#daddyissues: How to get a boyfriend

I think if this is the blogpost to make you hate me, this might be it. If you have a great relationship with your dad, this is going to be the one that makes you think I’m ungrateful little bitch – or this could be my inner critic talking, because shit talking myself is it’s favourite thing to do.

So here it is: my least favourite person in my life is my father.

For years and years, always in my life, he’s been an antagonistic force. My dad is a cabinetmaker and makes furniture, and if you look under the coffee table at my parents house you’ll see 5 year old me’s handwriting in crayon – ‘dad is bad. Mum is good’.

It’s taken me a really, really long time to find out and realise that his behaviour is actually a textbook narcissistic parent, and this page gives me life. I could never understand his behaviour- it wasn’t like he was 100% selfish – he sacrifices a lot for his children, but his favourite sound is his own voice. He constantly was on everyone else about hurting his feelings, and yet is the quickest to shit on everyone else and doesn’t give a shit about how anyone else feels.

He’s ruined family gatherings, causes all the family’s largest fights, has the Chinese male-is-the-head-of-the-family mentality who descends into pure rage over the most weirdest things like my brother buying his first car (because he didn’t trust TradeMe) and me driving in the rain (am I supposed to become borderline agoraphobic in the winter??).

What I hate the most about him about how his emotions rule the whole family. If he’s suffering, everyone else must suffer too. He once had dental problems and he ruined everything for months – constantly screaming at my mother, constantly picking fights. And yet when I had a tooth that eventually turned into a root canal, I don’t think he noticed. It’s the endless double standards, the endless talking like he’s the best and smartest and everything I do can’t measure up. And yet, every time I take his advice, it’s wrong and turns to shit.

It’s one of the reasons for why I’m so ‘rebellious’ with my parents – I just know that if I have their approval, I’m doing something wrong.

Unfortunately a lot of my core unhappy memories stem interactions with my dad.

Here is a list of all the trauma’s I’m comfortable admitting at this time:

  • Forcing me to skip 100 times after school every day to try get me to grow because he thought I was too short.
  • Forcing me to tell the time whenever I was far away from the clock knowing I needed glasses (and him refusing to admit that I needed glasses) and him being vocally disgusted that I couldn’t see, giving me eyesight and clock anxiety that still exist
  • Forcing me to go to Maths and music tutoring during weekends at levels I couldn’t keep up with, enjoy and hated until I turned 16.
  • Banning me from reading fiction books (but I still did it).
  • Having to do homework in front of my parents every night.
  • Losing his shit at me for being excited for a school trip when I was 12 because I was excited to have McDonalds for dinner for the first time.
  • Always believed I was a troublemaker and guilting me for wanting to hang out with friends: according to him, I was always the one who instigated friend hangouts and spend money, like leaving the house was a crime. If a teacher had ever said I started a mass fist fight he would’ve 100% believed it; I grew up knowing that he would never ever defend me despite me being a TOTAL teacher’s pet.
  • After seeing all the Year 13s get prizes when I was in Year 12, told me and my mum I was average and would amount to nothing (so I didn’t invite them to a prizegiving when I scooped up a trophy in Year 13, since my mum also said it was boring watching me get prizes).
  • Threw a tantrum and told me I was ripping the family apart at the airport when I left to go on a uni exchange in America for 6 months when I was 20 years old.
  • Constantly berating my mother; she can never do good enough. Always running back to his own mummy and daddy.
  • Ruining family moments with his temper tantrums: once stormed off at a extended family gathering because he was getting hangry and making everyone upset; super disrespectful not only normally but also losing so much face in the Chinese culture.
  • Threatens suicide during arguments to try win, which makes me explosively mad because I know he’s doing it for dramatic effect.

I heard this saying early on that daughters are a man’s revenge for everything he’s done wrong in his life. And for all of my teenage years, I intended to make that come true and make his life as miserable as he made mine.

