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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. “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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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?!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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