A girl stands a better chance of becoming a self-confident woman if she has a close connection with her father. A dad’s presence (or lack of presence) in his daughter’s life will affect how she relates to all men who come after him. You can reconnect with him by following these steps.
1. Be honest about your relationship with your father and any wound that exist.
2. Let go of self-blame and forgive your dad and yourself (for whatever you told yourself about your relationship with him).
3. Examine your relationship with your father and attempt to reconnect if there have been any wound. He may be able to help you be your best self.
4. Look at ways you may have accepted an unhealthy romantic relationship to fill the void your dad left (dating unavailable men or ones who are all wrong for you).
5. Give up your dream of a perfect connection with your father and accept that tension may exist and must be confronted. All relationships go through rough patches.
6. Expect resistance and be patient. It may take time to iron out the kinks in your relationship.
7. Explore your intentions and desires. Counseling and talking to close friends can help you to come up with realistic goals.
8. Create healthy boundaries. It’s not necessary to dredge up past hurt every time you meet with your father. Asking questions about the past can promote healing, but allow time for you and your dad time to reconnect before discussing the past.
9. Request a change and be patient. Try one request at a time and have realistic expectations.
10. Express your thoughts, feelings, and wishes clearly and calmly. This could be verbally, a letter, or a release (“I release you from not being more active in my life”). You may decide not to share your letter or release with your father, but this step can still be therapeutic — especially if your dad died before you were able to reconnect.
It’s possible to repair your wound with your father so that your past hurt doesn’t have a negative impact on your present relationships. You may want to seek professional help if your relationship with your father doesn’t seem to be improving or you need more guidance or support. For the most part, I have noticed that with work and patience, relationships between fathers and daughters can and do improve. Examining your relationship with your father and practicing forgiveness will allow you to create a new story for your life.
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