Friday, July 20, 2018

Abandoned – Growing Up Father-Less.

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I was six years old when my mother left my siblings and I in the care of my grand-mother and my father to come to the United  States. I didn’t get it then, and even at six years old I knew it was un-natural for a mother to leave her kids to go to a foreign country. Equally un-natural is when a father leave or abandon his kids, but more specifically his daughter.  Sure, there are different form of abandonments, but in my opinion the one that is most profound and has a greater impact is the one when a daughter is abandon by her father.  Close-up of young daughter looking into dad's eyes.

This is a unique problem and I am pretty sure I am not the first to write on the subject, so I am not going to waste words by giving you statistics. However, I feel I have authority on the subject simply because I have two daughters who I have raised as a single parent.   In fact fathers abandoning their kids is such an epidemic that even the President to the United States addressed it in his speech on Fathers day June 2008: Text of Obama’s fatherhood speech –…and he had this to say:

But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing — missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it. 

And he went on to say: 

We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.

Oh sure, ideally we all would love to have a loving partner who respectfully understand the magnitude of raising children. And understand that two is better than one.  For example, someone like my father who believe firmly that little girls grow better with a father. And my boyfriend who said, “you have to have heart and you have to be hard to raise kids, let alone a daughter.”  He believes one of the reason men abandoned their children is not only because raising kids is hard work, but also some think they can just make another one. He went as far as to equate it to leaving the scene of an accident after crashing your car. Indeed, and speaking personally that is exactly how it feels. 

With that in mind my father knew that staying with my mother was an absolute must and to do otherwise would have grave consequences. So, he stayed with my mother no matter what because leaving us girls was something he was not willing to gamble with .  But in many cases we all know that’s not always true. Especially, and I don’t want to admit this, in the African American community. Sadly I fit perfectly into that profile. My sister fits into that profile. My cousins fit into that profile. In other words, I know too many people who fits into that absent-father profile.  Not by design. When I was young I did all the right things.

I married my high school sweetheart and gave birth to two beautiful daughters, but our marriage was flawed. We fought over everything. Money: the lack of it. Job: the fact that he could not keep one. Mostly, just living on the poverty line. And stupid things like his obsession with muscle magazines, and how he collects and pile them in my tiny closet. Then eventually our relationship turned physical. I remember keeping my hat on when I visited my parents because I was hiding bruises. In essence we didn’t stand a chance. We were too young and really did not know or fully understood the magnitude of the responsibility we were undertaking. In the end, he left and I was left at the scene of an accident. 

Unfortunately my situation is one in million and still today we have little girls growing up in a single parent household because some fathers decided they did not want to put in the hard work. As a result little girls are growing up feeling abandon. It is no wonder that research and studies have shown when children especially girls are abandoned by their fathers they tend to be more promiscuous, have low self- esteem and feel worthless.  Also they develop problems with intimacy,  sex, trust,  and commitment.  Even worse they feel shame,  and anger.  

Oddly absent fathers is a problem deeply rooted in our community and in our way of life to the point that some have accepted as the norm. Take for example, the TV talk show The Maury Povich show, whose TV show is primarily finding “baby mammas” who are not sure or don’t’ even know who the father of their baby is. Showing fathers jumping for joy at a negative result of a DNA test is truly a sight to see. I am the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers, but I know something must be done. I imagine we can start by just being outraged!  And eventually work our way to forming the “the million single mother march against fathers abandoning the home.” 

Over the years I did my best, but as the saying goes, my best was not good enough.  I could not replace the bond and the attachment little girls develop with their fathers. Now my girls are teenagers and the afflictions of growing up in a father-less home are starting to emerge to the surface.  It’s like watching a car crash and you can’t do anything about it. I took to my pen and wrote a piece on my blog: Mommy-in-chief, (MOMMY-IN-CHIEF) titled, The Kids Are Not Ok.   Here is a little of what I wrote: 

For the first time in years I was not looking forward to hearing, “Happy Father’s Day” from my family and friends.  Indeed after hearing what my eighteen year old daughter said about how the absence of her father had affected her, I no longer felt I deserve to hear those words which felt more like a slap in the face then a praise for a job well done. Of course it did not escape me that my feelings were hurt mainly because I could not understand that even after all I have done she still felt the way she did. After all, doing the job of two parent was not an easy task. 

