The Paternal Feel
by Greg Ellis
In his podcast, clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson talks about how parents take revenge on their children without knowing it. Self awareness and reflection is challenging, especially for fathers. The male ego can get in the way and we hit limits. We obstruct, make excuses, find fault and lay blame rather than shifting our perspective to accepting responsibility.
I think about my own expressions of emotion with my sons.
- Am I upset with my son? Or am I upset with myself – because I can’t seem to access how I authentically feel.
- Am I expressing myself vulnerably and maturely? Or am I projecting my emotions onto and into my son?
- Am I regulating my emotions? or am I meeting a limit with how to express myself calmly?
- Behaving compassionately with tolerance? Or unreasonably and extremely?
Clean & Dirty Anger
How do we provide boys with an emotional landing strip when crisis strikes and disorienting forces threaten to debilitate us and derail them?
The ability to self-diagnose and self-repair mood swings and moments of anxiety when crisis strikes is invaluable when behavior spirals out of control. Learning new coping skills and techniques to help modify pre-existing reactive behavior patterns will help us relate and behave with a more evolved sense of emotional maturity.
Is it painful for you to express clean anger – “I’m feeling anger…” without projecting some dirty anger – “I’m angry at YOU.” (we cannot be angry ‘at’ someone – we all own our feelings, nobody is in control of them).
One of the challenges of fatherhood is how best to prepare our sons for the challenges of manhood, especially in a society that currently seems to undervalue the role of fathers and has a confusing definition of what masculinity is.
If we re-pattern how we parent with a primary focus on self improvement the rewards for our