Since Father’s Day is right around the corner, I thought it would be apropos for this weeks blog. What comes up for you as you think of your father? Many mixed emotions may come up. My wish for you is that you have warm and reassuring thoughts when you think of yours. Hopefully he was there for you when you needed him, and felt safer when he was around. You might have wonderful feelings such as being a rock, being there for you when you needed him. Hopefully he was a great role model and provided you with a healthy value system.
I hope he treated you with respect and compassion, as that is what we all wish and deserve. Of course it doesn’t mean that you get your way all the time and get whatever you want. It does mean that your needs were met appropriately, that there were healthy boundaries and you were taught right from wrong. My wish is that he gave you what you needed, and more.
Realistically, this does not hold true for everyone. Maybe your dad struggled with alcohol or substance abuse. Maybe he was angry or yelled a lot. He may have been emotionally or physically abusive in some way. Perhaps you tried to avoid him so you wouldn’t get hurt, so you flew under the radar. Your goal was to not get noticed. Maybe you walked on eggshells because you didn’t want to set him off. If this is the case, healthy boundaries did not exist. You only did what you needed to do to survive a toxic environment.
You still may be struggling with these family dynamics, as they seem to continue unless someone gets therapy. Hopefully you or your father will get help, so you can work on repairing your relationship and getting healthier yourself. Learning to set healthy boundaries is important. And if you need to stay away or end the relationship for your own emotional health, that is OK too. Only you know what is best, and you need to follow what your gut is telling you. You may consider reading the book Toxic Parents.
Is your dad still alive? Will you get to spend some time with him on Father’s Day? Perhaps you will be honoring him in some other way with a card, phone call or family gathering. I hope that you will enjoy the time with him and that you are able to feel his love.
If your father is no longer alive, will you do something to honor him? Maybe you pray for him, visit his grave, or share special memories of dad with family members. If you are grieving the death of your father, then it may be a painful reminder of what you have lost. Or maybe you grieve because you never got to have the relationship with your dad that you wished for. If this is the first Father’s Day without him, it may be especially poignant. If you are grieving the loss of your dad/or the relationship you will never have, I hope that you have other loved ones who can provide you some solace.
I hope you have a wonderful time being with or talking with your dad on Father’s day. If it is causing you pain, or you are struggling, it may help to come in and talk about your grief. Feel free to call me at 713-304-6554.