By: Acamea L. Deadwiler
I heard a man say that women who grew up without a father love differently. No better, no worse, just different. As a fatherless child I initially took offense until I realized that it’s true, I do—Love differently that is. We all do.
Whether consciously or not, we all learn how to love and a number of things contribute to this process; including our parents and the way that we were raised. Our parents are the first people to teach us about love. It is with them that we first develop a bond. So, naturally if one or both of them is absent, we will learn differently. Women that grew up with both a mother and father in their lives may love differently than those who did not, and they all may love differently from those who grew up in foster-care or were adopted. No better, no worse, just different.
The first man that a girl loves is usually her daddy. So, what if her daddy was never around? I must agree that this may present an issue; an abandonment issue, to be exact. From not having my father around, I may have begun to associate men with “leaving”. Maybe I just expect it to happen sooner or later so I developed a shell, to protect myself when it does. But that same shell that protects me also prohibits me from giving of myself fully in a relationship. It is designed to keep out the bad things, but in doing so also keeps out the good.
On the flipside of this though, women that do grow up with a father in their lives can develop issues of their own. Often times they associate men with being taken care of and never learn to take care of themselves; especially if he lived in the home. When you see women in relationships with men that don’t treat them right, but support them, this is often the case. They learned from their mothers who stayed with their fathers even though he was cheating on, lying to and disrespecting them. They have been taught that their self-worth is tied to having a man and look to them for validation.
The point is that we all have our issues. There are pros and cons on both sides. There are also exceptions to every rule. There are no absolutes. In pondering this subject I compared myself with other women that I know and found that a friend, who grew up with her father, loves similarly to me. However, another friend that grew up with both parents does, in fact, love completely different. And then, a friend that also did not have a father around loves completely different from us all. There are self-esteem and insecurity issues across the board. So, you can never really tell. This is just one factor of many in learning how to love.
The good thing about learning is that you can also unlearn. When you recognize an undesirable characteristic that you may have picked up somewhere, you can make the decision to change it. If you see that you approach relationships the same way that your mother did, or you stigmatize men based on an absent father and you don’t like it, you can change it. You can consciously alter the way that you love if you so desire. No better, no worse, just different.
Twitter – @AcameaLD