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I Grew Up Without a Dad and I Turned Out Fine

I am not an anti-social weirdo you should feel sorry for.

Neither the father, nor author. Photo via Wikicommons Media.

This article originally appeared on VICE Alps

Even though I live pretty close to my dad, years can pass without us seeing each other. We talk on the phone sometimes, but only about superficial things: He asks me how college is going and I try really hard to come up with questions so I can seem interested in his life. We don't really have much to talk about because he knows practically nothing about me. He doesn't know my friends, doesn't know what I'm into and doesn't have any clue about what I do with my time. He split up with my mum when I was just a baby and the only thing he's ever contributed to my life is sorrow.


As a kid, I'd sometimes get jealous when I saw how my friends' fathers would take care of them and teach them things. Thankfully that was a passing phase and I quickly realised that being blessed with a mother – who was equipped with enough love to match that of two parental units – was far more valuable than having around an additional person, who only saw me as the result of a fleeting relationship.

People tend to throw you a few weird looks and the obligatory "Oh you poor thing", when they hear that you grew up without a dad. What's up with that? My father never took care of me, so why would I miss him? You can't miss something you never had in the first place. It's as simple as that.

What drives me mad is when people try to link my personality traits to my growing up without a father. The fact that I was raised by a single mother didn't turn me into some little monster who hates herself and needs to compensate for her daddy issues by sleeping around. Sure, I hook up with stupid guys sometimes, but that has nothing to do with my father. People who grew up with a dad can be sluts too. I'd never use my upbringing as an excuse to act stupidly. I'm not some traumatised, anti-social weirdo.

I've always believed that you should be direct with people that you like and the people that like you. Anything else is bad for the soul of at least one of the participating parties. That rule isn't just relevant for friends or relationships, but also for relatives, and just as much for parents. Some people are just assholes. If you dismiss assholes in other areas of your life, why not dismiss them from your family, too?


They say you can't choose your family but my father didn't seem to agree. For 20 years he thought that he could decide whether he had to take care of his kid. Now I'm deciding whether or not I want to have him in my life. People can whine about that being resentful if they want but that's where I'm at, after all these years of wasted chances.

Sometimes my dad says that he thinks of me a lot and that he loves me. I'd never be able to bring myself to say anything of the sort to the man. Yes, I'm aware that I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for his genetic material and the shitty relationship that he had with my mother. So, thanks for that Dad.

Overall, I'm mostly just grateful for one thing though: Now I know that you can have a happy childhood and turn out just fine outside the traditional family model.

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