Father’s Day for Alienated Dads

Had my first pre-father’s day episode this morning.  It came in the wake of Randy Atkin’s song “Watching You” where he talks

Watching You (Rodney Atkins song)
Watching You (Rodney Atkins song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

about his son repeating his cuss-words and later, his prayers as he models himself after his dad.  It’s a tear-jerker, especially if you’re an alienated parent.


Several things I took from this.  First of all, I can’t just ignore father’s day because I probably won’t see my kids.  The wedding anniversary hit a couple of weeks ago and I honestly didn’t struggle much with it.  The marriage is over and should have ended many years prior, so I feel like I’m okay with that end of it.  Father’s day is a completely different story.  It will always have meaning and be an important day in the year, regardless of what the kids think of me.  I am a daddy.  I will always be a daddy. I grieve deeply for the wounded relationship with my children.  I would do just about anything to help rekindle that relationship.  I need to allow the grief and the sadness to be felt, and write about it and pray about it and then work through it.  I can’t choke it back or completely avoid it by filling the day with stuff to do.

That said.  I don’t think it helps to cry for a week in the fetal position on the couch either.  Interestingly enough, I’ve found that the less I fight the grief and the more I actually feel the pain and work through it, the quicker I’m able to emerge and be a productive member of society again.  The lows are less low and less drawn out when I’m actually allowing myself to feel the pain and not covering it up, ignoring it or allowing busyness to crowd it out.  I think in the past I was in an almost perpetual depressed state because I wasn’t allowing myself to actually feel.

Another thing that I’ve dealt with in preparation for Father’s Day is genuine anger at the ex-wife.  In a 1000 years, I would never consider not demanding that the kids do something for Mother’s day…  Not asking her to “force” anything.  That’s her constant mantra.  Just telling the kids that it is hugely inappropriate not to do something for father’s day.  That they will regret it later if they don’t.  That they need a dad in their life. That she went through not having a father in her life for 10 years and wishes she could redo that period in her life.  Stuff like that.  But, I’m coming to grips with the fact that she is not me and that she doesn’t think through things this way and that it is what it is.  Still hard not to get frustrated and angry about it, though.

Finally, the song was helpful to hear that my son and my daughter have picked up my characteristics and my approach to life at some point.  It’s not all from my ex-wife.  Half of their DNA and a good portion of their nurture was under my tutelage.  That is bound to affect them at some point and come back to them someday.  I just have to keep being their dad and keep reaching out and at some point they will realize their need for a dad and their need for a relationship, however small that might be.

Back to the long-term waiting, praying, loving, writing, patience plan of action.  With a heavy sigh.  Happy Father’s day to all of you alienated dads.  Hang in there.  Feel.  Then move on…




4 thoughts on “Father’s Day for Alienated Dads

  1. Hiya, thanks so much for sharing my post. It must be incredibly tough to be alienated from your children. I hope that by you keeping a blog such as this, whatever the future holds there will be this proof that you wanted contact and you will always love and cherish them even if it has to be at arms length for now.
    Good luck. X

  2. Thanks for your note. There is something very cathartic about writing about it all. And readers like you are so affirming as well. It’s good to know there are others struggling through similar stuff. Thanks!

  3. Eric McMullen

    Thank you Jim! I could have written this.. word for word for my current situation. Hang in there and know that there are many of us out there sharing the same burden on Father’s Day. I don’t always find solice in words of comfort, but someone close to me recently said “It will all be ok when it’s over, and if it’s not ok, then it’s not over”. Take care my friend.

  4. Jim

    Hi Jim,
    I couldn’t sleep last night from a horrible issue with my kids. As of now, I have fought for them since 2003, and have shared custody. It’s a long story, but right now, my kids are so hateful to me and my wife. I’ve had them in counseling for over 5 years, and now she has been alienated from them. She says it’s the worst alienation case she has seen in 30 years of practice. To see your children growing further, and further away from you to the point of hating you is heart breaking. Sleep, as you know, doesn’t happen to much anymore, but somehow, someway, I survive. I am fighting the devil with my ex wife. She has been diagnosed as a sociopath, so to her the kids are a mire “thing” in her sick game.
    I’m writing this, maybe just to vent a little with what all took place yesterday, and to let you know that I know what you have felt, and continue to feel. Maybe, together the parent that is being case out can find strength in sticking together.
    As you and God knows, we love our children more than life itself, and I just pray someday my kids will see the big picture. For now, it’s surviving as a dad.

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