Doesn’t the title just scream incest, whips and rape? Nah, just got reminded of a Marian Keyes novel.
I’ve just ended my counselling session and today we talked about my relationship with my father. My father and I, we were never close. Growing up, I believed that my father resented me because I was a surprise child. This was further reinforced by my observation of how differently my siblings individually and I were treated. He’d ask my brothers for help, ask them to accompany him to places and he used to extend the invitation to me until I grew up – I guess he just didn’t know how to deal with an angsty teenage girl.
He would never praise or encourage us, rather he would chastise us if we were to do wrong in his eyes – the reality could be different to my siblings, but this is what I remember of my childhood.
To get a reaction out of him, I used to hang out late with the older teenagers or not come home occasionally but I never did get the reaction I wanted. I wanted him to ask me where I was, who I was out with, what I was doing – I just wanted some verbal confirmation that he cared. I just wanted to know I was loved.
Reflecting now it’s almost juvenile the methods I tried to get his affection. Almost like a textbook case of acting out in order to get attention, but that was what I did.
Fast forward to now, that I’m 21 years old, not a rebellious teen who thinks she knows everything anymore and I’m seeking help for my personal issues. What came up as a theme for discussion was my relationship with my father and how it links to my relationships with boys and men and it was truly an eye opening talk, to say in the least. My father and I have a 44 year age gap between us and he was raised by very traditional Malays who in those days strongly believed that men were to play a central figure while women were to play a back-up role: to serve to the needs and wants of the central figure. I may not like it but I understand my father’s parenting and ‘husbanding’ style better now –
It’s not his fault that he is the way he is, it’s the way he was brought up and conditioned to act and feel, especially as he grew up in a war-filled environment (the Japanese occupation of Singapore, 1942-1946).
At the end of the day, it would be difficult for me to change him but what I can change is how I deal with it.
I just want to share a phrase I found online that I really like and can connect with:-
Until next time, then.