The Daddy Wound
The Daddy Wound gets opened whenever a little girl desperately wants to believe that Daddy is a god… and feels devastated when she discovers he’s not.
The little girl wants Daddy to take care of her. She craves his protection. She needs him to provide reassuring strength and stability – the masculine form of nurturing.
When it’s not there, she’s crushed.
And because it happened once, she believes it’ll happen again. She wants all of Daddy’s love but at the same time, she’s sure she won’t get it. So she defends herself rather than feel the hurt she’s sure is coming.
Over time, her belief creates reality. She experiences the same hurt, over and over again.
Over time, she learns to expect and anticipate disappointment, because that dulls the edge of the pain.
Growing up, she projects her expectations on every new man she meets. She becomes a prisoner of her own projections – and so does he. Because whenever she anticipates disappointment or abandonment or betrayal, he can’t help but react.
It’s a subtle yet powerful form of energetic bondage.
Sometimes, she quietly accepts her ‘fate’. She resigns herself to a marriage where she plays nurturing Mummy to his protector/provider Daddy. If they both remain happy with the deal they’ve made, this kind of marriage can last a lifetime.
Other times, she retreats to an armoured, resentful independence. “I can take care of myself, thank you very much” becomes her mantra. But all the while, she secretly longs for Daddy to do it for her.
And when he doesn’t – when he fails, in large or even small ways, to show up as she wants or expects him to – she shuts down. She becomes incapable of receiving his love, even if/when he offers it. At this point, she either turns nasty or she runs away before he can disappoint her further.
When it’s unhealed and unconscious, the Daddy Wound rules her relationships. She looks for Daddy in her partners… or for his opposite. But she’s never fully in. She always maintains the option to cut and run, in case he disappoints her (like he always does).
The Daddy Wound also rules her relationship with money. In the modern world, she can become a highly capable, highly driven and highly paid woman who’s pushing through exhaustion, determined to succeed. What she really wants is approval from Big Daddy – the boss or the government agency or the corporation. In return, Big Daddy takes care of her financially so she doesn’t have to think about money.
Whether kicking goals in the workplace or managing a household, she learns to manipulate the masculine and play by the rules so that Daddy will take care of her.
Like most things in our world, the Daddy Wound isn’t binary – it isn’t on or off. We don’t either have it or not. Rather, we feel it across a spectrum.
At the moderate end is disappointment because Daddy wasn’t as emotionally available as we wanted/needed him to be. For example: having a father who may have been relatively well-balanced emotionally, but was simply too busy and/or preoccupied with his career to spend as much time with us as we wanted.
At the extreme end is the gross betrayal of abuse or the shocking sense of abandonment that can arise from sudden, unexpected death of the father.
My own father badly wanted a boy child. He and his father and his father’s father were openly disappointed when I was born a girl. I spent most of my life hiding a vague sense that I was a mistake – not quite right and definitely not quite enough. I wanted his approval but felt convinced it was never coming. I didn’t want to get hurt, so most of the time I pushed him away.
As an adult I lived through years of disastrous intimate relationships where the Daddy Wound was in full swing. Eventually I did enough inner work to stop anticipating disappointment and stop living in constant projection. Then I met a man who was aware enough for me to relax and trust that perhaps this time, things would be different.
Early in our relationship, we were enjoying breakfast after a gorgeous weekend of road tripping and love making. Suddenly, I was in a world of pain.
There was no dramatic event. My partner simply didn’t quite show up in some way that I wanted and expected him to.
My reaction was completely disproportionate. I felt abandoned and betrayed.
It didn’t take much to trigger the program – just a few misplaced words. But the words had enormous power.
A few words were enough to kick me into a dissociated state that lasted for a couple of weeks, on and off.
I had to clear layers and layers of victim story to come out of it. I saw the thread that ran back through my partner to my father. I saw the wounded little girl, wanting Daddy to be super-human and feeling terribly disappointed when he wasn’t.
More recently I had to clear another few layers when I saw how, despite protesting loudly that I didn’t need my partner to take care of me financially, I secretly wanted him to… and felt abandoned whenever he didn’t. Although it was uncomfortable, the process was incredibly valuable. I got to see – in real time – how he could relax once I stopped sending him such mixed messages and started to take more responsibility for creating my own financial future.
Healing the Daddy Wound
The Mother Wound gets a fair bit of attention in the personal transformation world. Sometimes described as “the inherited pain of being a woman within patriarchal cultures”, the Mother Wound creates all kinds of dysfunction as we try to reconcile the sense of being “less-than” with the desire to be happy, successful and free. There are women in the world facilitating profound, life-changing work on healing the Mother Wound. I applaud them.
