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March 26, 2024 40 mins

Father wounds arise from a disorganised or complicated relationship with our father figure - either due to them being physically or emotionally absent, harsh and critical, unfeeling or abusive and can result in a number of dysfunctional behaviours and emotional patterns as we grow older. In this episode we are breaking down the psychology of father wounds and discussing: 

  • The origins of father wounds and the role of generational trauma
  • Mother wounds versus father wounds 
  • Attachment theory and father archetypes 
  • Father hunger and father replacements 
  • Is forgiveness the only answer? 
  • The power of inner child healing 

All of that and more, listen now! 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
Hello everybody, and welcome back to the Psychology of Your Twenties,
the podcast where we talk through some of the big
life changes and transitions of our twenties and what they
mean for our psychology. Hello everybody, Welcome back to the show.

(00:26):
Welcome back to the podcast, new listeners, old listeners. Wherever
you are in the world, it is so great to
have you here, back for another episode as we, of
course dive into the psychology of our twenties.

Speaker 2 (00:40):
How are you going? How have we all been? It's
been a while since I asked that, and I'm not
expecting an answer, since this is kind of just me
in this room right now recording. But sometimes it feels
nice to just imagine you on the other side, listening
in your car or a work or the gym, whilester
cleaning the house. I hope you're all doing amazing and
there is something great you are looking forward to, or

(01:02):
something you're especially grateful in life at the moment. This
week's topic is a little bit heavy and might be
rather intense for some people, perhaps very vulnerable and revealing,
so I thought it would be nice to just start
out with something positive to focus on before we jump
straight in, because Today we are going to be talking

(01:23):
about father wounds and the ways in which our relationship
with our father within the family dynamic can lead to
a lot of difficult beliefs, difficult emotions, difficult behaviors later
in life. Father wounds are really complex and really difficult,

(01:43):
and they emerge from a myriad of different experiences, mainly
our fathers being absent in our childhood, being emotionally or
physically unavailable, consistently prioritizing work over family, not taking on
a positive and active role in our lives, perhaps being abusive.
Anything that disrupted the dynamic or relationship between you the

(02:07):
child and your father the caregiver can result in this
form of unresolved trauma or disconnect. Divorce, cheating, alcoholism, a
few other examples remarriage, having a new, younger family. These
are all things that disturb or injure the connection and

(02:29):
the attachment that we have with this important figure in
our lives, and it can be really formative and impactful.
People sometimes call it daddy issues. I don't love that term,
especially in a clinical sense, because it's become very poppy,
I guess, and I also think that it has been
reduced to kind of shame women in particular for their sexuality.

(02:50):
You know, she likes to have a lot of sex
because she has daddy issues. It's a lot more complex
than that, and I think this kind of language is
quite deductive. As with anything that has to do with
psychology and our mental health and our emotional state and
our behaviors, their explanation is not always as simple or

(03:12):
simplistic as we might hear on social media or as
might be displayed online. And a lot of the time,
our father wounds really only begin to be revealed as
we grow older, especially in our early or late twenties,
sometimes even later for some people, when we have left
the orbit of our family, we have flown the nest.

(03:34):
We are beginning to see what may have been normal
for other people that was not the case for ourselves.
I think we are given both the gift and the
curse of hindsight and the ability to compare our childhood
history with our friends' experiences. And when we do that,
often if you are someone who has a father wound,

(03:56):
a gap emerges. You begin to see that you might
not just be an angry person or a sad person,
or a reactive person, or someone who lacks confidence and
trust in themselves. It's actually a lot deeper than that,
and the truth is contained in our childhood memories. It's

(04:16):
not all about your personality. You were not destined to
be this individual. There was something that emerged between you
and your caregiver that has created a whole, patent, whole
flow on effect of things that as an adult you're
only now just working through. I think as we grow
into our adult selves, we often become a lot more

(04:37):
reflective and critical of our childhood experiences. We think back
on the things that we had to accept or at
least tolerate as children when we were dependent on our caregivers,
when we were powerless and vulnerable, and now as independent people,
we can be a bit more honest about it because
we don't need to be kind of in a survival mode.

