Healing the Fatherhood Wounds

I had the pleasure over the course of the last weekend to attend the Healing the Fatherhood Wounds Workshop for women at the John Paul II Centre on Fatherhood. The workshop took place for the entire weekend from Friday evening to Sunday evening.
The weekend started with the powerful movie “Akeelah and the Bee”. It was my first time watching this movie in its entirety. The movie had a number of valuable life lessons about the dynamics of the father and daughter relationship.
The second day was where the real work started. There were many fruitful sessions where some real groundbreaking epiphanies were made with all of the women present including myself. I would like to share some if the tid bits that stuck out for me.
I always knew that the father had a great impact on a daughter’s life but this impact was made even more apparent by the material covered. The father is literally a daughter’s first love. She is taught about the good and the bad in the male figure from her father. During the years 0-9 the father teaches his daughter how to interact and be loved by a man. A father during this vital stage teaches a daughter what she will want and will not want in a man in her life in the future.
There are also a number of attributes that fathers are responsible for teaching women that are considered “adult life skills”. These include; to manage, contain, the value of boundaries, to defend, to protect, to compete, to hold onto, to provide, to conquer and to exclude.
During the weekend I also was able to learn some of my father’s healthy and unhealthy characteristics and how these are present in the men in my life. The material was profound because as women we often chose men that are just like our fathers. This action is very unconscious and we tend not to even notice sometimes the similarity.
I also learnt the vital building blocks of self-esteem that only a parent can pass to a child. These building blocks are;
  • Identity – who am I? – This is usually done by the same sex parent. Therefore women would form their identity from their Mother’s.
  • Individuality – What do I love? What do I hate? – This is usually instilled by the opposite sex parent so in this case a Father would be the one instilling Individuality in a daughter.
  • Intimacy – In-to-me-u-see – This is taught by both parents through their relationship with each other.
Another point of interest that stood out for me is the question “why do women tell their stories?” and when I mean tell their stories I mean talk all the time! Answer: Women talk to HEAL.
  • H – Heal tell stories to heal.
  • E – Encourage, especially others.
  • A – Awareness, of the answers.
  • L – Legacy – stories tell our legacy and leaves legacies behind.
So this really explained why we women always chattering!
The last point I would like to share are some unhealthy father/daughter relationship styles that were pointed out to us.
  1. Less than father – father abandons daughter and leaves her yearning.
  2. Abusive father – father is verbally, emotionally or sexually abusive.
  3. Pampering father – this father spoils the daughter.
  4. Pygmalion father – the daughter becomes the father’s companion.
  5. Ruined father – the daughter has to rescue the father.
These were some of the main points of the wonderful weekend dealing with some of my fatherhood issues. I learnt a great deal about how my father has impacted my life both positively and negatively. I encourage everyone to do something like this because it really helps us understand who we are, where we came from and how our primary caregivers, our parents has impacted upon our lives…