Daddy Issues

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    I hate my dad right now (deep down I love him, but all of these feelings are finally bubbling over). My “daddy issues” aren’t black and white. My dad wasn’t physically abusive or physically absent. He has told me several times that he loves me and is proud of me. He coached my soccer team many seasons when I was younger and has gone to school events… He is positive and easy to talk to. I feel like I should be lucky for this, but I’m not. I feel so angry at him. It sounds like he played/s an active part in my life but he doesn’t. We never have deeper conversations unless I push it. All through high school I spent a lot of time in my room doing homework. He would knock and ask the standard how was school and then something like just saying hi. I felt like I was a check off of his list before he could watch TV or surf on the internet. He watches a lot of TV and spends a lot of time on the internet. He even told me one time what a typical day is like through his eyes: coming home from work, making sure we (my brothers and I) are ok, and then go watch TV. That sounds like a list to me with TV being the reward. He’s also pretty aloof. He hardly ever shows that he’s mad and most of the time his positivity doesn’t seem genuine. I sometimes wonder if deep down he’s depressed. Throughout high school and even now my mom has had to tell my dad to complement me (“because high school girls development depends on father’s compliments”) or to hug me or see what’s up with me. I’m 23 now and a couple days ago I got back from a trip and was in my room. I hear my parents bickering and my dad getting defensive. He then knocks on my door to see how i am. No doubt the bickering was my mom telling my dad to go see me. I doubt he would have had she not said anything. He even stares at the computer and scrolls down while I”m trying to talk with him. He doesn’t actively try to bug me and hang out. I remember going to him expressing my feelings about something and he responds that my bed is really comfy. I have told him a couple times that I feel like he doesn’t love me because he doesn’t spend quality time with me and really get to know me. He has cried and apologized but within a week it’s back to normal. I can’t stop crying now and I want to burst into tears every time I see him. I feel so sad. It has been really painful realizing how confusing the messages he gave: he says he loves me and yet his actions make it seem like I’m a nuissance or something he has to deal with until he can watch his precious TV or computer. Sometimes I wish it was just black and white instead of very grey. I’m pretty sure now that I have “daddy issues”. Does anyone have a similar relationship with their dad (physically there and even positive yet emotionally somewhere else)? I don’t want my relationship with him to hinder my life…how do I get past this? I have bad self esteem and feel so lucky when men are interested in me. I also don’t believe that men can express their emotions openly and have emotional relationships. This sounds weird, but can they?


    Hi Ladybug,

    OK I am the QUEEN of Daddy Issues!! LOL

    First of all, it is likely that your dad is depressed if the TV and computer are the highlights of his day.

    And in his mind he is doing everything “right” and then you or your mom complain, then he’s upset. Some men cannot have Deep Conversations! Also, he is hitting the age of Mid Life Crisis Land. He is upset too, but for different reasons that have nothing to do with you and your mom (the definition of mid-life crisis!) This is why they really bicker.

    Lastly, if you move out and don’t see your parents as often, the “dam dailies” will become a special occasion! You want your existence in your dad’s life to be a special thing for him!! And you are, don’t get me wrong! It’s just… OK, a Whole Foods opened up near us. The first few shopping trips there everyone raved about the food in my family. Now it’s “Whole Foods again? I want Mallowmars!” … I didn’t see our daughter for FIVE MONTHS and when she was coming home I was literally FREAKING OUT I was so excited! Now she’s been here a month and we’re all, “Oh, that’s nice” LOL.

    What I’m saying is that you’re asking a very limited person to be an idealized version of what you think he should be. View him as a stranger or a kid ~ he’s nice enough, but limited.

    You have to love him for what he is ~ that is true love. It’s hard, BELIEVE ME!



    • This reply was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by Inky.

    Dear Ladybug:

    It is too difficult, uncomfortable and distressing for your father to get to know you, to have deep conversations, to interact with you the ways you need. It is calming for him to watch TV and be in front of the computer. He avoids what is uncomfortable for him and reaches out for what is comfortable for him. He obviously tries to be a good father, coaching your soccer team, checking in with: how are you doing? before going for his calming activities. Like you perceived correctly, he has been following a “to do list.”