(05:00):
That honesty often reveals things that we have suppressed or
avoided thinking about for a long time out of a
need for self preservation. We didn't know what we know now.
We were just kids who accepted the standard that was
set for us, and we didn't yet have the cognitive
or the mental skills to kind of rationalize our experiences
and have an adult understanding of what occurred or we

(05:23):
felt was pain. And this can be a really scary
thing to unpack because we don't like to see our parents,
our fathers as being fallible or even human. For so long,
they have this almost godlike status in our minds. They
can do anything, say anything, They are everything. So it
feels strange to think that this person who we entrusted

(05:44):
with all of our needs may have done something to
harm us, either knowingly or unknowingly. Unconsciously as well, we
may not even realize that this is what has happened,
and that there are certain dysfunctional habits or patterns romantic
relationships and our professional careers, in our friendships that all

(06:07):
come back to our childhood. There is a lot of
resentment perhaps that comes up later in life when your
parents do get older and you suddenly realize that you
have to take care of them and there are certain
things that you haven't quite worked through, or maybe you
are about to become a parent, you are considering having children,
and you're like, I don't want to repeat what I experienced.

(06:28):
There's a sense of inadequacy because there was never a
good example set for you. There is so much to
be said about the impact that these wounds have and
there is a lot of misinformation. They have become this idea,
this concept of father wounds has become somewhat of a buzzword,
and with that we often become detached from what is

(06:49):
really occurring in our unconscious, subconscious minds on a very
psychological and emotional level. We aren't exactly clear on what
it means to have a father wound from an attachment perspective,
and we aren't exactly clear on where to go from there.
How do we work through this on our own, maybe
with our family with a romantic partner. Is forgiveness the

(07:10):
best policy? I don't think so. I think it requires
more than that. There is an acknowledgment of our father
wounds that at some point we're all going to have
to do, We're all going to have to reflect on,
and I want to talk about it today, starting of course,
with a theoretical premises for why these occur. So a

(07:30):
lot of the research that father wounds are based around
comes back to attachment theory, one of the most well known,
I think concepts and doctrines in psychology. I'm sure we've
all heard of it before, but for a brief refresher.
Attachment theory was first introduced by two psychologists, John Bolby
and Mary Ainsworth, and it followed their observations of children,

(07:53):
specifically like quite young children, infants almost and they expose
these infants to these situations in where which their parents
were absent, or they were approached by a stranger, or
they were left in a strange situation, and they observed
their interactions and from that they came to this conclusion
that the child's relationship with their caregiver would predict how

(08:15):
they behaved in this strange situation, and from their behaviors,
we could categorize these children into attachment styles. As children,
we have some very core physical, emotional, mental, even social
needs and we are entirely reliant on our parents to

(08:36):
fulfill these for us. This of course includes the need
for security, the need for emotional safety, and availability for comfort,
for food, for love. Not every parent meets their children's
needs in the same way or in the way that
their child requires. It is just a sad fact of life.
Some people do not know how to be parents, They

(08:58):
do not know how to provide for their children, and
this is often very generational. Our parents, our fathers, behave
the way that they did and that they do because
of how their parents acted, who were the way that
they were because of their upbringing, and that can get
passed down to us through parenting styles, and the cycle
continues through the impact on our behaviors. When we perhaps

(09:20):
want to or do have our own children, the only
model that we have for a parent child relationship is dysfunctional.
How our needs were met or not met in childhood
affects how we relate to ourselves and others in relationships,
in parenting, in friendships, when it comes to our self esteem,
our independence, our ability to deal with conflict, and so

(09:42):
much more. Now, according to attachment theory, people who grew
up with supportive and present caregivers are more likely to
develop a secure attachment style. That's about sixty five percent
of us according to recent estimates. By contrast, those with
less engaged care givers, possibly people who have a father wound,

(10:04):
we are more likely to develop an insecure attachment style,
such as an avoidant or an anxious attachment style. A
father wound can contribute to these forms of insecure attachment,
and it is what it sounds like. It is an
emotional mark, a scar, psychological scar, left from an experience
that maybe caused us pain, some emotional discomfort and distress.

