Welcome to the oxymoron of #FathersDay 2014. It is just like any other Fathers Day for alienated dads-another day where they are reminded how they have been deleted from their children’s lives. Maybe a ‘replacement’ dad is receiving the accolades and power tools that they used to receive.
Many alienated dads receive various invitations to attend Father’s Day functions or to otherwise participate in Fathers Day. There are endless reminders. These organisations and people mean well but alienated dads do not want to celebrate somebody else’s Fathers Day, nor do they want to respond to somebody else’s child. No one may be cheering for us. Even if they did, it may have a hollow ring to it.
We know you mean well, we know that you are going to extra lengths to provide us the validations, the recognition, even the accolades and cheers that our children used to provide. Yet, somehow, your cheers, your congratulations simply reinforce the absence of the one recognition that would mean the most-recognition from our children.
This is the harsh reality for all alienated parents, the reality that we no longer share in the communal glory of parent-children relationships. Indeed, we no longer share in that community. For many of us, our exclusion, our deletion is particularly stark on occasions such as Father’s Day.
This is where we stand, on the other side of an invisible barrier, the barrier between those of you who have children in your lives, even children who have passed, and those of us who have been unconscionably excluded and deleted from our children’s lives. You could easily crossover to us, more easily than you realise for we had no inkling of what lay in store for us. However, we cannot cross over to you. It is now a forbidden land and for many of us we feel an exclusion of almost biblical proportions.
Many of us have found new stepfamilies and have stepchildren and new children who do appreciate us. However no one replaces our first children. And in our quiet moments, after the cheer squads have gone, we remember and maybe we cry, maybe we are angry.
Do not think that your efforts to love us, to validate and acknowledge us are wasted. We need to feel that we are acceptable, loveable, that we are basically OK. Whilst we can and indeed need to feel this as an intrinsic part of ourselves, we do need to feel this from you as well. In this way we are reminded and affirmed that our children’s harsh and unreasonable rejection of us is an aberration, an abomination for which we are not responsible, for which the essence of who we are is not on trial.
So thank you to those who love us, for those of you reaching out to us in our pain. Whilst you can never fill the hole in us our children have left, you can help us make the space around that hole so much bigger.
Thank you to those who care.