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Growing up, I never had a close relationship with my biological father. He and my mother never married, and we never had a consistent connection. He would come into my life every so often, pick me up on the weekend for a few hours, then weeks would go by before I saw him again.
As I got older, the few times I was around him, I started to feel like his niece or an extended family member. I never felt accepted or valued by him. I even called him by his first name because saying “dad” felt disingenuous, given the fact that we never developed a meaningful relationship.
Fast forward years later, in my adulthood, I began to start seeing a pattern. Every guy I dated was just like my biological father. Inconsistent, lukewarm emotions toward me, emotionally shut off, neglectful, and every so often, they would disappear without warning. Now, I can easily see how my adult relationships were just reflections of the longing that I had for being accepted and loved by my father.
Not every woman that has gone through a divorce has a story similar to mine. But sometimes, there is a connection between the relationship they had (or didn’t have) with their father and the connection they had with their ex-husband.
The father wound can lead to different wounds such as:
When the wound never gets recognized or healed, it doesn’t disappear. If anything, it can result in a woman who may have feelings of insecurity, unacceptance, fear, or distrust in adulthood.
This can result in getting into relationships where she feels like she has to prove herself to her spouse, is distrusting of him, or tries to be perfect out of fear that he may leave. All of these things can contribute to a difficult and tumultuous marriage. What’s worse is that even after a divorce, if this wound is not healed, the next person she dates will be exactly like her father or ex-husband.
As author and psychologist, Lori Gottlieb stated, “We marry our unfinished business”. Meaning, what we don’t sort out and heal will come back to greet us in marriage. Understanding how to heal your father wounds can help you not recreate your childhood in your next relationship.
To begin your healing journey, you must first recognize and acknowledge your past patterns. You must become aware of the things you’ve done to sabotage your relationships in the past. These things will often be related to the wounds you might have accumulated from your relationship with your father. The sooner you know what you need to fix, the sooner you can start to heal.
For you to make changes in your life, you need to believe that you are capable of doing so. For you to believe you are capable, you must have high self-esteem. So, begin the process of building up your self-esteem so you can move forward with confidence. If you don’t believe you can change, you never will.
Often, people with father wounds are somewhat out of touch with their feelings. Meaning, they don’t realize what they’re doing to themselves, because they have been doing so for so long. Consider imagining how you’d like to feel when it comes to your relationships. Do you want to feel more loved and at ease? Or, do you want to keep feeling anxious and stressed? The choice is up to you.
There are many things we can do on our own, but sometimes we need support – especially when it comes to issues from childhood. Consider partaking in therapy or counseling to help you through the process of healing your father wounds. Having a support system can help you stay on track during your healing journey.
During your healing journey, there will be times when you believe that you are not capable of changing. You will be tempted to give up and go back to your past patterns. To solve this issue, you must disconnect from your limiting beliefs. Having a more positive outlook will help you to push through the tough times that will arise as you attempt to change your life.
You now know how to understand and heal your father wounds. Healing these wounding is essential to the success of your current and future relationships. If you do not heal them, you will struggle to connect with emotionally available people who are right for you, and you will always be chasing the negative feelings that started with your father.
Tiffiny has a B.A. in Psychology, and master’s degree in Public Health Education. She worked in consulting for over 16 years, as well as previously owning a fitness and health business. In her personal life, she used personal development, mindset and health strategies to go from being overworked in a demanding corporate career, emotionally drained in a toxic marriage, physically unhealthy, and depressed to becoming an award-winning figure level bodybuilding athlete and entrepreneur. As a women’s empowerment coach, she works to help women get clear on their goals, build confidence, increase self-esteem, take action on their deep desires and create a life they love