    He is not a bad person, from your share. Just not a good-enough parent. You are an intelligent young woman, astute, perceptive, understanding of what really is going on around you, and has been going on for a while. I am glad you were not as damaged as many other children have been, so damaged that they do not, and can not have the clear insight that you have.

    I hope you got quality time with your mother…?

    Back to your father: I have no doubt that you loved him and love him very much.Feeling anger at him does not take away from the love, the longing you had for him since the beginning of your life.

    I understand that longing, that desire for closeness. It is a natural need. We are born and are completely loving as young children, without reservations, willing to do and be anything to deserve that closeness that we seek. He was that way himself when he was a young child. All children are. And then he shut down because he was hurt, frustrated.

    It would have been… more than nice if he could wake up from his emotional stupor when he saw your young face, your bright eyes looking up to him… and as a result, if he crossed his discomfort-zone and did what was uncomfortable for him. But people often do what is comfortable and avoid what is not. I suppose he forgot, as most adults do, how much HE needed closeness when he was a child.

    Really, it was his job, his responsibility to love you and he didn’t do a good-enough job at it. True, most parents do not, but that doesn’t take away from your pain that it so happened in your life. It is your choice how to proceed. You don’t owe him to accept him the way it is. You can choose to go as far…. as not having contact with him. I am not recommending you cut contact with him and I am not recommending you keep contact with him. What I am trying to communicate with you is that you don’t owe him anything. He owed you. You don’t owe him.

    What I am recommending is that you accept reality for what it is, who your father is, what reality is otherwise. Continue, as you do, to see things as they are, and then decide, choose who to interact with, who to not interact with, what sorts of interactions…. and avoid trying to get water out of a rock.

    What do you think?



    Dear LadyBug,

    I too have daddy issues, your not alone! But not for the same reason. I never met my dad, he passed away before I was born, it’s more of a empty feeling really. Our situations are different but are both important. I know what you mean about other men, your father didn’t give you the love you desired and so you look for it in other men, in a romantic way. Men can indeed love, but you can’t always depend on it. You will never find the love you need until you love yourself. To get past this issue with your father, you need to forgive him, I know this may seem impossible but you have to do it for you, i had to as well! Try to see things from his perspective, he may feel lost in his own life. How did he grow up, how did his father treat him. All these things can affect the way he treats you. He obviously tries his hardest to express his love to you and that should be commended, the way he shows love is all he knows. It may not be how you want it but be thankful that he tries. You telling him how you feel did spark something in him because he got emotional, he loves you so much, men usually try to hide such emotion, but their is something stopping him, something he’s afraid of. This may be a hard process but you’ve already done the hardest step, you let him know how you’ve been feeling, good for you! Now you have to forgive him and sympathies with him. You have to give him the love you desire from him, that way you take back your power and also teach your father how to love. You are an amazing girl! Your worth loving, by your father and yourself!

    Zoe Joy Black


    Hi Ladybug

    Does you dad talk much more with your mum and brother? is it only you he doesn’t communicate enough with?

    It sounds to me that he is a good man, that the main thing that you would prefer change in, is to communicate more and have more depth in your talks with your father?

    To me it also sounds like your dad lives life on auto pilot, he works to provide for his family and he tries, minus the talking enough part. Perhaps he is or is not trying enough, but he has settled into a life of routine. Perhaps you are right and he has low grade depression?, or he is numbing out life and has settled with the distraction of TV and computer?

    Some people naturally don’t chit chat much, or are just naturally quieter. Maybe you dad will never be a great talker, maybe you dad never was?

    ‘I also don’t believe that men can express their emotions openly’ you dad might not express his feeling enough or in a way you can relate best but I think by what you wrote you dad does love love…you say your dad has cried (‘he has cried and apologized’ when you talked to him on how you ‘feel like he doesn’t love me because he doesn’t spend quality time with me and really get to know me’).
    Some people show they care by providing for their family, and by being present ….physically. Anyway it’s hard to know how your life is from a letter.

