What if your parent is lousy? What if they’re non-existent? What if they’re sick, addicted, mentally ill or in prison? What if your parents are dead?
If your parents are marginalized for some reason, you’ve got a tough road to hoe. I want to say something about this, some may feel is radical. If there is any way that you can keep your lousy parent in your life, I’d do it.
The reason is because it’s so hard to navigate life with no father or mother that you can at least point to from time to time. I’ll give you a concrete example of this.
When I was a teenager, I met the man I am now married to. He wanted to marry me then, and I wanted to marry him as well. The problem was, he was from a good family and I was not. He wanted to get married in a Catholic church, get the families together…everything all traditional.
The problem was that I did not have parents that I could trot out to participate in such a ritual. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Because of this, and because of youth, ignorance and fear and a variety of things of that nature, I could not get married. There was simply no one to fill the slots where the parents go, for reasons I could not explain.
Recently, I advised someone to keep their father in their life. Like this…
“Let’s just say that your father is a screaming alcoholic. You may not want to hang around him, but you’re still going to be better off if he can show up for you on occasion. There will be times like this in your life and you’ll want to be able to say, hey Dad! Clean yourself up and come to my wedding! And maybe he’ll be able to do this for you. It may not be great, but it’s a lot better than having no one at all to stand in that place, ever, throughout your entire life. I’m telling you this from experience…”
If you’re a parent who is marginalized, you might think about the position this puts your children in, because it’s severe. If you can manage to go work each day, and be reasonably moral and sober, this is probably enough for a child who is motivated. If you can’t manage this stuff, you should probably keep your pants on.
Do you have a parent who is marginalized in some way? How do deal with it? How has this impacted your life?