Father figures are expected, from the very start of one’s life, to be wise and powerful. They are expected to solve our problems, to be with us when in need, accompany us to children park, tell us stories, protect us. They are judicious and kind, perhaps a little tough at times but always fair—but most importantly, we expect them to be always, on our side.
To make fun of someone who has problems with their father, even after acknowledging their discomforting longing, is humiliating and rude. It’s completely alright for someone to desire a fatherly figure in their lives, especially, when in chaos and confusions. It’s utterly hurtful to want someone to protect us and fail at finding anyone at sight.
When does it start?
This notion of desiring a fatherly figure comes from our childhood—when we’re both young and immensely week, and need protection from everything that might hurt us. In our childhood, even a cat of a considerable size can kill us—things were mysterious when we were young, and often were outside of our control. To wish for a father in befalling situations is completely natural. The adult longing for a good father is a consequential emotion from not having a good father in the childhood. It’s a result of abandonment.
According to a study at Erikson University in 2009, a grown man evidently seems extremely impressive to a small child. For a child, a grown man knows everything; the capital of India, how to drive a bicycle, how to fight, how to catch a ball. They can lift you up with their immense power. They go to bed secretly late, and wake up earliest in the morning. They can swim and let you ride their back. Fathers, by their all difference, are beyond astonishing creature.
People with father problems, contrary to its paradox, are almost, always, the ones who didn’t have very good fathers when they were small. Maybe their fathers were incredibly strong, but at the same time cruel or maybe disinterested. Perhaps, they were busy, and weren’t around much or perhaps they left after a disturbing fight. Perhaps, they divorced their wives, or may be they died. This is what, in many surprising ways, incline us to some tricky behaviors. This lead us to develop absurd fantasies, irrelevant to our maturity level and skepticism, around the idea of male protection.
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We, even after the years of failing and learning our lessons, all by ourselves—still remain like a young child we once were. In a way, we were not allowed to mature away from our unquenched fantasies of fathers. We still, secretly, desire someone to step in and take the role. We want someone else to make our big decisions, we want them to protect us, and be tough around us. We want them, in a certain mysterious way, to vanish our problems from our life.
No matter how independent and self-sufficient we act, at the end of the day, we want them to sort out our money problems, we expect them to get angry when anyone tries to hurt us, to be proud of us when we achieve something—to love us for who we are, and primarily, accept us. To fulfill this intrinsic desire, we look out for fathers in friendships, at work, and all the places we emotionally visit.
We all must, if our emotions allow, accept that the adulthood fantasy of fathers is not of a good father. As absurd as it may sound, a good father is the one who boldly and honestly accepts that he isn’t that powerful and cannot solve all our problems. They are conscious that they can’t magically save us from the countless dangers of this world, no matter how much they wish to. They are also honest about this, and tell us the truth as soon as we’re strong enough to face it. Out of love, they let us know that there are not perfect fathers and the best they can do is help us grow, in the best way possible.
What do we need?
We markedly don’t need just a father, we need a good father figure. Someone who could help us out of our father issues, someone who encourage us to talk, acknowledges our sufferings and fears, and deeply wants the best for us and isn’t reluctant to say so; but who at the same time, out of love, wants to help us come to terms with a messy and essentially a disappointing world. A man, who out of love, will encourage you to be independent and, specifically, not to fantasize that anyone, however outwardly imposing, can do the impossible for you. And, shamelessly deny that anyone, even for the love and hate, will always be there for you by your side.
Good fathers allow us to accept the truth that there are, in the end, no fathers; just an independent you—who eventually, by failing and learning, becomes someone else’s, good father.
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