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Growing up without your dad around, or not seeing him often...it affects people. As much as people had to admit that it's bothered them, believe me...it has. The reason I've decided to speak about this is that it's something which I can relate to deeply. I didn't see my "dad" very often as a child, and when I did... it's not exactly good memories which I can recall. And honestly, I feel like this subject topic is not spoken about enough, more often its just avoided because the people who can relate to this situation lack/ignore the emotion to connect with it and speak about it. So here I am, speaking openly about it for the first time and about how much it's actually affected me.
First, let me just say—I feel like this affects everybody differently (esp. girls and boys) but of course everyone as an individual will be affected differently, but also I feel like there are certain connections which most people can relate to. Of course, I will be speaking from a female's perspective (but I can't speak for all females), I can't talk about how it affects a male, but I'm sure there will be similarities on the influence it has on everyone in that situation.
My dad had left when I was newly born (around 2 months old)—I never really got a clear reason why he left/why my parents split up but personally I believe it is because of his ex-girlfriend (who he was cheating on my mum with at the time and now has 2 children with). I've had different reasons from different family members, and believe me the stories they tell (bullshit). Sometimes I feel like he left because he didn't want a daughter. (I remember hearing this in my childhood but I forgot who actually said it because my memory is terrible). My dad blames my mum apparently, but he would because men often tend to blame the women when the relationship breaks down, from what I've seen growing up (even though it's very rarely anything to do with the women). My mum has always said it was because of my dad's ex, and that is also what I believe. From what I've always been told, my dad (from before I was even born) was into drugs, drinking and all of that etc... whereas my mum was nothing like that, she didn't want to touch it or be around it nor did she want me and my older brother to be around it. So my dad was out there, selling drugs, smoking drugs, inhaling, or whatever people do with them—and then he met his ex (who was a lot younger than him). She was around 18/19, I think he was around 29/30 at the time. And they both basically became really deep into drugs and became what people would now say "crackheads." From what I've heard, before meeting her my dad was a big-time drug dealer, but I somehow can't grasp that because he has no work ethic and no business mind and even to be a "drug dealer" you need that.
Anyways, my brother was 2 when he left. So he went from having the perfect family to his dad suddenly out of the picture. (This is what I mean when I say it affects people differently). Because even though it was the same situation—it was different for us both. I was born into a let's say "broken family" whereas he had the "neutral family life" and suddenly it was taken away from him. As we were growing up, our dad was constantly in and out of prison, we didn't hear from him much anyway so it wasn't that deep. I do remember visiting him once though, was well awkward. All I cared about was the vending machine with the overpriced chocolates, to be honest. When we did see our dad, it was often him starting an argument with our mum and physically fighting with her (which has genuinely left me with some type of emotional damage—I still have nightmares). The police were called, I remember being around the police A LOT during my childhood, like a little too often. I also remember staying up all night with my mum because my dad would get people to call her and threaten her, and I didn't want her to feel like she's alone. He would often tell me and my brother how we would do vile things to her and then "we could go and live with him," what he failed to understand was we were both perfectly happy exactly where we were. He always thought my mum was the problem, but for me... he was the problem.
Now, I don't want to go into to much detail about the traumatic experiences I faced as a child because of him... there's a lot. But it also goes down to his side of the family. I feel like they have always treated me as an outsider (TO THIS DAY I STILL FEEL LIKE THAT) and that has had a HUGE HUGE impact on me, my confidence, my self-esteem, my trust in people and so much more. I'm not saying one has affected me more than the other. It's more balanced. They both kind of correlate. Like they've both affected me a huge amount but then there are different situations which have had the same effect (which hurts 100x more) e.g my dad going off and having other kids made me feel like me, my mum, and my brother were never good enough and my dad's family never including me in anything (when they should have and could have) also made me feel exactly the same way. And because these 2 situations are connected as they both make me feel like "I'm not good enough," it's made my self-esteem very low on a day to day basis. Honestly, I could talk about a hundred different ways in which its influenced my life on a day to day basis—but you would be reading until 2020.
Every day, and when I say every day—I mean every single day from the second I wake up to the second I fall asleep, it bothers me. Honestly, when I wake up and I get ready I look at myself in the mirror and think "what is so wrong with me that my own family doesn't even accept me or want to be around me?" When I'm on my way to college, it bothers me, I think about it because now it's not just my family I'm worried about—its everyone. What goes through my mind is "If my family doesn't like me, why will other people?" And this causes me to push people away to the extent where I just come across as rude. But deep down what I'm thinking is "These people don't like me, there is something wrong with me, I don't want to force them to be around me." It also comes down to trust issues. I'm constantly paranoid that if I let somebody in, they're gonna just get up one day and leave, and laugh at me like I never meant anything. And again all this comes down to the way I feel I've been treated by my dad and his family. Like an outsider, like I don't belong, I'm irrelevant. I know people will say "don't let it affect you" but oh my friend, it does... and there's nothing I can do about that for I am a human and I have emotions and feelings.
Let us talk about the psychological effect which it impacts on most.
I totally agree because I totally have major anger issues. They say you're "more likely to be aggressive." I have more of a "quiet anger" which I feel is so much more volatile than any other anger because it builds up, matures along with you—it has no release point, but it's there. It can cause you to act with stupidity and that's a terrible way to release anger.
Teenagers who have grown up without a dad are more susceptible to depression. This is a hard subject for me as I don't want to recall dark times by speaking about it too much. But depression has been a huge part of my life since I was around 13, it still comes and goes, but I always manage to get through the darkest of times and restore balance in my life no matter how bad it gets to me.
As I spoke about before, it has had a huge impact on my self-esteem. Personally, I feel like this is one of the biggest issues it has on people who have grown up without a father. (Esp. young women I feel because we didn't have that male figure in our lives to boost our confidence).
Low School Grades
I genuinely feel like growing up without a father has a huge impact on your education. Whether you're a male, female, no matter what type of upbringing you have had, I feel like it always affects how you are in school. For me, and people I have known who grew up without a dad, we all acted out in school. We had more of an "unbothered" approach to our education, we didn't care. (I'm not saying everyone does this but speaking from experience). We would behave badly, and act out because we wanted that attention. This also causes lacking motivation. But I feel like, in life, you either sink or swim. I've sunk, but I swam back up and I will continue to keep swimming, and for the people who can relate to this, I hope you keep swimming too.
"Fatherless children are more likely to do drugs." I feel like to a certain extent this is true. Because of this generation, drugs are such a norm. It's not as deep as it used to be, but of course, it's not a good thing. But given personal experiences, I do feel like growing up without a dad—you are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol to "take the pain away" and "forget" for a while.
I do feel that my dads' absence has made me a stronger individual and a stronger female. It has also taught me that nothing in life is fair, some people have it tough, and some people have it tougher. Love is not guaranteed just because you share DNA. No matter what we go through in our life, our destiny is our choice—our actions affect our future. I believe that I can overcome the disadvantages I have been given in life and attain a bright future, anybody can.