The importance of a father figure and a good relationship between a male and his father is understated. I’d love to share a case study to explore this in more depth.
My client looked around 50 and he came across as very confident. He shared that his father just passed away, but he did not have time to focus on that. He came to see me to shed some light on other life challenges.
I didn’t know his name, someone else booked the session, but it did not matter. I listened quietly while he spoke effortlessly, with eloquence and coherence.
He spoke about his wife and their “2 amazing daughters”, about work, deals, projects, launches, competition and the ever-tense relationship with his business partner which he finds most times “absolutely impossible”.
“He reminds me of my father” he shared and then changed the topic before I got the chance to explore it further. I know that most times our emotions are not connected with what happens in the present moment and they are a reenactment of memories from the past, so I waited patiently and allowed the flow to guide us.
“I think I am bisexual”. There was silence. I feared to break it although I felt that confusion needed exploring. I listened and connected with what was left unsaid.
He looked at me waiting for a reaction. I had none. “Who’s reaction have you been waiting for in the past?”, I asked. “My mother’s”, he quickly replied. I choose to put the transference on hold and go deeper. “And who’s reaction have you feared the most”, I continued. “My father’s. He was absolutely impossible”.
I knew that from this point onward I needed to listen very carefully. He was just about to reconnect with his real self and that is always an emotionally charged experience.
He shared that his father was a “despot”. He punished him and his sister with cruelty, and he abused their mother regularly. “He was a cheater and an alcoholic and he upset us even during the last 10 years when he suffered with dementia”.
I didn’t have to ask anything. He answered all the questions that he’s bottled up for so many years. “I am a good father, not like him. I stayed away from him as much as I could, but his image has followed me everywhere”. “Is he here in the room with us?”, I asked. “No, he left now, he’s not with us anymore”.
Shortly the realization kicked in. “I am free now, I can do whatever I want”, he continued. “I wonder what prevented you to do it over the past 10 years”, I asked. His face lightened up and he started to understand where I was going with that. “I could have, that’s right. Most times he did not know who I was, he thought I was his father…”.
The silence settled in again. It was so refreshing, for both of us. Later we went back to revisit our relationship.
“Has you mother ever reacted?”, I asked. “Never, he said”. “What would it mean to you to hear her speaking?” “I knew she knew me, but she never said it. I only wanted her to say it’s all right”. “It is all right”, I said. “Yes, it is”, he replied, sighting deeply, “it is now”.
He had now got his mother’s approval and this sense of reparation felt liberating. I felt it in his breathing, physiognomy and his way of speaking.
Now he had to come to terms with the loss of his father, that powerful figure he lacked in life.
Men struggle in the absence of a caring and supportive father and they find it difficult to connect with their feelings and the experiences from childhood. He was now willing to explore his own loss at a deeper level.
We spoke about identity confusion, loneliness, his sexuality and the desire for anal penetration, and his overall sense of inadequacy. He was opening to his inner experience and shared his shame and guilt towards his family. It felt highly liberating to be able to let it out and set it free from the prison of his mind.
He agreed to read about these topics further and educate himself around these experiences which he heard from me are quite common.
We’ve accomplished a lot in a few hours session and he booked a full day programme for next month. We agreed to do online sessions mean while to get prepared for the intensive work. There was still a lot of trauma that needed attention also a lot of grief, but for now, it was a client success story. I felt very grateful I had the chance to join him throughout this movement in his life and I look forward to meeting him again.