Father Wounds  & Dealing with the Pains Of Your Past

Addressing 5 common wounds: How a man unpacks and deals with his wounds defines the man he's going to be.

Addressing 5 common wounds: How a man unpacks and deals with his wounds defines the man he's going to be.

There are two types of people in this world: those who unpack immediately upon coming home from a trip and those who turn their suitcase into another dresser for the next week. We can all agree that clothes in a suitcase lingering around for a few days don't really hurt anybody. (Unless there's dirty laundry that starts to smell). 

But what happens when the emotional baggage from our past never gets properly unpacked? What if it just lingers inside us and we pretend it's not there because we don't want to deal with it ? Well, for starters, it not only hurts us but those around us.

How a man unpacks and deals with his wounds defines the man he's going to be. Addressing this unfinished business will not only help him move forward but give him focus. The alternative is a man will just put a lid on that pain and try not to feel anything and go through life compensating for these wounds.

5 Common Wounds That Are Inside Most Men Today:

First, it might be helpful if we define what a wound is. A wound is any unresolved issue where lack of closure adversely affects and shapes the direction of a man's life now.

When it comes to wounds, physical ones obviously leave physical scars. But the deepest wounds are of a man's soul — because they are left open. It’s important to begin understanding your family dynamic and the wounds it has left you. You can't heal what you can’t identify, and you can't change what you don't understand.

Absent Father Wound

When a man either had a dad that wasn't there altogether or a dad that was there but not really there, it leaves a HUGE wound. In the midst of that, they've gotten angry, suppressed feelings, shut others out, hoping that it'll just go away. It doesn't go away unless it's been dealt with appropriately. There's unfinished business with dad, you could say. Once it is finally put to rest, there's the freedom to move on and live an authentic manhood life.

Overly Bonded with Mother Wound

This happens when mom invested too strongly in her son and tried to compensate for a dad that wasn't there. She didn't mean to do this. She just got overly involved, overly nurturing, and touched his world too much. She bonded with him too deeply and took care of him too often.

Because of it, he now has one or two reactions in that type of environment. He either resents that control, fights with that control, and goes out with an image of "I'm not going to be controlled by anyone" — particularly women. He always has a difficult time with women because he either has to dominate them or he's scared of them. That's because he sees the shadow of his mother in all of them.

Or, like a lot of guys today, he's given in to this control. So, at the age of 25, 35, 45 or 55, mom from whatever distance is still dictating the terms, controlling the emotions, and violating the boundaries of his family.

All Alone Wound

Every man is supposed to be climbing a mountain — a mountain of manhood. With any climb, there is a lot of gear and ropes. He's supposed to be cinched in, real tight, with a bunch of other guys. He's supposed to have his rope attached to other men so we can climb that high mountain of authentic manhood.

Sadly, a lot of men have their ropes cut.

They're all alone with no close friends connected to them who have access to their inner life. No one to share in the noble things of life, or even worse, when faced with turmoil, they go through it all by themselves.There's nothing connecting them to a larger, more accurate perspective of life. Leaving them doomed to blindspots.

An ingredient that's missing in today's society is older men attaching themselves to younger men. A friendship where younger men can be encouraged and mentored. It becomes a way for wisdom to get passed down from generation to generation while energizing the older man in ways he often reminisces on.

Lack of Manhood Vision Wound

When a man lives for the moment, the next party, the next high, he is missing out on so much. This lack of forward-thinking and planning has only done a disservice to his future self, his wife, and his kids. It's important to invest in a sense of direction for his household. It's not enough to just have a warm, loving home — there's a need to foster a home that teaches life skills.

When living for the now, our world will come in and offer a stunted, short-sighted vision of manhood. A vision that tells a young man in high school or college moving out into the workforce to put his warrior face on, clamp down the armor tight, and go out and work hard. Like real hard. Hurting him and his family. With the promise that he'll get what he wants and then not need anybody. You'll be on the mountain.

Unfortunately, this vision is an insulated, isolated, self-sufficient state of prosperity that falsely promises happiness and satisfaction. Generation after generation of young men have launched out into the world with this conventional vision of manhood and are left burnt out and disappointed.

Heart Wound

Since the beginning of time, man has questioned why he feels pulled to do evil. You don't have to be a philosopher to think about this, but have you ever sat back and said to yourself, "why do I find myself at times doing things that I don't want to do — that I know are wrong?”

The answer is that everyone has this wound. The wound of the spirit and soul that no counselor can fix. It's a wound that requires a deep answer that can only be found in one place.

What To Do With These Wounds?

These are common wounds that a lot of men can relate to. Some men have carry-on-sized suitcases while others have a whole matching set full of issues. Take a hard look inside and see what needs to be unpacked and dealt with. Want to know where to start? Part of the 11-week BetterMan group study (link) is dealing with wounds like these from your past so that you can be a better version of yourself in the future. You are not alone in this. Men like you are dealing with the same issues you are. Find out more about how to get involved at BetterMan here.

Inspired by a teaching from Robert Lewis

Learn more about dealing with your wounds through the BetterMan 11-week study.