What My Father’s Absence Taught Me

I believe wholeheartedly that how a man treats his daughter affects the way she views herself and how she lets other people (especially men) treat her. I grew up in a single parent home. My mom raised me and my sister with little to no help from either of our fathers. She never complained, she never bashed our fathers, and she taught us to respect them despite them not being there. Now that I have two daughters of my own, I see what my mother went through. I feel the resentment and the tiredness she must’ve felt. It’s not fair for two people to go half on a child without going half on the responsibilities, but it’s now the new normal. Like my mother, I got married straight out of high school. Because I didn’t have my father around, I tried to create the family I didn’t have. I don’t blame my father for my own poor decisions. However, I do believe that if my dad would’ve been around, I probably would’ve made better ones.  A lot of the things I know now, I learned through trial and a lot of error. My father wasn’t around to physically teach me , but his absence taught me some of the most important life lessons.

my father's absense

Family is the most important thing.
My dad was more interested in living his own life than being a father.  I am now the complete opposite. I would move mountains for my daughters. I brought them both into this world and I will leave here knowing that I was the best mother I could be.

Consistency is key. 
I spent too many years waiting by the door for the visit that never came. I don’t make excuses, especially when it comes to my children. My girls will never be able to say “Mommy said she would do it, but didn’t.” They will always know that if they can’t depend on anyone else, they can depend on Mommy.

Your beauty isn’t based on someone else’s opinion of you.
“I don’t need a man to tell me I’m pretty, my dad did that my whole life.” One of my friends told me that my freshman year of college and it stuck with me. I spent years seeking attention to fill a void. My self confidence was at an all time low for most of my teen years and I constantly looked to my peers for approval. I wasn’t completely comfortable in my own skin and it showed. It wasn’t until recently that I started to accept my curly hair, my dark skin, and my feminine features.

Sometimes, the prince is just a frog in nice clothing. 
A father is supposed to teach his daughter what to look for in a husband and what to stay away from.  At 26, I’ve been engaged twice, married once, and I had to learn the hard way not to settle. I didn’t have that male role model in my life to teach me how I should be treated. My father never told me what to look for, he didn’t care about who I was dating, and when I got pregnant at 19, he didn’t have much to say about it. I never saw what a stable relationship looked like. I did however see a lot of violent behavior when I was younger and that’s exactly what I emulated. I finally had to stop and check myself for my own behavior. I was emasculating and degrading every man who I came in contact with because the man who I loved the most didn’t love me enough. I also had to come to terms with the fact that I was picking men who were assholes . . . Like my father.

Forgiveness is for you, not for them.
I have to be honest, I still struggle with forgiveness. I can hold a grudge with the best of them. It’s easy for me to cut people from my life with little to no warning, when I see something I don’t like. I didn’t realize how unhealthy that was until I was diagnosed with anxiety. Holding on to all that anger and hurt, only made me bitter and eventually it affected me physically. I had to learn to pick my battles and forgive people for my own peace of mind.

I don’t think some men realize the effect they have on their daughters. A father is literally the FIRST man a girl is introduced to in life. I don’t hate my father. I think he was the best father that he knew how to be, it just wasn’t good enough. I am forever grateful to my Courtlynn’s father for showing me that some men do take care of their responsibilities. He’s the best father to our daughter and he’s really the reason I learned to let go of the anger towards my own father. He showed me that you can be better than your parents and your circumstances, if you choose to be.

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57 Comments

  1. June 18, 2018 / 1:25 pm

    Girl, I love this. I can’t say that I relate, because my dad was always present even when I didn’t think he was “there”. However, my oldest little guy’s father is often absent. I hate it for him. I can absolutely see why a father is such an important factor for a little girl not only from my own experience but also from the picture you painted so well in this post.

    You seem like such a great mom. Your girls are blessed to have you!

  2. June 18, 2018 / 10:06 am

    I’m sorry that you had to go through that, but it seems like you’re so much smarter and stronger because of it! Loving those baby girls of yours is the best thing you can do! Thank you for sharing, great read!

