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.

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

  1. Building relationships is somewhat like having a building from scratch you have a solid foundation and then you lay the bricks one by one correctly position everyone so the integrity of what is being developed is sound. The same in life we take it a step at a time and re-build our relationships from the ground up, starting with being gentle with-our-self first so we can start to feel the benefits of being self loving.

  2. It’s when we make the decision to say yes to something when in truth we didn’t want to do in the first place that we then feel resentful for saying yes and blame the other person, and rightly so the author has stated that the choice was always there for us to make in the first instance. So, how is it that we manage to twist and change the story into one of being the victim instead of being the instigator of that choice and usually for our own gain.

  3. This is a wonderful blog which shows the potential of being willing to deal with our own stuff. Not looking for approval or recognition means we can build a much less imposing relationship with our families without the expectations of our ‘needs’ being met.

  4. We have to truly appreciate the fact that thanks to our free association with Universal Medicine, we have been able to re-imprint our relationships with ourselves, our bodies, life and other people.

  5. Our way of being with ourselves, others and our perception of the world automatically change for the better when we start to take responsibility for our life, through building a loving relationship with ourselves first and foremost.

  6. When we stop the blaming game and start taking responsibility, our relationship with ourselves, the world and those around us change. It is beautiful to feel the ripple effect of love – being introduced first into the relationship with yourself, and then with your dad. The simplicity of you just being you is very much felt. Thank you for your sharing, Tony.

  7. A beautiful sharing Tony about you and your Dad’s relationship, where you have taken responsibility for your choices and with love and self care in your life, your relationship with your Dad has opened up to be a joyful and loving one.

  8. Beautiful to read yet again as I can never be reminded too often of my tenderness and that I can be tender in everything I do.

  9. Thank you Tony for showing that it is OK to be a tender, loving man, even in a physically hard, manual, male dominated work environment.

  10. By honouring yourself you bring that same energy to your relationship and your dad respects you. Awesome and by being yourself you open to having fun sharing a joke and enjoying yourselves. Very inspiring and a joy to read.

  11. We often can feel that people want us to be a certain way but they in fact may not, and when we change in a way that is more self loving it can be surprisingly to feel how much people support this. The restrictions we placed on ourselves were not truly always wanted by others, as we can be very misguided by our perceptions and the belief that we have to be a certain way. Taking responsibility for our self is very liberating, as is the understanding of how powerful our every choice is.

  12. For men to talk like this about themselves and their relationships is rare especially the relationship they have with their dad. It is something the world ought to have more of

  13. My dad died 19 years ago and although he was 80 I felt I never really got to develop a close relationship with him. He was a very quiet man, a man of few words and I reacted to this reflection by closing myself down, which I now realise was not the way to build a relationship. If only I had known then what I know now.

  14. There are many pictures of how we should be in a family. Children want to make parents happy, parents expect children to comply so they can feel good. But neither are taking responsibility to live the joy that we are. If we are shown honestly and lovingly in life by the closest to us that our joy is our own responsibility, we start to let go of need in relationships to start building a relationship with ourselves which would also grow the relationships with each other.

  15. As I commit to myself in life and know that what I am doing is true for me the need for recognition and approval is becoming non existent… I am working with and learning to make the connection to myself and the quality of energy I am in my priority and then there is no seeking for anything outside of myself.

  16. There is much healing in your blog Tony. I had a fairly distant relationship with my Dad and until My Mother passed. I was able to heal many things in the relationship with my dad in those ten years until he also passed. I feel it is so important for us to connect and heal our relationships before we leave this Earth plane.

  17. Amazing. If we’re not honest with ourselves, then how can we expect to be honest with others and then look at what’s holding us back. I love just how different our lives can really be and for the better when we just get our selves out of the way.

  18. There’s a great distinction here between doing what we feel to do and honouring us and doing something to annoy or upset another … I’d not considered that so clearly before, but I can feel how when I do the former, even if others are upset they get it, and I am learning to let them be with that and to give them space to adjust and overall I have more understanding of others, whereas the second I often did when I was younger to prove a point, and it was all about me withholding my love, who I naturally am in some way, in other words I was hurt and I wanted to make the other pay and feel it … and this felt awful. It’s so great to now have the understanding of how to honour myself and be with other in this, and I learn each day more and more in this, when I muck up, when I’m there, it’s all an amazing way to deepen my relationship with myself and hence with all others.

  19. It is interesting when another gets upset because of either what we have said or what we choose to do and what can even be more interesting is group alignment where one can be attacked for acting in a way that is true for them. We may be the only one that has chosen to do what we feel but that doesn’t mean it is not a true decision.

  20. This article shows that it is never too late to bring love and joy back into any relationships we have. It seems simpler to hold ourselves (and others) back by refraining from rebuilding our relationships, but as is shared here, the blessing for everyone is too great to shy away from.

  21. How often do we avoid a conversation because we don’t want to rock the boat or upset anyone only to find the situation keeps happening and escalating as a result of not having been honest in the first place?!

  22. Really wonderful sharing Tony. It is a really amazing turnaround and there is true power when men are themselves. When in that true power of being themselves, what they offer to each other, is true inspiration, friendship and love.

  23. How gorgeous Tony, you got yourself back and your Dad and everyone else got you back as well. I remember as a teenager going in the opposite direction from my parents and distancing myself from them, which now as a parent of teenagers I can see how much of a confusing and upsetting time that would have been for them. Honesty, as they say, really is the best medicine. Everyone then knows what is going on for each other instead of hiding or bottling things up.

  24. “I actually gave myself a hard time for trying to please” So true to me too. We lose connection to who we really are when we are trying to be ‘something’ for someone else. And as a parent it is beautiful when I know children, of any age, are being true to themselves.

  25. We never get too old to look at what we bring to the relationships in our lives do we? The pattern of pleasing and getting fed up with pleasing is a classic pattern for teenage years, so much resentment comes in about what is perceived as conditional love. Neither party want the conflict but often, neither party are prepared to look at their own contribution to get to that conflict. I love that you didn’t ask your dad to change, you addressed your hurts and issues and he got to connect to you for who you are and he found that part of himself as well.

  26. This blog is a beautiful example that it is possible for any relationship to heal and become more loving if we are willing to make different choices, in your case Tony expressing yourself more tenderly and openly supported your relationship with your dad to truly heal.

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