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Daddy's Little Girl


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Hey there...

In another thread, people were discussing how/when we were diagnosed with our various disorders. I'm Bipolar. My father was/is also bipolar. He was never medicated. Looking back, I see that the effect of the BP my father had has had a huge impact on my relationships with men.

I can't imagine having a closer or more loving relationship with my father. He is an amazing man. He's been through so much... a WW2 veteran. He was 50 when I was born, and he was always there for everything I ever did as a child... he is STILL there for everything I have done as an adult.

Thing is, my childhood with him was really difficult. One day he'd be so loving, so tender. We'd be so close. We'd go shopping together, or to the movies, or we'd be in the backyard throwing a softball back and forth. We'd be laughing. We'd be happy.

Then...he'd snap. Anything could set him off. I remember once I spilled a glass of milk at dinner and he went off on me. Screaming. I was worthless. I ruined dinner. I ruined everything. I would cry. I would feel worthless, rejected.

Other times when he was in a downward spiral he'd go to the basement and get drunk, then come upstairs and yell at my mom and I... and other times he'd go for DAYS...and I mean DAYS... without speaking a single word to me.

All I wanted was for him to be happy with me...satisfied. I just wanted to be accepted, loved... good enough. And yet, one day it was ok to spill milk at dinner. The next day, it made me a terrible person. I never knew which end was up. I was constantly walking on eggshells.

So I go along, I grow up... and I still find myself seeking approval from men. As if for some reason I NEED it, when I know I don't. Very, VERY slowly I'm figuring that out, but it's so easy for me to slip back into old habits and put the blame for everything on myself.

I don't even know why I'm writing this... except that maybe there's someone else out there who has similar experiences... and has been able to move on and get past the pain somehow.

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Hey Iris,

I think it is astounding the impact our fathers have on our lives. My father has always been emotionally distant. At times I have felt that he loved me. I think it would be easier if I never felt that. He is very judgmental and has been very disapproving of me as long as I can remember. (You know, wouldn't you think that unconditional love would just be a given for parents?)

So, my relationship or lack thereof with my father has absolutely clouded every relationship I ever had. Approval from whomever I am with is vital. Who cares what I think, it only matters what he thinks. My entire self-esteem is wrapped up in my guy. Yes, I realize this is NOT a good thing to say the least. I know that. But it changes nothing.

I had a client the other day who told me how she views men. She said that she doesn't need them. She says that if they don't do what she wants them to do, she dumps them. No ifs ands or buts. I thought that was really cool. Hell, I have allowed myself to be abused because I have such a fucked up view of men and relationships. I am a magnet for control freaks. In my defense, I DO get rid of these creeps. And I bet none of them have ever loved me. Heh, and another Matchbox Twenty quote, "I've never been really loved by a hand that touched me." Whatever. It all just starts to sound pathetic after a while.

So, yeah, Iris. I need it, too. When you figure out how to not need it anymore let me know.


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  • 11 months later...

Same here. My father would also be awesome at one point but then ignore me for days at another. I have bipolar as well. And it didn't help he wasn't around much and died early.

In response to the second post -- the relationships -- I tried pretending to be that way for a while but once you move past the one-night stands and into a relationships the habits and old ways of dealing come right back.

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  • 3 months later...

This sounds familiar. . .

I sometimes wonder how common these experiences are because I keep hearing and reading about stuff like this.

N.J. -- and also others:

First, BE HONEST! no matter what you do, what happens... trust that your kids can handle honesty, at least more than they can handle lies or no explanation at all. When there's no explanation.. they'll craft one themselves, accurate or not. I don't care how old they are. Spin it to be appropriate for the age, and aim higher -- they know more than you think.

Make a list of what you want to change, then think of solutions, don't worry whether they are realistic or not, to how you can make the changes. Don't throw it away, but look at it daily. Solme may actually work and that's progress -- it won't go unnoticed.

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