I Know Daddy Gone, But I Still Get Mad Sometimes

July 22, 2013  |  

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Last night, I watched part two of Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant’s “Daddyless Daughters” special on OWN. I could say I watched the special for “professional reasons,” in hopes of finding a nugget or two that could spark some sort of discussion on MN, but a big part of me wanted to see if there was work I still needed to do.

Last year, I wrote about my decision to cut my father out of my life indefinitely. At the time I was tired of the inconsistent relationship, broken promises, and most of all being blamed for our lack of a connection, and so I finally decided to establish a relationship with my father on my terms, which I decided was to have none at all. Being a daddyless daughter has never been something difficult for me to admit. As so many people mentioned in our chat yesterday, not having a father is nothing for me to personally feel ashamed about because it’s not my fault, nor was it a decision I made prior to last year. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still get angry that “daddy gone,” as Iyanla would say.

If I’m being honest, I fall in that emotional liar category Iyanla referenced. I will do just about anything not to feel or display emotions I consider weak, like sadness. But every once and a while, I have no choice but to be alone with myself and those feelings. Like when I’m watching a movie and a woman affectionately calls her father “daddy” — a term I’ve never uttered a day in my life — and he sizes up another man he doesn’t think is good enough for his baby girl and struggles to come to terms with the fact that he won’t be the only man in her life anymore. Suddenly, I catch myself feeling envious that I don’t know what it’s like to experience a man feeling sad because he won’t have to care for you anymore because all I’ve known is a man (and many others after) who ran in the opposite direction of that responsibility.

Or when I look back over my “dating” history, if I can call it that, and realize my experiences read like a classic case of daddyless daughter syndrome. And I get mad because I didn’t have anyone to be my standard of measure; and even more upset with myself because that’s no excuse. I knew more than better, I just still didn’t always do better because sometimes when you’re in the moment of loneliness, lowering your standards so you don’t have to be alone doesn’t sound all that bad.

It’s sort of funny to me how these issues didn’t catch up with me until I was well into my 20s. In adolescence and as a teen, not having a father around meant little to me, but now I struggle with the residuals of that reality — like the aforementioned envy that tugs at me and the question of “how do I know what I deserve if I’ve never had it?,” as one audience member asked. Of course I know the generalities, a man should never put his hands on you, he should provide, he should be faithful, yadda yadda yadda. But what do I, specifically, deserve? Are those intimate intricacies of father-daughter relationships I’ve only seen and heard of, mostly in movies, that are said to be the backbone of any healthy romantic relationship myth or a real-life possibility? And if the latter is true, how do I know I can expect it? I’ve never had it before.

Just typing these questions right now is making me mad because I don’t want to be one of the women who has to ask. While I’m OK with not having a father, I’m not OK with not having a a positive previous relationship to speak of and having to question how much of that is my fault and if any of it really is my dad’s. But I guess a better question would be whether I want to channel that anger into hope and believe that the benefit of eliminating it will be far greater than harboring it as I have been. I’ll let you know when I decide.

Brande Victorian is the Deputy Editor for madamenoire.com. Follow her on twitter @Be_Vic.

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  • Agreed 100%. Even when you accept the truth about daddy being gone, it doesn’t make it hurt any less. Even those who have had wonderful childhoods, with mothers and other family members doing all they can, it still doesn’t make up for the void that’s left. I think it’s important for all of us to come together and be honest about how we feel, without shame or guilt. We have the right to feel the way we do; what’s important is how we manage those emotions for future actions. Peace and love to all.

  • Guest360

    I’ve been watching this series (fatherless sons/daddyless daughters) for awhile now and i hope it continues. Its really helping me cope with my daddy issues. I’m at the point in my life where I too have to decide whether I want a close relationship with my dad or just being content with occasional phonecalls or no contact at all. In my case he wants a relationship that you’d see in the movies but in my eyes that just can’t happen. Too much water under the bridge. And then when he doesn’t get that closeness from me, suddenly I’m the one in the wrong and the reason we can’t be close. Just a confusing time for me. I’m taking a good hard look at myself and what I want in my life and that may or may not include a dad. Just scared of the ramifications of either decision.

    Signed 21 year old searching for the right answers

  • 22 going on 50

    Growing up I neve saw my dad with one woman. My dad was gone from 12-20 in those years I gave my mom hell. Now I got a man who cheats lies and I stay. Because he loves me and I just want to b loved.

