I was born into this world abandoned. Before my first breath, I knew what it was like to be unwanted by someone. I grew up knowing and understanding that I was the result of a brief fling between my mother and the man who fathered me. I knew that this man wanted nothing to do with his “mistake.” But growing up, it didn’t really bother me. Sure there was the fact, I couldn’t really be involved with Boy Scouts (remember the 80’s version was all about father/son bonding). Or that I didn’t really have anyone to teach me how to do “manly things” like throw a ball or change oil in a car (my brother taught me the latter). But my family did a good job of not making me feel different or less than. My grandfather, my brother, and my uncle Jim all played parts in making me the man I am today. I learned from all of them what it means to truly be a man – that is someone who is there for and supports the people they love no matter the situation. Even with all these positive role models and the fact my family’s love for me was absolute, I was still lacking a vital piece of me. Confidence in love.
I didn’t learn this at an early age. In fact, growing up I was so bitter towards the man who left me that I didn’t really spend much time thinking about his absences or the impact it had on me. People would always ask me as a kid if I wish I had a dad or if I felt like I was missing something. At the time, and still to an extent today, I didn’t know how to answer. How is someone supposed to know what they are missing from a relationship they’ve never had? I saw other father/son relationships and I could sumise only so much from those interactions. Typically my response was, “nope, I’m good without him.” But what I was hiding from them and even from myself was that the biggest thing I was missing was knowing fully I was loved.
Again, my entire family never made me doubt they loved me. In fact, I consider my mom, my grandmother, and my aunt all my mothers. They showed and continue to show me love all the time, no matter what. Yet I have never been able to shake this feeling (I’m just starting to come to terms with) that by being abandoned (even by someone I never met), my ability to love and feel love has been compromised. There is this whole side to me that is unknown. It’s a mystery. I don’t know anything about the other half of my family. I don’t know what type of medical conditions I may face due to that side. I don’t know if I have other siblings who may be more like me than my brother is. It’s just this dark void. And nothing I could’ve done as a child, except for having a father, would’ve avoided this hole from growing and infecting all of me.
I think if I was more aware of this from an early age, my life would’ve been different. I would’ve opened up more to people. I would’ve probably had my first relationship before the age of 23, and maybe that relationship would’ve ended differently. Why you wonder. Well how is someone supposed to really love and allow someone else to love them when they spend the entire relationship worried about being abandoned. I feel bad for my first ex. He (we won’t even get into the gay thing in this blog) had to try and love someone who couldn’t love himself fully. I think this relationship brought up so many of my daddy issues I wasn’t even aware of. From early on in that relationship, I was petrified that he would leave me. After all, I was easy to abandon. That caused all sorts of unhealthy relationship issues, and now that I look back on that relationship I’m shocked it lasted as long as it did. I think that it is a testament to fact that people can love me, and me not fully trust it. I mean trying to spend seven years convincing someone that you love them has to be exhausting… and I was oblivious to all this. I was focused on how not to be me, so that he wouldn’t want to leave me.
Time has passed since that relationship and there have been a few more here or there. None have lasted long. I question if it was more the fact we just weren’t right, or was I unaware of the fact I always push people away. That’s it. Isn’t it? The lasting effect of not having a father. I can’t trust anyone enough to stay with me. If my own father couldn’t stand the thought of even trying to stay, how can anyone else? So I built up a wall. I’ve reinforced it over the years. Abandonment doesn’t scare me anymore because I won’t allow anyone close to me.
This doesn’t just effect my romantic relationships, but my friendships as well. I’m not a great friend. I’ve cut so many friends out of my life because instead of working on a relationship with them, it was easier to cut then out before they eventually did me. That’s how my brain works. Instinct will always outweigh rational thought. Instincts are bread into us. They are taught through all our life events. Thus when one instinct has been so unconsciously reinforced and strengthened by one’s self, it’s gonna be a bitch to undue.
Here’s the thing though. I’m more aware of this than ever before. I understand I’m a 34 year old man with a shit ton of daddy issues, and I’m working on it. In the meantime, I may still instinctively push people away, but I’m hopeful that one day I’ll meet someone who simply will push back harder.