By Eryka T. Johnson
Do you desperately need to forgive your father for not being there when you needed him most? Well, you are certainly not alone as many women have the same struggle. In fact, this was my struggle too only a few years ago.
Learning to forgive was one of those areas that I needed lots of work. I held on to anything that made me feel that I had the upper hand. Somehow I thought it made me more powerful and caused the other person to suffer more. By far, the greatest challenge I’ve faced with forgiveness was making a decision to forgive my father.
I hear from many women about the pain they face from not growing up with their dads around or even growing up with their dad in the same house but totally disengaged from what’s going on. Either way, the women feel left out in the cold & abandoned. These feelings alone lead to trust issues, no respect for men, lack of self-worth, and the list goes on…
My story is not so different from these women. My dad was not there for most of my childhood except a few weekends or even a couple weeks in the summer. But, once my brother and I reached a certain age, the interaction was little to none. No phone calls or birthday wishes…just a bunch of broken promises.
The inability to forgive is centered around control and your determination to hold on to it. The truth is when you decide to not forgive you are in fact giving away your power hence control.
Here are a few things that helped me come to a place of forgiveness with my father:
- Forgiveness is a choice. You make a conscious decision to free someone from your personal prison. You make up your mind and say enough is enough.
- Acknowledge that your dad let you down. The reason you were offended by what your father did was because you had an expectation that he did not fulfill. Failed expectations will result in discouragement and disappointment.
- Put yourself in his shoes for a moment. Allow yourself to think from his perspective. Better yet, you could even ask him questions to get the information you need. Answer questions like…was your father prepared to take on the responsibility of raising a child? Could he adequately provide for you? Could he give you the love and attention you needed as a child?
This list is just a starting point and we will continue to discuss this topic in more detail over the next few weeks. What action will you take today to begin moving in the direction of forgiving your father?
Eryka T. Johnson