Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Inadequate Father: THE SHADOW DAD

Previously on the series of Inadequate Fathers we talked about the BOUNDARY BUSTER DAD.  Kindly follow the link to read up

The last category of inadequate fathers is the SHADOW DAD. He is the father that is physically present but emotionally unavailable. That’s the kind most Nigerian Children had growing up. He is a shadow dad because of his own addictions…TV, work, friends, alcohol etc.

You wake up and see your dad, he drops you off at school and until you go back to bed at night he is nowhere to be found, so there is never an opportunity to connect with daddy.  The biggest conversation  most have with such dads are probably: ‘daddy they say we should buy text books’, daddy my shoes are worn out and I need new ones’ Never is there an opportunity  for any intellectual or spiritual conversation with dad.

He is the father, for example,
who sits in front of the TV and the child would come in and the conversation would go thus:
‘Daddy…hmmm, I want to tell you something’
‘Yes yes yes…what is it’ his eyes are fixed on the TV not the child
‘Daddy I’m talking to you, you are not even looking’
‘IS IT MY EYES THAT HEAR YOU OR MY EARS??? I say talk I’m listening alright? If you don’t have anything to say then move’ still with eyes fixed on the TV

That’s an example of a shadow dad. As far as he is concerned he has provided shelter, clothes on your back and food for your belly…the perfect father. So you see the children constantly trying to find dad and he can’t attach because he doesn't know if daddy is really there or just standing there.

The below are the symptoms you find in some adults bred by such fathers:

1.       *  They communicate indirectly. You may have one or two friends who should be able to ask you for anything freely based on the friendship you both share…but instead, for example, he sees your iPAD and the way he would ask for it is ‘see this fine iPAD, if person fit get this kine iPAD person for happy ooo’.  They refer to themselves in the third (3rd) person, so that if you say ‘No’, they won’t feel like you rejected them

2.       * Mostly the daughters of such men are the ones who would be like ‘my husband doesn’t do this and this and that for me’  and when you stop and ask them if they have communicated what they want their husband to do for them to him, their response goes like: ‘Why would I tell him, isn't he supposed to know’?  They are afraid to ask because they are afraid to be rejected, thus they never have any sort of connection to anyone

3.      *  Such adults over-function… they enroll their children in music class, junior league, sports class, bible class etc. They are the ones that will tell their friends that they will help them do any and everything for them, they go out of their way to run errands for their mother and sister in-laws.
They are people pleasers…because they are trying to gain the attention they never had from daddy

4.       * But they are also high need/high maintenance people. They are the kind of people that puts you on edge when they are around you. You are on edge  because they have high needs and when you don’t meet one of the needs, they flip like a pressure cooker.  Don’t you have friends who make a big deal over the littlest oversight or mis-yarn you made? And you will have to pacify and re-assure and beg them for days in an attempt to make them see you didn’t mean it the way they have interpreted it?  They are the product of SHADOW DADS. They cant receive from God and ultimately from anyone else.

Are you a product of this kind of father? Or are you a Shadow dad or mum yourself? Let us know oooo

Nutty Jay


  1. My dad was like that while growing up, it was just his nature.I have gotten used to him now, especially now that I am an adult. Yes, it still has an effect on me, I don't believe in friendship, I don't believe people truly care for others, so I am never attached emotionally, never had a girlfriend (I am in my late 20's). If only our parents can do things right, the world would definitely become a better place.

  2. Yes, that's why you traveled and just abandoned everybody, but physically and electronically... you are the meanest friend I almost had.

  3. My dad was more or less a shadow dad growing up. like you said, that is what we expected of dads in those dads, so i cant say i found him wanting. But we have a better relationship now. I can gist with him for hours on end now about politics, morals etc. He listens and still tries the 'age knows best' which i indulge him.
    like someone said, hopefully we will be more rounded parents when its our turn.


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