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Father Wounds: Can A Man Have A Disempowering Self-Image If His Father Wasn’t A Good Role Model?

What a man may find, if he was to take a step back and reflect, is that he doesn’t have a very positive view of himself. For a large part of his life, this may have been something that was just under the radar, so to speak.

Consequently, the view that he has of himself would have just been what he was like and he wouldn’t have questioned it. Now, however, part of him will know that how he sees himself is not fixed and that it can change.

For Example

When it comes to how he sees himself, he could find that he has some, if not all, of the following views:


• That he is incapable

• That he has no value

• That he is an idiot

• That he is unworthy of respect

• That he deserves to be humiliated

Irrespective of whether he can relate to all of these or only a few of these, as well as others, it is clear that he won’t be his own best friend. In fact, he will be his own worst enemy, and this is going to hold him back in life and stop him from reaching his potential.

Looking For Proof

Thanks to how he sees himself, he will both consciously and unconsciously be looking for evidence that backs up what he believes. This means that his ego-mind will block out anything that disproves what he believes.

What this illustrates is that his life will mirror back what he believes and it won’t matter if there is any truth to what he believes. By becoming aware of how his outer world is reflecting back his inner world, he will see why his life is the way that it is.

The Exception

When it comes to his day-to-day life, he may find that he is often treated badly and treated as though he has no value. He could often be laughed at and seen as a bit of a joke.

If he ever does feel valuable, appreciated and respected, it will be something that he rarely experiences. There could be one area of his life where he is treated this way but it could be very different when it comes to just about every other area.

Why Is This?

At this point, it could seem strange as to why he would view himself in this way; especially if this view doesn’t match up with what he is actually like. There can be a number of reasons as to why he is this way.

One reason for this is that his father may have also been seen in the same way. During his early years, he would have identified with his father and this would have been an important part of what allowed him to form an identity.

Passed Down

It wouldn’t have been possible for him to choose certain traits and to avoid others; he would have automatically taken everything on. This is not to say that his father completely matched up with how the people around him saw him but that he largely tolerated it and didn’t assert himself.

Perhaps his mother, along with other family members, routinely humiliated and made fun of his father. If this was so, it was probably due to the fact that his mother had unresolved issues with her own mother and father.

Indirect Revenge

Unconsciously, then, his mother would have seen his father as the parent/s who harmed her when she was growing up. Another part of this is that she may have also unconsciously chosen a man who she could control and dominate, causing her to go from a victim to a perpetrator.

Therefore, someone who she could humiliate in the same and/or similar way that she was humiliated very early on. Most likely, his mother was completely oblivious to the effect that her behaviour was having on her son’s father or on her son.

Destined To Suffer

So, if his father did just accept what was going on and didn’t draw the line, he would have indirectly been sending a number of limiting messages to his son. This would have been a time when he had no way of filtering out these messages and to chose which parts he would keep and what parts he would disregard, even if he sensed that something wasn’t right deep down.

Ultimately, his father would have provided him with the first model of what a man is like. What was going on externally would have gradually been internalised, setting him up to have a very similar experience to his father as time went by.


The truth is that he is not his father, so although he may have taken on a lot that belonged to him and expect to be treated like him, he doesn’t have to stay this way. For him to step into his own power and for his life to be an expression of his true self, he will need to mentally and emotionally separate from his father.

He needed his father very early on to provide him with an identity but now that he is an adult, he can define himself. This will involve questioning what he believes and working through his emotional wounds.


If a man can relate to this and is ready to change his life, he may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.