What You Can Do Without A Father!
The gash on my innards was remarkable! It affected everything about me. My lack of understanding led me to misdiagnose who I really am. Every time I retold my story, adding polish and pizzazz, I increased the strength of the lies. I was open to trickery and manipulation. Thank God for false teeth.
My grandmother put me on a chair thinking I would watch her through the window as she hung the clothes on the line. I was a year and half old. Instead, I climbed over two wash tubs and into the wringer washing machine. Mimicking her, I stuck my hand into the wringer. Half way up my arm the wringer kept spinning, round and around, burning a nice scare into my forearm. She came in to find me face down in the water.
As my body grew the wound on my arm grew too. I’m use to it, of course, but everyone who sees it wants to know what happened. Being the consummate communicator that I am, I fashioned a story of a trip to New Orleans where as a young man I wrestled alligators. Toothless, mind you. Getting pinned underneath the ferocious creature, his rough skin tore up my arm. Hey, I convinced quite a few, before I would come clean!
Things happen to us and they stay with us. Childhood issues become adult problems. We make up stories because they sound better than the truth. We learn to talk about it in a way that garners sympathy to avoid the questions we don’t have answers to. What we really want is to find resolution for our dilemmas.
The first step to coming clean is to admit there’s nothing wrong with you. Our thoughts and feelings might be askew but that’s not who we are. The issues that often plague us didn’t originate with us. We deal with generational and cultural dynamics that must be taken into account in order to be intentional about resolving inner conflicts.
I had a hole inside, the shape of my father. His abandonment of me caused an emptiness that sprouted and flourished. Permeating every segment of my life. I gave myself an unconscious pass. I didn’t know, for many years, the root of my anguish. I artificially inseminated with sex, substances, rock & Roll, and religion and nothing birthed peace of mind.
When we are able to identify the ramifications of our beginnings we are able to focus on our endings. The scars will always be there but the pain doesn’t have to be. We don’t have to implode, repeat self-destructive habits, or remain chained to propaganda. We are not wrong to see what’s right. It’s wonderful to work together, to correct errors, with the people who participated in the mistakes but, it’s not required.
OUR POWER IS IN BEING WILLING TO FATHER OURSELVES
My father died without me ever getting to know him. I needed him to change my life I was in serious trouble. Let’s get real; whether your father is dead or alive moving on is your responsibility not his. We can’t hate on our fathers without hating on ourselves and becoming like them as a result.
My third step father was the most miserable human being I ever knew. He was angry and bitter. Jealous, insecure, and competitive. I could go on with an endless list of negatives. At times, I hated his very existence. I only lived with him for a few years, leaving home at fifteen, but, I was influenced by his behavior. I was not happy when some of his characteristics showed up in me.
Managing dysfunction doesn’t provide a path to change. I learned, the hard way, that what you hate is deficient. It’s what you love that’s fruitful. Spending time trying to alter the thinking, attitudes, and actions of others are obstacles of distractions. We can’t rewrite our own stories when we are preoccupied with the stories that other people are holding on to.
Transformation happens when we change our feeling, of being defective or damaged, to a feeling of being whole. A primary function of fatherhood is to validate children. If that wasn’t executed we have to take matters into our own hands. We give ourselves permission to rise above broken trust. If we don’t we’re apt to be a continuation of the things we despise.
Here’s the kicker, our fathers may be locked in their own fatherlessness. They may not be capable or willing of being any different. We have to make a choice about what we will do separate from them. When we accept our own value we are able to affirm ourselves, gain clarity, and establish a sense of worthiness. We then start attracting people and things based on a new paradigm.
LIFE IN THE FATHERLESS LANE
I was always excited to listen to him talk. He was someone I highly respected. I loved his concepts. Then he said this: “You don’t get what you want in life – you get what you are”. I didn’t want to be friends with him anymore. I thought, he couldn’t mean that. How could that be true? I immediately began to wrestle those words to the ground. Guess what? Those words are frightfully correct.
In the sanctuary of our private worlds reside the potential for everything that is possible. What we believe about ourselves determines what we experience. How we see ourselves is how we see everything else. When things didn’t work out the way I hoped it wasn’t because they shouldn’t, it was because they couldn’t. Everything in life operates by principle and not by luck.
Fathers are impact players. When our fathers are missing or fail everyone involved is affected. Even if we lose a father by premature death his absence has consequences. We are either very thankful for who they are or very hurt by who they weren’t. Good or bad we deal with the circumstances surrounding our relationships with our fathers.
Fatherless men can be unsure of themselves, acting timid or overcompensating. Living in a conundrum to love women without stealing their power and struggling to mentor their children without abuse. Women without fathers can battle low self-esteem, fear abandonment, or develop negative coping skills. Men and women can operate out of greed rather than contribution. These are only a few of the many pitfalls we can fall into and there are exceptions to every rule.
I failed miserably before I succeeded. I experienced setbacks in love, life, and vocation until I dealt with my father issues. Don’t worry about what is behind you, be concerned with what is in front of you. And, don’t fret over people who choose to only see your past. That’s all about where they are not where you are. There’s no need to fear moving on.
All adversity has optional outcomes. We can choose to be the victim or the victor!
For more information on personal transformation pick up a copy of my book,
If Only I Had A Dad: Finding Freedom From Fatherlessness. http://amzn.to/2lMHJ9t
Rick, without a doubt people who read about your experiences will glean much wisdom from your writing. Great post! John.
Thanks for the kind words, John. I couldn’t ask for more than people finding me helpful.