Saturday, June 18, 2011
GIVE FORGIVENESS AS YOUR GIFT TO DAD ON FATHER'S DAY
Did you have a difficult upbringing? Perhaps your father was an alcoholic. Perhaps he wasn't supportive of you in some way. Perhaps he was overcritical. Perhaps he was an absent parent.
With the approach of Father's Day, this may be a difficult time of year for you to reconcile your feelings toward Dad. Give yourself and him a gift. Give him the gift of forgiveness.
So, you say you aren't ready? If that's the case, you're probably right. Your challenge now is to do the work that will bring you to a place of freedom. Otherwise, the past will hold you in bondage.
Did you feel rejected because you didn't like sports, weren't as favorite as your siblings, or because you were gay? Chances are, your father experienced these things too in his past. Everyone continues to act out their past on some level until they have healed themselves.
Maybe you were one of the lucky ones. Maybe Dad joined Alcoholics Anonymous and got sober. Maybe he came to value you as his gay child. Perhaps he joined Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. If this has been the case, you are truly blessed. Just remember to count those blessings and to let go of the past.
If you weren't so lucky, you will have to dig deep. Facing pain is never easy. Denial or blame is an easy defense. The problem is that you will never grow if you don't face your pain. You may also be denying yourself a chance to salvage a relationship with the man who gave you life.
Here are my suggestions to you:
If you dad was or is an alcoholic, join Al-Anon. This is a program for family members of alcoholics. It will help you find a way to stop blaming and to open yourself to unconditional love.
If you were traumatized by your father, seek therapy. Abuse or neglect can take place in so many forms. Forgiveness can be offered too quickly if you aren't ready to do so. You must first do the healing for yourself.
If you were rejected or criticized by your dad, try a loving confrontation. Don't blame or accuse. Simply tell him how you felt. You never know when you can melt another's heart. Take the chance to open his and it will open yours too.
If your father still doesn't approve of you - perhaps because you are gay; perhaps because you have an active addiction; perhaps because you are in a relationship with whom he disagrees - once again, approach him at a feeling level. Don't feel the need to explain yourself. Just let love lead the way. Don't be afraid to do this if you're a man. It takes courage. You possess it whether you realize it or not.
When you think you may be ready, you probably are. Now is the time to give the gift. Let your father know that you love him. Just as importantly, let him know you forgive him. Those will be the greatest gifts you could ever give.
Author Davis Aujourd'hui