This is one of the hardest texts I had to write in my entire life. I grew up not knowing, nor having seen, my biological father. During my teenage years, I felt a horrible depression that weighed heavily on me, and yet at the time, I was unable to put two and two together and realize his absence caused my depression. I was so traumatized by not having such a central person in my life that, when my own sons were born, I made a promise to myself that I would always be there for them, no matter the cost. And today, despite them being very young, they had more time with their father than I had in my entire life span. A fact of which I am very proud.
Sometimes I feel angry at my father. Then I feel angry at my mother, who willingly pushed him out of our young family. Then I think that that still does not justify his absence and his passiveness towards me; he would have had ample opportunity to get in touch with me and to learn about me in the past years.
And yet, his only form of communication he had with me related to a very low child support payment with which he supported me until my twenties, while I was still studying.
I know that I am not alone with this plight. Many young men grow up with either entirely absent or horribly passive fathers – both are a danger to healthy masculinity. In some sense, I was blessed and cursed by my absent father. As I later learned about him through my mother – who somehow retained some contact with him, but never involved me in that contact – has was horrible whipped by his wife. He also is overweight and in a bad job situation from what I was told. Not having a bad example around can save a man from negative imprinting of poor mindsets, and that is how I choose to look at my fathers (non-)role in my life. Being a clean slate, I was free to explore my own version of masculinity.
I am aware that his absence had its negative impact on me; I often used cynicism to isolate my feelings, in order to distance myself from the world in an immature attempt of hiding my hurt ego. This, unfortunately, pushed me away from other men, who must have felt my inauthenticity. It’s a long process reconnecting with my emotions in a healthy way and I have not fully outgrown those negative aspects of my fatherlessness.
Where I am infinitely more privileged than many men who grow up with absentee fathers is the fact that I grew up in a larger family (grandparents, uncles) that still provided me with an essential feeling of family and belonging. I believe this really showed me the importance of family as an essential requirement for a healthy mental base, albeit it is only a basis and cannot replace the growth a man needs to grow through in order to become self-actualized.
This post does not really relate to the Inner Warrior Circle, but I felt this to be an important post to write none the less.
If you haven’t, you can follow the Circle on Facebook and get your 1-1 coaching with me here.