My Dad & I: Starting a New Relationship

by Tony Steenson, 35, Bricklayer, Coraki, Australia

I am 35, and my relationship with my Dad is the best it has ever been. It has been interesting to look back and observe how it was at different stages of our lives.

As a young child I remember hanging out of Dad’s back pocket; wherever he was, I was, and I so wanted to make Dad happy. He was my idol.

It is easy to see now, when I look back, that Dad had put a lot of pressure on himself: he had three young boys and a wife to support, was running a bricklaying business, and was in the process of turning our hundred acre run-down farm into an income – as well as renovating our home. In all of that I never saw Dad a great deal… so when I did, I wanted to please him. I did as I was told and took an interest in what Dad was interested in so I could spend time with him. Dad loved me and loved my being around him – and if that made him happy, then that is what I did. 

My ‘trying to please Dad’ lasted until my early teens when I became sick of that role, as it meant I was doing a lot of work I didn’t want to do – and it didn’t appear to be making him happy anymore. So I rebelled…I grew my hair long (it was always short back and sides for my first twelve years), started smoking cigarettes and pot and really was just trying to say a big “up yours, Dad!”, as I thought Dad was to blame for my life turning out how it was.

During this time, our relationship deteriorated to the point where we wouldn’t even talk during the day, even though I was working for Dad. It wasn’t that bad all the time, but things were definitely strained between us.

When I was around 30 I started to make a few changes in my life, and with that came the opportunity to start a new relationship with Dad…a real one. I wasn’t trying to upset him anymore and I didn’t blame him for controlling my life: I came to that realisation after attending Universal Medicine presentations. I actually gave myself a hard time for trying to please Dad, but that didn’t work out well for me.

How could I blame Dad, as it was ME who chose to do so much on the farm? It might not have seemed like it at the time, but I did have a choice, and a lot of the time I chose what Dad wanted, not what I wanted.

I understand life a lot more these days and I have realised I have sought recognition and approval for most of my life. I have needed people to say “great job, Tony” for me to then feel ok about myself.

I feel terrific most of the time now, so I don’t need that approval from others (although it still is nice to hear every now and again): the reason I feel so good is because I am making choices that support me in all areas of my life.

It is Michael Benhayon who has inspired me greatly. I have been seeing Michael for the last few years on a monthly basis (he is a practitioner at the Universal Medicine clinic).

Over time, he has consistently shown me a way of living that doesn’t take its toll on the body. He has shared why the same things are happening time and time again, and how much fun life can be. Michael has never told me what to do, even when I keep having the same issues over and over. I have to say I am more honest now, because I learnt that if I wasn’t honest then I wouldn’t actually get to the root cause of the problem…I would skim over it and the problem would rise again at a later date.

I can’t thank Michael enough. Through his being the honest and loving man he is, it has inspired me to be the honest and loving man I am. He is a true friend.

I still make a lot of mistakes in life, but now instead of blaming someone or something, I simply look at the choices I made that led to that incident, and then change them (not always straight away) so that they can’t happen again.

The last few years have been great and I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work side by side with Dad. Most of the time I won’t do things that don’t agree with me, and that can upset Dad at times, but I’m not doing them to upset him – I’m not doing them because they don’t feel right for me, and Dad respects that.

I won’t push my body to the limit as I used to; if something is too heavy or awkward I ask for a hand instead of struggling or risking damage to myself. I work in a very physical job, so I need to support myself in that.

Dad and I now joke and have fun together, which we missed a lot of when I was younger. I have made massive changes in all areas of my life – changes that I have made for myself. Those around me definitely feel the difference… and Dad especially loves it.

166 thoughts on “My Dad & I: Starting a New Relationship

  1. YES! This is so cool! It just shows that it’s never too late to start a real, true and loving relationship with anyone. We get so bogged down in awful relationships, but often just a little self responsibility and self reflection changes everything, and what was once awful can be fun, and loving and we can begin to truly enjoy being with another person.

    1. Yes me too! As you say ‘we get so bogged down in awful relationships’ that deep down we know are not working. We know it is not about pleasing and filling in roles and the person we are pleasing does in-truth not want us to please them, but often we have forgotten, so blogs like this are great to remember what we all truly know.

      1. True, and what’s really possible in relationships if we stay true to who we are and bring everything we’ve got to them?

  2. Beautiful to feel that you are continuing to develop a relationship with your father at his stage of your life. Its very common to just accept a relationship that is strained and has little substance as normal. Its truly a testament to the man you are, you are taking the love you have for found for yourself back to your father.

  3. Universal Medicine supported me to take responsibility for the choices I had made and the relationships I had based on those choices, and reimprint them all without the blame and hurt that I was lacing them with. As a result I too now how a beautiful, playful and loving relationship with both my parents, that continues to deepen and develop… something in the past I never thought would be possible.

  4. It is so beautiful to read Tony, that you just by being more of yourself and are not trying to please, the relationship with you father is more joyful and natural than it has ever been in your life. What proves to me that when we try to please someone, that in a way we are abusing ourselves because we tend to go beyond our limits and start to build resentment from that behaviour if it is not resulting in the outcomes we where looking for. And to my experience, pleasing someone else has has never brought me the outcome that I was looking for, it only deteriorated my level of self worth and took me further away of who I truly am.

