Healing the Father Wound
by Dr. Sarah A. Edwards, LCSW.
Or was your father absent, neglectful, or abusive emotionally or physically? Did he ignore, demean, shame, discount, yell at, beat or ignore you? Did you see him treating your mother or others in ways that frightened you and left you with no good model for how to be a loving father, husband, and emotionally fulfilled man?
If the latter is more descriptive of your experience with your father, there may be consequences that affect you to this day. Do you recognize any of the following behaviors in yourself or have others mentioned them about you?
- Having a general sense of not being good enough for whatever you desire or undertake.
- Being highly sensitive to criticism, sometimes even when there was no criticism intended
- Lashing out in anger, criticism, cruel comments, or even physical violence toward others especially loved ones. Particularly common if this is how you saw your father reacting with anger toward him and others.
- Chronically feeling depressed or anxious making it difficult to enjoy life.
- Lacking confidence in who you are, not sure of your direction in life, acting immature emotionally and behaviorally.
- Not trusting others, especially other men or authority figures; harboring feelings of resentment toward or fear of authority. Maybe feeling angry at God (the Father) or rejecting any belief in God or other spiritual sources.
- Feeling alone and without support even if there are people around you who are ir would be or are supportive.
- Lacking the drive to achieve goals or having a hyperdrive to achieve and somehow prove your worth to others.
- Struggling with addiction (sex, porn, electronic devices, drugs, alcohol, etc.)
These are some of the effects an absent, cruel, demeaning, critical, or otherwise unloving father can leave with a son into adulthood. A father is to be the initiator for his son, helping him to shape his identity into a confident, capable, lovable and loving man. The failure of the father to provide such a relationship leaves the young boy with a wound that stay with him as he struggles to make it on his own into and through adulthood without the love and skills of a positive male role model.
“Kids have a hole in their soul in the shape of their dad. And if a father is unable to fill that hole, it can leave a wound that is not easily healed.”
Roland Warren, past president of the National Fatherhood Initiatives
It can be healed because of the plasticity of the brain and the unconquerable human spirit.
Healing the Father Wound.