THE challenges for Asian women getting married and adjusting their ways for the in-laws are well known, and so are the perceptions of a divorced mother in the Asian community. But what about the Asian father who has been divorced?
Well, as an Asian father, I can say first hand that it was expected for me to walk away from my son. The concerning part was not just from the community around me, or ways in which the law was handled, but also how some family members advised me to give up and walk away, as I had little hope of remaining connected to my son.
I had to fight to be a part of my son’s life. It was a painful journey for me, both financially and mentally, going in and out of courts to ensure I was part of his life. I even had to educate the schools on what parental responsibility was. I was judged and blamed for a situation that was developed by two people.
It was a long struggle of around six years to get equal care arrangements in place, which were mutually agreed with a mediator, as opposed to the family getting involved and emotions sizzling over. While making my way through the various obstacles, I had to also endure the pain of grieving the loss of both my parents to cancer.
Often, I hear about how hard it is for a mother to raise a child on their own, and yet hardly hear about how challenging it is for the father to stay involved to share the responsibilities.
If a single father is mentioned in a conversation, somehow the focus changes to what happened to the mother? It seems like nothing much has really changed, and fathers are not seen as meaningful or required parents.
As a father, getting support was challenging, especially when the upbringing of an Asian male was to hide emotions and reaching for help was seen as a sign of weakness.
From what I went through, I learnt to ignore the associated stigmas. I used counselling and personal development to gain the tools required to raise my self-esteem and stay focused to reach the desired outcomes. And here I am, a single father, still living and breathing, but now being a meaningful part of my son’s life as his dad and primary provider.
This is just a glimpse of what was in my journey; there were plenty more challenges, and it’s not been shared as a competition of who has it worse, but more for awareness that there are stigmas associated to any parent, whether mother or father.
Manish Gohel is a master NLP practitioner, licensed NLP trainer, and certified Marshall Goldsmith executive coach, incorporating reiki and yoga in his work with clients. He enables individuals or groups to set themselves free from preconceived ideas, and generational beliefs, to what they can create and want in their lives. Visit www.manishgohel.com for more.