My father was incarcerated the majority of my life. He battled addictions as well and passed away when I was 6. How can I get past this?


The Sufi poet and mystic, Rumi, asked: “ Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?” Sadly, too many of us fatherless daughters remain trapped in cells of our own making rather than building a life of joy and freedom. Some of us live for years (or even decades like I did) as victims in our minds as we identify so strongly with the role of a poor little girl who was unwanted and unloved by her dad. This identification starts to feel comfortable and safe for us because it's so familiar. It's too much effort and far too scary to create our own life story so we settle for an existence that's merely a response to our father's.

Too many of us fatherless daughters never confront our sadness and anger over our dad's absence. Instead, we run from our painful emotions by using drugs, drinking alcohol, over-eating, cutting ourselves, and hopping from one relationship to the next. Instead of feeling my feelings, I muted them for seven years with anti-depressants. Then, when I finally weaned myself off those drugs, I was back at square one, having wasted those years but still needing to deal with my anguish.

You are well on your way to getting better because you're motivated to heal. You aren't content “being broken” as so many women are today. Be aware of your emotions as they come up and deal with them in the moment. Accept the sadness but don't let it overcome you.

Don't let being a fatherless daughter become your identity. Develop yourself in a variety of positive ways: as a person who runs marathons, as a loyal friend, as a curious student, as a talented cook, as a lover of nature, as a deeply spiritual being, or whatever brings meaning to your life. While your dad's tale is a dramatic and tragic one, don't take it on as your own. Don't give him that power. Write your own unique and beautiful story!

Updated on July 17, 2019

Original Article:

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

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