Having An Absentee Father Has Made Me A Stronger Person

Having an Absentee Father Has Made Me a Stronger Person

I realized at a young age that I didn't need a father or a man to define who I was or where I was going in life.


Just coming off Father's Day, I wanted to write this article for anyone whose dad isn't present in their life. When most people hear that I do not speak to my dad, they automatically jump to assuming I am sad about it. While yes, I do get sad at moments when I see my friends dad's care for them but not for the automatic reason you might assume. I don't get sad that my dad isn't in my life; I just wish at times I had an added support system. Overall, I am honestly happy that my dad wasn't a part of my life. I didn't meet my dad until I was 15, so from a young age I knew I had a different dynamic than my friends growing up who had both of their parents in their life.

There's a saying I've heard that your dad is your first male influence is your life. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, and I've seen many causes of both. I started to see the way my friends' dads would treat them, and that's when I started to realized these were example of what I want my future husband to treat my kids. With my situation, my brother was my first male influence and, while at times he wasn't perfect, he still loved me a lot and was always there for me as a child.

He was the person to go to when I didn't always agree with my mother or just a person to mess with when I was bored. My grandpa was also a huge influence in my life; always telling me I could do whatever I want in life. Not only did he support me emotionally, he's supporting me through my college career to help me create a better life for myself. I realized at a young age that I didn't need a father or a man to define who I was or where I was going in life. It was up to me and the people I surround myself with to define who I was.

At moments, when I got sad as a teenage, my older sister would give me her words of wisdom. She would say it wasn't me who did anything wrong, she referred to it like a pet. If a family member got a pet and you didn't live with them, you'd think the pet was adorable and cute, but if you never met the pet you have no emotional connection to it. While this might sound sad, it honestly stuck with me and helped me cope with the fact that a person who should have unconditional love for me wasn't in my life.

While a lot of people would normally have let something like this upset them, I try and view it as a learning experience. Most people pick a person similar to their father as a spouse; I created my own destiny and can pick and choose which traits I want in a partner from other male influences in my life. I also try and treat people kindly, while I will admit I don't always follow this. I'm not perfect, but I do try and make people feel included.

I know what it's like to not always feel included by someone who is supposed to be a huge part of your life. This, lastly, has taught me to pick a husband wisely; I want my future children to have a better experience than mine and to have a caring father. While I am still young and not focusing on this, it is still in the back of my mind for the future.

Cover Image Credit:

Caroline Domingue

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Reconnecting With Family Can Change Your Life

That girl up there? She's my cousin. We didn't talk for five years, but when we finally did... well, we became closer as family and blossomed as friends.


Being a part of a family is weird. There's no telling who all knows the little secret you've been trying to keep, and a lot of times someone has already told your mom what you've said about so and so. It's a big mess of people who are too nosy for their own good but do it for the sake of those around them. The love within a family causes us to be overprotective, overwhelming, and sometimes tears us apart.

In my seventh grade year - about 2011 - my Grandmother fell ill. It was a twisting, turning diagnosis of different things and as soon as she seemed better something else happened. It was a dangerous time and it tested the family. By the time of her death tensions were already somewhat high, and after the funeral, the family ties fell apart.

My cousin and I were both coping in angry ways - this led us to stop speaking. Years of silence went by, spent wondering where it went wrong, why our family wasn't what it used to be. It was a disappointing time and one that fluttered up from the back of my mind quite often. I kept getting angry at the whole situation and placed blame and anger in places it didn't belong. Somewhere along the way though, something changed.

When my cousin's senior year rolled around, her mother and mine were talking again and they made a visit to my house. My stomach was clenched and I was nervous about all the time spent apart, but when we got to talking - it was fine and normal. We kept talking, I went with her for senior pictures, we exchanged phone numbers and just hit it off. Suddenly I had a cousin again. We caught up on life and drama, the ups and downs encountered during our years of silence.

Since we reconnected a strong friendship has grown between us. I can proudly say we have no hard feelings about our time of silence, just feelings of regret that we wasted so much time. So now, we talk often, visit when we can, and laugh without holding back.

Much love to you Tabatha Elaine.

Image may contain: Holly Hayes and Tabatha Elaine Lewis, people smiling, people standing

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