About Women (February 6, 2014)

“She’s got daddy issues.”

As defined by Urban Dictionary: “Whenever a female has a fucked up relationship with her father, or absence of a father figure during her childhood, it tends to spill into any adult relationship they embark on, usually to the chagrin of any poor male in their life.”

There’s a brief summation of my “damage,” as put forth by a number of former lovers. The easy resolution offered by the branding is understandably appealing to some men. Rather than wrestle with the notion that I find him an objectionable partner for whatever reason(s), it’s far simpler to head off introspection at the pass. So it follows that it’s not personal. I just have a problem with mankind, and it started with my father.

As the offspring of two profoundly disturbed parents, it’s without question that I have my daddy issues. My father was a volatile manic depressive and during the course of riding his mood swings for 18 years, I became fearful, paranoid and untrusting. A hard won peace certainly but over the ensuing decades, with the assist of lots of therapy sessions, I learned to use those defaults to occasional advantage. My gut and I have a pretty trusting relationship. She senses danger at a dog whistle frequency. I’ve learned to control the panic that used to ensue at the first sign of a threat, and now make what I like to think are more deliberate decisions. Because I’m not doing myself much good if I fall and break a leg while fleeing a burning building, right?

So sure, I’ve got dad hangover. But I had two messed up adults in my young world. And for many years, I most assuredly, definitively and absolutely had mommy issues. And for too long, this meant I had significant challenges bonding with women at all. I never felt I understood them and what they wanted from me. It was somehow infinitely more complicated than relating to the superficial banter of men. Part of the isolation I felt for most of my life came from feeling something like a third gender. I was alien to trust and peace with anybody of either sex, but somehow felt more threatened by the female. Is this because my mother was a pathological liar who always made it known that somehow she felt threatened by me as well? Definitely.

But this post isn’t about Freudian angst over parental relationships that ceased to be a part of my day to day life years ago. That story has been told in fits and starts. It has been explored in group and individual therapy, in long cathartic discussions with my younger sister, and on the web pages of this blog. This vignette is about the joy that comes after all that introspective torture and pain, the lightness and air that is mine in greater abundance everyday because of the good women in my life. The ones I finally let in because I felt more secure with myself and my femininity. The ones who have become a second network of sisters, mother figures, professional colleagues and judgment-free confidantes. The ladies who have encouraged my voice, who’ve beckoned me out from the shadows of shame and isolation. The ones who have no agenda except to celebrate who I am – and who I am with them.

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