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Old 05-12-2010, 10:13 AM   #1
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Default Dad Didn't Notice My Weight Loss...Doesn't Notice Me...Will it Always Matter So Much?

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, but it’s kind of emotional and sad for me and I’ve been putting it off. I just wonder if anyone else can relate.

I went home for Easter and was so excited to show my family, especially my dad’s side, how far I’ve come. The last time they saw me was before Christmas and I’d only lost about 15 pounds at that time. I couldn’t wait to show them the forty pound loss! So Easter Sunday comes and I go to my grandmothers and of course everyone is there. As soon as I get out of the car, a great Aunt that I very rarely see starts squealing about how great I look. Everyone else sort of followed suit. (I hope that doesn’t sound like I’m being conceited…I think they really meant “better”.) Now, it’s worth pointing out that my dad’s side of the family is thin…tall and thin. They can eat whatever the want and I’ve never heard of any of them hitting the gym, they are just naturally skinny people. I’ve always felt like a big fat weirdo when I’m around them…I still feel that way, but a little less so now.

My dad never said a word. And I waited for him to all day. Why? Why couldn’t I just bask in the glow of the attention I was already getting? Why is it so important for me for him to notice? He’s never noticed anything about me and that’s the god honest truth. I really think that any love my dad has for me is more obligation…of course he loves me, I’m his daughter, he’s supposed to. But he doesn’t like anything in particular about me; he doesn’t even know anything about me. Over the past few years, I’ve tried really hard to build a relationship with him, but I can’t shake the feeling that he just doesn’t really like me that much. I still remember to this day the only time that my dad has ever told me I’m pretty…and I hold on to that so fiercely. It wasn’t even a really memorable situation…we were standing in line together at a gas station and he turned around to ask me something and just said, “You look really pretty today.” It almost just fell out of his mouth…and he seemed genuinely surprised that he thought and said it.

I just wonder why it matters more to me that he didn’t notice than that the rest of my family did. Why do I even care? It still hurts…and writing this, my heart is doing that squeeze thing it does right before I cry. A million compliments couldn’t outweigh the fact that my dad didn’t even ask me if I’d lost or say good job. I know he doesn’t think I’m pretty…I know he’s ashamed of me as a person and the mistakes I’ve made in my life…I know he thinks I’m reckless and irresponsible and a failure…but can’t he recognize just this one thing that I have done right? Would it kill him?

(I know that was long…I didn’t mean for it to be. I have a lot of issues with my dad and the whole thing just makes me so sad. I honestly don’t think my dad is happy that I’m alive, that I’m his daughter. He has a daughter in his second marriage and to say that he adores her would be an understatement. I haven’t really come to terms with the fact that my dad probably won’t ever just be proud of me.)
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:41 AM   #2
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I'm sorry. It is so tough to have issues with your dad, and of course dads are the ones we want to look up to and to be the kind of man we want. I wish I could make you feel better.
I will say - 1) CONGRATS ON YOUR LOSS! You have done amazing. and 2) Sometimes men have trouble with compliments, and especially with weight related ones. I know my dad would NEVER mention my weight in any context, because if he said 'way to go with the loss' my mom and i might say 'what, did you think i was fat before'? Sometimes it's easier to just avoid the whole thing instead of accidentally insult us. So maybe that's where he stood.
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:46 AM   #3
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My heart was wrenched, reading your words.

You know that's one of the hardest kinds of relationship to have with a parent: One in which you feel as if their love & attention is something you have to **earn**, and that is given out conditionally, only if & when you achieve a certain standard in behavior, in grades, in looks, in financial & worldly success, and withheld if you don't measure up, or taken away if you are perceived to have dropped below the standard.

There are two ways of dealing with this, I believe, and one is to work on the relationship, and the other is to withdraw & try not to make it important to you.

In the first -- which it sounds like you've tried -- you really need to get to a place where you can talk to him, pour out your heart, make him listen to your feelings & describe how you perceive his attitude toward you. This can be so, so hard. Some people are withholding by nature & will avoid such confrontations all their lives.

In the second, you recognize that you're a Daddy-pleasing girl, that this relationship has really formed a lot of your personality, and you try to watch yourself from a little bit above the action, and tell yourself rational things in a sort of play-by-play: "Oh, I'm seeing my father again. I have to be careful. Because I'll be watching for his approval when I tell him things, and it's his nature not to give it. So I should keep this meeting short & impersonal. And afterwards, I'm going to need to lavish myself with some kind of self-love, or go to another family member who does love me unconditionally, so I can thaw out from the chill of Dad's presence."

