My Dad was my greatest hero when I was so small that he literally looked like a giant to me. Heck, my Mom looked like a giant to me at one time as well and she was only 5’2″! So when I was a little boy and was not yet rational, I watched how a father was supposed to behave. The problem was my Dad did not how to deal with his emotional conflicts that he carried from his own childhood and sadly never did.
“With those whose love we wanted but didn’t get, we emulate them. It was the only way we have within our power to get the closeness and the love that we needed and desired.” Unconsciously I did this. Even though I railed against it and act like I wasnt the same as him, as I got older, when I was lost and confused, those memories and actions of my father on how it was to be a man obviously came up into my conscious. I am sad as I say this but feel it to be true. I would withdraw into myself when the tension of life came up. I would do exactly the same thing my father did; I would shut down emotionally. This is sad and hopeful in the same breath.
“My Dad’s voice was sacred to me as a child.” I remember my father talking to me. Not the words he said but the tone and the body language associated with his words. Needless to say I am hard on myself as he was on me. I feel such a sadness realizing this as I sit here. I know dear friends whose father was like mine and they seem to find men and women in their lives who were eerily similar to their fathers.
“All we know about manhood is what we have seen and learned from our fathers.” Such a statement might seem ridiculous to many. But as a testament to this truth, I can tell you that I worked hard to get out of that family. I worked hard to get away from him. But as I sit here today I realize his depression is my depression. I am carrying his fucking burdens as he I am sure carried his fathers.
No matter how hard we try, those unconscious memories are always with is. The question is can we work with them and dance with them like Hillman says we should do with our dreams, or will we try to make them “go away.” Well I am fucking proof that no matter how much you ‘think’ you are not carrying those memories, you are.
123 RV, SA, PH, TL, WC, JM
All quotes from Bruce Springsteen albume”On Broadway” from the song “My Father’s House”