Finding Healing On Father’s Day

9914663_sThis blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s, Cindy Weathers, MFTi.

Perhaps Father’s Day is not so “happy” for you. Maybe you’re one of those people who will play the charade of giving a gift, sending a card or making a phone call out of obligation or guilt. Maybe you carry deep wounds from your relationship (or lack thereof) with your father. Perhaps you’ve suffered from the disapproval, rejection, absence or abandonment of your father. Maybe you will try to drum up some positive demeanor toward your dad on Father’s Day even though you really feel nothing at all.

I understand.

This is not one of those blogs about how if you had more faith, or more forgiveness, or more maturity, then your broken relationship with your father would be healed, the issues resolved and your pain gone. I’m not saying those things can’t happen, I’m just offering a different idea about what “healing” might mean for some.  When it comes to a broken relationship with your father, maybe healing means …

Separating pain and suffering

If you experienced abuse, rejection or abandonment from your father, the normal human response is to feel deep hurt and pain. But how you interpret that abuse, rejection or abandonment can lead to unnecessary suffering. For example, you may interpret your father’s lack of involvement and interest in your life as evidence that you are worthless. Ultimately, concluding that his rejection was all about you. The truth is, it had very little to do with you—it was all about him.

As a child or young person, when you first experience hurt with your father, you don’t have the capacity to reason through it accurately. For all practical purposes, when a father doesn’t express love and affirmation to his son or daughter, they conclude they are therefore not worthy of love and affirmation.

“Healing” means identifying the false messages you took on board as a result of the pain experienced. These could include feelings of self-hatred, irrational or unfounded fears, and all kinds of self-defeating and destructive patterns of thinking about yourself, life, and others.

The reality of your value, worth and identity may be buried deep within a maze of falsehoods you adopted about yourself in hurtful experiences with your father.

Breaking the silence

Hurts and wounds that are suffered in isolation and silence are rarely healed. One of the most significant things you could ever do is tell the painful story of your relationship with your father to a therapist, trusted friend or significant other. Articulating and expressing your heartache with another person may help you disentangle yourself from it. “Healing” means no longer suffering in silence or carrying your pain alone.

Compassion for others

Do you feel deep sadness and sorrow about your father―things you wish could be different or pain that never seem to go away? Maybe this sadness can become a source of wisdom, strength and compassion for others who are hurting. Maybe “healing” means choosing to be an instrument of healing in the world.

Your own deep pain is one of the most significant gifts you can offer the walking wounded. What many of people desire and need is to simply connect with another person who truly understands. “Healing” means being someone who will listen and care, someone who is willing to walk alongside someone else in their pain.

Although your external relationship with your father might not change, your internal process and the messages you tell yourself can be altered dramatically. I hope you can find some peace and freedom in ways I’ve described above.  This can bring about healing not only on Father’s Day but also on all days forward.

Elana Clark-Faler
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