The Father Gap: the Hidden Wound That Just Won’t Heal
by Dr. Stephen Johnson
Why are so many men anxious and depressed, or rageful, without even realizing it? It springs from a painful longing for the unfulfilled relationship with the father, a core wound in a man’s psyche known as the Father Gap. Many males, of all ages, carry this secret wound that was inflicted upon them by a father who was heavy handed or went over the top, crushing the boy’s spirit, or by a father who was missing in action and goes down and out of his son’s life. Males often bear unspoken shame and grief from having missed out on a loving and caring relationship with their fathers.
There is, in fact, a true crisis of fathering in this country. In general, one-third of our nation’s kids will go to bed tonight without their biological father in the next room. Forty percent of children in fatherless households haven’t even seen their fathers in at least a year. These men have chosen to disconnect and drift from their families, leaving as many as fifteen million confused kids behind. In later life, many of these dismissed kids act out sexually or attempt suicide, the leading cause of death in the 15-24 year old age group.
Crime, unwed teenage pregnancy, and suicide are huge problems. Studies show that the most reliable predictor of these manifestations in not income or race; it is family structure. Unwed pregnant girls and criminally oriented boys tend to come from fatherless families. Seventy percent of imprisoned minors have spent at least part of their lives without fathers. Gangs feed on fatherless boys. Without fathers and mentors around to teach successful way of coping, adolescent boys are prone to create their own destructive rites of passage arising out of the rage they feel over being forgotten and abandoned. Random and serious violence can also be correlated to fatherless families. Wounded boys commonly grow up to be wounded men, inflicting on others the very distress that went unhealed within them.
THE FATHER GAP WOUND is just one of many powerful and insightful chapters about the real joys and real challenges of growing up as a boy and man in today’s society. Other topics covered in depth in The Sacred Path:
- 4 crisis points in a man’s life
- How a man can become the father he always wanted
- What men are feeling but not saying
- 7 types of men most vulnerable to dangerous relationships
- 7 types of women who collude in a man’s downfall
- How a circle of good men can be a man’s saving grace
- The importance of mentors
- 6 challenges that men meet on the chivalrous path
- 6 mindfulness practices on the Sacred Path
- Finding and renewing your true love
- How to increase “Male Net Worth”
- Spiritual warriors at work in the world
- Living your destiny and leaving a legacy
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Dr. Stephen Johnson is founder and executive director of the Men's Center of Los Angeles and author of "THE SACRED PATH: THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL WARRIOR," an amazing how-to book for men who want to become better men . . . AND for the women who care about them. Dr. Johnson stands in the forefront of the developing field of male psychology and gender dynamics.