Ask Joey: Father, figured
My family has always called me a “Daddy’s girl,” and I wore that label as a point of pride. But I have been dating and have fallen in love with a man who keeps pointing out all the ways he thinks my dad is controlling me. I think of my father as giving me good, solid advice, and we talk just about every day. He guided me into the right university and career, for example. I am 27 years old and realize that very few of my friends are as close with a parent. I still live at home. My boyfriend wants me to move out. My dad thinks I should stay at home and save my money. Is my dad being controlling? Or is my boyfriend controlling?
It depends on your focus when engaged in a decision-making process. Are you making decisions to create a life you love? Or are you making decisions to score approval from a man in your life? It’s natural to solicit advice from people in our inner circle whose wisdom we admire. But it is essential to appreciate that their perspective offers us information, only. We must cull through their opinions to glean the values that can propel us into the best choices for our own lives.
The tag “Daddy’s girl” just recognizes that you play favorites. Is your boyfriend threatened that your heart belongs to Daddy? Or is he guiding you into completing one of the required tasks of adolescence: embodying adulthood and leaving home? One path to determining these answers is to honestly assess whether you enjoy taking responsibility for yourself. Paying your bills, providing clear and direct answers to questions or experiencing yourself as an equal to others are examples of self-care—so is noticing your feelings and tending to them. When you chat with your dad by phone, for example, are you in your body? Or is all of your energy focused on offering answers that sound obedient and that you think will make him happy? If the latter is true, you are controlling yourself. Yes, that means neither your boyfriend nor your father is the real problem. You must release the behaviors that hold you back from being whole, true and complete. How wonderful it is that a man has arrived in your life to companion you in growing up. The universe is good, isn’t it?
I was engaged to my soul mate, but she broke it off. One night, while I was working, she packed up all of her stuff and moved out of state. She will not return my calls or emails and she has not told me why our relationship is over. I don’t know what to do. I can’t eat, sleep or work. Please help me. I feel like I am dying.
Sweetheart, you are dying, but the good news is that the experience is symbolic, not physical. That’s right, death is not literally at your door. This is what is actually happening: Every cell of your body is enduring withdrawal from the woman you loved and the dreams you imagined possible. It hurts so much because, right now, you love her more than you love yourself. Would you be willing to at least balance the scale? Your dreams are broken, but it is not the end of the world, it is the beginning of a new chapter of your life. Trust in your ability to triumph over suffering. Grieve, yes, but push on. Life has much to offer you.
P.S. It doesn’t matter why she left. Don’t let your mind distract your healing process by inspiring you to obsess over a reason. Emotions, thoughts and actions are not as logical as we expect them to be.