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Thanks Dad... I Guess

I know that I'm not the only person to have had this experience. Life is not always sweet but we can make of it what we choose.

My father was completely disassociated… from everything not just me. When he got home from the office he sat and played solitaire, never speaking or interacting with the family. Occasionally he would erupt in a rage and beat my older brother, never me and the outbursts were rare but the risk was always there just below the surface. He actually just sat silent in his chair 95% of the time for 15 years. Perhaps there were reasons for his state but that’s another story. This one is about me.

I was an accomplished athlete, playing many sports in which I excelled. Each year at the awards banquet I had to mount the stage to receive my awards, best hitter, best offensive lineman, best defensive lineman, outstanding player etc with no one in the audience. I sat with my coaches for the dinner and was ashamed that my family did not attend. None of my family, not my father, mother, brother or sister ever attended any of my games. Was I not good enough? My fellow players were cheered on by their family. But I was only recognized by my teammates and coaches.

At age 10 I began martial arts training (on my own initiative and along with my other sporting endeavors). Over the years I became a very proficient competitor, winning in local, regional and national competitions. Eventually becoming a pro and making it onto ABC TV’s Wide World of sports. Once again my parents never recognized any of my achievements. My neighbors saw me on the tube but I have no idea if my father ever saw me in action.

What can I say about it? I learned to act in my own self interests, setting my own agenda and judging the results of my actions without input from others. Yes I became isolated and perhaps I was still seeking approval through my continued involvement in high level combat sport. Maybe my need to compete and excel is the result of my parent’s lack of involvement but what ever the cause I have chosen to seek excellence and become my own person.

So…. thanks dad… I made it anyway.

----- Update 7/5/10 ------
I wrote this story in a couple of minutes without much thought. I’ve been over these circumstances many, many times and had thought I was beyond the whole thing and I don’t know what brought me to the point of writing about it.
 
The gracious response of EPeeps to this post has been surprising and humbling.
However what is most surprising is my reaction to some of the story’s negative comments.
EP is a free for all and any story out there is fair game for anyone to comment on, positively or negatively.
I’m a “big boy” and have had my share of banal, pointless or vindictive comments on my stories. So what? Its no big deal and most of us have had similar experiences when we post. We usually just blow them off with a shrug.
 
Yet when “yeshucan” posted a less than complementary comment I went off.
What was THAT about? (NDD rolls his eyes at himself!)
It is true that he made inaccurate assumptions, charged me with misrepresentation and gave me impossible advice (both of my parents are long dead and buried) but so what? He was not grossly offensive nor did he score a telling blow to my sense of honor. So why did I bother to respond at all?
 
As some of you have commented these types of situations generate feelings of inferiority and self doubt in children living in dysfunctional families. I to have had to deal with my own “unworthiness” and although I thought I’d gotten it under control (it’s been a hell of a long time since these events occurred) apparently I’m still struggling with the issue.
 
I’ve been in the process of trying to address an age old and important question. “Who am I, really?” Am I just the sum of my experiences or is the state of my consciousness as I experience life the primary factor? This question calls for close examination of my entire life and it appears I’ve brought unresolved feelings and memories to the surface. My unworthiness now seems to be bubbling just below my daily stream of consciousness and unfortunately I’m not advanced enough to meet a direct assault on my worth as a human with equanimity.
 
So…. once again EP has served its purpose. I am being forced to deal with my delusions and release my attempts to grasp at a (long held) false persona as the “alpha dog” to protect myself from the wounds of long ago. I know that I’ll never “get over it” because the wounds have long since scared over and that inflexible tissue will be a life long part of my psyche.
Now I’ll just have to learn to let it be, accepting it and try to learn to view both my father and myself with compassion. Wish me luck.
 
I’m still smarting from this experience and I wonder if I owe “yeshucan” an apology or a thank you for focusing my attention on an unresolved bit of my past - (nods to WiB). Anyone care to offer me advice on this?

BTW: I was never a national champ and was mediocre as a pro. This story was not intended to garner me any ego strokes. I cited my atheletics to raise the issue of parental support. I I believe I have done other things that outweigh any achievements I managed in athletics.
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newdaydogEP newdaydogEP 70+, M 81 Responses Jun 20, 2010

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If you were my son, I'd be proud of you and tell all my friends about how great you are.

