Working as a mental health professional in the city of Baltimore over the last six years, I have worked with countless men who have been diagnosed with mood and anger issues. After a few sessions with these men, I discovered that the real source of their fluctuating mood and anger can be traced back to the lack of fathering in their lives. Seeing the pain experienced by these men takes me back to growing up without my father. Many times in life, I’ve been mad as…I’ll let you feel in the blank! I have had men tell me that they have joined gangs just to feel accepted and loved. These men expressed overall confusion with just learning how to do life without their fathers. I’ve found that the effect of fatherlessness is major in the life of a son across the board.
According to research done over the years, when men grow up without their fathers they experience several negative consequences including those listed below:
- Insecurities: Insecurities for any man is very normal, but for fatherless men, this characteristic seems to be more than pronounced. Often times we lack the blueprint and the input of wisdom from a father to become strong, confident, and anchored men. The lack of inner strength and confidence can lead to questions around manhood, decision-making, and authentic fraternizing with other men.
- Lack of Life Skills: Tying a tie, basic grooming techniques, how to interact with women, being a husband, and being handy in the house are all skills often learned from a father. The lack of skill development along with other environmental factors may contribute to ongoing emotional instability.
- Positive Expressions of Love: The void of love and feeling of literally being lost that many men feel can often contribute to mood challenges. If you can’t trust your father, and if he left, who can you trust? As a result, men without their fathers may have a hard time expressing love and receiving love.
Despite the negative impact of fatherlessness, there are many ways men can overcome and do life successfully while managing fatherlessness:
- Connect with a Male Mentor: Having a male mentor is one of the greatest ways you can offset the effects of fatherlessness. The benefits include the opportunity to talk to someone about what is going on in your life from a male point of view, receiving direction and wisdom and the feeling of safety and source of empowerment.
- Make a Decision to Rewrite the Story: You had no control over your beginning and you didn’t get to choose your father, however, the ending is all under your control. I beg you all to make the decision to rewrite the story. Be a king, find a mentor, be a mentor, be an active father, manage your emotions, go to therapy, and whatever else is needed to rid yourself of anger, emotional instability, and general distrust. In some ways, your legacy is connected to your father, but it is not the totality of your legacy. You were born to do amazing things.
- Empower Your Mind: Your story and legacy cannot change unless your mind changes and change happens through empowerment. There are so many things you can do- watch videos, listen to podcasts, or pick up a book. Learn to strengthen your mind through self-education and experience.
Resources: Podcasts: Knowledge for Men
Tackling Life with Ray Lewis and Dr. Christain Conte
Book: Kingdom Man by Tony Evans
Article Written By Dana Lewis
Occupation: Licensed Social Worker
About Him: Dana is a native of Baltimore City. He has an undergraduate degree from Towson University in Psychology (2010) and a Masters in Social Work from Morgan State University (2014).Dana has been practicing social work for six years in Baltimore City. He loves working with children/ youth and families within the inner city and his passion is to help individuals look within themselves to utilize their gifts and resiliency to overcome the odds, recover from trauma, and to release their greatness.