Those who have grieved their fathers in healthy ways did so by facing the facts that Dad just didn't love them in the way that they should have been loved. They read books, attended counseling sessions and did other things to free their minds, bodies and other things tied to toxic fathers and enabling mothers. So when the opportunity comes to date a fatherless son or daughter, with much emotional baggage, the unsuspecting just don't know what they are getting themselves into when they do. Rather than deal with issues, some will avoid dating any longer, others will persuade themselves into continuing a troubled relationship while abusers will deal with problems by abusing victims even more with their controlling ways.
There are side effects that sons and daughters experience when dad just wasn't all that he should have been to them. Look out for the warning signs that you and your partner will continue to ride the dips of a roller-coaster romance until someone says, "I can't do this anymore! I have issues!"
1. Far too needy. "Touch me here...Do this for me...I need you to go with me...Can you please stay with me, don't leave!" Think for a moment, did the fatherless child spend years wanting a father who was always busy, never around, or had frequent "business" to take care of?
2. Crazy about you keeping your promises. "You said you would do this...You promised me...You never are there for me. I hate you for not doing what you said!" A partner is a bit over-the-top about those things you said you would do, but forgot about, couldn't do immediately, had trouble keeping, etc. Daddy promised to do things too, but didn't or when he did his service was subpar.
3. Yelling over the littlest of things while bringing up old issues about his/her family. "What is up with that?" you might think. Well, the father might have lost it quite a bit with his daughter or son about whatever the issues--no matter how minor. Maybe it was the mother guilty of this negative behavior due to the father's demanding ways. Whoever influenced the fatherless son or daughter was a bit off, abnormal and now it is showing up in a dysfunctional relationship.
4. Strict, demanding critical..."My dad didn't play...He was nothing to mess with...My father was scary...I didn't enjoy being around him." Could it be that the things you say and do take your partner back to bad times living with a domineering father? Does he or she act just like Demanding Dad?
5. Violent. Need we say more? Did Dad/Step-dad abuse mom, children, pets, etc. in front of your partner? Violence is a learned behavior and when Dad was angry, his children watched and most likely handled life challenges in poor ways.
There are many other things you will start to think about and connect the dots as to why your abusive partner (or you) is such a mess. You will also discover why sometimes you enable your partner and vice versa due to your upbringing or other familiar things that happened during childhood.
When two people refuse to face the fact that they are troubled and rather seek to place blame on others, go into denial, minimize their issues, and do other things to run away from the truth, it isn't any wonder why the relationship suffers and people who know them don't like being around them very much.
Nicholl McGuire is the author of Say Goodbye to Dad and other books.