Congrats to you. Yours is a hard story to read. You turned out alright, and I hope you find compassion for yourself, as you're trying to do. Best wishes. :)

This is an awesome story. You seem like a deep, thoughtful and reflective person. Just wanted to say I very much enjoyed reading your story. My dad was also very detached. I think he may have had less than 10 conversations with me. Now he is quite old and is actually not there at all mentally. It's impossible for me to connect with him now, or have any sort of relevant conversation.

yes... some dads suck... i have a lot of anger and i always try to let it go. I love the way you write. Sucks because you should have had a good daddy:( Sounds like you were a great kid! Looks like you are doing well...Don't listen to people. Most are just ********. Just listen to the people you love or respect

great story thanks for sharing, wow i found another group i relate too and in less than 1 day. Thanks EP. I am not ready to open the wounds of my dad yet, i have before on another forum and got support. I'm actually kinda over him to some extent now. After all i had been through in the past, well at least 6 years, New pain scarred over some of the old. but it still "smarts" I know. Bless you on your journey through life. <br />
Someone once told me when I was close to my lowest "you are a spiritual being having a human experience" I keep reminding myself of that and it gets me through. Peace and Light

I think that is so sad, but you hang in there your reward is going to be greater, and I must say that I would that it is dysfunctional for your dad to be like that they should be proud of you and support you all the way, it's good that you are doing something positive with your life with all the negative things going on. Keep up the good work, I'm proud of you, all your hard work is paying off, keep doing it for yourself, keep on keeping on.

Enjoyed your story tuff being a child and haveing to deal with what must of felt like rejection. 10 out of 10 for makeing something of yourself. Maybe your Dad had bipolar it wasn't known as that in the day. Mood swings of note without provocation and really not in their control. Needs medication, who knows. Have a happy day.

Well now <br />
let me get in on the end coach.<br />
What did you learn from your youth experience ?Did it make you a better parent now,?<br />
Well done if it did you a strong character from your determination in achieving Would you have been different if you had dad support <br />
Who Knows? All you have to remember is that you learned to do things in a certain way that was maybe different from your dad good or bad AS LONG AS YOU LEARNED SOMETHING FROM IT.<br />
Try to think of something nice your dad did back then and hang on to it its lighter baggage than the negative things.<br />
Aside "those days were difficult ,what with war and conflict going on maybe he was living in the past So What -' You alive and well and i think doing just fine <br />
"Put your past in your behind" Who said that:) today you are the youngest you will ever be live it up - back then aint nothing right now AWE SHUCKS hang in there . YOU OK Mark it up to the lesson he taught you Be positive. Bye now

how can i get my dad help me put on a jockstrap and spanky on my birthday right back

That's not nice. Why don't you act like a real man instead of something stuck on the bottom of the ocean or the bottom of someone's shoe? It's dudes like you that are an insult to what little decent men there are left in the world.

Reading your story immediately made me feel sad. I am a mother of two (soon to be three), and I think one of the worst things you can do to a child is ignore it. What happens when you get ignored is you internalize this message of "I'm unimportant", but of course you are not really. So it's just really wrong and irresponsible of a parent to NOT be there. Of course now though, as an adult yourself you have the power and the ability to negate any of the effects their behaviour had on you. In fact you can use that experience to go in the completely opposite direction, and be a strong proponent of proper parenting to others. <br />
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And just so you know I think it is so cool that at your age you are still introspective and desiring to understand and talk about your past experiences. I see so many people, much younger than yourself who are just so emotionally flat. Who don't have any clue how their past experiences factor into their views and actions now. Your story is a refreshing deviation from the dull mindedness that is so common out there these days.

