An apparently emotionless father would have a daughter living in emotional hell. That’s me, the daughter. I’ve suffered many things from my dysfunctional father.
Was he a bad person? No, I don’t think he is.
I told you we had a religious image. It’s not a very bad one, though.
Well, my point is that my father isn’t a bad person. It’s just that, as a father, he is dysfunctional.
What Does It Mean To Be A Dysfunctional Father?
Well, dysfunctional families have a number of common characteristics. One of these is poor communication. A dysfunctional father may be someone who communicates poorly with his children. He doesn’t have to be physically abusive just to be dysfunctional, although physical abuse is a very common characteristic of dysfunction.
He may rather be a poor communicator, and that already creates an emotional void. And that’s how my father was to me.
The Common Characteristics
If you’re curious about the common characteristics of dysfunctional fathers, here they are. I’m referencing what Psych2Go has written about dysfunctional families in general, but it should be easy to draw from it what dysfunctional fathers are like.
A dysfunctional parent can be any or a combination of the following:
- Addicted (to alcohol, smoking, drugs, or some other modern vice)
- A perfectionist (often leaving you a feeling that you’re never good enough)
- Abusive (physically, sexually, or emotionally. In my case, I could say I’ve been emotionally abused.)
- Unpredictable (Thea, my best friend, has a mother who was often unpredictable, causing Thea to feel fear toward her. I told you her mother was cruel.)
- Manipulative (Again, Thea’s mother is like this. The mother is quite insecure and gives “love” only so her kids would take care of her when she gets old. Conditional, it is.)
- Controlling and dominant (You might think this is just the same with the previous point, but there is quite a difference. Here, the parent shows anger to gain control. As a result, the child feels disrespected and forced to behave in ways so as not to upset the parent. This causes a lack of boundaries. Again, the same is true in Thea’s mother. Thea has become overly self-critical, too.)
- Not intimate (with the children or the spouse, I mean the positive one. My father falls under this, too. We’re not close. It feels awkward to express our care for each other.)
- A poor communicator (Again, this is what my father is like. So is Thea’s mother. In different ways. In my case, our communication is strained or even non-existent. As for Thea’s, her mother is just quickly reactive.
If your parents fall for any of these, you’ve suffered from inadequate parenting. It’s never easy. You often end up being codependent in your relationships and even become dysfunctional yourself.
But that doesn’t mean the end of the world for you.
How I’m Coping As A Daughter of A Dysfunctional Father
As you could see, I’m still dealing with it now. I’m still in the process of coping. How am I doing it?
Well, I think awareness is the key.
I would never have taken this journey of blogging and choosing these topics if I was not willing to divulge all these information about myself.
But once I made myself willing to accept what others have been telling me that I am, my journey began.
Yes, it was quite painful to recognize the you have been an incomplete individual seeking love and acceptance from the people you are drawn towards. Yes, it took me some time and a number of failed relationships just to make the connection.
So how was I coping?
Let me do my best to outline it.
- I paused.
- I tried to see within me the signs of codependency myself.
- I recognized myself when I began to get drawn toward Thea (who also has a high codependency score.)
- I moved with caution, trying to understand what was going on in every step of the way.
- Thea and I talked about it—why she was this and why I was that.
- We traced back how awful our families were.
- We resolved to overcome the signs ourselves so we would no longer pass the “curse” to our children.
Now you may ask how I’ve even come to such an awareness about myself. Well, as I told you, some friends have told me, though not in a straightforward manner because I was unwilling to hear then.
Secondly, I read a book.
This was the book I’ve been highlighting in previous posts and in this one. I recommend you read it yourself so you would also discover the many facets of codependency and dysfunctions.
I’m still halfway through it, but you see how it has increased my understanding of the subject. It has helped me conclude how there seemed to be a void in my personality, how I’m always seeking for love in places that are also void in themselves.
But I’ve resolved to put my case to a close.
I challenge you to do the same.
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