  3. June 17, 2018 / 9:21 pm

    Sam – Thiswaymommy
    Your post brings up some great points that I don’t think the men (who leave the lives of young children, especially girls) realize. You are so right on the affirming part, that it is important that young girls realize their beauty and worth and understand that they do not have to have any man’s validation of their worth.

  4. Monica
    June 16, 2018 / 7:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I agree, family is so important! I would do anything for my little one. 🙂

  5. May 5, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    Such a good read! Bless you for sharing.

    • Chantal
      Author
      May 5, 2018 / 9:39 pm

      Thank you!!

  6. November 16, 2017 / 2:37 pm

    Girrrrl! This post was deep and i loved it. I didnt grow up with my father and I can relate to many of thise lesson. I can relate to just emasculating men, because of brokenness or having poor examples of a relationship. Thanks for this post!

  7. October 4, 2017 / 1:20 pm

    You’ve mirrored my life. Down to the two daughters. I applaud your honesty. I’m too emotional to say anymore. This is a great piece.

    • Chantal
      Author
      October 4, 2017 / 11:23 pm

      Aww thank you so much for reading!

  8. October 3, 2017 / 12:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. My dad was very active, and was actually a single parent from 4 until I turned 9. But after that I rarely saw him. It takes a big toll, and I went through the phase of seeking validation and just wanting a family in college. I have a family now and I’m blessed to have the husband that I have. He works hard for our family and is an amazing dad. I say all the time that it was nothing but God, because I couldn’t have dreamed this man up. I’m glad I sat down somewhere and lived life and he just happened to come into my life. Men, be there for your children – male or female. You needed your parents, and the kids you bring into this world need you ❤️

  9. September 16, 2017 / 2:17 pm

    I cant say i relate to this complexly, My dad left for the states when i was 5, i never had him much around but i knew he was there whenever i need him and all, and i am happy to have the relationship and bond with him. Your post does bring a new perspective and i am glad you found your strength through it all

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 19, 2017 / 11:11 pm

      Thank you so much for reading!

  10. September 15, 2017 / 10:49 am

    I definitely needed to read this. My parents were and are still married but he wasn’t very involved with me like I wish he had been. And now I’m raising two girls by two guys who are barely involved or not at all. More than anything it’s hard to see how it affects them.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 15, 2017 / 11:03 am

      Thanks for sharing your experience and thank you so much for reading. <3

  11. September 14, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    “She never complained, she never bashed our fathers, and she taught us to respect them despite them not being there.”

    I commend your mother for taking the high road in this situation. It takes a lot of strength not to bash the men in loo of their absence.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 15, 2017 / 11:00 am

      Thank you so much for reading 🙂

  12. September 14, 2017 / 6:42 pm

    Really powerful read. Absence is one thing, but being present in name only doesn’t help either. People don’t understand how much a father’s influence can shape one’s life. Thanks for sharing.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 14, 2017 / 7:13 pm

      Thank you for reading!

  13. September 14, 2017 / 4:16 pm

    This is ABSOLUTELY the truth!!! I thank for my spiritual dad that filled that void for me. Thx for sharing.

  14. September 14, 2017 / 4:15 pm

    This is ABSOLUTELY the truth!!! I thank for my spiritual dad that filled that void for me. Thx for sharing.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 14, 2017 / 7:11 pm

      Thank you for reading!

  15. September 14, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    Great post. There are so many of us who can relate to this. The most important thing is to not allow ourselves to repeat the same treatment with our kids. Much love to you for sharing your story.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 14, 2017 / 1:34 pm

      Thank you for reading 🙂

  16. September 14, 2017 / 12:34 am

    I loved reading this post. I had a not so amazing relationship with my dad honestly I always wished if he could have shown some interest in his kids life. But when I see my husband I feel proud.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 14, 2017 / 1:35 pm

      Thank you for reading. It’s a great feeling when someone comes along and shows you different. <3

  17. September 13, 2017 / 11:01 pm

    My ex has never really been there for my daughter and it breaks my heart. I hope that I can be there enough for her, along with my family, to help her deal with that. I’m so glad that you were able to use your experiences to become stronger and find happiness.