To the OP: <br />
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You have taken the anger and sense of betrayal that accompanied your life from your earliest years and are trying to make something positive with it. Congratulations for taking that huge step. I recognize and respect your courage in doing so. I also appreciate the way you have mulled over the responses here, both positive and negative. I am trying to learn from reading this and from watching your example. <br />
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Here's something I've encountered in my own spiritual journeying which might interest you. I've been exploring shamanism and shamanic thinking, which in its essence is a path of self awareness as most of the other spiritually fulfilling traditions also seem to offer. In this instance, the thought (actually, experiential) process begins with the self, extends to one's environment, and progresses in a transformative manner to enable the person to become a positive force. And how it does this involves the notion of forgiveness.<br />
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Forgiveness is not a tool to accomplish a goal. It is instead a state of being. In this tradition one cannot come into a state of forgiveness until some threshold efforts are made. One of these is the intention and practice of gratitude. That took me by surprise when I first read it, but I can see the truth in the idea. We tend to be uncomfortable with even the idea of gratitude, particularly when we are justified in our anger. That, of course, is our challenge. When we can place our anger in a proper role, we may continue to acknowledge and respect it, but at the same we become protected from its toxic effects. One way to do this is by the practice of gratitude. <br />
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Like anything else, we begin slowly. A technique is to form the intention every morning upon waking to think of something in our lives for which we actually do feel grateful. We need not feel gratitude towards anyone at all to do this. All we need do is enter a state of gratitude. So - lets start simply. I love the flavor, aroma and texture of a beautiful, fully ripened peach. The experience of eating a peach over the kitchen sink because it is so juicy is one I never forget and always appreciate. So I can intention gratitude over this experience. I can give myself over fully to a state of appreciation for every detail of that experience. In so doing I enter a state of grace, even if only momentarily, and that in and of itself will make me spiritually a little healthier. This is what I'm talking about. <br />
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As you become acclimated to the idea and find it easier to practice gratitude over a particular thing, you will be able to expand that intentioned feeling to other things, people, events, or states of mind. Allow it to happen. Slowly you will be able to enter into a state of gratitude at will, in any situation, and at any time of day or night. It will be a powerful force to bring you peace in a moment of chaos. <br />
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That's a lot about gratitude, but I wanted to make one clear illustration of a way to begin a journey on the shamanic path. It leads in time and experience to an understanding of forgiveness, which is a profound state of grace. That in turn will enable you to develop a sense called "seeing" in shamanic terms, which is far more encompassing than our ordinary use of the term. We see people, we see their energy, we see their emotions, pain, anger, disease, fears and so on. "Seeing" a person itself becomes a profound and intimate experience. <br />
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Finally the path takes us to an understanding and incorporation within ourselves of the idea of "blessing." The idea here is that in blessing, we are able to act in a manner consistent with our spirit. But blessing is not something we "do". It is something we share. And so the person with whom we interact in blessing in turn blesses us, whether aware of it or not. It is a little like love in that the more you give away, the more you seem to have.<br />
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Blessings upon you and may your path bring you peace and fulfillment.

