How's your father/male figure

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 09, 2007 3:49 PM GMT
    my relationship with my father has not been good. (well, for the sake of some kinda measurement, good father figure is according to 60-70's tv show) he's always absent in my childhood memory, and we were never close. I know he cares for me, and in his own way, he loves me. but i wonder how it affects me in whole now that i'm adult.

    So i ask all my gay friends, and their answers, especially below age 10, are always the same as my.
    age: I break it to 3 stage, which i'm especially interested in the below 10 period.
    below 10, which u were passive in this relationship.
    below 20, teenage where u begin to take share in this relationship.
    20 and up, which u and father take equal share of relationship.

    rating: 1-2 abusive, damaging
    3-4 absent, distant
    5-6 caring, sometimes available
    7-8 friendly, loving
    9-10 best buddy, share all secret

    as for me,
    1-10 3
    10-20 4
    20-now 6

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    Nov 09, 2007 7:00 PM GMT
    I am one of those people who lived an enchanted fairytale life as a 'typical american kid'. Two loving parents, grandparents, numerous aunts and uncles, etc. Working middle class roots, lots of sports and the outdoors. An occassional Hot Dog or Ice Cream after a good game. Vacations camping and canoeing, or at the grandparents farm.

    Not poor, not rich; VERY Norman Rockwell. (7-8 )

    My problems with my family didn't start until I came Out after the Army and they basically disowned me. (3-4)

    My Father and I have somewhat reconciled (5-6), by I haven't reconciled with my sisters (who are evangelical christians and still won't speak to me).

  • fryblock

    Posts: 387

    Nov 09, 2007 7:04 PM GMT
    while i was always closer with my mother, my relationship with my dad has always been 8-9.
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    Nov 09, 2007 7:10 PM GMT
    With my own father, under your rating system:

    Under 10: 8
    10-20: 6
    20+: 8

    Part of this pattern is predictable: my Dad and I lived in the same house until I was part way through middle school, when he moved out, and not surprisingly things were a little more distant then. As a small child, my memories of my dad were that he was the fun parent, the one who lets us get away with crazy things, who coached our softball team and lets us climb all over him and helped us build balsa wood derby cars and whatnot, while Mom was the more daily life parent, and the one who typically enforced the rules because she stayed at home to raise us while Dad worked outside the home.

    I was never as close with my dad as I was with my mom--Dad just seemed to not get certain things, like that I was totally uninterested in professional athletics, unlike the rest of my family (in which, oddly, it was Mom who was the most rabid football fan). As I got older, things changed somewhat, in that he started getting somewhat bored watching sports himself, and he realized that he had always preferred playing them to watching them, but watched them primarily to have something to do with his guy friends. It also helped when he and I began spending more one-on-one time, instead of just in the company of my brother, and thus my dad was reacting more to me than to his general impression of teenaged boys, which fit my brother much better than it did me. But even when I got really angry at my dad--and there were a few times of that, particularly in middle school--I knew he'd be there when I needed him to be. It was even kind of cute that when I came out to him while visiting one summer, he had friends coming in that weekend and asked if I would like him to give them a heads up so they didn't make an inappropriate jokes out of ignorance.
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    Nov 09, 2007 7:10 PM GMT
    As for me:

    age 1-10: 1 (abusive, damaging)
    age 10-20: 1 (abusive, damaging)
    age 20-30: 4 (absent, distant...although I had a strong hand in this)
    age 30-36: 6 (caring, sometimes available)
    age 36-??: n/a (passed away)

    He had flashes of being a "7" in his later years.

    My dilemma is figuring out which influences to retain in the interest of peaceful self-acceptance, and which to change in the interest of being a better man than he was.
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    Nov 09, 2007 8:55 PM GMT
    I have to say I think this is an interesting exchange...

    my story

    under 10: 3
    10-20: 2
    20+ (I'm now 47): 4-5

    While never physically abused the world did and still does revolve around my father as far as he was and is concerned. As an example, he recently told my 40 yr. old brother that he had the right to treat him any way he wanted since he was his son. And while my brother and I are always quick to help meet his daily housing and health needs, we long ago distanced ourselves emotionally from him (although honestly he still manages to press the old buttons sometimes!!!).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 09, 2007 9:28 PM GMT

    Historically, if you do lots of reading on this, gay / bi folks have non-existent, or just horrible, father figures. That's not always the case, but, is a trend noted by scientists years ago.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 09, 2007 9:39 PM GMT
    ...which brings up an interesting chicken-and-egg style debate.
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    Nov 09, 2007 9:57 PM GMT
    well i guess Im the odd one out because Ive had a really good relationship with my dad- its my mom whose always been a douche- shes a crazy alcoholic golddigging douchebag
    unfortunately my dad left but i dont hold it against him or anything
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    Nov 09, 2007 10:00 PM GMT
    Wow, Rugger,

