How to Deal with an Inconsistent Parent

No one ever says that relationships are perfect, especially our relationship with our parents. Some are lucky to have good relationships with both their parents, some aren’t. Others can’t because their parents have unfortunately passed away.

I don’t have a good relationship with my father. It’s because he’s inconsistent. Throughout all my three years in college, he had  never contributed spending money, airfare, care packages or anything. Before that, it was a constant barrage of excuses of why he couldn’t do this or that but he would post pictures of him on Facebook eating at lavish places with his wife.

All that I have is provided by my mother, grandmother, and supportive relatives. Thanks to them, I have had much success in many aspects of my young, short life. So, whenever I want to celebrate and post on social media, that’s when my father comes in and tries to gain clout as if he’d contributed anything. He’s notorious for stealing my pictures without me knowing and posting them on his page, with inspirational and cheesy sayings like, “Look at my baby doing well! That’s all me and I’m proud.”

He used to really make me upset, but over time I learned how to deal with my resentment and anger with his inconsistency and lack of responsibility.

1. Identify the ones that are always there.

One mistake I made was always looking at what my father didn’t do: he didn’t come to this event or he didn’t buy me that gift or he didn’t call me to say good morning. Just like the saying where if you stay in a lack mindset all you see and get in return is lack.

Since I always saw what he didn’t do, I didn’t focus on what the people who loved me did. I didn’t notice when my mom sacrificed her last dollars for me, when my grandma made dinner even though she was bone-tired, or both waking up at two in the morning to listen to me rant about something from college.

Such small, non-monetary things really made me feel good and uplifted my spirit. It didn’t come easy for me to change my outlooks but after having a deep conversation with a relative and reading an article on forgiveness, I had to change how I was looking at things and my feelings regarding them.

2. Ask for peace, if not, forgiveness.

Sometimes it hurts too much to forgive. People often say to just forgive and forget but sometimes that just can’t be done at the moment. I won’t lie and say that I don’t still feel hurt and anger towards my father. I’m just now at more peace within even if I’m not at complete forgiveness with him.

To get that peace it requires prayer, meditation, journaling, and any other faith practices. For something to be the outlet for all the ugly emotions you will go through. Learn to manage your impatience, annoyance, and other negative emotions. It‘s about knowing that it’s more about you than the other person, that you shouldn’t let them or how they make you feel control your life.

When you start to find peace, you start to lose your anger and resentment and build love and patience with yourself. It’s not a face or get better quick scheme, but one that brings forth patience and endurance, one that may lead to forgiveness.

3. It will take time.

Nothing good comes easy. It will take time. You will fail, want to give up, not quite get it, but that’s ok. This is a healing process for you and healing takes time. Think about it. A broken bone needs months to heal. It won’t be 100% the next day.

Likewise, your heart will need time to heal, and that can be a while. Be okay with it, continue to work towards it, and before you know it, it won’t hurt as much as it used to. I’m still healing and I know it will take time. I’m at peace with that.

One thought

  1. I have had a similar situation and I found that just recalibrating my expectations of the inconsistent person has helped. It’s hard to not feel hurt every time this person isn’t there for you, but at least knowing you are ok with or without them in your life is reaffirming.


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