It's a really big decision to decide which way to go. I don't know. But again, it's a bad place to be in. So, again:


Last edited by saef; 05-12-2010 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:48 AM   #4
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Hi....... I'm wondering if your Dad is like mine was. He was a dear wonderful Father....but he just didn't notice things like that! I remember one time getting a drastically short haircut for Me! He didn't even notice. My Dear Mother cut Dad out a Heart-Shaped Steak & cooked him for Valentine's Day....he didn't even notice. Finally my Mother said something about the Steak......He said 'I thought it looked Funny!'
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:49 AM   #5
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Congratulations on your loss ! i wish I could make you feel better about your dad. Some men have a hard time verbalizing ,that may be his case. I know that doesn't help. Why not take the risk and say "Dad, aren't you proud of me ? " It's a risk but might make him stop and think .
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:52 AM   #6
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My dad never said a word. And I waited for him to all day. Why?
*hugs* I so wish I had that answer. I don't know the history between your dad and yourself, but that craving from attention that never came is the exact same story of my best friend who was plagued by HUGE daddy issues. (I have my own, though they're a bit reversed.) Her father was very close to her as a child and they got along great until puberty hit and then he refused to acknowledge anything about her transformation or her womanhood. She spent her whole life thinking she's not good enough for him and feeling unloved and a failure.

I wish I could find the article I gave her, but it was such an amazing window into fatherhood. A bunch of dads confessed feeling lost and scared when their daughters grew up, freaking out at every step about being not only useless to them now (those who do girltalk about boys and tampons do it with mom) but also worrying about appropriateness. I remember this quote about how a father stopped playing football with his tomboy daughter because he completely freaked out when he accidentally touched her breasts while they were playing. It's a big deal for them.

And men are men. And not all the same. I'm very emotionally repressed and my friend and I realized she gets HER inability to express emotions from her father. Once she realized they have the same problem, it was easier for her to open up to him. They had a good talk and he CRIED when she candidly confessed her insecurities and how it hurt her to think she's not good enough for him. He'd spent her whole adult life worrying about the same thing. He thought she didn't care, didn't want his approval or his advice and he felt like he could never say the right words to her. It was a huge relief and a big breakthrough in their relationship.

Like I said, I don't know your history or what type of personality and experiences your dad has, but I just thought that story might help.

Yes, we will always need Dad's approval. But my friend and I helped each other through our daddy issues when we realized we're grownups now. It's a great feeling of freedom because we can see that we're FLAWED grownups and we can relate to our parents better. As kids, we think of them as super human and we don't allow them to make mistakes because it makes us feel unsafe. Once we stopped thinking of ourselves as their children, and started thinking more in terms of being their equals, they became instantly more relatable. We realize they have fears and insecurities too, just like us, and that their inability to connect to us doesn't come from some fatal flaw we might possess. Everybody's screwed up in their own way. We just needed to stop thinking of them as Perfect Parent to see it.

Congratulations on the great payoff for all your efforts and I hope you get the same type of breakthrough with your father. Give him a chance. It's VERY difficult for most men to express emotion or even deal with it in their own minds. I suppress too and bottle up everything so I tend to be sympathetic.

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Old 05-12-2010, 11:26 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ThicknPretty View Post
(I know that was long…I didn’t mean for it to be. I have a lot of issues with my dad and the whole thing just makes me so sad. I honestly don’t think my dad is happy that I’m alive, that I’m his daughter. He has a daughter in his second marriage and to say that he adores her would be an understatement. I haven’t really come to terms with the fact that my dad probably won’t ever just be proud of me.)
without knowing any details, I'm guessing that your dad's attitude is less about you than it is about whatever happened in his marriage to your mother, and you are associated with that in his head and that may make it harder for him to act the way you wish he would.

