Recently, I received this excellent comment from someone baffled by my motives for the thirteen part series entitled “My Daughter Hates Me”. She (or he) called me to task for self-aggrandizing and self-promotion what she (or he) considered a publicity seeking sham.
Several people who subscribe to my writings graciously responded but I thought it appropriate to address her concerns because she raises some excellent – and complicated – issues. I’ve given her (or his) opinion some consideration – because I could be wrong. If you would like to read the original story and see the comments click here.
Below is her posting. Below that is my response.
I’d like to hear your thoughts.
“I am continuously baffled at why you feel your broken relationship with your daughter should be plastered all over the interwebs. I know you claim you’re trying to heal things, but all you’re doing is using this strained relationship to promote yourself and your writing. It feels VERY insincere to me. If I were your daughter, I would be upset with the way your self-aggrandizing is being used to spread this situation around for strangers to read. If I were your daughter, I’d see right through this for the sham that it is. Why don’t you deal with this in private? Keep it between you and your daughter. The way it should be instead of fishing for compliments, publicity and forgiveness.” – signed Baffled
Below is my complete response.
My knee jerk reaction is to jump in an defend myself so I’m glad I’ve taken a week or so to think about what you wrote.
First of all, I understand. I’ve gone back and forth myself debating the appropriateness – or inappropriateness – of this series. You aren’t the only person who thinks this way – you just happen to be the only one brave enough to voice your opinion. I usually just get a half-ass tweet or bitter email. Honestly though, yours is a minority opinion. I’m going to assume you’ve not read the whole series because you would understand why I’m writing it. If you did read it and still don’t understand no amount of explanation will clarify my motives for you. However, because other well-meaning people graciously choose to speak-up in my defense I thought I should take a moment and add a few details to clarify any questions that might arise from your posting – or theirs.
The reality is there are men (and women) in the world who have lost relationships with loved ones out of someones selfishness, immaturity or anger and in the quiet of the night, away from the distractions of a material world, feel the loss deeply and spiritually. It has a profound effect on their lives and their relationships with others. For me that sense of loss weighs on me and results in what can best be described as a soul sadness – if there is such a thing as a soul.
What I have found when I share this story with young and reluctant fathers is they leave the conversation with a better sense of their own values and a better sense of the consequences. Often the people who judge the situations the harshest are the people closest to the young father and young mother leaving them no one safe to talk with. The advice and attitudes of these family members and friends is more often than not, riddled with shaming attitudes and projected fears. The father’s mother often sees the pregnant teen as a Jezzabel; while the mother’s father sees the teen boy as deflowering his Virgin Mary. These attitudes certainly don’t help the young parents make good decisions.
You believe I’m using this to promote myself in a “self-aggrandizing” sham. I’m not sure how being honest about my faults and what I did wrong makes me “boastful” or is promoting myself as “more important” than I am but you are entitled to your opinion. My motive is fairly straight forward – I want my writing about these experiences to be of benefit to the man (or woman) who is lost and is trudging through a world where they feel alone and isolated. There is hope. There are options. It can and does get better provided they take a few basic actions.
In truth, I am very proud of my writing. I have an excellent writing voice and style that is uniquely mine. I also have a lifetime of experience in sales and marketing and understand how to leverage those experiences to spread the word about my writing. I am willing to use those. What you will not find on this site are advertisements selling materials. I’m not trying to turn a buck on this website.
However, to be clear I am working on a book of letters from parents that are estranged from their children. A portion of the proceeds will go to helping parents behind in child-support because of job losses or medical issues get caught up on their financial obligations. Sometimes we all need help and this is a way to use both my failures and my strengths to help another. Like all human beings we made mistakes, errors and gaffs. Our shortcomings just involve our children and so we are easier targets for those that would have us hide our sins in shame. I think it is because it allows the “judges” the comfort of their own sins.
Again, I appreciate your making a few minutes to express your opinion. More importantly I want to thank those people who continue to read this site for what it is intended to be.