    May I make some suggestions?

    Get you dad out of the house sometimes. Is he open for spending some quality time with you (with or without your brother and mum?)? I personally have found the very best days spent with people who are closed (or negative etc) are the ones where they are put in a different situation then normal, are put outside there comfort zone. My mum is overall very negative, so I try to limit the time spent with her and I also try to arrange family days where my children and partner take her somewhere eg a boat rafting day with us or a forest walk…the newness distracts and gets them involved in the present …enjoying the present. Gives you something to experience and chat about.

    Are you both open to the idea of arranging fun time together either just you two or with your whole family? even if it’s just one day a month?

    What do you know about you dad? Has he told you all about his childhood, his experiences ?, what he would like for the future? Curiosity on his life? and sharing things you enjoyed from your childhood, fun times with him?? (I hope you have some good childhood memories with your family and dad?). Share the present, maybe not everyday but have some time put aside, something arranged? when there are no distractions?

    Best wishes


    Thank you all for your responses. I really appreciate the advice and kind words.

    : It is a challenge to truly love him for his flaws and all, especially when at the moment I feel so angry at his flaws. But you’re right, that is true love. Also, the Whole Foods example is hilarious and so true. I’m sure once I’m out of the house I might appreciate the the things that he did/does do that I’ve overlooked.

    : I did and do get quality time with my mom. Now looking back and observing my family with a clear lens I can see that she overcompensates/d to compensate for my dad. I really appreciate that she tries, but feel bad she feels she must.
    Also, I agree that I shouldn’t try to get water from a rock. He hasn’t been intentionally cruel and is positive to be around so I think I won’t do no contact, but at the moment while I’m processing all these emotions I feel like I need to distance myself and not interact too much with him right now. It hurts too much.

    @ZoeJoy: Yes, trying to fix the wounds from my dad through other men will never actually fix them. It’s also something I’m working on. I think that yes I should and will forgive him, just I need to grieve more before I do. I actually feel empowered to be angry at him since I normally try to suppress that anger. In the past I have given him that love, asking him to hang out with me and talking with him about his life, but it gets old when I have to make most of the initiative to hang out. There’s something messed up and sad about a daughter repeatedly asking her father to hang out with her. I guess right now I’m not at a place to forgive him, but I will.

    : He talks more with one of my brothers. They share more common interests so they end up discussing things like sports a lot. He does spend time with my mom although he does zone out and watch tv… when she’s talking at times. It’s not that he doesn’t make it a point to not communicate with me. It’s just that he doesn’t take much initiative so he only spends more time with my youngest brother and my mom because they reach out more than I do. Actually my dad is extroverted and knows and talks with everyone. He’s the really friendly guy on the street who would introduce himself and find a topic to talk about if you just moved in. It’s just that that’s as close as he lets you get to him. I will definitely take the different settings advice once I’m at a place where I can forgive him. He is open to hanging out with just me.


    Hi Again!

    I actually used the Whole Foods example because Whole Foods represents US and the Malomars represents TV/internet! LOL

    You NEED real food, but we CRAVE what tastes good!

    When you’re out of the house and only visit occasionally, your Dad will actually look forward to seeing you!



    I am very impressed at your clarity of thinking. Very impressed! I like it that you are now respecting your own anger, that you are no longer judging it as bad and trying to suppress it. Excellent!

    I used to go crazy, feel so much distress when people suggested to me, over and over again, to forgive my mother. I was so angry at her and when I reached out to people, there was the standard: she did her best, forgive her. There was a message in my anger. The message in my anger at her was that she hurt me, that I was very much hurt by her, and that I did not deserve it, that I was good, not bad. So when people skipped the concept of there being a message in my anger and rushed into forgiving her, it gave me no opportunity to learn what was behind the message.

    I am glad you are allowing yourself to be angry, for as long as you are, that you are honoring yourself with distancing yourself from your father, for as long as you need to do that.

    Please do post again. It is refreshing to witness such clarity of thinking as yours.


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