The Father Wound of ANGER
Guest post by Michelle J. Watson, PhD, LPC
If you were to walk up to me and ask, “Michelle, if you could give me one piece of advice about where to deliberately focus my attention so that I’m not perpetuating the cycle of father wounds onto my daughter, what would it be?” Without hesitation I would say: Stop venting your anger at your daughter.
Your anger destroys her spirit.
Your anger shuts her down.
Your anger makes her give up.
Your anger makes her believe that she is unloveable and unworthy and not worth loving.
Your anger crushes the core of who she is.
Even if you feel justified in your expression of anger at her, stop and first ground yourself before exploding. I hear more stories from girls on how their dad’s anger deeply impacts them than I do anything else about their dads. I see the pain in their eyes as they tell the story and my heart breaks because I know their dads love them but oftentimes when he’s has had one too many things go wrong in his day with little to no margin left, he comes home and his daughter gets the fumes. It doesn’t take much for him then to blow, often treating her in a way that he later regrets, but by then the damage is done. She is left bleeding on the inside.
Remember Dad that you are modeling for her the way that she should expect to be treated by a guy she dates and a guy she one day will marry.
Recall how gently you held her, careful not to break her. You took extra precaution so as not to drop her head or jiggle her body too aggressively. You made sure you didn’t talk too loud or shout in order not to scare her. Do you remember that feeling of being overwhelmed with her adorable little features while thinking that you had never held anything so small or beautiful.
Truth be told: This is how you still need to think of “holding her.” She is still just as delicate on the inside as the day she was born. She needs to be handled with kid gloves.
One key thing that my dad has had to do with me is soften his tone in order to connect with me (and sometimes it’s been me who has had to soften with him so I know this goes both ways). I know this is something that doesn’t come naturally for him or any man for that matter but it can be done!
I believe that a man can change his anger patterns by truly looking at the one he loves in her eyes to see into her soul. I’m not expecting you to be super human or perfect but do want to challenge you to make a commitment today to make a new covenant with your mouth to not vent anger at your daughter from this day forward. When triggered, just walk away and ground yourself first before responding.
Make a decision to consistently water your beautiful flower with your words of life!
Author bio: Michelle Watson has had a clinical counseling practice in Portland, Oregon for the past 17 years. She is founder of The Abba Project, a forum to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to dial in with more intention, and author of the recently released book Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart. Please visit www.drmichellewatson.com for more information.