When Parents leave

While on vacation with my family we were watching a movie called “My all American”. There was a scene where the son just received some tragic news and the father hugs him and tells him he loves him. To most that is just a scene in a movie, but for me it triggered hurt that I have felt my whole life. The hurt of not having a father to hug me and tell me things are going to be ok.  You would think at the age of 42 that I would be ok with not having a father or mother, but I’ve realized the deep hurt from not having parents doesn’t go away because of an age. My father passed away when I was 14 and my mother walked out of my life when I was a child. The pain of trying to figure out why I wasn't good enough for my mother to stay is a scar that’s buried deep in my soul. I am healing slowly from the abuse I endured through my faith and helping teenagers through Think2change, but I don’t know if I will ever be able to completely heal from the pain of not having parents.

I have been doing Think2change going on 5 years and the most emails I receive from teens are about divorce, a parent leaving, or a parent never being a parent in the first place. When I read these emails my heart breaks because I know exactly the pain they are feeling. Their words just jump off the page and I see the ways they are trying to cope. Things like cutting, drugs, alcohol, thoughts of suicide, rebellion and the list goes on. They think since they are teenagers that people will just tell them to accept it and learn to live with it. They then become angry, hurt, and full of fear and confusion. A teenager emailed me a few weeks ago and told me that her parents were recently divorced and she cries every night because she doesn’t even know where to unpack her clothes. Another teen emailed me telling me she doesn’t understand why her father won’t have anything to do with her. She spends her nights trying to figure out what is wrong with her and how she can become good enough for her father to come back. She felt worthless. She needed someone who knows that type of hurt, someone to tell her she isn’t worthless and help her understand it wasn’t anything she did but rather it was her father who had the flaw.

I hope though Think2change that we can help teenagers have a voice. I hope they know that their pain is real and it doesn’t matter how old you are, pain is pain. I’ve learned that cutting, drugs, alcohol, rebellion or anything that is temporary relief will not bring healing, it only masks the hurt. I’ve learned that talking is the first step to healing. Tomorrow night I will write a part 2 discussing way’s to heal from the hurt of not having parents or a parent. Thank you for reading and please share, someone may need to hear.