Updated: Mar 5
Looking at the title, you are probably thinking this is a blog about a Mom and Dad who left me, didn’t show love, were never there, were abusive or something along those lines. Reality is, I had parents who were there every day, who worked their asses off to support the family and gave their life for me.
My Dad: This incredible man guided me through life even to this day. I look at him like there is nothing he cannot do. My Dad is a character, a man who walks into a room and immediately has respect. He is not heavily built, nor is he loud, he has a magnetic aura about him that I can’t explain and people are drawn to him. That being said, I've always felt something missing. Questions like, why didn't we hug? Why did I not tell him I love him? Emotions were like an unspoken rule. I want to share an example of why I have felt this way and the need to change my behaviour. I grew up playing football and the manager left the team one season. I was approximately eight years old. We needed a coach or the team would be no more. Football was everything to me, like most boys that age. My Dad knew this and stepped up; he became the new manager. Not only was he working all the hours in the week, he’d now committed to two training sessions and a match on Saturdays.
All my life he was there, whatever I needed, he was by my side. The football season was coming to an end and the cricket season about to start, then swimming, athletics, and even in later years picking me up when I had ran out of petrol (which happened more than once). During his time as manager there were times I felt I let him down. He managed the team aged up to under 16’s and you know boys their testosterone, it gives them big man attitude. In some sessions, words were said behind his back, but not mine I heard them and rather than step up and defend him, I remained silent.
The silence was to avoid confrontation, for fear of upsetting my so-called friends. This was me though, big strong lad but timid like a mouse. My life had made me introverted. I think now, I should have stood strong, stood up for my dad, by telling everyone what a great man he was and none of us would have a team without him.
I remember a time when he lost his job. He was out of work for six months. The strange thing was nobody knew. All of his worries, stress and pain were on him. He didn’t offload it onto any of us. He went on with his day, he did what he needed to do, eventually got a job and excelled with the business, creating a very nice lifestyle. Looking at it now, he should have communicated his issues, but that was him. He wanted to protect everyone from any pain and upset. He was like our human shield. I look back at the things he did for me and can’t believe I didn’t hug him. I didn’t tell him I loved him every day and I didn’t stand by his side when I it counted.
My Mom: Mom was born in Ireland, but soon came to England. She had a strict Irish upbringing and having two brothers she knew about boys. Her dad, my Grandad was a non-nonsense guy, he said what he thought and if he wasn’t happy a fight would erupt. He would often tell people he would ‘banjo them!’. So, Mom's view of men was that of her brothers. 'You are a MAN deal with it'.
Mom was supermom, the house was always pristine, our clothes always washed, our food was on the table, she was always handling our schooling. She was and is a woman of pride, to the point she's sometimes harsh, but authentic. She has great humour even though I don’t think she means it.
She supported the family unit, she is the rock, the organiser, the one who guided the family. She was the disciplinarian, with her Irish right hook always lingering. Even now at forty-three, 6’1 and 17.5 stone, I’m scared of her.
She worked part time as a hairdresser and often practised on me. I would be forced to sit with a rubber cap on my head, whilst she pulled my hair through it with a needle to add highlights.
She was the unsung hero, the backbone of her family. My dad, sister and I, were free to enjoy life as Mom was always there to make sure everything was alright.
The family was and is everything to her, I could see the passion in her eyes and in everything she did. As a child it is difficult to see what your parents do and sacrifice for you. I didn’t appreciate what she did and how important she was to me and for just being able to do so much with my life. I rarely said thank you, I love you and hugged her. So, what’s it all about? Why did I behave the way I did? Why with the two most incredible loving people were my emotions scarce?
Firstly, the physical affection was not there, the hard-man image of 'Get up and be a man' was drilled into me, and as for the words ‘I love you’, they were rarely heard. As said, despite the points raised, I know they love me with every inch of their heart. I am unsure whether it was my lack of emotions, how I was raised or that love was rarely mentioned but even so, I know how they both felt. It brings to mind the old saying 'men are men' and back then it was seen as weak to show emotion. This is something I believed and did up until about nine months ago.
Nine months ago I started my spiritual journey, a journey I am sharing with someone I love deeply, my spiritual partner. We discussed my buried deep thoughts, and this was the first time I had opened up. She listened, and advised I maybe should start trying to change the cycle. This is something I wanted to do but was unsure where to start. Then something happened, we read together and two days after our conversation about the chapter, the exact subject of showing emotions to fathers was discussed in the book. I couldn’t deny it. Now is the time, I need to break the cycle and take the leap and say how I really felt. But how? How do you break over forty years of silence? So many signs, synchronicities had occurred, I knew in my heart this was it.
The opportunity arose, it was Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary. I put pen to paper and wrote a letter to both. I told my Mom and Dad how much I loved them, I told both how much I appreciated everything they have done and continue to do. I told them everything I should have done in my forty plus years on the planet. The next moment was one I will never forget, they both came to me crying with happiness and we all embraced. Emotions were out, my feelings, my thoughts and the physical connection I long for. Why did I wait so long? Was I scared, fearful, embarrassed, confused? Yes, to all, but what was the worse that was going to happen? I was about to tell the two people I love and admire most in the world I love them. Two people who had dedicated their life to me.
For the next few weeks, Mom continuously called me, thinking I had a life-threatening illness and was dying. (This is what I mean by funny). This is because we don’t communicate our emotions, we build up things in our heads. We scare ourselves out of the most natural actions. It’s taken me a long time to realise this, I can tell my Dad I love him and give him a hug. It sounds bizarre when I read that sentenced back, mainly because it is to me.
In short, Mom & Dad I LOVE YOU, Dad you are my hero, my only hope is to become half the man you are. Mom, you are the most amazing woman and truly have no idea how you did everything you did to keep the family so strong.
If you love someone, please let them know.
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