Over the years of working with men in therapy, I discovered that the issues that so often come up about careers or relationships could often be traced back, sooner or later, to the lack of relationship with their fathers. Kafka goes on to say that the hostility his father expressed against him ashe now turns against himself. These descriptions are representative of how men recall their fathers relating to them.
But even more striking than the obvious damage and wounds, is the repressed longing. Many men are love-starved for their fathers and fathers for their sons and deny it. What is possible between a father and son?
What can men do with the array of untapped emotions that shield them from knowing themselves? The unexpressed hurt and anger often transfer onto our love relationships, parenting, challenges at work, and problems with authority. If we decide to tackle this wounded relationship in therapy, we will invariably encounter an array of painful childhood memories.
We will experience waves of disappointment, rage, and grief at the loss of what we never had with our fathers. By bravely revealing and working through this boiling cauldron of emotion we may come to a meaningful resolution. Perhaps a facilitated conversation in therapy would provide an opportunity to deal with the unfinished business, leftover resentment from our childhood.
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In cases of neglect, physical or emotional abuse, could a father acknowledge his wrong doing without excusing his behavior? At that point there would seem to be no hope for repair.
Their attempts for reconciliation may or may not reach their father, but the real psychological work entails making a concerted effort to sort out this jumbled knot of confused, disturbing experiences and memories within themselves. Personally, I have twice attempted to untie this knotfirst with my father and much later with my own son. These were largely unpleasant memories of abuse at the hands of my father, which he called discipline. I wanted to try to deal with this upsurge of memories and intense resentment that was coming from deep within me. This created a stalemate between us, and every time I saw him I was tense and would entertain vengeful fantasies.
As part of my own therapy, I was able to vent intense feelings of righteous anger, victimization, and outrage. This ongoing venting of rage and hurt eventually opened up a totally unexpected memory. I came to realize that there had been a time when I was really young where I actually had wanted something from my father.
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It was a shock to have this memory. I also came to realize that this did not change anything with him, but it meant a lot to me to uncover this wanting feeling for him. Unfortunately, nothing in the realm of relationship was possible with my father. So I had to let go and feel the pain of that old rejection and my anger, and then I was able to disengage and move on. When I had a son of my own, I was tested as a father myself.
The first early years with my son started off really well, but as he developed and became more autonomous and defiant, sadly, I was unable to manage my reactivity to his testing of boundaries, etc. Here it was happening to me, not as extreme, but still a strained relationship, and this broke my heart that I was still so psychologically immature.
I ended up on quite a roller coaster of a ride as a father. My son is now a grown man and we are currently sorting out our relationship. Now I am the father open to dealing with the issues with my own son. I am willing to acknowledge my shortcomings and listen to his childhood experiences, as painful as they are to hear.
We are slowly making our way through our troubled history moving towards something of a relationship.
As men face the truth about their father-son bond, they will experience both pain and liberation. The son can come to feel more integrated as a man and perhaps willing to see his father more realistically, with both positive and negative traits. Both father and son may be able to recognize more clearly how their negative unexpressed feelings may still be impacting their intimate relationships as well as intruding into their friendships with men.
The optimal outcome, as men move forward toward resolving their feelings with their fathers, is to no longer be entangled with them through anger or hurt. Men can bring their newly earned individuation and energy into their love life, work life and friendships with other men. To learn more about Dr. Goldenberg, visit his website or him here. How can I as a father fix the wounds of verbal abuse inflicted in my son 23 years of age.
I am truly sory and would like to repair the damage before it is too late? Just reach out and take it step by step. Let your son know that you want him in your life. That you were wrong and now you see it.
That you regret the time lost and the way you acted. Honestly answer questions that your son has. Give him space and time to heal. I write as a daughter who had such a father. I speak from experience. We all still carry the weight of our past.
Pray and be calm, have patience and reach out, help out, really BE there if you want to heal your relationship with your son. Good luck!
We seem to assume the father was guilty. But relationships are complex. Sometimes, things just happen—there is not relationship to salvage because there was never any relationship to begin with. This is what I have experienced with my son. When my son and I tried to reconnect it became apparent that there was simply nothing there.
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He was the result of a pregnancy entrapment. The reconciliation with my son just quietly petered out. There was nothing to say. Nothing to repair. Regardless of how he got here, he exists. Is there more to the story of the type of person he is? If not, this feels so very sad and wrong to treat him this way because of her. But you could at least explain the complexity of why you left and take responsibility for getting in the relationship with his mum in the first place. Then he might learn that he should be careful with relationships.
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Think long and hard before you try. After however many years of verbal abuse, your relationship is on life support. If you start the healing process and then fail again, you will end it.
There will be absolutely no coming back at that point. Cooper, I am a dad of two wonderful boys 17 and I have been thinking of the times I spent with my dad. We had never had a dialogue one-one conversation until last year when I was It happened after multiple attempts of me trying to connect with him. In my childhood, I thought he hated me because he only talked to me to rebuke me.
I have 3 older brothers too really old close to being father figures.
My early interaction with them was not good either. I have memories of them making fun of me because I was fat and kind of girlie, and I got a feeling from them that I was uninteresting. This experience has weakened my psychological wellbeing today, and affected my behavior. How do I heal these relationships? How do I find the confidence I need today to be the man I should be? My friend, Charles, would not talk to his father no matter how many times he tried to reach out.
Charles ia suffering in his relationships, had 2 failed marriages. Now seeing me but would not open his heart. Often sounds angry and insecured, jas abandonment issues. Thank you for an your article and words-framework-mindset-approach to help me to reach out to my adult 29yr son. For a few weeks, I blamed the acrimonious divorce, his mother remarrying and moving out of state.
The I accepted that it was ME. I was the adult. I failed. I lost my son. I also read that the longer the estrangement, the harder to reconcile. I have two sons.