Was your father present in your life growing up? How would you describe your relationship with him? Was it the same as how he treated your mother? Fathers have a significant role in shaping your character, consciously or unconsciously. And while a mother wound affects your femininity, a father wound affects your masculinity. So what exactly is a father wound, what symptoms do you manifest, and how can you heal it? We will answer these and more in this article.
What is a Father Wound?
We all possess feminine and masculine energy. A mother imparts feminine energy, while a father imparts masculine energy. And while the feminine leans more toward the inner self, intuitions, and nurturing, the masculine energy represents being assertive and confident. So from your mother figures, you learn sensitivity, respect, patience, sensuality, and similar traits. From your father figures, you learn self-worth, confidence, stability, courage, boundaries, etc.
This influence doesn’t necessarily come from your birth father or a father figure around you, but it emanates from anyone in your life who radiates more masculine energy.
What happens if your masculine energy is shaky? You can’t face the world with confidence, you always find yourself compromising healthy boundaries, you feel worthless, and you can settle for anything. Do any of these resonate with you? That right there describes a father wound.
A father wound can result from an absent father (both physically and emotionally), an overly critical dad, or one who is abusive, whether directly towards you or the people you love, like your mother.
Luckily, there’s hope, and you can heal and start over. But first, let’s discuss these characters even deeper.
The Symptoms of a Father Wound
#1: Low Self-Esteem
Do you always second-guess yourself? Like you feel you’re not good enough no matter how much effort you put in? That could be a result of a father wound. Children, in their innocence, don’t understand that their parents can have flaws. They blame their parents’ reactions on themselves. Once they transition into adulthood, they feel incapable of handling life independently. For example, a child who was constantly abused or overly criticized by the father will grow up believing they are dumb and never good enough. However, the truth is that their father could not see past his flaws.
#2: An Endless Search for Love
Are you wondering why you still can’t settle for “the one” after dating several partners? This happens a lot, especially with women who never experienced fatherly love. You keep searching, but no one can truly quench your thirst for love. It’s also common for such people to get married and divorced multiple times.
#3: Lack Self-Motivation
This character mostly shows in school as a child and at work as an adult. You will be most comfortable taking and following orders but never have the courage to make new initiatives.
#4: Poor Social Life
Because you lack confidence and self-motivation, you rarely open up to your peers or even try to start a meaningful conversation. Friendships and relationships are not your things. So you believe you are an introvert while, in a real sense, it is the father wound in you.
#5: Problems with Creating and Maintaining Healthy Boundaries
You are either the tough knuckle who sets strict boundaries or the one who can settle for anything. Either way, you can’t seem to strike a balance with boundaries. Victims of father wound often have trouble with boundaries. For example, if your father was always late or even missed important milestones in your childhood, you’ll tend to have very strict limits. You are not flexible in rescheduling appointments and might be unforgiving to people who show up late.
On the other hand, if your father was the strict type, always criticizing you and never appreciating your little milestones, you tend to develop loose boundaries. All you want in life is to seek approval and a sense of appreciation. As a result, you find it hard to say no. Sadly if you get entangled with a narcissist, they may want to take advantage of this weakness.
#6: An Over Surge of Emotions
Most father wound victims experience emotions such as anxiety, anger, and depression. See, your father was supposed to offer you unconditional love. And when you notice your peers enjoying this love, it’s not easy to understand why you can’t have the same. So you grow up bottling emotions of disappointment which eventually turn to anger and resentfulness.
#7: Poor Choices of Relationship Partners
Due to anger and resentment, some father wound victims will turn to drug and substance abuse while others rush into relationships to fill that void. In addition, if you grew up watching your father abuse your mother, you will probably think that is how relationships work and therefore stay in an abusive relationship.
How Can You Heal Your Father Wound as an Adult?
You’re probably reading this because you might have discovered a cycle of abuse in your family. Your father was abusive, and now you’re taking out your anger on your little ones. Can this cycle end? Absolutely. And it all starts with you first acknowledging the problem.
Journal your childhood and try to identify the loopholes. Unmasking your childhood might be painful and uncomfortable, so you could consider inviting a therapist.
Sometimes, you can also consider confronting your father to get closure. However, if your underlying issues are not as grave, re-train your mind to disengage from the behaviors and beliefs you might have adopted from your father wound. Then make a deliberate effort to be a better version of yourself and journal your achievements every week, no matter how small they are. With repetition, new behaviors become a part of our lifestyle eventually.
The Parting Shot
Please don’t let a father wound define your future. You have a lot of potential if you can only learn to believe in yourself. Now that you understand why you view the world differently, work towards healing your wound because a bright future awaits.