My father is a jerk. We never had a good relationship, but I always held onto the hope we would, but he is leaving us in a week. What should I expect out of our relationship? Should I give up on us? I'm so hurt and confused.

Answer

You're already doing great by understanding your dad is the jerk and not blaming yourself for his actions. Too often daughters believe it's their fault when dad leaves, thinking they weren't lovable enough for him to stick around. In reality, though, it has nothing to do with them but everything to do with their father's weakness, whether that's low character, addiction, irresponsibility, financial instability, dissatisfaction with life or all of the above.

As he takes his leave, it's important to take good care of yourself: pray, meditate, write in a journal, take long walks, talk to trusted friends, listen to music, do whatever is necessary to express your pain and disappointment and get the support you need. People can't help if you don't open up to them. There are so many of us women who've felt the rejection of a father, know how much it hurts, and can share how we survived it.

Now is your opportunity to take control of the situation and determine what works best for your mental and emotional health. Wait and see how much effort your dad makes to contact you and stay connected. When he does connect, be mindful of how it makes you feel. Does it enrich your life or make you miserable for days? Cutting a parent out of your life is an extreme decision but is necessary (and beneficial) in certain instances. You need to give it time and see how it develops.

From time to time, I still long for the loving daddy I never had. Realizing that one in three women identify themselves as fatherless has brought me comfort, knowing I'm not alone. There are so many great people out there in the world who want to be a part of our lives so we shouldn't focus on that one—our father—who doesn't. We shouldn't give him that much power over our destiny.

I certainly understand why this is a hard and confusing time for you. People disappoint us, but we can get through it and become stronger, more compassionate people.

Updated on June 24, 2018

Original Article:

Fatherless Daughters: 5 Ways Growing up Without a Dad Affects Women
By McKenna Meyers
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