I really don't know where to begin. You see, things between me and my father are fine, I guess, but it doesn't feel like we have a real dad-son relationship. He's a little detached, or perhaps I'm a little reluctant. Either way, it doesn't work. I have tried to strengthen our relationship, but to no avail. I have talked to quite a few people I felt comfortable with. These include teachers and youth leaders. It felt to me like they too were uninterested or emotionally disabled, to be frank. I have no one else to turn to. I can't seek the help of any of the youth leaders or pastors or whatnot, since it's apparently frowned upon to be what I call a Buddhist-Christian.
So now I have come here, seeking the advice of men; perhaps some with similar experiences. I have such a deep need for a father-figure or something of the like. It's a relationship I can't find in any of my friends, the girl I love, or my actual father. And I feel terrible when I say this, knowing that my problem is minuscule, and I know that God is my Father.
The point is, I am clueless and starting to feel frustrated. I just need someone to be there for me, and who is interested. Someone who will listen to my rants about my ideals and how I feel like a hypocrite, someone who will set me straight when I do stupid things.
Well, there you have it. I hope I didn't sound to whiny there...
Any help would be much appreciated!
Your quest is a good one, and you are going about it in a gentle yet firm way. Which means: you really are on your way already! And no, you do not sound whiny; did you fear we would reject you for sounding whiny?
I do not know you, but you give me some keys already: you find not only your father, but also all other male leadership figures ultimately remote. Or as you say in the case of your father: you are reluctant. I think this reluctance underlies all attempts at contact. You withdraw, and become less emotional and very intellectual-chatty, to avoid the hurt of rejection. But that is the very mechanism which will create a feeling of rejection over and over again!
So while I agree to your quest for a father figure, I think I will give you the one fatherly advice I can give, perhaps setting you straight as I see what I perceive to be a stupid thing: complete your relation to your father by any means! Once that is done, you will have worked over your fear of rejection from your main father figure (and he will indeed always be, no matter his personality), and will be free to find also other male role models.
As for buddhist christianity: Both Buddha and Christ had good things to say, and I am sure you have learned a lot from them. They are male role models. Good ones, too. But knowing from intimate experience, they can be sources of the very detachment which is your poison, if you let their teachings be teachings about how to stay aloof from hurt and suffering.
I see what you mean, and thank you. I do tend to become emotionally detached and cold. I will look into your advice. Thank you! :)
If you are into meditation, which you probably are, know that research has shown it to be very effective (probably the most powerful of mind tools) for all groups except one: people with withdrawal problems. If you have a tendency to withdraw, you need a good teacher to check you on this particular issue. Otherwise meditation will become a tool for more withdrawal and detachment.
Then do the "empathy building" meditation.
Johann, are you familiar with that one? It's where you sit and think about people whom you know, and their suffering and disappointments in life. Generally you start with a friendly figure--someone you feel comfortable with already. You imagine that person, and you imagine his or her suffering. As you breath in, imagine that you are breathing in that person's suffering (that sounds bad, but it's not particularly traumatic for most people), and as you breath out, imagine you are breathing out release from suffering for that person.
Then move on to a less friendly figure. Not hostile--yet--but perhaps indifferent, or a little detached or cold. At some point, your father certainly. Imagine breathing in his suffering. That might include whatever beliefs or habits might get in the way of his being able to relate to you. Breath out release from suffering.
This exercise will not cause him to change, and unfortunately it won't even relieve his suffering in life. It will cause you to change. Most sons crave approval from their dads, which is only natural, but some feel that they're not getting it at all, or only grudgingly, or that it's conditional on something over which they have no control.
There seems to be some sort of paradox whereby the more needy for approval you are, the less likely you are to get it.
When I was a young adult, I felt very unwanted and abandoned. Complicated story so probably best reserved for another time. But when I accepted my parent's own emotional neediness and suffering, I was able to accept why they were never able to give me the approval that I craved, and was therefor able to accept that I wasn't going to get it. It doesn't bother me. They had some "history" and disappointments of their own, that were worse than mine.
As a result, I've been able to give them more of what they needed while being less needy myself. This has improved our relationship. If you can't create an ideal father-son relationship, then you owe it to yourself to make the best of what you have.
My own dad is quite a charming devil in person, and very generous too. Then he forgets that I exist when I am out of direct eye contact. That's the way he is. I accept that. His lot in life was worse, and he experienced worse. I respect that and appreciate that he did better.