(10:27):
Even if we didn't realize it until much later on,
some kind of damage was done. And so when you
go out into the world and want to form attachments
with people who are not your caregivers, the only basis
you have for what that should look like is the
attachment you have with your parents. They are our role
model for relationships. And when we're talking about father wounds,

(10:49):
they are our role model for relationships with men. You know,
Freud and Jung talk about this a lot, talked about
this a lot. Sorry past tense, but we really do
use our parental relationships a blueprint for our adult relationships
with the same or the opposite gender. I know this
sounds quite strange, but really, as children, we learn through
observation and we learn through experience, and we learn to

(11:10):
mimic what we experienced as children with you know, a
member of the opposite sex or the same sex, normally
our mother or our father, and we take that through
our lives. Our fathers are our first example of what
we think men are like, how they behave, how they
treat us. There are innate character and qualities If you
have an angry father, you will think that all men

(11:31):
are angry. If you had an absent father, you naturally
conclude that all men have this innate tendency to leave
and abandon you, to not give you affection or attention
unless they're trying to win your approval or apologize. If
you had a father who left the family, who cheated,
who started a new family, you assume that this is
in built to male destiny because you don't have any

(11:54):
other examples to base it off, at least no other
examples that are that clear and obvious to you, that
are that kind of personal. And this is kind of
the father's role. This is the father archetype, the one
that is set by your parent, and therefore the male archetype. Right,
you don't know to expect differently. You don't know anything else,

(12:18):
even if you had other males present in your life.
The father, your father, is the one you look up
to the most. And so that womb that is left
from a damaging interactional relationship begins to expand beyond just
your thoughts into how you treat men, into how you
engage in relationships with men, into how you treat yourself.
But also just people in general. It differs from the

(12:40):
mother wound primarily just in the role that a mother
typically plays versus the father. The major distinction does really
come down to societal expectations. These expectations might not be
correct or ideal, but gender roles do still dictate what
fathers are asked to provide compared to mothers, whereby mothers
provide a lot of emotional safe for their children, a

(13:01):
lot of the care, the comfort, the kind words. Whereas
fathers are typically seen as physical providers or protectors, advice givers,
financial providers as well, they're often seen as more tough
or disciplinary. It doesn't mean that that is always the case.
I want to say that it doesn't mean that it
should be the case. But often when a father is

(13:22):
absent or emotionally physically unavailable, you know, maybe struggling with
their own things, distant because of a divorce, whatnot, we
can still go to our mother for emotional comfort because
that is who we would normally seek out. It doesn't
mean that we don't still want the approval of our father.
We still want the support this figure offers in our lives.

(13:44):
If you felt unloved, unknown, unwanted by your father from
an early age. This really influences how you see yourself
because a lot of these things happen during a really
formative emotional chapter for us, when we are developing things
like our self esteem and our self conscert and father
absenteeism makes you think that something is wrong with you,

(14:05):
makes you think that you have done something that has
made him not love you. And so as you grow up,
you're constantly seeing men as these people who hurt you,
but also seeking out the approval of men as a
way to almost gain mastery over past pain or to
show yourself that history will not be repeated. You don't
have any other guide, You don't have any other source

(14:26):
of information that is telling you to act differently. Actually,
I think we should stop and talk about that for
a second, because I feel like we need to lay
down the exact behavioral or relational origins of these kinds
of wounds, and the full span of behaviors that we
might see is symptomatic of this kind of disorganized relationship.
I think it is this tug of war between wanting

(14:48):
your father's approval and presence and pushing away the desire
to be reliant on him or to expect more than
what he can offer, not wanting to be disappointed in him,
therefore not wanting to be disappointed in other men. Our
father wounds, as we said before, are the result of
a distance, a breach, and expectations, you know, your father

