What I have healed by letting my father go

When Daddy’s Princess NEVER happens…

Yesterday was the anniversary of my father’s passing. I know this because of Facebook memories. Yes, we didn’t have a relationship. The reminder from Facebook made me reflect on a few things. I share those things with you in this post. I hope if you or anyone you know is navigating these waters, will find comfort in knowing that healing only comes from engaging in the process.

Never a daddy’s girl

There is an emptiness that haunts you when you have never experienced the love of a father, you consciously or subconsciously question where you belong, if you even belong. The word “mistake” comes to mind. I often wondered if I was a mistake and honestly, looking at the circumstances surrounding how I came into this world, “mistake” isn’t far off.

I spent a lot of time in my earlier years making-up fantasies about how my father would ride on and save the damsel! On birthdays, every year, I secretly prayed this would be the one he calls. He never did. It went from hurt to disappointment, to anger, then indifference then back to anger…

The anger…

I didn’t cry when he died. Why would I? I didn’t know him. What did take centre stage was the anger I felt towards him, God, the world and myself. In my mind, the world and God lied. How can someone die without fixing things? At myself, because I believed I had all the time in the world. In my head, I was going to show him that I didn’t need him after all. He died too soon! He died before he could say, “I love you, and I am proud of you.”

What I’ve had to do to heal

What I am about to tell you is going to annoy you so much because God knows it annoyed the hell out of me when people offered their advice. But here it goes, I had to forgive him. And how do you that?

A willingness to forgive…

We don’t get told how to forgive, just that we must forgive. What I learned from listening and doing exercises Louise Hays sets out is that the beginning of forgiveness is just the willingness to forgive. A statement as simple as: “I am now willing to forgive my father, for not being the person I needed him to be.” It is not magic. My body did resist the statement, but with enough repetition and intention, it opened up a new portal, a new way to think about my father abandoning or neglecting me.

A new portal

By slowly dissolving the anger and the story and life I believed was owed to me, I was then able to see other possibilities. I am a mom to two awesome boys. I can’t imagine my life without them. But not every parent is this way. And we can fight until we are blue in the face and will the narratives that make picture-perfect childhoods, it won’t get us what we want.

I had to come to terms with the fact that my father maybe didn’t know how to be a father. I stopped to look at the facts. I am not the only child he abandoned, yes the other two had some time with him, but for the most part, they suffer from the same issues I did.

So, I stopped taking his neglect personally. I started to appreciate the role he played to get me here. And maybe, just maybe, that was the extent of his involvement so that I could turn out exactly the way I am today. I could also be delusional, but this framing is empowering, unlike the one I carried around with me for so many years. Ms Iyanla Vanzant always states the importance of changing your story. I did.

Change the story

Look at the facts, and if they are too painful make-up a story that empowers you. My empowerment story is: I didn’t have to make it, my mother could have miscarried or aborted me. But I am here. I am one in like four trillion or something, what are the odds? I belong here because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here.

I decided to look at my parents as my transport to earth. They helped me get here to live out the part of my soul that wanted to manifest in this life and so, it is a bonus that I have a mother who loves me enough to show it. But it wasn’t a given. Therefore, my father didn’t owe me his love, he just owed me the trip, and he delivered on that.

What I have healed through this framing…

Firstly, healing is a journey. I acknowledge that. A year from now I may bawl my eyes out and blame father all over again, highly doubt it but hey! Secondly, what I have been able to dissolve with new framing, the willingness to forgive and THERAPY is self-doubt.

Growing up without masculine energy to affirm you, it is easy to crumble under pressure or believe you are not good enough for certain things, and so you withdraw. Forgiving my father has given me space to allow new things in. It has allowed me room to work on nurturing my masculine energy and connect with others who are willing to help me on this journey.

Forgiving him has enriched the relationships I have with men, especially men in my family. I used to be impatient with men, still working on it, but I am gentler, I have nothing to prove. It is freeing.

I also trust myself so much more now, I am no longer (subconsciously) waiting for my “daddy” to come and save me nor, do I expect my husband to do the saving. I have realised there is no saving to be done, just a journey to travel and pick up all the lessons, forgive as quickly as I can and ask what everything that shows up is here to teach me.

What I appreciate…

  • I appreciate that I have a mother who, from the very beginning, did all she could to make sure I want for nothing. That she decided she is a ride or die for her kids.
  • I appreciate that not having a father in my life turned me into someone who questions and studies human nature, and spends a lot of time introspecting.
  • I appreciate the issues around not having dad drove me to therapy from the age of 14/15. They have forced me to work on myself & not view personal transformation as a life add on but mandatory.
  • I appreciate that being abandoned/neglected or feeling unseen has helped me be intentional about seeing others.

It is not easy

Don’t be fooled it takes time, and tears, a whole lot of tears and self-pity but one day after all the work, you wake up, and it doesn’t hurt as much anymore. And the pain gets a little bit less each day until you can see other narratives. And at some point, we are too old to blame our parents for breaking us. We must get busy with the business of fixing what we didn’t, break. That is it.

I wish you healing, it is so freeing on the other side of this..

Where to start…

If you are willing, notice I didn’t say ready, but willing, start by listening and following all of Louise Hay’s work…start here

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Share this with one person who is finding it hard to forgive their father…

Until next time,

Happy Reading

Fatherless Daughter…Image by Award Winning Photographer Phumzile Khanyile

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