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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Daddy's Little Girl -- When A Husband Does Not Measure Up to One's Father

Papa and Nikka, 1977
Daddy's Little Girl.

Papa's Girl.

Apple of Tatay's eyes.

I was never any of those. I do not recall being doted on by Papa. In fact, growing up, I was very fearful of him, to the point that when I was playing in the sala, and he suddenly honked the horn of his car to declare his arrival, I would run straight to my room and hide! I usually peeked from my door to see if he had indeed gone inside, then I'd try my best to be very, very quiet so as to pretend I was either asleep or did not know he was already home.

One would think that somebody like me who was not a Daddy's Little Girl would turn out to have no issues with the man I will marry or have married. Think again!

As a young girl, around 12 or 13, I was very fat. Very fat.I was only 4 feet something, but already 120 lbs. I have earlier mentioned that I was very scared of my Papa. I don't recall why exactly now but it used to be that I was scared of his loud voice, of his gruffly manners, and his easily irritable behavior. I did not want to cross him, so I just went out of his way. Out of sight, out of mind!!!

On the summer vacation before Grade 6, I vividly recall that I was throwing a tantrum as I was wont to do during those times. Papa put his foot down and said out of the blue,

"Ang sungit-sungit mo na, ang taba-taba mo pa! Wala nang magpapakasal sa 'yo!")
(You are so sulky and so fat! Nobody will want to marry you!")

This, coming from an obese man himself, I thought! But, his harsh WORDS hit me to my very core and in that same summer which was not all but 70 days of vacation, I dieted and went down from 120 lbs to 89 lbs.
120 lbs in Grade 5            89 lbs in Grade 6
When I went back to school then, my own classmates barely recognized me!!!

That is how POWERFUL words are. It could make an impressionable child turn crazy. Because Papa rarely spoke to me as a child and on the few occasions that he did, he had to reprimand me and insult me, that stuck with me. 'I was not only surly, I was also fat. I was not only surly, I was also fat. I was not only surly, I was also fat.', in my mind again and again...

But that post about my eating disorder (borderline anorexia) which lasted from 12 years old  to 25 years old and made me suicidal, is meant for a later post.

Today, we talk about my Papa, and how that affected my relationship with Dong.

When Papa went back to our Creator in 2008, he and I already had developed a close bond. In fact, I could consider that to be the closest we have ever been. At that time, the Lord had humbled him by "taking away his money and his stature" (Papa's own words) and in turn, he seeked God by going to daily mass and taking in daily Communion. It was I who brought Papa to the hospital when he had his first minor heart attack and it was I too whom he called (albeit, I failed to answer my cellphone) on that fateful day that he died of a massive heart attack. :(

Papa was a heavy drinker before his own trial.

Going back.

Not being talked to or given attention they say, is sometimes as bad or even worse than being physically hurt, as in spanked perhaps. Remember how some children really do all these naughty, crazy things just to get their parents' attention? Sometimes to spite them, yes, but mostly just so they would be noticed, no matter that it was on the negative side. The worst thing you can do to your ENEMY they say, is to IGNORE him. People cannot stand being denied their existence. Imagine then being ignored by someone you LOVE. That would be catastrophic!

Because of Papa and in spite of Papa, I became "too good" for my own good. I was an academic achiever with medals and certificates to show. I was a teacher's pet. I joined all sorts of contests -- singing, dancing, quiz bees, beauty contests (!). Name it, I have joined it! And, luckily, placed in most of them. I was a people pleaser. I couldn't bear to have anybody NOT like me. I was always smiling outside, but inside I felt empty. I felt worthless, ugly, stupid and FAT. I had no sense of self. I always felt that I did not measure up to anybody. Outside, my life seemed to be going well, but inside I felt like I didn't matter and nothing I did mattered.

I felt that I always had to do good and be good and strive to be PERFECT, so that I would be deemed GOOD by my father. I wanted him to notice me. I wanted him to say I was okay.

Well, he didn't.

Not for a good 20 years after that incident at least.

Which led me to making PLEASING MY FATHER an idol.

April Cassidy, the Peacefulwife, talks about IDOLS/IDOLATRY lengthily here.  and here:

As Catholics, we are always being accused of idolatry because of the graven images and statues, (although I myself am very wary to make these only as remembrances and not as replacements of God Himself) but what is really IDOLATRY?

Taking in April's definition of an IDOL:

  • anything that we cherish more than Christ in our hearts.
  • anything that we believe we MUST HAVE to be happy – that isn’t Christ.
  • something other than God that I use to get my identity from – or the thing/person/concept from which I try to find my fulfillment.
  • something I spend a great deal of time investing in, focusing on, relying on and putting all my trust in – that is not Christ.
  • something I am willing to give up my family or relationships for, maybe I am willing to spend almost any amount of money to serve that person/thing/idea.  I will serve my idol no matter what it costs me.
  • I will try to find my contentment in my idol.  But it will never satisfy – I am always left empty, broken and wanting more.
  • it is often the opposite of what I fear most.

God will never allow me to find contentment in an idol.
He will only allow me to find contentment in Christ Jesus.

* * *

Papa became my idol.
He became my sole reason for being.
He became my ultimate focus in life.

