It can be a hard truth to accept that parents are actually, just humans.
They make mistakes and inevitably pass on their issues and insecurities to their kids, and even more likely, create some new ones in them too. It doesn’t make things right, but it is the reality.
As young boys and girls, the relationships or lack thereof that we have with our mothers – and our fathers – affect the way we see ourselves, and ultimately, the types of relationships we choose.
I was asked to write about the topic of father/daddy issues. And I’m not going to lie, I found it to be a challenge; mainly because, while I may not have had a perfect childhood, I do feel that my father, with all his insecurities, did his best. But the truth is, while the outcomes and consequences of different issues may vary, the ways of getting through them are typically the same.
The relationship a young girl has with her dad is an incredibly sensitive one. And whether he gives too much or too little of his attention, she’ll likely seek out partners in her life who can help create that balance. Or, she’ll choose a man just like her father.
Though we often associate “daddy issues” to girls and women, let’s not forget that fathers are boys’ first role models when it comes to learning “what a man is”.
This is how clinical psychologist, Barbara Greenberg PhD, breaks it down:
“Here’s the deal. How their father treats their mother is one of the most important things that ever goes on in a kid’s life. If a father treats the mother poorly, not only will it influence the [daughter]’s choice of partners later in life and what she’ll tolerate in terms of abusive or unkind behavior, but it will also influence the girl’s self-esteem. That’s probably because her mother is willing to tolerate negativity and neglect, and the girl looks to her mother as a role model and says ‘Well, I guess this is what a woman tolerates.’
Boys have daddy issues too. If their fathers are treating their mothers like shit, boys think, ‘This is what being a man is like. You treat your woman poorly.’ So they influence their sons’ relationship issues just as much as the daughters’. I think with the daughters it affects their self-esteem more.”, VICE
Parent child relationships have deep psychological affects that quite honestly, I’m not equipped to address. And I don’t believe the statement above goes far enough either. But what I do know, very well, is the art of healing.
So let’s take a look at some of the ways to get your healing game on.
1. Stop repeating the same story
If there are patterns in your life, your behavior and your relationships you want to change, then stop repeating the same story of hurt and pain in your thoughts, and with your words. If it’s too soon to change the story and create a new one, then at the very least, stop repeating the old one. A story is only as real as the life that you give it.
2. But first, acknowledge the depths of the story and then release it
It’s not easy to simply let go of a story you’ve been repeating for decades. Nor is it likely that you’ll let it go without any resistance. That’s why I suggest creating a little séance, where you sit alone in a quiet, safe and comfortable space and think back on all the specific details of the hurt you’ve endured. Say the words out loud, “I remember when my dad (fill in the blank)” and then say the words, “I release this story.” Do this until you’ve released every last drop of your painful memories, and then finally let that shit rest in peace.
3. Reflect on your patterns and change them
Spend time journaling about past relationship experiences and noting down the common patterns. How they started, how you were in the relationships (jealous, loving, needy, too giving?), how you felt, the mistakes you made, things you put up with, similarities in your exes, and any other patterns you can possibly trace. Then map out the ways you’ll do things differently moving forward. This is an incredible practice for awareness and resolution.
4. Take time
Man, time really does heal all. But only if time is taken.
5. Acknowledge that you’re an adult with the power to direct the course of your life
Your childhood experiences definitely create obstacles in your life, but there comes a time when you have to pull up your bootstraps and take control of your own life. Be your own damn daddy. Your past can only be an excuse to live a certain way for so long. You’ve seen differently, and had opportunities to choose differently. Don’t let your past dictate your future. You can change whatever you want to.
Forgive your dad and forgive yourself.
7. Realize that all the things you may be looking for in a man exist within you
All the things you’re searching for in your dad and in a partner (protection, strength, attention, fulfillment) are all things you can give to yourself; you just gotta tap into them. That doesn’t mean you have to be masculine to compensate. It means creating the yin and yang balance of feminine and masculine energies within yourself that you’re trying to get from an outside source. It’s no easy feat but it’s something we all have to do to be the most complete version of ourselves. Practices like meditation are a great help for this, because they help peel back the layers to reveal the inherent qualities of just being. And in the truest state of being, without the jaded mentalities, interpretations of the past, or future fears, there’s this incredible ability to tap into your real power – where there’s an abundance of protection, strength, attention and love.
8. And speaking of which, love is always the answer
It heals all wounds, and it’s the greatest gift for your soul. Anything opposite to love really and truly is like drinking your own poison. Start every day with a meditation practice where you wish love, safety, health and happiness for yourself – and your father. Sending love to someone who’s hurt you is tough, really friggin tough. But doing so will crack through your shell of resentment like a hammer to glass…Go ahead, try it.
Peace, love and healing your “daddy issues”,