The sound of his voice on the phone still makes my heart skip a beat.Some of my happiest childhood memories involved listening to his stories about his Lebanese homeland, watching him play silly made-up songs on his guitar, and riding on the front of his bike to the park. After my parents divorced when I was 2, our visits were limited to every other weekend and summer break.When the children’s personality is affected negatively, their ability to achieve happiness diminishes.This is the case with women who grew up with the emotional absence of their father.Having no idea I was still silently mulling over what I just read the week before, I sat quietly.Hurt and unable to find the words to defend myself nor others who haplessly struggle with “daddy issues” certainly no fault of our own.This is how she develops a healthy familiarity with what a positive expression of love feels like.
I sat there fuming but more so self-conscious; wondering what this meant wholistically about millions of black women…unfortunately those to come. Plenty of women grow up in dysfunctional, two-parent homes internally harmed and confused about real love. Are women who grew up without a dad poor marriage material?
I’m more than aware of the void left from being raised without a father in the home and the inevitable baggage most of us carry. Yet those of us who didn’t have been typecast and deemed “unfit” as ideal marriage material. Is it naive to long for men to feel “I can show her what she hasn’t seen, be an example of what she deserves, and create an example that will not only transform her thinking but (strive to) solidify a new foundation for women – girls – to reference for the future.” Is this problematic when especially a married man who is aware of not only the problem and seemingly cognizant of the solution feels the ultimate resolution is not to step up to the plate but penalize, demonize and further generalize said woman for existing in the unavoidable state of her “unfortunate” reality?
Though many of us strive to productively unload various issues in our daily lives, we also desire to build futures and legacies with a partner that won’t knowingly “add” to past disappointments of primarily emotional neglect. Our existence, a sobering majority and societal trend, has been stamped with a disclaimer.
Little girls who live without a father do so not only due to death, abandonment, or divorce, but also due to physically present fathers but who are emotionally absent, or ill over a lengthy period of time in some way (clinical depression, terminal disease, etc.), or because the father is a workaholic, or because in some fashion the father is a disappointment to the daughter, as might be the case in a weak or ineffectual father.
Such differing types of absence in the girl's life may have major consequences of varying kinds, since a healthy emotional and socio-psychological developmental trajectory in the early years of life does require some type of positive paternal role model.