My father died when I was 10 years old. He was an alcoholic and died from cirrhosis. I have very little memory of him. I don’t remember him ever showing me affection. I also feel resentment towards him for choosing his addiction over his own family. How can I heal this pain?

Answer

Your situation reminds me of my own family. My grandmother died from cirrhosis of the liver (brought on by alcoholism) when my mother was just 9. Although she passed long before I was ever born, her tragic legacy lives on decades after her death. Sadly, it continues to this day because my mother never recognized and corrected her faulty thinking regarding her mom. I urge you to not make the same mistake regarding your father.

My mother, now in her 80's, still laments that her mom “chose booze over her.” By never reading a book about alcoholism and addiction, by never joining Al-Anon (a support group for friends and family of alcoholics), and by never going to therapy, she has suffered from this defective thinking her entire life. It caused her to have low self-esteem, which resulted in her marrying a not-so-nice man. He fathered four children, including myself, but was never a daddy to any of us. That, in turn, resulted in us becoming adults who've all battled depression and anxiety.

To prevent this from happening in your own life, I hope you take control of your thinking today. Become more conscious of your thoughts and more careful with your words, appreciating the power they have over your life. Saying “my father became physically and emotionally dependent on alcohol and couldn't function as a parent” is more accurate (and far less damaging to your psyche) than saying he “choose his addiction over his own family.” When I get destructive thoughts running in my head, I always use the following mantra to snap out of my negativity: “We are not our thoughts; we are the awareness of our thoughts.”

Keep feeling all your feelings and the feeling will lead to healing. One of the reasons people turn to alcohol and drugs is they seek to numb their hurt. In the process, though, they destroy their humanity and their lives. We all have emotional heartache; it's an inescapable part of the human experience. We, therefore, must learn to deal with it effectively, not run from it. Because of your suffering, you can decide to become a more compassionate and caring soul on this planet (and Lord knows, we need more of those)! By reaching out to help others, you can give your anguish a purpose.

Updated on July 18, 2019

Original Article:

Fatherless Daughters: How Growing Up Without a Dad Affects Women
By McKenna Meyers

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