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Old 04-14-2011, 07:10 PM   #1  
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Default A revelation of sorts.

Apologies in advance if this post is a bit all over the place.
I've been having a lot of counselling for the past few months, I didn't really think it was doing that much good in resolving issues, aside from the therapeutic feeling of talking to someone. We agreed understanding the past is a critical part of letting go and starting anew, but that's easier said than done.

In a nutshell my mum was mentally ill since about the time i was born, and it became very severe when I was around 10-14. My parents divorced when I was like 1. I didn't get any support for my home situation, and as a young kid picked up a lot of anxiety/pain and internalized it all.
My relationship with my dad was okay right up until the point I got 'fat' age 12 (All 126lbs of fat) Coincidently this clashed with when I hit puberty and my body started changing.

The other day my dad came over, and as usual was in a bitter, angry mood. Laying into any woman who started talking on the TV (Really degrading and sexualized stuff) and then started talking about how women and childbirth etc is so disgusting and young mums are tramps. Now the former part is very typical but he'd never really talked about the latter.
Today I also saw him and he was much the same, I told him I took offense to his remarks about women and would like him to stop, since it was damaging to my self worth. He said he didn't care, and didn't care if I had low self esteem (Yeh, seriously). The look of total disregard for me and hatred on his face was quite appalling.

So here I am this evening, about to go to bed when it hits me. My dad is a misogynist. I'm not one for name calling but it is becoming so clear. The only point he was civil and 'nice' to me has really been when I was young, and thought he was this amazing big strong man, who could do no wrong, and I was a well behaved agreeable little girl.

When body started changing and I developed my own opinions and insight into life, and could date or have kids he became verbally abusive. Telling me i was too fat because I was no longer a skinny little child. Telling me I should wear my hair up or cut it short, since I grew it long and wore it down, dissuading me from having kids and belittling my intelligence (He still loves to compare me to my brother, always suggesting he is stronger, wiser, braver, more productive than I am).

I've always got why I have some issues, but never understood why I have gone through life berating myself for everything, I should feel proud of myself for getting through a difficult time.

Realizing how my dad treats and talks about women has given me a sort of epiphany and I suddenly feel like yelling "There's nothing wrong with me!!". I still internalize my feelings now, and I don't often cry as a result and never show anger, but I'm actually having a good cry now and it feels good-great even.

I feel really soothed in acknowledging the bad feelings I have felt about myself and body are just reflections of how he feels about women as a whole.
It still leaves plenty of challenges in trying to move on with life, but I feel like this will be one of the best things I could realize. I just wanted to explain it here, since it feels good to share.

I am also curious if anyone has experienced a similar kind of behavior, especially with a parent. I can't imagine ever acting like he has to my own someday child, his behavior is totally alien to me.

Last edited by serendipity907; 04-14-2011 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:22 PM   #2  
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Wow. Good for you. Realizing things about our parents can be rough. I spent a couple decades hoping that my father was a good guy and had missed me when he left. Found out he's actually extremely self absorbed and he admitted he'd left twice. He'd forgotten how old I was and thought I was being dramatic about his absence in my life. He's a university instructor. [email protected] I decided that I didn't need even more rejection and hurt in my life. I (reluctantly) accept that he is who he is and I have no more delusions about him.

There's just no accounting for the lack of sense some people have, parents or not. I'm sorry you're seeing this part of your dad, because it's hurtful. On the other hand, I think coming to terms with these things can be very freeing and help us to move forward in our own lives.
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:38 PM   #3  
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I had some amazing clarity about my father this past fall. I have found clarity leads to objectivity and objectivity leads to the strength to decide what kind of life you want and who you want in it. You get to make those choices now. Choose what gives you sanity and peace.
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:40 PM   #4  
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Congratulations on your epiphany! While I was reading your post, I felt so happy for you coming to the understanding you now have about yourself. You're right, your father's hatred of women is all his own and you don't need to take on any part of it.

I'll scream it out with you...There is NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU!!!

(Doing a little happy dance for you, sister!)

I had to figure all this out for myself as well. Came to understand that the use of my body was for me, that the pleasure to be experienced by my body was for me, that I am responsible for meeting my needs and not responsible for meeting the needs of another adult who is capable of meeting their own needs. And that the judgement others tried to control me with was not about me, but rather, about their own lack of character.

I have had a broad range of issues with both my parents, but my upbringing only brought me within range of misogyny at the church we attended. It's where I met my X. I eventually came to understand that he too is a misogynist, and he actually dumped me after 25+ years of marriage as I became stronger and more assertive on my own behalf. Shortly after the divorce he sent for a wife from a country known for their "submissive" women.

I am doing my best to raise my sons so that they don't fall into that way of thinking. I found a really good book a few years ago about misogyny and have been steering my sons toward a healthy respect for women, being on equal footing with men, and not to be viewed as a collection of body parts or skill sets to meet the needs of men.

When they spend time with their father and the new wife, they really see how he treats her. He even told them to never consider her as their step-mother. She's entirely there for his benefit, to service his needs. It makes the boys really uncomfortable to spend time with their father. Fortunately, he lives on the other side of the planet these days. He can't even bear to live on equal footing with other Americans, no matter what their sex. He feels the need to live in a country where he's treated like a god. And they only do that because he spends money on his employees.

Your road ahead of you, with regards to your relationship with your father, is going to be bumpy. I pray the strength and courage you found today to stand up for yourself grows with self-nurturing and self-compassion.
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:31 PM   #5  
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It's a really strange feeling still. Since I was young teenager I've wanted to be really skinny and done everything in my power to try and make it happen. I've done horrible things to my body I now wish I could take back, and it was largely in the pursuit of wanting my dad to approve of my appearance and the feeling of not wanting to take up too much space.

I woke up today and my first thought was not how I wanted to eradicate every ounce of fat on my body, but how I wanted to be fitter and a bit curvier.
Naturally the old "Lose weight, be scarily skinny!" crept back in, but for a while I was challenging this 'ideal', which is a first for me

I wish everyone could have dad or partner who respects women and at least his daughter, but we can learn from this. I don't think i will be easily led into a relationship with a man who can't respect me as an equal as a result of this.
I'm sure you will do a great job with your children Geoblewis, you obviously have a much stronger constitution than your X, I think they'll want to look to you for advice, not him.
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:37 PM   #6  
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Originally Posted by midwife View Post
I had some amazing clarity about my father this past fall. I have found clarity leads to objectivity and objectivity leads to the strength to decide what kind of life you want and who you want in it. You get to make those choices now. Choose what gives you sanity and peace.
I LOVE your words here. Knowledge definitely leads to personal power. Thank you for saying that eloquently.

(I also really LOVE your avatar! I am a huge Dexter fan!!!)
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