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Do I have a Father Wound?

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

First Step Men's Therapy helps men across Ontario, Canada develop healthier relationships with themselves and others. We offer individual, couples, and group counselling to men and their families online using our secure telehealth platform.

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Many men grow up in environments where they lack a close bond with their father, or have a father that is either absent physically and/or emotionally. For some, there may be a history of abuse or neglect, or workaholism that leads to feeling uncared or unloved both as a child and later, as an adult. Additionally, you may have grown up with a father that struggled with a mental health disorder that was unable to provide the safety, connection, and love that comes with being a father. A father wound may show up different symptoms including:

  • low self-esteem or low confidence in one's self: child often internalize everything that occurs in their world. A father that is absent or not able to provide emotional or physical closeness may be interpreted as "Dad doesn't love me" or "I am not good enough for dad"

  • anxiety: children may interpret a lack of closeness or bond as a sign that others may leave us or not respond to our needs, impacting relationships moving forward, primarily with our significant other.

  • depression: individuals may feel a sense of loss or grief from a lack of closeness, bond, or love with dad.

  • anger: individuals with a father wound often experience anger or rage, often struggling with emotional regulation or repeating patterns similar to their own father.

  • difficulty forming relationships: individuals with a father wound tend to struggle with forming, developing, and maintaining relationships - particularly with other men.

  • difficulty parenting one's own children: men who grew up with a father wound often struggle to parent and struggle with either rigid or loose boundaries that lead their children to struggle within the parent-child relationship

  • addiction to numb emotional pain: men with a father wound may experience addiction to substances (alcohol/drugs/food) or behaviours (gambling/porn/sex) as a way to self-soothe and numb from the pain.

Some wounds that may be discovered include:

  • abandonment (fear of other's leaving or not being there for us)

  • neglect (difficulty looking after ourselves and others)

  • loss (difficulty staying close to others or establishing intimacy due to fear of loss)

  • abuse (replicating abuse towards others or abusing oneself)

  • betrayal (losing the trust of others or fearing that other's will break our trust)

  • rejection (fearing that others will say no, not want us, or compulsively rejecting others)

  • invalidation (seeking validation from others in unhealthy ways (infidelity/womanizing)

​Individuals with a father wound may notice common internal (subconscious) or external (verbal) statements such as:

  • "I am not good enough"

  • "I am unworthy"

  • "I can't do anything right"

  • "I am a failure"

  • "I am incompetent"

  • "Showing emotion is weak"

​Therapy can help better understand the roots of one's father wound and to help identify how the wound impacts one's life and relationships. There may be symptoms that may also need to be addressed in the course of therapy (addiction/depression/anger) that can be processed and treated while in therapy. Healthy modelling of emotions within a therapeutic environment can also serve as a guide for men as they better understand themselves and connect with the people around them. As fathers of their own children, they can also help work towards breaking the unhealthy and destructive patterns, grow, and nurture their own parent-child bonds.

Father Wound Therapy: Click here

Therapy for men with father wounds in Toronto, Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton, London, Peterborough, Sudbury, North Bay, Milton, Kingston, Ottawa, Newmarket, Oshawa, St. Catherines, Niagara Falls, Guelph, London, Windsor, Belleville, and Vaughan.


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