How to forgive and accept your father

With my father in a roadside chaihana in Uzbekistan

I am frightened. I hear aggressive roaring, see two hateful eyes, and two tusks rushing onto me. It is a huge wild boar that will kill me in second. And it’s running after me out of the wall beside my bed. I wake up from the dream screaming in panic and trembling.

I was five then. I had a memory from that time. Now I only have a memory that I had that memory. In that memory, I had a 1-second long video-style memory of my father drunk, yelling, throwing bottles and beating my mother.

Hate. That’s all I felt towards my father for the first 30 years of my life.

Today we have a calm relationship, I call and visit him, we talk, and we joke. I have inner peace with him.

Also, I am further on my journey of reclaiming my Man’s identity. And my Uzbek-Latvian identity. (I write reclaiming, instead of claiming, with purpose).

For whom am I writing this?

I am writing this essay for men who hate their fathers or have lighter level tensions and want to tackle them.

I do not know if the thoughts and experience discussed here can be relevant for women in a similar position. Thus, if you are a woman reading this, just be aware of my unknowing, as stated here.

Why am I writing this?

In Autumn 2019, I wrote a series of essays about my journey of healing from Lyme’s disease and regaining health (they’re only in Latvian for now, though). Since then, many people have contacted me to thank and said that it helped them.

Some years ago, one of my good friends shared with me his story of reconnecting with his father and encouraged me then. I am encouraging you now.

A while ago, one mentor told me that it would be good to give away for free that which I have gained for a very high price. In the same mentoring session, I acknowledged the fact that coming to peace with my father is one of the things that I have gained for a high price indeed, so I started to think that I might write this article sometime in the future. And now I met a man who encouraged me to write it for him. So I am writing it for you, J. and for other men who hopefully can benefit from it.

At the same time, I need to write a short disclaimer, which the reader should bear in mind while reading and therefore look at the information revealed here through the lens of critical thinking.

  1. My (and anyone else) awareness and perception evolvement is a work in progress. That means the things I understand and share here, and the things I might be able to share after a year would be at least slightly different.
  2. The blind should not lead other blinds. In that sense, on the one hand, I should withhold writing this article for some time. But on the other hand, it’s unwise to think that one has an unlimited time reserved for him; thus, if the lead and inspiration have come at this moment, I’m giving what I have at this moment. Now, why I mentioned blinds, is because I have tackled my aggression towards my father, but I haven’t entirely tackled my pain. But at the same time, the fact that I’m aware of this aspect helps me to be soberer when discussing the matters here. That’s why I give the warning about using your critical thinking, but at the same time, I am not postponing this article anymore.

Why bother about reconciling with your father?

I don’t know and don’t care if there’s a science behind what I’m going to write. In those matters, my science is my experience and intuition.

Imagine three circles, one within another.

First circle:

  • Inner tension, stress, and depression come from not accepting yourself and others, also from being unable to form and sustain good longterm relationships;
  • Problems in relating to other people, and in building and sustaining good relationships are related to having problems in relating to yourself and not accepting yourself;
  • You cannot accept yourself if you do not accept your father, because you are your father’s son;
  • As you cannot accept yourself, you cannot accept others, because you cannot give what you do not have;
  • As you cannot accept others, you cannot relate to them in a healthy way;
  • As you cannot relate to others in a healthy way, you cannot sustain good, healthy long-term relationships;
  • And here the circle ends, because as a result, you have tension, stress, and depression.

Second circle

In the middle of this outer circle is another one:

  • When you can’t accept yourself, you don’t know who you are, because you can’t know that person whom you don’t accept;
  • When you don’t know who you are, you don’t know what you want and what is your purpose;
  • When you don’t know your purpose and what you want, you feel empty and unfulfilled, because you’re just semi-automatically living out what you think the society at small and at large expects from you. Including, what you think you want, is not what you truly want (because you don’t know what is it that you want), you project the external social conditioning onto yourself and imagine that this is what you want.

Third circle

  • When you can’t accept yourself and your father, you can’t accept God, and you have a very distorted view of Him, or you believe (the term used with purpose) that He does not exist;
  • If you have this distorted view, you limit your opportunities. I won’t say more on this topic for now. And I don’t care how you call God whom you believe or believe to believe not. There are many names, from Universe to God, to Unspeakable, etc. If you believe there is no God, this essay is still ok for you to read, because 99% of the further content is relevant independently from this discussion of the third circle.

Outside of those three circles is a mist that partially clouds everything else. This is the distorted view on reality that most of us have, and we repeat it to each other through repeating and acting out and teaching and repeating social conditioning.

To break free from the mist, to have a soberer view on everything, is not possible without reconciling with your parents.

My journey to reconciling with my father

I will share my experience with you. This consists of three parts — some mindset frameworks, actions, supporters.

Mindset frameworks

Although you might be familiar with some of those, please, don’t skip this part as I’m sharing the application instead of theory.

  1. Drama triangle and victim mode

You might want to read about the drama triangle on the internet, there’s plenty of good resources there, and I will not repeat those. But I want to stress that this is THE most crucial framework that you need to understand and start applying in your life. Because while you continue believing that you were hard-done-by your oppressor father and that your mother was hard-done-by that monster, you will remain stuck in your three circles. So, even it is incomprehensible for you at this moment in life, you still need to make a conscious and firm decision to step out of the drama triangle. You cannot do it in an instant the same as an obese person cannot lose weight overnight, but you need to make the decision and focus your determination on this objective.

You must decide that you want to expand your perception and to heighten your awareness to a level where you will know, feel, and believe that there was no oppressor, and there was no victim. I will elaborate on how to do it later here.

2. There are no problems. There are challenges that are gifts in disguise.

Your awareness can grow if you are motivated enough to work on changing it. Similar to your muscles growing if you work them, but you work them only if you have enough motivation for that. With rare exceptions, the only thing that gives us enough motivation for inner work is the things that we call problems in life.

Second — when you are training muscles, you need dumbbells, exercising machines, and other equipment. At least you need your own body weight. Similar in inner work, you need a material to work with, and this material is again the things you call problems.

That leads to the conclusion that problems are necessary for us to grow, to become stronger and better. Why become stronger is a different story, but, in short — you can become stronger only with inner change. Building muscle, buying stuff, and consuming stuff cannot make you happier; only inner change can.

But it is incorrect to call a good thing a “Problem.” Therefore you have challenges, not problems.

The challenges you have are your gifts for growth. When you work through your challenges, you become stronger, more whole, and you develop your awareness. It is only thanks to your challenges that you can do it.

Therefore instead of thinking “why me”, exclaim “hold my beer and let me roll my sleeves!”

3. There is no quick fix. It’s a longterm process that will test your determination

  • Don’t expect quick results;
  • Don’t blame yourself for relapses. Acknowledge, accept, take yourself back to where you know you need to be in your mindset, continue;
  • Keep your determination. Use support for it (more on that later);
  • Celebrate small wins.

4. There is no magic, and all is magic.

The things I was doing are simple in their nature, no hocus pocus. But they involve an intent, determination, and belief; therefore, this all is pure magic ;)

How to tackle the challenge of accepting your father

I will describe those things I remember I have been doing. Order is only slightly important because it is not a completely linear process — you might need to jump some steps back and forth as you progress and relapse, and then progress more.

Use a journal

Write your thoughts and inner work process. Write with a hand when you can.

Learn to identify and acknowledge your emotions

Several times a day, stop and reflect 1) How do I feel now? 2) What caused it? And write it in your journal. Remember that good, bad, normal — those are not emotions. You might find emotions circle useful for learning and recognizing emotions.

Share your emotions with others

Talk openly about your emotions with other people. Your spouse, friends, coworkers. If that is hard in the beginning, use support groups like adultchildren.org (they are in most countries) or group psychotherapy.

Reveal your anger

When you are angry, say it. Don’t say, “you made me feel angry.” Say, “I feel angry when you do X…”. (there’s a reason for this formula, but this essay would become too long if I include it here).

Express your anger / hatred that is related to your father

When you feel you are angry at your father and you are in public, write it down or say to someone.

When your setting allows (it means, there are NO children around and preferably no other people as well), express it through bodily reactions — yell and howl, hit things like a coach or a punchbag (not people or animals!!!), jump and dance like crazy — let your aggression out, do it again and again. Expect to start having waves of aggression when you will start working with your emotions. Don’t worry, they will pass if you will express them.

Pray for the gift of clarity and forgiveness

When you feel you can, and if you feel it is worth doing it, pray to God for the gift of forgiveness and clarity to see everything in its true light.

Talk with a priest

Priests of most religions can help you with additional perspective on forgiveness. Don’t get fixated on only their perspectives, but take the best in. If you are in Latvia, try to talk with Marcins Voznaks, Pavils Kamola, Alberto Sánchez León.

Join a pilgrimage

I went to Aglona several times.

Have the deep massage several times

Why: the storage of the subconscious is your body. To stir up your wounded memories, stir up your deep body tissue.

When I went to the masseur, I thought he’s breaking my back and shoulders, and after that, I had many deep emotional experiences and releases. I went to Gvido +37129460820.

Go to sauna

For the same reason. And I mean the correct way of going to the sauna, which does not include alcohol and eating definitely. It’s 1-on-1 you and the sauna attendant for several hours.

Join a men’s group

You need to hear and experience other men openly sharing their lives, fears, frustrations, and pains. And you need to share yours with them. Now, I don’t know if there are men’s groups outside churches. The one I use to visit is www.menofstjoseph.com/www.jazepaviri.lv

Go to psychotherapy

You need something deep. I work with an existential psychotherapist, Marks Jermaks, www.tavasirds.com.

Work with a mentor

Find a life mentor — a kind-hearted, more senior man who can become your mentor and work with him. Work regularly, not on an ad-hoc basis. I.e., I was meeting my mentor Mark Ashton from www.cocoonprogram.com every two weeks.

Equally important, work with a mentor who can help you to step out of the victim mode. Rein Lemberpuu from www.cocoonprogram.com supported me in this.

Learn to respect and cooperate with women

For this purpose read Quest for Maleness by Theun Mares https://www.amazon.com/Quest-Maleness-Toltec-Teachings-Part-ebook/dp/B06X95BG9X

Apply active imagination

It would be too long to explain the method here, I highly recommend this book: https://www.amazon.com/Inner-Work-Dreams-Imagination-Personal/dp/0062504312. Active imagination has been one of the most important tactics for me.

Do dream analysis

The same book will guide you. If you don’t remember your dreams, start writing them down immediately when you wake up. This way, you will sharpen your remembering skills.

Get rid of secrets

Talk openly about your experiences with everyone involved — your mother, father’s and mother’s relatives, and friends, ask questions to get more details.

Analyze your actions

Remember and analyze your actions in your relationships past and present. How and what you did, especially those parts that caused pain to others involved. Ask yourself — did you cause the pain with purpose? If not, could have behaved otherwise at all with the level of awareness you had at that particular moment in time?

Understand your father

There’s a saying — to fully understand is to forgive fully. After you have analyzed yourself, In your journaling and active imagination, try to put yourself in your father’s shoes, starting from his birth. Try to live his life and imagine what your actions would have been. The end result of this thinking exercise is to understand, believe, and feel that your father has always acted with his best intentions, given the level of awareness he had at each moment in time. Understanding is not the same as believing and not the same as feeling.

The book or movie “The Shack” will help you here.

Step out of the drama triangle

Read the book “Why we suffer” to understand why your mother was not a victim and your father, a monster www.amazon.com/Why-We-Suffer-Understand-Unhappiness-ebook/dp/B004WOVLR6/. Also, with the new perception and awareness, think about the challenges that life through your father has given to you. Remember that challenges are not problems.

Meet your father

I spent 4 years searching for my father, who was considered to be dead and then traveled for several days by air and train to meet him.

Express your anger to him

Say, yell, and express anything you feel. You don’t need to think if he can withstand it. Just don’t beat him because the earth is round…

Talk it through

Tell your story and emotions. Ask for his story and emotions. Don’t interrupt each other.

Meet him again

Sleep in one room

Meet his relatives

Spend time with his relatives and a larger family. Acknowledge you are a part of it. Spend time in your father’s father’s home if it’s possible.

Understand that and how he loves you

If you are outside, even during the night, there is no absolute darkness. Just your eyes need to get accustomed. And nothing can be brighter as it is, given where the sun is. Similar here. You need to get accustomed to your father after your perception has gained more sobriety, and then you need to notice the ways how he loves you. My girlfriend helped me with this. I was telling her how angry I was about the particular behavior of his, and she told me that through this behavior, he was showing his love for me. It took me a while to understand that it was absolutely true, and that was the main turning point in my journey.

Support

I already mentioned some of the support persons I have and had, here’s a brief summary and some more:

  • Psychotherapist (male)
  • Mentor (male)
  • A friend who’s walking a similar journey or has walked it before you
  • Adultchildren.org
  • Men’s group like http://www.menofstjoseph.com/
  • Your spouse or girlfriend, if you open your heart in the meaning of sharing your pains, fears, and struggles.

Conclusion

What you have gained for a high price, give away for free. That’s the purpose of this article. Plus, if you think that I can support you in your journey, reach out to me via a social media direct message, you can find me on Linkedin and Facebook.

Be brave, determined, and persistent. You will succeed!

God bless you and your father!

.Cocoon CEO — supporting founders self-discovery and business growth — Cocoonprogram.com

.Cocoon CEO — supporting founders self-discovery and business growth — Cocoonprogram.com