Ladies of the Round Table

March 18, 2008

Guest Post: Role of Daughter

Filed under: Uncategorized — craftymommy @ 4:12 pm

The following is a guest post by Reen from Reen’s Place.

My role as a daughter has not been an easy one.  I have spent the majority of my life feeling completely inadequate.  I was not the smart one.  I was certainly not the athletic one.  I was not the pretty one, or the popular one.  This didn’t leave many roles for me to play.  So I chose the one role that was left.  I was the caretaker.  I was the scapegoat.  I was the chubby one that was more comfortable with my nose in a book and music in my ears.  My childhood was not one of idyllic stories.  You see, my father has always been a practicing alcoholic.  Unlike some, one more beer did not turn my dad into a funnier, more friendly person.  No, my father turned into a mean, verbally abusive man.  My father never raised a hand to me, my mom, or my older sister though sometimes I wish he had.  Those scars heal better than the ones he left behind.

My role as a daughter was one of walking on eggshells, never knowing which of my father’s personalities was going to walk through the door at night.  Was it going to be the man who would yell and say horrible nasty things or would it be the man who would just leave me alone?  On the nights that my father came home drunk, there was not much of a doubt who was going to be the one bearing the brunt of his tirades.  I was the sensitive one that always gave him the reaction he craved… my tears.

I remember one Easter when I was young, probably 5 or 6 years old.  My mom had taken us dress shopping earlier that day.  Somehow, I managed to lose my dress in the mall.  Well my father went ballistic.  He yelled and swore until there was not a doubt in my mind that there was no love for me.  There have been numerous fights over the years, too many to count and more than I could ever care to remember.

I am 29 years old, an adult now, but to this day, I do not have much of a relationship with my father.  He is a part of my life because he is my father, not because there is any great love there. Most days I am at peace with this fact.  It hits me when I am at a wedding and watch the bride coming down the aisle with her dad, or when, at the reception they have a Father-Daughter dance, that these are moments that I will not have.   

My niece and nephew are now experiencing all of the good that is within the man who is my father.  It took Hannah’s birth for my father to openly adore someone.  While I know that it’s a wonderful thing for Hannah and Ethan, I would be lying to myself if said it didn’t make me a little sad for all that I missed.  

For as much as my father is not a part of my life, my mom has been the opposite.  She is the rock that I have stood on throughout my life.  She worked so hard to give my sister and I everything that we needed and so much of what we wanted.  Things were not easy for my mom.  She was basically a single mom raising us on her own.  She wanted everything for us that she had never had.  It was never an option in our lives whether or not we were going to college.  It was just understood. 

My mother instilled in us a respect for ourselves that went against everything my father did to us.  She taught us to stand on our own.  She taught us to fight; to fight for what we knew was right and for those who couldn’t fight for themselves.  My mother nurtured in me a love for the arts that I would be lost without.   Would my life have been easier if she’d have left him, I don’t know.  I’ve never questioned it.  My life, all that it has been, all the good and all of the bad, has brought me to where I am now.  I am a strong woman.  I am an independent woman.  I am my mother’s daughter.  I hope one day to pass along the strength my mother has given me to a child of my own.  Whether or not I get that opportunity remains to be seen.  But more importantly I hope that my mother knows how proud I am to be her daughter and how thankful I am that she chose me.



  1. Reen – I can relate with what you said about your father. While my father’s issues were a little different, I had very similar feelings for years, it is very difficult to move on and be. It sounds like your mother is an amazing woman who does amazing things! It sounds like she choose to shape you into an amazing and wonderful woman! Thank you very much for sharing!

    Comment by carissah — March 18, 2008 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

  2. Yep, I can totally relate to your feelings towards your father. It’s impossible to understand how a father can be a mean spirited person to his daughter yet totally adore someone else (for you it is Hannah and Ethan, for me it’s my step-sisters.) I don’t get it and it’s hard to witness. I’m glad you had that healthy relationship with your mom and she was able to raise a strong, independent woman. Thanks for sharing your story and thank you for the very thoughtful comment you left for me.

    Comment by Michelle — March 18, 2008 @ 6:55 pm | Reply

  3. I have a similar history with my dad, only without the alcohol. I grew up very careful not to have to live my mother’s life. My brother didn’t know it could happen to him and has only recently ended a horrible 10-year marriage to a verbally abusive spouse. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Comment by Carolyn — March 18, 2008 @ 11:55 pm | Reply

  4. Your fighter spirit rings out in your writing. Your Mom gave you such a gift and I think, in his own way, your Dad did as well – at a price, of course. Thank you for sharing.

    Comment by Nicki — March 19, 2008 @ 12:23 am | Reply

  5. Reen, your post really speaks to me and I sit here with tears in my eyes. For me, it was actually the reverse relationships in the sense that my dad was my strong role model and my mom is the tough one. When you say that your father is a part of your life simply because he is your father, not because of any love there – that is exactly my situation with my mom. And it’s interesting you mention wondering how your mom’s life would have been if she’d left your father – I have had that thought so many times about what might have been for my dad if he and my mom had split. So thanks for writing a post that really speaks to me like this.

    Sounds to me like you have some amazing lessons learned from your mom to pass on should you become a mother, which I hope you are able to do one day. She sounds like a pretty amazing person.

    Comment by Stacy — March 19, 2008 @ 4:10 am | Reply

  6. Hi Sweetie, I think Nicki really hit the nail on the head with her comment. All the good and bad in our lives shape who we become and you have used all of your life experiences to become someone wonderful!

    Comment by Jen — March 19, 2008 @ 7:56 pm | Reply

  7. It’s amazing to me how much more damage verbal / emotional abuse can be than physical. Your story about realizing your dad’s lack of love on Easter was heartbreaking. The other part of your writing that really rang through to me is your obvious love for your mother. You never questioned her choices and how those might’ve made things different for you – it just shows how much you love her. Instead, it sounds like you just fought hard to make the best out of what you were dealt. Your mom does sound incredible, and I’m sure she’s proud of the daughter she raised.

    Comment by Laurie — March 23, 2008 @ 9:53 am | Reply

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