August 7, 2020 at 6:15 am #364041
Hope you’re staying safe. Been looking for some help. We’ll go straight to it. And to let you know, I’m a girl. Plus, this post is REALLY long, so strap in.
When I was 14, I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night to hear my parents talking. My dad was drunk and slurred to my mom, “So you think this happened because of my ex-wives?” Both parents have never mentioned my dad having previous ex wives. The rest of the conversation was muffled but I believe my dad mentioned he had five or six wives before my mom married him. The next day I felt numb and was really quiet. But doubt they noticed any change as I’m usually quiet. Didn’t confront them about the news because we were holidaying overseas.
Fast forward a few years and an acquaintance accidentally brought up my dad’s previous marriages beforehand, and he did this to him 🤫. So I had to act clueless to what was going on. Fast forward a few years later and another acquaintance (someone my dad dislikes) said, “Oh, a new one,” when he first met my mom and dad. Now aged 21, I still feel hurt by the news. I know this sounds dramatic, but I’ve had my heart broken. I know I should “move on” with my life and find something else to fixate on. But if my dad keeps this in the dark, he most certainly keeps many other things in the dark. But he chose to lie about this. And I know it’s his private life and that should be, well, private. But if he were upfront about it, I’d be a bit shocked but not upset. Yes, I know I choose to hide this too. But I’m certain this is something my dad wants to take to the grave.
And at age 14, I found myself liking men old enough to be my father. Aged 21, I’m still attracted to older men. Should mention my parents have a 16 year age gap, and he had me aged 45. In all honesty, I hardly think about my mom, and fixate too much on my dad. To be frank, my dad is controlling of my mom. He wouldn’t allow her to drive and to have a separate bank account. And he’s an alcoholic. I know this sounds bad, but my dad really loves my mom. And he’s not physically abusive.
It’s that I love what older men represent. A ‘second chance’ to love and care for someone again. To forgive someone for their past failed relationships, to be a daughter and a lover. Clearly I’m attracted to broken men, a reflection on how I feel. It’s clearly a deranged messiah complex. As you can tell, I put the flaws of older men on a pedestal. And I struggle to love/acknowledge them being human, not perfect beings. Yes, there will be an imbalance of power. Yes, I will spend many years (if not decades) widowed/alone. And yes, people will mock us/our children and they’ll spend most of their lives without their biological father. But all of that will be worth it (to me) because he will love me wholly, despite my feelings of hurt. And he’ll never abandon me. That’s my ultimate fantasy.
And I have this revenge fantasy, which is to be in an age gap relationship so I can confuse my parents. So I can ‘get back’ at my dad, which is clearly the immature route. I want to love and trust someone. But can you love someone you don’t trust? Yes, I’ve lied a lot and admit I’m not perfect. But what’s worse is I project this image of being ‘daddy’s girl’, someone who just adores him, when you know it’s far from reality. I want to be the perfect, ‘obedient’ daughter to the man I’m in a relationship with. I’m also a virgin who probably overhypes the idea of losing my virginity to this perfect father figure, who is a figment of my imagination. A position that no one can fill because no man is perfect.
So how do you find a role model, something that is platonic/professional/honest? I’m worried I’ll fall for him, even though it should be a strictly mentor-protégée relationship. Should I forgive my dad? Is it to put the burden off him or me? In other words, do I forgive to make myself feel good? Asking for advice, kind correspondent.August 7, 2020 at 8:11 am #364055
I will retell your story my way, using quotes from your original post: you are 21, and at this point your mother is 50 and your father is 66. You shared this: “I hardly think about my mom, and fixate too much on my dad”.
You’ve been fixated on your father, specifically on the fact that he’s been hiding and lying to you about having been married five or six times before he married your mother, instead of being upfront with you about it. You don’t trust him (“If my dad keeps this in the dark, he most certainly keeps many other things in the dark”), and you are angry at him (“revenge fantasy.. so that I can ‘get back’ at my dad.. Should I forgive my dad?)
