September 9

Healing The Father Wound (& Becoming Your Own Man)

Most of my adult life, I felt like a boy.

Small and powerless.

Other men could build businesses. Raise a family. Make an impact on the world.

But for some mysterious reason, not me.

Never me.

Believing this about myself was painful.

Who wants to look in the mirror and see a failure?


Yet this is the man I saw.

I had ambition but lacked the confidence in myself to make it happen.

So I buried it all deep within by adopting a Peter Pan persona.

Flighty and floaty. Fun to be around.

But stuck in a fantasy. Avoiding reality.

Tons of plans and visions. No commitment. No work ethic.

Living the same year on repeat.

Now I’m sure many of you can relate to this.

In this society, men mature at a snail's pace compared to our ancestors.

  • Because we have no formal rites of passage anymore.
  • Masculinity is considered toxic so young men are repressing anything that resembles it.
  • And excessive comfort kills purpose, yet this is what society is all about now.

But there’s one other reason that I want to discuss that shifted things for me.

Hopefully, it will do the same for you.

And I call it the father wound.

A father wound is an emotional wound that forms from an absence of love and acceptance from your father in childhood.

Men need their fathers.

Not just their physical presence, but we need to feel their support emotionally.

And most of us didn’t have this.

Which leaves us with a pretty big problem.

When we have a father wound, we may still long for the love we didn’t get as a child.

This was the case with me for most of my life.

My father was cold and intimidating.

I never really felt his love.

I was always afraid of him.

And yet I couldn’t help but crave his approval.

And as an adult, it was holding me back because I unconsciously held what is known as a reconciliation fantasy.

One day I hoped my father and I would have a big emotional reconciliation that gave me permission to move on with my life.

But this was toxic.

Because the painful truth is, there’s never a guarantee for any of us that this will ever happen.

In fact, if your father has been distant, emotionally cold or unavailable…

It’s unlikely he’s ever going to change.

He’s already told you, countless times, that this is who he is.

And putting your life on hold until your father figure comes and saves you will keep you stuck in adolescence.

Freud said that a man cannot be a man until his father has died.

And Jung elaborated on that by adding that this death can happen symbolically.

Lindsay Gibson in her book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature parents introduced me to a possibility.

That maybe my father wasn’t the big strong intimidating man I always thought he was.

But a wounded boy of around 14 years old.

This realisation depedestalised my father almost instantly.

And this was one of the things that allowed me to let my father die symbolically.

I started to accept that this is who he is and that I may never get the reconciliation I needed as a child.

This hurt.

But the grief didn’t last.

(Grieving is a powerful skill, you know).

I asked myself the question “how would I live if my father was dead

And made a pact with myself to live that way to the best of my ability.

So if you feel stuck in early adolescence with a father wound, I say this.

You cannot move on with your life until you let your father go.

To be a man, you must live as if your parents are dead.

Or you will be stuck in this purgatory between childhood and adulthood and remain there forever.

Never actualising your full potential in this lifetime.

There is a child in you who needs his father.

But maybe this cannot be your blood father.

If this is the case, you need to walk a new path now.

You need to become your own father.

And be there for yourself in ways he never was.

When you can confidently say that you don’t need him anymore and truly mean it without resentment or anger…

You’ll know you’ve moved into the stage of adulthood.

With love and courage,



father, father wound, healing the father wound, how to heal the father wound, oliver cowlishaw

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