Posted by: Tsietsi | 2009-05-03

Fatherly love

Hi there.
I am 25 currently...

My father is a strict guy with outdated beliefs about women and relationships. He was emotionally abusive to me at some point but that all stopped when I stood up to him. But me standing up to him did not bring us closer, it just stopped the fights and the mutual disrespect. It created courtesy though none of the wounds (for me) were healed. We are strangers living together in the same house, however, besides the love I feel for him as a daughter there is nothing there.
Is it possible that the relationship I have with my father is determining the choices I make in men?

I seem to pick men I don' t love, men that I don' t love me and married men who want what married men want in a young single girl. However, it seems unfair to blame my bad choices on the relationship I have with my father. It scares me that I might never make the right choice for me because of the unresolved issues I have with my father.
I am currently in a relationship with a married man, a situation I now regret simply because after all the progress I had made in taking care of myself, I took a giant leap backwards with this man. I am ' happy'  with this man, we have fun, connect. It is an easy relationship. But now I feel as if I don' t love myself. I obviously want out now, but feel trapped in the relationship. I' ll also admit to feeling like the other woman lately. I' m supposed to be smart but lately I' ve been making really stupid choices.
I need to find out what is wrong with me, why can' t I can' t act the way I think (smart)???

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hi Tsietsi,

The result of your standing up to him ( well done !) is fair --- its easier to change someone's behaviour than their opinions. The events may indeed have affected your relationships with men --- you may be more cautious, more inclined to expect them to be as controlling and uncaring as he was --- sometimes you'll be right in such assumptions, and sometimes you'll be wrong. The trouble with carrying forward such assumptions is the times when you're wrong. Rather than recognizing this as one of many possibilities within a relationship, by assuming it WILL be so, you may brush away the guys who could help to prove this assumption wrong, and stick longer with those who seem to prove it right.

CBT style counselling is well designed to examine such situations, and to give up unhelpful assumptions ( after testing them and establishing that they are, indeed, unhelpful ) and to develop more useful ways of forming relationships.

By selecting men who don't love you, and obviously so, you may feel you are avoiding the shock of discovering that someone you thought would love you, doesn't --- but you are , even more, avoiding discovering the folks who would, genuinely, love you for the right reasons.

It may well be that your abrasive relationship with your father taught you to assume that you don't deserve anything better, so you don't allow yourself more worthy and genuinely ( rather than superficially ) happy relationships.

CBT helps actually smart people, like you, to behave as smartly as they think.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Tsietsi | 2009-05-04

Hi Doc.

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my post. Very interesting assessment of my situation, I am certainly going to take it to heart -so to speak.
I find it interesting what you wrote about me selecting men who don' t love me. Very insightful -you' re an expert of course- but it moved me.
I will certainly look into going to counselling. I have been wanting to go for years, however I am starting to feel the strain of procrastinating.

Thank you again

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