  5. “I feel terrific most of the time now, so I don’t need that approval from others (although it still is nice to hear every now and again): the reason I feel so good is because I am making choices that support me in all areas of my life.” Making choices that feel true to ourselves is so important. Trying to suit others and be dutiful doesn’t work because we can get resentful – yet we chose to do what we did! Great blog Toni – thankyou.

  6. How wonderful that you now have a great relationship with you dad, now that you are able to be yourself with him! I also agree that Michael Benhayon is a wonderful practitioner – I too have been seeing him regularly over the years and truly appreciate his support.

  7. It’s really beautiful to read how you’ve transformed your relationship with yourself and your relationship with your father through no longer blaming others and honouring yourself. How you honour yourself even when others may find it inconvenient or initially react but are met with steady acceptance and love is super inspiring. Self-respect from this deep well of love can only imbue others with it too.

  8. I really enjoyed reading your blog Tony. It demonstrates that it’s never too late to heal and restore connection in estranged relationships, especially with close family. It’s true that if we are willing to look at ourselves and be honest, making simple changes to how we live can have a massive impact on everything else in our lives.

  9. Thanks for sharing about your relationship with your dad Tony. What you share can be applied to all of our relationships in life. Being honest and true to ourselves and not for favour or recognition.

  10. It is not uncommon for us to look for recognition based on what we do; this seems to be a learned behaviour from young. Do we really love and appreciate others for who they naturally are, not for what they can do?

  11. Tony I agree, when we develop a loving and honouring relationship with ourselves we know our true value and we no longer need the constant confirmation from outside of us, that we are doing okay or have done well. We are often more respected and appreciated when we are being true to ourselves as others feel the truth and realness of us, as you dad did.

  12. When you have a certain pattern running in a relationship it can cause a bit of a stir when we decide to change the ‘rules’ so to speak, but in my experience the relationships that can then develop when we are prepared to be honest and true are much deeper, truly supportive and enjoyable.

  13. Wow what a great blog Tony, how wonderful that you have had the opportunity to fully embrace a totally different relationship with your Dad. Many people go through their whole life, in blame and judgement of their parents, that they didn’t do enough or be there enough for them, but you have brought honesty and truth, allowing for there to be a different foundation for your relationship, very beautiful.

  14. Gosh Tony you are a beautiful writer! There is so much here to comment on, one of the things I resulted to was realising we can’t blame others and it’s up to us to look at all of our own choices, even from a young age, and take responsibility for those. This also takes a lot of pressure off relationships by being fully responsible for ourselves. Not a lot of room for love or fun with people when blame is there – it’s like a wall between us.

  15. What a great line, awesome sharing Tony -“I learnt that if I wasn’t honest then I wouldn’t actually get to the root cause of the problem…I would skim over it and the problem would rise again at a later date.” Perfectly expressed. I recently was looking at household chores and realising that not doing things properly led to bigger issues down the track and more work – which is exactly what I can feel is happening with internal issues I don’t property take care of in my full honestly and with self love.

  16. This is a beautiful way to build a more loving relationship with your Dad Tony, what stood out was you being yourself. There was no longer a need to please him or to blame him. To honour how you feel even if it meant at times it might upset your dad was inspiring to read because often we hold back expressing how we truly feel in fear of upsetting others. To truly express our love is to not hold back truth or hold back in expressing who we are.

  17. ‘How could I blame Dad, as it was ME who chose to do so much on the farm? It might not have seemed like it at the time, but I did have a choice, and a lot of the time I chose what Dad wanted, not what I wanted.’ Only when we drop the pattern of blame and start taking responsibility for everything that happens in our lives do we initiate true healing. This is a great story of your evolving relationship. Thanks Tony.

  18. To take responsibility for our choices is a great healing – it can grow and deepen a relationship instantly if we are willing to be super honest. It sounds like the quality you have with your dad now is really strong and true.

  19. This is a great account of how when we take responsibility for our lives and choices that our relationships deepen and develop into more equal and loving ones…thanks Tony a very heart warming and inspirational blog to read.

  20. A relationship based on needing approval from another has never felt comfortable for me, this was strongly felt in familial relationships and it was expected to be normal. But when we truly express how we feel in openness and understanding with family members, we can genuinely live in acceptance of each other even though we may have different views on love.

  21. Tony this blog is a great example of how as we grow so do our relationships with others. The more responsibility I take for situations that happen and reflect on past situations the more understanding I am open to. I recently found myself absolutely enjoying the simplicity of being with a person for the first time in my life, and it feels great. I too have Michael Benhayon to thank for his ongoing support.

  22. Tony your story will touch a chord in many as you so honestly share your experience of unfolding and learning to take responsibility and grow your relationship with yourself.

