My boyfriend’s “daddy issues”

My boyfriend and I have been sorting out a few issues before we take the plunge of moving in together. I’m really happy to be with someone who is good at communicating, but I am feeling frustrated about one of the things we have been talking about. My boyfriend has a major issue with my father, which is in itself not very surprising. As I have written about before, I don’t actually see my father all that much, we live an hour apart (although I see my mom all the time). But, my father constantly emails and calls me. I have my iPhone set to not ring when he calls, but I haven’t found a way to not have the voicemail go off when he inevitably leaves a message. He leaves voicemails daily that range from “normal” to irrational, screaming, nonsensical, insulting drunken rants (usually the latter). My sister and I are just used to this and more often than not, I just simply erase the voicemail without even listening it. It doesn’t even phase me anymore, just the way his crazy emails don’t either. I mean, I guess if I have to be totally honest, they do bother me deep down, but I just know that it is beyond my control to stop him. Blocking his cell phone is not an option because then he would just call from their home number and I can’t block my mother, too.

My boyfriend told me that he would not be able to sit silently by when my father treats me badly. He has only been around my father a handful of times and luckily almost all of them went smoothly, but there was one bad holiday where my boyfriend got frustrated and said something to my father that was confrontational when my father was being nasty towards my sister and me. My boyfriend is not disrespectful, but he says that he will approach my father if it continues (not in a physical way, but verbally). The thing is, my boyfriend insists on listening to my dad’s voicemails when my phone beeps when we are together. He explained all of this to my sister and she has the same opinion I do- that if my boyfriend ever does confront my father, nothing good will come of it. My sister and I both think it would honestly make things worse and my dad would end up taking it out on my mother in the long run.

On one hand, I feel very good about the fact that my boyfriend wants to protect me and I think that is very sweet and comforting. But, on the other hand, I just cannot make him understand that NOTHING is going to change how my dad acts and that a confrontation between the two would just be unnecessary drama that would create more problems for me than it would solve. I understand that as a man who loves me, it is hard for my boyfriend to hear my dad berate me. But I am the one who has to deal with my dad and now I am worried that someday down the road there is actually going to be an issue between my father and boyfriend.

16 comments on “My boyfriend’s “daddy issues”

  1. iamforchange says:

    That is a rough spot to be in…


    • I know and I know that it is tough for him too. I am not defending my father’s actions at all and I would love for my dad to stop harassing me, but the fact of the matter is that I know how to handle my dysfunctional family and an “outsider” will never understand that it is just easier to keep the status quo than to rock the boat. Not sure if that makes sense!


  2. minuterobot says:

    That makes total sense, as I’ve had many occasions where I’ve had a choice on whether or not to ‘rock the boat’. I’m glad it’s comforting for you to know that your boyfriend is so willing to protect you. I don’t know you or your situation that well, but if you’ve found a way to manage things, maybe you should let your boyfriend know that by confronting your father, it puts you into a position where you have to unearth all of the issues that you’ve worked so hard to resolve, internally. I would ask him to protect you by being supportive. If there comes a time when all of this needs to be dealt with, you need to be the initiator. Just a thought from an external observer who only knows you from a couple of posts.


    • That actually makes a lot of sense. I have tried to appeal to my boyfriend’s logical side by explaining that my father will just continue his actions, but I haven’t really explained to him why it bothers me so much to think about there being a verbal confrontation between them. I am not great with conflict period, but that sounds like a nightmare. I also feel like I am at a point in my life where my father’s actions no longer “get” to me the way they used to and it makes my life SO much easier. Thanks for the good advice!


  3. coastalmom says:

    The good news is that we learn from our childhoods what we want in our adult lives and what we don’t. It sounds as if you have learned that you want a man in your life who respects and cares about you and your well being and does not want to tolerate having to hear you be disrespected by anyone. Even your daddy! (Which I use the word loosely because he does not deserve a daughter as wonderful as you!) But good for you for choosing a keeper instead of an abuser which is so often the case… we tend to want to re-live our broken childhoods and fix what we couldn’t back then.
    God bless!!!


    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. What you wrote about reliving our childhoods to fix things is so insightful and I don’t think I ever really thought about it in that way before.



  4. TwistedPippi says:

    Meg, I clearly can’t get enough of your blog! Anyway…as you might have noted from my post…boundaries are sooo important as growing up with alcoholism, they are typically twisted or non existent. Ie, I didn’t have a bedroom door? Anyway, I agree with the other person who said ask him to be supportive and not go there. It’s a boundary issue to me… If you ask him to not get into it with your dad, than out of respect, he should not. I need to add that it’s weird that he wants to listen to those voicemails. 1) they are none of his biz 2) it’s nice he wants to listen if he is concerned, but you are a big girl and can handle it…3) u dont want him confronting your Dad, and him listening to the voicemails clearly upsets him, so how about a no, you can’t listen to them since they will be the basis of the confrontation I insist you do NOT have. Your relationship with your dad is with your dad. You don’t need him judging the voicemails and acting on them. They aren’t for him, they Don’t involve him. Cute that he cares…but a and b, c your way out. Lolol. My dad calls me when he is drunk and I never had the balls to tell him to not call. To call only sober, that’s what a shrink told me. Boundaries.
    Don’t let them weaken. From my perspective, I didn’t hold to mine strong enough. I know our situation is diff, so take what you can use and delete the rest ( Theoretically)


  5. mirrorgirl says:

    Not a good position for him or you to be in. Do you think he will stop trying to talk to him if it doesn’t work the first time ? Anyway, I’m glad you found a man that obviously cares about you, and who is very different from your father. That’s not always the case for people who grown up with verbal abuse.


