Princess Eugenie’s wedding was beautiful in every way. She looked stunning, her husband looked oh, so madly in love, while mum and sister looked on fondly. However, the most poignant images that stayed with me is that of her father, Prince Andrew. How lovingly and unabashedly, he bent down to arrange her darling daughter’s lovely wedding gown.
And he did it without any self-consciousness or embarrassment. A look of total love and devotion. His expression showed that he literally had her back.
Ah, it brought a tear to my eye and a twinge of envy.
What my life would have been if only my father had given some support, help, and understanding.
The father-daughter relationship has a profound effect on a woman’s psychological development. Studies have shown that a father’s warmth and support is positively correlated with self-esteem, much more than a mother’s. A girl learns to value herself according to how much her father values her. The father-daughter relationship determines a girl’s self-identity and how she relates with the world.
Thus, a father’s rejection or acceptance can play a crucial role in the development of her personality.
During the first 10 years of my life, my father was a pretty good father. He doted on me, pampered me and I felt like a little princess. Where my mother was the disciplinarian, my father was the indulgent one. Even then, though he did behave erratically at times. I knew I could wheedle my way to getting anything out of him.
I even used to tell my mother that ‘Daddy, will take better care of me’ and my mother rejoinder would be ‘Yes, I know what care he will take.’
Then my mother died and from the good enough father, he turned into a screaming, violent monster.
Scoliosis, Body Image, Acceptance
The talking point of Princess Eugenie’s wedding was her wedding gown. She wanted her dress to show her scoliosis scar. She was not ashamed of it. Was it because her loving, caring father loved her just the way she was, scoliosis and all.
Numerous studies have shown that women whose fathers love them unconditionally have a very positive body image which stays with them for much of their life.
Fathers who berate and pick on their daughters negatively impact the psyche of the daughter, leading to poor body image. This could lead to lack of confidence, eating disorders and a host of other psychological problems.
My own father first tried to push me into shape when he noticed my back was crooked and then would deride me, ‘calling me the Hunchback of Notre-dame.’
For years I carried that added psychological wound on my back. I spent most of my adult life being self-conscious and ashamed of myself and my body.
Only now with the with the acceptance of my son, that he loves me, his mom, however, I am shaped that deep, ugly, father wound has healed.
Daughter’s Romantic Relationships
For most young girls, dad is the first man in her life. It shapes how she perceives all her future adult male relationships.
Women who enjoyed involved, committed fathers as girls are more likely to have healthier adult relationships with the opposite sex. They learned from their fathers how proper men act towards women.
Further, they also have a healthy familiarity with the world of men. And can easily discern good behavior from bad, instantly spotting inappropriate behaviors and avoiding them. This innate knowledge shields a woman from the exploitation of predatory males.
Unfortunately for me, my father’s violence not only distorted my sense of who I was but also affected what to tolerate. My relationships were a big mess.
Father’s Maturity and Navigating Change
One striking aspect of Prince Andrew is the maturity with which he has handled his divorce from his wife, Sarah. Despite, having divorced years ago they still share a good rapport and till recently even lived under the same roof. Wow, that’s something which really needs a clap.
What an example of maturity and tolerance. He has not let the bitterness of his wife’s slutty and shameful behavior alienate her from her daughters. And this he could have done. But he showed restraint and was able to navigate his relationship with everyone to a whole different level of understanding.
My father turned out to be one hateful human. Turned on my mother’s family and also barred anyone in the family from helping us.
I am still navigating my way out of the mess and shit my immature father dumped onto me.
Small Acts, A Lifetime of Positive Outcomes
It is those small acts of caring that define love. When we do things for our kids that show them our supportive presence. When they know that Mom-Dad has my back. I can depend on them no matter what. That is feeling is more precious than any tiara or diamond in the world.
The umpteen times Prince Andrew bent down to adjust his daughter’s gown was one of the best and most touching loving father moments. After all, he is a Prince, he could have just beckoned someone to come and do the needful. No, he bent down, smoothed her train and with pride walked his lovely daughter down the aisle.
It filled my aching heart with a certain joy, thank God for fathers like that.
Oh, what my father missed.