Whether you had a good, bad or indifferent relationship with your dad, Father’s Day can evoke strong emotions. For many celebrating Fathers Day, it is a day of being surrounded with love, laughter & joy. But for some, it may be a really challenging day for a range of reasons. Your father is no longer part of your life or you wish they were no longer part of your life.
For some Father’s Day raises feelings of grief, loss, sadness or even anger.
Maybe your dad has passed away or for other reasons is no longer part of your life. Maybe you’re a dad who wants to see his kids but for some reason, you can’t. Maybe Father’s Day was a day you enjoyed celebrating. So Father’s Day can trigger feelings of grief, even if it’s been years since your father passed away or left. It can be helpful to realise, regardless of the type of relationship you had, your grief has meaning because grief is the flip side of love. Grieving is how we express our feelings about their absence and is an essential part of healing.
Grieving the loss of a parent, no matter the circumstances, maybe the hardest thing you have had to do. Are there others around you who share your grief of the loss? Then consider reaching out. Prepare ahead of time to how you want to spend the day. You may not feel like going out where you will be confronted with other family’s celebrating Father’s Day. You may prefer to plan something for yourself at home.
This can be a meaningful time to reflect on what your relationship with your dad meant to you.
How have you embodied some of his traits?
What memories do you hold as important that you both shared?
Sharing and reminiscing with others can help the grieving & healing process.
Father’s Day raises feelings of dread
The sad reality is that not everyone has a close relationship with their father. There are many reasons people want to avoid seeing their dad. So you may be wondering how to get through Father’s Day if you have a complicated relationship with your dad.
For some it can be helpful, even though there may be unresolved issues, remember that even though your relationship with your dad isn’t perfect, Father’s Day is a day to acknowledge that he is your dad, not a day to rate their success or failure in the job.
If you are planning or feel obligated to see you dad, but don’t really want to, it is important to emotionally prepare yourself. When spending time with toxic parents, decide how much time you are prepared to spend with them and develop an exit strategy in advance for leaving at that time. With my own dad, I had to learn to recognise the early warning signs things were about to go pear-shaped and be fully prepared to leave before things blew up.
Whether your father believes your exit strategy or not, you chose to respect the fact that he is your dad and spend time with him on Father’s Day. That’s what matters in the end. This position can help you come from a place of kindness and compassion to see that your dad has his own hurts.
Also before meeting your dad, remind yourself that his hurtful comments or behaviour actually has nothing to do with you.
Toxic people do and say things that show you how they feel about themselves. This is why they project their own insecurities and self-hatred onto other people. So try to remember that their hurtful behaviour is not about you.
Taking this approach doesn’t give your dad permission to treat you poorly, but it may give you a different perspective on why he is the way he is.
Additionally, if your relationship with your dad is really starting to wear on you, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. This will help you work through your own emotions.
Contact me if you would like to arrange a time to talk about your relationship.