I had the opportunity to tune in to OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) and watched Iyanla’s Fix My Life episode with Evelyn Lozada. I was inspired by Evelyn’s courage and moved by Iyanla’s austere counseling style. I was first introduced to Iyanla as a teenager when someone gave me a copy of Don’t Give It Away.
There were so many quotable moments on the episode but one of the ones that resonated with me the most was: “Every little girl left by her daddy has a broken heart.” Throughout most of the episode, Iyanla was attempting to help Evelyn get to the bottom of why she was in the position she was in with her marriage to Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and the reason was because she didn’t feel worthy of love.
I was raised in a single-parent household and my father was not very involved in my life. We often internalize those feelings, and it’s not that we didn’t have good mothers (it takes an exceptional woman to bear the burden of childrearing alone), it’s just that there is something special that comes from a father, the other half of our genetic makeup. Ideally, the father is the first man to tell us that we are beautiful, to validate us by showing interest in our lives and our wellbeing, to dust us off when we fall and lift us up. The father should be the first man to wrap us up in his strong arms, to wipe away our tears when we experience heartbreak, to open doors and pull back seats and show us the perfect definition of a gentleman. The love of a father should be unconditional. The protection of a father should come without hesitation. In the case of an absent father, none of those things happen and little girls often feel like it is their fault that their fathers aren’t involved and it often leads to:
- Seeking love in hurtful places
- Seeking older/more experienced partners (who sometimes manipulate and exploit the little girl)
- Hypersexuality and unhealthy sexual behavior
- Abusive relationships (not always physical, sometimes emotional)
- Partners with the same characteristics as our absent fathers (whether it’s alcoholism, absenteeism, drug abuse etc.)
- Low self-confidence or low self-esteem
- Agressive behavior (due to the anger or frustration experienced as the hurt little girl)
I don’t want to spend too much time on the negative but want to offer some solutions. Iyanla offered Evelyn a few really good solutions including:
1. Allow that hurt little girl to feel the pain. Make room for her to cry.
2. Find closure by identifying the patterns in other relationships. Perhaps you are suffering from fear of abandonment or that initial pain has given you anger and aggression in other relationships.
I’d add a few more:
3. Affirm yourself. Tell yourself that you are worth respect, love and commitment.
4. Get therapy. Therapy has always been the dirty little “t” word. Speaking to someone who is neutral and who doesn’t have a “horse in the race” could really help.
5. Journal. Writing out your feelings helps you acknowledge them and move on.
6. Make changes. Nothing beats the past like overcoming it!
Like Evelyn, many areas of my life were negatively affected by my absent father, but I’ve decided to end the code of silence, acknowledge the pain and fill up those little empty areas of my heart with love, faith, forgiveness and good deeds!
Here is another post I wrote about fatherlessness called “Momma’s Baby: Daddy’s Maybe” https://donnienicole.com/2010/04/23/mommas-baby-daddys-maybe/.