And yet, I realized none of that till only recently! Imagine, having "wasted" so many years of my life, in pursuit of making my Papa like me or consider me okay. Praise God though for NOTHING is wasted in His Great Providence. He makes use of trash and turns it into treasure.

Because Papa was my "idol", I honored his opinions and feelings more than my husband's, even when he was dead. How can Dong compete against that?

One would think that that is just right, because he is my father after all, and did not God Himself say to "Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother"?

Yes, it is written in Ephesians 6:2 to

"Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise--

Efeso 6:2

2 Igalang mo ang iyong ama at ina (na siyang unang utos na may pangako), 

It is also written in Colossians 3:20 that:
   Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Colosas 3:20
   20 Mga anak, sundin ninyong lagi ang inyong mga magulang, sapagkat iyan ang nakalulugod sa Panginoon.

              BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

Though we should forever respect our parents, their hold over us in terms of decisions and opinions should weigh less now that we are married. We should never be bastos (rude) towards them but as a married woman, our husband now has authority over us. When we got married to this man, God has already ordained for him to "rule" over us.

Genesis 2:24

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Genesis 2:24 

24 Ito ang dahilan kaya iniiwan ng lalaki ang kanyang ama't ina, nagsasama sila ng kanyang asawa, at sila'y nagiging isa. 

Genesis 3:16 also says:

To the woman he said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

3:16 Sinabi niya sa babae, Pararamihin kong lubha ang iyong kalumbayan at ang iyong paglilihi; manganganak kang may kahirapan; at sa iyong asawa ay pahihinuhod ang iyong kalooban, at siya'y papapanginoon sa iyo. 

* * *

Therefore, when we get MARRIED, we should now be submitted to our  HUSBANDS, not our FATHERS.

Just to be clear, I am not in any way condoning pambabastos or disrespect to our fathers, for that is a serious sin.

But, I am reminding all of us that when we get married, under the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, we are now ONE with our husbands, and they have authority over us.

Because of my abnormal fixation with Papa, whenever he would tell me to do something, without even consulting with Dong, and even if it would affect our family's lives greatly, I would do it.
Example:When Papa asked me to continue paying his house mortgage and to live in the mortgaged house (our ancestral home) because he was in a financial bind, I agreed. This meant leaving our rented place that Dong found for us and uprooting our family to live in MY ancestral home. This was a recipe for disaster. Old habits die hard. Living in my parents' house made my idolatry of pleasing my father worse. Roles were now muddled and since I was living in MY childhood house, I felt like I owned it, reigned in it, and basically threw out the window, whatever hold Dong should have on me. I was again my father's daughter. No matter that Papa was not living there, but in his own rented apartment. The request from him which pleased me so much (Papa asked ME to do something for HIM!), made me revert to my puppy-dog antics of pleasing its master.

Because of my abnormal fixation with my Papa, when he died and he left us with insurance money, I did not want my husband to touch it. I wanted it to be in a safe account, that was meant only for our children's financial security (not a bad thing per se). No matter that my husband wanted to use part of the money for business ventures (for our children's future too), I refused vehemently. In my mind, Papa would think lowly of Dong and how would that make ME look? Papa should think highly of Dong, because Dong is not touching MY money, and so I am a favored child, because I chose the perfect husband! Papa should be so proud of me!!! To understand why I feel this way towards spending/investing money, read my post on  Our Marriage "Peg".'

Get my drift? Or have I lost you?

Even in death, Papa's opinions ruled over me. I was chained by the enemy to that fateful summer of Grade 6 when Papa insulted me and which started my LUDICROUS Papa-pleasing tendencies all the way to adulthood.

All this is painful to share, but I would rather be humiliated than for another wife to suffer like I did simply because she was not following what God wanted her to do.

I would like to take this time out to thank my Papa for loving me and providing for me the only way he knew how. I have already asked for his forgiveness for all my faults as his child, as I have forgiven him too for the pain that he unknowingly caused me. I lift it all up to God again in prayer now. In the end, dear sisters, we would just have to make the most out of the events of our lives, especially the not so happy and not so good ones.

I am comforted by Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Roma 8:28
 28Alam nating sa lahat ng bagay ay gumagawa ang Diyos para sa ikabubuti ng mga nagmamahal sa kanya, Alam nating ang lahat ng bagay ay nagkakaisang gumagawa para sa ikabubuti ng mga nagmamahal sa Diyos. silang mga tinawag ayon sa kanyang layunin.
This was to be the last event Papa would ever attend in my family, Andre's baptism in 2007. I love you Papa. Rest in Peace. (November 26, 1949-November 15, 2008)

So, when it is a showdown between DADDY vs. HONEY, with much prayer and careful consideration, may we honor God by telling our fathers gently and lovingly, that "Daddy, I love you, but I am married now. I trust that God is leading me through my husband, and so don't take it harshly if I follow him. You raised me up to be a godly woman. I am just doing what God is asking me to do, which is to submit to my husband." (Then, kiss him on the cheek and hug him!)

My prayer is that through my story, your eyes will somehow be opened and your hearts will somehow be enlightened. Only in purging out the bad, do we feel clean. Only in my recounting my own story, do I feel free. May God richly bless us all!!! :)


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