I've heard allot of people say that what is done to you you will do to others. Especially if it is someone as close, not to mention a parent. I share a similar experience. I have never spoken more than 10 words at a time with my father and I grew up in the same house as him. Ever since I can remeber me and both my brothers and sister call him by name and I have no idea why. Friends used to ask me why do you call him by name and we would just shrug, smile and say I don't know how to call him anything else. When I went to visit my friends, I struggled to get the concept of fatherly love. I've always tried my best to understand why my friend called her father pappa and why he would came into the room to say good night and hug his daughter. I just shrugged it of again and thought about the pretty pictures on her bedroom wall and the books on her bedroomshelf. and that made me feel better and smile and then I could fall asleep. <br />
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I just got so emotional that I can't remember what I wanted to say... <br />
<br />
So yes... this is how my relationship with my father was ever since I can remeber: My whole life I hafve been terrified by him. He abused my mother, emotionally and sometimes physically. He's always stressed. He talked about money always. I broke my arm once and he said that Í'm wasting his money again. He didn't want to pay our schoolfees, we had no relationship whatsoever through out my childhood and growingup. Non the less I am thankful that he kept us alive. My brother and sister don;t have a problem talking to him. I don't know why I do. <br />
Not having a loving relationship has affected me allot. Firstly I have problems with relationships. I do not know how to handle conflict. I do not know how to be comfortable around men. I'm change gears into survival mode instantly. I'm careful to say what I think. ... etc. And I struggle to see the good in men. It takes me a long timne to be convinced even if it is a good man that a person is good. I push people away. I isolate myself. My mother sometimes to scared to stand up for us. But this post is not about my parents. I seek to know the answers how to change what the world has made of me. I want to be happy and carefree as I can be. I want emotional security. <br />
What I am scared of is that I will become what I've been taught by bad examples of relationships (friendship I did not learn form my parents, they tend to isolate themselves, love I learnt form my mother, stress i learnt from my father, anger I learnt form my father, isolation i learnt from my father, understanding I learnt form my mother, ...etc). I am emotionally blunt. I cry easily. struggle to say things like I love you while feeling the emotion. I don't know how the emotion feels. What seperates it? What is the definition. I have an idea, but I feel as though it is not overpowering my life. I wake up and when I think of people I think :Í hate people''.Most of my vocabulary has the word 'hate'in it AND THAT MAKES ME SAD. i HAVE HAD GLIMPSES OF LOVE WHICH KEEPS ME GOING (grandmother, mother, brothers sister,etc.)... such is life. I just wrote a few sentences in capital letter. I did not notice until afterwards I only noticed, But Im to lazy to trace back my thoughts. Anyway. My idea of love is warped. And I'm scared that I might have the same effect on my children one day. How to trust people if its been brooken so many times.

Props to you for a well thought out piece. Thought provoking

I feel that your dad wasnt responsible as a father, we are always looking for approval from our parents and its a natural thing. He must have his problems but neglects imprint stays, I know that because I feel my dad is never there for me as well. You became a better person though, dont ever feel less than you are worth. If you keep perservering you could become known to everyone and you wont need approval from anyone because that feeling will be immense. It isnt your fault your family isnt there, believe in yourself.

Thank you for your moving words. I feel as you do. My father was never there for me either, and it is only now that he begins to care about me even slightly. I am sorry for your loss, as he is gone and can never make amends to you. Your words bring a bitter wistful smile to my features, and I am glad you overcame.

Congratulations on finding the courage to share your life story with everyone else. To tell you the truth, I can relate to your story. But, I'm not gonna do deeper, this is your story so I wish you good luck and I truly hope you are happy in life.

I loved your story, so inspiring. You become what you wanted to become though life is too sad for you because of the people are wasn't there when you need them the most. But hey, look at what you've had accomplished! It's a life's experience that you should be proud of. Your father were surely are proud of you..

You know, I like this story only because, the way you describe yourself...I'd think on the surface, there's a perfect person, popular guy everyone likes, he can't possibly have any problems like the rest of us poor losers. <br />
I can't understand why your parent...wait, where was your mom? Did you ever ask them straight up why they didn't come? If it had been me, I would've thrown a big fit to my parents and screamed and cried, "you never ever come to my awards ceremonies why the **** don't you care about me!!" If I was you in your shoes today this very day, I'd go over to my parent's house and say, "I've had something bothering me on my mind. Why did you guys show no interest whatsoever in what I did in my life when I was young and you were unsupportive, showing no interest in my life? Don't you love me? I just don't get it. DO you even love me? Why wouldn't you pretend I exist, if you do?" Exactly that, exactly that way, angrily, is what I would say and do.<br />
Which is probably why I'm unpopular. But yeah no way could I hold all that in. I'd totally unleash and be like, "parents what the **** is wrong with you ahh I hate you!!" <br />
I can't not express what I feel. Maybe it is part of what's wrong with me, but, if I feel something, I have problems not just telling it straight and letting it out without thought. <br />
I am angry at your parents because I am picturing myself as you, and that makes me pissed off at them. On the other hand, I am very confused.<br />
That is not normal parental behavior. it's not as cut and dried as just they are abusive ******. Ignoring you like that and showing no interest is actually so weird it is kind of interesting. Interesting, in the way of a deranged person is and you wonder what goes on in their head. So if I was you, I would be asking my parents all kinds of questions trying to find out how they think and why they do the things that they do, maybe, they don't even know how they affected you or what they did...they might be sort of like a criminally insane person, unaware of the effects of their actions. Well, not everyone is born knowing how to be a good parent. There is no instruction manual. maybe, they just happened to not be good at parenting because they have no clue how to do parent. So maybe, I might forgive them a little and try to show them what they should do...as in, "hey, everyone else's parents attended, but you didn't, what makes you different?" And try to learn about what their problem is so you can fix it.<br />
It's pointless to say could've would've should've because even if your parents regret how they treated you they can't go back in time and re-do it. You can only build a relationship with them now. Get them involved in your life. Get them to cheer you on now and have them show they believe in you NOW. Maybe they need an instruction manual, you need to tell them how to do it and why they need to do it and that you feel unloved when they show absolutely no interest in your life and act like they do not approve of what you do with your life...<br />
Think about how awesome your life would be, everything perfect not just outwardly but inwardly, if you could fix this problem with your parents....<br />
But you shouldn't take my advice, if I had good advice I'd be successful like you.