I would fight fire with fire. I would feel out of control rage whenever he raged at me, and I would do anything to win and intimidate him in the argument. I think out of my siblings I have had the most screaming arguments with him. And I’ll do it again and again when he does, because it seems to work in getting him to back off.

I tell this to my therapist, and I’m ready to hear that I’m an extremely bitter and ungrateful person who needs anger management. 

It’s the opposite – she says it’s me putting up boundaries when I’m pushed. Anger is my warning to back off and when my parents have gone over my boundaries -because I am not an angry person. I never get into major arguments with my friends or brothers. I was SHOOK when I went into silent treatment during fights with my ex: I thought with my background I would go into violent anger. But no. It only happens with my parents, or specifically, my dad. 

Another therapist told me you can tell it’s narcissism when they seem to feel better after the fights, and a ‘normal’ person doesn’t – and it’s true, it’s like it never happened for him and he feels lighter while I’m literally raging and ready to squash him.

My father was unemployed for 5 years while I was in high school, meaning he was always at home and making my homelife a misery. Every time he wasn’t there, I loved the absence. And I feel like this has to be related to how I am always romantically alone, growing up wanting the emptiness and never trusting.

My therapist and I do the same exercise that we did with my mum: why my dad may be the way he is.

I don’t know much about the parental history about my dad, but I know a bit about his childhood; he was the second youngest of 5 children, not the oldest son and not the youngest who was babied. He was in daycare from the beginning, and was constantly sick without his parents there. He constantly wanted attention and was the best dancer and runner in the school (typical parent boasting, I don’t really believe this). 

He now has no friends but his siblings and parents, mostly because he rants and talks the majority of the time. He has worked in factories and handyman jobs his whole life. I believe he sees my brothers and I as extensions of himself rather than our own people. 

It’s like a small epiphany: I start to see where it’s from now. He just constantly wants attention. From being the least important son and no parental attention, to living in poverty and in a country where he can’t read or write much English, all he wants is attention. By throwing tantrums, by constantly talking, by inserting himself into situations and making his unhappiness and feelings the centre of attention. Sadly, the output is a bit immature (I have literally had my 7 year old cousins tell me my dad was a baby).

We come up with a strategy to deal with him, because although I can’t stand him, I also don’t want to cause a real family fight and go no-contact:

To treat my parents’ outbursts like they are 5 years old tantrums. 

If a 5 year old told you you were fat – would you take on board? You shouldn’t, and you don’t. And so when my parents nut off and tell me I’m fat, throw a rage tantrum for what I now know is attention; treat it like a child doing it. Don’t give in, don’t drop your boundaries, don’t let it get to you.

And guess what? For the first time, all the hours I’ve spent watching Supernanny and It’s Me Or the Dog have finally paid off. Badly behaved children and dogs are my biggest pet peeve, and I will always stick to my guns (not that I’ve actually dealt with any children or dogs).

I don’t know. It’s such a huge topic. I’m terrified that a future partner will be like my dad – overpowering, forcing me to do things I don’t want to do, always arguing, dealing with male ego. My therapist says that he lowkey tortured me – I wasn’t able to eat, sleep, read or feel on my own accord: everything had to be my dad’s irrational rules. Living away from my parents is a dream.

I told you guys last time that when I think about approaching a boy, it’s all fear – fear that he’ll make my life like my childhood again. Fear that he’ll find my neediness, all this anger and darkness I show about my parents extremely ugly. Fear that I am not pretty or interesting enough to hold his interest, since my parents, the never found me the most beautiful and interesting person on the planet even if all I could do was blink. Fear he’ll leave me the first time I show a hint of anything bad. 

I sometimes can’t stand myself. How can anyone else? (sidenote, this page is so wonderful and I’m displaying classic child of narcissistic parent traits).

It’s all connected, and my therapist says I’m still grieving the parental relationship I was wished I had, and why my inner critic is the 15 year old who still lives in constant repressed spite and anger. Because when I think of my father, I think of burning rage, and all the feelings, thoughts and experiences I hate and store in the deepest part of my heart. 

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