My Dad is Ruining My Marriage.

Hey Vulnerabites,

We were playing tag in the hallways of a family clinic. All of the staff members were outside attending to the free community clinic fair.

He seemingly appeared out of thin air, interrupting my bee-line focus to tag my fellow 9 year old. I was semi-laughing from excitement and trying to catch my breath at the same time, when he shouted at us, “Why are you kids running around in here?”

“Our parents work here, in the dental department,” my friend responded to him.

The older gentleman turned around and looked at me saying, “Why are you in here running around like a boy,” more of a statement than a question. “Where’s your father?”, he asked.

Like I had rehearsed so many times before, “I don’t know my daddy.”

“Oh,” he snarled. “That’s why you’re acting like that,” he said looking down at me — yes, physically because of his height but also out of his disappointment.

Let’s Connect on Instagram @YoursVulnerably

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She stood up suddenly.

“Mommy! You’re peeing!” I shouted.

“Go grab the bucket in the bathroom,” she said calmly.

At the time, I didn’t know it, but her water had broke. Now that I’m older, I’m in awe at how Mama held it together, instructing me to call my aunt to come and pick me up, emergency page my stepfather, while she took herself to the hospital.

Super woman or nah?

Little sis had come into my life and I was a new woman. From the time she burst her water sack to let me know she was on her way, I pulled up my big girl panties and knew that it was time for me to be a responsible big sister.

Despite my multiple “911” alerts to my step father’s pager, he showed up too late, Mommy was already at the hospital.

———————————————————————————————

This was the trend. A dad who was never there and a stepfather who was late when it mattered most.

———————————————————————————————

I brought this 9 year old girl into my marriage.

The one who learned the absence of a man was more promising then his presence.

———————————————————————————————

“Why didn’t you fill up the gas tank?” I snapped at him. I was vividly upset and I wanted him to feel it. I started shouting at him and emasculating him with my words. I didn’t care about respecting him or about any of the crap I read in Gary Chapman’s marriage books. He needed to know an empty gas tank wasn’t acceptable.

This wasn’t about the gas tank. This was about the 9 year old Mac who had grown too accustomed to pulling the weight of an absent father and stepfather.

… and my husband was triggering a place in me that reminded me to vividly of how my dad(s) left life’s responsibilities to me.

Let’s Connect on Instagram @YoursVulnerably


 

Here’s what I’m learning —

  1. It’s not enough to just know my triggers, I need to continue learning why I’m being triggered.

When I understand why something triggers a certain emotion in me, I can tailor my actions to be a tempered response instead of a blasted reaction filled with regret and embarrassment.

2.  My past experiences aren’t reflective of what’s to come.

Yet, my understanding of life comes from the experiences I’ve had. Where else would it come from? Everything I see and hear is through the filter of my own interpretations and not necessarily as it is.

TNW Quote

I study, read, engage in open dialogue and watch ted talks to open myself up to perspectives that are different from my own. Which is why I love when my vulnerabites bring their perspectives to my blog.

3.  I’m responsible for my life now.

At 30-something, I can’t keep blaming the absence of my dad for ruining my marriage. It’s up to me. I have to determine the kind of woman I want to be and create intentional steps to becoming her.

I watched Wale on Red Table Talk and he said something along the lines of, “I never saw my dad act a certain way with my mom, so I don’t even know how to treat women in that way.”

I rolled my eyes.

Dear Wale, not seeing your father be romantic with your mom is not an excuse for you to do the same thing. You are a big “hard back” man (with money) …. get some damn counseling. Take classes. Get a mentor. Do what you have to do, to become the man you want to be.

Marriage is holding a mirror to the parts of me I can’t cover in MAC and Fenty products. I can decide to resent the process that exposes the parts of me that reveal I’m not the wife I thought I’d be —- or I can swallow my pride, accept where I fall short, acknowledge when my behavior is not ok and work to improve it.

Here’s what I’m saying in a nutshell — there has to be a time when your childhood experiences can no longer be responsible for who you are in your adult life.

Now Vulnerabites, typing this on a screen and living it — two very different things.

But I’m growing — ever evolving — still BECOMING 🙂

Let’s Connect on Instagram @YoursVulnerably

Vulnerabites, let’s talk — tell me about an instance when you’ve seen a version of your “younger self” poke their head into your present life? Are you always aware of it and how do you handle it?

