A Dad-Shaped Hole

father daughter hands 1

I have a dad-shaped hole. And I am angry about it. I realized this in therapy today. My therapist and I were talking about anger – what I’m angry about, how I express it (or don’t), and how I can deal with it now. We talked about how my parents are doing on the “making amends scale” – 0% dubbing them a sociopath, 100% giving them a completely clean slate. I put my mother at an 80%, about a B-. Passable. Mostly. I realized that there’s still one grievance from when I was little that I’m still, to a certain extent, holding against her. There is still one thing that happened, still happens, to a certain extent, or at least still proves to be a wound that continues to be rubbed raw, and I am angry about that thing. I’m planning to talk to my mom about it. I think that healing can happen there.

But my father… his ability to accept responsibility for the things that have hurt me and made me angry, that I put at a 40%. My first response was to give him a 20%, but out loud I decided to tack on an extra 20%. An F. In the taking responsibility department, my father got an F. He failed.

Jamie asked me what it would be like for me to accept that my father is just going to keep on failing in that department.

And then, I got angry.

I didn’t want to accept it. I didn’t want to accept that my father has hurt me, is just going to keep on hurting me, and that that isn’t going to change. I didn’t want to accept that while I have a father, I do not have what Jamie called a “Daddy energy.” I have a daddy-shaped hole in my life, and that is an anger that I can’t just settle down and accept.

I’ve known that hole exists for a while. Perhaps not to the degree that I am today, but I’ve known it’s there – because I’ve spent my entire life trying to fill it. I can remember a time in middle school when I asked my male music teacher over and over again whether the presentation I had given in class was okay, just because I wanted to hear him tell me that yes, it was okay and yes, I had done a good job. I craved that validation, that recognition. I desperately needed to fill that hole.

Because it’s a hole that never should have been there in the first place.

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2 Responses to A Dad-Shaped Hole

  1. Nataly says:

    I know exactly how this feels. A friend of mine sat with me for almost 4 hours, telling me this over and over and waiting for me to accept and acknowledge that my father has failed hugely in this department, and this is why I am so driven to achieve; to please my (male) chemistry teacher, to please my (male) boss, to please my (do I need to insert the word male here?) partner… every other male in my life… and the one and only person I need to hear say I’m ok, and that I’ve done well… is completely incapable of it. I recently won a fairly prestigious chemistry award in my niche field and when I told him, he said “oh, that’s funny. considering you dropped out of chemistry in high school.” way to validate and show pride. my friend’s suggestion is that i tell him he has been shit at being proud of me, and accept that he is just that way. it doesn’t make it better, or fill the hole, but maybe afterwards, i can stop digging myself into the hole and move on. xo.

  2. Russet says:

    I was sitting in the car with my sister when I made that realization. We were driving to Target for apartment supplies and talking about my dad and different reasons we were pissed off at him this time (from his inability to acknowledge my mother’s cruelly manipulative nature to his unwillingness to stand up for his own children when she attacked us).
    We sat there in silence for a moment, both of us caught in the memory.
    “She’s never going to change, is she?” I said. “It’s never going to get any better, is it?” I asked her.
    “No,” she replied. “Nothing’s going to change.”
    It was the first time that I think I actually realized it and accepted it. That was also only two months ago. The most simple concept and I had only just realized it.
    It takes a long time. You’ll get there, lovie. I think you’ve just got a lot better heart than I do. To me it’s always seemed that you want to believe the best of people, want to believe that people are capable of change. I wish I could believe that, but I don’t think it’s true.
    He doesn’t deserve a daughter as amazing as you, so don’t wait for him.

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