My dad and I have never had a relationship. On my 25th birthday, he called to wish me a happy birthday for the first time in my life. I had told him how much it meant to me and asked him to call me once a month. He agreed but he never called again after that. He will call his 5 other kids but never me. It felt like he was saying “I just really don’t want a relationship with you.” Am I overreacting to still have frustrated feelings toward my father?

Answer

It's said that past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. If your dad was absent for the first 25 years of your life (emotionally or physically), he was an irresponsible and unloving parent. It would be unwise of you to believe that he's different now or will change down the road. If you choose to have a relationship, you must accept him “as is.” Moreover, you must realize that you'll be the one who puts in the effort to stay connected: phoning, texting, e-mailing, and making plans to get together.

Only you can decide if he's worth your time and effort or if you're better off focusing on people who are emotionally available and desire a reciprocal relationship. Your dad didn't establish a bond with you during those critical attachment years when you were a little so the intense feelings between parent and child just aren't there. Some fatherless daughters refer to such men as “sperm donors,” not wanting to bestow on them the honored title of “dad.” For them, that's a word reserved for someone who fulfilled his parental obligations and sacrificed for his kids.

It seems like I'm missing a big piece of the puzzle regarding your dad and your siblings. I don't understand why he phones them but not you. If you don't know why this is the case, you should definitely discuss it with him. A relationship isn't worth having unless you can communicate and clear up misunderstandings.

The author, Maya Angelou, famously said: If someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. “ I think your dad has revealed his character to you through the many things he's done and the many things he's failed to do. I hope that you can accept that you don't have a warm, loving daddy so you can have peace.

Updated on January 30, 2020

Original Article:

Fatherless Daughters: How Growing Up Without a Dad Affects Women
By McKenna Meyers
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