Why should I get close to him? He's just going to leave again.

Your dad is home from a deployment. Part of you is happy, but another part of you is thinking, "So what?!?" You may be thinking, "What if he has to go away again?" or "He already went away twice who's to say he won't go again?" You are not sure you want to have much to do with him because you are afraid he will leave you again.

All your reactions make sense. It's a hard situation when someone you love comes home after a long time away and then may leave again. Pulling away isn't a sign you don't love him. Rather it may be a way to protect yourself from having feelings like anger, sadness or disappointment because you DO love him. Showing your love for someone is sometimes especially hard if you know they might leave. It is often easier to "keep your distance" so that it won't hurt so much the next time they leave. If you find yourself in this uncomfortable situation here are tips that might help you figure out all those mixed-up feelings.

Helpful Tips: 
  • It's up to you if you want to take the risk of getting close again with your parent. Sometimes just understanding what is going on "inside" can help you make sense of those feelings.
  • Try to remember a time when you did something with your parent that was fun. Maybe it was going out for a burger, watching a movie you both liked, or riding bikes together. Suggest that you do one of those activities together sometime soon. Maybe even set a date so you can be sure to do it. Afterwards you might feel one step closer. AND you both had fun!
  • This tip may be harder because it will require you to talk to your parent about your fear of them leaving again. But I bet your mom or dad also worry about future deployments. If you both share your experience you may feel better in the end. If you want to practice what you will tell your parent pick someone you trust to listen to what you will say.

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