Some therapists suggest that fatherless daughters write a letter to their dads, explaining how his absence has negatively impacted their lives. Then, they advise them to conduct a ceremony during which they destroy the letter: ripping it up into little pieces, throwing it into a burning fire, or burying it in a time capsule. The purpose of this ritual is to acknowledge and accept what happened to them but, more importantly, mark that it’s time to move forward from it. It’s a way to say goodbye to their victimhood at the hands of their dads and claim responsibility for their lives.
Telling your dad how he’s hurt you has the potential to cause you more heartache and trauma. It’s an extremely rare man who would listen to that, take it in, accept the criticism, and apologize. More likely, a father would react with defensiveness and deny the charges against him. He may even turn the tables on his daughter, saying that she’s the one to blame for their troubled relationship or her current struggles. Most damaging of all, he may hear her anguish but simply minimize it, making her feel even more confused, lost, and alone.
Wanting to do this reveals that you have not come to grips with who your dad is and are still hoping for him to be different. When I started practicing radical acceptance about my own father, I finally found peace. When I admitted that he was self-focused and didn’t care about what was happening with me (my thoughts, feelings, goals, friends, and activities), it was sad at first but then liberating.
When I accepted that, I no longer took his rejection personally. It wasn’t about me at all. I was then able to connect with people who were capable of reciprocal relationships. The spiritual writer, Bryon Katie, sums it up so beautifully and succinctly: “If you argue against reality, you will suffer.”I wish you well as you move forward from your pain.