I have written this blog with as much sensitivity as I can. Why? To protect some people who are still living and in honor of those who have passed. I have truly forgiven them and since learned that we all do the best we can with the knowledge and resources we have available to us at the time.
(And neither do I want this blog to sound or read in any shape or form, Jeremy Kyle-esque)
Our Biggest Fears Often Become Our Reality
When I was growing up I promised myself that when I had kids of my own I would not repeat the same parenting that had been bestowed upon me, my brother and my two sisters. I would ensure, I swore to myself, that I would do the opposite to what had been done to us.
I would never smack I told myself, not even with the hand. My kids would never have to work around the house and never for their food. No psychological punishments of any kind would be implemented – ever- as they were the worst, longer lasting and most damaging of all.
No, never would I use those tactics on my kids. Things would be different. I thought of this a lot growing up. My home would be filled with love like you saw in Little House on the Prairie.
At some time in my teens, I am not sure when because I wasn’t into reading then, but I read an article that said kids repeat the patterns of their parents. They copy what their parents did to them. It is how traditions are passed down and how one generation of bad parenting begets another.
This only further cemented my resolve to break that pattern.
When I got to 40 and went through some major personal change in my life and finally let go of all my childhood traumas; this being through the wonderful power of true and real forgiveness, my epiphany hit me like a freight train.
Everything else I had dealt with. The “smacks” the psychological punishments etc etc. I had lived with those and managed quite well. And I had certainly not repeated any patterns in any of those departments with my limited parenting skills.
But I had indeed repeated a pattern of my parents. And not just once, but 3 times!
I had left my kids.
Our biggest fears often become our biggest realities
But the biggest pattern of them all – being separated from my Dad…by distance…I had repeated that one.
I was an absent Father. And neither did I live just down the road or a couple of hundred miles away. But for most part I lived on the other side of the world.
Not only I had repeated a pattern from my childhood, I had magnified it!
Your Absent Father Loves You
Yet being absent didn’t mean I didn’t love my kids, or my stepchildren that I had in my other 2 marriages. Nothing could be further from the truth. And I think this is true in all absent Fathers. I truly believe, regardless of a lack of contact made, that if your Father was absent in your life or still is, he loves you .
It is only natural in the majority of cases that when a marriage or relationship ceases to exist, the children will either subconsciously or consciously, hold resentment to the parent who left. In the majority of cases, this is usually the Dad.
Resentment, however justified, can blind us from seeing beyond the current picture and can mask the real pain we feel
I held resentment towards my late Mother for decades. Not because she left, but because she was the one who dragged us all away from my Dad on that bleak Saturday afternoon and moved us too far away to ever see him regularly.
My Dad hardly ever contacted us and we rarely saw him. But it didn’t mean he didn’t love us. I know only too well the pain he must have gone through.
Could it be the same with your absent father? I am not saying it is, I am merely asking you if it could be possible he loves you? I know in my case, for the hurt to stop, sometimes it was better not to call. It was like self-preservation from the emotional toothache.
Now I know that can sound like self-justification and maybe it is. It is not meant to be.
I am fortunate that my kids are wise beyond their years and forgiving. And now I am able to enjoy a good relationship with them all.
If your father was absent in your life, I hope one day, if it is still possible, you will be able to slowly build a relationship with him. It will take time and there is no suggestion that you have to rush out and buy him a Worlds Greatest Dad Mug either.
But if you can, find the courage do so. You won’t regret it.
And IF you are holding onto any resentment lay it aside for a while whilst you get to know each other, or at least try.
And if you are an absent Father reading this, I know you love your kids. Even if you have a life of your own now with other children, it doesn’t matter. They are your flesh and blood. Beneath their painful, natural and fully justifiable resentment (If you have not had contact) is an inner child desperately wanting their Dad in their life.
I know it’s hard but why don’t you take the courage to contact them?
The time since you last spoke may be years too many. They may well want to rant at you at first. There will be tough questions you may have to answer. But try. Be patient with them. Get to know them as much as you can. Throw pride away.
I know that each passing year without contact makes it more difficult. But I know they are in your heart and still in your mind. I know each Christmas, birthday or any other special event, tugs at your heart strings. So try…make the effort.
You will both like saying and hearing the words, Happy Father’s Day one day.
I know that each absent Father loves and misses their children. And I know that inside each of you adults there is a small child who hurts and misses and secretly loves their Dad.
It is why I am writing my new book.
My Note: I only write from experience. I am not a counsellor, therapist or psychologist. Take what is in here as you see fit and by the same token, disregard anything you see fit.