Happy Sunday All,
Firstly, thank you for the overwhelming response to last week’s blog post. It’s fairly obvious that this week I am of course going to give some comment on my thoughts of the impact it has when fathers abandon their sons.
As usual my wish is that there is some learning and insight gained from my commentary so that we can help those coming to adulthood behind us with the lessons we’ve learnt and that they can gain insights far earlier than we did.
Perhaps the greatest damage done to our society is when fathers abandon their sons. You see, we daughters have our issues and with them come the problems I outlined last week, but more often than not we still have some form of template that we can learn from, model ourselves on (or reject), in the form of our mothers; But for the abandoned sons more often than not they are left with two, often unsatisfactory choices.
- Relating & connecting to the ‘feminine’ essence and
- A painful search for some form of male image that they can relate to and model their male image on.
I say painful, because more often they are searching blind. They sense that they think, feel express and work very differently than the women who are the dominant force in their lives, yet have no idea what or how the ‘correct way’ for them to be, think, express and do may be.
Wrong, wrong and wrong again…
Imagine the pain of feeling that you are perpetually ‘wrong.’ This isn’t by design you understand, but their mothers, sisters and Aunts are expressing and relating in ‘female’ ways and contexts. The boy child is expected to comply with this way of communicating and expressing. If he is particularly ‘male’ he could be chastised and criticised for this ‘maleness’ or else, to seek approval, he may well adapt his more natural mannerisms and instincts to express in a more ‘feminine’ way. Confusion and possibly repressed anger are a result of feeling ‘wrong’ or of thinking he has to suppress his natural maleness.
If the dominant carer of an abandoned son is (usually this is the case) his mother and she feels particularly hurt or aggrieved by the actions of the child’s absent father, she may take her frustrations out on the son; especially if this son has mannerisms and traits like his father and ‘whoah betide him’ if he looks just like him!
In this situation the abandoned son can:
- Develop Self-Loathing, which he will mask by suppressing it. He will become outwardly compliant, but in reality loathing the feminine. As he grows and encounters other women in a romantic context he can develop into yet another who abandons. Rejecting the feminine essence and with no real idea how to connect to it, he fears yet another rejection and so leaves; perpetuating the cycle (for his own children) and avoiding the pain of his mother’s rejection that he never dealt with. This is the serial procreator Lurching form one woman to another because in reality he craves love and affection, but his fear of being deserted is the primary driver, so he connects, procreates and when the reality and responsibility of being a partner & father kick in he leaves. By the way… his ‘leaving’ can take the form of creating some form of upset in the relationship so he has an ‘excuse’ to leave. After all this is a ‘boy’ who doesn’t like who he is so in his mind it’s ‘YOUR’ fault why he has had to leave.
- Become Cruel and Aggressive, as he has no idea how to express or deal with the pain his father’s abandonment created. In his own romantic relationships he may become an abuser. It is my contention that behind every act of anger or aggressions is a deep-seated pain that has not been faced and dealt with, but I understand that finding sympathy and compassion for someone, you’re being battered by your male partner, is nigh on impossible. His aggression is towards the father or indeed towards the mother who he blames for the father’s leaving. If this is the case he is more likely to have an intense dislike of women.
- Adopt a more Feminine way of expressing (I don’t mean he becomes an ‘effeminate’ male), but he may become the more passive responder in his adult relations with women, as he has learnt that this is the ‘appropriate’ way to respond. When he responded this way as a child he gained the approval and recognition and so this became his norm. This is fine is he encounters a more naturally ‘male’ responding female partner, but if not, he may find himself alone and rejected many times as women see him as not ‘man’ enough as he fails to be decisive and take the ‘lead’ in relationship dynamics or he may find himself dominated and manipulated by a more ‘male oriented’ female who is afraid of her own femininity, as being female represented some form of threat when she was growing up, so she adopted a more male form of expression.
- He will seek a template of ‘maleness’ from the only sources available to him outside of the home. This is invariably with other (abandoned) men who are just a blind and just as lost. For them the model of what it is to be male becomes the imagery created via the media or the ‘Supermales’ that they see in their culture or environment.
These ‘Supermales’ are particularly ‘alpha’ in their expression. They express their masculinity through stereotypical/cartoon ‘male’ activities) drinking & fighting & (often) criminality and like the boys who now mimic them, have gained their idea of what it is to be a man from the media or ‘streetlife.’ It’s only when this way of life causes them severe emotional and often physical pain that these men realise that this isn’t what being a man means and begin to make changes. Others never do and end up abandoned yet again by men (So called ‘friends’ who don’t know how to stay) when this life leads them into serious trouble.
Paternity – The need for ‘My’ Son
One thing I have observed in life is that men NEED to know their children are theirs. There is a pathological need for their offspring to have their genetic code and a burning desire to KNOW that they are reproducing themselves in their own image.
The Step-Father can cause even greater and more deep-seated pain as he initially offers some hope and relief to the abandoned son who needs and wants someone to model himself on, but if this man is resentful of having to raise another man’s children he can become abusive, both physically and emotionally.
Imagine therefore the abuse and rejection that can occur for an abandoned son, who then has a to contend with a Step-Father who again abandons him emotionally and resents him physically.
The Manipulator & the Cuckoo
He manipulates the mother and her need for security (and her own issues with abandonment) through her children. He knows they’re here to stay but his resentment takes the form of taunting and bullying and favouring any children of his own that he may have with the son’s mother. The twice abandoned child feels like the Cuckoo in the nest instead of a part of the unit and this can lead to him again rejecting his male expression, not knowing how to express at all, as he was chastised for simply existing, or indeed deepening his resentment of his mother (for bringing the man into the home in the first place) and later other women.
Like the abandoned son, the twice rejected son will often resort to relating in one of the ways outlined before or may be even more adamant that he will be a ‘perfect’ example of manhood. However the template he was given was a 2-D template, so he clings to an idealised version of what manhood and fatherhood mean (simply an opposite one to the one he knew) and measures himself by unrealistically high ideals. Often he will refuse to ‘abandon’ as he sees it despite his situation being dysfunctional in a desire to prove to himself ‘I’M NOT LIKE THEM!’
Creating sons – in whose image?
For the abandoned and twice rejected sons the path to manhood is excruciatingly painful. If you are a Father or Step-Father or about to become a Father carefully consider the template you are providing for your boy child.
If you abandon your son how does he learn that being a man means not only being a protector and provider, but also being someone who is adult enough to know that if his children are to have successful lives and relationships that he has to model this for them?
Your sons need to see you involved in loving interaction if they are to re-create it in their own romantic relationships. They need to see open and honest discussion and see mutually respectful discussions take place between you and their mother or your female ‘other.’
You need to model for them that both parents deserve to have their needs met and that it is vital for both to be emotionally stable. You need to show them that ‘real’ men are neither bullies, nor martyrs.
You need to show them that real men cry and real men are secure enough to allow others to be themselves too. Real men are sometimes afraid, but real men act despite their fear.
Dedicated to the ‘Real men.’ I know