A day to celebrate the men who have loved, supported, cherished, and empowered their children.
For me? It’s a day of pain, trauma and envy.
Father’s Day is a constant reminder of the suffering and abandonment I have had since I was born almost twenty-seven years ago. For context; my father walked away before I was born, for supposed ‘medical reasons’, in actual fact he was completely healthy and would often work near to the school I went to which is funny because I lived two minutes from my Secondary School. He has two children from his first marriage, both are older than me, and another two from his second marriage, both of are younger – the real kicker? I’m the only one he refuses to have a relationship with, four years ago he even called the police on me when I finally found him on Social Media, he threatened to press harassment chargers when I asked him one simple question: ‘Why wasn’t I good enough for you?’
When you create a child, the child is half you and half your partner. They share half of your biological DNA and they will never be whole until both parents surrounded them with love. The pain of growing up without a father is detrimental, children are more likely to grow up in poverty and will even drop out of school with little to no qualifications. Many will even try to numb the pain of being fatherless with the use of drugs and alcohol, to be diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety, BPD and other Mental Health conditions, to be more inclined to take part in risky sexual activities and other destructive behaviors that can lead to prison or even self harm and suicide.
Leading psychologists even state that growing up with a father can lead to aggressive and out of control behavior, I know for a fact that this is true because this is something that I personally do. I would describe it as a severe fight or flight behavior, I am quick to anger and self-defense, even with the smallest of critique I lose my mind. Anger can make you act without thinking and to even self-destruct with silent anger, something that has become so intertwined with my own behavior that I will often stew in anger and violently attack within a split second on something that just isn’t worth the aggravation – all because my father refused to be a part of my life.
Having an absent father has caused irrevocable damage towards my health, both physical and mental. Many children who grow up with absent fathers will grow up with feelings of abandonment and low-self esteem because of a lack of love from their father, no one can ever fill the hole that is missing – even now I can’t even hug my own uncle or even be around grown men that would be my ‘father’s’ age because I have genuine fear, I am left on a constant edge of emotions because I cannot comprehend the love of men – all because my father was absent.
Even knowing that my father is perfectly healthy and living his life with my other siblings causes me so much pain that I can’t even put into words how much Father’s Day leaves me in a tail spin of negative emotions and feelings. As a child you learn about relationships and how to manage friendships based on the relationship between your parents, I never had that. I don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like, all I see is pain, neglect and abuse. Those who grow up with a father will often attach themselves to any individual that offers a simple glimmer of love – but in reality, these people are often abusers themselves, be that physical and/or emotional. We seek unhealthy relationships, or any relationship to fill the need that a father should of held within us because of how desperate we are to have a feeling of what love could be, which is ironic because many of us don’t know what love really means as this is something both of our parents show us, without it? How can we find genuine love?
There will be some who will try to say that I should let the pain of abandonment go, these will be the ones who have had both parents (or even step parents), but these are the type of individuals who will have no idea how much it hurts to be going into your twenty-seventh year on this planet without a father by their side. My brain is constantly filled with what ifs: ‘Would I have BPD?’ ‘Would I be suicidal?’ ‘Would I have healthy relationships?’ ‘Would I be able to love myself?’.
When you grow up without a parent you will always question your own self love and self worth, I am often asking myself; ‘Why wasn’t I worth it?’ Because the answer is simple: I wasn’t worth his love and I will never be worth his love because he will never accept me as his daughter. This to me is a viewpoint I have been forced to accept without any consideration of how this has and will still continue to impact my life.
So on this day, I ask absent fathers (and parents) this … were those few minutes worth the lifetime of pain you have caused to your child?