Dealing with Dad

A reader recently send me an important question about Father's Day.

Patricia, I love how you tackled the difficult topic of dealing with Mother's Day when you don't have a Mom. I'm in the situation of dealing with Father's Day with a Dad that is still alive but abused me as a child. While our relationship is civil today I am still working on healing my past. I have very mixed emotions about Father's Day. What advice do you have for me?


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I know I have a sick sense of humor for choosing this photo. I'm hoping your Dad was better to you than Darth Vader was to Luke Skywalker.

First of all, you are not alone. There are millions of adults with hurt in their heart on Father's Day. For some it might be a mixed bag, maybe your Dad was great most of the time but had spurts of abusive behavior. Here are my thoughts. 
People have exquisite reasons for doing what they do. Perhaps your Dad was also abused. I'm not saying his behavior is right but most human beings are doing the best that they can. This situation is so common the only saving grace is that usually after many generations there is less abuse than when the first slap, hit or punch happened. 
Be truthful. Don't buy the sappiest, happiest greeting card for Dad when that just isn't coming from a place of truth. In this case maybe you buy find something neutral or even funny. If you truly do not believe you have THE BEST DAD IN THE WORLD do not buy any of these t-shirts, mugs, buttons, etc. that say so. 
Know that your Dad fulfilled one great purpose. He helped bring you into the world. For some this is all they have to say about their Dad. 
Focus on the positive. I'm hoping when your Dad wasn't kicking the crap out of you there were at least some good things he did. If you can try to think of any qualities that come to mind that you do admire about your Dad. 
Do something good for yourself on Father's Day. Maybe you were a Dad to your own Dad. I'm not saying that was fair but you must be a strong person if that is the case. You don't have to do this in a fancy ceremony with crystals and incense but maybe you just sit with a cup of tea and your thoughts. Let yourself feel good about being the awesome person you are. 

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Tags: child abuse

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