Excerpt from “Diary of a (not so) reluctant father…”
I have great compassion for men who don’t actually know what is going on sometimes. I am one of them. At times no matter what you do (or don’t do) it’s just not ‘good enough’. A client recently recounted his struggle at home (identity and narrative have been changed to protect the identity of the client although he gave permission for me to use this vignette).
“i try and help with the kid, but he just wants his mom, so i’m kinda left feeling really confused, following him from room to room with a nappy in my hand. My wife comes out of the bedroom, looks at the scene and starts shouting at me telling me i can’t do anything right. It feels that way sometimes…i go to work, deal with stress all day and then come home and get shouted at because i’ve misplaced the bum cream. Sometimes i feel like i’m going mad!”
These early days of co-parenting are dangerous, of that there is no doubt. There are so many projections, so many expectations and so much stress about that it is not strange for couples to skirt the “abyss”. Unless couples are able to communicate effectively, take time out for themselves and as a couple, the family system will struggle.
While the mother may project her feelings of frustration and anger onto the father, this does not imply that the father does not carry some ammunition himself. On the contrary, many men carry repressed feelings of anger and disappointment which they are unable to express into the fragile family ecosystem. Where do these unprocessed feelings go? Into work, behaving like a pack-animal, carrying ever increasing levels of stress some men turn to substances and other addictions (sex, money, gambling etc). Unless it is addressed, a man’s Shadow (that which is unacknowledged and repressed) can begin to contaminate the family system leading that which is sacred down a very dark path.Read more