why didn’t you get 100?”
Is an “A” not an “A”? *Insert my toxic shit here* because now I make people feel like they aren’t good enough without realizing it. Instead of applauding what they are proud of, I make them feel they should have/ could have done more. It’s a gross essence that I carry around. Then there was my sixth grade graduation. I called to invite him and his words to my ten year old self were, “I’ll come to the one that counts.”
Don’t they all count? Kindergarten? Sixth Grade? Eighth Grade? High School? College? No? And before you ask, yes. He and his wife who hated me showed up to my high school graduation like proud parents.
There was that one fight when my mother was $100 short on my class ring and she called him. He didn’t have it. The kids that lived with him got theirs. My brother even got a car while still in high school. The word here is jealous. I went off on him for the second time in my life. The first time I was fourteen and he'd gone through my things and found letters from my first girlfriend. Privacy was not a real thing in his home. With my class ring, he needed to feel justified. He called his Mom and she called me as if she was going to put me in my place. I handed the phone to my Mom. Not that day Satan. That side of the family was old testament all the way. He someone deserved my respect simply because he was my father. I guess my days on Earth were number due to his shortcoming and my need to call them out. Oh well.
His new wife was his scapegoat when it came to what he couldn’t do. A woman who barely worked and when she did, she made a tenth of his salary. “She bought that” for insert my siblings names here. Sure, Dad, sure. He also loved to talk down on our mother. Him and his evil mother. God disturb her soul. Rest is for the weary not the wicked. They talked about her as a mother, how she was as a wife to him: not obedient in a nutshell. He loved to tell us how our lives could have been different. The places we lived weren’t good enough. I was smart enough to know she, my mother, chose what she could afford with 11 an hour and two whole ass kids that needed her for everything. She did her shit too, but she did more than him. Even with one foot in the door, she showed up.
When I think about it, they would have never made it. My mother didn't have the kind of spirit that could be controlled. His current wife never learned to drive and had no interest in ever learning. My mother couldn't drive when he met her and when he said he wouldn't teach her she stole his car and taught herself. Sitting at home while he had the freedom to cheat was not an option for her. Her "crazy" needed to follow him if and when necessary.
Shoutout to my therapist for making me separate the woman from the mother. Two people raised me and I see it more and more everyday.
My father loved to say he wanted his girls--me and my sister--in his life, but his actions always showed the opposite. We were only allowed to stay at his house for a certain amount of time. His wife didn’t really want us there. We ate dinner at a dining table separate from theirs. She always sat in her room with the door closed when we were there. She never talked to us directly. Our brother or sister were the messengers. I guess it had to suck living in the shadow of my mother who my father claimed was the love of his life. His new wife was a thorn in my side. She fed me a raw burger once and I was so sick that I had to crawl to the bathroom. You think this bitch left her room to check on me? No.
I have so much rage.
My father had his one moment to shine, to show he loved me. Him and the beluga whale (his wife) were arguing about me. For some reason she wanted me gone. I don’t remember why. I remember my father being upset. I remember her putting my things in trash bags and sitting them in the garage. I left the next day after school. I went to my Aunt's house until I could figure out where I wanted to be, because it was looking more and more like I was going to have to do life on my own. My father was frantic. My aunt told my mother where I was and my mom called him. He came to pick me up, even though I didn’t need or want him to, then we went to my grandmother's house. The evil one. He stayed there one night with me then left. He came back with all of my things and made up some story that I had manipulated and lied to him and blamed his fights with his wife on me. It happened so fast that I still can’t pause the event in my mind to pull out the specifics. All I know was his decision was made and more strain was added to our rocky relationship. He’d made it clear that he had to have a life with his wife, not me.
For her, I was just the evidence of the love my father and mother shared. I was some obvious competition that needed to be eliminated. It must have been so stressful. I guess.
It’s kind of how my siblings felt about me, too. They saw me as the one he adored most. I could see why they felt that way, but they also didn’t walk a mile in my shoes to see that his love for me was just as fleeting. I don’t blame them for how they feel/felt. He did trust me a lot. He told me once that I was his best friend. I believe that because he told me things I know he’d never tell anyone else. But he wore two faces because in the one intimate conversation I’ve had with my brother he told me how my father used me and my sister as examples of what and who not to become. He reminded them of their two-parent home privileges often.
It was years later that the story changed and my dad felt they needed to be more like us. He'd given them too much and now they couldn't survive in the real world. I feel most for my brother, not being the son my father wanted: athletic, loud, aggressive, misogynistic, gross. All the things black men think the extension of their penis should be.