    Did we have the same dad? Your scores are exactly mine. Dad figured out I was a little homo before I did, and avoided me until I ran off and joined the Marines, thus proving my manhood to him. I was quite resentful and never quite let him off the hook. Now he's dead, and boy am I sorry I wasn't a bigger man than he was. I should have explicitly forgiven him for what he did to me while he was still alive to hear it...
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    Nov 09, 2007 10:10 PM GMT
    My father was raised in the south so his view on gays in general was not good. My stepbrother disowned him for that reason, only not for the diluted gay stereotype that was placed in his head, only the fact he was an "ignorant hillbilly" to quote. We have never gotten along. Part of it could be the way he found out I was gay by having to pick me up at the police station. He was always abusive when I was younger. A mean drunk with a mean tempter even when sober., still nothing good between us.
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    Nov 09, 2007 10:20 PM GMT
    Jarhead: Did he know you loved him? Ultimately, that's what brought me to peace with my Dad's passing, despite the fact that we had a volatile relationship that last year (I was coming to grips with the first 20 years).

    I started coming around just in enough time for him to say to my Mom "I'm happy...all three of my boys love me".

    Then during his last days I reiterated my love for him, used touch, and acknowledged the good I got out of our relationship, but he was already in the heart-attack induced coma. Some say coma patients hear. I dunno...I thought of it more on a spiritual/energy level.
  • Alan95823

    Posts: 306

    Nov 09, 2007 10:23 PM GMT
    This one's going to be tricky to answer...

    0-10: 1 (abusive, damaging alcoholic)
    10-20: 3 (absent, minimal phone calls, etc.)
    20-25: 5 (caring, but mostly absent)
    25 - dead

    13: married mom
    13-17: 2 (damaging, sexually abusive drunk)
    17-38: 5 (caring, but I kept him distant)
    38 - dead

    And yes, I have been to therapy. icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 09, 2007 10:32 PM GMT
    My father

    1-10 3
    10-20 3
    20-my mother's death 3
    post mother's death - his death 8

    My mother

    1-10 8
    10-20 2
    20 - her death 1
  • treader

    Posts: 238

    Nov 09, 2007 10:38 PM GMT

    Hate to add to the statistic but:

    age 1-10: 4 distant
    age 10-22: 2 damaging
    age 23-26: 3 absent
    age 26+ : n/a (passed away)

    Pretty bad. (sigh) He had me when he was close to being 60 so there was a huge generational gap between us. We had abolutely nothing in common. He acted literally like Archie Bunker - I'm not joking. He put a roof over my head and that's about it. Moved out when I was 23 and got him out of my life. I never knew what his problem was. All that you can say is that some people just shouldn't become fathers...
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    Nov 09, 2007 11:25 PM GMT

    My mom says he knew. I was so angry for so long, and I punished him for rejecting me and all the damage to my psyche that that caused. Once I decided to bury the hatchet and we started speaking again (I was thirty by then), I was somewhat lukewarm to him. We engaged on all the occasions that families do, and spoke on the phone three or four times a year, but I never treated him as a respected, valued family member past the age of about fourteen or so. He was so old school, emotionally closed off master of his castle in any case that any attempts by me to reach out would be rebuffed as unmanly.

    My mother called when he went into the hospital for the last time, and he died while I was on the plane home. I spoke to him on Easter Sunday this year, and he died the first week of may. I told him I loved him when we spoke. I pray that was enough. Lord, I am so sorry for the way I treated him...
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    Nov 09, 2007 11:29 PM GMT
    jarhead: "Lord, I am so sorry for the way I treated him... "

    Seeing how you've put it that way, he must know.

    Otherwise...that stuff resonates here.
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    Nov 09, 2007 11:30 PM GMT
    I find myself to be extremely fortunate when it comes to my dad. He's always been great. Unlike many other gay men, though, my relationship with him flourished after I came out. It was incredible. Before coming out, we would do the hand shake with a nod thing (we're not the most affectionate of families). Now when I visit my parents he always gives me huge hugs. For so many, homosexuality drove families apart. Fortunately, it brought mine closer together.

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    Nov 09, 2007 11:35 PM GMT
    Hmm, it'd be awesome if more people with happier relationships with their dads answered. As with all forum posts, replies will in general come from those who are more moved to do so.

    Hate to be stereotypical, but a lot of Asian families, mine included, has the father be the breadwinner who does little to help around the house and the mother be the homemaker who does pretty much everything else, though it's a little more common to be in a dual-income family here in the US.

