Father’s Day: 3 big podcast conversations about difficult relationships with fathers

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If you find Father’s Day difficult and would like to plug into something comforting, here are three podcast conversations that might be helpful. Trigger warning: this article discusses abuse and grief. 

Father’s Day can be a difficult time for many people for all sorts of reasons. It can bring up memories of an estranged parent, for example, or come at a time when someone is grieving the loss of their dad. 

Talking about these relationships is often tricky, too. Navigating such complex emotions isn’t easy, which makes articulating them out loud sometimes feel altogether impossible. 

If you’re struggling to to speak about a difficult relationship with a parent, here is a round-up of podcasts that explore relatable conversations. They will hopefully bring some comfort and reassurance, and remind you that you are not alone.

How To Fail: Jessie Ware

Speaking on the How To Fail podcast, singer Jessie Ware questions if her inability to forgive her father for walking out on their family is a failure. Reflecting on the anger she felt over it while growing up, she says: “It was my way of having a sense of control and power over punishing him: not speaking to him, the silent treatment, having that control.” 

She goes on to describe how their relationship started to heal after she had children of her own. However, despite now respecting and loving her dad, Ware says she would “never forgive him”. 

Listen to Jessie Ware on How To Fail.

Dear Sugars: Dear Dad, It’s Over

The Dear Sugars podcast, with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, is always an emotional listen, but this episode particularly strikes a chord with people who have an estranged parent. They discuss two letters from people who have chosen to cut off a toxic parent, sympathetically analysing the guilt, anger and hurt involved. 

They also talk about their own personal experiences of absent parents and speak to Stephen Elliott, the founding editor of The Rumpus and author of the The Adderall Diaries and Happy Baby, who estranged himself from his abusive father.

Listen to Dear Sugars: Dear Dad, It’s over. 

How Did We Get Here?: Jack

Claudia Winkleman and clinical psychologist Professor Tanya Byron basically use How Did We Get Here? as a therapy session for a different guest each week. It’s a fascinating and helpful listen for anyone going through similar situations to the guests. 

In the first ever episode, they talk to 22-year-old Jack, who no longer speaks with his dad. He looks back on the relationship they have had since his parents’ separation when he was a young child. When he met his dad twice a month, he would always have an anxious feeling. Jack recalls the abandonment and rejection issues. At one point he says: “My whole life, I’ve never felt worthy.” Byron helps him unravel and address these feelings, ending the session with a better direction on what to do next.

Listen to How Did We Get Here?: Jack

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…