Father’s Day: Navigating Tumultuous Relationships

Special days, like Father’s Day, can be very challenging for those struggling with mental health and addiction. Healing is not an easy journey and being reminded of old dynamics or unhealthy behaviours within the family can have a real impact.

As Father’s Day approaches, it might bring up unwanted emotions and feelings. You might be wondering how you can navigate this day and spend some quality time with your family members in a way that truly works for you. And we’re here to help.

Top Priority in Relationships: Self-Honouring

When navigating tough relationships, perhaps there is nothing more important than being honest with ourselves. From this place of clarity we can be authentic with our family members and manage their expectations of us in a healthy and skillful way. 

A few tips: 

  • Do not overcommit: Don’t promise your family more time together than you feel comfortable with. If you think two hours together might be enough for you, state your preference directly. Upsetting them, in the beginning, is a lot better than disappointing them after promising them more than you can deliver. 
  • Have a backup support person handy: Go to your family visit with a trusted friend. If this is not possible, have someone you can reach if you feel the need for emotional support. Family gatherings can be quite intense and having someone unconditionally on your team by your side can be a game changer. 
  • If you feel anxious in big groups, go early. This will give you time to connect with each person one on one before more people show up. 

The Complexity of Father’s Day

If you are a father yourself, try to be open to people showing you more affection than normal. Keep in mind that this is an important day for a lot of children and they often enjoy making you feel loved and appreciated. 

Father’s Day is a great opportunity to lower your guard and receive the love coming your way. Stay as settled in yourself as possible by letting your attention drop into your body (instead of overthinking) and don’t shy away from receiving and showing love.

For some, it might be a difficult day if you have strained relationships with your children. With time and a willingness to heal and repair old wounds, repatching a relationship is possible.

father son relationship

Navigating Relationships Takes Time and Effort

Familial relationships can be tricky. It’s important to honour your feelings and to recognize the amount of time and energy you have available to give.

If you find yourself struggling around days such as Father’s Day, speaking to a professional can help. Discussing feelings and family dynamics offers perspective, boundaries, and useful tools.

Remember, gratitude and love can coexist alongside old grievances and past hurts.

At Sunshine Coast Health Centre, we understand the complicated dynamics within families. It’s important to us to help improve relationships among family members and close friends to aid in successful long-term recovery. Through our Family Services, we help family members better understand their loved one’s struggles and equip them with tools to support loved ones once they’ve finished treatment. To learn more about our programs and services, visit our website or contact us today.

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