    Anyhow, here are my ratings
    1-10: 4
    11-20: 4
    20-26(now): 4

    My dad might be a 6 now just like you ebl333 except for the fact that I've hated him all my life for being a 4 and I let him know it about two years ago when I came out to them.
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    Nov 10, 2007 12:22 AM GMT
    My dad has always made it clear that he loves me, and always would no matter what. But it was my elder brother who shared his interests. I hung out with mom (go figure).

    0-10: 7 friendly, loving

    But dad's choices and actions led to a divorce, and we didn't connect much in my late teen years.

    10-20: 5 caring, sometimes available

    In my adulthood, and separated by 1700 miles, I'm no better at communicating than he is. I still love him, and I know he loves me. We're just not in each other's lives somehow. I'm not proud of that. (Mom and I are still in touch.)

    20-now: 4 absent, distant

    My coming out didn't have an effect, I think, on this process.
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    Nov 10, 2007 12:25 AM GMT
    Way too difficult to score things on this scale. Sometimes it was profound love sometimes it was unfathomable hatred. I suspect it was much like most father-son relationships, though, in my mind, it was like no other.
  • Squarejaw

    Posts: 1035

    Nov 10, 2007 12:28 AM GMT
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    Nov 10, 2007 12:39 AM GMT
    I have to do a different break down.

    1-10 would probably be a 6-7

    10-15 probably a 5

    15-20 i would say a 2-3

    20-23 would be a one and not because he is abusive to me but because his actions toward me hurt other people
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    Nov 10, 2007 12:51 AM GMT
    growing up, I've always touched to see photos of a father holding a small baby boy, or tv show where father hugging his son. when my friends laugh and joke with their dads, I always went silent and just quietly observe...wishing..

    some of your stories really touches me, those below 5 points like RuggerATX, jarhead5536. Some of you did not describe what happened but just numbers. those numbers are unspoken stores that sum up your childhood, and shape 90% of who you are. I'm very touched and thank you for sharing. I wish i have a time machine and go back in time to give you a hug.

    i'll tally up from time to time. so far, i have 11 people give me enough to calculate. To the best of fuzzy logic, the average is

    0-10 3.9
    10-20 3.7
    20-now 5.1

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    Nov 10, 2007 12:52 AM GMT
    1-2 abusive, damaging icon_evil.gif
    3-4 absent, distant icon_neutral.gif
    5-6 caring, sometimes available icon_confused.gif
    7-8 friendly, loving icon_wink.gif
    9-10 best buddy, share all secret icon_biggrin.gif

    Interesting & timely topic guys - as my father, retired Chief Warrant Officer (Canadian Armed Forces), aged 78, just died on October 30, 2007 from a two-year battle with cancer...

    I'm the 5th child of eight, 2 older boys, 2 older sisters, me and my straight (fraternal) twin, 2 younger boys

    From birth to age 5: 8,4,6 Dad is military, every few years a new military base...he takes in his own dad in the last year of his life to live with us...

    Age 6 to 15: 5,6,2,8
    Dismal wages in military, dad takes on part-time jobs, yet still involved in family life, but rules his children like privates with an iron hand...

    Age 17 to 23: 1,2,3,4,8
    Stuck in the Armed Forces for the security, hates his job, frustrated by the world changing, evolving - 8 kids with their own issues and no means to provide anything after high school...the man is one volcanoe eruption after another!

    Age 24-45: 10,8,7,2
    Retirement - Salvation! With much effort he is able to fashion friendships with his adult children but still finds it difficult to drop some damaging old militaristic controlling behaviours.

    Age 31: 5,7,8,10
    I come out to my parents. Dad doesn't blink, not only is he ok but is supportive. (Takes me 10 years later to find out that it is my mom, who has always been quiet and not one to impose her views on anyone - is the one with a moral quandary!!! icon_biggrin.gif

    Age 34: 10,8,2
    My dad confides in me that he has discovered he has fathered a child (a girl! lol aged 42) six months before he met my mom. He finds it hard to accept it and believes my mom will divorce him! (The irony is that his fear to deal with this will cause the real damage later). icon_cry.gif

    Last 18 months: 5,7,8 All of us (family) had to face his impending, mortality and resolve issues, see the man for his many faults and at times bullying behaviour...but also realize that he was always driven and totally committed to us.

    Age 47: Dad passes away Tuesday past - with all his children by his side. icon_sad.gif

    I am grateful that when he needed a place to live this summer (in May my mom was diagnosed with blood cancer after 3 months in hospital and is now in a Long Term Care Home) my dad chose to live with me - his single gay son. We co-existed as two equals and old grievances dissolved. I now see him as a complicated man who also happened to be a father and friend and a pretty decent one at that.