Maybe try being more explicit about what you want to hear from him - such as saying "hey, dad, I've been working very hard on losing weight and getting into shape and I'm really proud about what I've accomplished!" and then see how he responds. Some people (men, esp.) don't always say a lot -my relationship with my dad is very good but he still isn't the type to spontaneously compliment me.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:45 AM   #8
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Thanks girls…I wasn’t expecting so many warm responses…I realized after I threw it out there how long my post was and I appreciate ya’ll reading through all that…

As…pathetic as it might sound for me to say this, I really don’t think my dad loves me in the truest sense of the word. He is a Christian and a good person and I think these are the reasons he maintains what relationship we have with me…to do otherwise would be “wrong”. But remove his sense of obligation and religious reasons and I think he’d very easily never talk to me again.

My childhood and adolescence was…pretty horrible. I shoplifted, I was a cutter, I was emotional and dramatic and out of control. I ended up pregnant at 17. I think when my Dad looks at me, he sees these things and that’s how he identifies me as a person. By my past, by who I was when I was 15 and 16 and 17. But even before I started derailing, he was absent and disinterested. I’ve noticed a trend and I think my father is part of it: divorced men with children from the original marriage who remarry and have more kids leave the first kids in the dust. He’s definitely done this. I have so much resentment and hurt inside of me. I want to forgive him but I just don’t understand, especially now that I’m a mother. If anything, I am scared to have more kids because I never want my son to feel left behind, overlooked or discarded the way I did. It’s sickening how different my life and my sister’s lives are…I can’t even look at her without wanting to run away. It hurts. Yes, I’m jealous and I know that’s wrong.

I don’t actually think I could do anything to make him proud of me or glad that he’s my dad. I could cure cancer and he’d still think, “Well she doesn’t know how to save money and she got knocked up when she was 17.” I’ll never be good enough. He doesn’t like me. Why would I expect him to like me thinner? Or even notice? He won’t even look at me. I guess it’s my fault. I see everything that has happened in the past and how he’s treated me and still…I keep running back, hoping to impress him or at least make him regret abandoning me.

One of the reasons I don’t want to get married is my Dad. Not because he’s made me wary of marriage, but because the thought of my wedding day crushes me inside. He won’t help pay for it. He won’t cry. He won’t be proud walking me down the aisle. He’ll be embarrassed if I wear white. He won’t dance with me. He won’t try to get to know my husband. He won’t be happy. He’ll show up. He’ll go through the motions because I am his “daughter”…but he’ll walk away from that church with the daughter he really loves and there will be no difference in his life. Well, unless he considers it less nuisance to himself…

God I am so sorry for this…can of worms…consider it open. I am now truly depressed.

(Oh, and my dad is definitely the kind of guy to notice weight loss and hair changes and stuff. He once bought my stepmom this ridiculously huge bouquet of roses for losing 10 pounds…he can be extremely emotional and expressive, although he does tend to be quiet and reserved. At his fathers funeral, he knelt in front of my brother and I and sobbed and apologized for not being there…I stared at him and felt nothing. I think he was saying he was sorry for not loving us.)
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:47 PM   #9
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Heck, I'm 41 and have daddy issues. You're certainly not alone. My dad simply has no room in his attention span for more than one person...and that's his wife. His wife is not my mom--my parents got divorced 12 years ago, and my dad remarried just as fast as he could, because he can't stand to be alone and doesn't know who he is outside the context of a romantic relationship to a woman. His wife came with kids (they were 11 years old at the time), and my dad poured years into helping raise them, adopted one of them, constantly pays for stuff for them, etc. Am I jealous? Sure. I'd like my dad to pay some of that attention to me, or heck, to his GRANDCHILDREN, of which he has four now. (Three mine, one my sister's.)

But, I don't bother telling my dad any of this, because there is no point. He'd get emotional and sad and promise to change, and then he wouldn't do anything to change. I've seen him do that over and over. And I'm simply not interested in empty promises.

Meanwhile, my mom is dying of pancreatic cancer. She never remarried and doesn't have a "life partner." But she has me and my sister, and we are strong and supportive for her. I love my mom fiercely. She is awesome. She's a sober alcoholic who has poured years of her life into her own recovery and into helping other people recover. She's really...simply amazing.

It's hard not to let the situation with my mom make me more angry at my dad. Mostly what I feel for my dad is a sort of sympathetic distance. He's a passive conformist. He'd like to "do better" but has no will to do so. Oh well...that's his crap, not mine.

I wish I could tell you that it will get better, but the likelihood is that it won't. Unless your dad decides to dig inside himself, change, and FIX IT, then it won't get better. Nothing you can do will make him do those things, either.

