At the age of four years old, my father left. He hasn’t been a part of my life since.
Since then, my mom raised my two siblings and me on her own.
I am constantly faced with the stereotype of the girl with ‘daddy issues.’ But I’m here to say that stereotype is far from being true.
You always hear people say girls that grow up with an absent father are easy, or they have no standards, or that they seek meaningless relationships to fill that void. But I have never found that to be the case.
My mother was a stay at home mom before my father leaving. She did not finish her college education because my father would always say to her, “You don’t need a job; I will take care of us.”
The hard truth is, she did need that education, and he didn’t take care of us.
After he left, she had three kids; one only ten years old, and my twin brother and me at the young age of four. She didn’t have the time or money to go back to college and get a degree. I watched her work two jobs to keep food on the table. And some nights, we didn’t even get that. I would see her skip dinners so my siblings and I could eat, because we didn’t have enough food to go around for all four of us.
She then proceeded to start her own pool company, and take courses to get certified to do pool repairs to make a stable income for us.
Watching her fight and struggle to maintain a stable household for us taught me a lot.
I’m not saying all this for anyone to feel bad for me or pity me. I’m just giving you a background on what it might be like to grow up without a father. But because of every struggle I have witnessed and been through while growing up in a single-parent home, it taught me to be far from that ‘daddy issues’ stereotype.
Let me put it into perspective.
Seeing my mom struggle, because she originally depended on my father for a steady income, taught me I need to be able to support myself. I’ve learned never to depend on a man for anything. Whether it be financially or emotionally.
I’ve grown up knowing I need to go to college and get a good degree, and find a career to make sure I am always financially stable on my own. Yes, it may be nice to get married one day to a financially stable man, but I will make sure I am financially stable with or without him.
I’ve also grown up watching my mom and sister date some good, and not so good, guys. Because of this, I learned standards. I know I will never get into a serious relationship with someone who lies to me or takes me for granted or treats me any less than I know I deserve. I give the men I involve myself with one chance and one chance only.
Because I have grown up happy, without a man in my life. I’ve learned that a man is not a necessity for happiness, just an accessory.
I’ve gone through the hardest parts of my life without leaning on a man to support me or make me feel better. Because I know I am the only person responsible for my happiness and success. I’ve learned that the only reason I need a man in my life is to give me extra support. To help me grow as a person, but not do all the work.
Stereotypes are often far from being accurate. I know this from my personal experiences, and I’ve seen it firsthand from my friends who have gone through the same thing.
Girls without fathers grow up fast. We become mature and independent quicker than most people could even imagine. From having an absent father, our standards are set higher than most. Because we have seen the worst sides of men without being in a relationship. We’ve heard all the excuses, know all the games, witness all the false promises firsthand. We see the red flags of a man before most people do.
Girls without fathers understand that they will never be with a man that treated them like their own father did. Yes, we have trouble trusting people when starting a relationship. Who wouldn’t if you’ve experienced something like this? The only man that is supposed to protect you left, and only gives you empty excuses as to why.
That’s why we all know we are the only ones who can protect ourselves. We have our walls built up high. That is why we are far from that ‘daddy issue’ stereotype. This is my reality of growing up without a father.