Friday, July 15, 2011

The Lasting Ache of Parental Rejection

A friend was lamenting recently that her child's father is a truly absentee parent.  They are divorced and, as is sadly often the case, the non-custodial parent seems to be confusing their offspring with their former spouse.  He not only doesn't contact his child, but he doesn't even appear to want any kind of relationship with his firstborn.  In his anger toward his ex-wife (I guess), he is willing to reject and hurt his own child.

Words can't express how I feel for her child.  A lasting ache is created when a parent deliberately wounds their child.  It doesn't matter why the injury occurs, though it frequently seems to be for completely selfish reasons on the part of the parent, and it doesn't matter how old the child is who has been hurt.  Physical and emotional wounds may heal, scars may fade, but the ache remains and it will always be a painful reminder for the child.  The sting of parental rejection never goes away - NEVER!  The child may move on and appear to be fine, but they are painfully aware that they were rejected and hurt by one person who should always be there for them. . .their own parent.

I can only believe that one day this individual will regret his neglect and he'll realize that he missed out on quite a lot. No, not just that he missed out; that he CHOSE to miss out.  He abdicated his position as father. If his child can somehow find the desire to forgive and try to forget this emotional abuse (and, make no mistake, that's exactly what it is), good.  If not, well, who could blame the poor soul for staying far, far away?

The good news is that one can always choose to rise above and be better than that which was modeled to us.  The most carelessly injured women can become the best mothers and the most heartlessly treated men can become the best fathers.  We can always choose to do better than was done to us.  Unfortunately, it doesn't always turn out that way and sometimes the abuse will continue to play out for generations. . .the root being one parent and their horrible decisions. 

Parenthood is a great responsibility and it's a damn shame that all parents don't realize this fact and rise to the challenge of the role that they willingly chose to accept.

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