    • Well, things have actually gotten a little better…unfortunately my father had a stroke at the beginning of October and I think my boyfriend saw a new side of him (the not drunk side!) They were together on Thanksgiving and it went REALLY well…my boyfriend even said to me that he now understands more why I still care so much about my father.

      Thank you for your comment 🙂


  6. sakuraandme says:

    Hi and thanks for stopping by my blog! 🙂
    Wow, this is definitely a tricky situation for you and I can understand both sides. Hard for you and hard for the man that loves you and probably wants to spend the rest of his life with you. It’s kind of a no win situation and I feel your concern and I’m sorry you have to deal with such a thing.
    I hug you and wish you Merry Christmas. Paula xxx


  7. Sarla Nichols says:

    You are right on it sister. It is between them. Thank you for reading my blog. I look forward to sharing more.


  8. lisaaromano says:

    Thanks for following my blog…Your situation is exactly what I deal with on a daily basis with my clients as an ACOA Advocate and Emotional Recovery Specialist. I am also a recovering Codependent–who was once torn between the lines my dysfunctional family would draw in the sand. As the most sane–I was the one who always made believe that others didn’t say or mean what they said…In your post you said that your dads comments didn’t even bother you anymore…I think the real issue is–you’ve been desensitized to them–and have been forced to not deal with them–because you might feel locked and stuck…and like if you confront him things will only get worse…And this is one of the main problems adult children with dysfunctional parents have…They don’t confront–in fear ‘they’ are making things worse–when in fact–confronting is self care–and healthy boundary setting…

    Unfortunately you have been conditioned to put up with nonsensical and irrational behavior…and that is unhealthy and unfair all the way around.

    Your boyfriend is feeling appropriately–and sounds like he has solid boundaries–He knows what is appropriate and what is not–but in time–he will either get frustrated by you–because he loves you–and it hurts him to see you being demeaned–or you will teach him that it is better to deny how he feels–as you have been taught to do probably your whole life.

    You are for sure in a tough spot–and I can so relate to what you are going through. I am so hoping you do not get too offended by the idea–that I do not think your boyfriend has daddy issues–I think you do….

    Sweetheart–if you don’t want to be pushed around your whole life–by any man–set some clear boundaries–for your sake–as well as your boyfriends…

    I write about these dynamics on my site

    My sincerest hope is–that you live your life unafraid of what anyone thinks–including a nonsensical–boundary violating dad…

    Namaste–you are not alone…


    • I’m really flattered that you took the time to write this…thank you! You are 100% right about me and confrontation- it is something I truly avoid, not just with my boyfriend, but with friends, etc. I was definitely the peacekeeper in the family. I do agree with what you wrote about my boyfriend- I think to come from a “normal” family, it must be so obvious to him that how my dad has treated me is wrong. And yes, it is hard to hear because I have tried so hard to move past it, but I do have daddy issues (makes me feel like such a cliche). I will definitely check out your website, thank you for the work that you do- I am sure that you have helped so so many people!

      Liked by 1 person

      • lisaaromano says:

        Hi Meg,

        I also live in NY–and like you I was divorced as well. I came from a dry home–meaning–there was no alcohol for me to point at–to blame for my parents control issues…They however, are both adult children of alcoholics. Although my parents didn’t drink–they were conditioned and programmed to ‘think and believe’ like alcoholics do. The only person who was allowed to express feelings–was my father. We–my brother, sister and I–instead were supposed to be able to control our feelings–even while it was clear he could not control his–and he was the adult.

        My mother definitely enabled my father..and rather than show us how to enforce boundaries–she allowed him to push past hers as well as ours…and so…my siblings and I grew up attracting people into our lives who were more takers than they were givers..Unfortunately–as children we were so accustomed to being torn to shreds–or ignored–it was our norm to give as a way to chase approval, love and acceptance.

        I am a Life Coach for ACOA’s, so if you are ever in need of some real one to one–do not hesitate to reach out. If you are interested in learning more about how to confront the way you may have been raised–please consider reading my book The Road Back To Me…Something tells me you are really going to relate to it..

        My youtube channel is lisaaromano1…There I talk all about codependency and fearing enforcing boundaries, especially with our families of origin.

        My hope is–you learn to face the fear of demanding your dad know his place–and that you gravitate and appreciate your boyfriend as the man who is trying to teach you that you deserve to be respected…

        Namaste sister…namaste…



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s