If I may and if it hasn't been said. "what you know were denied from your parents, you can with great pride give to your children. As that would be their greatest gift and your greatest achievement. <br />
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And I so agree that no one should cause you any anxiety. But there are those times when we ourselves fail at keeping their hate at bay and turn on them in their manner that we detest. We are all human. Forgiveness heals the soul.

I just read your post and your reply on yeshucan's comment. <br />
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I have some what similar issues from my own youth. My problems lie on the fact that neither my parents, nor teachers, helped me along in school so I was always at the bottom failing my classes and just not getting anywhere. I also had other problems with my past that would make this a long reply, which is not the reason I am replying.<br />
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I enjoyed reading this because you were able to do the things I wasn't able to do, which was get yourself ahead on your own. I wasn't able to because I never knew I could, which is causing me to rush to learn right now. <br />
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I was really impressed by how you handled your reply to yeshucan because I have lost a huge amount of patience with in the last few years causing me to become very agitated very quickly. I am now realising how much I have changed in the last several years since I have graduated so now I need to find out how I can just relax and really grab life by the nuts and just take it easy more.<br />
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Thank you for showing me this.

Support of family becomes very essential when one is down,whether mentally or physically. Family is a support system that everyone requires.<br />
But I think your family loves you in a way and its just that maybe they dont know how to express.<br />
The very fact that you were able to participate in national level games cant be 100% without the support of your family.You are very expressive and the fact that you spoke out this on Ep is the proof of it.<br />
just voice out your thoughts to your family and make them realise that you miss their words of wisdom and encouragement <br />
I am sure they will understand.

Your story touched me and makes me sad. You had to become your own cheer-leader and you have. You continued to achieve in so many areas and carried on with no family support. I can relate to this totally. There is always that emptyness inside and so what if you blew at someone who was critical towards you.? I'm sure you have a lot of pain in you that you've kept in abayyance. (spelling?). Anger covers pain and anyone who can't see how difficult it is to live one's life without any family support and being ignored to boot can't see reality. I am proud of you for doing what you've needed to make your own life worthwhile. And to your reaction to a negative comment, it just brought out in you what's always been there that loss of not having your family to commend and to congradulate you on your achievements. This is always going to be a loss since I as well came from a similar type of family. Not only was i ignored i was also abused in all ways. I as well went 'to the top' and was in Whose <br />
Who in America, Whose Who in the World and of American Woman and you know what? Not one accolade of congradulations from any of my family members. i had to give it to myself and one friend also gave me her blessings and her praise. I know from where you speak. You're good. You're brave and I see no need to apologize. it's true other people's reactions to our stories bring out a reaction in us that is a part of us and all it does is make us aware that it's there. Congradulations on your achievements. Blessings! Velvetflow