You shared that you found out that your father was previously married when you were 14, seven years ago, when you woke up at night and heard him mention his ex wives. The next day, “I felt numb and was really quiet. But doubt they noticed any changes as I’m usually quiet”.
You shared that in your interactions with your father, you “project this image of being ‘daddy’s girl’, someone who just adores him”, that you’ve been attracted to older, or older and broken men, since you were 14, that older men represent to you “A ‘second chance’ to love and care for someone again. To forgive someone for their past failed relationships, to be a daughter and a lover “. Your fantasy is to marry such a man, so that “he will love me wholly, despite my feelings of hurt. And he’ll never abandon me. That’s my ultimate fantasy.. I want to be the perfect, ‘obedient’ daughter to the man I’m in a relationship with… losing my virginity to this perfect father figure”.
My understanding at this point, based on the information you provided: you have been fixated on what you heard that night when you were 14 because by that night you were a very lonely, “real quiet… usually quiet” girl who did not receive the attention and love that you needed from either one of your parents, and when you reached out to your parents with love, they rejected you, emotionally abandoning you. If you were a loved child that night, at 14, what you heard would puzzle you, but not alarm you, causing you a seven years fixation.
The reason it was so alarming to you, and the reason you fixated on it, is that you grabbed what you heard as The Reason why you are not loved. And so, you figured: the solution is that I another older man who will “love me wholly.. never abandon me”, who will be your “‘second chance’ to love and care for someone again”, a man who will accept and appreciate your love for him.
Maybe your mother was busy otherwise, maybe she was clingy and demanded too much of your attention, but you don’t fixate or focus on her because you feel that you have a better chance to get the love that you need from your father. It is more difficult for you to perceive that your mother can love you, so you focus and fixate on your father.
Is any of my understanding correct?
anitaAugust 7, 2020 at 9:48 am #364065AnonymousInactive
HI Suzanne, I am going to suggest you look into what is called codependency. I like the book, The New Codependency, but there are others. The reason I say this is because you come from a family that seems to have locked into your mother and your own codependency. What we learn growing up is how to live life and when we see dysfunction as a child, we can think this is normal or healthy behaviors. Yes, we can love someone we don’t trust. And the converse, we can trust someone we don’t love. We can love flawed people fully knowing they are flawed but not hiding or avoiding the truth of who they are. It is acceptance of who people are for who they really are. Not hoping or trying to change them. Your dad has some issues, yes he has lived a secret life. You may find out more things and more things. It tends to make us angry that we were lied to but all humans are flawed and this is just how your parents thought was best from their own dysfunction and immaturity. It may not have been right but it was what it was. Your mom allows herself to be controlled by your dad and you have been taught this is love. Control is not love, controlling someone so they can’t drive and can’t have their own bank account is not love. This is part of the reason I mentioned codependence and the book. I think it might possibly give you insight into the questions you ask. All of our parents have flaws as human beings because no human is perfect. All of us have flaws and problems. I believe we forgive to ease our own angst inside of ourselves. If you forgive your dad to give him a pass for his problems, this is okay if you do it for the right reasons. If we do it out of codependency, this can be problematic for us in the years to come. Sometimes simple acceptance that this person is who they are and they have minor or major flaws is helpful in learning to stop focusing on their problems and instead focusing on our own issues and life. Make peace with both your mother’s faults and your dad’s faults and focus on yourself and gaining the emotional wisdom and strength you will need in your own life. I think you should wait to look for a mentor or a boyfriend until you have some of these issues straightened out in your own head. Because otherwise, we tend to chase the same things or relationships that we experienced from our childhood but this time we are aiming to fix the other person because we need this to feel good inside about ourselves. We seek out the issues we have not “Fixed” from childhood within our own emotional base. Your job in my opinion is to work on healing your childhood issues from within yourself and learning about yourself. Finding the maturity and self value to live a healthy, happy life. Not seeking others to give you what you need but to have it within you. Then the others will a compliment to you and a partner, instead of being controlled or staying in a bad relationship out of emotional need even if the relationship is hurtful. I admire you for seeking better and wanting more. Your journey has already begun. Best to you.August 7, 2020 at 4:43 pm #364103
<div class=”bbp-reply-author”>Dear anita,</div>
Thanks for responding so quickly! Like most people, I focus on the things I don’t have, as opposed to the things I do have. So I’ve been fixated on this fractured relationship for 7 years.