(15:08):
being unable to provide what he should and what we
want him to provide. You know, it's commonly relates to
fathers who were physically or emotionally absent, over protective, controlling,
dealing with substance issues, verbally, physically, emotionally abusive, perhaps they
even passed away when you're a child. As sad as
it is, and I want to caveat this by saying,
there are some things that it can you know, some

(15:30):
of these things can occur and not necessarily result in
the typical outcomes we associate with father wornes. I have
friends whose fathers unfortunately passed away or who went to prison,
or who have remarried, and they have not had the
same struggles, you know, as other people have had. On
the other hand, I have seen people who have had
two loving parents who have gone on to really struggle

(15:52):
with maintaining certain relationships and feelings secure about themselves. Trauma
is accumulation of a lot of factors and predisposition and
environments and personality. I think a lot of people view
it as if X happens, why occurs? You know, if
your father abandoned you, you are traumatized. It doesn't always
work out that way. What we do observe about father

(16:14):
wounds when they occur, though, is this So. I'm going
to list a couple examples here of typical patterns that
we would see in response. Firstly, people who have been
negatively impacted by this relationship with their father might tend
to repeat the pattern of their emotionally absent parent by
pushing people away, by having incredibly rigid boundaries, self isolating

(16:39):
because they are afraid of unreliable people, such as someone
who replicates or appears like their father sneaking into their
life through the cracks and hurting them. That might mean
that you struggle connecting with people, you have fewer really
close relationships. But as one article put it, this one
therapist said it really well, the pain of feeling lonely

(17:03):
sometimes to you is nothing compared to the pain you
anticipate from someone letting you down the way your father did. Now,
this is what we call an abandonment fear, and it's
really common in these situations. Being let down hurts. Being
rejected by a parent of all people hurts, and so

(17:27):
by avoiding getting close to anyone, we avoid repeating that
outcome that we associate with a lot of terrible psychological,
mental emotional pain. On the other side of the coin,
because we develop an understanding of how we should be
treated based on our caregiver's behavior, we may be also
used to emotionally unavailable or poor treatment from our fathers,

(17:48):
and so when these things maybe appear in our adult
romantic relationships, we already have a tolerance for them. We
have been taught that they are acceptable. So you're not
pushing people away, but you'll I don't want to say
letting people in because it makes it sound like you're
at fault here. But people are entering your life who
might not treat you right or with respect, who are

(18:09):
a manipulative, emotionally absent, mentally abusive, who remind you of
your father. In another lay, we may also sustain a
pattern of emotionally hollow or shallow relationships situationships and why
is that?

Speaker 1 (18:24):
Well?

Speaker 2 (18:24):
Some psychotherapists would suggests that you may have an unconscious
wish to repair the early father wound by having a
relationship with a person that creates similar feelings and familiar
feelings that you experienced from your childhood. So basically, what
you're seeking out is a father type replacement, sometimes someone
who is older, sometimes someone who replicates his same emotional, physical,

(18:51):
mental patterns, because by doing that, what you're experiencing is
something that is predictable. You already know the outcome because
you're familiar with this kind of man. But the more
you date these people, the more you feel like you
can change them. And by changing the relationship you have
with this person romantically, it feels like you have more
power over the relationship you have with your father, because

(19:14):
by controlling this current situation, it makes you feel like
you could have had control over the past situation. Now,
being in a relationship with someone consistent and reliable can
actually feel potentially very emotionally threatening because we're not used
to that, and so we tend to return to what
we have become accustomed to, even if it's worse for us,

(19:37):
even if the person is controlling or absent or demanding.
This may also evolve from a place of poor self
esteem and self confidence that manifests as a result of
a father who made you feel undeserving and made you
feel unlovable. Receiving love and acceptance from a caregiver, from
a father, from our parents in general, is so important

