Being an emotionally detached father; a bad idea, don’t do it.

by Onyinye Ogbuka

This was not the way I imagined life, this was not how I thought it would look like. I am an old man but I have no company. I always dreamed that when I grew old, I would have my children around me, eating and merry and laughing all around me but it’s the opposite. I talked to my friend and I realized it was my fault and I would probably die lonely, the thought of that scares me.Being an emotionally detached father cost me my dreams.

Being an emotionally detached father

I grew up watching my father and mother and I hated how my mother always seemed to control my father. My father could not be the man that he had to be for his sons. My father was subservient and my mother dominating. It was so bad that whoever knew our family said my father was the woman in the marriage and it pissed me off because people looked at we males in the family as the same; subservient. 

My mother, however her controlling attitude knew my father could never hit her. Maybe that was why she derived joy in calling my father names. It often reinforced her authority in the house. My mother does have an iota of respect for my father, both in public and in private.

Being an emotionally detached father

On more than one occasion my mother would yell at my father in the presence of people. Whenever she did this, my siblings and I would be filled with shame and we would just hide away from them. The worst embarrassment of my life was when they came for my high school graduation. An argument ensued and my damned mother did not have enough sense to know that I am a big boy in school. She had to yell at me and my father, she called my father spineless and useless in the presence of my friends and that irked me to no end.

She was sometimes physically abusive, whenever the argument got out of hand with my father, she slapped my father. I have never beheld a sight more degrading than that. Whenever she raised her hands to my father, I would see the anger on my father’s face but he would never express it. I secretly wished that he would beat her up, I did not mind joining him myself. Rather what he did, was wear his clothes and leave the house with my mother calling him names. This grated on my nerves for years. Of course, my father had the sympathy of his female children because they did not like him being disrespected like that and maybe that was what made them close to my father. However, he did not have the sympathy or respect of his male children because we all saw him as a weakling.

Being an emotionally detached father

A weakling that would allow a mere woman to run her mouth anyhow around him. A weak that would allow a woman to call him a fool in front of his children just because they are joking with each other. A weakling that would allow a woman to destroy his image in the presence of all family members and friends.

My mother, we all detested her and did not like being around her. Maybe she knew this and this was why she was always lashing out, she does not have my respect or that of my other siblings. She was always alone and my sisters would rather spend time with their father than spend time with her.

Being an emotionally detached father

I grew up with the mindset determined not to allow any woman to run roughshod over me. I was going to be the head of my home and I was not for one day going to relent in making them know that. I dated a string of women and broke up with most of them because they said I was too strict. Yes, I would be too strict because I did not give them breathing space for disrespect. I didn’t take it from any of the womenfolk at all, I wanted them to know I was the head and that was all that mattered.

I had women at my beck and call because I was one of the smartest guys in class if not the smartest. I was in love with a particular lady but she was not submissive. She didn’t always agree with my views and it made me angry, she wanted her opinion to be heard but it was not going to happen. As far as I was concerned, her opinions were useless. We broke up over my treatment of her and how I don’t apologize. No real man apologizes. Due to my string of failed relationships, I avoided all extroverted women, I carefully made my selection.

Being an emotionally detached father

I got married to my wife, I was much older than her. She is quiet and submissive. When we got married at first, I starved her of my attention because I believed familiarity breeds contempt in marriage so I ensured not to get too close. I took decisions without involving her and it worked fine for us. The day she got tired and protested, I made sure to put her in her place and reminded her of her lowly position as a wife and threatened to beat her up. I didn’t marry her to share ideas, I married her to bear me children and which she is even unable to do.

Being an emotionally detached father/mildstrings/Pinterest pin

A year into our marriage, she got pregnant and unluckily for my wife she thought pregnancy would make me soft, she was barking up the wrong tree because I never flinched. I never gave in to her demands no matter how teary they became. She bore her pregnancy alone and when she had our child, I only participated in new father things when I wanted to not because she wanted me to. No woman would use the excuse of pregnancy to disrespect me.

Symptoms of emotionally unavailable parents

We had our kids in quick successions and in ten years we had had four children. Two boys and two girls. I was going to get the respect of my children by not relating with them but by keeping a distance. Whenever they messed up, I beat them at the slightest provocation. They were afraid of me but I didn’t care. I didn’t play with them, I was not available to them emotionally or physically. I was just that father they saw every day and each morning and greeted “good morning sir” and he would reply in a gruff voice “good morning.” It was their mother that attended their graduation, their inter-house sports, their birthday parties, and their school valedictory service. I left all these to their mum.

Whenever my children heard me coming back from the day’s work, they often ran into their rooms. The gap between my children and I had widened so much that my children found it difficult to stay in the room with me. They would often congregate in the kitchen with their mother and laughed out loud but immediately after I walk in, they would stop and start staring at the ceiling. If I stayed too long, they would start vacating one by one. At first, I found it amusing, then it graduated to irritation and finally sadness. I wanted to laugh too but the gap between my children and I was too much to share a laugh.

Emotionally absent dad

I felt used because each time, they would call their mum and inform her of their struggles and their successes and she would be the one to tell me. My phone was working too, why can’t they call me? At some point, I wanted them to call me and relay their needs to me without having to pass through their mother, I threatened them. They started to call and I always forward to their needs because I relished hearing their voices. In a short time, I found out they called me only when they needed something and I felt used because I was the sole provider of my home. That was the best I could ask of them because I had not given them my best.

The unavailable father; do absent fathers feel guilty

Talking to my friend made me realize what I was doing wrong but it was too late to turn the hands of the clock. My children don’t talk to me except to wish me well on festive days and when I try to probe into their lives, they close up. Whenever I want to know more about my kids, I go through my wife. They invite my wife on holiday and leave me behind. I am closer to my wife now because I realize that she is the only one I have. If she dies before me, I would be alone. It’s better that I die before her. I regret being a dictator in my home.


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