The Father Wound

One of the most painful wounds that I have had to deal with is the one caused by fatherlessness. I have no recollection of my father whatsoever, he died when I was a toddler. I have no memories to cherish since he didn’t take any photographs in his lifetime (I know this sounds strange). As a teenager I desperately craved the security, stability and identity that a father provides. In hindsight, I realize that most of the mistakes I made during my youthful years especially in romantic relationships are associated with my fatherlessness. My assertion however, is no way meant to excuse my choices.

According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, more than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent. If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency. Studies repeatedly show that children without fathers positively present in the home suffer greatly.

Even before a child is born, their father’s attitudes regarding the pregnancy, behaviours during the prenatal period, and the relationship between their father and mother may indirectly influence risk for adverse birth outcomes. In early childhood, studies show that school-aged children with good relationships with their fathers are less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behaviour, or to lie.

A father wound refers to father absenteeism, whether emotionally or both emotionally and physically. Through all societies there runs a rule that a father is indispensable for the full sociological status of the child. The most important moral and legal rule is that, no child should be brought into the world without a man as a guardian and protector.

A father provides: love, support, authority, security, accountability, stability and protection. Children view their fathers as the invincible ‘superman’. Growing up without a father creates emptiness and wounds that last well into the child’s adult life. These wounds affect emotions, relationships, personality, and self-esteem. A father may be absent due to: death, divorce/separation, incarceration, work, illness or emotional disconnection.

Some of the effects of father wounds on males are:

· Always trying to figure out life: a sense of lostness (indecisiveness, lack of direction)

· Anger and frustration (suppressed rage)

· Extreme behavior, addictions or obsession

· Homosexuality - especially among sensitive boys

· Violence

· Lack of accountability

· Retreating into a world of fantasy

Fathers teach girls self-worth by the way they speak and act towards them and through their treatment of other females, particularly their wives. Girls raised in a home without a father involved are:

· More likely to marry as teenagers

· More likely to have children as teenagers

· More likely to get divorced themselves

Healing from father wounds has opened a world of possibilities for me. My career, relationships and health has greatly improved. Your fatherlessness does not define you, healing is possible. You can walk in the abundant life that God has purposed for you. Psalm 68:5 tells us “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His Holy habitation.” His aim is to show orphans mercy, care, and protection.

By Dr. Rose Misati

Certified Family Trauma Professional


Tel +254722440128

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