Modeling Our Fathers
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Truth.
In the past few years, Iâ€™ve given a lot of thought to how women look for a reflection of their fathers in their ideal mates. Sometimes itâ€™s not readily seen.
So when your father is abusive, controlling, manipulative…are you damned?
Thatâ€™s a question Iâ€™ve struggled with. Iâ€™m trying to focus Â more Â on Â things Â about Â him Â I Â loved Â when Â I Â was youngerâ€”on those trips to Â town Â when I was a tiny girl and he made me feel he was so proud of Â me and was showing me off like a prize, when he truly appreciated me for who I was and I didnâ€™t have to prove my worth be- cause I was on a pedestal in his eyes, when he was smiling and friendly and excited, when he was sociable and knew people and knew things, when there was a bit of boyishness in him and joy. As an adult, I better know now why he was those things then, but as a child, I saw it differently.
Those are things I find appealing in a man, and if I must model my preference for a man after some aspect of my father, then these are the facets I will aim for.
But what about me and whom Iâ€™ve modeled myself after?
I never wanted to be like my dad, so I took the other extreme and emulated my codependent mother. Iâ€™ve been undoing that programming, Â standing up for myself, saying no a lot, not taking care of everyone else at my own expense, Â being more Â demanding Â about havingÂ my own needs met. So Iâ€™m less likely now to Â be a clone of my mother.
I donâ€™t want to be a clone of my dadâ€™s mother, either.
She took the dominant female mentality to its harshest, most jaggedÂ Â manifestationsâ€”domineering, Â controlling, with nary a glimmer of nurturing…at least that I ever saw in all the times I was with her growing up or all the times I hugged her and got absolutely no physical response, not even a grunt. No sign of mothering or nurturing toward me or toward anyone else that I ever saw…ever, ever. Itâ€™s hard for me to accept my in-control Â side and my dominant traits because of my feelings for her, because I donâ€™t want to accept that I have anything in me that Â vaguely resembles her.
So Iâ€™m looking for that happy medium where Iâ€™m not the doormat my mother has so often been and Iâ€™m not the cold, heartless sadist my fatherâ€™s mother always was. Iâ€™m me, with a nice mix of being loving but being in control of my environment and my life.