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I Feel Abandoned By My Father.  How Do I Move On?
Ask Dr. Rue

I Feel Abandoned By My Father. How Do I Move On? 

My father and I were once very close, but a couple of years ago, he began acting weirdly towards me. He doesn’t call or message me, and actually doesn’t even seem to care very much about how I’m doing. There’s no way for him to know whether I’m okay, how I’m doing at work, etc. He used to check up on me and all of those things and that’s why I feel abandoned by my father.

I’m okay overall. I’m still surviving and trying to build my career and all of those things. It just feels weird sometimes because I miss my father. It makes me feel like I don’t have anyone. I’ve tried multiple times over the years to reach out to him, to talk through whatever the issue is. He just gets really irritated and brushes it off. One side of me kinda aches for the relationship between us that was. But another side of me knows that I should probably just let it go and leave him alone. Move on with my life and be okay with not having a relationship with him. What do you think?

Fatherless Child, Fort Lauderdale

It’s unfortunate to hear that your father has distanced himself from you. There is a popular phrase I hold to be true, “Hurt people, hurt people.” It is unclear what may have transpired between you and your father or maybe he has his own wounds that have not been healed. At times, when people love us and fear they will hurt or disappoint us, they pull away not realizing that it does greater damage.

It is good that you have attempted to reach out to him more than once, but maybe he does not know how to communicate what’s going on or what has been the issue, so he gets frustrated and avoids it instead. Now, it is not to excuse his actions, but rather an attempt in trying to understand.

Write It All Out, Why And How You Feel Abandoned

Maybe for your own release, it would be helpful to write a letter to your dad (you don’t have to send it.) Write down all the things that you’ve wanted to say; tell him what you miss, tell him about good times, tell him how you’re doing, tell him how you feel now, tell him how much he has meant to you, express thanks for things you’ve learned from him, and whatever else may come out. Understand that this letter is for you to get things out. Whether or not you choose to show him will be up to you. Burn it if needed, but get it out.

Learn To Let Go

You will probably always experience a sense of loss due to the state of your relationship with him, and that’s understandable. He’s always going to be your dad, you’re going to miss him, and wish you could be his little girl again. If he is not interested in making reparations, then for your own healing, love, you have to respect his choice. You don’t have to approve of it; you don’t have to like it but love him through it.

Live your life despite his lack of interest in it and tend to your wounds until it gets a bit more bearable each day. You are precious, you are worth being loved, and most importantly, you’re a blessing to those who have the luxury of being loved by you. Never forget that!


Ask Dr. Rue is a weekly, anonymous advice column where your most vulnerable mental health + emotional wellness concerns are addressed. Do you have a question to ask or a situation to present, and wondering what Dr. Rue might have to say? Ask Dr. Rue here

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