Thursday, May 2, 2013

What do I mean by “Absent” or “Distant” Father?

In my case “Absent” meant pretty much that exactly.  My Mom and my Father were dating, my Mom got
pregnant with me, told my Father and I never met him or even saw a picture until I was 13 years old.  He remained absent my entire life until he passed away a few years ago.

Absent doesn’t just mean a deadbeat like my father.  An absent father also includes those who passed away when you were young, a father who gave you up for adoption, a father who was busy working far away from home for long periods of time.
Sometimes I notice people making excuses for their parents not giving them the thing they most wanted as a child.  Look, I truly believe your parents and mine did the best they could with what they had at the time.  For that we thank them.  Even those fathers who leave and never come back, like mine did. 

It’s not necessary to make your parents wrong, in order to deserve having your feelings about the impact of not getting what you needed as a child. 

Find me a child who doesn’t deserve the most perfect, divine, nurturing love.  You can’t look at a single one of those beautiful little beings and come to any other conclusion.

“Distant Fathers” come in many forms, but the thread that runs through it all is a lack of emotional connection to their children.  It is pervasive in America and quite rare, in my experience, to meet a man who is deeply emotionally connected to their children.

“Distant Fathers” stay distant by being absorbed in work, alcohol, drugs, sports, busy-ness, exhaustion, struggle, money issues,  etc.

The important thing here is that, these men aren’t distant because they’re jerks, most of us men just haven’t learned how to move through our own fears and our own pain, so that we can be authentic, open and vulnerably in love with the people in our lives. It takes courage and vulnerability to be love with people, even your own children.

When your father is emotionally disconnected, a boy has the experience of being all alone in the world, left to figure it out on their own, left with an emptiness and a question as to their worth and lovability.

“Distant Fathers” have the same impact on their children that “Absent Fathers” do.  The experience is the same whether its physical abandonment or emotional abandonement.

That’s why it is imperative and I am calling all men to summon the courage to face the fears inside, to acknowledge the pain in service of movnig through it. 

Without our collective step as men, our sons, our daughters and our sweethearts  will continue to live with the devestation of having half of our heart.

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