I believe the Daddy Wound is just as powerful as the Mother Wound. It’s crippling for women and for our planet. Because here’s the thing: the Daddy Wound is also crippling for men.
Men can’t be free while women are in chains.
There’s no doubt the feminine is rising on this planet right now – the sheer numbers at the women’s marches this month show it. There’s also no doubt those numbers are fuelled by a collective sense of dismay at recent developments in the reality TV show our world is fast becoming. But within my personal, emotional response to Donald Trump’s election, I noticed some raw edges.
It felt as if he triggered an ancient pain within me… like he was rubbing salt into an old wound.
Since early November, I’ve watched some of my friends – all smart, educated and accomplished – pass through the stages of grief. Except some of them seem to have gotten stuck in anger. And for a few, the anger’s turned to hatred.
I’ve realised that I have some critical choices to make right now. How I respond – privately and publicly, within and without – to Trump as a man, to his presidency and to all the men in my life will determine my experience of the world:
- If I react to him from a wounded place, he becomes the enemy. I stop seeing him as human.
- If I lash out at him from inside my own pain, I want to hurt him. But I’m fuelled by false power.
- If I allow myself to hate him or I collapse into fear, I add to the dark energies our planet is already awash with. I run the risk of becoming what I most despise. I allow him (and the forces that support him) to win.
I had to start healing my own Daddy Wound to trace the true source of my own feminine power. Because real power doesn’t come from having some demigod take care of us: it comes from learning to take care of ourselves.
True strength comes from self-reliance. But not from an armoured, defended, defiant and resentful independence… rather from a solid yet fluid anchoring in feminine energy.
I’m talking about resisting the pull towards intellectual outrage and choosing instead to feel the long-suppressed pain, while anchoring myself within my heart and hips and belly and womb.
I’ve developed some new inner work that helps women begin to heal the Daddy Wound. It draws from work I’ve done myself and with several clients over the past year. It feels useful to share it with the world, right now. So here’s what’s involved.
We work through four individual 90 minute clearing sessions that cover:
- Daddy – relationship with your father and his masculine lineage (eg. your grandfather or beyond).
- Husband/partner – one or more significant intimate relationships. Can include a current or past partner.
- Mother – relationship with your mother, with a focus on how she carried and taught you about the Daddy Wound. May include work on how your Mother’s ancestral lineage carried the Daddy Wound.
- Collective Feminine – broader issues such as how the Daddy Wound is held within collective consciousness and how Mother Earth herself holds a version of the Daddy Wound.
The work all happens online or by phone, so you don’t have to live near me. You can schedule these sessions at your own pace, taking up to 6 months to finish. If you’ve already done a lot of inner work, 3 sessions is probably all you’ll need. If you’re just getting started, you may need a few more to dig down to the roots of the old patterns.
If you recognise the Daddy Wound and you’re interested in bringing compassionate closure to some old relationships and patterns, this work might be right for you. If so, you’ll know. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Here’s what one client who recently worked through this series said about working with me:
Belinda is such a loving, supportive, nurturing presence and guide throughout this amazing and for me profoundly life changing process. She created a safe and sacred space of truth and authenticity which enabled me to explore depths within myself which I previously had not dared to visit let alone explore. With her loving guidance I was able to move mountains!!!! That is exactly how it feels weeks later as I witness and feel the many positive changes rippling through all areas of my life. I truly could not have imagined achieving this deep level of change in such a way. It is all possible and I am here to say that if you feel even the slightest resonance with Belinda’s compassionate closure work then please gift this to yourself. With gratitude and great respect.
Click here to book a no-obligation (ie. zero-icky-pressure-sales-tactics) 45-minute introductory call and explore whether we’re a good fit for each other.
Because the world is so crazy right now and we could all do with a little extra support, I’m hosting small groups of women who can do the work at the same time. It’ll create a bigger and stronger ‘crucible’ for clearing and transformation.
When I’m working with a group, the whole process will happen in a month and I’ll include a couple of extra online group sessions:
- We begin the month with a group clearing session to set intentions, establish the ‘healing crucible’ and set the group up for breakthroughs.
- We finish the month with another group call where we address common themes that arose in the 1:1 sessions plus some broader issues (eg. how the Daddy Wound is held within collective consciousness and how Mother Earth herself holds a version of the Daddy Wound).
For the latest group calls, check out the Events tab on my Facebook page.