When I first thought of this idea to write this letter to you, I struggled with making the decision on doing an article, a podcast episode, or a video. As usual, I feel I express myself BEST in writing, so I’m writing to you.
I need you to know you’re not alone and someone understands how this element of your life can and will greatly affect your confidence, surety, and resilience.
I consider myself a fatherless daughter.
Not because my fathers are deceased or passed either – because they are, for the most part, absent.
In a nutshell, I was not raised by my biological father. I was raised by someone else. I had never met my real father my entire life. I always had a father, so I never felt a need to know the so-called “real” one. Plus, I was young, not yet self-aware at a level that moved me into maturity, and honestly, I had everything I needed (so I thought).
I had a wonderful childhood, was never (thank God) sexually abused by my father who raised me, and got to go to public school, participate & excel in extracurricular activities, and graduate high school, go to college, etc. So no abnormalities there, at least by “normalcy” standards in our current culture.
However, I want to make a point here that is important.
Just because a man raises you & puts food in your mouth doesn’t make him a father. Read that sentence as many times as you need to because it’s true.
That shouldn’t be all that’s involved in fatherhood. A growing girl becoming a woman needs emotional support and male direction, so she will have healthy relationships with men, know what to avoid, and make good decisions.
The lack of that will, at some point, manifest in her life in a harmful way.
The disappearance or lack of that fatherly role, even in her late teens or early twenties is still detrimental. It’s not just harmful for a 5 year old or a 2 year old. It’s just as abrasive to a 20 or 30-year old woman.
All that to say – I had physical provision, but very little emotional support from my father growing up. I will, and have, always given him credit for working hard and being a working man. No doubt about it. I’m appreciative. But that’s not all God has called a father to be.
When I was in my late teens, early twenties my parents divorced. I was at college and remember that call like it was yesterday. The more I found out about what this father who raised me was involved in and who he actually really was, the more sickened I became. Some of it most people don’t know.
About a year prior to that, I had actually met my real father. But there wasn’t a relationship – we met, exchanged sentiments, went a long period of time without talking. Can you say awkward?
After all those years growing up without him, I could see myself in him a lot. It was a very serendipitous moment, for sure.
Back to my parents: The divorce was handled quickly, and I fell into the classic role of the child trying to be neutral between the two parents. Don’t talk bad about Mom to Dad – don’t talk bad about Dad to Mom.
Well, that didn’t last long. My father at the time had started dating a woman MY age, which was interesting for me, but I remained supportive. After an email from her stating my Mom “didn’t know what she gave up”, I had to correct her in love, and I never heard from my dad again after that day. It’s been now over a decade. And I have never even one time regretted that conversation I had with her – my Mom didn’t “give anything up”. He left. And, if anything, she PUT UP with plenty; she never gave up. Even when she could’ve technically by “religious standards”, she stayed.
I would try to text & call my dad, and he completely extracted me from his life. So I stopped. No answers from him. No responses. I felt dead to him. So that’s what I became and was forced to assume I was.
I’ve never played the victim, though. His decisions are his, and mine are mine. I honored his decision to not want communication with me, and moved on with my life. Moment of resilience cultivation, much? Yes.
At some point that is now vague to me, I started building more of a relationship with my real father – or at least trying. We had some very deep conversations that moved us forward & I felt were healing, and I said some heartfelt things, including the fact that I knew everything & never held a grudge for anything. Ever. Partly because I had a father growing up, and the other because I look at my life through a spiritual lens. I had no resentment. I didn’t have time to.
I know that bothers a lot of people, which I’ll never understand. I’m not nor will I ever be the type of person who holds a grudge against someone else because another person wants me to. That is such a waste of life! I’m here to live MY life, not someone else’s life. I don’t make decisions to make anyone else comfortable.
Things were pretty good at that point. I’d hear from him on occasion, but not as much as I’d like. But at least we talked more than none. And for me, that was a start.
Over the past few years though, it’s just sort of fallen off – become extremely spotty. Basically back to the point where I sometimes don’t care if he ever calls me again. Do or don’t, there is no “try” – isn’t that what Yoda said?
