The things that make us the men that we are are largely attributable to the relationships that we have with our fathers. Our intimate relationships, in some ways, are also results of the things that we learn from how to be in the world from our fathers, too.
Too many men simply cannot be the fathers that they should to their sons, because they never got the right role modeling. Men go on to have imperfect relationships, and don’t know how to be effective intimate partners to their wives and girlfriends. Often times, it’s a combination of two problems.
First, men learn how to be emotionally withdrawn from their women. They learn, over time from the environment they grew up in, to shut down, stay in their heads and generally not be present to their feelings. This is the nucleus of the problem.
Second, as children we model behavioral patterns from our parents. As boys, we model the ways of being in a relationship from our fathers (and mothers). Many times, our fathers never got it right, so we simply take from them what we see, because unconsciously, if we do what they did, we just might get our needs met after all. This is child’s logic, and somewhere down the road, we fail to drop those tools when they don’t work for us anymore. As kids, they might have had some basic effectiveness. But as adults, we continue to use outdated tools to create similarly neurotic and ineffective relationships today.
The key is to understand these behavioral patterns, and the emotions that we avoid buried underneath. In seeing these, often for the first time, and experiencing them in the present moment unconditionally, they begin to transform themselves and set us free from the patterns that keep us stuck in conflict and unsatisfying relationships. We can work towards freedom from these blocks if we can first see them. Our fathers might not have been able to do it for themselves, but we can for ourselves.