growing up fatherless

a common misconception, that having no father is because your biological father has passed away, or you never met him, and the many other stories you may hear. but my story, is growing up with a man i call my father yet not valuing him as a father. in no way do i think what i have is worse then anything that anyone else is experiencing, i know i could have it much worse. but it is a trouble that i have faced since i was a child and have been facing till now – and as i grow older, part of me forgets while part of me starts to despise him more and more. recently its put a lot of burden on me, and i hoped trying to explain it would help myself, and possibly others understand.

lets take a trip down memory lane. it wasn’t always bad memories, there are moments i remember of happiness, if its imagination from photos i’ve seen, or stories i’ve been told. things i actually remember. my dad wasn’t always bad, no one is perfect, but he had his issues. not washing my hands as soon as i got home. not finishing my food that i ordered. not speaking chinese even though i’m half chinese and living in hong kong. simple things, that wouldn’t anger others. i constantly felt as if i could never please him. mr. lai and his set bar of perfection and cleanliness. any of these which i didn’t meet to his specification would be met with disappointment, angered tones and at time violent actions.

my parents divorced in the year between primary in secondary school, a mere age of what.. eleven? but the split was centuries before that, or so it seems. i don’t know if my father disappointed and disappoints me more now or of what i remember of him when i valued him as my father. i still call him dad, but there was a moment, a day when i promised myself he was no longer a father to me. i don’t remember what age i was when i thought to myself ‘i won’t let this man walk me down the aisle’. some might think that i’m exaggerating, my sister for sure, my mother a little, and my friends don’t even seem to care that i have ‘daddy issues’.

he isn’t proud of me. he wasn’t proud of me when i got way better grades then i could ever imagine, he wasn’t proud of me when i got my first job because he told me i wasn’t mature enough to do it, or got into university. he wasn’t there to hold my hand as i had heartbreaks, or had tummy aches, or needed a father to tell me that one day i would find someone who would love me as much as he did. he did nothing for me. he doesn’t support my family, my life, my dreams. he does for himself what he wants before putting his own two children or previous wife in front of anything else. he dates women who aren’t even double my age, and would rather spend time and money on them then funding ANYTHING of my life. to me, he’s always busy, he doesn’t call to check up. to society he’s a great friend, always going out for dinners, participating in sports. yes, he has just as much as a right to be a person as well as a father, he is allowed to go and have fun. but not when it means that i’m not as much as an element for him to care about.

my father never abused me. at times he hurt me, out of anger or emotion. i was young and believed that he loved me, and i did nothing to stop it. now, its a slightly different story. my family see me as weak because whenever he changes his tone to anything between aggravated, blameful or disappointed i completely blow up. i get anxious, scared, angry at most. that he could dare say anything to me in a negative way when i am an 18 year old, his own daughter who is just starting her life out. and all he ever has to say to me is cynical, i will not stand for it. i will not allow myself to feel disappointed or angry at myself, i will not let him treat me in any way other then reassuringly. he tells me he loves me, and that he cares for me, that he misses me. i do not believe him. if he did he would TRY to make things better, to understand when i tell him that i do not like what he’s saying, that he’s mean and his tone scares me.

i grew up asking him to quit smoking, yet every puff of a cigarette blew away my cares for him. i grew up being scared of him waking up, yet waiting for him to wake up so i could start my day and get something to eat. i grew up trying to please him when my efforts would only irritate him. i’ve grown up, and now before i see him i feel sick to my stomach. anticipating what it will be like, moments of silence before comments of annoyance or disproval. i get most anxious before seeing my own father.


i will call him my father, but he lost my respect as a father years ago.


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