As Father’s Day rolls around again, many of you fathers of estranged adult children are holding hurt inside. For fathers of estranged adult children, Father’s Day can be a time of embarrassment and pain—yet those feelings aren’t necessarily discussed, or acknowledged. Many fathers keep themselves busy and don’t share their pain. Some ask, “What’s the use of talking about something you can’t fix?” Others, as I’ve learned in my research, want to stay strong for their partner.
Among the men in my book to help parents who have been hurt by a son or daughter’s estrangement is a man who saw the estrangement coming. He tried to protect his wife from the pain he knew her daughter would inflict. Another hid his pain behind his anger. These men are not so different from many of you. They’re similar to my husband, who found it difficult to hear me express my pain over our son’s estrangement—-because it was something he was powerless to fix.
Meanwhile, don’t suffer in the run-up to Father’s Day, feeling as if you’re all alone. Many more women talk regularly in the support forum here at the site than men, but there are a few who have occasionally joined discussions. Recently, one father welcomed another to the group. Below, is a small excerpt of what that father said:
“The pain that you are feeling right now is so intense, so deep, so gut wrenching …I know..just writing to you at the moment I feel the hurt rearing its ugly head. But when you are so down, just lift your head and try to feel that we are all here for you, that you are not alone in this misery, that the bad moment will pass, that you deserve to LIVE your life from today onwards with your head held up high because you were the best father you could have been, not the ‘perfect daddy’ that your daughter expected.”
Whether or not you join the discussion, do as the welcoming father said, and “lift your head.” Thousands of parents read through the pages of this website every month. You are far from alone.
When Father’s Day arrives, remember, it’s your day. If you need to stay in on Father’s Day, and avoid the reminders or the happy family crowds, then honor that need. Today’s streaming TV options can prevent the flow of family-centric commercials that remind you of loss and make you feel like the odd man out. If you have loyal sons and daughters, allow them to honor you as you wish—don’t agree to an outing if that’s not what you want to do. Take-out brings your favorite restaurant into your own home.
For more about Father’s Day for estranged adult children, read my article: What About Father’s Day for Fathers of Estranged Adult Children? That article also includes tips for the people who love fathers of estranged adult children on Father’s Day–so if you love a man, a father who is estranged from an adult children, perhaps you can help that father feel at ease.