Continued from... What does Fathers Day mean to you?
We expect our Dad to be our protector, our strong go-to, our role model as to how a man should be. This is a primal need, a source of nurturing that we strive for. Children look up to their Dad and research has shown how his positive impact on their lives means that the areas of the brain such as language skills are more developed, just as one example.
What I feel is the most important though, is that children who had a positive Dad role model, father figure, are more regulated emotionally. This basically means that they can deal with challenging emotions and stresses in life, better than someone who didn’t experience this nurturing growing up.
To be better equipped for dealing with the challenges that life brings to our table, sounds a bit fluffy but think about it… life is full of challenges, lessons, stresses, difficulties, hard times… to be able to regulate these is what it’s all about!
If you can regulate these, it means that you have the best chance at positive relationships. And I don’t mean romantic relationships, I mean ALL relationships!
Think about it, what triggers you? People do! You might feel peeved at situations, but what really rises you, makes you fume with anger or cry hopelessly? People do, the people in the situations.
We now know through research, that the relationship we have with our Dad, dictates the relationship we have with ALL men.
Consequently, the hurts we experience as a child can be extremely long lasting and, in my opinion, do not go away unless you do the work on yourself. A lot of work sometimes, ongoingly. The deeper the hurt, the more work needed.
Certainly, you can sweep it all under a carpet, a really heavy, thick, multi-coloured one, so that no one notices the bumps as they call to your house and you pretend that everything is totally fine…
Now I have had my share of challenges in this part of my life and have done my fair share of work around it – work in progress…
And I see how it has shaped my life…
And I see how my life has improved with the work being done…
And I see, that they did the best they could with the skills and knowledge they had at the time…
Now, as a mother, I also see this phenomenon differently, from a different angle, a little scary even, as I am very aware that a situation, not even meant in any way neglectful, hurtful, not-being-there-full - can lead to the child still feeling that way. A seemingly innocent thing that may have happened, not happened, been said or not said, can lead to a big hurt which later could leave the child, now as an adult, feeling some kind of limiting belief, creating untold hurts.
We are all going to do this. We as parents are all going to do something, not meaning to, with the best of intentions, maybe we were stressed or tired or both, where our child is left feeling hurt.
My point is, it was this way for our parents too. They also did what they thought was mostly the right thing to do…
They did the best they could with the skills and knowledge they had at the time. I know that might be really shite, it might FEEL really messed up, on every level it might BE really messed up, however it is still a truth. They did what they thought was right. Much as what you do today, is what you think is right. You are not more right than they were.
In their head at the time they were right and in your head, with what you do today, you are right.
So where does that leave things?
It leaves it that you now have a choice:
You can continue to blame your Dad for all the things that he did ‘wrong’…
You can accept that he did his best…
And now you enter a new chapter where you explore what you are left with.
The emotions of sadness, anger, feelings of not being good enough and lack of self-worth… are all valid. I’m not saying what you are feeling is not valid, I’m only saying that casting blame doesn’t help. It doesn’t work. You will never find healing and peace while casting blame.
If you are new to this, start slowly, for now it’s great if you can fully embrace this new concept of accepting that your Dad, in fact everybody in the world, is doing the best that they know how with the set of skills that they have at this time.