It’s not the fact he’s been married many times, it’s the fact he won’t be upfront about it. We wish we could have a more honest relationship. Plain and simple, I don’t trust him.
In general, I’m a quiet, reflective person, for better or for worse. So they (my parents) wouldn’t notice anything different about me. My mom once said I use to be “really happy” and be less introverted. Imagine she thinks it has to do with adolescence in general and is oblivious to what happened.
The ‘daddy’s girl’ image is really a facade, something we wish was sincere. I’m attracted to older, broken men ever since. Older men represent “A ‘second chance’ to love and care for someone again. To forgive someone for their past failed relationships, to be a daughter and a lover “. Not necessarily marry, just to be in a long term relationship with him. Despite their flaws, I will love him wholly as he will love me wholly, despite my flaws.
When I heard the news, I felt lonely, felt I had no one to talk to. I’m still a “real quiet… usually quiet” girl. But most of the time, I’m solitary by choice, though I do feel lonely sometimes. My parents do love me, but if I were to tell them this news, they will not love me the same. I imagine we can still have a relationship based on mutual respect, but that “love” will be gone. So, yes, there will be rejection. I was “puzzled”, but not shocked, considering my dad is an attractive man. The news made sense, allowing the “dots to be connected.” Yet I felt ever more confused. Not to mention undergoing puberty in general.
But you’re right, it was alarming. And guessing I’ve fixated on it, as I’ve felt not truly loved ever since. And the love of an older man will help fill that void that was lost in both of us.
If my mother came out with this news, I’d probably try and find a mother figure, in the form of an older, broken woman. And probably have my dad as an afterthought. I’d be angry at my mother and fixate on her. So yes, a father figure would be the closest thing to love I could imagine.
Overall, it’s mostly correct, and thank you anita for the guidance given.
</div>August 7, 2020 at 4:50 pm #364106
You are welcome. I was wondering, why do you see your father as a “broken” man- what is broken about him?
August 7, 2020 at 6:52 pm #364122
- This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by anita.
Hello Yellow Rose. Thanks for the quick response. And bigger thanks for the book recommendation. It’d be great to know who wrote the book, for future reference.
From reading your response, it would be fair to say we’re a codependent family. I knew it wasn’t normal to give away so much of your freedom for security, even when I was younger. So yes, our relationship is love without trust. We love flawed people who acknowledge their flaws. I’ve yet to accept for parents for who they are. I’m not sure if I’ll ever come to terms with that. Sounds like changing them will be futile. I know they had the best intentions for me when they kept the secret, but like in all things, the truth does come out in the end. Is control not love, period? Or are there exceptions? So all of humanity is flawed, no matter how much self improvement is involved?
I’m not entirely sure how to forgive, in all honesty. I’m struggling on how to accept people for their flaws and to not focus on them. I’ve yet reached emotional peace. It is tempting to have a boyfriend to “fix”, someone we can model a relationship off our relationship with our father.
Hopefully, inner peace will be achieved. The people in my life will be for the right reasons, not from deep-seeded issues.
One step at a time, we’ll get there. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.August 7, 2020 at 10:27 pm #364131
My dad wouldn’t be considered a “broken man.” I’d really be the one more focused on his flaws than him. I like the idea of “broken men” given the chance to open up and love again.August 8, 2020 at 6:26 am #364144
I am having a difficult time trying to understand your writing. You do use a good vocabulary and I sense that you are quite educated, but your writing is vague, not clear, and I can’t follow your logic, I can’t understand what you are trying to say. I understand that part reason is that English is not the language you grew up with.