See you in the comments!

Oh and remember to S & S (Subscribe & Share)!

 

27 Comments Add yours

  1. driftyness says:

    Whew, this post gave me a dragging! My Dad was/is physically present, but he is emotionally absent and has let me down tremendously in a lot of ways. I don’t really like the phrase “daddy issues,” but I think my experiences with my Dad has impacted my view of men and how distrustful I can be towards them at times. I am hugely skeptical of marriage and relationships because I don’t want to end up with someone like my Dad. That scene with you not caring about emasculating your husband was so on point for me: I know I’ve had moments where I’m busting balls for no reason.

    Dating has really been dragging my various insecurities and traumas out into the light for me to see. I’ve been trying to slow down and do some soul searching so I’m not making other people pay for my own issues. And in that, you’re right – we can’t blame our problems on our parents as adults. We have to put on our big girl panties and fix our ish. Trying to do this now by journalling my thoughts.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. It’s brave to share so personally and I always love the conversations that form around them and I always walk away with some good food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Drifty!!!! My little sis blogger!!! Girl, I absolutely love how self-reflective you are — it’s quite refreshing honestly!!

      “Dating has really been dragging my various insecurities and traumas out into the light for me to see.” —- MMmhhh, what a privilege you have there. Dating doesn’t always give room to the closeness that it usually takes to see our issues, but you are getting it! Don’t take that for granted.

      Journaling —- I absolutely love that! Research says that people who write about their experiences actually heal faster from their trauma —- so write away honey — write away!

      Thank you for always adding your voice to the conversation! You absolutely have a seat at this table honey!

      Big Hugs to ya!

      Like

  2. Kaje Marie says:

    Hey Mac! Missed you and glad to have you back!

    “there has to be a time when your childhood experiences can no longer be responsible for who you are in your adult life.” –> YES, nothing to add.

    I am aware of and can see how trauma I went through was affecting my decision to have kids and is affecting my marriage currently. I don’t think my husband knows this trauma is affecting us in the way it is, but because it’s my trauma I can clearly see how it’s manifesting right now. The part related to kids, I have already addressed, but its manifestation in my marriage… I honestly don’t have the energy to do that work at this moment (but will VERY soon). I’ve been slowly and intentionally working on my healing and that part just hasn’t happened yet. Hopefully, I will get myself back on track with blogging so I can share my story, which is another thing I know I am supposed to do but am moving at a snail’s pace on too. *sigh

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kelli girl! I applaud the refreshing self-awareness that you have — enough to say — “but its manifestation in my marriage… I honestly don’t have the energy to do that work at this moment ” —— I think half the battle is being able to recognize these places, the other half is deciding not to let it ruin your adult life — Like you said, when you’re ready you’ll tackle it.

      Which brings up a good shift of perspective. What from our husband’s childhood is showing up in our marriage, that he’s aware of, but not dealing with? Ouch.

      Thank you for always contributing so honestly to the conversation!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, Sis! You were spot on with this one. I had to learn in my mid thirties and it’s my motto now and that’s “Put and Expiration Date on the Ghosts of Childhood’s Past” – so many times as you stated Wale said above, we want to use those instances as excuses as to why we may do, say or act the way we do…..and while that may have been excusable when you were 8 or 10…it’s inexcusable at 28 and 30. We have to let it go and create our own stories, not the one’s that our parents or dads failed to do.

    My dad wasn’t around either, In my almost 40 yrs (next month) I seen him twice. Once after my grandmothers funeral when I was 9 and again at 14 in child support court. I wrote about this instance and the effect his absence had on me. I blamed choosing men that were old enough to be my dad or grandfather on the fact that “My daddy wasn’t around” so I didn’t have a role model. But I had to realize that those relationship terrors were not his fault but mine. I chose to get into it with an excuse as my ticket to behave in such a way.

    I’m glad you wrote this post and put it out there. If these things aren’t dealt with, we’ll take them over into a bag of apples that started out so fresh and good – will now be tainted because we brought in those ghosts, and we all know what one bad apple does to the rest. I always love your posts, their so honest but they also help all of us to deal with our **ish so we can live better, WHOLE, complete and free lives.

