Father’s Day: The Perfect Time To Address The Trauma We’ve All Been Suppressing – Our Daddy Issues

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by JUICE illustrator, Emily Shahira

Father’s Day is a celebration honouring people’s fathers and celebrating the fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in their society.

So, what better way to remember this day by talking about our daddy issues? Cause let’s be real – how many of us actually have good relationships with our dads?

If you’re unproblematic, check out this list of gift ideas to get your well-adjusted father. Kudos to you! 

But for the rest of us, here’s some good ol’ childhood trauma, poured out into an article for your reading pleasure that will hopefully give you that nudge to book a therapy session:

Seven Deadly Sins

by JUICE illustrator, Emily Shahira

To start off, my dad died when I was 2 years old in a car accident.

For the majority of my childhood I never thought much of it, my mom just told me that he was off on a “business trip.” Then eventually I figured out that this trip wasn’t exactly on business, and he wasn’t coming home anytime soon.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I started to find out all the juicy family secrets and gossip circulating my dad, and I’m here to spill.

Growing up as the first son of a prominent business legacy, you can imagine the size of the ego on this man – and the pressure. Turns out the way he let off some steam was through high stakes gambling, along with all the lifestyle choices that came with it. Pick any one of the seven sins, he’s done all of them one way or another.

To my knowledge, he miraculously woo-ed my mom through a mutual friend, and 2 years later they were married. The second they signed their marriage certificate, dad went back to his old habits. Only this time, he included one more to his list of vices; cheating.

Dad had no shame about flaunting his other conquests in front of my mom. For instance, one Valentine’s Day he came home with a bouquet and explicitly told my mom, “Don’t get excited, that’s not for you.”

Between dealing with the infidelity and taking the physical abuse he unleashed on her when he came home intoxicated, mom was planning to divorce him and take me with her. But dad wasn’t letting her off that easy. “If you take my child, I’ll kill your parents.”

Not too long later he passed and mom thought it best to separate ourselves from his side of the family. Until one day, I got roped into a wedding of a distant cousin where I found myself sitting next to two strangers; my dad’s first wife and my stepsister. And no, I had no idea he was even married before.

And as if that wasn’t enough, dad’s gambling led to a ton of debt that mom and I spent the last 20 years trying to repay. Man’s resting in peace but he sure left a mess to clean up. 

I know we’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but in my mother’s words, “Good riddance!”

Cupid’s Dagger

by JUICE illustrator, Emily Shahira

My dad walked out on us when I was around eight, and I didn’t take it well. I was the real-life embodiment of that one clueless kid you see in the movies who takes her shitty dad’s side when things go wrong, without knowing any better.

A few years later I realised that marriage is not all about fairytale weddings and that my dad had screwed everything up – products of his midlife crisis and seemingly insatiable libido.

Somewhere between the pangs of betrayal and constant warnings from friends and family, I formed a strong mistrust towards men and told myself that I would never be fooled so easily.

“I will not fall into the arms of a shitty partner,” is what I told myself.

But here’s the deal: I am the shitty partner.

Maybe I’m subconsciously afraid to get too close, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve inherited my dad’s blooming ego, or maybe I’m just bitter about the idea of love in general.

I walk out at the first sign of dysfunction and I lose interest after I get what I want. My ex-boyfriend has a crack in his windscreen because I flung a powerbank at it in a fit of rage. (The crack isn’t as deep as the one on his heart, he says.)

I’m sure I come across as an emotionally unavailable misandrist with a fleeting heart to most guys, but it’s not something I’m proud of. I’m actually afraid that I may never find it in myself to settle and properly work things out with someone long term.

At times I sit down and think maybe marriage isn’t for me at all; and having a kid doesn’t sound great as my dad randomly woke up one day and decided that he wasn’t the ‘marrying kind’ and ‘never wanted kids’.

Spoiler alert: He went on to remarry and now has another kid! At the time of writing he has three kids in total (that I know of) and I’m sure that’s above the average amount for non-committal people…

So maybe I’m just overthinking it after all? 😉

Chip On My Shoulder

by JUICE illustrator, Emily Shahira

My father is present, my father is funny and my father is kind.

He is the responsible patriarch of my family and the reason for booming laughter at any gathering.

He has a strange affinity towards keeping up with the times with his endearing recommendations of current shows and rock bands but he still remains grounded in the past – evident by his Lennon glasses that still frame me as a little girl despite my blossoming age.

My father and I were once inseparable – our relatives always calling me his tiny shadow with pigtails and a crooked smile.

But as I grew older, I started becoming my own person developing personality traits, interests and emotions that repelled from his perfect idea of who I was supposed to be.

Behind the curtains of endless jokes and silly antics is a serious and reserved man. He rarely shows any emotion and affection but he proves it in gifts and acts of service.

Have you heard of the uncanny valley? When something looks exactly the same but is just not quite right. It’s unsettling and I believe that is the reason why my father and I no longer speak.

I am still his shadow albeit warped and jagged around the edges. I am his daughter and I’ve absorbed all of his traits – even the bad ones.

So now, we are engulfed in complete silence – neither of us knowing how to speak to one another since we both built walls that even the largest mallet couldn’t break.

But we continue to chip at it.

I am blessed to have a father who is present and trying but I will not sit here and pretend that I do not seek validation from other people since I do not get it from him.

I won’t pretend that I have not learned to bottle my emotions from watching him leave the dining table to cry in a bathroom all alone.

My story with my father is not one of cinematic tragedy. It is minute, contained and personal which is why it is nothing of note in the grand scheme of things.

But in the spirit of father’s day, it is crucial to say that despite the strained relationship we have, I adore him and while working at our relationship is a full-time job, it is the most rewarding in the end.

Stay tuned for part two, because we’ve got 3 more stories coming…