A good friend of mine is one generation older than I am, and we have a surrogate father-son relationship going. He's all-too-human too, but in different ways. It doesn't bother me; I accept him the way he is. Unlike my real dad, he is constantly fretting over his kids. If one of them is sick, or in trouble, or in need, he is extremely conscious of it. But oddly--can not talk to them about it!! Is terrified to bring the subject up. Can not talk about personal matters with his sons or daughters, even as he worries about them. He can with me (which is how I know about them), but that's because I make him comfortable talking about those things. I'm a "safe" person. Sometimes I act as a go-between for that very reason.
Hope it works out for both of you one way or another, because you deserve a good father-son relationship.
I understand your feeling, my father was someone emotionally distant and starting from a young age he wanted nothing to do with me. I was even told later in life that he proved to be jealous of me, since I took the attention away from him with my mother.
I was lucky and found a father figure in my grandfather for a small chunk of my life, but by my early teens he died.
If I could give you one piece of advice its this, Father Figures are hard to come by, Mentors aren't. I am not sure how old you are, but judging by your post I would assume mid to late teens. Either way at that age as much as you might be striving for a father figure, most people won't be looking for that in you. I have many mentors in my life, some of which who taught me things that my lack of a father figure delayed me from learning. The kinship you make with those mentors will create that bond, they will become close friends who you can confide in.
In time that wound will heal, there will be a scar but you'll prove better for it.
I hope that helps, and keep in mind there are people here willing to listen as well. We might not really be group therapy but just as you posted here, we are willing to listen and help.
Thanks for your advice. It did help. I understand that these things take time. I'll give a shout if I need to talk. :)
Please define "Buddhist-Christian" ?
I do believe I see where you`re coming from in your post but if I shall be outspoken, have you contemplated dialogue instead of monologue ?
My eldest are in his mid teens and we can talk more or less about anything, but rants and monologues comes under the header of "stupid things" in my book.
Try talking with, instead of to, it may prove fruitful. ;-)
Definition: I am a Christian, full on, but I hold many Buddhist values and ideals. I do eat meat, unlike 'regular' Buddhists, though. As for reincarnation, I don't really know. I feel that it is not important to worry how the spirit world works, but to achieve spiritual freedom.
I understand what you mean. A relationship comes from two sides. Thank you for your advice! It helped. :)
With those exeptions to core material (meat eating and reincarnation) if I`m understanding it correctly, wouldnt the rest of it fit just fine into Christianity ?
I am a bit hazy on the Buddist bits, but have some recollection of the 4 core values and remember thinking that it wasnt so far from Christian Puritanical moral values.
Hi Johann -
Keep in mind, that you and your Dad are two separate individuals. People tend to parent, as they themselves have been parented. If you can enjoy an open dialouge with your Dad, that is a great starting point. Don't be afraid to ask him about his own relationships. His answers might just be an avenue for you to take, to express to him about the kind of relationship you want to have with him. If he has had good relationships, then agree with him that is what you want. If he has had relationships that have not gone so well, there is an opening, for you to express to him about your fears of '..ending up lilke that...'
People (even your parents) are not mind-readers, and as you get older...he may not know any longer what it is you are thinking. Be direct and honest with your Dad. Allow him to be 'just a person'. Even though he is your Dad, keep in mind....he is only a child who has grown up. Your thoughts and emotions may not be all the different. I'm 55 - but, inside my head....I'm still 17. He has worries...and insecurities...he has had time to learn how to mask how he really feels. Always treat him with kindness.
One more thought....you cannot control others. You can only control how you react to others. Someone I know said that to me about 4 years ago....I've given that statement lots of thought. It is true. It has made me stop trying to influence others, and to concentrate on how I react to others. I'm much kinder to others and their feelings and emotions now. I try to be content with who I am, and not project what I am feeling onto others. See how it works...give it some time.
Thank you for your advice. Your last paragraph really struck me. It's not something I care to admit, but I tend to manipulate and influence; something to be worked on. Thank you, again! Your advice really helped!
Feel free to message me or chat anytime, my friend. You have already done the biggest part, which is to acknowledge that you want more out of your relationships. :) Now you can start building what you want. I spent 20 years as a minister in traditional Christian thought. I understand when our faith shifts to more universal concepts and the challenges that can present.