The Sins of the Fathers (and Mothers)

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on psychology in the last few months and one thing that keeps cropping up is that childhood experiences are the basis of our lives. We often say that children are so resilient and they are, but what we don’t realise is that these childhood issues raise their ugly heads and fuck us up when we become adults.

I have been trying to understand why it is that my relationships with men fail and although I know that some of the men I’ve chosen over the years have certainly been less than decent, I also know I have a responsibility for my choices and choosing to accept and put up with what I’ve chosen.

I didn’t realise the connection until I received an email from my dad this morning, and I didn’t see the similarities between the men I’ve been with until now either.

It was like a lightbulb had suddenly been turned on and ironically enough it was the man who had originally hurt me who was able to shine some light on the situation.

It’s a multifaceted issue so let’s start with a few things my dad said and then I’ll relate them back to me.

Firstly he told me to understand myself and to never accept less than I want, need or deserve. I’ve been told this by a few people lately and I know it’s true but I guess the reason I keep some men around for longer than I should is also a multifaceted one. I’ll come back to this.

My dad said he doesn’t know how to love or feel it. Neither do any of the men I’ve been with. They feel something but they have no idea how to express it because it makes them feel uncomfortable. I’ve had men use jokes, deflection or simply get up and walk away. Many of them have told me their father or parents in general did the same or they just weren’t around so they have no idea how to love because they weren’t taught properly.

Is it coincidence that I keep being attracted to these men?


On a basic level I believe it’s because I’m so used to this it’s comfortable and normal. But being comfortable in this case could also mean preventing growth that is so desperately needed.

I have also believed in the past that I could somehow make these men love and be loved.

Wrong and the reason is evident in my dad’s next line and I quote:

“Your mother said to me I would grow old alone, and she is right because it is not about how many people who are around you but the WHO that is not.

I am not sure if there has ever been a WHO for me and that is why I am who I am.”

I still can’t believe what is so blatantly obvious to me in that wording is something my dad hasn’t yet recognised.

The person he and the men I’ve chosen believe is missing cannot be found anywhere but within themselves. Yes, the WHO is themselves!

So yes, the reason I cannot ever help these men is because these men don’t realise that they need to love themselves in order to be loved.

And I guess that’s also exactly what I’m mirroring but in a different way when I try so desperately to love them.

I said the same thing my mum did to someone last year. The similarities between him and my dad are uncanny. They have a lot of similar traits and even a similar upbringing.

I also have a love-hate relationship with this man.

I guess the last thing I want to say is that subconsciously and now consciously, I stayed with this man because I wanted his approval and because in some fucked-up way, he was the second chance to make it work after my dad.

That is not good enough and definitely not a healthy basis for a relationship.

I’m not saying it would never work, but to be honest, I think I have come to see and accept why this person came into my life:

He made me see the motives for why I love and the changes I need to make for a successful relationship.

Funnily enough I can now also see the men I never choose, i.e. some of my best friends, are the best men to love and who love me in return and tell me all the time.

Without that email from my dad I would never have learned the lessons I can see now.

Thanks Dad.



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