In order for a boy to not just grow into a man but to act like one, it will be essential for him to receive the right care and guidance. For this to take place, both his mother and father will play an important role.
His mother will provide him with the care that he needs to emotionally develop and his father will provide him with the guidance that he needs to feel capable and to believe in himself. There is far more to both of these roles but this is the general gist of what each parent will do.
The boy will identify with his father, with his father serving as his first external representation of what it means to be a man. By identifying with him, it will allow the boy to experience an inner sense of strength and an idea of how he should behave.
As the years go by, he will start to create his own identity, and this will mean that he will no longer be as attached to his father’s image. Even so, what he internalised very early on, in relation to his father, will have provided him with the foundations that he needed.
A Natural Transition
Thanks to his mother’s love and his father’s support and the fact that he has been a good role model, there shouldn’t be a reason for him to resist the process of going from a boy to a man. As this is a process, it is not going to be something that happens in one go.
A small part of him may want to hold onto being a boy but a big part of him will allow himself to step into the next stage of his life. Being responsible, taking action, continuing to individuate and defining himself, and being of service, among other things, are likely to be his focus.
A Lot in Common
If he was to step back and think about what his father is like, he may see that he has a lot in common with him. He could be grateful that his father provided him with a healthy model of what it means to be a man.
So, although he might have the odd insecurity, he could find that he feels comfortable being a man and has a healthy relationship with his masculine aspect. He is also likely to have a healthy relationship with his feminine aspect due to what his mother was like.
A Fortunate Position
It could be said that he will be one of the “lucky” ones as not all men will be able to relate to his experience. For these men, their early experiences will have had a big effect on why they will look like men but they won’t feel like men.
This can be something that some of them are consciously aware of, and for others, it can be something that is just outside of their conscious awareness. Either way, what they experienced very early on will still have an effect on their life irrespective of whether they are or aren’t aware of this.
Back In Time
If, then, a man looks like a man but he doesn’t feel like one, it could show that, during his formative years, his father didn’t provide him with a healthy model of what it means to be a man. Instead of seeing his father as someone who he wanted to emulate, he may have been repelled by his father’s behaviour.
Now, this is not to say that he wouldn’t have identified with him; no, what it means is that he wouldn’t have allowed this to fully take place. By not being able to fully identify with his father, he might not have been able to develop a strong identity.
Left in Limbo
To develop an identity, he may have ended up identifying more with his mother. This may have meant that he ended up developing a very strong connection to his feminine aspect but more or less rejected his masculine aspect.
Then again, he might not have fully identified with either parent, which may have meant that he felt lost and didn’t know who he was. He may have felt like a non-entity and been unable to truly express himself.
Many years will have passed since he was a boy but he will still lack a strong sense of himself and be unable to embrace his masculine power, and perhaps even his feminine power. He can find that it is hard for him to take action, to be responsible, to be of service and, as for going through the individuation process and defining himself, that could be the last thing on his mind.
When he thinks about stepping into his power and actually being a man, he could think about what his father was like and experience a lot of resistance. Perhaps his father was controlled by his own masculinity, and, as a result of this, was aggressive and violent.
Drawing the Line
For him to embrace his own masculinity and to allow himself to become a man in more than name only, it will be essential for him to realise that his father provided him with a negative model of what it means to be a man and that this is not the only way for a man to behave. Another part of this will be for him to work through the emotional wounds that he is likely to carry from his early years.
By changing his view of what it means to be a man, and finding positive male role models can help with this, and healing his emotional wounds, he will gradually be able to mentally and emotionally separate from his father. This will allow him to connect to his true self and to be his own man.
If a man can relate to this and he is ready to change his life, he may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.