Father Wounds: Can A Man Have A Lot of Unmet Childhood Needs To Grieve After His Father Has Passed On?
If a man is in a position where he has just lost his father, he could be experiencing life in one of two ways. He could be in a very bad way emotionally, or he could be emotionally shut down.
Then again, there could be moments when he feels overwhelmed with grief and moments when he is out of touch with how he feels. Either way, this is going to be a deeply challenging time for him.
Therefore, it is going to be a good idea for him to reach out for the support that he needs so that he doesn’t suffer in silence. There is the chance that he won’t need to reach out for support as he could be surrounded by people who are there for him.
If this is the case, these people could have a good connection with their own emotions, hence why they are able to truly be there for him. He is then going to be in a very fortunate position.
Still, although he may surrender to how he feels, he could still have moments when he tries to carry on as normal. During this time, he might be able to forget all about what has happened, at least for a time.
In the stages of grief, this would be classed as ‘denial’, and it would simply be a defence against how he feels. But, although he wants to go back to how things were, his life will never be the same again, and, as time passes, a ‘new normal’ will replace the old normal.
There could be other moments when he is filled with anger and is able to put his grief to one side. This will be another stage of the grieving process and will be a way for him to avoid his ‘softer’ feelings.
When it comes to the stages of grief, there are said to be five; however, as the grieving process is not linear, it not a case of starting at stage one and then going towards stage five. It would be more accurate to see each stage as a segment of a circle, and one will stand on different sections of this circle for quite some time until they get to the stage where they are able to spend more time on the section that is to do with ‘acceptance’.
It is often said that time is the greatest healer, yet this is not completely true when it comes to grief. For him to feel better as time passes he will need to grieve; this will involve crying out the pain that is inside him.
Thus, if he was to stop himself from crying, for whatever reason, he will be preventing a key part of the grieving process from taking place. The conditioning that he has received throughout his life could play a part in this.
For example, during his early years, he may have been told that ‘big boys don't cry’ or that he ‘needs to be strong’ whenever he cried. This would have set him up to believe that crying was a sign of weakness and something that would cause him to be rejected by others.
Most likely, the people who told him this would have just been repeating what they heard and didn’t take the time to think deeply about what they were saying or about the impact that it would have. As for his adult years, he may have received a number of messages that were similar.
When it comes to his relationship with his father, he may have had a very close bond with him. Perhaps it was always like this or maybe, there was a point in time when they were anything but close.
Conversely, he might not have had a very close bond with him and this may have always been the case. Consequently, it could mean that this is a time when he is not only grieving the loss of his father; he is also grieving the loss of the father that he didn’t have as a child.
Through losing his father, the needs that he didn’t meet all those years ago would have also been brought to the surface. This could mean that his father was emotionally available throughout his early years.
The support, guidance and affirmation that he needed from his father would have seldom, if ever, been provided, which would have caused him to experience a lot of pain. Now that his father is no longer here, these unmet childhood needs will have been unlocked.
For a man to lose a father who he was really close to will be incredibly hard and losing a father who he wasn’t particularly close to will be just as hard. What can be different is that a man will be grieving the loss of the father that he had or he will be grieving the loss of both his father and the father that he never had and will never have.
With that aside, what matters is that he allows himself to grieve the loss of his father and doesn’t just stuff his feelings down. If he does deny how he feels and pushes it out of his conscious mind, sooner or later this pain will return.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, 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.