    Keep writing Mac! the world needs your vulnerability and I’m sooo glad I’m here for it. Much Love =)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh My darling Roshonda! You know I love when you add to the conversation — because you always share a part of you that let’s me know I’m not on my own out here in these streets!!!

      ” In my almost 40 yrs (next month) I seen him twice. ” — Wow! That in itself. Selah.

      Let that sink in.

      That is not a light statement. And even the instances in which you saw him (death and debt) — so even when you saw him, wasn’t in the best situations… sheesh.

      Girl, I hear you on the older men — I “dated” one man ‘very much my senior’ — that’s for another blog. I didn’t really like him, I just liked how he provided. I didn’t connect it to an absent father, but I can see now how that might have been a cry for his absence. Whheewww child.

      I feel like we need wine and some comfy couches to unpack some of these life experiences.

      I am so glad to hear that you’ve recognized the inner child in you and symptoms of hers that show up in your adult life, so very proud of you…not an easy feat (especially at 40) — it’d be so much easier to just say “this is how I am.”

      Proud of you honey! Big Big Big Hugs.

      PS. If you don’t know it, I absolutely appreciate your (almost 40 next month) thoughts — I feel privileged to have someone ahead of me in life say “yeah girl, you are on the right track!”

      Thank You Roshonda.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Maccccc!!!!! Girl, you know I didn’t even think of it like that “death and debt” – yeah, what a way to meet someone, huh?? Yes to those big comfy couches and some wine. It’s been a struggle, a lesson and a ride getting to 40. A lot of power struggles with myself, my mind and emotions but as Celie from the Color Purple says “But I’m Here!” – Praise God!

        I’m proud of you too Mac, I really am =)

        P.S. Been enjoying those vids on Instagram, I feel like I been traveling with ya! Haha, keep’em coming and enjoy yourself Luv. Talk Soon!! 💜 =)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Roshonda!!!! This is long overdue, but thanks to Instagram — was able to wish you a timely Happy Birthday!!! But it doesn’t hurt to say it again!!! The big 4-0!!! Girl you made it!!! Happy Happy Happiest of a New Year to you!

          You are here! And Praise God indeed!

          P.S. Lol… glad I take you along with me! I’m hoping to do a blog on my trip, sooner than later!

          Big Hugs to ya!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yessss!! I enjoyed seeing all your posts on IG about your trip. Someone special to me lives in Nigeria and he’s been telling me about table mountain and cape town, so to see those pics were life because I finally could see what he has been calling me =) and telling me about. It was wonderful to see you there….

            Can’t wait for the post! & Thanks for the b-day shout-out and wish again, it’s still my month…lol. Take Care Sis!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. “Someone special to me ” — I honestly could not see anything else after I read this…. lol.

              Is this someone special we’ll get to see or hear about it soon>?!?!?!?

              You can’t just casually slide this in boo and not expect questions…lol

              Pictures and videos are great but nothing like seeing it yourself!

              I hope you get a chance to visit!!!!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Hahahahah!!!! Well, I’ve been testing the water now for about almost 7 mos now, it’s a long distance/international…lol…relationship but we’ll see how it goes. I haven’t said anything about it too much because you know…..I think Love has an on again/off again relationship with me….hehehe

                Anywho, I hinted somewhat towards it in my celebrating the #4 post, towards the very end…lol.

                We’ll see Sis – BUT! I will definitely be dropping a post when something happens. There’s more I can say, but – that’ll have to be for a private message. I’m sure I’d have to be there in person to experience the full throttle.

                Love Ya Mac! Hope you’re doing well today, Talk Soon ❤️

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Oh Roshonda!!! This is exciting! I hope you give yourself permission to be all the way excited about even the possibility of this becoming something more!

                  No pre-disappointment self preservation type living.

                  Just living in today ❤️

                  I look forward to that post!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Yesss! We’ll see how it goes…
                    Yasss, today is what we have – Much Love Sis ❤️

                    Like

  4. We must be soul sisters or something because we are always on the same page!

    I’ve been noticing some things about myself that I never knew existed. I can be a little “clingy” sometimes. I’ve been asking myself where this behavior come from. Have I always had this characteristic but it’s only manifesting itself in my marriage? How does 8-year Yaa Yaa feel about this? I don’t think that it is jeopardizing my marriage but I’m still curious as to the root of this behavior.

