Healing the Absent Father Wound
If you have ever experienced an absent father growing up either physically, emotionally or in other ways then this workshop is for you.
The absent father wound expresses in many ways, where we can find it hard to be on time, to have healthy boundaries, to be in the world or to be seen, etc.
This wound will show up in the way we relate to men and all things male. We might find it difficult to create stable romantic relationships. We might feel trapped in a cycle of toxic, emotionally unabailble relationships or on the other hand unable to have any relationships at all.
This workshop will address these issues and empower participants to integrate and heal the absent father wound leading to a more able, safe, capable and in the world sense of self.
The father as practical anchor
In the union of mother and father, the father’s job is to bring discipline, not in a dictatorial way but by teaching the child how to live in the world. The healthy father is the one who helps you set boundaries. He activates your inner discipline so that you can be internally directed. He teaches you to finish what you start and to engage with other people in a healthy manner. When you internalize the energies of a healthy father, you are able to operate in the world in a practical way. You can do your taxes and your paperwork, and you can hold down a job.
Those with an unhealthy father, the kind who never turns up or who lets the children down, may also internalize his characteristics. A common aspect of a father wound is the tendency to start things without finishing them, to be late or irresponsible.
The response to the father energy will differ with each individual. In families where the father is absent, the mother becomes both mother and father, so if you have a strong mother, you can learn these qualities from her or from other role models. But the first energies we all connect with are from our mothers and fathers.
The father as emotional anchor
As children, we arrive in the world with no boundaries, and we copy what we see. That’s why the father’s role is so important from the beginning, as it holds the spirit of the baby, providing emotional validation. The father’s job is to support the emotional energy, so if that is not anchored in the man, then neither the woman nor the child will feel emotionally anchored. If the father is not emotionally available during the woman’s pregnancy, the woman will have a lot of mood swings, and that in turn will impact the child.
The absent father
Some fathers are physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually absent. This is one of the biggest issues in our society. In past generations, the father would go to work and provide for the family. But what happens to a child when the father is absent? It might develop an emotional craving that expresses itself in different ways, as in a feeling of emptiness that it does not understand. In trying to survive, it may cope with that in the best way it can, perhaps by becoming a people pleaser or extrovert. But the eventual result is likely to be feelings of disappointment, anger, resentment, neediness or some similar quality.
The mothers of young children whose fathers aren’t around can help their children by validating their feelings of being unsafe, of anger or frustration. Validating feelings means listening and reflecting, rather than trying to distract the children’s attention or avoid what they’re feeling. Even better, if the mother can reinforce the children’s inner strength, then the children can feel anchored and safe.
Finding your emotional anchor within
Because the father grounds the energy of the child, when a father acts out his own wounds, it’s overwhelming for the child. When the father is emotionally absent, the baby, child or young adult will always be searching, as though looking for the father who was not there.
The true healing of the father wound happens when you stop searching and wondering where to find your anchor. At that point, you have fully arrived. You have finally landed in the world, your emotions settle, and the emptiness is no longer there. Whatever qualities your father did not provide, you now know that you can provide them for yourself.
You always have access to the healthy father, the dependable, loving, compassionate, stable father, and you can provide the same sense of safety and stability for yourself by not running from your feelings but acknowledging them, by listening to yourself. Feelings always give you a message by alerting you to internal events that you haven’t acknowledged or that you don’t yet understand. By getting your attention, they tell you to focus on what is missing. What are you not giving yourself? How can you believe in and trust yourself? Sometimes, we create or accept so many labels that we forget who we are. For example, there is the label: ‘My father never loved me – he let me down.’ It’s easy to get lost in the story, but the essence of who we all are is pure love, and we can always come back to this. When you remember and believe in this, you can be at ease with who you are.
Internalization and cellular memory
When you internalize the father’s energetic pattern, you hear his voice in your head. That voice becomes your own through your self-talk, and you believe what he says, whether healthy or unhealthy. So, for example, if you have a healthy father and you internalize the healthy father principle, you will be on time on a regular basis. On the other hand, if you don’t internalize the father principle, you will not learn its characteristics. Even when your father is not physically present, you may still internalize his behavior because his cells are your cells. His consciousness is a part of your consciousness. That’s true for all of us.
On a similar, larger scale, we are all connected to our parents and our ancestors. There is, of course, a part that is unique to us as individuals, but there is also a part that is connected to past generations. This is our cellular memory, and through that, our parents and ancestors are alive in us. We also internalize their views and behaviors, though we do not know this consciously, and it is only as we get older that we begin to see things in our own way. When that starts to happen, we might experience it as a time of struggle, and we usually create this kind of separation in our teenage years.
From my book "Healing the Inner Family"