  23. I couldn’t help it Tony I just had to say it . . . “great job, Tony” . . .great job in turning your life around!

  24. I love that this proves that it’s never too late to restart a relationship, or write a relationship off, when we understand we’re all just here to learn different things, it starts to allow us to be more open and understanding, and allowing of other people’s path of evolution.

  25. Tony thank you for sharing, we all go through and have hurts but as you have shown it is never too late to restart relationships and redevelop and the trust and love we have with each other. So often when we let our hurts get to us we react and those closest to us get the effects of our actions, knowing that we can rebuild these bridges is always great to hear. We are here to learn and so will naturally make mistakes, the key is how quickly we rebound and learn from them.

  26. Reading this again today I got how your commitment to yourself and the support you received from Michael Benhayon was what really turned your relationship around ” I still make a lot of mistakes in life, but now instead of blaming someone or something, I simply look at the choices I made that led to that incident, and then change them (not always straight away) so that they can’t happen again.” I love the simplicity and matter of factness in this statement and know for myself how taking this kind of responsibility can change everything.

  27. Tony, it is inspiring to read of the changes you have made to your life style and the effects these are having on you and your relationship with your Dad and on all those whom you come in contact with. When we choose to heal, like you have done, we make way for love to be our guiding light, as we go through life.

  28. Our relationship with ourselves dictates what we will have with others. It is so valuable to never comprise the relationship with self for anything or anyone. Because then others are getting the real you!

  29. I love your openness here in sharing your admiration, wanting to please, rebellion, to acceptance of self. Many go through the first three stages, but very rarely come to the deep settled acceptance of self that you have. Simply sharing your story offers this very same settledness to others.

  30. It must be challenging to work with your father and to break through old patterns that you have developed since childhood. Good on you Tony, that you were able to turn your relationship around to one of connection instead of reaction!

  31. Gorgeous blog Tony, I can just imagine how delighted your Dad would be at the changes you’ve made. We all feel it acutely when someone is holding something against us, which makes any sort of lightness, depth or meaningful exchange very unlikely. A very inspiring transformation thanks for sharing it.

  32. I love reading about how a relationship with our parent can change over the years. I know mine has, and while I constantly catch myself falling into chasing after an ideal of making it better than before, and how I want that to look like, it is a forever unfolding and it’s never too late.

  33. Reading your blog, I’m reminded of how often I make the relationship with my Dad all about what I think, what I feel, the hurts and reactions that I carry…. so little of it is about seeing him for who he is, what is guiding him so I can simply understand. Its at that moment that I can truly be with him for the first time.

  34. Truly amazing what happens when we start to take responsibility for our own choices in life. How it changes our relationships and brings back the joy of being and, in your case, working together. There is so much to appreciate when we choose to come back to the love that we are.

  35. Loving reading about these re-connections with parents. It’s such a big one as we love to be stubborn about how our parents ‘stuffed us up’. None of it is true of course, but they do tend to be our punching bags at the first sign of things not going well in our lives.

  36. If we are all being honest with ourselves it is really quite irresponsible to blame others for things that we ourselves choose to do but yet far too many of us still choose to do this.

  37. I loved reading this! Do we really like the relationships or ‘contracts’ we form with other people when the foundation is to do something the other likes and then the other doing the same back for you? True relationships are beautiful – where we both honour our own feelings and are ‘real’ with each other in how we feel about things. It is beautiful to just be yourself with someone and vice versa.

  38. Very inspiring Tony. So many men settle for a way of being where they hold back how they feel and don’t express themselves. It is gorgeous when a man surrenders and allows his sensitivity to come out and be expressed.

  39. It’s so great that you share this as openly as you have Tony, thank-you. For how many of us have had truly loving and supportive relationships with our families?
    What you’ve brought this down to, is the quality of relationship you have with yourself first and foremost – this is key, as it is from here that we can truly be (and let ourselves become) ourselves with another, authentic and real.

  40. Michael Benhayon is an amazing practitioner – a man who is deeply wise, and who knows how to support our reconnection with ourselves and the shedding of the layers of all that we have taken on/adopted that is not actually ‘us’, that we may shine as who we truly are.
    People such as this are to be deeply treasured in this world, for leading the way in showing by lived example that our lives can be truly founded upon Love, the Love that we all in truth, are.

  41. A great blog Tony! Most of us have a lot to thank Serge Benhayon and the Universal Medicine Practitioners for. The Way of The Livingness is also an amazing clarifying tool teaching us a new way of being in the world and relating to others by taking responsibility for our part in the state of our relationships..

  42. When I was growing up, I just wanted to connect to my Dad and so I pretended to be interested in sport in order to get close to him. Later I realised I loved music and I didn’t have to pretend to love it and that became our way of connecting. I find your story very sweet and touching, to re-imprint your relationship with your father is priceless.

  43. Thank you Toni for sharing a great story, taking responsibility for our choices and stop blaming others is definitely life changing as you have found in your relationship with your Dad now, choosing to be more gentle with your body while working is a great reflection self care to those around you.

  44. Loved how you started to take responsibility for your choices, and that there is no need for approval or recognition, and it’s never too late to turn a relationship around.

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