But you can heal yourself. You can find the love that you want, from other people. If you want to get married, there's no reason to involve your dad as your "daddy figure" if you don't want to--find another man (uncle, brother, cousin, friend, teacher) who is awesome and supportive and dad-like if you really want someone to "give you away." (Although...only you can really give yourself into marriage. You're not your dad's property to give.)

Pour your energy into the relationships that really give you something back. Your children, your partner if you have one, your other relatives, your friends. Cultivate the real love that you have, and stop chasing after the love you didn't get. Some parents simply don't love their children, and it's awful...but you don't have to let it cripple you.

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Old 05-12-2010, 12:59 PM   #10
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Awwww sweetie! all us womenfolk have issues with our daddies! Can't help it! - he's the first guy we ever loved! We always want to be daddy's little girl, and strive, reach, beg for it even thru our entire lives/relationships with others.

Maybe your dad DID notice, but maybe he knows you're sensitive about your weight and chose to not mention it. Or maybe he didn't notice, and he loves you FOR YOU! - just the way you are - fat, skinny, doesn't matter! You said I know he doesn’t think I’m pretty…I know he’s ashamed of me as a person and the mistakes I’ve made in my life…I know he thinks I’m reckless and irresponsible and a failure…but can’t he recognize just this one thing that I have done right? Would it kill him? and you also said He has a daughter in his second marriage and to say that he adores her would be an understatement. My question to you is HOW do you KNOW this is what he feels/thinks? Has he said those words to you? Has he said "I don't think you're pretty, I'm ashamed of you as a person, of the mistakes you've made... but your sister! - wow! I adore her!" .... I ask that because we often read into what other people think about us, and oftimes it is JUST NOT TRUE.

And even so, more than likely, I'd bet good money that when your dad looks at you, he doesn't see "a failure" - he sees HIS FAILURES. As a father. Nothing ever speaks so loudly to a parent than to see their own kid mess up. My own dad is the OPPOSITE of your dad.... he berates the **** out of himself for every single indiscretion he ever committed and swears up & down that he single-handedly ruined mine and my brother's life! - DUH! - me and brother are doing just fine for ourselves, thank you! - but poor ol'Daddy... he just lives in the past & kicks himself for all the wrong doings. It's sad, really.

ALSO: Remember - he's your dad, but he's JUST A MAN. Men aren't usually great at relating to women, or especially daughters it seems! - I know that my own father who is in his 70's STILL can't get past ME as a GROWN WOMAN. He's never related to women well (viewed them as sexual objects) and I was his precious little girl... until I grew breasts! -omg! - poor man just didn't know how to relate to me at all when I started growing up. He kept trying to make me "his little girl"... bought me stuffed unicorns & silly child-like things even well into my 20's (I'm pushing 50 now!!!!) So regardless of what your dad says or thinks - YOU HAVE DONE YOURSELF A GREAT SERVICE! - you've set a goal & you're reaching it! - HOW FABULOUS! Continue on this path! - You are being GOOD TO YOU! - and you deserve the self love! Never forget that! YAY YOU!!!!!

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Old 05-12-2010, 01:25 PM   #11
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THere's a saying "Moms worry about their children's feeling and dads worry about their kids futures".

I think this sometimes makes it seem as though we can never quite please dads. Even hollywood has picked up on the stigma of always trying to please daddy. Have you ever expressed this to your dad? I only ask because I used to feel the same, and one time I finally told my dad, and he was sorry he was giving that feeling. He said his father used to make him feel like he could never live up to his expactations and he never wanted to do that to his kids. JUst that simple conversation to a huge weight off my shoulders. And cleared a lot fo feelings. Mayeb if you told your dad, you've find out that he is really motivated by love and doesn't mean to hurt you. And like others have said, many men have troble expressing their feelings.

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Old 05-12-2010, 01:28 PM   #12
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One of the last times my father and I spoke face to face, he said, "Jay, how did you get so fat?" This was with other family in the room. Needless to say it was a conversation stopper.

I don't know why your dad didn't compliment you. Perhaps he doesn't know how to say these things. Perhaps he's just oblivious to your need to hear that from him. Or perhaps he knows that as long as he doesn't tell you what you need to hear, you'll always be coming around, trying to get him to do so. Or it could be that he thinks it's inappropriate for a father to comment on his daughter's body. All I can do is make up guesses.

