A Father Wound


A Father Wound

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“The father wound refers to a household in which a father is emotionally or physically absent. Or, if the father is in the home, they are highly critical of their children and may be physically or emotionally abusive.”

Often, sons who have a father wound feel lacking or “not good enough” in some way. They may struggle with difficult feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, and the need for approval and validation, particularly from authority figures.

Some symptoms of the father wound include:
• Low self-esteem & low confidence
• Chronic anxiety and depression
• Angry outbursts and rage
• Self-criticism and shame
• Difficulties keeping healthy boundaries
• Gravitating towards partners who are emotionally unavailable
• Self-sabotaging behaviors that hinder growth
• Refusal, inability, or lack of desire to thrive
• Excessive laziness and procrastination
• Ongoing struggles with addictions (sex, porn, work, drugs, alcohol, etc.)
• Inability to trust men, and feeling like no one truly has your back
• Being highly isolated
• Issues with authority (mistrust, resentment, paranoia)
• A pervasive sense of shame and feeling ‘not good enough’
• Being highly reactive to criticism

How your relationship with your father impacts you:
Our relationship with our father is one of our first relationships. How he interacts with you, meets (or does not meet) your needs, and how he copes with life will greatly impact how you cope and view yourself.

Many fathers carry their own shame and generational trauma. Even the most well-meaning fathers will project these wounds onto their children.
A person who grows up with a father who’s emotionally shut down and unable to connect might find themselves in relationships with emotionally unavailable people.
A person who grows up with a father who is hyper-critical and conditional with how he loves his children might end up with anxiety and crippling perfectionism.
A person who grew up with a father who left or was inconsistent in showing up might end up with severe trust issues or a deep fear of abandonment.
A person who grew up with a father who went into rage cycles might also find themselves overcome with anger or might shut down and avoid expressing their feelings to others out of fear.
A person who grew up with a father who relied on their child for marital advice or shared too many sensitive things (e.g., having an affair, the sex life with the child’s mother) might have patterns of oversharing and not having clear boundaries.

Our past shapes who we are. The father wound is a cause of much anxiety, depression, and low self-worth. Healing this matters in building a new future.

Unfortunately, the father wound is quite common, and it affects men and women at all stages of life. The intergenerational effect of the father wound shows up when boys and girls with unhealed father wounds become adults who wound their children, thus repeating the cycle.