If you know me in real life you know that I grew up in a pretty homogenized community. Everyone I knew lived on a street like mine in a house like mine with some pets or siblings and two parents. We might have occasionally fought with our parents but we loved them, they loved us, and they were always there. When I was a kid I thought everyone’s life was like this.
When I got older and became boy crazy started going to all-ages parties and meeting people who didn’t come from a place called Whitehills I began to realize something weird – a lot of these people didn’t have dads in their houses. Or they didn’t know where their dads were. Or they hated them. Then I started to get that my little milquetoast world was a bit of an aberration.
Back then (as now) my friends and I would date guys and the guys would do effed up things – blow us off, cheat on us, refuse to talk about their feelings, the usual dumb stuff guys do. But no matter what the guy of the moment did, the explanation was always a variation on a theme; his father left him so he doesn’t trust anyone. Or he grew up with a single mother so he doesn’t see the value of relationships. Or his father left him and he never got over the hurt so he cut himself off from feeling anything for anyone ever.
The thing was that whether the explanation came from a reassuring girlfriend trying to pat me down after a boy did something mean to me or from the offender himself trying to explain his shitty behaviour, it always did two things to me: left me feeling sad/guilty and left me feeling like my hands were tied. Because really, when someone tells you that they don’t know how to treat you properly because they didn’t receive proper treatment from a parent, what can a girl who is blessed to have a father who loves me like crazy and is always there for me really say? Get over it? Not a good enough excuse? There’s really nothing to say to that and it kinda left me feeling like I hadn’t a leg to stand on.
Anyway, I hit my twenties and moved away from home. And whereas as a child everyone I knew grew up in a home with two parents it seemed that suddenly no one I knew did. So much so that these days when I hear a man say “my dad” it throws me off in the same way that hearing him say “my ovaries” would – it seems wrong. But even though the phenomenon of “fatherless men” seems to have become the norm, the correlation between it and egregious behaviour no longer seems to exist. Or at least no one’s talking about it.
Why is that though? Are we too old now to accredit our behaviour to our less-than-ideal childhoods? Or is it just so obvious that no one needs to point it out anymore?
Unlike my normal posts, I have no firm opinion to foist on you to share on this one…I’m just interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts.
So what do you guys think – is it only the presence or absence of our fathers that impacts our behaviour in relationships or can I pin some of my shit on Mummy does everything in our childhoods dictate our choices in relationships? Like I said I’m lucky to have a great dad that I adore, but his greatness is definitely not reflected in the relationship choices I make, so does that mean that we’re only affected by “bad” dads?
Speak on it in the comments.