What comes up at father’s day for many men is not a feeling of joy and warmth but a feeling of resentment or deep longing. Why this? A dad’s primary job is to support his son, which for many fathers means to be critical of the son’s inadequacies. Is this for son’s benefit or the dad’s benefit? Generally it is a projection of the father’s inadequacies on to the son. Every man craves the support and approval of dad. But if he is not there or is critical the boy is left dangling with nothing to hold onto. He ends up through no fault of his own feeling ashamed. Ashamed that he doesn’t measure up.
The boy then goes to his mother who may or may not step in. He then sees power with the woman and none in himself because it was never recognised by dad. He grows up feeling dependent and resentful around women and completely inadequate about himself as a man. Afraid of disapproval he hides from men or is aggressive to make up for the wound. His partner who probably was raised by a similar man is now into a life repeating itself all over again.
The challenge for any such man is how to pull himself out of such a wretched hole. The truth is he is who he is because of his father and at some point in spite of the bitterness has to let go. Otherwise he will continue to act out the father’s wound. There has to be some acknowledgement of the wounds, some honouring of the wounds, forgiveness of one’s self and of him and recognition of one’s own strengths that have taken the man so far.
The wounded man owes it to himself to move on, and in doing so will prove to himself he is a real man.