If you want to write more clearly, pretend that you are a seven year old and use the vocabulary that a 7 year old will use, and use short, simple, clear sentences, editing your sentences best you can, so that they are clear.
Looking at your most recent post of three sentences, this is what I am unclear about:
1. “My dad wouldn’t be considered a ‘broken man'”-who wouldn’t consider him a “broken man”, why wouldn’t he be considered a broken man, and can he be considered a broken man for being an alcoholic husband and father?
2. “I’d really be the one more focused on his flaws than him”- what flaws are you referring to: him hiding from you the fact that he was married before he married your mother? If so, how is it a flaw (I see it as a choice, and not a bad choice for a parent to not reveal their prior marital history to their children)? Do you consider him getting drunk a flaw? Any other flaws? How is he not focused on his flaws (does he present himself as perfect, as one to never make mistakes)?
3. “I like the idea of ‘broken men’ given the chance to open up and love again”- In what ways do you want a romantic partner(the older man you wish to have a long term relationship with) to be broken (should he too be previously married? an alcoholic? other?), and “given the chance to open up and love again“- but if your father is not a broken man, why do you want to love a broken man?
anitaAugust 8, 2020 at 9:39 am #364156AnonymousInactive
Control is not love. No way, no how. I wish I could say this in another way to help you understand. Control is about dominating and be the top person. Being controlled is not being loved, it is being abused. A person controls because their is something damaged inside of them, some kind of need to be X or Y, that makes them do the abusive acts that control means. You may not think that this control is abuse, but it is abusive to not allow someone to drive or to get their own bank account. He tries to control his world because of the internal struggle or emotional needs that he has. It is not about you or your mom needing this control. You and your mom do not need his control. Rather, his control makes you feel less than and unable to do for yourselves, perhaps very unhappy, perhaps focused on the over giving and over doing in order to please someone who is not able to be pleased. Again, people do this stuff because of something broken, damaged, flawed within their own psyche or emotions.
Melody Beattie has written The New Codependency. This author has been around a long time, she has the first version called Codependent No More. You can easily google this book, which I expected you to do to find the author. You can easily find these in libraries, used book stores, amazon, etc. in the USA. If you do a search for books about codependency, you will find even more books written by a variety of authors. There is even Codependents Anonymous meetings, or CODA.
Our journey in life, our path in life is to work out these internal struggles and to find our own emotional equilibrium and wellness. We all are not where we need to be at this very moment but the journey will lead us there is we keep going, keep working on it.
About your dad being a so called broken man – that is not for me to judge. He sounds like has some real serious problems, and he doesn’t live a peaceful and emotionally fulfilled life. That is his deal, and yes, I agree you can’t fix him. Nor should we try. Many people think “broken” people are those that are depressed and unhappy and full of remorse or shame, etc. Your dad is on his own journey in life. Many alcoholics drink because they are filled with shame and guilt and dislike themselves (according to Al Anon). He may not have done his journey like you would have hoped at this time in your life. Maybe we chose our parents before we are born to learn the lessons in life we need to learn?
Al Anon family groups would be extremely helpful to you in learning about alcoholism and its affect on the family. How not to be codependent with the alcoholic. They have much information online and if you google search it, you will find it. Don’t have that exact website address but you are smart and can find it. Their pamphlets are online also.
I focus on you changing you, finding a new perspective, leading yourself to emotional maturity and emotional wellness, because your life is about you. Your parents are on their own journey. Your job is to focus on yourself no matter who tells you otherwise. By focusing on yourself I mean leading yourself to emotional wellness, finding a good life, finding an emotionally healthy partner who is not out for control and who is your equal not your daddy’s age. I do not mean be self absorbed or selfish or narcissistic.August 8, 2020 at 9:49 am #364158AnonymousInactive
Suzanne, you wrote “The ‘daddy’s girl’ image is really a facade, something we wish was sincere. I’m attracted to older, broken men ever since. Older men represent “A ‘second chance’ to love and care for someone again. To forgive someone for their past failed relationships, to be a daughter and a lover “. Not necessarily marry, just to be in a long term relationship with him. Despite their flaws, I will love him wholly as he will love me wholly, despite my flaws.”
