I know what you’re thinking: yikes. When you hear a girl has daddy issues, it either means she’s a slut, a crackhead, or still trying to hold it together but is constantly on the verge of a mental breakdown.
If you are forcing me to choose, I guess I will go with the mental health problem. Oops sorry to disappoint! While I am not the classic stereotype, I have had my moments growing up when it comes to my dads.
See, I am adopted as a lot of my friends and family know. It was an open adoption, and all in all, I am #blessed with how my life has gone because of it. My birth father has been involved in my life from the get-go. Every birthday, every Christmas, I would wake up one day and find presents, “from Joe,” and some from his parents. I never really understood why I was given extra presents (I mean it was sick getting more). Around 7 I am pretty sure I found out that 1. Santa wasn’t real (SPOILERS) and 2. I was adopted. My parents were very open about it – I think it just didn’t click until then.
My birth father loves me, truly. There were a few kinks I guess before my adoption, that have made me uneasy, but that is a story for another day. I just remember growing up, receiving all of these gifts, letters, and knowing that this dad loves me. It was hard knowing that when your dad (adoptive dad) is a bitttttt of an ass.
Again, my dad (Jim) loves me. He supported me always and is fiercely protective of me. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t an ass. He was strict, always on edge, anxious, and he took it out on my mom and I. If he had a problem, it was our problem. I remember distinctly of a basketball game when I misplaced my jersey (mind you this was in FIFTH GRADE). I was ELEVEN. He flipped shit. I mean, the sky was falling and life as we knew it ceased to exist. Moments like that made me not only resentful, but longing for the other, mysterious father.
“Well Joe wouldn’t yell at me,” “Joe would be better,” “I bet he would be nicer,” etc., etc. While some of those thoughts may have been true, they were toxic – Like cancer growing inside of me, spreading all over; it was all consuming to the point where there was a wall between Jim and I. My teenage years were stereotypical in the sense that I gave my parents (more so my father) grief; I thought I was a trailblazing know-it-all, who doesn’t care what her dad thinks (i.e., staying in a relationship with a boy he HATED). God, I must have been obnoxious.
In college you truly grow up and find yourself. The more experiences I had, the more I realized that I was a complete idiot growing up. Sure, my dad has flaws (I have adopted some of them myself), but my dad truly wants the best for me – a notion that I just didn’t grasp at 18. He has his moments, as do I, but our relationship is more solid than it has been in years.
What about Joe? Like my dad, Joe loves me. Unconditionally. It is a weird bond that we have. I am his biological child, yet he truly doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know my triumphs, failures, flaws – he didn’t teach me invaluable lessons, didn’t watch me grow as a person; he didn’t teach me how to drive and how to fish (and then see me catch the biggest one). The list is endless.
I remember having lunch with Joe once, and it dawned on me that he just doesn’t know me, and I don’t know him. When I talk about our situation, I liken it to dating – it is like being with someone you don’t really have much in common with and you don’t really know. We get lunch or dinner about twice a year, get an occasional text every once and a while – but that is all that it needs to be.
I love my dad because he is my dad. I get angry with him, disappointed, and frustrated – but I love him. I know Joe is my biological father, and it pains me and guilt-trips me every day, but I don’t love him. I am glad that I got to know the man who made me, and I am forever grateful for the life he gave me by giving me up. But we are never going to have the relationship that he wants, and it makes me sad that I can’t give him what he wants.
But for all of you out there struggling with relationships with your parents, birth parents, grandparents, etc. Just please know that even though you feel guilty – you need to do what is best for you and what makes you happy. Help grow the relationships you want to have. That is what I have to tell myself and I promise it gets better.