Just A Girl With Daddy Issues


I never thought I’d write this. It’s crossed my mind a hundred times over and I’ve always been to.. I don’t know what the right word is, respectful? Obedient? Quiet? Shy?… I’ve always been too *something* to ever speak about it but every year as I get older, I realise that it really is just what it is. My life.

I’m a grown ass woman that feels like a little girl with Daddy issues. Big Daddy issues.

I can’t pinpoint when they began but I’ve known about them for a very long time.

Growing up I thought my Dad was the most amazing person on the planet, just like any little girl should. And then something happened. What exactly that was, I can’t remember. Maybe it was a series of small things, maybe it was a big thing. I honestly have no idea.

But the magic disappeared and I lost sight of the man I once adored. We went our separate ways and I was left with a broken heart.

Nowadays, I wish things were different. But they’re not. This is the one topic that will always, always make me cry. I am not a crier.

There’s so much I want to say, so much I shouldn’t say and a little bit that I will say.

It’s 3am and I can’t sleep because I’m having an epiphany moment. Lying in bed trying to unwind after what has been a hectic few months this song comes on:

And I ball. Every. Single. Time.

The lyrics hit a nerve.

[Some days I feel broke inside but I won't admit. Sometimes I just want to hide 'cause it's you I miss.] [Forgive all your mistakes.] [Are you proud of who I am?]

It hurts.

Really really hurts.

I know we’ve tried but we just can’t get it together. So I just want you to know that I’m ok. I’m strong. Amazingly strong. I never would have guessed that I could be so strong. I was the weak one, remember? I don’t know what made me this way but I’ll give you some credit for it and for that I thank you. I’m sorry I had to write about this but writing is my therapy. It would seem we have that in common. I’ve held it in for years and it’s made me sick. It made me suicidal 10 years ago. Did you know that?… I shut myself off from the world to never feel that hurt again. I tried to get away from love because I didn’t think I could ever cope with it ever again. I was purposely sabotaging a good thing because I felt unworthy.

But love won. And I am happy. I need to write this because I believe this is the one thing left in my life holding me back from the life I desire. I am so close to reaching my goals and I am at the point where I will self sabotage because I don’t feel good enough. You taught me that. I know it’s not right to put that on a person but I’ve said it now. You made me feel insignificant and unworthy. I allowed you to make me feel that way. But no more. I’m older and oh so much wiser.

I am sensitive. Extremely. Most people don’t know that though because I build barriers to protect myself. I’ve spent the past two years breaking down those barriers and I like the person that has been suffocated but finally coming to the surface. She’s everything anyone could ever want in a daughter. I don’t know what went on in your life that makes it so hard for you to be a Father to me but it’s ok.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for blaming you
For everything I just couldn’t do
And I’ve hurt myself
By hurting you

I will always love you and I accept that this is the way things are for us. It will always hurt when my friends talk about their Dad’s. It breaks my heart that my kids only know you as ‘that man’ or ‘your Dad, Mum’. And I will always cry anytime I think about you for too long.

Yep, I’m just a girl with Daddy issues.

That time I saw you in hospital on what could have been your death bed… did you know the nurse didn’t want to let me in because she didn’t believe I was your daughter? Do you remember that you had a go at me before I left? I cared enough to let it go, told myself it was the drugs but it kept me up all night. I didn’t sleep for three days straight and dragged my young family all around the South Island to make sure that you had someone by your side and clothes on your back because I wanted to be there for you. You thought others would be there to help you, they weren’t. That one phone call you gave me to say thank you will always mean more to me than you will ever understand but yet I’ve only seen you once in the time since. I want to move forward… but it’s just so hard. It shouldn’t be this hard.

That first night I could’t sleep, alone in the dark of the hotel room I wrote this. It seems that all those years ago I aptly named it ‘Crying’ and kept it hidden on my computer… :

I almost cried today.


My phone rang at 5:15pm today. It was my brother. He told me our Dad was in hospital, he’d just had a heart attack. I get the hospital’s details, ask how he’s doing, I can tell he’s been crying; I get information about Dad’s condition. We hang up.


I don’t cry.


I can’t tell my husband. He not in the office and he’s not yet home. He’s somewhere on the road between the two. He needs a new cellphone so I can reach him.


I don’t cry.


I call my Mum. My parents are divorced but they still have love for each other even if they can’t be married anymore. She cries.


I don’t cry.


My husband arrives home and hears what I say to my Mum. He asks me what we’re doing. I tell him to pack bags, we’re leaving. He listens. We rush around grabbing clothes, toiletries, nappies, wipes, bottles. We book last minute accommodation in Queenstown and cancel our plans for the night.


I don’t cry.


My phone rings again. It’s my brother. He tells me the hospital isn’t sure if they’ll be keeping Dad in Queenstown or if they’ll helicopter him to Dunedin. We arrange a plan for me to know within the next 45 minutes, I’ll go wherever Dad ends up.


I don’t cry.


We’re all packed.  I lock up the house and walk outside to the full car. It’s dark and cold, so uninviting.


I don’t cry.


We head to the petrol station to fill up the tank. It costs a lot.


I don’t cry.


We fill up the back tyre with air. We go to drive out the driveway and we hear a loud bang. I know the tyre has popped.


I don’t cry.


My brother calls me to say Dad’s staying in Queenstown tonight. Andrew changes the tyre. Thank goodness we’re still at the petrol station. Changing the tyre takes a long time, some things didn’t want to come off. I try to help. A truck driver walks over to help us and everything eventually comes unstuck. His kindness makes me smile.


I don’t cry.


It’s finally sorted. We hate that we now have to drive on the space saver to Queenstown. We’ll fix it first thing tomorrow. There goes some more money but in the grand scheme of things, who cares.


