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"Holidays" like Mother's Day and Father's Day can bring out complicated emotions. If your mother or father were absent, abusive, or if you simply no longer have a relationship with them, that's okay. I want you to know that you are not the broken one or the weird one, and you certainly are not alone.

I recently saw a post on PostSecret's Facebook page. It was a photo of a smiling woman with this text:


I know we haven't seen each other in years, because, sadly we gave up on each other. But this is what I look like now, and I want you to know I am happy.
Of course, tons of folks chimed in with their opinions. Some of them were along the lines of "Make up with him while you still can!" putting the onus on the woman, not her dad. I won't even get into the thinly veiled "women are obligated to make the peace" stank that is low-key haunting this line of thinking.
What I will delve into is the fact that the woman in the photo does not appear to very old, and "years ago" could have been her literal childhood. We don't know. What we do know is that her father was a least partially complicit, so in my opinion, the responsibility is on him to repair the relationship. Because he is the parent, after all.
Additionally, after already being rejected by her parent, why should she risk that horrible feeling once again? If she chooses to do so, I can admire her bravery. But those who chose to not risk their well-being over it are just as brave. It is brave to set and maintain boundaries.
Even if neither father nor daughter decides to make an effort to repair this relationship, that's still okay. Being a blood relative to someone does not make you beholden to them for all eternity, especially if that person is toxic to you. If your parent is a narcissist, you don't have to take their abuse to be a "good" son or daughter. If your parent was never around, you don't have to accept them in as an adult.
If your father doesn't love you, then he is a father in genetic material contribution only. Same for mothers. But being rejected or abused by a parent does not lessen your worth. Choosing to forgo a relationship with a parent that causes you pain or anguish does not make you a bad son or daughter.
If these "holidays" are hurtful to you, I want you to know that you are in my heart.

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