Understanding and healing the father woundWritten by Alfred C.W. Davis
What's inside this article
We all come into the world helpless, dependent and needing acceptance, to be treated as worthy, and to be blessed. The father wound is the absence of this love from your birth father. The wound can be caused by:
- Neglect – I am unimportant
- Absence – Divorce, separation, death
- Abuse – Mental, physical, sexual, spiritual
- Control – Oppressive domination
- Withholding – Love, blessings and/or affirmation, deficiencies that lead to a profound lack of self-acceptance.
The effect of a father wound is low self-esteem, a deep emotional pain inside and a performance orientation that makes us "doers" rather than "beings." While salvation makes us new creations in Christ, it does not necessarily address this wound inside. We tend to have four barriers that inhibit the healing of this wound:
- Pride – No will to confront or change, "I’m alright"
- Sin – A blocked will that neither seeks to confess sin or receive forgiveness
- The wound itself – Continuous emotional hurt inside
- Lies – Misconceptions about the Self, birth father and Father God.
Instead of going to the pain and receiving the healing we need, we tend to respond to life events by creating a misconception about our "Self."
Relationship to our birth father
When we hold a conception of our birth father as angry, violent, uncaring, indifferent, distant/withdrawn, absent/abandoning, alcoholic, condemning and/or critical, we tend to believe the following words about ourselves:
- I am unworthy
- I am stupid
- I am incompetent
- I am unloved or unlovable
As long as we accept these words as truth, we will experience depressed, anxious and angry lives.
Relationship to God the father
Often a person’s image of God the Father is contaminated by the personal experience he or she has with the birth father. When misconceptions about God are present (i.e. that He is angry, judgmental, unhappy with me, fearsome, legalistic, quick to punish and slow to forgive . . .) the words we tend to believe are:
- I am not good enough
- I am guilty/shameful
- I must work harder to justify myself
As long as we accept these words as truth, we will seek to perform and prove our worth through perfectionism and materialism, or seek addictions to cover up the pain.
Addressing the father wound
There are four steps to addressing the father wound:
Understanding the heart of God
- Inviting Jesus into the wounds created by the birth father
- Accepting the truth about one’s Self as a child of God
- The heart of God
As seen in the Prodigal Son story:
- we are free to choose our own path
- the father waits patiently for us to return to Him
- when we return, He accepts us unconditionally
- He runs to accept and embrace us
- He values us by celebrating God’s provision for salvation
- He loves us first
- we are His beloved creation
- He offers salvation for our sin
- He wants a relationship with us
Jesus as the Wounded Healer:
- He was tempted by Satan to know our temptations
- He experienced suffering to know our suffering
- He was rejected, mocked, beaten and crucified
- He fully understands our pain and wants to help
- 1 Peter 2:24 "By His wounds you have been healed"
- when invited into memories, He comes
- when He comes into memories, my clients describe Him as gentle, kind, caring, loving, warm, friendly, hugging, accepting and healing.
When you understand His love:
- confess to Him the misconception you have had
- receive His forgiveness
- receive His love
Invite Jesus into the wounds created by your birth father
Do inner healing for the memories:
- invite Jesus into the specific memories
- understand the words that you accepted at the time
- ask Jesus to reveal His truth to you
- receive His truth about who you are
Choose to forgive your birth father:
- for hurtful words
- for hurtful actions
- for not loving you
- for not blessing you
- for affecting your image of God the Father
Accept yourself as a child of God
Receive the words of truth:
- I am accepted
- I am chosen
- I am loved
- I am God’s creation
- I am precious in His sight
- I am forgiven
- I have been redeemed
- I will never be left or forsaken
- I have an eternal inheritance
- nothing can separate me from the love of God
As you understand the truth about God’s love and come to know your True Self in Christ, it will free you to let go of the pain and forgive your birth father. This new perspective created in you will now enable you to see your birth father through different eyes, and allow you to live in freedom.
Alfred C.W. Davis is founder of Agape Healing International and Lovehealstv.com. He is also one of Focus on the Family Canada’s referral counsellors. You can learn more about Agape Healing International at Lovehealstv.com.
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