Image by wondermar from Pixabay

Life teaches you valuable lessons––especially about your parents. They are not perfect people. They are flawed. They are also human and were once children too. And few relationships are as complex as the one a person has with their father.

After Redditor ekolanderia asked the online community, "What changed the way you saw your father?" people got candid and shared their stories. We heard the good, the bad, and the ugly.

"My dad had a very, very difficult upbringing..."

My dad had a very, very difficult upbringing and while he always told me he loved me and was affectionate, I didn't really get how proud of me he was until the day after I graduated from high school. He woke me up with breakfast in bed, my diploma in his hand, tears in his eyes. He told me he was so proud of me and that he hadn't graduated high school. I hadn't known this previously because he didn't want me to feel pressure to do things just because he hadn't.

I saw him as someone other than just my dad for the first time. A guy with hopes and dreams and fears all his own.

He's a great guy. I'm lucky that he's my dad.


"That was when I realized..."

Being there the day he got word his mother was dying of cancer. I'd seen the man tear up a lot throughout the years, but I'd never seen him sob. That was when I realized we're all just children.


"In the last five years..."

In the last five years of his life he saw his wife (my mom) die, and suffered a stroke a couple of years later. Watching a man who used to be a confident go-getter slowly go to pieces over that time was the hardest thing I ever had to watch.


"When I stopped..."

When I stopped taking his insults to heart and started treating him like a mentally unstable person


"We ended up having a big family chat..."

I've always had a good relationship with my dad but I've never once seen him cry or get emotional.

Several months ago, my brother attempted to end his life. Dad acted like nothing was really wrong, going about life as he had before everything happened. Mum and I were a mess. I was so confused why he didn't seem to care. But that night, I heard him crying in the middle of the night.

We ended up having a big family chat where we all cried and were brutally honest with each other. There was a lot of pain on all ends about what had happened, and we needed to let my brother know that we loved him and were all there for him, something that he hadn't realised at the time.

An awful situation, but we are all closer now. And my brother is doing well


"It took me many years..."

My husband.

He doesn't yell at me. Or call me names. Or treat me like I'm stupid. Or hit me. Or hit our kids. Or scream and throw things. He doesn't put our kids in danger or think scaring us is funny. We don't get frightened when he comes home, we aren't afraid of him.

For real, I thought all that was normal. I didn't KNOW I thought it was normal. It took me many years to realize that my husband was treating us the way a normal person would treat their family. I still have trouble believing it, sometimes - but I haven't seen my father or let him see my kids in over 5 years. I'm a slow learner, but I'm learning.


"The dad I had known..."

When his response to me wondering about the science behind something cool I saw as a kid was to insist it was a miracle from God and refuse to help me discover what environmental factors caused the phenomenon. The dad I had known up until that point would have encouraged my scientific curiosity.


"It's something that makes me..."

Becoming a father myself has shown just how much better a father mine should have been. The instant love and want to do anything for my child was never there for him. It's something that makes me want to be the best father possible to my son.


"The time I left my husband..."

The time I left my husband because of domestic violence, and my father asked me what I did to cause my husband to do what he did to me.


"He's an ideal dad..."

Reaching the age where my problems required emotional support. He's an ideal dad for young kids, but by the time I was a teenager I pretty much gave up trying to talk to him about anything on a deep level. He doesn't ever want to talk about feelings.


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