I don’t cry.


We pick up some drive through. Kids need food and it’s the easiest thing to do. While everyone eats things are quiet. My body starts going into shock. I begin shaking and can’t warm up enough.


I don’t cry.


We arrive in Queenstown. I walk into the hospital and the nurse screws up her face and questions if I’m really a relative. My Dad is white, I am brown. If you actually look at my face we look alike. I feel offended.


I don’t cry.


Dad’s been drugged but he’s still making sense. He looks pale and tired. We talk about what happened.


I don’t cry.


I ask if he needs me to do anything for him. He says he’ll call one of his flatmates to bring him a toothbrush etc. in the morning. I feel sad.


I don’t cry.


He mentions he’s thirsty, I ask if I can get him a drink and he says yes. I gladly pour him some water.


I don’t cry.


I ask if he’s hungry because he looks like he’s having hunger pains. Dad tells me he hasn’t eaten since the morning, before everything happened. The nurse comes in and asks the same question. She brings him some toast and a yoghurt. I put honey on his bread and we talk some more. He seems grateful for that short moment.


I don’t cry.


He talks about her, his new wife. She’s younger than me and doesn’t really love him. He says she’s caused him a lot of stress.


I don’t cry.


He tries to guilt me for not taking a ‘family’ photo with them on his birthday. I tell the truth but also apologise.


I don’t cry.


He talks badly about my Mum. I feel upset. I keep quiet and let him speak his mind. I can understand but I still love them both. He finishes by saying that she’s a wonderful woman. It doesn’t take the hurt away.


I don’t cry.


We talk about some simpler things. I ask for his advice on where to buy a new tyre in town. It seems easier for the both of us to just talk about this stuff.


I don’t cry.


The drugs start kicking in and he looks like he’s dozing. I sit there quietly for a minute to let him go with it. He jerks awake. I tell him to get some rest and I’ll be on my way now. I stand to leave but not before asking him what happens now. Tomorrow morning they ship him off to Dunedin to see a specialist. My mind starts racing.


I don’t cry.


I walk out to my husband and children. Two are laughing, one is crying and one is saying “Mum, Mum, Mum.” I pick up the one crying, tell the one still laughing at him to stop, and smile at the little guy  babbling at me.


I don’t cry.


We head to the hotel. We’re arriving near on midnight but they’ve left everything ready for our arrival. I’m relieved.


I don’t cry.


The kids choose their beds, the baby crawls around the rooms. We get the oldest three off to sleep. The baby starts coughing with a mighty chesty cough and then begins screaming. He doesn’t know how to cry quietly. He goes quiet long enough to vomit all over the fresh clothes we just put on him and the bedding in his cot.


I don’t cry.


Andrew cleans the cot while I clean the baby. He screams some more. I wrap him in the nearby towel and cuddle him in close. He falls asleep in my arms.


I don’t cry.


I jump into bed with Andrew. He’s exhausted. We chat for five minutes before he’s out. I want him to stay up just a little longer but know he needs to sleep.


I don’t cry.


I’m lying in bed staring into the dark at the spot of light that’s gotten through the curtain and is shining on the ceiling. My mind is still going. I’m still stuck there at the hospital. Scared for my Dad, upset that he told everyone but me. I feel like an idiot for coming. For thinking he’d care that I care. I feel taken for granted. I don’t know how many more times I’m expected to reach out and be the good daughter. I’m angry that all I got out of our conversation tonight was “She’ll take care of me.” All I could think was “Why not me? I’m right here! I LOVE YOU!” I’m angry that I felt like I was a burden to him. I’m angry that he doesn’t see me. But what angers me the most is me. I’m angry at myself for thinking so selfishly when I should be thinking about him.


I wish I could stop the anger.


Tears well in my eyes.


I almost cry.


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  • Sally February 17, 2013, 6:59 pm

    My darlin’…I feel for you. You are brave for releasing this out there for the world to see it. He will never understand how much he has failed you and hurt you. I’m proud to say I am related to you…I can’t say the same for all my relatives. I hope this post is the first stage in conquering your barriers to success and fulfilment. You are a beautiful and sensitive human being. Lot of love to you ;)

    • Chavah Kinloch February 18, 2013, 2:38 pm

      Of all the people I know in this world, you are probably the one that can relate to this the most seeing as we’re blood and been through very similar experiences because of that reason. You also understand it from a psychological viewpoint, something I don’t. I’m free of it and it feels marvelous. I’m ready life! Lots of love to you too.

  • Erin February 18, 2013, 12:34 am

    really feeling for you ,you are not alone i too have daddy issues and my daddy scars are fresh your post made me cry ,much love to you xxx

    • Chavah Kinloch February 18, 2013, 2:34 pm

      Oh Erin, I’m so sorry that you’re living through a similar experience. It is heartbreaking. I hope you know you’re not alone now and that you’ll be ok too. Big hugs xx

  • Jaide (aka Juana) February 18, 2013, 8:13 pm

    Hey Chavah! Long time no see cuz, do you remember me?? Any how I just wanted to say I was really moved by your writing, wow you sound like you’ve been threw some pretty heavy duty stuff over time…with family. I am sorry for your pain but can see you are obviously made of that tough stuff, our family memebers are so often made from…I do remember you being a very sweet, shy quiet little girl and some weekends spent at your place and vice versa…which were pretty cool..I think its pretty amazing you are living the reality you are making for yourself. I look forward to your blogs, please keep up the writing, its really quite refreshing…Love the photo of you guys too. Love to your mum and the family x

    • Chavah Kinloch February 20, 2013, 11:16 am

      Of course I remember you Juana! Tonnes of great memories with you :) Thank you for your kind words. We definitely have some very strong women in our family. It’s great being back in touch with you. Lots of love to your family too. xx