A ‘Daddyless Daughter’ Reflects: Oprah’s Lifeclass
When daddy isn’t there a daughter becomes a woman with a void.
During Oprahs’ highly talked about discussion on “daddyless daughters,” Iyanla Vanzant named three ways women become fatherless:
1). When daddy is there, but not present: women ache to be seen and acknowledged.
2). When daddy was never there: women fantasize about what it would’ve been if daddy was there. They miss him and blame themselves for his absence.
3). When daddy was once there and is now gone due to divorce, death, abandonment: this creates a yearning to fill a void. It is a hole that nothing seems to ever fill.
I fall into category three.
My Daddyless Start
I was raised in a two-parent home up until my parents divorced when I was 13 years old. Instantly, my family dynamic shifted. I went from being a spoiled daddy's girl (I am my parents’ only child together and my father’s youngest of five) to being raised by a single mother. We moved from our suburban home to the city and life as I knew it changed.
Estranged from Dad
My relationship with my father became estranged and still remains that way. My mother divorced him and, as far as he was concerned, I was my mother’s child, so basically, he divorced me too. (At least that’s how I perceive it.) I would see my dad three times over the next 14 years. Each time our interactions would result in him blaming me for our strained relationship. This never bothered me, though. He has an estranged relationship with all of his kids.
I don't consider myself a damaged woman because of my father’s absence. I don’t have low self-esteem, nor do I set low standards when it comes to men. I know my self-worth. I never went through a promiscuous phase; a bit of a rebellious phase in high school, though. I don’t even have negative viewpoints on men or relationships. As far as I can tell, I’m not searching to fill any void. But hearing the daddyless women on Oprah open up about their experiences and feelings moved me. It also made me question:
Am I as put together as I’d like to think? Have I suppressed my daddy issues all of these years? Maybe I really don’t have any? And if not, is that healthy?
I don’t have the answers to these questions but I can acknowledge that I've never truly explored my feelings about my father. I don’t recall when, but at some point I decided to not let his lack of involvement dictate who I am. Fourteen years later, my self-esteem is not damaged and my relationships aren’t toxic. But I have no real connection to the memories of my father when he was my “dad.”
I do feel like I’m constantly searching for something in life. For what, I am not sure. Maybe this is the void they speak of. Maybe it’s time to explore this.
How has your father affected your life? Share your story!
Photo Credit: Oprah.com