This right here is the codependency in you. The older men who are so called broken may not be able to be fixed by you and likely won’t be able to give you the love you seek. We do not have the power to fix or change other people. We do this fixing stuff so that we feel good about ourselves inside our heads. Someone who is broken, someone who is codependent, may not be able to love as wholly as you want. Rather, this whole paragraph is what is often called a fallacy or illusion of control. We think we will fix this man or woman and make a happy life. But we do not have this power. I keep saying this, but we have to fix ourselves and work on attracting an emotionally healthy partner. Sometimes when we grow up with a controlling and dysfunctional parent, we will do the same behaviors they did. We mimic their behaviors because we don’t know any better. What I am suggesting is learning to know better and do better and not have an emotional need or fallacy of thinking that we can have pure, always perfect, whole love from any person who is emotionally damaged or broken. Just something to think about.August 10, 2020 at 3:20 pm #364369
It’s okay to find my writing difficult to understand. Like most people these days, I’m fluent in GRAMMARLY (ha ha). I’ve been told I need to improve my writing. So now should be a good place to start.
Allow me to simplify.
1. “My dad wouldn’t be considered a ‘broken man.’” If you ask any person walking on the streets if he’s stable or not, most people would say he’s got a good head on his shoulders. People that know him would clearly tell he’s not perfect. (But then again, who is?) But he’s like “most people.” By that I mean he laughs, he cries, he gets angry, confused, etc.
2. “I’d really be the one more focused on his flaws than him”. His marital history is something I’m clearly focused on. To be honest, I don’t think about his drinking that much. And I focus on how much he controls my mom. To be honest, the more I think about it, the less I focus on his bad personality traits. And more I think about how he really is a decent guy.
3. “I like the idea of ‘broken men’ given the chance to open up and love again”. He doesn’t have to have been married before. Or have children from his past relationships. It’s that most middle aged men are divorced and have children with an ex wife. Sadly, more people have had failed relationships than successful ones. While they function just fine, inside they have feelings of hurt and regret. So it would be nice to heal the hurt inside. And yes, I would like to be in a relationship with a middle aged man.
Suzanne.August 10, 2020 at 3:34 pm #364374
“I would like to be in a relationship with a middle aged man”- when calm, with your eyes closed, perhaps, or while listening to fitting music, will you describe this relationship with a middle aged man: what do you see, what do you hear, what is happening.. describe the relationship, best you can. Will you?
anitaAugust 10, 2020 at 3:48 pm #364377
Hello Yellow Rose.
Oh, goodness me. What you mentioned was a real wake up call, for me and my mom. Again, I have no idea what my dad has lost that he needs to control us. When you say say “control is abuse,” it sounds so simple and straightforward. But the more I think about about it, the more confusing it becomes. Don’t want to sound dramatic, but it makes you question your entire existence. If we don’t need control, what do we need? Freedom? Independence? I have to admit, I’ve felt inadequate many times. Not sure if it is because of the control or just self esteem in general. I’ve felt I’ve kept giving and giving. Only to feel more and more inadequate. Now that you mention it, I feel no matter what I do, he’ll still be unsatisfied, for whatever reasons.
Thanks for mentioning the author’s name. Will certainly check out her work. Once everything’s over (🦠🤧🤒😷), might one day to a CODA.
So how do you “find our own emotional equilibrium and wellness?” And how do you know when you’ve achieved it?
