The importance of family.

The people in my life and how they have influenced me.

Happy Father’s Day?

on June 16, 2013

There are so many articles flying around at the minute talking about how important it is for children to have positive male role models in their lives when growing up. I couldn’t agree more and I certainly think my personality has been shaped through my experiences with my Dad. Barack Obama has recently said that being a father is “the most important job many of us will ever have.”

Unfortunately, the most influential member of my family has to be my Father.

I haven’t seen my Dad since I was 11. My parents divorced and I was, thankfully, given a choice as to whether I wanted contact to continue. I didn’t even have to think about my answer. No brainer. He was emotionally abusive, a compulsive liar, a cheat, sometimes physically violent and an all-round waste of air. I have no qualms with saying I hate him. My mum did her best as a single parent and we were better off without him. I have often said I wish she’d have divorced him earlier, it would have saved so many years of heartache.

Today is June 16th 2013: Father’s Day. The first thing you see when opening Facebook, Twitter or other social networking pages, is people wishing their fathers a ‘Happy Father’s Day’. I have to admit a pang of jealousy hits me right in the stomach when I see my friends posting their status updates and pictures. I never had a bond with my Dad, I never got to let him vet my first boyfriend, he never walked me down the aisle or gave me away when I got married to my husband. We never had that first dance you always see on those cringe-worthy TV weddings, he doesn’t come to my house to fix that leaky tap or put up some shelves, he never taught me to drive. All the stuff other dads do, he didn’t. He has missed out and so have my brothers and I. If I saw him in the street I probably wouldn’t even recognise him.

My father had taught me that all men lie and cheat, that women do not deserve to be respected emotionally or sexually. He also made it quite clear that women ought to be a slim size 10 with at least a D-cup bust for a man to find them attractive. My mum was always on diets and I certainly ended up with a very poor body image and by the time I came out of my first relationship my self-esteem was on the floor.

In my teens I flitted from boyfriend to boyfriend, having the odd relationship with much older men, constantly seeking love and the craving to be desired was huge and overpowering. I can see now that I was looking for someone to take me under their wing, a male constant in my life, but I was looking in all the wrong places. I became trapped in an abusive relationship and I felt like I was looking in on myself, screaming at myself that I was turning into my mother; downtrodden, abused, worthless. My boyfriend was another version of my father. I woke up one day, the clichéd ‘lightbulb moment’, and I left. I became a better person that day. A stronger person and I vowed to never let myself be a doormat ever again. There is a popular saying that women look for their father in their partners. That was certainly true in this instance.

Then I met my husband.

I turned up to meet him with no intentions of beginning a relationship. He was most likely going to be another in a long string of one-night stands, another notch on the already heavily engraved bedpost.

But he was different.

He taught me that not all men were like my father. I trusted him and he made me feel safe. I loved him from the word ‘go’. And he loved me. I just knew it. I felt it in my bones, that he was ‘The One’. Seven years have elapsed and I love him more than ever. He is my soul mate, my everything. He doesn’t lie, cheat or shout. He respects me and now I respect myself. I am a person with opinions and feelings that he respects. He is a fantastic father who spends time with his children and teaches them valuable lessons in life. He tries hard to be that positive role model in our children’s lives that my childhood lacked.

Being a good parent isn’t easy and we aren’t handed an instruction guide in the maternity ward. We do our best with the tools we are given from our parents. Perhaps my father’s parents were abusive; perhaps my dad couldn’t break that cycle. For that, I pity him.

Today is a Happy Father’s Day, to my husband from my beautiful children.

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One response to “Happy Father’s Day?

  1. […] Happy Father’s Day? (jemmalouisepepper.wordpress.com) […]

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