Sunken Ships: My Dad Ruined Our Relationship With His Work

December 10, 2022

Ada (22) tells us about her relationship with her dad. She was a daddy’s girl growing up, but that relationship changed because her dad was more invested in his job than her. 

So, your dad…

Ada: When I was little, they told me I looked like my dad, that even though I was a girl, my dad loved me so much I took his face. 

There’s nothing we didn’t do together. Whenever my mum shouted at me, I would report her to my dad, and he’d take me out for ice cream. My mum told me she’d given birth to my dad’s best friend. At a point, it felt like we were a family on our own, and my mum was the outsider. 

How? 

Ada: Every Sunday from the age of five till when I went to boarding school when I was ten, my dad and I spent Sundays together. 

My mum would stay in church really late. My dad would buy me Super Yogo and sugar cane, and we’d walk back home together, leaving her. Then he’d dish food for us to eat together. When my mum comes back, my dad and I would go to the supermarket to buy groceries. He’d give me money to buy whatever it is I wanted, but he’d still buy me chocolates, ice cream and snacks. I’d end up saving the money because I wouldn’t need to spend it on anything. 

You were a daddy’s girl 

Ada: A big one. It was just me growing up, and my dad was very invested in taking care of me. My mum always complained that he was spoiling me, but my dad didn’t care. He’d cook for me and serve me my food, wash the socks I wore to school and carry me to my room whenever I fell asleep on the couch. 

I don’t think I ever doubted that my dad loved me. He took care of me and encouraged me. He always expected great things from me and I was so happy whenever I hit and surpassed the goals he set for me academically. I told my dad everything and he was my best friend. We played board games together, washed the car together and watched the news together. 

RELATED: Sunken Ships: There’s Not Much I Need My Father for Now

What changed? 

Ada: When I went to boarding school at the age of ten, I saw my dad less. He hardly came for my visiting days, open days or PTA meetings. My mum did all the running around for that. My dad was busy working. Whenever I came home for the holidays though, we spent time together but it wasn’t as frequent as it was when I was younger. In fact, the more time passed, the less I saw of him. My final year in secondary school, he came only once, the day of my graduation. 

I think his job was the major cause of distance between us. He worked every day including Saturdays and so he spent his Sundays resting. We no longer did our Sunday routines and it hurt. 

It was our chance to catch up and talk about our week. We’d fill each other in on the people annoying us in our lives and he always gave me advice on what to do and how to do it. Not being able to do that means there was a lot of me my dad no longer knew about. He didn’t know that my dreams had changed and my life was going in a different direction. 

I’m sorry about that 

Ada: I was losing my best friend and it felt like there was nothing I could do to get him back. The work he did made him angrier and we fought more. He was always angry. He’d come back home and just start picking on me. If I cooked, there was always something wrong with the food. 

When I was 17, I remember when I was watching television with them in the house. It was a funny scene and I started to laugh, but then he said I was laughing too loud and should stop. The father I grew up with wouldn’t have done that to me. My mum said he had a stressful day at work and my laughter was disturbing him. 

I stopped staying in the living room with them and kept to myself. Whenever I knew he was coming home, I’d find an excuse to not sleep in the house because I can’t be apologising for breathing. 

What’s your relationship like now? 

Ada: He’s about to retire and now he’s trying to build a relationship with me. He keeps giving me money and buying me expensive things but I don’t really care for it. 

I don’t see him anymore because we don’t live in the same state. My mum keeps begging me to try to repair the relationship, but I’m tired. Why am I the one that has to do the work of repairing it? He recently apologised to me for hurting my feelings, but he still constantly tries to make me feel like it’s all in my head. It’s not. I’m self conscious about hanging around people because I grew up with a dad that started treating me like a disturbance. The money he’s made from the work won’t change that, and neither will his apologising. 

RELATED: Sunken Ships: My Abortion Was an Eye-Opener

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