Absent and present fathers

Today being Father’s Day, my thoughts were flooded by what being a father truly means – to the fathers themselves, to their children, to their wives. And even more so, this was brought home most clearly as the difference between absent and present fathers is something I live on a daily basis.

My father isn’t dead, he is very much alive. But he is also very much out of my life. A necessity for me to be able to live my life as peacefully as possible. When you grow up with a narcissistic parent (more on that later), your life is pretty much a daily battle – a battle to be heard, to be appreciated, to be acknowledged, to be understood, to be accepted AS YOU ARE AND FOR WHO YOU ARE. This is something that someone truly suffering from NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disoder) will never, ever be able to give as they are completely consumed by their own shell-shocking weakness and therefore, desperate need for affirmation, and to hell with whoever comes in the way of that (as they perceive it). So, as a daughter of a father with a bad case of NPD, my choice (if such it can be called) was to continue to suffer the abuse (for which I had no visible scars – again, more on that later) or to call it quits on what was the most damaging relationship in my life. It came to a head a few years ago when, as a new mother myself, I decided that protecting my own little one was more important than trying to salvage a relationship that never was – and that day I did possibly the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life: I walked out and shut the door on a toxic, soul-destroying non-relationship.

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Partners in crime

My son, on the other hand, is one of the lucky ones. He sure won the lottery when it came to fathers. My husband has been the most amazing of parents, from the very first day that our little one joined our family. Just today, our son bestowed a high compliment on him indeed. He had just told me that I am the best cooker in the world (read: chef) and turned to his Papa’ to declare: you’re not the best cooker Papa, but you are the best hugger.

Now I don’t know you, but I’d love to be the best hugger in the world!

Truth be told, my husband is a great chef too and often cooks the family meal. He’s also the designated bath provider, the rough-and-tumble accomplice, the one tasked with most of the outings, the official swimming lesson team mate. He’s had to be given that I was out of action for the best part of three years. And he’s done all this while taking care of me, his wife, and our home at the same time.

So today, on Father’s Day, I say chapeau and thank you to all the real fathers out there. Those who put their children’s needs above their own, those who listen to their children, those who give their children the strength to blossom and grow BECAUSE of them and not in spite of them. Please continue to be present in your children’s lives as much as we, their mums are. We are irreplaceable, but so are you.

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