I 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,