Find your happy

Most people see me as a happy-go-lucky person. They see me smiling, making jokes and think everything is going well for me in my life. They saw me as having a great marriage with 2 great kids and an excellent relationship with my wife. It’s amazing how fake and untrue Facebook can be.

I left an extremely toxic and abusive relationship and embarked on a journey of self-discovery and development of self-worth that I feel everyone should embrace as soon as they can in their adulthood (maybe avoid the hoe-phase I went through while on YOUR journey), which made me see how we can often accept our lot, accept our situation and often embrace something that invariably is not for us.


Too often people post happy things on Facebook, when they are not happy. Too often people post images of love and equality on Instagram, when they are not being loved and things are not equal. Too often people post images reflecting fantastic relationships on Facebook, when the truth is anything but. I was one of these people, posting images and videos reflecting the loving relationship that I was in (while all the time knowing, that I was not loved, respected or even classed as a person….but, my posting wasn’t only lying to the world, it was allowing me to accept my situation. It was essentially telling me that I was ok with how I was being treated.


Sometimes, you need to undergo a journey of a thousand miles to help you take one step. I did this. I was accused of running away from my responsibilities and being a deadbet dad, but I knew full well, that the alternative was to stay and become a dead dad. Best….decision…..ever – I grew, I learned, I developed, I…daresay…blossomed. Living 3000km from my children was definitely tough, but technology, surreal location and supportive friends and colleagues allowed me to become a better person and realise how much I had been held back and stifled.

Teach her to love me

I would still be in Yulara if but for one phone call. My daughter needed to be rescued from an abusive mother. One phone call from my daughter saw her tearfully asking me to “tell my mother how to love me Dad”. I resigned immediately and focussed on doing whatever I could to ensure the safety of my child, booking flights, shipping anything back and beginning to rebuild a household (having left everything with my ex-wife when I departed all that time prior).

Arriving back in Brisbane saw me set ground rules with my daughter. It saw me set expectations for her, while also highlighting that I would respect her needs and her boundaries as befitting a teenager but that I would always be her parent and THAT would be the basis of my decisions in all that we did, but I also promised that I would be there for her, that she could tell me her problems, hopes and dreams without judgement and that I would guide her and help shape her as best I could.

Talk to someone

My daughter is feisty. She is driven and determined, but essentially just wants someone to listen to her and if she is ignored, she will get upset and act accordingly. I encourage talk – I have a system in place where my daughter can text me and I will know that she wants to get out of a situation, but she wants to not be seen as the driver of that decision (e.g. she can leave a school event or friends party and save face) or she can have a discussion with me and my participation hinges purely upon listening, not judging or providing solutions (ohhhhhhh that bit is so tough). But, she talks to me and that is the main thing. I’m no professional though.

My daughter had a fear of professionals because her mother’s threat was always “I’m going to take you to the doctor and get you on medication to sort you out”. I encouraged her with “I think it’d be great to talk with someone who can probably provide you with much better coping strategies than I can” then I left her to it. Fast forward a month and I was approached with “Dad, can you organise something for me?”

She now has a growing relationship with a fantastic psychologist and her brother has engaged with a psychologist at the same organisation (yes, it costs me a lot of money, but I would swap my left AND right nut sack for my children).

Look, find, be…

So now, we are happy.  Could we be happier?  Sure.  Do we know that?  Yes.  Are we sitting back and keeping the status quo? Hell no…we gym, we read to improve, we go for drives, we laugh, we talk, we share vulnerabilities, we encourage, we embrace mistakes, we hug, we care, we support, we cherish every moment together, we look for happiness, we find happiness, we be happy….and when we are not, we are there for each other.

Phillip Neho

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