(19:58):
for developing our sense of self worth and self concept
because the words they speak to us become our truth,
and they teach us how to treat ourselves. So someone
said this to me the other day, and it really
hit the nail on the head. Each of us has
an inner critic in our brain, in our mind saying
negative things to us, Does that, in a critic sound

(20:20):
like your mother or your father? I think that's really
revealing of what kind of wound you might have, Or
it might sound like someone else entirely. But when we're
talking about father wounds, often the words that you hear
yourself say to yourself sound a lot like the words
that your father spoke to you as a child. It
might tell us that we aren't worthy of love. That's
why our father was absent. We are easily replaceable. That's

(20:42):
why our father left. We are bad. That's why our
father yelled at us. We are stupid. That's why our
father criticized us. You might counteract this by trying really
hard to be good, leaning on perfectionism and being the
good kid, but still finding that nothing, no achievement, no
positive affirmation, makes you feel good enough or worthy, because

(21:05):
these negative beliefs are so deeply ingrained in you. Sometimes
having another parent who speaks out against these things or
fights back against this negativity with positivity can be really protective.
But you know, there are just times when that inner
critic is louder than our external cheerleader, and so we
still want our father's approval. That is what we crave

(21:27):
because we never got it. In men, especially who have
a distant absence emotionally unavailable father, there is actually a
specific name for this. It's known as father hunger, whereby,
regardless of how they were treated and hurt, they still psychologically,
on some level hunger after their father's approval and presence.

(21:49):
Or they seek out male role models, male figures in teachers, mentors, bosses,
as a replacement or a proxy for the love and
support and encouragement their father deprived them of. My father
never loved me, But here is this person who will
Here is this male figure who can be his replacement,
who can give me all the things that I was
always looking to him for. I really think that we

(22:12):
need to do more research on this, primarily with young
boys and men, hopefully longitudinally as well, because I think
logically this does make a lot of sense, right like
boys admire and aspire to be their father's women take
on the traits of their mothers. But I really want
to look into where this attachment to an external icon

(22:32):
comes from, how they choose the replacement. Another kind of
pattern that is indicative of a father wound is that
people find themselves lashing out as their fathers did, or
they are so overwhelmed with rage and resentment that they
can't control their emotional outbursts. It may also be because
they have not been shown an example of how to

(22:54):
self regulate, how to self soothe. There is this saying
that if you grew up with an angry man in
your house, there will always be an angry man in
your house. Because you take on that rage, you become
the angry man. You don't know any other way. And
if your father got to be angry, by reclaiming that
anger for yourself and being visibly angry at the world

(23:16):
at others, you feel like you are no longer the target.
You were the distributor of all the fury that was
once directed towards you, and so it gives you back
the power you never felt you had. Or it also
is just this unresolved trauma trying to find an outlet
through a dysfunctional coping mechanism. The sadness, the pain, the

(23:37):
frustration has nowhere to go, and it builds up. It
makes you feel terrible, and the way out of that
is to be angry, and we can often trace that
back to a father wound. And finally, kind of on
a similar note, we have impulsive behaviors. You want to
gain control over your life in a way that you
may have been unable to do with a controlling or

(23:59):
even an abuse father, and so you act out because
it gives you the illusion of freedom. You do everything
your dad said not to do, because that is one
way to reinforce within yourself that he no longer has
control over this adult version of you. You are no
longer a child. That child version of you is gone.
You are in charge now, and so almost as a

(24:21):
delayed rebellion, you may do things that are quite self destructive,
or engage in self sabotage because at least you now
have a say, even if your actions aren't aligning with
what you want, you get to be in control. I
think this is where this stereotype of people with absent
fathers having a lot of sex comes from. I just
want to say, I looked into this, I searched, I researched,

(24:43):
I deep dived. I did not find a single peer
reviewed academic article that could confirm that stereotype for me.
So I think we can kind of disregard it. Father
wounds may result in more risk taking behavior, but that
is not always related to sex.

Speaker 1 (24:57):
Right.

