With the help of decades of therapy to turn around his addiction, self-esteem, and abandonment issues while trying to avoid being consumed with resentment at his narcissistic, manipulative mother for causing all his problems, 33-year-old Nate Wagoner of Brooklyn, New York, realized that, in fact, it was his sweetly passive, weak-willed, alcoholic father who was to blame for everything that was wrong in his life.
"It was like a light bulb went off in my head," said Nate. "I actually learned some valuable life lessons from my mom, who taught me how to deal with people. Whereas my dad only taught me to drink away all my problems, and not take personal responsibility for anything. With him in my life, I didn't stand a chance of becoming a successful adult."
Now, though, Nate says he sees very clearly that, because his father was such a terrible role model, it only makes sense that Nate has sabotaged every job and long-term relationship he's ever been in. "Little boys always strive to imitate their fathers, no matter how twisted or evil or dysfunctional that father is." He shook his head. "Sadly, I'm that little boy to a T."
And, although his father hasn't had a drink in over 20 years and appears to have gotten his act somewhat together, at least on paper, it's apparent to Nate that his father's core character flaws remain.
"At this point, I'm just really angry," said Nate. "I'm not interested in spending hours on the phone with him anymore discussing my personal life or hearing his hollow phrases about how much he still loves me and believes in me. In fact, I don't even want to accept the money he's been sending me every month until I get back on my feet. Honestly, I don't want anything from that douchebag."
Even so, in the interest of supporting his own recovery, Nate has decided to continue accepting his father's financial assistance, even though it's difficult for him to do so. "I'm not letting my screwed-up dad control my behavior anymore, which is progress." He chuckled wryly. ""I guess that's what they call growing up."