If you ever feel strong enough, you might want to talk with him one on one--but you'll need to have your emotions under control. You could tell him that you've noticed he doesn't say much positive to you, and tell him that you wish he could say something nice now and then--just a word or two. You may be surprised to find he is oblivious, or even embarrassed.

My father? Well, he was just an insensitive and incredibly socially inept man who tended to say whatever came into his head, whether it was "rude" or not. And he also tended to enjoy seeing people hurt. What I said to him was, "Dad, I guess I ate too much." That was the end of it. Someone thankfully jumped in with another topic.

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Old 05-12-2010, 01:42 PM   #13
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Why do you care so much that he didn't say anything? Well, because he's your dad, and as daughters, we care a LOT about what our dads think of us. Maybe even more so than our moms? I have a great relationship with both of my parents, and while mom's comments are nice, my dad's approval sends me soaring. I think it's - right or wrong - just the way relationship dynamics are between fathers and daughters. BeachPatrol's got it right - dads are the first guys we ever loved! By the way... my dad also sees me as his little girl and I'm 28. My DH remarked about that last week!

I did not used to have a good or strong relationship with my dad. We never communicated when I was teenager, we fought a lot, and it took several years of building the relationship after I moved out to be where it is today. Have you ever just picked up the phone and talked to your dad? or maybe gone out to coffee with him? Sure it could be that he's reserved and doesn't want a relationship, but the scenario I'm getting is that he doesn't know HOW to relate to you. That he wants to, but doesn't know how. And have you given him a bit of that sense in return? Do your actions tell him that you'd rather not have a relationship? Just wondering aloud here - not accusing.

Either way, I think it's ok to realize WHY you want his approval. It's ok to feel that way, to recognize it and realize there may be a sense of loss or grief there over the missing relationship. The next step, though, is asking yourself what you're going to do about it. And that, my friend, is unfortunately only something that you can figure out. Good luck!
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:50 PM   #14
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I'm so sorry for what you are going through. I do think for your own good you should have a heart to heart with your dad. You can make assumptions on how he feels but you can't really know until you hear it from him. How awful would it be you thought your father felt a certain way about you for years and years and he didn't really? We can torment ourselves with our own assumptions.

I can't promise you that he is going to say what you want to hear or completely change his behavior, but at least you will have his own direct words and actions.

I come from a divorced family and I had my own issues with my father. I confronted him years ago as an adult with a multitude of thoughts, concerns, and feelings. From his responses I knew where he stood. I ended up ceasing contact with him, but it allowed me to give myself the closure I needed. For me THAT was a happy ending. Instead of forcing myself to maintain an unhealthy relationship it allowed me to give myself permission to let the relationship go.

We can't change the families we were born into or the past and present actions of others, the only thing we can control is our reactions and attitudes to them. Sending good and hopeful thoughts your way!
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Old 05-12-2010, 04:50 PM   #15
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At his fathers funeral, he knelt in front of my brother and I and sobbed and apologized for not being there…I stared at him and felt nothing. I think he was saying he was sorry for not loving us.
This sounds as though there's still a chance you can connect, if you can make yourself reach out to him.

Have you ever written a letter to him? I don't mean for you to send it to him. I think these things are better done in person. But maybe just take the time to write it out. That way, if you do talk with him, you'll have a script in mind & can say what you mean to say.

Write it down the way you're writing these posts, but write as though you are addressing him.

I had some really rough patches during my relationship with my father. As others have said, my childhood years were great, but after adolescence, it became much more difficult. Also, he was rather traditional & authoritarian -- he'd had an extremely authoritarian father himself, in the old patriarchal European tradition -- and I was always pushing against his having the last word & the "whatever I say, goes" attitude. But we negotiated a relationship over time. I communicated with him completely differently than I did with my mother. We'd go off & do something together, like birding, or running an errand, and much was resolved silently, while we were doing other things. So when he got inoperable stomach cancer, and was told he had just a few months to live, it wasn't that hard to open up & make myself completely available to him. (With him, I went through what I believe War Maiden is going through with her dying mother.) He changed very much during those last few months. Sometimes he was **** to live with, too, but that was okay, because it wasn't about me. He really was raging against the dying of the light. I hope your father doesn't have to become ill like that for you to finally obtain a rapprochement with him. But I do hope you can really talk with him.
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