It’s only recently I’ve considered what an effect not having a father figure had on me. So I thought I’d gift you all with a list of things!
Back story: Parents split when I was 10. I took it badly, counselled at the age of 11 but didn’t carry it on, fought on and failed miserably. Relationship with my dad was always rocky, and now it’s non-existent.
So what does the lack of having a father really mean, does it really have that much of an impact? In a word – yes. Let me explain.
I’ll start by saying my mum raised me from the age of 10 along with my sister, on her own with no help. She is, in a word, incredible. She did a brilliant job and still does to this day. Her view is that we come first no matter what, and in all honesty I wouldn’t have had my upbringing any other way.
However, there are certain things fathers do with their sons – be it stereotypical or personal to the two.
1. hobbies – as a young lad my dad was always into football. Was I? No. Why? Because he couldn’t be bothered to spend time with me. It’s not much, but as an adult it’s always difficult to strike up conversations with strangers who 9/10 tend to like football. Cooking and baking conversations just aren’t the same.
2. Shaving – I know not every lad does this, but he never did show me how to shave. So much so I just use some electric thing now so it doesn’t look like Sweeney Todd had a go.
3. No more hero – as a young lad I always looked up to my dad. He was a big man who always ‘protected us’. He made the house feel safe, and without him, I always felt vulnerable. In turn, that’s where the anxiety began.
4. Nowhere to turn – I look at my girlfriend now, and some of my mates, who in times that are hard look to their parents to help them. For me it’s different – when he left I became the protector. I can’t call my mum and cause her worry, I’m the one who does the worrying not her.
5. No ‘best friend’. Ok so I have a best mate, what I mean is with father and son it’s different. I look at others with their dads and think ‘God I’d love that!’
This all seems a bit of an odd post, but I promise it’s linked to anxiety! In fact, Number 6, Anxiety. I thought I had anxiety 3 years ago, but after discussing it in counselling, it developed much sooner than that. I’ve always worried, always had that ‘sick’ worry, always.
So yes, it has affected me, quite a bit. But I think it’s also made me stronger in the fact that I was never handed anything, I wasn’t spoiled because my mum had nothing to spoil me with.
Instead, I became independent. I worked from the age of 14, got a levels, a degree, and now I’ve worked myself up to senior level in a fairly large company. I have my own home, I have an incredible and beautiful girlfriend, and I’ve got a sense of pride.
So yes, having a father can make a huge difference and fill gaps here and there, but I think I’ve done alright. Granted, I can’t shave very well but rumour has it beards are in!