    -pretty girl with ugly girl issues

  • Gingerbread31

    Brande Victorian, what an awesome article. I feel like you literally revealed that closed place in your heart and opened it for all of us to see and I need you to know that I am in awe of you for doing this. I identified with every word that you said. Actually, I saw my father a couple of days ago and he did not even speak to me. He looked at at himself and turned away. In the past, I think I would have pinched myself not to cry, but I was honestly ok because I did my work as Ms. Vanzant would say. I was real with myself and admited that I had no idea of who I was and realized that every misatke I made was because of it. I began to read about David in the Bible along with the book of Psalms, and it’s like I found myself in his message.

    Daughters like us faced rejection early in life and that is why most of us are unstoppable today. Sure we have issues, but we learn from them and we become better women because of them. We may not have had a physical man to set the tone for our lives, but God is the lifter of our heads and when we think back, he always has sent someone to help us get to the next level and for some of us, that level has been reached so move on let go of what you currently have because they are not your happy ever after.

    In conclusion, you have the right to be angry, and then you have the right to be happy because they missed out on their blessing, not you. Everything that we have went through to now is all apart of our purpose for this life. God needed us here and our fathers were the vessels. So we thank them for doing one hell of a job:)
    In the meantime, check out David, like us he liked to write his feelings, and again great article!

    • Agreed, God is our Heavenly Father who will NEVER leave us or forsake us. We never have to worry about being disappointed by Him, and His love and peace can help us move forward in life.

      • Gingerbread31


    • bvictorian

      Thank you so much. I appreciate such a positive response from someone who can identify with the struggle. I will definitely check out David and keep you in my thoughts as well 🙂

  • guest

    Wow….i want to congratulate us all for no longer being in the closest of being a “daddyless daughter.” One thing I learned from last night is facing my truth. I have lied to myself for so many years about my feelings about my father and a lot of others stuff. Now with a failed marriage to a man i knew before i said i do wasn’t husband or father material now have the task of fighting to rid myself of these demons so our 3 children do not repeat this cycle. Pray for me please…daddy gone..i know..but i am still here and i am enough.

  • LovingMEalways

    I don’t know my father or a name. I’m pondering on whether I should reach out to the one’s that I know of that could be, but I recently said that I would just keep that can of worms closed. Apart of me want to just know a name, not really a relationship, because like they said on the show I can’t get those daddy/daughter moments back.

    • LovingMEalways

      On top of being daddyless I was molested (female and male) for many years and didn’t live with my mother. I felt like no one loved me during those times. Through all those odds, God is still good and gave me the gift of insight, at a young age, to be at peace with all the negative moment in life and provided positive people in my life to show me that I will be successful, loved and a inspiration to many. Of course, I still feel the void, but with God, my true FATHER, I’m content…It’s a choice to let those burdens weigh you down! Now I’m 26 with no children, 2 degrees, loving husband for 7 years, love giving back to my community, great career as a Social Worker and about to start my own non-profit…So when I say GOD IS GOOD I mean he is OFF THE CHAIN GOOD because it could have been me!

  • Kk

    I had an inconsistent/dysfunctional relationship with mine’s too. I hardly grew up with any around & have resolved not to deal with males on anything beyond an acquaintance level because I don’t know anything about them. I dont know if that sounds crazy considering I’m barely 20 yet, but men are like foreign creatures to me & I feel shy around them, particularly black ones. It’s hard to explain.

    • HoneyDipp

      I understand completely! When I was growing up, I never received positive attention from a man. Father was absolutely absent – the only man who ever showed any inkling of affection towards me was an uncle who was imprisoned all of my childhood and called me princess in letters. As a result, I got older and never really knew how to deal with any male attention. I’m well into my 20s now, and I’m still uncomfortable and uneasy around men… I like to think that I’ve moved past his absence and I’ve made it through life fine without him but that is an absolute lie. Really touchy topic for me.

    • You hit the nail on the head on one of the side effects that people don’t talk about. People often mention how girls without fathers tend to be promiscuous, but the flip side of that is that there are women and girls who are shy around men, who don’t know how to “read” their actions and aren’t sure what to say or do.

    • Lover

      That does sound a lil crazy. Why do you single out black ones?

  • FB

    Has there been a male role model in your life? It could be an uncle, a cousin, or a brother who’ve always looked after you and given you guidance. For example, my brother in law has been in and out of jail, and he has never celebrate a birthday with his 12 years old daughter, but I step up and take care of her as if she was my own. If you look back, you may find that you do have sonething to compare with. As far as hiw much you deserve, you cannot measure it. There is nothing in this word that wiuls worth more than you.

    • Shea

      That still doesn’t replace the void left of not having your actual father around, the man role model can provide a temporary solution