It is Father’s day in the UK later this month. For many it is a time when they can thank their Dad for his care and support, and celebrate the important role men play in families. However, it can be a difficult time for some people. This article outlines some of the reasons why Father’s day may be difficult, and what you can do to help yourself.
Your Dad has died
It can be hard to see others buying gifts and going out for family meals for Father’s day if your Dad has died. Seeing the cards in the shops can be a painful reminder of your loss.
You don’t know who your Dad was
Knowing who are parents were and something about them can be an important part of forming our own identities. For many years the name of the father did not need to be disclosed on a birth certificate, and so a person may never know the identity of their biological father.
This is not a new experience. A number of people born during or just after the Second World War don’t know who their Dad was, because of the stigma of births outside of marriage at that time.
You don’t get on with your Dad
Family breakup and strained relationships may mean that you don’t know your father as a person, or you don’t get on. You may look at the relationship other people have with their Dads and wish for something similar for yourself.
You wanted to be a Dad
There may be many reasons why the dream of fatherhood may not have been available. It may be through health issues, or not having a partner who also wanted to be a parent. This is a loss of a dream, and it can be hard to see other people with their children.
You are a Dad but don’t see your children
it can be very hard to see other men spending time with their children on Father’s day if you are not in contact with your own children.
Looking after yourself
The first step is acknowledging your feelings of loss, regret or sadness. You may be feeling angry. Burying feelings or pretending they don’t exist doesn’t make them go away. All feelings are valid, its what you do about them that makes the difference.
Do what you need to do. This may include:
- visiting your Dad’s grave if he has died
- spending time with friends
- making your own ritual to mourn lost relationships or dreams
- buy a card and write in it what you’d like to say to your Dad
Talk to someone you trust, and who won’t judge you for how you feel.
A message for men who find Father’s day difficult
You don’t have to Man up. Men are human. Humans have feelings.
Counselling can help
Counselling can help you sort out how you feel, express those feelings in a safe and supportive environment, and help you decide what you want to do about how you feel and your relationships to others. Contact me to find out more about how counselling can help you.