Counseling One Another

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Counseling One Another

[Guest Post] – A Daughter’s Hero “Dies”

“Thousands of thoughts were whirling around in my eleven-year-old head. But one thing was for sure, Daddy was not my hero anymore.”

[The following letter is from a female reader who prefers to remain anonymous.]

People have told me that when I was little all I wanted to be was just like my dad. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would state very matter of factly, “I want to be a _________, just like my dad!” I really was a daddy’s girl. I was so proud of him. He was such a hard worker and provider for our family. He was my hero and I wanted to be just like him.

The year I turned eleven we got a major “upgrade” to our household. That was the year that we FINALLY got a computer AND satellite TV. I was soooooo excited. How cool was it that we would have e-mail and more than three TV stations!

I learned what pornography was for the first time that year.

My sister was checking her e-mail when a porn website popped up. I wasn’t there, so I didn’t see it, but my sister was badly shaken. Now my mom had the wonderful job of explaining to her young daughters that some men like to look at pictures of naked women. She never mentioned my dad; in fact I think she went out of her way not to. The first thing I thought was that MY daddy would never be so wicked.

The next thing happened that same year. Satellite TV rents new release movies on pay-per-view as well as adult movies. One day there was a new release movie we wanted to see. We asked Mommy if we could do this and she agreed. I’m sure she was sorry that she did. We found the movie we wanted and clicked on it. Then a little box popped up asking for a password. I went and got Mommy from the kitchen. I told her we needed a password to rent the movie, but I didn’t know the password. Mommy said she had set the password and told us what it was. I questioned further because I didn’t understand why she would have to do this. I said, “Mommy, we never watch without your permission. Don’t you trust us?” She said “It’s not you I’m worried about.” I don’t know if I can express what those few small words did to me. Many people think kids don’t pick up on things, but in my mind it was very clear. Suddenly I knew that Daddy was doing something that was sinful on the TV. It was that simple; and what is sinful on the TV? Sex and nudity. MY daddy liked to watch naked people on TV? Thousands of thoughts were whirling around in my eleven-year-old head. But one thing was for sure, Daddy was not my hero anymore.

I didn’t know how to respond. I kept moving between anger and unbelief—not even daring to think about it. I tried to act normal, but I no longer wanted to spend time with him. I thought of him as creepy and wicked. I began to question his authority. I became angry and bitter. I decided that he must not love my mom anymore if he would look at other women. Then I began to question his love for me. How could a loving father do this?

In the years that followed nothing was ever said about it. Mommy never once complained or talked about it in front of us. We were simply to forget that we knew anything might be wrong. But something WAS wrong, and it began effecting how I viewed everything, especially myself. While my dad was probably thinking that his sin was a secret, that we didn’t know or it didn’t affect us, I began looking at my body differently. True, all women are concerned about how they look. But this was different. I started to think that maybe it was because Mommy didn’t look like a super-model that Daddy felt the need to look at others. I began to think that if I wanted to get married someday I would have to have a perfect body. Then I would hate myself because my body wasn’t perfect.

I felt the need to be perfect in other areas too. I would beat myself down if I got a low test score or if I spilled a glass of milk. One harsh word from Daddy and I was a mess. I strove for his approval (no matter how small), and when I fell short time after time I decided he wasn’t worth pleasing or obeying. I began to feel very insecure. What if my parents divorced? I constantly told my mom I loved her and needed lots of hugs and affection from her. I didn’t want my dad touching me at all. I thought of him as gross and every time he hugged me all I could think about was how fast I could get away. I was afraid of the authority he represented in my life. After all, it seemed like he was only thinking of himself and his own needs rather then the needs of his wife and children.

I also started to notice that daddy liked to walk around in only his “whitey tighties” at home. Up until this point I thought this was normal. I mean he had always done it, so what was wrong with it? I became extremely uncomfortable. The song “Be Careful Little Eyes What You See” took on a new meaning for me. Also, I had to watch closely when I was on the computer to make sure I didn’t hit a wrong keystroke on the webpage history and end up on a porn site. I had to be careful never to go downstairs late at night lest I see an adult movie. Now I had to avoid my dad whenever he was “lounging around” lest I feel cursed like Ham who saw his father’s nakedness (Genesis 9:22). I began paying more attention in church and seeking my Bible for answers. I couldn’t talk with anyone about it and I was very confused. It seemed like the things that I saw in our house were wrong and sinful. But my dad said he was saved, went to church, and could talk spiritually with any other Christian. Was he a hypocrite? For that matter was that what I was on the track to become?

Many nights I would cry myself to sleep. Many times I asked my mom why Daddy didn’t love me. Her reply was always “He does love you, he just doesn’t show it the way you want.” After three very long years of bitterness, my feelings developed into outright hatred of my father. I guess you could call it my “teenage rebellion phase.” My dad did not repent even though my mom confronted him. At least one time she went to the leaders of our church and asked them to talk to my dad. For whatever reason they refused to confront him in person, yet they did preach against pornography from the pulpit. This only led me to believe that while they would preach against it in church, the leaders didn’t think it was that bad. Or maybe they were impure also?

If Christ hadn’t worked a miracle in my life, I would still be full of bitterness and hate. It is only by the power of Christ that I can now honestly say that I love my dad. I still have to struggle against feelings that daddy is “gross” and that I don’t want him to touch me. Feelings of disrespect and dislike still haunt me. However, by God’s power I seek to love, honor, and respect him even when I hate what he is doing. My dad has never repented, yet I do forgive him. But I long for the days when Daddy was my hero, when I saw him as the protector, provider, and lover of his family. So I write this to you, dads, to dare to be a hero in your child’s eyes. Fight against the feeling that says “you’re not hurting anyone,” because you are. You are supposed to be an example of bravery and manhood for your daughter to observe. It is important for you to know that when your daughters see you give in to the fleeting pleasures of lust they begin to lose their trust in a man’s ability to be the leader of his family. When this happens the family structure ordained by God begins to reflect a tyranny in their eyes. Your daughters need to know that it is possible for a man’s primary motivation to be his love for God and his family rather than the lusts of his flesh. Do not think that they will never find out about what you do in private because they will. They have lived with you their entire lives. They know who you are.

[Helpful resource: HELP! He's Struggling with Pornography]

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4 Comments

  1. Paul,
    Thanks for posting this. I think these perspectives have the perspective to be transformative to men as they read them and really take them to heart. I appreciate your ministry.

    Jason

  2. Thanks for sharing this story. I thought it was so powerful that I needed to share it. Men (and the church) have no problems talking about some sin but pornography seems to be off limits – at least it seems that way. WOW. Thank you.

  3. This post should be plastered on the walls of every church in the land.
    Should be given to every groom before the wedding.
    To every father, the day his child is born.
    Totally heartbreaking.
    Absolutely frightening.
    Sadly , oh, SO TRUE.
    Men, please,read it, read it, read it.
    Post it by your mirror in the bathroom, and look at it when you shave in the morning.
    You are NOT immune.
    None of us are.
    The relationship and the life you *WILL* ruin, is the one of your own daughter, and most of the time you will have no idea it is even happening. But take a hint from the last few sentences:
    “Do not think that they will never find out about what you do in private because they will. They have lived with you their entire lives. They know who you are.”
    There are few things in life that are more precious than a father/daughter relationship.
    Do your best and then some more, so that it will stay pure.
    For your little princess, you are God on earth.
    She will pick up her model of love and relationship, and the idea she has of her heavenly father, from the relationship YOU have with her.
    Don’t make me come there and tell you this one more time.
    Just cut the crap, OK ?

  4. Wow! Horrifying story, but a great awakening for everyone reading this. Wow!