Statute of limitations on Daddy issues

Daddy issues. I gots ’em.

Hi, my name is Jamie and I’m the adult daughter of an alcoholic.

That’s my label, my cross to bear.

It’s also become a convenient excuse for a lot of things.

Yes, it was hard growing up with a drunk for a Dad. Sure I experienced some stuff that other kids didn’t. My childhood is littered with drunks and druggies. Our family tree was fertilized with booze and pills.

When I was old enough to leave home, I spent way too much time drinking and carousing, throwing myself at guys who couldn’t have cared much less for me.

Meanwhile, I was the stoic daughter, the one who always picked up the pieces. I was the cleaner-upper, fixer of problems, the one who had to clean up all the messes.

And I did it without a cruel word because make no mistake about it- my Dad loved me. I always knew my Dad loved me. And I knew the booze made him an asshole. But I did love my Dad.

Later, that silence in the face of his alcoholism would manifest itself in ugly ways. Too much drinking, too much partying, too much shopping, too much eating, eating disorder, swallowing and stuffing down my feelings.

Here’s what happens when you stuff and swallow your feelings- they will rear their ugly heads at the most opportune and inopportune moments. You might think you’ve got your stuff under control but that ugly beast will wait….

So you live your life doing things that aren’t good for you, aren’t healthy.

And when you look at yourself objectively, you justify and rationalize all that stuff because “I’m the adult daughter of an alcoholic father”. I spent decades of my life thinking I wasn’t good enough because we weren’t enough to make our Dad stop drinking.

I get that. I understand. That was bound to happen to anyone with dad who drank himself to death at age 53.

Some people develop excellent coping skills. Some people don’t. I fall in the don’t category through nobody’s fault but mine.

But here’s the thing. I turned 45 last Sunday.

My Dad died when I was 32. It’s been almost thirteen years since my Dad died.

Hasn’t the statute of limitations run out on my Daddy issues? At what point do they stop being my “Daddy issues” and then become simply my own issues?

At some point you have to stop looking so far into your past to explain your current behaviors. I think I’m at that point. My Dad and his alcoholism have become a convenient excuse and a crutch for my learned behaviors. Sure, some of these behaviors started way back when as a coping mechanism for dealing with him but he’s dead and gone 13 years.

I feel like at this point I need to man up and take responsibility for my own stuff.

I need to stop blaming him.

It is no longer his fault.

I’m a grown woman. I need to take responsibility for all of me, not just the good parts.

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3 thoughts on “Statute of limitations on Daddy issues

  1. Word. Same same for sexual assault. So you get through therapy and deal with your ‘ish-hews” and you get to wear a shiny new name tag marked ‘survivor” which has always conjured up (for me, anyway) an image of a shamling, slack-jawed, vacant-eyed shell of a person. So for a while I tagged myself with “thriver”, glibly throwing out “I’m not a survivor, Imma THRIVER” lines. I was in my early 30’s when I realised that you know what? My abuse is as relevant to my life decisions, as the colour of my eyes. At 30 plus, if’n I drink too much, or make stupid decisions, I’M the one to blame, not good old Gramps. I made the switch much more quickly than some of my friends, who still insist that “Ella did THAT… **insert lastest life fuck-up** because of her abuse. Here’s the thing, everyone (including myself) was so keen to blame my abuser for my partying/drinking/succession of fucked up alcoholic boyfriends but what about the good things? The going back to Uni at 30? The being an amazingly effective single mom? The working of 3 jobs? If you blame the bad on the bad and the good on the good, you’re looking at a pretty one-dimentional person. Me, warts and all, are a product of everything. EVERYTHING.. particularly after age 30. I am more than my thighs, my eyes, my abuse, my childhood. I am (now) a 48 year old woman who takes responsibility for ME.

  2. I love you so totally and completely. I get this and it reminds me of this quote:
    “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” ~ Albert Ellis

    xoxo

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