It’s fine for you to judge. After all, we’re all judgmental! (Ha ha.) It’s obvious he struggles inside. From what, we don’t know. We still all wish he finds some inner peace. He refuses to see a therapist. And yes, only he can fix himself. Still, we he would open up more. It’s normal to feel shame, guilt, etc. Wished he didn’t have to drink to cope with his issues. Yes, wish he’d join the path towards self improvement like everyone on Tiny Buddha. Still, on the bright side, learned so much from writing a post on this forum. 🙂
Will learn more about Al Anon later on. Currently know they’re aligned with CODA.
You know I want to change, for the better. Like everyone, I want to reach “emotional maturity and emotional wellness”. I have to accept that my parents have chosen their paths in life. Have to stop focusing on them and start focusing on me. Hopefully we’ll reach a “good life” (whatever that looks like). I’ll find someone who’ll be my “equal.” Someone not controlling and someone age appropriate. Of course, don’t love yourself TOO much that you’ll end up self absorbed.August 10, 2020 at 4:03 pm #364380
Yellow Rose. Wow, what you wrote was really profound. Didn’t realise codependency was staring at me right in the face.
Have to accept that the “broken” older men can only fix themselves. Still, I have a deep desire to “fix” what’s wrong with them. Yes, I have to accept they won’t give me the love I’ve always wanted. Have to stop wanting to “fix” broken people. Thinking I’ve “saved” them will make me feel like a “saviour.” So how can someone love another person “wholly”? Yes, I’m delusional thinking that once we’ve fixed each other, we’ll be happy forever. I know I’ll have to start working on myself. (Already reading Tony Robbins, ha ha. Got any other suggestions?) And one day, I’ll attract an “emotionally healthy partner” (whatever that looks like). Must confess I want to control all the small things because I feel powerless to control the big things. One day I’ll “know better and do better.” Hopefully there’ll be such a small void to fill that I won’t need to partner with someone to make me feel whole. Definitely food for thought.
August 10, 2020 at 4:46 pm #364383
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Suzanne.
Will sure give it a try. “I would like to be in a relationship with a middle aged man.” This middle aged man will be, well, middle aged. Has to be at least 40. And no older than 60. Preferably my mom’s age or older.
He’ll be the “silver fox.” You know, hair all gray or all white. He can have the “salt and pepper” look. Can be bald/balding. To be honest, I don’t care. He can be clean shaved/have stubble/have a beard. Not too fussed about it. And I don’t care if he’s wrinkly and/or sagging. To be honest, it’s kind of hot. I’m pretty sure he’ll be taller than me, as most men are. Have to admit, he will look similar to my dad.
He’ll be a gentleman. Someone polite. He doesn’t have to be “useful” around the house. He doesn’t have to be a handyman or be hyper masculine. He’ll be kind, sensitive, understanding. Someone who understands boundaries. Of course, I want him to be able to stand up for me when I’m unable to. To be honest, I’ll treat him like an “emotional crutch.” Kind of like how a child treats a toy. Someone who’ll never talk back. Someone who’ll never disagree with me. Some who’ll never hurt me. Someone I’ll turn to when I feel overwhelmed. And most importantly, he’ll never leave me.
Our relationship will resemble something of a mentor and protégée. He’ll teach me “the ropes” and my job is to overcome them. Whether it is work, life, social, or whatever. He’s stable (both emotionally and financially). He will be my “rock.” And I’ll give him excitement. Bursts of color he’s been missing. Show him how to love again. How to have fun. How to learn new things. But I’m not trying to change him. I will love him no matter what.
And I’m sure you’re wondering about the sex. Of course, it’ll be great. It doesn’t have to be wild. He will teach me how to be better. Someone who knows what he’s doing. He won’t treat me like a “conquest.” Like how most young guys treat young women. He’ll appreciate me. He won’t take for granted being with a much younger partner. We’ll be physically close, even without sex. Lots of warm hugs. Just being close, in general. Dancing together will be a romantic gesture. Looking into his eyes and seeing everything. Being in his arms will feel like I have the power of the entire universe within me. When I’m with him I feel everything, but in a good way. Love, joy, anger, confusion, sadness, disbelief, etc. At the end of the day, I want to feel adored. I want to be admired.