Speaker 2 (24:57):
We could make this same an equal link to shoplifting
if we want it, or dangerous driving. In terms of
life outcomes, though, there has been some research academic research
that has observed how children who grew up without a
present father are more likely to drop out of school,
more likely to spend time in jail. This was research

(25:18):
conducted in the United States, though, I do think it's
important to also consider things like intergenerational trauma, systemic racism,
or social supports. I think that contributes both to father
absenteeism and also childhood outcomes and adulthood outcomes. So I
think when anytime we see like an article like that
that's saying like, if this person has this, they will
become this, we got to sit back and really examine

(25:40):
that a little bit because it's not always as clear
cut as that. We're also seeing research this paper actually
out of Australia that suggests that absent fathers during childhood
can negatively impact our social emotional development, particularly by increasing
aggressive or attention seeking behaviors. That is something that we

(26:01):
have already gathered from above. Right, you have all this
fury that was directed towards you, that you never learned
how to self regulate because your father never self regulated,
and you have all this sense of like this person,
this man that has all this power over you that
you always wanted to approval from, and now that you're
an adult and you never got that. Now that you're

(26:22):
an adult and you're still looking for it, you do
all these things as a way to maybe gain attention
but also to bring back a sense of freedom and
control over your life. It's both interesting, but I would
say more so devastating to see how important this relationship
is and what occurs when it is disturbed. Once again,

(26:44):
I will say it's not always the case, but on
a very unconscious level. I think we have a deep
need to feel love and attached to the people who
are meant to care for us. And if they don't
prove that they can meet this need, if they gain
our trust and then break it, they harm us. The
impacts of that are deep and significant and show up

(27:06):
in so many ways, mother, father, parent, caregiver. The human
needs to bond and rely on others is perhaps one
of our most primal and God forbid when someone doesn't
take that responsibility seriously, sometimes we just don't have it
in us to forgive them. So what I want to
talk about next is what do we do if you

(27:26):
have recognized a father wound within yourself? Do you just
live with it? Do you just live with the failed relationships?
Do you just live with the anger? Do you just
try and ignore it day in and day out? Or
is there something that we can do well? I think,
of course I wouldn't be saying that if there wasn't.
I do not like the idea of false hope, but

(27:46):
one of healing and love. So we're going to talk
about that a little bit more. The steps forward, the
steps out of this after this shortbreak if you have
identified a father wound within yourself that is impacting your
ability to love, to form connections with the kind of

(28:09):
person you want in your life for the long haul,
to form a secure attachment to date, to manage your emotions,
to see yourself accurately and with compassion. The next question is, naturally,
well what do I do? There are so few guide
books for this kind of stuff, and a lot of
the resources focus specifically on trying to repair the relationship.

(28:32):
I think that's admirable. I do think that's part of
the story, but that's not always an option for all
of us. I think the reason we see this perspective
of forgiveness more than others is because if you do
any research into father wounds, you will find that a
lot of the literature and father wounds has very religious

(28:53):
undertones that are perhaps preaching something that is outdated, not
good for everyone, but matches the internal teachings of a
specific faith or a church. I see a lot about
how like not having a biological father should mean you
accept your spiritual father, or how forgiveness is the only
path forward because that is what God preached. Spiritual healing

(29:15):
can be powerful, but let's be honest, it's not for everyone.
It hasn't really played a role in my life. There
is also a power dynamic there of submission and at
times sweeping things under the rug that I don't love
that is not therapeutic, and that can be really confusing
and frustrating, very hard to square. When you're looking for help.

