Q&A: Dealing with the pain of abandonment

Question:

My father abandoned our family when I was young. Now that I’m getting older and really need his input, he’s not here for me. Do you have advice for dealing with this pain?

Answer: If your mother is available, a starting point would be to tell her that you’re having a hard time right now. Even if she’s dealing with “stuff” of her own, she may have important insights to share. Did your dad have a problem with alcohol or drugs? That wouldn’t excuse his leaving, of course, but it might help explain it.

Maybe you could talk to your mum about the possibility of writing your father a letter. Ask her if she has his address, or if there’s someone else who might know where he is. Perhaps his parents or siblings would be able to forward a letter to him for you.

After this discussion with your mum, you can begin writing to him when you feel ready. Express your feelings openly and honestly. Ask any questions that are on your mind. Let him know how important it is that he responds. There’s no guarantee that he’ll answer, but it’s worth a try. The process of writing can be beneficial for you, too. It’s often a very healing experience to put our deepest thoughts and emotions down on paper.

If you’d like to talk to someone about this, call our Family Support Services at 03-3310 0792 or write to support@family.org.my.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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