My sister and I never really liked being at my Dad's house because of the overly controlled emvironment. We could only close the bathroom door. He set an alarm all day to make sure he knew who tried to leave or enter the house. We couldn’t talk or play too loud. There was no unmade beds. If he didn’t like how you made the bed, he’d strip it and make you do it again. Girls washed dishes, boys took out the trash. My sister and brother were teens and their mother still had to pull out their clothes for school. We all just followed his rules. This was how he liked his life. This is what made him happy. He could do whatever, but everyone else had to do what they were told. He was the breadwinner so that made him King.
Like all stories, the King has to go to war to remain in power.
The war began when my baby sister went rogue. There are five of us. She is the youngest. She was 19 when his antics got old. She wanted to go away for school. He shut that down. He wanted to monitor who she was dating. He went through her phone and email browser often, still taking her phone and computer away to punish her when something was inappropriate. She was nineteen. She still had to share a room with my autistic aunt. She barely had friends or company. She was nineteen.
She’d met a guy and she wanted to be with him and to get out of my father’s house. She wrote a letter and gave it to my brother, so he knew that this would be happening. He lied to my father about it. She packed a few things and left the house for school like normal. After, she ditched her phone and her boyfriend drove from Oregon to Louisiana to take her away. My dad called to tell me she was missing. The story was blotchy. He then said she ran away, which turned to she was kidnapped by a guy she was dating on the internet. I’ve never met a kidnapper that would put up a GoFundMe asking for $200 to save his girlfriend, but okay. I put it all together for myself. I anonymously donated to the GoFundMe and put my number so they could call me if they needed more. She was nineteen and old enough to make her own good and bad decisions. I supported that and he was not happy. So there we were in an all out screaming match,while I was supposed to be celebrating my partner, about how awful of a father he had been to all of us. Then I saw a side of him that I’d seen in my younger self--manipulation. He tried crying, he played victim, he tried twisting my memories as if none of it had been what it seemed. He forgot. I was him. When you scream at a mirror, you’re only looking stupid to yourself.
It didn't work, because I remembered when it was me that had ruined his picture of perfection. That’s right, his golden child liked girls. He blamed himself for not being around as much. He didn’t understand. Shit, I didn’t either. The fallout over my sexuality was just as bad just not as loud.
He went all out for my sister. Had her face on the news. Had people looking high and low for her. He painted her boyfriend as a criminal. His friends were contacting me on Facebook trying to get me to hand her location over. Instead, I got her to call the investigator to tell her side of the story so she could go free. One of us needed to. She got to grow up with him so physical detachment was easy. I’d forever be under his thumb mentally and emotionally. I envied her.
I sometimes have moments of relief knowing that I wouldn’t be who I am had he stayed with my mother, but I still needed him.
I needed him to protect me from the countless men that would violate my space. I needed him to tell me that I was pretty. I needed him to tell me that sex was not love. I needed him to hug me. I needed him to be the wall between me and my mother. I needed him to tell me I was enough. I needed him to tell me he loved me. I needed him to teach me love the right way. I just needed him.
So in those open wounds and spaces I placed women that would pick up where he left off. They were all powerful in their own right, but they too had things about them that needed to be “fixed.” As my therapist put it, I desire people that I have to repair because I couldn’t fix my dad. I let them drop their emotional baggage on me and I tried to carry it with mine with the invisible agreement they would feed my daddy issues. Demons in exchange for demons.
Me in a relationship:
I argue until I win.
I never trust anyone fully.
I love people that are older. The older the better.
I drool at ambition.
I love all things dominant: career, sexual, energy. The more aggressive you are, the more I’ll want you.
I stay even when I’m being mistreated because sometimes I feel like I deserve it.
I seek the constant approval and validation of my partner.
I have some interesting fantasies, twisted even.
I used to, USED TO, need to be hurt emotionally in order to feel loved.
I love to feel safe.
Is there a shock that I married someone in the military or that I’m now dating a soon to be Police Officer? Two jobs my father had in his life. My daddy issues even over power by radical blackness because… cop? Yeah.
I don’t know what happened in my dad’s life to make him the way that he’s been. He had his father. He also had his mother and married a woman just like her. I only know bits, but I don’t know what’s true or not. I just know that I want to find enough of a resolve to be better than him. To not need him or miss him. He didn’t deserve my love or loyalty when he couldn’t even acknowledge his own faults and stubbornness.
Silence until death. He’s the adult. I didn’t ask to be here so I shouldn’t have to be the bigger person. I'm older. I see for myself.
Shoutout to my therapist for making it okay to cut off toxic people even if it’s family.
Shoutout to the girls whose first heartbreak was their dad.