Friday, September 07, 2007

Dad and I

I've heard or read some women expressing their wish of having lifetime partners like their Dads. I've never been one of them. Why? My Dad and I are too similar. He's a Melancholy and I also have a big percentage of Melancholy in my veins. Basic personality traits never change even though you can always learn to mold yourself into a better human being or even though your circumstances or upbringing stretch your personality traits into other types of temperaments.

My Dad is the kind of Dad that's perfect for young children. Even though we're adults now, I still feel that my Dad can't let go of the fact that in his eyes, we're still his "little ones". The way he teaches us values has always been like that: of a father to his young kids. On the contrary, Mom has the ability to adjust her way of teaching values according to our age. I remember one time when I was in Elementary School or early Junior High School, my Dad told me that the "perfect age" for a woman to get married would be 25. I countered him back by saying, "I'll NEVER get married." My Dad panicked and said, "Don't say such a thing!"

Yeah, that's how stubborn and rebellious I was, am, and have always been. If somebody tells me what to do, even though it's a good thing, I'll find ways to run to the other side. I know it's stupid, but it's a tendency I find hard to get rid of, even after all these years. Some people just get on my nerves and they know how to push my buttons, whereas I can get along VERY well with others. That's one reason why I chose my hubby to be my hubby, because he's one of those people who almost never pushes my buttons (but that's another story).

Anyhow, after I became an adult, I began to realize how frustrating it is sometimes for me to be near my Dad. Since we're too similar, his weaknesses are my weaknesses as well. We're both sensitive people and we love details. Since we remember details well, then we are prone to holding grudges on others. We also love budgeting and planning.

There's a funny story happening back in the early days of my parents' marriage. My Mom's a Sanguine/Choleric, so she doesn't do budgeting and planning by writing them down. Back then my Dad asked my Mom to write down monthly expenses in details. My Mom stopped selling food for a while after I was born, so they lived only on my Dad's limited salary. Mom was seething inside since she felt untrusted by Dad, who was wondering where all the money was gone. However, being the wise woman that she'd always been, she followed his instruction carefully and true enough, she didn't spend anything on herself and the salary was just enough to cover all the basic necessities. Two months later, she stopped doing it since it was no use anymore. She had proved to Dad that she didn't use the money for her own needs.

During the past few years, watching Dad's weaknesses feels like watching a mirror of myself. I don't mind seeing his strengths, of course, since they reflect mine, as well. However, seeing his weaknesses is so hard for me. I want to help him out, but that also means I have to help myself first. Besides,
if I ever "tell" him what he should work on, I also know his ego will get in the way since he's a traditional man, so I find myself helpless most of the time.

Sometimes it's easier to spot other people's weaknesses than ours, right? I recognize my weaknesses more clearly by watching my Dad's weaknesses popping out one by one. I love my Dad, but it's also frustrating for me to be near him since he's really like my mirror, especially after he's undergone "power" syndrome. Some of the weaknesses I see in him that I haven't managed to conquer in me becomes as clear as daylight, more clearly than ever. Even when spotting those weaknesses that I've managed to conquer, I would also feel frustrated since I'd say to myself, "GRRRRRR!!! Can't you see that you have to work on THAT issue? Why do you have to be like that?" But then after a while I realize why he did the things he did, because I know I have the same tendency and most of the time I know the root of the matter. But it's again hard for me to try to explain it to my Mom or brother since they have different temperaments than us both.

So the relationship between me and my Dad has been pretty complicated for me. Being Asians also doesn't help in getting us closer together. My brother and I are much closer to Mom and we always confide everything to Mom. For me, Mom is a bridge to get to Dad who's far more traditional than Mom.

When I almost graduated from the university, my Australian email pal asked me to go on a trip to Singapore. He was male and he was a year older than me and I had never met him before. I told Mom about the plan so that she could relay the information to Dad. At first Dad said no. I was SO FURIOUS since they both knew that going abroad was my dream. The biggest reason why I wanted to do that was to prove to them that I could take care of myself. One of my life goals is to travel (and meet my email pals) and in order to do that, I needed my parents' total trust in me. The other reason was that it would be the first time I ever went abroad, so why not go there with a friend instead of going there alone? He had travelled before, so I knew he'd be able to help me out.

Dad and I never really debated frontally. Mom has always been the bridge between us. Being a stubborn woman, I still continued preparing my trip while Mom tried to help me out to talk Dad out of his decision. I myself couldn't care less what Dad would say in the end since I WOULD go to Singapore with my friend no matter what. See how hard-headed I am? LOL!!! In retrospect, I think I must've been mad. What kind of parents would let their daughter to go abroad for a week with a male email pal that she had never met before? He he he...But anyway, I was so sure the guy was harmless.