  18. Julia
    September 13, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    This a wonderful post and I am happy that through your struggles of not having a father figure you were able to find strength and happiness!! you have a beautiful family of your own<3

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 10:55 pm

      Thank you for reading!

  19. September 13, 2017 / 4:55 pm

    Such a beautifully written piece

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:55 pm

      Thank you for reading!

  20. September 13, 2017 / 4:52 pm

    I really appreciate this post. I personally grew up with the reverse – my father was amazing and my mother was absent due to various reasons that I won’t get into. My father’s influence on my life shaped so much of my self esteem and my confidence and what to look for with a husband. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. I think understanding all sides of how people can grow up is really important to build community with others.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:55 pm

      Thank you for reading !

  21. September 13, 2017 / 3:25 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. My father passed away when I was nine, and I was raised by a single mother. I think it interesting that even though I had a great relationship with my dad, I still struggle with some of the same “daddy issues” that other women (and men) have whose father’s were away from them by choice. It really is proof that two parents are necessary.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:53 pm

      Thank you for reading! Two parents are definitely necessary.

  22. September 13, 2017 / 2:59 pm

    Family is defiantly important. I lost my father in my late teens and it was extremely hard. He died at a young age due to a heart attack. Not having a dad around really does affect a daughter, I do agree.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:52 pm

      Thank you. Thank you for reading!

  23. September 13, 2017 / 2:13 pm

    Beautiful post. Fathers are so important for the whole family and it’s sad that yours didn’t treat you the way you deserved. But, the lessons you taught yourself from your experience say a lot about you as a person. I’m so glad you found a father for your baby who is being the father you should have had yourself ❤️

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:56 pm

      Thank you for reading <3

  24. September 13, 2017 / 1:09 pm

    That’s a great post 🙂 you are a good mom whatever

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:56 pm

      Thank you! Thank you for reading.

  25. September 13, 2017 / 9:28 am

    Your doing a wonderful job as a mother. It wonderful that you are knowing exactly what you want for your own children <3

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:57 pm

      Thank you so much <3

  26. September 13, 2017 / 7:44 am

    My Dad didnt give me any advice either, in fact the first time he spoke to the father of my children it was to tell him he was becoming a grandfather! Our relationship has improved greatly but mostly because I respect him as a human and dont put any pressure on him to be a father. Much love and thankyou x

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:57 pm

      Thank you for reading!

    • September 13, 2017 / 6:55 am

      I meant great read!!!

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:58 pm

      Thank you for reading.

  27. September 13, 2017 / 6:39 am

    This is so beautiful because it’s so honest and pure! There are a lot more people with daddy issues than they realise, eventhose whose fathers have been around them growing up. You raised some very important points, the most important in my opinion being about forgiveness. I dealt with my ‘Daddy issues’ FINALLY a few years ago when I finally understood that forgiveness was for me! Can totally relate! Thank you for sharing ?

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:59 pm

      Thank you and thank you for reading !

  28. September 13, 2017 / 6:09 am

    This is a great post. I also didn’t have my dad in my life for most of my life and we still don’t have a connection now. However, I always heard how awful he was from relatives, which pushed me to want to know him more. This was obviously a mistake because he didn’t want to be a part of my life, but I don’t think he was awful for it, he just had his own struggles to deal with.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:59 pm

      Thank you for reading.

  29. Natalie
    September 13, 2017 / 2:55 am

    You are a beautiful person and a wonderful role model for your girls! I’m so sorry your dad wasn’t around.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 7:00 pm

      Thank you so much <3

  30. September 12, 2017 / 11:41 pm

    this is an amazing post! definitely so true!
    growing up i had an amazing relationship with my dad, and now that i am an adult and have my own children – i see how he treated me, and what he taught me coming through in the way i raise my own kids. its truly amazing.
    you are an amazingly strong woman – as well as your mother.
    awesome post

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 7:00 pm

      Thank you !!

  31. September 12, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    I can’t relate personally but have seen this first hand with my sister and her daughter. Beautiful post, I love the ending !

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 7:01 pm

      Thank you for reading.

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