An Open Letter To Fatherless Daughters On Father’s Day

An Open Letter To Fatherless Daughters On Father's Day

Dear Fatherless Daughters,

Father’s day is slowly approaching and I know how hard this time of year can be for you. Everywhere you turn you are bombarded with reminders to celebrate your father. Suddenly walking down the stationary aisle in Wal-Mart triggers childhood feelings of not being like the other kids who had dads. You find yourself in that familiar place of being on the outside looking in.

None of the messages scrawled in the Hallmark cards resonate with you. You are not forever thankful for the lessons daddy taught you. He was never there. He doesn’t mean the world to you. You have the same reverence for him that you do for a complete stranger.

Even still, there is a longing. Deep in your most vulnerable places, tucked away under the woman you are, is a little girl that longs to matter to her daddy. She yearns for him to pick her up, swing her around, and express his unconditional love.

No matter how old you get, the hole in your heart created by your father’s absence still aches. Especially on Father’s Day.

As you struggle to make sense of why your father chose to limit his role in your life to sperm donor, here’s what I want you to know:

1. You are not alone. It might feel as if no one understands you and what you are going through. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are countless fatherless daughters who share in your struggle. We understand you. We are here for you, and on Father’s Day, we will cry with you.

2. You don’t have to deny the pain you feel because your father left. It hurts. It hurts when you were a little girl waiting for him to show up and it hurts even when you are a grown woman who knows he will never show up. Cry all you want. If you need to snuggle up with your favorite pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and throw yourself a pity party, do it. You are entitled to feel your hurt. Just don’t let it consume you.

3. No other man will ever fill the void that your daddy left behind. You will be tempted to soothe the pain of being discarded by finding a surrogate to replace your father. This never works and you will always be disappointed. Just as no woman wants to play mommy to a man she loves, no man wants to spend forever with a woman who is using him to sort through her daddy issues.

4. Don’t define who you are based on your father’s decision to walk away. Just because your father couldn’t live up to his responsibilities does not mean that something is inherently wrong with you. He might not be able to see the gift that you are, but there is no need for you to be blind to your worth too.

5. Don’t hoard your love because you fear being abandoned again. It doesn’t matter how proudly you wave your ‘I don’t need anyone flag’, you were meant for love and refusing to share yourself with others hurts you most.

6. It might not seem like it, but there will come a time when you muster up the courage and forgive your father. This doesn’t mean that you have to forge an awkward relationship with him where you pretend that nothing ever happened. It simply means that you let go of your hurt and stop living life as a wounded child.

7. There are people who will tell you that you should let go of your hurt and get over it. It’s OK to tell them to back off. They mean well. They just don’t understand that even after you forgive your father, every now and again, like say Father’s Day, your wounds will re-open a little bit. No need to panic. Just give it room to breathe until it re-heals.

8. You don’t need your father to feel complete. I know right now you feel life dealt you a crappy hand by giving you a dead beat dad. Ditch that thought. Whatever you feel the world is withholding from you, look deep inside and you will find it in yourself. If you are looking for love, then love yourself. If you are looking for acceptance, then accept yourself.

Don’t spend your time focusing on how your father abandoned you. Instead, remind yourself of how you were able to make it in spite of his absence. He might be gone, but you know what, you’re still here.

Another Fatherless Daughter

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  1. This would apply for fatherless sons also as I grew up without knowing mine, but as the father of a daughter myself I completely understand a point of view coming from a daughter. Why any man would shuck his parenting duties pisses me off and makes divorced dad’s have to fight that much harder to be in their child’s life.

    1. It sure does apply to fatherless son’s as well. Although I know I could never truly capture what it’s like to be a fatherless son. The absentee dads certainly give other dad’s a bad rap. The few bad apples make it worse for those dads out there who are doing their best to be the best father they can be to their children. It really is a shame.

  2. Thank you for this post. I worked for years as a therapist for children in the foster care system. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were two painfully brutal holidays for most of those kids. This type of awareness is needed.

  3. These are beautiful and wise words for fatherless daughters. It must be hard to watch everyone else celebrate a day that holds painful memories for you. It’s great that you choose to reach out to others and share what you’ve learned.

  4. What sage and inspiring advice for so many fatherless daughters Yanique. Your words are right on for so many of my sister-friends and I’ll be sure to share this with them in the hopes that they can move forward and live and love more joyously.

  5. You’re so wise, Yanique. As a fatherless daughter this resonates so much with me. For so many of us who’ve been hurt by parents, I think the greatest lesson we can all learn is that we are really not alone.

  6. Thank you so much for this beautiful letter. It found its way to me when I needed to read it. I’m sorry you’ve had to endure this hardship, I’m sorry any of us have to. Thank you, again, so very much. God bless your beautiful heart.

  7. thank you from a mother who still struggles with the pain that comes from divorcing a man who blames me and my daughters for his abandonment of them.

  8. Thank you for writing this article. My ex-husband, who was never really present emotionally throughout our daughter’s life, is now really evaporating in front of our eyes over the past few months and I’ve been trying to be supportive to our daughter, who is struggling. I feel like I understand her struggles a bit better because of this article. What advice do you have for the remaining/present parent?

  9. thank u… i haven’t felt a good cry in a while and i relate to this post so much it’s scary. i’m glad i’m in it together xox

  10. Today is Father’s Day, I just this minute placed bouquet of white flowers in my deceased father’s bedroom. Many years back since I found the idea in the Northerly Magazine just before observing my first Father’s Day since my father’s death in 2011, the idea in the Northerly Magazine is about honoring fathers with red roses who are alive and the deceased ones with white roses. Since I could not find any white roses anywhere to decorate my deceased father’s bedroom with them to honor him so I used the other white flowers instead to decorate his bedroom as I do every year.

  11. As I sit here on fathers day knowing that I do not have a father, it hurts so deeply inside and guilt begins to resonate. Trying to be happy for my husband and our three beautiful children is the hardest thing, but I must push through for them.

  12. I see a lot of these comments, and they’re all from a long time ago. Some in 2015,2016,etc. But it’s 2020 now… another sucky Father’s Day. And to be honest I’ve been looking at websites like this. This letter made me so happy, but so sad! I wish he was there for me. But I’m so grateful to know I’m not alone! And there’s other women who go through the same feelings I do. Thank you for writing this.

  13. here i am on father’s day 2021. thank you for these words, it really makes me feel I am not alone. I wish I could be with you all right now and we could express these feelings together.
    much love

  14. Thank you. I found this today as I was looking for help getting through Father’s Day. I so appreciate the honesty here. It really helped me.

  15. Thank you so much, I’m 13 years old and I was just looking for someone who could relate. Spot on. Yes it hurts but you reminded me we make it anyway.

  16. Crying reading this in the middle of the night (12:19 am here) . I just think that even though we’re all strangers there’s some comfort knowing I’m not alone.

  17. Thank you for sharing this. I’m really struggling with old wounds created from feeling unwanted and unloved by my father. He passed away last year and that pain has deepened with no ability to resolve anything with him. I know I need to look within myself for that healing. Can you recommend any books that could help me in that journey?

  18. This post made me cry but really helped me not to feel alone. This year, has for some reason hit me hard. My father has never been around but perhaps it’s with age and looking towards my own future and having children that I struggle with understanding why.

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