When I was young I disliked my father

Worried young father with her troubled teenage daughter

When I was young I actively disliked my dad, everything he did drove me crazy. He was so annoying and stupid! He was a big drinker and a bully. He was difficult for anyone to live with and I left home very early to get away from him. But even though I constantly rejected him for many years he never stopped helping me when I found myself in a jam. He continued to love me even when I was at my most provocative, hard headed, immature worst. I felt superior to him even though he was a clever man who made very good money, stuck by my mother even when she was impossible to deal with and had many friends. But in my mind, my dad was a loser. But the jokes on me as we are very similar and he passed down to me many good qualities that I was proud to call my own. I blamed him for the bad and took credit for the good. I was as narrow minded as I accused him of being.

You see, I thought my father should be my fantasy of a father and not the man that he was. I compared him to my ideal dad, my fantasy dad and of course he couldn’t measure up. I had set the bar ridiculously high.

It wasn’t until I was 35 that I became mature enough to realize he was just another struggling human like me and everyone else. I realized my mother, who had recently died, had been a very subtle but effective manipulator and had used me as a weapon to isolate and wound my dad. I love my mom very much but that was a very unskillful thing to do to a kid.

Once I was able to objectively see my dad for who he really was I was able to let a lot of things go. I learned his story, a little from him the rest from other family members. He had an extremely harsh father and till his dying day could not speak of his mother for fear of crying and breaking down. He made a mistake in his marriage and was unfaithful to my mom one time and she, in her own words, “forgave him but will never let him forget it.” Imagine living with someone who disrespects and diminishes you on a daily basis. Who refuses to really forgive you and makes you out to be the bad guy. Dad was an easy target and as long as he was around acting the alcoholic fool we didn’t have to take responsibility for our own failings, we could just blame dad.

We are complex creatures; mixtures of our families on both sides and a personality and life uniquely our own. It is not necessary to like everything about our parents by any means. Very few people do. If you don’t feel comfortable with your family of origin then by all means, strike out on your own. But unresolved stuff will follow you wherever you go. Perhaps in a few years you will see, as I did, that your dad is only human and though he may not be the dad you wanted he’s the dad you got. I judged my dad and found him wanting. I wanted my fantasy dad. I am grateful my son does not judge me by the same criteria I used because I am far from perfect both as a mother and as a person.

I’m so glad that I was able to accept and appreciate my dad for who he was. It was difficult, he never stopped drinking and devolped alcoholic dementia. He had strokes, he fell down. He was stubborn, strong and not a little self righteous. I am more like him than I would like sometimes but that’s just the way it goes. The positive heavily outweighs the negative. I miss him now, years after he passed. He was a hell of a guy. Not the worlds best dad but I wouldn’t trade him for that fantasy dad for anything.

So I encourage you if you are go through same phase  not to judge your dad too harshly and try to keep an open mind and an open heart. Carry on with your life and be the best you that you can be. Include him in your life as you feel comfortable. Strive to be a understanding, compassionate man of integrity. He has given you life, make the most of it.


Shared by Elizabeth Wohlauer on Quora


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