In the end, Dad relented by asking for a letter from the guy (again Mom told me this so I didn't really confront Dad). I felt so embarrassed by having to ask him to write a letter to my parents, but he complied. He wrote such a nice letter, in fact. So finally Dad gave me his permission, not that it mattered anyway. I was so hell-bent in making my dream come true that I didn't even think twice about my parents' feelings. Now I bet most of you women out there are glad that I'm not your daughter, right? *wink*

Anyway, the trip went fine. My friend was a total gentleman and we didn't do anything dangerous. We didn't even hold hands! We were just friends on a trip. I was happy since then I knew my parents would let me do more trips in the future. True enough, in 2004 when I decided to go to Finland to meet my hubby for the first time, my parents supported me wholly. ;-D

Back to Dad.
Dad's a man of integrity. He never cheats on his wife, never tricks anybody for his own benefit, always takes good care of his family, never gambles, never drinks, never puts his family at risk in order to follow his own ambitions. He's just a decent traditional guy with a black-and-white perspective of life.

I haven't always been the greatest daughter for my Dad. I know that I have been a better daughter for my mother, but my relationship with Dad hasn't been that smooth. Sometimes I feel bad about myself because of this. I'm glad, though, that I have finally sent him a letter of appreciation. At least that letter's helped get rid of a huge chunk of guilt in my heart.

One of the fond memories I have of my Dad is how proud he is of me and my brother. He would be talking about both of us to his friends or to some guests or relatives or neighbours. Sometimes I felt embarrassed when I overheard him talking about me to other people, but at least I know he's proud of me. ;-D And for that, I'm always grateful for having him in my life. And for having been a man of integrity, I'm PROUD of him. ;-D


  1. This onw is lovely, Amel.
    :-)I think your dad deserves to be proud of his daughter, as you are proud of him.

  2. M: Glad you enjoyed it, M! :-)))

  3. Your dad sounds like a wonderful man who always had your best interest at heart. I think a lot of daughters feel rebellious toward their dad's way of thinking - I know I did, and my daughter did.

  4. Kathy: You did too? And your daughter too? I feel better he he he...

  5. I have dated and married men/man just like my dad so I think its true

  6. Frasy: You have? INTERESTING. I can understand that. ;-D

  7. I think the theory goes that women fall for guys like their dads without realizing the similarities. That it's subconscious. I can understand that, because our parents are of course The Most Important People for us especially in early childhood, and early childhood experiences have a far more profound impact on our futures than we realize.

    Myself I wouldn't want my husband to be much like my dad. My dad is a great dad - better dad than husband. So ideally I'd obviously want someone who's different enough to be as great as a husband. Being that my boyfriend is from a different culture, and on the surface very different from my dad, it took me a while to see it, but... I have to admit there are similarities. :)


  8. Hi, Fanye!

    NICE to see you here again and THANKS for sharing your story. I think at least I've read once somewhere that a girl wants to find a man like her Dad he he he...but you're right, most girls probably do it unconsciously.

    I feel the same way like you do. My Dad is a great Dad but I wouldn't want him to be my husband he he he...

    So your boyfriend has some similarities with your Dad? That's GOOD! ;-D Funnily enough, I think my husband has some similarities with my brother rather than my Dad he he he...

  9. Sometimes, when we’re younger, we tend not to care more of our parents’ feelings, but deep down inside, there is so much love. That’s why when we grow older and matured, all those memories of our parents become so close at heart because those days make us who we are today...

    To me, I don't want my hubby to be like my dad. Love him the way he is and I love my dad as who he is individually. That makes him special and that makes him my dad. Your dad is special too...=)

  10. What a great post, Amel. I think you'll find that no matter who you end up with, no matter how much you don't think they're like your father -- you will eventually see that they have many similar traits. That's about the time you start realizing that you are very similar to your mother.

  11. Choc Mint Girl: THANKS for sharing your story. Yeah, I understand what you mean. SALUTE to all the special guys out there! ;-D

    Paper Fan Club: When that happens later on, when I find the similarities, you can be sure I'll write them in my blog HE HE HE HE HE...;-D

  12. Tell me about it.. I always get into fights especially considering both of us are extremely stubborn. He always thinks he's right and superior which simply frustrates me...

    It takes time to change all of our attitudes I guess...

    But I'm impressed you can come to a such deep analysis...

  13. Shan: Ahhhh...differences, differences. I understand what you mean. It's frustrating to get your Dad to understand that you can think for yourself, eh?

    Thank you for your compliment. ;-)))) I guess being home almost 24/7 while working as a translator made me able to see lots of facets of my parents he he he...

    And yes, it takes a long time to change, esp. when one is much older than us. It gets harder and harder to change, it seems.