I am not writing this blog to bash my father, for he was one of my first and greatest teacher. But, I know for some people, today is a bit of a struggle. I may not have the same experience as you. Still, I know what it is like to be on an emotional roller coaster of anger, confusion, disappointment, and resentment towards someone who helped create you.
My father was not there for birthday celebrations, prom dates, or other significant events. Instead, I have memories of a few heated conversations and my father telling me that he would disown me like the Japanese.
I wanted my father to be someone he was not and was not ready to be. But, despite all my mother endured, she never called my father outside of his name or wished she hadn’t met him. She, too, uncovered treasures out of a potentially traumatic experience. And she shared her life experiences with us so that we could have a better life.
According to my mother, my father showed a different side of himself after my birth. I am the three children they had together. My mother said our father drank a lot and used drugs. I remember my father lying across the kitchen floor and being on trial for telling someone that he abused my mother.
On the other hand, I have some good memories. One day, my brother and I were teasing some neighboring children. They called our bluff and chased us from outside of our apartment to the top floor of our apartment building. Thankfully, my father answered opened our apartment, thereby scaring the children away. In addition, my father showed a gentle side by feeding me bread and giving words of encouragement after I swallowed a fishbone.
After 4 and 1/2 years of feeling like a punching bag, a single parent, and a receptacle for voiced pain, my mother chose to leave my father and make a better life for herself and their three children. At the time, I was months short of my 5th birthday, the eldest boy 3, and the baby boy just turned one.
Over the years, I struggled with my emotions and feelings towards my father. I was most upset about seeing my mother struggling to provide for three growing children. The infrequent phone calls I had with him over the past 40 years left me feeling more angry, confused, and disappointed until I realized that unhealed wounds could rob us of the gift of life.
So, I have reasons to be angry, but I refuse to because my father was and still is one of my first and greatest teachers.
Here are six things that helped me to have a healthier perspective towards my father.
- I am not the cause and never was the cause of my father’s pain and his reaction to his pain. A child is never responsible for an adult’s behavior.
- I realized how destructive unhealed wounds could be. I was not the cause of my father’s absence. He is the one who missed out on the most beautiful things life offers — -seeing children process life and develop into adults.
- I realized I needed to be an active parent. I know what it’s like to not to have my father’s unconditional love, guidance, and protection. Every day I am grateful for the two spiritual beings God has blessed me to have.
- Address my emotions and feelings. I knew my father couldn’t be there for me because something else had his attention. My pain is not my children’s pain. I knew my father’s substance abuse put me at risk of seeking external comforters for unhealed wounds. The signposts in my life(including interactions with my father) continued to confirm that I needed to heal my wounds.
- Hold firm that family and parenting is a team effort. No one should have to do all the work alone.
- Rely more on my heavenly father to guide me. Despite our circumstances (raised by a single parent), we had everything we needed and more.
I am stronger and wiser because of my father. I refuse to continue the cycle of pain. Instead, I am creating a cycle of love from the inside out. Everything I experience helped me have the convictions I have. Therefore, I am not gloomy this day and have not been for some time. I am grateful for the support I had growing up and continue to have as an adult. I am at peace about the relationship my father and I have.
I am grateful for the fathers who are being fathers even though they did not have one and the mothers who are doing the best they can without the father’s support.
I encourage others who didn’t have their father to:
- Focus on what you have and work with that.
- What did you learn from not having your father in your life, and how can you be and do better with what you learned?
- Take your pain and do the opposite.
I am not here to minimize anyone’s experience but to help in maximizing our experiences for the greater good.
What do you need to do to put your relationship with your father in a healthier perspective? What did you learn to do and not to do?
Make this lifetime great! You deserve a life of joy and peace despite your circumstances.
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