Houston was a bright and attractive 16-year-old sitting in my office with her mom and dad. She was struggling with several personal and family issues. We had spent some time discussing the different concerns and dynamics she and her family had been trying to work out. The dad was doing a pretty good job of listening and participating throughout most of the session. Then we got to the land mine topic, “The boyfriend.”
Houston’s dad had a hard time containing his frustration and resentment over her choice in young men. According to dad, this was the third and biggest loser his daughter had become involved with during the past year. He was quick to rattle off the current boyfriends character faults and offenses. Houston let him finish, then rolled her eyes and flashed her best indifferent glance back in her father’s direction. They were clearly talking at each, not with each other. This dance of frustration and indifference was well choreographed. It always started the same and finished the same. Houston and her dad had a problem.
In a follow up session with the dad we talked again about the boyfriend.
“ Why do you think your daughter keeps finding guys who treat her so poorly? “ I ask. This dad pulled back a bit. “Houston has a problem.” was his reply. He was right,
Houston did have a problem:
She felt most at home with men who put their needs above hers
She felt most comfortable with men who did not know her heart
She had become comfortable performing for men and hoping to please them
She knew how to blame herself and to numb herself
Houston’s bad boyfriends were not the real problem. The real problem was that Houston had learned to be comfortable thinking, feeling and living in a diminished way. It had somehow come to feel felt normal, right, and familiar to be a prop in someone else’s life. A girl who feels disposable will always find a guy who agrees with her assessment.
Question for us Dad’s:
Whose problem is it when our daughters don’t know their value, beauty, purpose and strength?
Do we really want to blame them, or the “loser” boyfriends for acting out this bad play in front of us? Who taught them their role, who provided them their scripts?
Let’s be honest with ourselves as dads and men.
Houston, WE have a problem
Make it great!
Dr. Don Worcester