Finding peace with your absent father!

absent fatherI was fortunate enough to grow up in a two-parent household. My father is the epitome of what a husband should be. The best thing he ever did for my siblings and I was treating my mother like the Queen that she is. His kind and loving ways has trickled down to me and I’m eternally grateful for him. Sad to say, several of my peers, and many around the world in general, can’t say the same thing. Although I cannot relate to not having my father around firsthand, I have seen it affect people close to me. This excerpt was inspired by a recent conversation with a friend and I dedicate it to everyone who can relate.

Having a negative relationship with your father can be the cause of much heartache and stress. I’ve noticed many of my friends’ frustrations and simply giving up on trying to repair the relationship with their absent father. They’ve accepted or come to the realization that they’ll probably never have a positive relationship with him so they completely shut him out to avoid any sadness. If you’ve never met your dad that’s one thing (I’ll write about that in another post) however, if your father is around but the relationship is inconsistent, I don’t think that you should necessarily give up hope. Throughout your teenage years, you may say (I don’t care about him, I don’t need him, he ain’t s***, etc.) and you have every right to feel this way. But as you enter adulthood and start a family of your own, it’s extremely imperative to try and fix that relationship with your father or gain an “understanding” with him.

I want to make it clear that I’m not an expert and I don’t have the answers. I don’t think there is solely one solution in repairing a broken relationship with an absent father. There could be a variety of reasons as to why he’s been missing. However, I offer 3 pieces of advice in moving in the interest of finding peace. First and foremost you must understand that you’re not the reason why your father left. Don’t make excuses for him as to why he’s absent, simply put; it’s NOT your fault. At the end of the day, he’s a grown man and made the choice to leave (I’ve heard friends blame themselves). Additionally, prior to speaking to him, you should know exactly what you want to get out of the conversation. You might want an explanation or for him to apologize-either way identify the goal of the discussion. “I feel” statements are powerful and you should absolutely use them. For example, “dad I felt abandoned when” has a difference in connotation as opposed to “you abandoned me”. He may see the situation otherwise and may try to argue that he didn’t. You can never negate anyone’s feelings when you preface the statement with “I felt” because how YOU feel is valid! Lastly, one of the rules of communication- it’s not what you say but how you say it. This is your opportunity to be frank and direct. Articulate your thoughts and feelings but channel your emotions so that you don’t verbally attack him. Doing so may cause him to shut down and the conversation won’t be productive.

In closing, pray on it and be patient. Remember that your relationship with your father didn’t fade away overnight. It happened over the years and it’ll take time to rebuild. In the end, all you can do is try and if he chooses to remain astray, then so be it. Whatever you do, just find peace with your absent father!
Peace & Love,
Mr.Obas

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One thought on “Finding peace with your absent father!

  1. Great Topic.

    This topic resonates with me on a very deep personal level if I may say so respectfully. When a child is missing a parent, where by an early demise or voluntary, or if the child feels the parent has abandoned him/her, the void, the emptiness, the shame, the anger, the grief and the pain such a child feels inside is overwhelming. Sometimes the child may grow cold and withdraw altogether. Consequently, those emotions have a tendency to freeze in time, and reappear suddenly in adulthood. If one is not careful, the lonely child can grow up to becone the absent parent, the very thing he/she resents.
    I call this “SILENT FRUSTRATION” Frankly I don’t think, one could handle dealing with these issues alone. Trying to manage your anger from your father because he left you and/or your siblings for whatever reason is like having a tooth pooled without anesthesia. “It’s painful”, and quite frankly unimaginable. My response is one from experience, I was the child missing the parent. This may be shocking to some however, I resented my dad my entire childhood. I didn’t meet my dad until I was 14 years old. I grew up with grandma (God Bless that woman) she was everthing I wanted in a dad, only she wasn’t. Some good uncles chipped in when they could, doing the best they could. My siblings and I, we share a tremendous bond. Crafted from our love and loneliness, our pain and tenacious dispositions. We all suffered in silence. I can remember as a boy day dreaming, thinking about my dad, how my life could have been different if he hadn’t left. To his credit, my father, the patrioch, the ride or die, the lover, the gentleman with the biggest heart I ever met, didn’t leave willingly, he left his country for the pursuit of a better life for his family. (We’ll get to that later). I am forever grateful for that decision. Alas! I resented my dad for most of my 20’s. , all of my childhood up until the age of 14, I felt unworthy. I never had a man to show me show to be a man, everthing I learned, I learned from a third party. By the time I finally met my dad, I was already grown, by that I mean although I was 14 years old, I felt like an adult, since I was already exposed to so much as a child. Frustrated with my emotions, I contemplated suicide as a teen, got into trouble with the law, smoked marijuana, did other things and feeling worthless. All a while looking invincible, I do not fit your typical depressed person. I kept up with my appearance, I maintained great health, outwardly I looked good, but inside I was dying a slow death. Who can dry tears no one can see?, who can console a crying heart?. Can anyone hear the echoes of my heart? No one knew I suffered in silence.
    When I became an adult, well into my 20’s, still, I was haunted by Ghosts that lived in my past. I recalled feeling so rejected. Those emotions creped up on me, showed up in my life uninvited at a time I was riding on top. College graduate, Law School applicant. Reincarnated from the Abyss, resurfaced from the pit I hid them for sooooo long. I felt confused and misplaced, as I seek for answers, I ended up in psychotherapy, many sessions with my therapists confirmed I needed to face these emotions and let loose these schackles once and for all.
    I knew from a very young age, if I ever becone a dad, I WOULD NEVER LEAVE MY CHILDREN NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. No matter the hurdles, doesn’t matter the mountains, the Jericho, the valleys and hills, to hell and back, I will be there with them, for them no matter what life throws at me. And to some extent my father was there, but not as I imagined he should have been. When I became a dad, I kept my promise. I cannot imagine not seeing my son taking his first steps, winning awards at school for academic excellence, celebrating his achievements and becoming a young scholar. Doing simple things like riding a bike, or simply going to the park to hit a ball, watching him grow through the eyes of time and being there by his side as promised. I was determined to be “Present”
    As my relationship with the children’s mother faded, it gave me perspective. I realized a few things, one of which is , there comes a time in a man’s life when he has to make a decision, he may never get the chance to reverse. I flirted with temptation to walk away, after all, I was a young dad, no job, freshman in college, what was I to do? Decisions!!! I stayed, even though the mother and I went our seperate ways, I had a job to do. I had no right to sentence my son to the same fate I lived through as a young man. I was going to be to him what my dad wasn’t to me. I couldn’t live that responsibility for another. I am so glad I did. I am a proud father of three beautiful, intelligent children. Now at 35 I understand the complexities of a relationship. from one father to another I forgive my daddy. When I think of my dad, a feeling of empathy overwhelms me, a smile flashes across my face. I am forever grateful to have met him at 14 and have enjoyed his wisdom. He loved me so much, he made a decision that would hurt me in the short term, but would help me tremendously in the long run. I respect that. I can’t imagine how it must have been for him and my mother, to leave their children behind. I can’t imagine the uncertainty he felt, must have been the hardest thing they ever had to do. Frankly I envy my dad, the courage it took to pull this off is one I don’t have. I forgive my self and I fogive my dad, As I raise my own children, I often council with my dad, I see my self in him and I cherish that, and I hold on to that.

    Like

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