Certainly, I could not begin to tell them the truth about their father, their precious DADDY! Even now with their eyes wide open they still believe he is innocent until proven guilty. Even now they hesitate to believe that I begged him to spend more time with them and it broke my heart that I could not mend theirs.  Also I fought on their behalf, and wrote many letters to him about what both needed to grow into well adjusted young ladies.  More so, I made many phone calls, left several messages and sent many invitations for him to participate in their up-bringing. Yet, no amount of begging, pleading and explanation that children need love, hugs and kisses from both parents, nor that little girls need their daddy’s to teach them how a man should treat them had any impact to him.  

As has been said, it is un-natural for a father to leave or abandon his kids, and especially his daughter and in my experience I have never met a daughter (and I am not saying there aren’t any) who felt they were better off. 

Staff Writer; Kency Desmangles

One can also connect with this sister via Facebook; K. Desmangles.


12 Responses to “Abandoned – Growing Up Father-Less.”
  1. toomanygrandkids says:

    What really surprised me was when a cousin said that everybody in the family blames me for my mom’s marriage not working out. REALLY?! How can a child who isn’t even born yet be held responsible? I know that you’re suppose to own up to your mistakes, but I refuse to take responsibility for the mistakes of those three folks. No way. One day I may renew I relationship with my mom and other family members, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. Plus, they have self-inflicted problems they blame on everybody else which causes much animosity. So I’m better off really not dealing with them.

    SIDE NOT: This maybe a bit off the subject, but its just an observation I made years ago concerning slavery.

    How can black ppl blame slavery(or the effects) on white ppl who were born after slavery was abolished?

  2. toomanygrandkids says:

    problem. We got evicted a lot, and had to be placed w/ this relative, that relative. It was terrible b/c I always felt like an intruder. Like I shouldn’t be here. I noticedmy mom had another vice: married men. They did absolutely nothing for her or us. It was like us kids were invisible. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I found out who my biological father was. He actually lived right around the corner from me. My mom and I were getting into her car when he walked up and spoke to us. And she says, “Me and Dave usta be lovers long time ago.” He was standing right beside me, and I looked him in his eyes, and I just knew he was my dad. I look just like him. But he didn’t acknowledge that he was my dad nor did he tell me that I was his daughter. He walked off down the street, me and my mom got in the car and pulled off. She never talked about him again.

    He has since passed away. When they say that ppl take secrets to their grave, I understand what they mean. Then again, I should’ve said something, but I didn’t know how or what. But the fact that he lived right around the corner from me sorta bothers me. Not in a painful way, but I wonder sometimes if he was just as confused as I was.

  3. toomanygrandkids says:

    This story and these comments have pulled my heartstrings. I truly hope and pray that EVERYONE heals and finds peace. Here’s my story:

    When my mom got married, she was pregnant with me. I was born the following year, then my brother a couple years later. What my mom forgot to tell hrer husband was that I wasn’t his child. It was his family that informed him. Turns out she had slept with his cousin. So we all move into his mom’s house. Why we moved in with them I’ll never know. His mom, brother, and sister also lived there. Now, they’re father abandoned them and went off with another woman. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I recognized them as having issues b/c of their father leaving them when they were teenagers. Anyway, my mom and her husband had two more daughters. I don’t recall if we still lived w/ his mom or elsewhere, but I do remember living at his mom’s house a lot b/c I went to school in that town. Then a few things happened and not necessarily in this order: my mom and her husband took to running the streets and partying, one day my mom said she was going to the store and never returned, her husband and his family was forced to raise us, and her husband began bringing his lady frieds over to the house. I knew from an early age that they disliked me. I was treated completely different from my brother and sisters, and I found out why.

    I was standing outside of an opened window and overheard them talking about me. Saying, ” She ain’t his daughter no way,” among other things. Even though he lived there, he left his mom and sister to care for us. There was no warmth in that house or in their voices. Just a lot of tension, I mean, a very tense and uncomfortable vibe. Especially towards me. Believe when I tell you that I couldn’t wait to grow up and get out of that house. Out of nowhere my mom returns and and we go to live w/ her. Which really wasn’t any better. She still wanted to party and then developed a bad gambling

  4. DaTruth says:

    This is a horrible problem that is magnified ten times in the black community.

  5. Steph says:


    Thanks for sharing your story. I will try to find the book even if I don’t know the name of the author. Maybe, it will help me to heal. You used the past tense. Is she still your wife? Did her difficult past created problems in your own marriage?

