Monday, July 28, 2008

Does Father Trouble Always Lead to Man Trouble?

Dear Terry,

While reading the post about the Catholic priest who offered dating advice, I thought of my ex husband, my father, and my now boyfriend, and then I thought about myself. Then I wished that someone would have had this talk with me when I was in high school. It has very good points.

1.My ex-husband was a fibber, secretive and a control freak.

2.My father is an abusive man. This may be the very reason why I live in California and my family stays in Michigan. He has fits of rage, is a control freak, envious, hurtful male chauvinist. I am a computer analyst, and he still thinks I am unable of understand the mechanics of society.

3.My boyfriend is a kind, patient, sometimes forgetful, but always sweet man.

I am a survivor of my father abuse, and even though I would have to say that I will be respectful of him as my father.

Does this limit my chances of having a normal married life?

I failed once before, but in my defense I was in the military and we were very young and wanted to stay together. His father warned me about his bad ways and I choose to ignore them. Just a horrible situation.

I know my parents were very questionable as parents. Luckily for them, I was a hearty and headstrong child or otherwise because of poor parenting I might've ended up dead. Like left to survive in the aisles of Kmart. I also know that even that my dad was never dad of the year he had tried the best he was capable of and his opinion about my success has no effect of who I really I am.

So what if you had shite parents? But you ended up a good person and pretty normal? And if you had made a mistake in the past, but now have figured out what went wrong and you are trying to make your life better? Does this mean that you will be capable of having a loving and meaningful marriage or are you instantly ex'ed out because of abuse?

Love your blog.


Hi, M.-

Thanks for writing and for the kind comments.

I truly believe that you can enjoy a healthy marriage, even if you did have "shite parents," as you say. (Love that!) The fact that you seem happy with your current boyfriend indicates you're definitely making progress toward better circumstances.

As you know, I'm no psychologist, but it stands to reason that if the people who brought you into the world, the people God entrusted to love, guide, and encourage you failed on some front, you could go through life attracting similarly disappointing relationships.

Until you make a conscious effort to do otherwise.

You realize your father's limitations, and you still respect him because he's your father, and that says a lot about you. You're willing to move on and forgive. Another person would be grousing about how life sucks, and then you die, and how all men are the same. But not you.

The fact that you know exactly what you don't like about your father and some of the other men in your life means you can figure out what you do like in men and attract it. It helps to write a list and mentally put yourself in that relationship. If you visualize and conjure the feeling of being beloved and keep it with you, you will be amazed how it will eventually take shape in your real life.

It also helps to list what you disliked about your parents' relationship and about the marriages of other people you know. Then "put yourself" in a relationship with the opposite qualities. The trick here is to feel yourself in that relationship. Bring it to life with your emotions.

It's key to love yourself, as well, and you can do this through the consistent use of affirmations:

"I, M., deeply and completely love and accept myself."

Louise Hay, who has helped thousands of people turn their lives around through the power of self-love, recommends you use a similar affirmation about 25 times a day.

Saying it out loud while looking at yourself in a mirror is especially powerful. It will feel weird, silly, and embarrassing at first, but how many times do you look in the mirror and tell yourself you hate your hair or some feature of your face? Why do we consider that perfectly normal behavior?

Some people will scoff and dismiss visualization and affirmation as hocus-pocus, but they tend to be the same people who've never tried it (or who've tried it once or twice and then forgotten about it).

Let me repeat: I definitely believe that you're capable of enjoying a happy and healthy marriage. What's more, you deserve it.