Father Wounds: Can A Man Have A Strong Need For Approval If He Grew Up With An Emotionally Unavailable Father?
If a man’s father was rarely, if ever, emotionally available during his formative years, this is likely to have been a time when he didn’t receive what he needed in order to develop in the right way. This would have caused him to experience a lot of pain.
However, he wouldn’t have had any other choice than to do the best that he could to handle what was going on. Now that he is an adult, there is the chance that he has ‘forgotten’ all about what took place during this stage of his life.
It’s All in the Past
Assuming that he has no recollection of what occurred, it could be said that what took place won’t affect him. It will be ‘in the past’ and he won’t be able to remember it, so it won’t matter what happened.
The best thing for him to do will be to focus on the now and to create a life that is deeply fulfilling. Perhaps, this is what he has been doing for quite some time and is somewhat happy with the life that he leads.
He could be in a position where he is seen as ‘successful’ in the eyes of others, and this could be because he fits the mould when it comes what society typically defines as success. If he works for someone else, he could have risen to the top and earn a fair amount of money.
Thank to this, he could have a certain level of status, a flash car, a big house and be with someone who enhances his image. He could also associate with all the ‘right’ people; those who are also ‘at the top’.
To get to this level and to maintain it, it is highly likely that he is extremely motivated. It will be this strong force within him, along with other factors, that has allowed him to rise to the top of his field.
From the moment he wakes up, until the moment he goes to bed, this force is likely to be there. The setbacks that he has experienced throughout his life may have knocked him down from time to time, but they won’t have been enough to completely put his fire out; if this fire has ever been put out, it will have soon returned.
Over the years, he may have received a lot of approval and this can be something that has a big effect on them. Other people can admire him and the life that he leads; seeing him as a role model.
However, although he will bathe in approval, the approval that he receives from other men may have the biggest effect on him. It could be even more specific than this with there being a certain type of man who uplifts him.
A Closer Look
From the outside, this man can appear to be ‘well-adjusted’ and to have it all together. Even so, this could be a man who is out of touch with who he is and is being controlled by what took place during his early years.
Consciously, he won’t be aware of what took place in ‘the past’, but what took place in the past will still be defining his life. The reason for this is that what he experienced in the past will now exist in his unconscious mind/body.
Removing the Curtain
If it was possible to remove his false-self, a self that has been created so he can avoid how he truly feels, what would be left is a deeply wounded boy. This part of him will still desire his father’s approval and acceptance and it will provide him with the drive to attain it from other men.
What this shows is that a lot of his drive is a consequence of the pain that he is in. If he started to work through the emotional pain that he is carrying at the core of his being, his motivation could subside and he would probably end up being fuelled by something else.
There is only Now
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many years pass as it won’t allow him to truly move on from what happened. He is carrying the past in his body and, until he acknowledges and works through what happened all those years ago, he will forever be controlled both by what happened and the meaning his mind made out of it.
This may have been a time when his father was often around but he was seldom present and able to truly be there for him. He would then have generally been deprived of the acknowledgement, support and guidance that his father was supposed to provide.
A Deep Wound
What took place wasn’t his fault or a sign that he had no worth; it was simply a reflection of the fact that his father most likely had his own issues. His father may have had a similar experience when he was a child and thus, was unable to give what he himself hadn’t received.
Nonetheless, at this stage of his life, he would have been ego-centric and, consequently, he would have personalised what took place. The outcome of this is that he would have believed that there was something inherently wrong with him and experienced core shame (toxic shame).
The false-self that was created on top of his true-self would have been a way for him to survive and to try to attain his father’s approval. As time went by, he would have looked towards other men to give him what his father couldn’t give him.
And, although he does receive approval, this approval won’t ever make up for what he didn’t receive from his father or bring him true happiness and fulfilment. For this to happen, he will need to grieve his unmet childhood needs and to reconnect to this true-self.
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 by the assistance of a therapist or a healer.
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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.