Daddy Issues

Why I look for you in every man
Why you were the only person I felt that loved me as a child
How I grew from you when my body grew
How I yearned
To sit on your lap again
To hold your hands
To sit on your shoulders
How I felt like I lost you
So I searched for someone
To replace you
But no one is like you
-Daddy Issues

My dad has never left my side since I was born, but why is it I say I have “daddy issues?” I have a dad who carried me on his shoulders during walks, a dad who gave me band aids for my boo boos, a dad who rarely ever made me feel bad about myself. So why is it, you wonder that I have “Daddy issues?”

Why is it that I search for my father in every person I date? I even say it to them, “I will never find a man that can treat me as wonderful as my dad.” No man can ever replace him, yet I search to replace him? Seriously, I’ve dated men that actually reminded me of my dad, in a way I don’t want them to. I don’t WANT to DATE my dad, I just want someone who treats me like how my dad treated me.

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Older sister, Dad, Me (1999)

As a child, through the constant bullying of my brothers, the screaming and body shaming from my mother, the absence of my older sister, there was no safe place, but the bathroom. There was no one to run to. I felt completely alone. But, one person made the difference in the world, actually two people; my father and my grandfather (who died when I was 6). But my father, he made all the difference in the world. He held my hand so tenderly everywhere we went. He pulled me close to him during field trips. He let me pick out all my favorite candies at the gas station. He was a quiet guy, yet he made me feel like his little princess. He never let anything harm me. I saw him as the nicest man.

As I grew into my adolescence, when my body curved more, my chest grew, just a little bit, the loving and affectionate relationship we once had suddenly disappeared overnight. I didn’t realize it, but I was a growing up.

All of a sudden, he stopped holding my hands, he stopped taking me everywhere with him, and he stopped holding me. He even stopped hugging me. It’s as if my dad’s love just poofed. Gone.

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Dad and little Sister (2012)

I didn’t realize it at that age, but I lost my connection, my close relationship with my dad. Something felt empty inside of me. Especially when my little sister came along, I got less of his attention. I was forced to be the “big” sister, which I knew zero clue how to be.

The only nice and tender person I knew, disappeared. It became “inappropriate” to have a loving relationship with him. I wanted still to get his love. It could possibly tie to culture, because in my culture, it’s rare to see a Hmong dad form close relationships with their kids, especially daughters. And especially as they mature.

As a child, I never hesitated tip toeing into my parents’ room when I had nightmares. Curling next to my parents was the safest place to be, especially by my dad. In 5th grade, one night, I was so afraid, I was crying, heaving and fretting about a story told by my cousins about a girl with long hair who comes knocking at bedroom windows. I heard a knock on my window and my heart pumped faster and faster. I walked to my door and peeked out into the light. My dad was in the living room watching t.v and eating, his usual routine after coming home from work late at night. I wanted to run into my dad’s arms, and ask him if I could sleep with him and mom, but I felt embarrassed to be so scared. I just knew he would turn me away and tell me to go back to sleep. I just knew he would not hug me back. I just knew, I was not his little princess anymore. So, I just ran back into my room and gripped my big Clifford stuffed animal, and cried until I fell asleep.

How do I know I have daddy issues? Because with every boyfriend, I wanted them to carry me in any way they could. I wanted piggybacks as much as possible. I wanted to be carried on their necks. I just wanted to always be close to them. I craved for the affection that I lost with my father, and threw all the cravings on to the boyfriends I had, which, I admit could be over bearing.

I wanted them to drive me everywhere, buy me all the sweets I wanted, and be a man. And when they couldn’t be that way I didn’t know if that was what I wanted. I just wanted someone like my father.

But I remember, no one is like my father. No one can ever replace him. And, in order for

dad and me
Don’t mind me, I look off-ish. Me and my Papa

me to stop searching for him in other men, I have to re-build my relationship with him and understand, I’m older now, and we will have a different relationship, but doesn’t mean it can’t be a loving one.

I know many women go through this disconnect with their fathers like I did with mine, that led to searching for love in other men. I know there are women who has similar issues because they lacked a father presence or a good father figure in their life.

I want to stop searching for love in men. I want to stop it. I want to stop yearning for the love I lost. I want to re-claim it. I want to love myself. I don’t want to feel broken when my man looks at other women lustfully, when my man cheats on me, when my man lies to me. It all reminds me, You are not like my father. You will never be like my father. But, it should not break me, because if he decided to be unfaithful, it’s more to do with him, less with me and my worth. I am worth it. I’m done seeking validation and love from men or anyone. I’m done allowing men to determine my worth. I want to build my relationship with my father. And I have the privilege to do that. I know some women don’t. But, if you are aware of what you’re doing, you cannot escape the fact, and when you are aware, you have to find a way to heal. You can’t heal if you continue to cover up your pain with bad company.

But ending notes, be conscious of why you are seeking so much love in men. To the women who have great men in their life, be conscious why you hold so many expectations for them. Honestly, it’s not their job to treat you like a princess. You are a grown woman. If you have a great man, it’s nice for him to be caring and treat you sometimes of course, but it should never be an expectation. Women, if we realize why we do this to our men, then we can treat them better, hold less expectations, and maybe in doing so they can have less pressure to be perfect, and actually love you fully without feeling obligated. You will both have much more fun. Trust me.

Wabi Sabi

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