(29:35):
You're going online out into the world being like, Okay,
I've done the work, I've identified what has happened. Now
I want like a reasonable explanation for what to do next,
and the only option you have is forgiveness. I just
don't think that that is particularly fair. It's not an
option for everyone, not just practically, because you may not

(29:56):
have a relationship with your father anymore. They may have
passed on, we have experienced a significant cognitive decline since
the last time you saw them. You may just like
I said, not have any contact with them. So practically,
forgiveness active forgiveness is not an option. But emotionally and
mentally it might not be an option either. We just
don't want to forgive and have to go through the

(30:18):
process that would allow us to find closure. I do
think that there is such a thing as forgiving someone
for yourself and not for them. That is a really
powerful thing and can be incredibly healing for some people
to be like, I understand why this happened, and I
understand that it wasn't my fault, and I forgive you
for what you may have done. But also I think

(30:42):
in order to forgive sometimes it does have to be
this like active remembering, and that can really open the
door to be hurt again. You are not always going
to be promised an answer that will satisfy you, especially
since people don't like to be confronted with their flaws
and their wrongdoings, and these wounds are often very intergenerational.
You may also risk being back into an unstable, unhealthy relationship,

(31:05):
which may trigger past coping mechanisms and trauma. There are
many reasons why people don't necessarily want to forgive. Family
trauma is not a situation where you always have to
forgive either, but it doesn't mean that you are cursed
to kind of struggle for the rest of your life.
I think that you can acknowledge why your father was

(31:26):
like this, What made him this absent figure, what made
him this angry man in the house, what made him
emotionally unavailable or harsh or mean and still reach the
conclusion that what is best for you is to remain distanced.
That is how you will move forward. I really do
believe that we cannot always rely on other people to

(31:48):
heal us, especially the person who has created the pain
and the emotional psychological damage to begin with. They can
provide us with information, they can apologize, they can provide
us with explanation. But I do think we have to
take all of that and reach our own conclusion. This
may involve really unpacking your attachment style or when you

(32:09):
are tempted to fall into patterns of avoidance, isolation, anger,
self sabotage, pain. Are you seeing those things in your relationships,
especially especially your relationships with men and as a coping mechanism,

(32:30):
which is what these things are. Is it actually serving you?
Is it making your life better to push people away?
Is it making your life better to keep going for
people who are emotionally unavailable so that you can keep
them at a distance. It might make you feel emotionally
safer because it minimizes the capacity to be hurt again,

(32:53):
But in the long run, I just don't feel like
we have to live in this state of always being
hyper vigilant to the potential for hurt. Part of that
involves allowing people in taking a chance on your ability
to trust someone else even though you know that they
could potentially hurt you. Now, this is I was going

(33:17):
to talk about this a little bit more, but we
actually have a whole episode on this called Understanding Our
Fear of Intimacy, and there is just a lot more
advice in there that I feel like I would just
be repeating. So if you want more information on that,
go and listen to that episode. It talks about how
to push past fear and relationships, how to unpack fear,
how to unpack the wounds I hate, father wounds that

(33:40):
contribute to anxiety and stress and repetition in our relationship patterns.
The thing about these kinds of wounds, like father wounds,
is that they do often become generational, right, they do
often get passed down and not just generation, but they
do become repeated and very ingrained. And it impacts the
people around us, but most of all, it impacts our

(34:02):
own happiness and our own fulfillment and our sense of peace.
That is, who matters the most in this situation. You,
You matter the most, And I think there is a
lot of power in how we choose to speak to ourselves,
to get rid of that angry or disappointing voice in
our head, to release our own sense of blame and
shame that seems to linger even after we've moved out,

(34:23):
even after we have no contact with our father, And
that is where the practice of reparenting also becomes so critical.
You may have heard about in a child healing or
in a teen healing recently. We've talked about it before
on the podcast. I think it is a real amazing
way of thinking about childhood problems as having adult solutions. Right,

(34:48):
there is something that you can do about them even
if you're no longer in that situation. So basically, the
premise of this kind of healing is that our childhood
self does not disappear. Memories that we make at that
time remain. They are a foundation for all of our
future experiences, for our interpretations, for how we see the world,

(35:08):
and there are things that are stored in those past
versions of ourselves that impact us in the current day. Obviously,
we cannot go back and undo the past. As sad
as it is, there is nothing we can say, nothing
we can do that is going to undo those experiences.

