I was blown away to the reaction to my last blog post ‘Too Picky: Why Can’t I Like A Guy Who Likes Me?‘. In particular, the comments I received. The comments really got me thinking. They had me mulling over thoughts that had passed through my mind on more than one occasion over the years, but they were thoughts I had never paid much attention to.
Commenter Nat said, “Yes you might have an issue, but the issue is not to find the good one, to find the good feeling, but to find a way to let this feeling you want so much to come and grow naturally. I don’t want to be a psychologist but I think different things happened in your life, connected or not, that stops the feeling coming and growing…” .
Another comment that got me thinking was from Jackie Summer, author of F*cking In Brooklyn. Jack, who I’ve never met in real life, replied to a question I asked him about my lack of ballsy-ness when dealing with men by saying, “First step in being more assertive with the opposite sex? Pure platonic friendships!” The two comments together struck a chord. I don’t really have close male friends. Male acquaintances, yes. Males I used to be ‘involved’ with, yes. Males I’ve had unrequited crushes on, yes. But purely platonic male friends? The sort of friend I can call up, hang out with, talk with, laugh with, confide in? No, not really.
I didn’t grow up around men either. Mum was only 19 when she had me, and 22 when she had my sister. We all grew up in a house together. Just me, my Mum and my sister. I’d sometimes visit Dad during school holidays or the occasional weekend but we never had a close day-to-day relationship. Mum had boyfriends but none that were around long enough for me to feel comfortable with. None who left a lasting impression. The only constant male figure throughout my childhood was my Grandad (RIP). My Mum’s Father. And Grandad was old, and from Barbados. We had a good relationship, but not the sort of relationship where we would really talk or really bond on a personal level. Anyone who knows what older Caribbean men are like will understand exactly where I’m coming from!
Then to top it off, in 1990, my Dad left me. I was 13 years old when he left England to start a new life in Canada with his wife and my younger brother. It wasn’t like I had ever lived in the same house as my Dad, but that didn’t change the fact that I felt abandoned. I didn’t put that label on it back then. Back then I just reacted by crying my eyes out every time I got off the phone with him. I never said anything to anyone. Hell, I was just a moody teenager (weren’t we all?). Thing is, when I look back at it now, I was definitely more upset than I had let on.
Fast forward twenty years down the line and I still have no examples of a strong male relationship in my life. My lack of ballsyness. My lack of confidence around men. My inability to have a long term romantic relationship with a man. It’s strange, I even preferred female teachers at school and as an adult, I relate better to female bosses or colleagues more than I do male ones.
I’m going out on a limb here. I’m taking a stab in the dark. Whether or not my lack of a childhood relationship with my Dad or my lack of relationships with males in particular is a reason why I lack confidence/have issues with dealing with men as an adult – who knows? It’s not something I’ve spoken to a therapist about, so I’m clutching at straws here. Also, I accept I’m not the only woman in the world to not have had a relationship with her father, but hey different people react to different things in different ways
Anyhoo, I came across an interesting article which highlighted the essential role a father plays in his daughter’s life and thought it was relevant. Dr. Jane Rosen-Grandon Ph.D., a marriage and family therapist, was told by her Mother to ”Learn how to get along with your father and brother, and you’ll know how to get along with your husband”. Dr Jane says, “A daughter’s relationship with her father is usually her first male-female relationship. From Dad, little girls gain their first reflection of themselves as a female. Daughters need to be able to relax, be affectionate, and know that they are safe with certain males.” Feel free to check out the full article HERE.
Whether or not my ‘Daddy issues’ are the reason I find it hard to be comfortable around men or not, what I do know is that I’m determined to change my learned behaviour. I may not have had any strong male relationships in my life so far, but here’s hoping it’s something I can change in the future.
(I wanted to thank everyone who commented on my last post, in particular Nathalie and Jack who inspired me to write this one. I also wanted to wish everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS, enjoy the festive season everybody! )
Tags: Father Daughter Relationships, Men, Platonic Relationships, Relationships