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Sins of the Father

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My dear Jil, you have to forgive your father, otherwise you’ll jeopardise your marriage.

There’s a special bond between fathers and daughters. It’s why fathers are protective of their daughters. It is also why daughters are especially hurt when fathers offend the unspecified expectations of that bond. Without forgiveness that offence is carried over into marriage, but it’s buried deep in the psyche. It’s triggered by fears, and similitudes of past offences and experiences. Then comes over-reaction.

Unforgiveness of dad is a major cause of matrimonial dysfunction. It’s destroyed many marriages. When you see a marriage crumble without apparent cause, sometimes unforgiveness of dad is at the root. Some of the most hardened women are people who refuse to forgive their father. They soon become unforgiving all round. They can carry a ten-year old grudge pregnancy. The fetus is dead but it’s being fed amniotic fluid of vengeance. They marry and think they have moved past the past; but in truth the issue lay buried in the womb of being.

The problems often begin just after the cusp of puberty, say, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen… Biology and sociology collide to produce damaging consequences, which go into hibernation like a wicked virus. About that age many girls are taking decisive exams e.g. entrance exams into university, or some elevation exam. The period is a sociological test of parenthood. The girl’s success or failure validate or invalidate upbringing. The father is full of high hopes but also wary. He wants to boast, to tell stories of how his daughter took after him. To every father his daughter is beautiful. And so the idea of beauty and brains is strong. Now imagine a daughter getting pregnant at this time, which unfortunately is the period of most teen pregnancies. Many fathers can’t handle it. Some over-react; they throw the girl out. Some “disown” the child as if it’s possible. Even without teen pregnancy the father is under enormous social strain. But he holds himself stoically. If the child shows slack or exhibits slacking tendencies the father piles huge pressure, without realising. And some fathers just wait for the outcome, making themselves aloof to the process.

You see, parents know the importance of those exams. The child can’t really appreciate them until much later. The father knows the exam is the doorway to his dreams for his daughter. Nothing must jeopardise it. The child wants to pass no doubt but she lacks the capacity to appreciate the real consequences of failure. In a family of high achieving and talented girls the seeming laggard will feel unloved. She may just be a late bloomer. The father’s frustration and drive will create immense pressure on the slow child.

In response she will develop secret resentment. May even become jealous of her siblings. She’ll attribute the lack of affection to her deficit of academic excellence, which is true but not true. The child soon begins to push back in symbolisms of rebellion, which further affect academic performance. Which further frustrates the father. Her grades then become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s a vicious cycle. She will accumulate resentment like trophies. She’ll feel like an outsider in the family. But being needful of love she’ll seek love and validation, and not getting it she’ll develop low self-esteem. Any achievement in the future then becomes her revenge. Which is why she’ll put undue pressure on her husband to achieve. She needs his achievement for validation.

In the family structure she’ll feel the respect she needs is not accorded her. And so no love, no acclamation, no respect… Nothing weakens a child more than the belief that her father doesn’t believe in her. And there are those fathers who take out their frustration on their children. And some are just plain irresponsible. And then those who punish their wives by punishing their child. Common in divorce situations.

Unforgiveness destroys the beautiful promises in a marriage. Unforgivenss hardens the soul. We become tough, and so difficult… Prone to venge and vengefulness. No slight will go unpunished excessively, just to teach someone an invaluable lesson. An unforgiving woman transmogrifies. She begins to lie in wait at life’s roundabouts… to extract revenge, seeking to inflict maximal damage.

Unforgiveness makes her prone to a rare variety of moodiness- cynical moodiness. She weaponises her moodiness. Loving her becomes so hard. She’s impervious by decision. She becomes manipulative, starts withholding affection, never admitting her true feelings. Pride has set in. She wants love but won’t give love, on purpose. She soon begins to despise those who love her. Then she becomes rude and saucy. Nobody can correct her. Her default mode is thus established. Moodiness saps human strength. It soon begins to sap her strength. She slips in and out of depression. Nothing destroys the loving ambiance in a home like moodiness.

The moody construct environmental prisons with the raw materials of foul emotions. She soon becomes a prison warder. She’ll become controlling. It’s an expression of insecurity. And the mood soon becomes accusing. Accusations are invented to justify the mood. The husband is then punished severely for his kindnesses, and for any success he acquires. She’ll be unhappy and can’t be happy. Her unhappiness will then begin to search for an excuse as justification. May God help the husband in such a marriage. It’s either he runs away, or he succumbs to clinical depression. Is that who you want to become? You’ll be most unhappy.

An unhappy person can’t give happiness. Nemo dat quod non habet. Can’t receive either. For how long will you fight your father? Into the grave?! Beyond?! (Even when the father is dead some still continue to fight the corpse!) Those who fight the dead kill something in themselves. Your heavenly Father has forgiven you so much. Why can’t you forgive your earthly father? Your life is bigger than your past.

Your mentor,


© Leke Alder 2014


Tags : Father, Unforgiveness, Daughters
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