A lot of guys come to Life Coaching for Men with father stories. In some cases the dad wasn’t around, either because he died or he skipped out on mom. In other cases the dad was critical, negative, and emotionally or physically abusive. Sometimes dad was freaking awesome in literally every way possible, and set the bar so high that the son’s spirits were inadvertently crushed.
The term often used in counseling spaces for the damage fathers inflict on our sons is “Father Wound” (in fairness, there’s also a “Mother Wound”). I personally spent years of my life blaming my father for many if not most of my shortcomings. Possibly one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in the years I’ve spent coaching men is that we ALL need to learn how to properly father our own inner-child.
I’m going to repeat this idea for emphasis. Every man, regardless of who his dad was, must at some point learn to father his own inner-child, using validation and unconditional love as his primary tools.
As many of the guys in the MULC community know, my son Bennett (nearly 12 years old at the time of this writing) is both autistic and has achondroplasia dwarfism. Being this kid’s dad has been a challenge in many ways, and I’ve admittedly made choices which in hindsight I feel were less than optimal. That said, I love my son; and the truth is that I can’t expect him to love me in return *the way I want him to love me* as some sort of receipt for my efforts, or pardon for my mistakes. I’m Dennis, he’s Bennett. I’m me, he’s him. All I can do is offer unconditional love and constant validation. When he fucks up? No worries, man. Daddy loves you. When I fuck up? Sorry dude…. I tried.
For any guy reading this right now who blames his father for his unhappiness: STOP. Your happiness is your choice. If you’re in an abusive situation, remove yourself. Find a way. I did. Once free, rebuild yourself by offering yourself what you feel you never received. FATHER your own inner-child. As someone wise once said: It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. And hey man, if you need help…. that’s what I do for a living. Hit me up.