    It’s so funny that we’re addressing our inner child lately in our posts. I saw the most recent video by Mario, called I Care For You. He talks about mental health and how he is addressing his inner-child. Pretty powerful video. It has been the inspiration for some of my thoughts and blog posts lately.

    I want to commend you for your commitment to dealing with your inner-child. My friend and I were talking the other day about how important it is for people to be self-aware. There are so many people walking around with destructive behavior, yet have no self-awareness. So, of course, the behavior continues and it does not benefit anyone. Self-awareness, in my opinion, is the beginning of wisdom and better decision-making.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh my sweet Yaa Yaa!!! Girl — Indeed. Indeed. Indeed. We are blog besties, cut from the same cloth!!!!

      OR — Is it that we all have shared life experiences, that only a few of us have managed to articulate and have the courage to share out loud?

      “it’s only manifesting itself in my marriage?” — Girl — Like, I said… Marriage will show us some places in ourselves that we couldn’t see on our own. There is no other relationship on earth like it. None. I think sibling-hood does run close though.

      Yes! Dealing with our inner child. Was talking to my cousin the other day on this blog and the conclusion we came to…. child issues come from adults with issues… who are just adults with childhood issues… a vicious cycle if we’re not careful!

      Kudos to you on dealing with 8-year old Yaa Yaa and having the courage to bring us in on your journey. Big hugs to ya honey! It’s nice to have you back!

      Like

  5. HarleyQ2 says:

    It’s interesting how much we carry from childhood both positive and negative. In order to let it go, you have to recognize the connection and be ready to face the past honestly before you can move forward. That being said, adults make choices to continue the negative (the devil you know).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes Harley! I agree…. our healing will be accompanied with “facing the past—- honestly.” Which in other words means acknowledging the “event” in your childhood and being able to say honestly enough, “this event hurt me” —- the challenge is being able to identify how the hurt shows up in our lives as adults.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. HarleyQ2 says:

        Yes, the manifestations of the hurt are always so subtle that many people don’t recognize the link

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Right. Recognizing the link is not easy. Any recommendations?

          How can someone know what they don’t know?

          Like

          1. HarleyQ2 says:

            Behaviors and emotions are always the sign. Negative behaviors and disturbing feelings are repetitive. They are always triggered by something. Most people know (when they are being introspective and honest) that something isn’t quite right. You typically start at the presenting discomfort and work your way back through your life.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yyeess… I like that —- START at the presenting discomfort and work backwards. Yes.

              We also have to be WILLING to explore this space. It’s work. And sometimes it’s easier to sit in the comfort of the behaviors and feelings of our triggers. We know that space. It’s familiar.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. J says:

    This topic is so interesting because I have a variation of this topic often with a few people.
    The human condition is so fascinating because even though we are capable of reasoning, that primitive emotional aspect of our nature continues to dominate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey J! Yes indeed. As I’m reading “Laws of Human Nature”, I agree that we do have a primitive emotional nature —- but whether or not it dominates has to be within our control.

      Can you imagine what the world would look like if we all always reacted in our primitive emotional nature?

      Like

  7. KayLuv says:

    Mmm… you spoke nothing but the truth! I am still dealing with negative childhood memories that straight up have a kung fue grip over me. I constatly have to remind myself to not allow my past hurts dictate my now. Dealing with festered old emotional wounds are painful, but I can’t use the pain as an excuses (not when my destiny is at stake)! Healing takes work, but I owe it to myself and this world to be the best Kay I can be.

    It’s good to have you back, you were missed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol…. Thanks Kay! Girl, it’s glad to be back!!! Honestly, we all have childhood experiences showing up in our adult life. I don’t think it goes away over night, but it’s helpful to be able to at the very least recognize it. And yes, you do owe it to yourself 🙂 We all do! Happy Healing!

      Like

  8. R. Leckey Harrison says:

    I suppose I could go on about developmental trauma and so on, and the fact that until you get the trauma out of your body, your dad will continue to ruin your marriage.

    I’m going to presume you know that already.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually — can you share with us what it means to practically “get the trauma out of your body?” — Also, is this your field of study?

      Like

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