The Father Wound: How Fathers Can Mess Up A Child’s Upbringing


I had a rough week. My family and I moved to a new place and the whole process was just too much for me to handle. I broke down physically, mentally and spiritually. I hurt my back and neck, I got an ear infection which is making me partially deaf, I got overwhelmed and emotionally triggered, I bursted into tears in at least three days, I let hopelessness come in again and I lost contact with my creative flow, reason why I haven’t updated the blog much.

There were days in which although I didn’t do much physically, I found myself knackered, exhausted to the bone. Yesterday was the first day I actually had a chance to sleep better and yet, in between papers to read, I spent the day falling asleep in bed. Moving takes a toll on you. After all, it’s a major change in life and it’s only normal to be stressful. I knew that since I moved four times in less than four years. I was not, however, prepared for what this particular move would entail.

I already shared and addressed here on the blog how my once problem with codependency was inherited from my parents and their previous generation. This year’s first six months were pretty much about working on the problems I used to find in the relationship with my mother. There was a huge mother wound but I learned to adjust my expectations and I finally became my own mother. This means every time I get overwhelmed or have a major problem today, I no longer feel the excruciating pain that used to come with the high expectations I had from my mother. Instead of feeling frustrated by the fact she can’t provide support and loving-care (she didn’t receive them as a child and she was never interested in self-actualization), I transformed myself into a source of comfort and love for myself.

What wasn’t clear for me in this process is that there was also a father wound needing to be taken care of. I knew I had a problem to solve regarding my father, but I didn’t expect it to be so complex and hurtful. This recent move, however, brought that problem to surface in a very violent way and I honestly suspect that was the reason why I got the ear infection. My father has a problem with anger addiction and, of course, he denies it. He has frequent anger bursts and he yells whenever something is not done according to his mental picture. Maybe this ear infection was a natural protection because while we were moving this week I was yelled at I don’t know how many times – I’m 30 years old now. My mother never protected or stayed by our side in these situations, so she didn’t support my upset and attempt to retaliate. She has always enabled his controlling and oppressive behaviour, which is only tempered when my mother removes her “affection” towards him. Then he becomes miserable and plays the victim role.

My parents’ relationship is messed up and they are also messed up as separate individuals. We all are, of course, but some people and families share a reality that is beyond shady. There are no perfect families, but growing up in a dysfunctional one has an incalculated damage. Mothers are supposed to be a source of loving-care and fathers a source of psychological protection and security. It took me decades to admit that I grew up in a reality in which I had none of these. One thing is to feel that there is something wrong, another is to come to terms with it and decide to do something about it to avoid passing the same toxic patterns to a future generation.

If you ask me how we do this, I have to say we need to be prepared for the uncomfortable feelings that come from realising that not all father figures are healthy and that, although painful, the inner work needs to be done, if we don’t want to keep feeding the generational trauma we were brought in. We must realise we can break the pattern as long as we become aware of how it has been played and perpetuated. For instances, I can’t expect my father to change and become a healthy source of protection and security. I never felt safe around him as a child because no matter how well I behaved there was always something to be yelled at. A glimpse of a peaceful and warm connection can always be eclipsed in a matter of seconds. I always ended up in tears because I could feel the anger and the injustice of being treated like an underdog.

I hope I get a job soon here in Lisbon so that I can spend as much time away from home as possible and start looking for an alternative place to live. It does me no good to stay here longer and I miss my independence. Some days I feel totally hopeless when I look at each area of my life. I throw myself a depressive self-pity party, which isn’t good. The more we feed the negative narrative, the more we dive into a place of almost no return. I want to think I’m clearing up the problems I ran away from in 2015, when I moved abroad. I can’t change my parents, but I can change how I see them and how my expectations from them affect me. Right now, this is my chance to heal and start from ground zero once my mind and heart make peace with my childhood and parental figures. I want to be able to offer my children a nurturing and safe environment, and I know this will only be possible if I work on myself now.

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7 thoughts on “The Father Wound: How Fathers Can Mess Up A Child’s Upbringing

  1. Good on you to start to better yourself now for your future children if you want some. Yes, no perfect parents, no perfect relationships… just be better and love yourself it’s the best solution if you cannot find one in the previous relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daddy issues. Relatable, even for an adopted child. I believe this is more common than we think, but as children, we’re often not taught enough (or at all) about self-love or seeking strength and guidance from a higher source. Most of what I’m learning at 48 comes from the realization that not only am I not responsible for others’ behavior, but I am only responsible for how I choose to react to it (or not). I’ve spent a better portion of my life trying to appease the very people who have abused, ignored, or taken advantage of me. And that season of “unbalance” is over, even if it’s family. You know the truth by how it feels. Take care of yourself, Vanessa. As always, I’m here to talk if you need me. You know how to reach me anytime. Big hugs and blessings, Mama!

    Liked by 1 person

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