My father was never really there for me even when he was around because he used drugs. After my parents split, he cut off all contact with me and it makes me angry. How do I work through these emotions related to my father?

Answer

First, realize that you have every reason in the world to feel angry. Your father behaved in a selfish, irresponsible way that has caused you a lot of pain. If you deny your rage or try to bottle it up, it can lead to severe physical and emotional distress.

Therefore, feel all your feelings. Talk about them with friends, your mother, a counselor, and other fatherless daughters who can relate to what you're experiencing. Write about them in a journal. Release them through vigorous exercise (it's hard to feel negative when those endorphins get released)!

Ultimately, though, you want to land in a place of peace through acceptance. The spiritual teacher, Bryon Katie, said: “If you argue against reality, you will suffer.” I have found that to be so true and use those words as a mantra when going through stressful times.

When we accept that our dads were weak men whose desertion had nothing to do with us, we can let go of the hope that things could be any different. We can see them as merely sperm donors because they never earned the title of father. We can forgive them for their failings, let go of the anger, and focus on ourselves.

When we let go of hate, we can go about the business of making ourselves stronger. We can build lives of dignity and purpose. Volunteering in our communities at homeless shelters or at the humane society is a good place to start. Taking the focus off ourselves and putting it on others can melt away our ire.

Updated on November 20, 2019

Original Article:

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