Let’s talk about Daddy Issues…
I’m sure that this isn’t something you hear very often. I assume it’s because we project it on to other people, labeling them as having daddy issues, and never in relation to ourselves.
This could have easily also been called mommy issues, and I think many of the points I’ll mention will apply to those who have had an absent parent figure in their lives, so feel free to use “daddy” as a placeholder for any parental figure you chose.
Specifically I’m tackling how my daddy issues have manifested itself in my life, and how I’ve noticed its effects.
Before we dig in, I think it’s important to address the metaphorical elephant in the room – my homosexuality. Many people have this misguided belief that people who are gay, are gay because of an absent father.
That is utter bullshit.
Many gay people I know have present and active fathers, and yet still turn out gay. I don’t believe there is always a cause and effect situation when it comes to sexuality. In my case it bears no relevance to me being gay because I knew I liked guys before I even knew what sexuality or being gay was.
With all that said, let’s begin…
Whenever someone mentions Daddy Issues, we all get this picture in our minds, or at least I do.
I picture a person, whose life has fallen apart, seeking to fill an emotional hole that they have within themselves by jumping into beds of many partners. It’s the standard stereotype.
This doesn’t apply to me, but there has to be some semblance of truth in it otherwise this stereotype wouldn’t exist. There are also numerous other psychological effects, besides how it impacts a person’s sexual habits.
My daddy issues have impacted me in very obvious ways, namely it being emotionally. Instead of finding a “father” in my sexual partners, it comes out in the way I seek affection.
It has to do with the sensation of missing love from my life – like there’s a gap in the love I was supposed to have in my life.
There was this person who was supposed to love me but didn’t, and they made the choice not to love me. Well he loved me for bit, but stopped loving me in the ways I needed.
As a young boy, you don’t know how to articulate this so an empty space settles in your heart, and when you’ve become a grown man, that space is a void nothing can fill.
As a man now, it feels like I’m looking for the reverse of what I was starved of. Instead of craving love from the man who never gave it to me, I’m craving love from someone who is not obligated to love me, but rather chooses to.
In my mind, it also explains my eagerness to shower my affection on those I have romantic chemistry with, looking for signs of their acceptance of my affection.
I give my attention and interest to those I deem worthy, but for me, the active acceptance of that affection and attention is important. (Basically I look for them to reciprocate interest or at least not be inconsiderate to my feelings).
Thankfully, I’ve discovered how hold a little of myself back, though I do fear this going too far in the opposite direction.
I’ve eased up on communicating with men, because every time I do, it has hurt more than helped. I don’t seek to express myself as eagerly anymore because it has only been leading to disappointment.
Their alienating reaction to my overflowing communication has caused intense feelings of anxiousness.
Anyone who knows me knows that an open wound. I lead with my feelings and I do that NOT ONLY as result of external circumstances growing, but I do it because the alternative would be to lead with apathy and numbness, and doing so scares me.
I’ve done it once before and it prompted a downward spiral that I felt like it was suffocating me.
It’s why I’ve found comfort in connecting with all of the women in my life because they understand. They listen, sympathise and give constructive criticism that makes me think.
When it comes to my emotions, men have always gone on to prove they are incompetent; incompetent in handling their own emotions, and that of an “emotional” man.
My daddy issues are, if I’m being honest, why I’m so averse to do being promiscuous and having “no strings attached” sex.
I attribute it to the contradiction in the level of unfeeling attached. Translation: it’s emotional whiplash for me.
I’m supposed to be intimate and care for the person in my bed, but I can’t care too much and I’m expected to have control over it. Walking that fine line hurts too much because it’s telling my mind that I can care but caring too much will only leave you hurt.
It’s a dichotomy I can’t get the hang of, and not sure I want to.
I’ve been fortunate that despite all of this, I’m a relatively well adjusted adult. It all gets overwhelming and I sometimes find myself close to hyperventilating and tears, but I think everyone feels that way at one point or another.
I was also blessed in the fact that, despite not having an active and present father, I’ve had many father figures who have had positive influences and played positive roles throughout my life.
They were supportive and helped me at so many junctures of my life, but it doesn’t negate the impact an absent father had in my life. I had a step-father who I was grateful for, and who at one point I was so attached to that I suggested changing my surname to his.
However, my request was made to sound ridiculous, and I think that rejection put up a wall that we never really overcome. Granted that he was about in his mid-20s, my age now, when I was almost finishing primary school.
Our ages I think stopped us from really bonding. He was a good father figure though, and still in my life to this day.
In some ways, these father figures stopped me from really going too far over the ledge.
I’m seeking ways to get a steadier grip on my feelings and dealing with my daddy issues. It’s been a journey to even get to this point where I can talk about this, and recognise the root cause of my behaviour.
So far, the only way that’s been helping is loving myself (get your mind out the gutter, that’s not what I meant). It’s been a challenge, but learning contentment and learning to take care of my feelings has been the only methods that have yielded results.
It’s not been pretty or easy, because how the hell are you supposed to love yourself? There isn’t a hand guide to it.
Ultimately, I just try to tell myself, “I’m doing my best”, accepting my imperfections and doing things that make me happy.
Every day is a battle, but it’s one I know I will survive.
Theo. Over and Out.