  6. Chris says:

    I had a wife that was abandoned by her father. Though she had a step father at the age of two, she noticed that she was different from her siblings. She wanted to accomplish something for herself rather than stick with the status quo of Grand Bay, Ala. She asked herself many times why was her real father not in her life? As her husband many years later I noted that this led to a life of low self esteem because her father rejected her. This is what she was told be her mother and step father. She didn’t get free from this until she was forty two years old. She never spoke to her father ever in life. She regretted that this didn’t happen. Why? He lived less than thirty miles from her. But she listened to one side of the story. It’s bad when you only have one side of a story. You tend to believe that one side. But years later she met her auntie on her real fathers side. By this time her father had died and she didn’t even go to the funeral because she felt he had rejected her. Her step father and Mother had hid something from her. She did not get free until she received the truth. The truth was that her father loved her and wanted to see her and her sister. This is why she wrote the book Isaiah’s Daughters. Mothers and steps, aunties and cousins, please tell the truth about what happened. I as her husband was pleated not after night with why didn’t my father love me? She was thirty years old when she said this, but refused to see him because of the on sided story. She’s free now of it because of the truth that was finally told by her auntie Ruth Broughton.

  7. Ford says:

    ….Steph. You are picking men who, in your mind, are your father. They aren’t. You can’t fix that broken part but you can grow beyond it by embracing a warm loving man. I wish you well.

  8. Steph says:

    Deeann D. Mathews and KENCY,

    I thank you for your comments, it really moved me. You are very perceptive Kency. My family is from the West Indies (How did you guess? Because in other Black culture men can also be not available on an emotional level). I am trying to heal but it is very difficult and the fact that I grew up in North America where the Western parents show more affection toward their children, it made it even more hard for me to accept my situation. I have the tendency to be attracted to men who are not emotionally available because this is how my father was with me. (I met the worst one last year before the Holidays. He told me that when his ex-girlfriend was pregnant he left her even if he was living with her and that they were together for three years! He didn’t care to find out if she went through the pregnancy or if she had an abortion. He could care less about the fact that he may be a father. In addition, he is old enough to provide for a family, he has a BA, etc. So, it is really about selfishness. By the way this guy was from Africa). I know that I have to find a way to forgive my father to be able to go on with my life but it is not easy. Many times when he was alive, I thought to go in therapy with him. I never dared to suggest that because he didn’t see any problem in our relationship and he would have never accepted it. As you know, in Black culture if you take your problems outside the family it is considered as betrayal!

  9. Deeann D. Mathews says:

    @Steph My heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine the pain you must feel, living with that sense of rejection from the first man in your life. I will keep you in my prayers.

  10. KENCY says:

    @Steph, I agree, the problem is much deeper than that and I have only scratched the surface. Also, I can relate in regards to your relationship with your father in that I have a similar relationship with my own mother. My father was the maternal one not my mother. I am guessing and I could be wrong, that you are from a caribbean background where men are innately providers and protecters and not so much into showing love. The truth is, we cannot show love unless we were or are shown love and I am guessing that could be the case with your father. And since we do not choose our family, for better or worse they make us who we are. I hope in your case, it’s for the better.

    I hope to hear from you again. Good luck!

  11. Steph says:


    I want you to know that the problem is deeper than you think. Slavery did an awful job on our families. It is not just a question of having a father at home. Mine was always there but he did hurt me consciously or unconciously in a very deep way. I never was able to bond with him. When I smiled at him many times in my life since my childhood he was not able to smile back at me. So, it gives you already an idea about our relationship. He always was distant. The first time i noticed that, I was about 8. I was at one of his friends’ house once. His friend asked my dad in what grade I was. He could not answer, he had to ask me!!! He never went to my school to see my teachers, etc. My mom did everything. He thought that working and bringing money at home was enough. He broke my heart and I am not able until now to bond with a man as an adult. Consciously or unconsciously my father traumatised me!!!

  12. Not having a father in the house causes an unbalanced family, which affects both the son and the daughter. So the cycle continues and after a while, a long while, this becomes natural, normal. But I believe both sides are to blame because of the morals and values we have allowed ourselves to pickup. The traditions we used to have are long in the past. We now have new traditions that no longer require to have a traditional family.

    Now we have sex before marriage, we take pills that allow us to have sex without getting pregnant, and abortions if that doesn’t work, acting like dogs, the male and female kind. We as a people don’t value ourselves. So what do we value? Everything that is superficial. We’ve become a superficial individualistic people. This is not who we are. We were a community that looked after each other. Now we look after ourselves. We used to support one another, now we support everybody, but ourselves. We used to protect one another, now we let others do this for us, and when they don’t, we complain. The solutions to these problems are staring at us in the mirror everyday and until we realize this, nothing will change. Click on my name for the solution.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

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