In the past, I remember hearing the phrase, “Father Wound” and being massively confused by it. I think the part that confused me was that some people seemed to wear it like a badge of honor. But it really creates two questions in my mind A). What does that mean and what does it look like and B). What causes this? Which is what I want to address in this blog.
People historically refer to father wounds as daddy issues. I don’t like the term daddy issues because I think it’s pretty demeaning, insulting, and mean! However it’s a term that is so commonly used, I would be remiss if I didn’t include it in this blog. What does it mean if someone has “Daddy issues”? There is a term in psychology called the “father complex,” which was coined by Freud and later taken up by Jung and subsequent thinkers in the field, which describes the neuroses that result from an individual’s poor relationship with their father.
I can already hear some of you thinking to yourself, “Jenn!! What does THAT mean?” In real world terms it means the residual trauma, pain, and Shame as a result of a person’s relationship with their Father.
In regard to what it looks like it really varies for everyone.
The main theme of what it looks like however is people typically replaying the relationship, lack of relationship, or dysfunction of their relationships with their father.
The specifics of what this looks like can be: someone being in a relationship with an alcoholic, while their father was an alcoholic; if their father struggled with being monogamous, they may find themselves in relationships with men who struggle to remain faithful; if their father wasn’t there for them, they may find themselves clinging to unhealthy relationships; etc.
While this list isn’t all-inclusive, I do hope it helps to help get a clearer picture of what Daddy Issues looks like as they replay within your life.
The bottom line is that those negative interactions (or less than spectacular interactions) impact our sense of being enough.
And as a result of not feeling like we are enough, we don’t think we are worthy of connection with other humans. But connection is a primary need for all human beings. Regardless of our interactions and relationships with our primary caregivers.
Regardless of whether your father ghosted you in your time of need or was always two sheets to the wind, it still affects you. When these are your experiences with someone who is supposed to love you unconditionally and support you, but doesn’t...it is absolutely mind boggling.
And because, as children, we don’t have the ability to identify that our parents were potentially damaged and not healthy, we take that stuff on!
I have worked with countless people who, as children, absorbed the belief that they were someone responsible for their parent’s behaviors.
As children, we don’t have the emotional skills to recognize that the lack of connection, love, support, and relationship with our parents is their responsibility and not ours!
As a parent, I understand that it’s 100% my responsibility to love my children unconditionally! And now, it is our responsibility to heal these deep Shame wounds. Otherwise we risk repeating the same patterns with our children, spouses, partners, families, and friends.
Part of the healing that this injury calls us to do is to really dig in and examine what happened and what went wrong. I’m not encouraging people to ditch the responsibility of healing and place that on their fathers.
Instead, I am encouraging personal accountability and healing because then we can begin to experience true freedom.
When we begin healing these wounds, injuries, and losses, we begin to prioritize ourselves and our own healing. Where as in the past, we may have found ourselves easily manipulated by people who act similarly to our dads, we are suddenly no longer instantly hooked by their shenanigans.
We begin taking much better care of ourselves than our Fathers were ever capable of. This is a crucial piece of developing deep Shame Resilience. And I believe you are worthy of this!
If the time is right for you to begin healing your relationship with your dad, with out without him in your life, you will want to check this out: https://www.jennbovee.com/self-help/surviving-june
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