(35:29):
So we think a lot of us feel quite trapped
by past trauma. Right. I'm only the things that have
happened to me, and there is nothing I can do
to act on those things because they are untouchable. But
the idea around in a child healing is that that
version of you that was hurt, that was harmed, that
was damaged, that was put through psychological, emotional, physical pain,

(35:51):
they are still alive. They are still present, and as
you become an adult, you have the opportunity to reparent
them in a way that it's going to be benefit
and healing. You are now responsible for creating a psychological
internal environment where you feel safe enough to explore the
past and then heal from that by giving your inner

(36:11):
child what they never had while simultaneously showing yourself that
you can meet your own needs. You are deserving of
love or joy or safety or whatever it is that
you required that you did not get. You are safe now.
The past is the past. That is a terrible thing,
but it is also a beautiful thing because you are

(36:32):
now this future, current version of you, who knows more,
who can do more, who can act on your knowledge
and heal that version of you that couldn't help themselves.
I really love this idea. Part of inner child healing
involves firstly like setting boundaries for yourself, the boundaries that
your childhood self couldn't set, creating environments and opportunities for

(36:55):
joy and for happiness, giving in to your inner child's
by providing them with the things that they didn't get,
whether that is like material and physical, like clothes that
they wanted or food that they want to they didn't have,
or comforts that they weren't allowed to indulge in. And

(37:16):
then also just speaking kindly to that version of you.
Like I said, there is this inner critic in all
of us, and a lot of the time it sounds
either like our mother or our father or someone from
our history. We take on that negative voice and it
becomes our own. So instead of thinking of it as
your father's voice, think of it as you're inner child's voice,

(37:36):
of this five year old self sitting in front of
you saying I feel stupid, I feel unlovable, I feel undeserving.
If a five year old was saying that to you,
what would you say back to them? You wouldn't be like,
oh my god, shut up, I don't want to think
that anymore. You wouldn't be like, oh, yeah, you're totally right,
that is who we are, of course not that's a
five year old child, that is a seven year old child,

(37:59):
that that is an infant. And so treat them as
if that version of you was sitting in front of
you right now saying all those things. How would you
speak back to them? How would you ask them to
change their thoughts to be more aligned with how much
you love them, and the goodness and the vulnerability and
the purity that you can see in them. There are
so many other examples of this that I think are

(38:19):
so valuable, But basically, what it comes down to is
just radical self compassion, choosing to love yourself forcefully, almost
even when everything about your past, everything about who you
believe you are, is telling you that you are underserving.
It is almost an act of rebellion to say, no,
I'm not going to listen to that. I'm going to

(38:41):
set a whole new attitude towards myself. I'm going to
set up a whole new perspective, a whole new way
of living that is one of joy, that is one
of acceptance, that is one of love and openness and
whatever happened in the past is in the past. I
now have a duty to embrace it and move forward.
So I think that's where I'm going to end that episode.
I want to send complete utter love to any one

(39:04):
of you who is dealing with a father wound right now.
I really hope that this has helped you understand it more,
understand how it does make us who we are. Why
there are certain things in your life right now that
feel out of control because they may not even be
in your control, there subconsciously coming from childhood treatment that
you are not aware of yet. I will also say

(39:26):
there is so much that a therapist can help with
when it comes to this, particularly a psychotherapist. A lot
of the stuff that happens in our unconscious has been
kind of described and derived from a lot of Carl
Jung's work, and he obviously informs psychotherapy. So there are
people out there who are so equipped to help you
through this. But I am really sending you love and

(39:48):
I'm sending you healing, and I hope that you learned something.
I hope that you understand yourself better now. And if
you did enjoy this episode and you feel like there
is someone else who needs to hear it. Please feel
free to send it to them and make sure you
leave a five star review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever
you are listening right now, and if you have thoughts,
have feelings want to share, you can send me a

(40:10):
message at that psychology podcast. I love hearing from you guys.
If you have an episode suggestion, if you want us
to dive into mother Wounds next, maybe that would be
a great one to do. Please let me know and
as always, be kind to yourself, be gentle with yourself,
and we will be back next week with another episode.
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