As a little girl, you were most likely the apple of your parents’ eyes — daddy’s angel and mummy’s princess — but life happens. You grew up, your parents changed overnight, relationships turned sour, and you’re left reminiscing on what was and could’ve been.
In this article, seven women talk about their relationship with their parents; what it was, and what it has become.
“Every time I see a father-daughter duo, I get actual pangs in my chest” — Joy
My daddy was my best friend. As a child, I couldn’t wait for him to get back home from work. He used to help me with everything. But somewhere between my refusal to study law and realising I could make decisions for myself, our relationship fizzled out. Now, every time I see a father-daughter duo, I get actual pangs in my chest because I really do miss him. But I might never be enough for him, so I’m just going to continue keeping my distance.
“We started keeping things from each other.” – Chinagorom
My dad and I were really close when I was younger. We’d hang out all the time and tell each other everything. Then somewhere along the line, things changed, and we started keeping things from each other.
“It seemed like we were a burden to her.” – Chika
I’ve never doubted my mum’s love for my siblings and me, but my relationship with her has always been sour. At first, it was because I looked too much like my dad, and she hated him. Then it was that I didn’t hate him as much as she wanted. She had to care for us after he left, and it seemed like we were a burden to her sometimes. As an adult, I have to play the good daughter and take care of her in whatever way I can because regardless of all that’s happened, she’s still my mother, and I love her.
“We just got to this phase where we can’t understand each other any more.” – Moyin
My dad and I were guys when I was a kid. Then I grew up, and we weren’t guys anymore. I think over time, we just got to this phase where we can’t understand each other. He had certain expectations that weren’t priorities to me. I was the firstborn and my parents’ first experience of an adulting child, so it probably just took a toll on them. They didn’t know how to handle it.
“It just clicked that what I was experiencing with my father wasn’t normal.” – Kiki
I realised I wasn’t close with my father when I started boarding school. Girls would tell stories about their families; some would talk about being able to talk to their father about anything. It just clicked that what I was experiencing with my father wasn’t normal. At the time, I didn’t understand what to do to change or fix it. I got into uni and realised I could go like six months without ever calling my father to talk to him, and I’d be fine. At some point, I was like, “This cannot be normal. This isn’t how people interact with their parents”. So I put the burden on myself to fix our relationship because I understood that humanity is a community, and where he has shortcomings, I don’t, so I’ll do my best to pick up the slack as much as possible, and our relationship has been better.
“As life got tougher, she got verbally abusive” — Deborah
It was good at some point. She’d bring me food and snacks every day when I was in boarding school. But as life got tougher, she got verbally and even physically abusive at some point. We’re good now, and I still love her, but too much damage has been done, so I try to stay away as much as I can.
“I’ve had to find a way to deal with our relationship.” – Anonymous
My parents had me straight out of uni, so the initial years were a bit tough. I don’t remember most of it, but I’d like to say I had an okay relationship with them as a child. Sometime in 2017, I had surgery for scoliosis. After that, my mum and I would do everything together; watch movies and go on strolls. I miss it sometimes. But she can get super protective and in your business. I’ve had to find a way to deal with our relationship and just let things be instead of constantly fearing her and seeking her approval.