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Dads and Daughters

It must be amazing to be a little girl and have a strong father figure that loves you more than anything on this planet. A father who shows you how a lady should be treated, a father who defends you from anything and anyone who may hurt you, and a father who thinks you are his little princess.  There must be some great comfort to know that when the world is getting rough or when a boy makes you cry, you can always pick up the phone, talk to your Dad, and know that everything is going to be OK.

When a little girl like me grows up without a strong and steady father figure in her life, the damage done to her emotionally is lifelong and leaves a deep scar on her heart. Little girls like me who grow up without a father spend the rest of their lives looking for that love and that father figure in their lives that they so desperately needed as a child.

I don’t know who my real father is. There is a man’s name on my birth certificate, but it isn’t the man who fathered me.  My mother divorced the man whose name she wrote on my birth certificate when I was just five years old; and not more than a year later, I sat in a courtroom and watched this man sign me away to my mother’s new husband forever.  Even at that young age, before I even knew that this man truly wasn’t my father, I still felt confused, angry and abandoned as I watched him give me up, sign me away, and walk out of the courtroom doors.

My mother’s new husband adopted me that day, but the father/daughter relationship never formed. I didn’t like him the first day I met him and it always bothered me that I was never asked if I even wanted to have his last name or have him as my Dad.  He never seemed to like me too much and in the early years of his marriage to my mother, he participated in the physical and verbal abuse she inflicted on me which made me distrust and dislike him even more.

There were no Daddy/Daughter dances, no special memories of just us, and I don’t think we said, “I Love You” once in all of the years we have known each other. We just existed under the same roof together, trying to keep the peace so Mom wouldn’t fly off of the handle and start abusing anyone in her line of vision.

In all fairness, my stepfather provided me a roof over my head, food on the table, and clothes on my back; everything a parent is supposed to provide for a child. But the lack of love, the mistrust, and the apparent lack of interest in me, left me with a void in my life that I spent years trying to fill.

I dated and ended up marrying a man that was too old for me because I wanted that guidance, stability, and comfort I didn’t have as a child. A man that I ended up divorcing because once I grew up, it was apparent that we had little to nothing in common because of our age difference and because our goals in life were completely different.

I’ve allowed other men in my life to walk all over me and treat me like dirt because I didn’t know any better and because I had no one in my corner to help me stand up for myself. I had no Dad to call when a boy broke my heart, no Dad who would drive to a boy’s house who hurt me and stand up for me, and no Dad to tell me that there were good guys out there just waiting for someone special like me to come along.

Girls like me, girls without fathers, put on a tougher exterior than most. But we kind of have to; because if we don’t stand up and fight for ourselves, who else is going to?  We want to be vulnerable, we want to be treated like a princess, but the lack of a father figure in our lives has forced us to become hard and tough to life, love, and everything in between.

I envy all of you ladies out there with strong, supportive fathers. I hope that you cherish and appreciate every single moment you get with them and realize how lucky you are to have him.  Hug him, kiss him, tell him how important he is to you; and understand how blessed you truly are.

Happy Father’s Day.

Dads and Daughters

Sarah Burleton NY Times bestselling author

Victoria Gigante Writes For Psych CentralSarah Burleton was born in a little town in Illinois to a very emotionally disturbed woman. Her first book, her child abuse memoir "Why Me," spent 26 weeks on the New York Times and the print version is endorsed by David Pelzer, author of "A Child Called It." Sarah is now realizing her goal in becoming an ambassador for abused children and adult survivors and is currently conducting workshops and seminars throughout the state. Her message of strength over adversity and her story will help counselors, teachers, and other professionals identify signs of abuse and learn ways to establish trust with an abused child.

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APA Reference
, . (2017). Dads and Daughters. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Jun 2017
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