How can one person, especially one you don't even really know, effect your life so much??? While this should have been obvouis to me, and probable is to everyone else, I just realized today that the negative ideas I have about men is not just largely but almost totally a direct result of my experience with my father. Previously, I knew that I held negative, stereotypical views about men that I thought were based on my previous experience with all men. The main stereotypical view about men that I held was that men always leave, that men don't stay with their wives, girlfriends, children, relatives, and friends. Today, when I was thinking about this assumption, which I do feel now is false, I realized that my experiences don't actually bear that out. There is only one man in my history who has left me and stayed gone. Obviously, since he is my father, I feel that he should have stuck around, above and beyond anyone else in my life. The few other men, an uncle, a bestfriend, who have chosen to not be in my life have done so not because "men leave" but because of their own personal problems or decisions. But almost all the men who have loved me, romantically and familially, have stuck around or are not in my life currently by my own decision, despite their desire to stick around. So, it brings me back around to my initial question--how can one person have such an effect on one's whole perception???
Obviously, what needs to change is how I react to men and to changing my reaction to and assumptions about men (women too, but I have the most unfounded negative beliefs about men). T's great point---You should come with no assumptions about people, negative or positive, so that they can create your opinion of them by their actions and the reality of them.
To all the men in my life who have stayed and who love me, thank you. I'm sorry I didn't recognize all you do and how much you love me.