My father is not a bad man. He is hardworking, always and only puts his family’s wants and needs before his and is calm, contented and a very prayerful man. He loves God and loves to do His work. He began working at 16 being the eldest of 12 children. My grandfather and his brothers were pretty well to do in the beginning, but when the war began he was one of the many who lost his job and therefore income. However during those years, being poor was common. Everyone helped out everyone, neighbour helped neighbour so on and so forth.
My grandfather passed on before I was even conceived in my mother’s womb. So my dad became the solo breadwinner way before he met my mother. According to my grandmother and his siblings, he never complained and he never went astray. Smoking was the only bad habit he picked up (which he quit 10 years later) though many of his friends were doing drugs. There were times when the entire family (13 people without my grandfather) only had a loaf of bread to eat.
He began working in the hotel industry at 16 and is still in it up to today in his 60s. Working in the hotel industry meant irregular shifts and a very overworked body here in my country at least, and things have gotten worse over the years because of the economy. Budget cuts meant letting more people go. This year alone, my dad’s workplace already let go of 800 people. It happened very cruelly. No forewarnings, preempts, nothing. I thank God so much that my dad still has his job if not no one would be able to pay for my medical bills. My mom’s too. Not to mention my younger sister who is still schooling.
[Now, I may sound like a brat or an unappreciative daughter, but believe me I’m not. Being thankful doesn’t make everything better or dissolve problems and hurts. I ask that you do not misunderstand me or judge me but just to listen to my heart. Feelings. Which I hate talking about yet feel like I would burst if I don’t.]
With my dad not being very present due to his working hours I was always stuck with my mother, and let’s just say it wasn’t very pleasant. I only realised these issues with God’s revelation as I entered adulthood and continue to realise how and why I became so messed up. I will just talk about the two points that I feel very strongly about. If I write about the entire thing, you might take 24 hours to read it.
1- With my dad not being very present I never knew what a father should be or how a male should treat me. I do have good memories of my dad, he taught me to cycle, rollerblade and bought my first two-wheeled bike and surprised me at my school gate with it. My mother caned me everyday (apparently common in my country) and she would sometimes leave the whip marks all over my leg still bleeding and send me to school. This was the usual daily routine. The cane was my best friend. It was there from when I wake, to eating, to sleeping etc. I only realised after a conversion retreat that it was the root of so many problems I have within myself. (I will do another post about that) My father was never there to protect me.
As I started my countless relationships with boys, I ALWAYS made the wrong choice. Boys who abused me emotionally and forced me into sex though I wasn’t ready. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I was being raped, but I was afraid and not willing. Why did I do it then? Because I thought that meant I was loved. Warped huh? They were in it for my body, they were young too I guess and most of them from dysfunctional families. I never thought having sex before marriage was wrong until I attended that retreat. I had a pretty active sex life I would say and intentional pain was inflicted as I enjoyed it. I later realised through a friend who pointed out that maybe I liked getting hurt because pain was the only feeling I was familiar with. (which also explains self-mutilation) Even after the retreat, I dated two guys from my ministry and we all still fell into that trap of lust. (what the hell is wrong with me?)
2- With all that has happened with me in the past few years since the accident and this debilitating dizziness, (Details here.) my dad has been even more active as a prayer leader. My mom too is a prayer leader but she has cut back on serving to take care of me and her own health issues. However, my dad is a forgetful and muddleheaded person by nature and it has been getting worse with age. I’m not blaming him of course, but things add up here and there and I’m angry and hurt.
To put it simply, he works so hard and now that he’s more active in church, he’s rarely at home. Even when he is, he is busy preparing prayers for the next session. I have been dizzy for 3 years and until now he still doesn’t seem to get the picture and he doesn’t even know what treatments I’m getting and what they are supposed to address. He always comes home to share about people’s testimonies and he remembers everything about everyone else and everything about their children but he knows so little about his own.
Example: My sister can be on her holidays for two weeks in only for him to realise that she hasn’t been going to school. Small things like this here and there speaks volumes and add up.
More than a few incidents have happened in the past year and I told him that he only cares and defends the people from church and he doesn’t protect or defend his own daughter even when the entire ministry left me. They left me. Until now. They left me when I got sick. The guy that betrayed me and hurt me so much left me when I got sick and dated our friend – who knew everything about us. They were cheating on me even before things ended. We are all from the same ministry, serving in the same team. My parents are pretty close to his parents and my dad did not even speak up for me or say a word. That guy’s parents still don’t know how their son has hurt me so deeply. They know about my sickness and whenever they ask my dad about me, he doesn’t say a word about how their son hurt me.
I said: “Yes it’s nothing to do with the adults and I’m not asking you to fight with Uncle A* but couldn’t you even open your mouth to say, “Hey he was at my house and cooked for my family and went out with my family and was with my daughter everyday, they fell asleep together in her bed everyday and this is what he did to her when she got sick, though she was there for him for all the times he needed her” You couldn’t even say that dad? Why are you protecting the people who hurt me?”
So me and my dad have not been on talking terms. I’m the one who doesn’t want to speak to him. I have basically given up. The hurt is too deep. Just a few days ago, I asked my mom to keep the shades rolled down as I was recovering from a vertigo attack with no sleep, my bladder acted up and the migraine headaches were bad, my vision was blurry and so I could not take any inch of light or sound. My dad saw the shades down and insisted on rolling them up for fresh air.
Dad: Just roll them up for a while, you need to air the room and get sunlight.
Mom: We usually do that but she’s having a bad flare up now so just leave them down.
Dad: Just for awhile, anyway she’s sitting in that corner now.
Mom: Yes, but the sunlight would face her if you roll it up.
They go on a couple of times as I sat there in disbelief. This is not the first time my dad CLEARLY doesn’t get what I’m going through. He left it by walking off annoyed.
This are just some of my feelings, my daddy issues as modern lingo calls it. Maybe some of you can relate. Like I mentioned, these are just two points where I discovered why I always have trouble relating to God (father-figure).
I wish I could say things are better, I wish I could say my faith is stronger than ever, but that would be a lie. I struggle to connect with God at times. ‘Love‘ is very unfamiliar territory for me. Real, true love at least, I don’t know what that is. I thought I knew but I didn’t.
I’m not saying I’m giving up. I’m saying it’s hard. I don’t need pity or for judgements to be made. I long to be understood. It’s lonely always being misunderstood. To anyone else who has daddy issues, let’s continue to hang on to God for I believe everything happens for a reason.
“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” – Haruki Murakami
Be kind to one another,
Tweet me @Godvsdepression