After speaking with my estranged father, unresolved feelings that I never knew I had have begun to surface. He left when I was born, and wouldn’t give an explanation for walking out. That enrages me, but I need to forgive him because I believe he may be at the root of my commitment phobia, and I think forgiving him may help with that. I read that you went through something similar. How did you forgive your father? Did your talk with him help you make that ultimate commitment?Dear Fatherless Child,
Forgiveness is a choice and one that should be extended for those that deserve it not “just because” someone is related to you. I know just how you feel about getting enraged when speaking to your father. I tend not to speak or think about him much but when he would catch me on the phone I would often find myself angry and just wanting to get off the phone.
It was just real awkward conversations with him doing much of the talking and me just grinning and bearing it. What I realized now is it’s because I wasn’t saying what was really on my mind and not asking the questions I needed to ask for me to feel better and have closure. At the end of the day, though, you have no control over your father, his actions, or lack thereof, or even him giving you a straight answer. The sad fact is sometimes there is no answer.
You don’t “need” to forgive him. Like I said early that’s your choice. If that’s what it takes to make you heal and move on as a healthy adult most definitely do, but don’t feel an obligation to forgive just because you feel you should. Sometimes there are things that are not forgivable. Yeah, you can be cordial if you choose but it’s hard to forgive someone who has no remorse for something that clearly still hurts you. I’m not saying that’s the case here or that you shouldn’t forgive him, I’m just saying it isn’t a must-do for everyone.
Ultimately what you really need is closure. For me, my father had no real answer either but I got my closure by letting my feelings off my chest and letting him know how he hurt me. I always feared that he would die before I could vent and I’d have no choice but to carry that anger around for the rest of my life. Did the convo heal everything? No, but it’s helped tremendously.
My father and I may not be friends or best of buds but I can better deal with him now. Still, he isn’t a major part of my life but the door is open for a small role—albeit on my own terms. As I always say, I feel too old for a daddy at this point in my life but that could just be my resistance and stubbornness. But I feel that I needed a daddy when I was a child and thankfully my grandfather [R.I.P.] filled that role for me then.
So have I forgiven my father? Somewhat but I’ll never forget. Any trust to be in my life has to be earned. For you, I just say get what closure it is that you need, whether that is forgiveness, venting or whatever. Your well-being and mental and emotional well-being is what’s most important, so focus on that more than your father’s. He was always the adult in the situation so if anything you’re the one that should be asked to forgive not the other way around. Regardless of the outcome just pay it forward by giving all the love you never got to your future child(ren) so that they have what you never had a chance to experience from a father.
Wishing you the best of luck on your journey.
CLICK HERE to listen to my live response to this letter when I discussed the topic on an episode of Naked Radio Show.
Do you feel that a child should forgive a parent who has no remorse for abandoning him/her? Are a lot of people’s commitment phobias rooted in their daddy issues? Do you feel that once this man finds closure with his father that he’ll be happier in his romantic relationships?
Speak your piece…