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Tuesday

Low Self-Esteem? Dad May Have Had it Too - book excerpt from Say Goodbye to Dad by Nicholl McGuire

When you are just beginning any major life change, you need time to yourself. You need to adjust to your new life. You will want to make necessary adjustments that suit you. Maybe cutting someone off isn't an option for you, but remaining in contact is, if so build a boundary that can't be crossed when interacting with your difficult kin. Protect your mind and heart so that you don't feel so bad being in your father or someone else's environment. Some people will only visit a relative unless they have a support system around them. Others will make contact with loved ones in ways that make them feel most comfortable such as: phone, text or email and if the conversation gets out of hand, they don't contact relatives for awhile. These sons and daughters have set up standards for themselves, because they refuse to be verbally abused by fathers and others.

Many children with low self-esteem are raised by parents who have the same issues as they do, except they have learned to cover up their personality disorders quite well. Some elderly fathers will use their aging as an excuse when unflattering behaviors expose them. They will blame others, medication, stress, etc. to keep from taking responsibilities for their negative ways. They will pretend as if they don't have enough money or time to be there for children or grandchildren when in all actuality they just don't want to be bothered with either. They will lie or minimize situations so that people don't see that there is something not quite right with their minds and mannerisms.

This lack of self esteem shows up in interesting ways with parents and then it is passed down to their offspring as indicated by the following examples. The braggart Dad covers up his self-esteem issues by purchasing over-priced cars and having many lovers. Mom does it by how she dresses tempting men with her exposed cleavage and body hugging dresses while making grandmothers gasp with, "What the hell does she have on?" The children are a mix of the pair with a daughter dressing and acting strangely while keeping her parents secrets, a son often angry but can't properly express what he feels, and another son bragging about his latest apparel or shoe purchase to cover up the pain he feels inside. Does the parents, who are secretly critical of themselves and have little love, if any, for children see what is happening? Not at all. How can they build up their children's self esteem when they don't genuinely love or respect themselves?

You may have noticed your father's lacking self esteem. He may have done things like: periodically talked negatively about himself, life choices he has made, wishes for success, hid behind others' achievements, talked negatively about those who have made better life choices, or projected his personal issues onto others. He might have joked about his unattractive appearance, lack of money, how he is not too smart, or a bit crazy. Critical relatives and friends may have insulted his intelligence and his appearance growing up and assigned him negative nicknames. Therefore, Dad used his children and other people to make his self feel better--this was his form of release for some of his personal childhood and young adult woes he never bothered to discuss with anyone.

When a discerning daughter or son no longer sees Dad as Superman, a god, or another heroic figure, it can hurt the poor man who created a false image of himself for many years. When he chooses not to be open and honest about his shortcomings and prefers not to explain why he reacts the way he does toward his family, it only makes matters worse for the children who observe him, because they are going to start to come to their own conclusions about him. For some, they don't rebel against Dads per se, but they rebel against the mental games their fathers play with them. Rather than play into Dad's games of making himself appear to be something more than what he is, some children simply ignore the man. Mom attempts to re-work a public relations campaign when she sees that the gap is only widening between a father and his adult children, but by that point, it is too late.

Get your copy of Say Goodbye to Dad by Nicholl McGuire available in print and eBook.

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