The Father Wound
A demak el rubak a kmo, “A urrerel a chedam a merorm e melad ra ngelekel el uai a kongosang el merorm ra choles.” This made sense with the sharpening stone that comes with two sides. One side is to sharpen the nonfunctional edges; the other side is to smooth out the edges to make a functional tool. In other words, a father not only discipline, he must also affirm his sons (and daughters). [restrict]
The other night I watched a video of a Montana pastor talking about Father Wound. He was sharing how his father wound kept him from being real in his calling. Emotionally, he exclaimed, “Can you imagine a wounded shepherd trying to care for his flock!” When his mother died, one of his siblings who spoke at the memorial service said, “My father was harsh but my mother was our savior.”
The most common father wound is revealed in these sentences: ‘My father always provided for us and was home every night after work. But even though he was there, he was never really present.”
Fathers like this may have been available to coach their sons’ baseball teams or supervise yard work. However, they were less likely to model intimacy in relationships, or to be an active presence when their sons were dealing with the pain of rejection by peers.
Studies show that every man in his soul craves deep, intimate connections with other men, but men are often left without the tools for creating these loving, nurturing relationships. (This is evident in Did ra Ngmatl and Donut House –- if only they would take their sons with them.) A big reason for this has to do with the primary role fathers typically play in families. Rather than nurturing their sons or developing intimacy with them, fathers often spend the majority of their time enforcing the rules.
Patrick Morley, in his classic book “Man in the Mirror” states ‘Mothers love and stroke their children. Angry fathers handle the discipline.’ While this statement may seem unfair to fathers, it is a fair assessment of the father’s role in many families. Not only do fathers interact with their boys in a primarily disciplinary role, but boys are taught to absorb that discipline with a stiff upper lip. “Ngera kelmangel er ngii… ke ngeral sechal…” Boys learn the lesson very early on that they are not to display any sense of vulnerability. When life gets tough, negative feelings are to be stuffed and internalized.
A friend said, ‘All my life I have felt as if I just couldn’t cut it in my father’s eyes. It always seemed like the bar was raised just above my reach.’ Some of the deepest wounds lie in these feelings of inadequacy, which can then poison other relationships and make true intimacy difficult. Men that grew up with fathers they were unable to please often carry around a suffocating belief system: ‘I can never cut it. And if I’m not cutting it, then why would others want to be around me?’ [/restrict]