Who was a role model to you as a kid, who you found to be much less impressive once you matured?

Not exactly less impressive, but my Dad. He is a strong person. Scary strong. I didn't see him much when I was small, he was always going around trying to serve the country, it was his ideal, you know, fixing everything wrong - corruption, crime rate, etc. He has been stabbed with a pitchfork in the chest, held at gunpoint by a lunatic in a mental hospital, hit with a plank full of rusty nails... and many other things. I used to see him as the real superman, as cliche as that is. He was the one who could do anything. He still kind of is. He'd always help people many of whom didn't show any gratitude. He'd help with money, favors, work, any way he could. He gained many friends and some enemies in the process.

Thing is, I always felt unworthy to have him as a father. I always wanted to be like him. To be strong. I also feared him, and especially feared that he'd think I was weak. But as time passed and I grew up I realized that his absence hurt me. That by trying to fix everything for everyone he neglected his own family. I started seeing how when he lost his temper and said hurtful things it'd sometimes not be my fault. Why did I need to respect such a person? I even resented him for a couple of years when I was a teenager. I can probably say that I even felt hate towards him for some of the things he said to me. I hated myself for idolizing him when I was younger.

A couple of years ago, after finding some professional help for my mental illness, and after talking through many of the problems I had connected with my father, I finally realized what he did and provided for our family. He grew up in poverty and lost his father when he was around 20 years old to a murder. He had to take care of my grandma and my very sick uncle. Despite this he rose and rose and I could honestly say that I've never lacked a single thing in my life. After that, for the first time, I got the courage to share the news of my mental problems with him. His reaction was much better than I expected, he showed support and understanding, which was unlike anything I have ever expected. I realized that I've had a wrong idea about him as a person all along.

Sure, he was tough and scary, he could become angry and say hurtful things, but he was also human. You see, I reached 20 years of age without ever thinking of my father as someone capable of being weak. He was a man made of iron for my younger self... Honestly I respect him much more now, after realizing that he has flaws. I also think that what he gave our family and what he managed to do with his life is much more impressive after those realizations. But I no longer want to become like him. I am trying to to be like him in some areas, but I am also trying to fix some of the flaws I inherited and find my own truths. That's how I lost my idol.

/r/AskReddit Thread