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To Moms from A Dad: no compliments, please

By a FEAST Around the Dinner Table parent

I want to try to give a little bit back here.

I have seen several “way to go Dad”, “Warrior Dad”, compliments about the research I’m doing, AND I’ve seen things like “I wish my husband…”

Listen – here is the truth. I have been negligent for over a year on this thing. I haven’t been there for my wife.

I’ve been focused on running an Ultra Marathon (fortunately I did NOT talk about it a lot but it was definitely a presence in our life). Beyond that I’ve been focused on my own personal coaching/consulting practice and being more successful and making more money. I’ve been emotional about that with my wife and expressed things like “I need to work hard to make all this money that you and my kids seem to need” and “you don’t know how hard it is to be the only one having to figure out finances”.

I’m a recovered alcoholic and in a lot of ways still a sick person. I have mood swings, get depressed. And I let people know.

See how obsessive/compulsive I’ve been about this? That’s how passive I can be too. That’s how self absorbed I can be.

Imagine being my wife and trying to handle this thing on your own so your husband can pursue his career and make $…. imagine you believe him that it really is SO HARD… so you try to handle this alone and be strong. You believe the therapist because she’s all you got and the only person you’ve really been able to talk to about this. That’s been my wife’s world.

NOW… all of a sudden… your husband in December says… let’s go to our marriage counselor because I don’t think we are communicating well about how WE can work on this together. Then after over a year of handling it on your own, your husband (me) is SUDDENLY very upset and angry and interested and is all of a sudden an expert and is putting pressure on you about the therapist, the continued weight loss, and the books that you haven’t read and how what your daughter is eating isn’t enough and all of a sudden your husband is THE leading expert dad on this in the country.

That’s my story. That’s what my wife experienced last week.

Fortunately she got away for a four day weekend to try to rest up and be with family and be away from me. Turned out this was probably a God thing and not a coincidence because it gave me time to cool just a bit… ask questions of all of you, talk to Andre Miron, go to 12 step meetings, yoga, church and meditation…. and to rearrange my work schedule and look at my priorities in life and look at the TRUTH of my situation.

Other things about the truth for me… I’m an egomaniac with low self-esteem. I get a bit of a “hit” when someone here says “you’re such a good dad. way to go.” Fortunately, right at the moment I see it and am able to sort past it and realize what is going on and get back to what I need to do and who I need to BE for my wife and daughter in this thing. But it’s dangerous.

On what it’s like to be your husband. We are men. We like to fix things. We like to know what the fix is. We want to be experts.

We think we’re failures when a handyman comes to our home to fix something like a washing machine. We are supposed to be tough. We don’t understand this thing and it isn’t in the normal game plan… it isn’t something we can directly fight, shoot, punch, screw, hammer, or pull with our 4×4 truck. This is very confusing.

We generally have no freaking clue even after all these years with how to talk to you about this.

I know a lot of boys have this too but for me… I just thought my daughter hated me. I thought maybe it was normal teenage stuff. I started to think my wife and two teen daughters were hating me together. When I came in and said hello to my daughter with anorexia and she ignored me I took it personally. I started to feel bad about me. When my wife took my daughter to the therapist I resented that I wasn’t involved but didn’t know how to express that and since I was sure my D hated me I figured it was best to leave it alone.

Your husband…. hmmm….. it’s just a really different game for him.

When and if we get through this… I will help some dads. Trust me – my F-ed up ego is already writing the book and going on Oprah. I hate that. But it’s true and it’s better to speak the truth.

So, have grace on your husbands and realize this is VERY VERY VERY confusing for us dads.

Please feel free to share this with him.

And, it was good to get this out. I am a coach/speaker/writer by trade so also note that this way that I express myself is also not natural and no man should be expected to do the same, especially initially. This took years of practice and focus and self-work through 12 steps, therapy, training classes, etc.

Now, here, thanks is a good reply but no compliments. They aren’t good for me.

Love to all your families and your husbands and to the dads.

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3 Comments

  1. MAHunt

    “So, have grace on your husbands and realize this is VERY VERY VERY confusing for us dads” Right. Add one more thing to your wife’s plate, as if she isn’t already drowning trying to take care of your sick child, your other children, and whatever else she has stressing her out. Alternately you could just step the f*** up, put your own ego aside (even if it means going to a therapist alone), and find out what you can do to participate.

  2. Leslie O'Hanlon

    I think kindness is infinitely healing and it’s never too late to heal. This ED pulls us all inside out. Keep stepping up and talking maybe you reach someone. I know my H is struggling, clinical nurse reminded me that I biologically designed to feel empathy much stronger as the hormones and bonding that occurs at birth, breast feeding etc, if that is an advantage I am using it. Men have a lot of advantages if you use them for your family that will be your job, keep trying and don’t ever give up. It’s not about you – I think you realize that now.

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