My mom and I left an abusive relationship when I was 10. Now, many years later, my stepdad walked out on us. I feel like I can't be loved or have a father. How do I cope with my absent fathers? I feel constant grief and blame myself.

Answer

This is a defining moment for you. You can make a choice now to do what so many of us fatherless daughters did (myself included) and continue to feel sad about not having a dad for years (and even decades) to come. You can use it as an excuse for all your failures and weaknesses: bad relationships, poor school performance, low self-esteem, crappy body image, and lack of motivation.

If you want to learn from those of us who came before you, though, you can start practicing radical acceptance now. Instead of lamenting until the end of your days that you don't have a father figure, you take it in and get on with your life. You can focus on all the blessings you have (family, friends, hobbies, passions) instead of giving too much importance to what (or whom) you lack.

Don't turn your power over to these men. Instead, claim it for yourself. Use this quote from the author, Wes Moore, as a mantra: “Don't let people that don't matter too much, matter too much.”

If you're truly in “constant grief” as you say (perhaps, you're being melodramatic), you need to see a counselor at school or a therapist in private practice. You have some faulty thinking and need a professional to help you see things straight. Your mother has made some bad choices with men, and you're in no way to blame. You had no say in the decisions that she's made and the guys she's brought into your life.

The empowering part of this, though, is you can learn from her mistakes and do better. As you grow up, you take the reins of your life and create what you want. However, you need to be laying the groundwork for that now by working hard at school, making plans for the future, constructing a strong mind, body, and soul, and developing meaningful friendships. You just don't have time to have a prolonged pity party about these men!

Please open up to a professional about your feelings. You're stuck now in the dark and need some help to see the light.

Updated on October 3, 2019

Original Article:

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