5 Affirmations To Heal From An Absent Father
I read a quote once that said, "You don't have relationship or marital issues, you have single issues." In other words, sometimes, what may appear to be an issue between you and your partner could very well be the manifestation of a deep-rooted issue from your past.
I know this all too well because there have been times – single and married – when my past has been the very thing that caused fear, worry, anxiety, and/or hesitation when it came to love, dating, and relationships.
You see - my biological father was the first man to break my heart because he was hardly, nor was he willing to be, a part of my life. Much of our relationship was comprised of lies and broken promises. I can literally count on one hand how many times I've actually ever seen him in person. Although I've done a lot to work through my feelings and the healing process, I can admit there's a direct correlation between that situation and my relationship experiences.
For many of you, like me, maybe it was an absent parent or maybe it was the lack of love you received from your mom or dad. Maybe you experienced the unbearable grief of the loss of a parent. Maybe your parents divorced or maybe you were adopted. Maybe you witnessed or experienced some type of abuse. Whatever happened, it's possible that it's causing you to feel reluctant, resistant, fearful, or even hopeless when it comes to love and relationships.
Nevertheless, I've compiled a short list of positive realizations, mantras, and affirmations because I want all of us to refuse to give power to the past that tries to keep us from the love that we deserve:
"I can only begin to heal what I’m willing to confront."
It's interesting because I thought I was pretty self-aware when I was single, but when you're in a relationship and especially when you're married, it's as if you're looking into a mirror and you can see a reflection of who you were, who you are, and who you're becoming. I definitely had to re-commit to doing more self-work not only for the sake of having a healthy marriage, but to also help heal some of my personal issues that were starting to show up as marital issues (what I like to call "red flags").
We have to be honest and transparent enough with ourselves and admit what makes us cry and what makes us angry or even bitter. I used to act like it didn't bother me knowing that my father wasn't around, but eventually I had to cry it all out and admit that I was hurt, angry, and I felt abandoned. At times, I felt bitter, but I refused to allow the bitterness to rot within me and control me.
I've had to own up to the fact that I don't always feel strong. I've had to have some tough conversations with certain people. I've had to forgive even when I didn't want to, and I've had to ask for forgiveness. I've had to ask for help, and I've even gone to therapy including couple's therapy. I've had to write and recite daily mantras to remind myself that I am enough. I've had to pray, read the Word, feed my faith, and constantly remind myself of who I am and whose I am. I have and will continue to do what needs to be done in order to heal and prevent my past from having a hold on me.
"God makes up for the losses and disappointment by providing me with what I need."
When Eric and I started dating, I quickly realized that our family dynamics were almost completely opposite. For example, he was raised in a two-parent home and he knew both sides of his family, whereas I was raised in a single-parent home and never knew my father's side of the family. That's not to say that either situation was worse or better; rather it was just different.
Nevertheless, God made it so that the man I married had a loving father, who eventually became the father-figure I never had. God not only blessed me with what I wanted in a husband, but He also blessed me what I needed as well. Can my Father-in-love (FIL) completely replace my dad? Of course not. However, because of the love that my FIL shows me, I'm able to at least experience a glimpse of what it feels like to have a dependable father. The same is true in other areas outside of marriage: God can make up for your lack of family with a group of friends who end up becoming like family.
"When it’s real love, they will love the real me...all of me."
I can admit that I carried some baggage into the relationship when Eric and I first started dating (as did he because men carry baggage too). Some of the issues, I had pushed down so far within me for so long that I didn't even realize they existed until after I got married. Whether it was because of my childhood experiences or past relationships, there were things I was dealing with emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
It can feel a little intimidating and scary knowing that you're carrying certain burdens, because you don't know how the other person will react. However, I knew that if Eric was going to be my husband, then I had to be completely honest with him. When I was able to finally share certain things with him, my husband didn't judge me for it, and more importantly, he didn't run away simply because of it. Much of what I went through made me the woman I am today, and obviously he was in love with that woman…flaws and all.
What I loved the most was the fact that he was more than willing to help me unpack that baggage and leave it where it belonged…in the past. Consequently, our love journey has helped reveal and heal some of my deepest hurts.
Ultimately, God is the source of our peace, but I like to think that He uses my husband and I as vessels to bring about peace for and through each other. The thing about intimacy is that it takes you to a deeper level beyond just the surface. There is something undeniable and euphoric about being connected to someone in such an intimate way. I am most vulnerable when I'm with my husband. So, on those days when I don't feel like being the "strong, black woman", I don't have to be. I can just be me.
Trust that you, too, can experience intimacy on a deeper level with the person who's meant for you. It's one of the sure signs that you're meant for each other. Like they say, "If you can't be real with the one you love, then who can you be real with?"
"I will not allow my past burdens to keep me from my future blessings."
Many times, we're hesitant about opening up and experiencing new things or new relationships simply out of fear and/or frustration from past relationships and experiences. Because I experienced so much hurt in the past, I wanted to refuse to believe that a guy like Eric could be as genuine, caring, and faithful as he is.
Then, when Eric got married, the topic of starting a family became a frequent source of tension in our home. We would get into heated debates about when we should start proactively trying to conceive. I wanted to wait and I refused to get off birth control, but he was more eager to start the process. It wasn't until later when we realized that the argument was less about having kids and more about our lack of understanding each other.
After further introspection, I eventually realized that not only did I prefer to wait to have children because I wanted us to enjoy being newlyweds (which we definitely do not regret now), but I was also afraid. I was afraid that my husband was going to do to me what my father did to my mother…bail out and leave me to raise our children on my own. Plus, the fact that my father had abandoned me and I knew how hard it was for my mom who raised two children as a single parent, I subconsciously associated having children as being a "burden", whereas my husband saw it as a "blessing". I was allowing my past to dictate my present situation even though it was clear that I was with a man who truly loved me and wanted to have a family with me, and had no plans on leaving me.
Nevertheless, the thought alone overwhelmed me and triggered emotions and reactions that I had to work through. Because of that, it changed everything about our relationship in a positive way, and it yielded a greater and better understanding for both of us.
"Just because I never saw it doesn’t mean I will never experience it."
Growing up, my mom was never married, and a lot of my friends that I grew up with came from single-parent homes. Even in my personal relationships, up until when I met my husband, every guy I dated prior to him had lied, cheated, and/or did something extremely hurtful and devastating.
The good news, however, is that even though we can't change what happened in the past, we have the power to change how the future looks. Now, my husband and I get to be what I didn't always see…a loving, healthy, and happy marriage. (Note: I didn't say perfect). Just like this quote says, "Marriage is the collision of two histories, but you have to be willing to create your own history." So, that's what we're doing…breaking generational curses and creating our own history.
Don't be afraid to be vulnerable. Be open to things you've never experienced before and trust that it's possible for you too based on God's will for your life.
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Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
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Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood