Young And Hopeless—I’m Angry At My Father

young hopeless and angry

I know I'm making something out of this life they called nothing. It’s me against this world and I don’t care.

A few years ago I was living in Tilburg, The Netherlands. This is a small town in the middle of the country. The one amazing thing they have is a large pop venue that is a favourite touring venue for punk bands. It is one of the few places in The Netherlands that my son, a punk drummer, has been to. One night I went to see ‘Good Charlotte‘, the US punk band based around the Madden brothers. I had an envigorating, rocking evening, even though I was in my sixties! The song that remains with me from that gig is ‘Young and Hopeless’. It is a personal song that aches with teenage angst and disconnection.

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I’m in Trouble Now and I Don’t Even Know What For!

in trouble as a child

I remember a defining moment from my childhood. It helped to shape my relationship with my father and mother.

“That’s the end of the announcements, children. I’m sure you’ll all be happy to hear that it’s now time to go home! Quiet now! I said quiet! Before you go could I just ask Graham Phoenix to stay behind till everyone’s gone? Quiet! You can all go now.”

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Session 2: Understand Your Influences

Your Parents, Your Personalities, Your Attitudes

In ‘Understand Your Influences’ you will discover and learn to understand the influences that have affected your core masculinity. Core masculinity is only what you start with, it changes through your life. Your parents will have exerted the most immediate and basic influence on you. You will come to understand that and learn how it has helped create many different personalities in you. It is important for you to meet those personalities and get to resolve the issues between them. You will look at your attitudes to life, and how they have affected you and your relationships with others.

Your Influences – Summary

Parents

As a man, your father is important to you. You possibly aspired to be him and determined never to be like him. A boy child tends to copy male figures because he perceives them as similar to him and as powerful. This copying is reinforced by the behavior of his parents towards him.

You love your mother but you also need your mother. Men can confuse comfort with love, they feel this deep need, an emptiness to be filled. They look for their mothers to fill it and as they grow up, subconsciously, they can’t admit this to themselves, so they look for women who are like their mothers, who will fill this need.

Personalities

Conflicting requirements, particularly from parents, create conflicting needs inside you. Conflicting directions, conflicting ideas of what you should be. These can build into conflicting and different personalities within you. There are many different people within you, there are many different personalities. It’s likely that you needed to be different people for your father and your mother. Your parents are individuals with their own demands and pressures. As children you would respond to these in different ways.

Attitudes

You are in charge of your mind and you control everything you do. You make choices for yourself and you should understand where you stand on three major attitudes to life.

  • The first is the concept of towards or away from.
  • The second is looking forwards or backwards.
  • The third is apportioning blame or taking responsibility.

Are you moving towards a vision or are you moving away from where you’ve been? Understanding the essential difference in motivation is key to creating the life you desire. Are you moving towards a vision or are you moving away from something unpleasant or something you don’t like? It’s about whether you focus on pleasure or pain. These are the two core emotions within the depths of your being that drive so much of what you do. Do you seek pleasure or do you seek to avoid pain?

Many people get stuck in the past; constantly reliving what happened to them. Others are constantly looking forwards planning what they are going to do. Neither really seem to focus on now, the present moment; this is the most important time. Changing this could have a powerful effect on your relationship.

The desire to blame is imbedded within our society. It seems that it’s always someone else’s fault. It starts on a wide front with blaming the government and the people we think control us, the military, the corporations, those who hold the money. This comes out in extreme form through the many conspiracy theories around. It finishes in your relationships when you fight your partner, when you blame each other for everything that’s wrong.


Your Influences – Worksheet

Set aside time to think through your answers to the questions. They are intended to get you thinking about your influences. Write your answers either in this worksheet or start a journal. Also write your emotional or other reactions.

  1. Who was your father for you? Was he a hero or a villain? How did he influence you? Who did you have to be for your father? What did you suppress to gain your father’s love?
  2. Who was your mother for you? Was she a comforter or a woman? Did she have a personality, as you saw it, outside of her role as a mother? Who did you have to be for your mother? What did she expect of you? Did you fulfill that or shy away from it?
  3. Think about what you focus on in life. Are you constantly looking at and talking about what has happened, or are you looking to what is going to happen? How much do you focus on the present, this moment. How aware are you of what is going on around you?
  4. What are you holding on to that you blame someone else for? What do you think is happening in your life that is someone else’s fault? How much do you blame other people for your difficulties? How much do you take responsibility for yourself and your life?

Your Influences – Exercise

Having learned to love yourself you will now look at accepting yourself. To do this you need to know who you are and integrate all the different parts of yourself.

You begin by understanding your different personalities. Write down what comes out of this exercise in your journal.

The key to your personalities will come from the worksheet where you look at how you reacted to the influence of your father and your mother. It is likely that you were a different person for each of them, depending on what they were looking for in you. From there look at your life and how you show up in different ways in different situations.

Look at the different roles you play in your life; son, father, brother, husband, employee, employer, leader, sportsman, academic, worker etc. Look at the personalities you employ in these different roles. Look at how you are a different man in each situation.

When you bring together the different personalities from when you grew up with the different personalities you are now, you will build up a profile of who you are, a matrix of what makes you a man. Look at the relative importance of these roles to you and others in your life, look at which roles you play most of the time.

I want you to list the personalities and give them names. Get to know them and get comfortable with them.

Start to understand that these personalities are different people inside you. Go somewhere on your own and talk to the personalities. Talk out loud, have a discussion about who they are, where they came from and why they are here.

Talk to each personality in turn and make sure you fully understand where they came from, what their role is and what their intentions for you are. Resolve any differences between them and you and clear up any conflict. If they don’t serve you any more, let them go with your gratitude.

It may be that they need to talk to each other and resolve differences. It is frequently the case that the roles have differing outcomes that cause conflict within you. These need to be worked out and you should work to align the roles so they all have your best interests at heart.

Get yourself to a point where you feel comfortable with all the parts of yourself. You should know them and understand them. Keep going through this process until you feel that they have all become an integrated whole.

This may need to be an exercise that you come back to in the future, it is rarely possible to resolve all these issues in one session. Start by getting comfortable with the process and learn to enjoy getting to know yourself.


Read the following articles to open up your perspective…

Other articles by Sat Purusha:

Other relevant articles:


Previous: Session 1: Be In Your Core

Next: Session 3: Be Grounded


The Cars That Made Me a Man

the cars that made me a man

From mountainside picnics to curbside views of conflict to getting to know the girl of his dreams---cars have always shaped my memories.

This faded photograph is from 1958 and is of a memorable family holiday in France. Taking pride of place is my father’s favorite car, the Ford Zephyr Mark II. This was a UK produced car of distinction, it was in production from 1956 to 1962. My mum and dad are in the picture wearing sporty hats with me, in the middle, and one of my brothers.

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Fatherhood—Does It Matter? Yes, Now More Than Ever!

fatherhood does it matter

I posed in a boat with my father, I wonder now whether fatherhood matters. Reading 'Why Fatherhood Matters' in Esquire I understands why it does.

It was 1984, my birthday, I was 36 years old with 2 sons 5 and 3 years old. I was in the office at work on a lighting project when my colleague brought me a cup of coffee and suggested I sit down. She put a call through from my wife who told me that my dad had died suddenly in the night. He was only 72 years old, exactly twice my age, and very fit and healthy. Bang—just like that—no warning—a heart attack.

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Ode to Joy – Sometimes the Old Ones are the Best Ones

ode to joy

I look at the power of ‘Ode to Joy’ written in 1785 by German poet, Friedrich Schiller.

The poem uses language generally rejected today with its focus on men and brothers, but it does align with the reality of its time. What is interesting, though, is its focus on the feminine as offering the solutions to issues we face. In that it pre-dates much of what is spoken about today.

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Anger and the Superior Man – Is it about Gender or Personal Inadequacy?

I look at the anger surrounding the recent shooting in the US, and explains how it all relates to an expression of personal inadequacy.

Anger is a part of all our lives whether it comes from inside or whether we experience it from other people. Anger is a recurring theme in relations between men and women both on a personal and cultural level. The recent shooting in the US has generated countless pages both about the shooter’s anger and the anger of those reacting to him and what he did. Much of that anger has been directed at a perceived battle between men and women, some of it has been about the pressure of men’s entitlement and the effect this has on women.

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Do Men Cling To Their Mask of Masculinity?

I used to regard the life I was leading as a lie. My fear was that people would see me as weak, indecisive and scared. I wonder whether this is typical for men?

According to Tony Robbins we all have a Primary Question. It’s a question we ask ourselves everyday of our lives, one that controls our focus and the direction of our lives. For many years my Primary Question was, “What if I’m found out?” I regarded the life I was leading as a lie, a mask, an attempt to bolster my male power. My fear was being found out by someone, by anyone. My fear was that people would see the real me, the weak, indecisive and scared me.

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