So there you have it – that’s a high-level and extremely personal, vulnerable overview of my father situation. Recent developments in my own personal and spiritual evolution were the catalysts for writing this letter to you today, and I hope you’ll take it to heart.
A Letter to my fatherless daughter friend,
I know how it feels. To only have a majority of female influencers in your life. To have the only males you can see as wholesome be the ones you admire from afar, perhaps in their celebrity or because they’re married to your friends, but not directly connected to you. Yep – I know the feeling.
I know what it’s like to wonder (if you’re single) who’s really appropriate to walk you down the aisle when the day comes. Who the hell do you call?
I know what it’s like to want a man to call to get dating advice or have protect you from the shit bags that exist today, and you can only call your guy friends whose views or advice are coming from their own emotional damaging situations.
Trust me – I know.
I also know the twisted chaos in your mind that happens when you then see married men cheating on their wives or outright lying about even being divorced, so they can get what they want, only to find out they were lying later.
I also know how you feel when all the men that seem to surround you are emotionally unavailable for a slew of reasons: They had daddy issues too, their father passed when they were young, they can’t get over their ex to save their life, they don’t want to commit, or they’ve convinced themselves marriage isn’t an institution they’re interested in (and that’s just the top of that list).
I know the emotions that come over you when you DO see a man showing up for his kids. But be careful with that – don’t let the father in him convince you he’s automatically a good partner. Trust me – it’s not an immediate qualifier. I’ve seen men be excellent fathers, only to find out they are horrible partners.
I know how it is to want to see your parents together knowing full well that’s never ever ever going to happen, but yet within you is a desire to see it anyway; you have no idea how to pinpoint its origin or why you want this, but it’s there.
Probably the biggest thing I know is hard for you is when you hear or see other men actually showing up for their daughters, both emotionally and with provision. I know you go back to your desk, get in your car, leave the job, hang up the phone, or get off Facebook and sit in silence asking, “why couldn’t I have that? Why don’t I have that?”
I know what it’s like then, to not have an answer for those questions, so you shrug it off and go about your day.
As I write this, tears have started to form in my eyes, because I know these emotions. I know them all.
My advice to you is to let yourself cry when you want to. Be angry when another man hurts you & your father wasn’t there to beat his ass. Feel what you want to feel. And take as long as you need to take to feel all the emotions that come.
They may never go away, so it’s about becoming comfortable with courage & vulnerability within – letting each situation cultivate an inner confidence and get you a little more comfortable in your own skin.
In that way, you become your own best advocate; self-renewing & engaging with the power you have inside.
I’ll tell you where your immense confidence is going to come from. It’s going to form from an intense self-discovery process and a literal disconnection from the identity of that parent.
I know that sounds weird and almost like bad advice, but it’s the only healthy way to ensure you stay centered and focused on your own personal growth journey, path, and calling in this life.
I’m not telling you to physically disconnect or stop calling, accepting calls, text messages, or making them (although, that may be appropriate for your situation, but that’s your call).
I’m saying that deep within, you’re going to have to cultivate a resilience based off of your own discovery and deep intimacy about who you are WITHOUT your father – and this is no small task, but it can be done. I’ve done it myself.
It has to be done in consciousness, though. It can’t be done in a manipulative “eff you” type of attitude or way, because there’s karma attached to that. That will only make things worse.
It’s making every decision and conversation with that person come from a place of yes and self-honor. If you don’t want to answer the phone when he calls, don’t. If you do, do. Call back when you’re in an energy space that is wholesome enough to talk to him. That is what I mean by making decisions in consciousness.
It can be tough to not have your father active in your life, but it’s not impossible. And sometimes, it can be for the best.
And if, for any reason, you don’t want to weather this thought process or path alone to get to a better place, I do have coaching available.
Otherwise, I wish you all the best in developing an inner confidence & resilience, regardless of the absence of your father.
I’m here for you, and you’re not alone.