Wow, reading all these stories has actually made me feel grateful. A little bit ashamed too of being so incredibly judgmental of my parents. My dad and I did have our issues when I worked for him, and when he taught me how to drive, at least he tried! He did yell at me and bring me down whenever I did something wrong. <br />
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This makes me feel more and more that there is something "wrong" with men, it's as if they were not taught how to be human but the opposite.<br />
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I did find sweet men in my life, never lost faith in men, I have a boyfriend who I deeply love, but I have heard just so many stories of men being bad fathers or not being there at all. My boyfriend has decided to cut his father out of his life recently and he really has no guilt whatsoever. He even wanted to be put for adoption as a child because he didn't feel good in his family.<br />
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What baffles me the most is: how come some people react one way and some another? <br />
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I have had plenty of conversations about life with my dad, he is actually quite a sensitive man and he even cries easily. His father was in a war for 4 years when he was 18, and he was sort of like your father Dog. As a granddaughter, I always felt weird about his lack of interest in talking to his own family. He did smile at small children, and animals, but he seemed unable to talk to me or any of us really. I asked him what he had for lunch once and he practically got offended by the question. My aunt, his daughter, did have a really rough time growing up with him and dealing with her life. Another aunt was kicked out of the house when became pregnant.<br />
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Anyway, my dad's childhood with his dad was SO much worse than mine, yet he dealt with his life as an adult very well. My childhood with my parents, now divorced, was perfectly decent except for some of their fighting, partly because of my dad's temper, and I just can't even begin to grow up. I am 24 years old and I have no ambition, my boyfriend supports me completely, I don't know what I want in life and I have had anxiety and panic episodes for years now, beginning before I my parents got divorced. They have a perfectly healthy relationship today, I am so proud of them, and I love them so much.<br />
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So I do admire you dog for your drive in life, whereas I have none, even with my parents support.<br />
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What I mostly encourage is your search for who you really are. You are not who you think you are, neither of us are. You are not your dad's unloved son, you are not the accomplished adult you grew up to be. <br />
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I feel so much for children who feel so negatively affected by their parents, myself included, that I really really don't even dare to attempt to be "better", I prefer not to be a mother at all. I don't know what I want to be, I don't know what I am.<br />
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I'd like to share this video with you all http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_uRIMUBnvw<br />
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And all I can offer is the attitude of acceptance, which is the healthiest I know.<br />
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Love and peace to all of you.

Well thats really great. God put you in that position to grow as a person because He knew you can handle it. I feel so blessed i have supportive parents but thats really amazing how you've gone so far on your own, congratulations :)

My father has allways been there... in his house, but not with me. I am not an athlete, but I have trained swimming, swimmed for years including in open sea competitions. Once my father said that my swimming training was only a form of loosing work or business time. He has never invited or shared a beer with me. Has never said I love you. Has never given finnancial advice. Has critizized me when I quit a job because that I want to be more with my kids, because this quitting goes against money growth. Guess what? Everybody thinks well of him, that he is a good and great guy. And he is, in some ways. <br />
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Sometimes we forget that our fathers are humans, that they too had a personal struggle in life. We need to study them and have some pity, once we understand WHY they made those mistakes, it is possible to love or forgive them. The effort and sacrifice to raise kids is great. But giving love, only a few give quality love. <br />
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I hope you have a relationship with your spouse and kids that is good, so you can break, as you did in sports, the chain of failure - the failure to give affection.

parents have their flaws.. very little of us has had the opportunity or the luck to have one of those perfect types (if such exists) of parents. however, they are as they are and we have to make do with what was given. my hats off to you for rising over such past. i never did. i envy you.

You know, I read your story and for all you fools out there, what happens during childhood does affect who we become as adults. Don't judge unless you have walked a mile in this person's shoes.<br />
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When I was 16, I got pregnant. Coming from a house with an overtly abusive stepmother and a father who always worked, this honestly was not surprising. When a person is neglected and abused at home, they go looking for love anywhere they can find it.<br />
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After I became pregnant and had my oldest daughter at 17, my father quit speaking to me. We did not have a relationship until I was 30. Because of this experience, I have to deal with an immense fear of rejection on a regular basis.<br />
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I get exactly how you feel. I have worked hard to overcome my fears and torments, but it is still a day to day struggle. Keep the faith...

Congrats look at how many people have been moved by your story, does not in any way make up for your parents not being there, however you have risen above your parents failure to support you. I do not know if you have children, if you do what an opportunity to shine in ways your parents never did<br />
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Good Luck .

keep that winning spirit up . thumbs up ..