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Relationship with Dad Affects Everyone For Life

A child’s relationship with dad continues to have influence on every individual for the rest of his or her life. It influences the ability to love, to trust, and to have satisfactory sexual relationships and sound body images. On the other hand a good relationship with father facilitates self-confidence, the development of identity, the pursuit of a successful life, and how the individual sees him or herself in the world. Research shows that women who had great relationships with dad are more likely to climb to the top of their professions. Since a child’s early relationship with dad is imprinted for life, relationships with all males, both personal and professional, continue to be impacted for the rest of life, unless individuals are able to reconcile the pain of the bad relationship with dad, using constellations or some other systemic therapy. If reconciliation doesn’t occur, the individual is likely to gravitate towards relationships with men that resemble the dysfunction of the early relationship with dad.

In addition, a poor early relationship with dad can impact an individual’s ability to respond to stress or stressors, especially if dad was violent or physically, emotionally or sexually abusive, splits can occur leaving parts of the forebrain to “turn off” leaving only the primitive parts of the brain stem available in response to stressors. The primitive brain, sometimes called the reptilian brain, controls the survival instinctive behaviors of fight, flight or freeze, while the cognitive functions remain blocked. These instinctive behaviors often “took over” in early life of the individual as survival mechanisms. The adult can continue to react in the same manner if no reconciliation occurs.

However, just because an individual’s relationship with Dad wasn’t great or was even truly destructive, doesn’t mean the individual’s life is over and he or she is doomed to having poor relationships with all men as an adult. All fathers disappoint their kids in some way, so it’s important to acknowledge what was wrong and seek reconciliation. No one had a perfect dad, so it’s important to accept what was good and to reconcile what wasn’t. Only by reconciling with both can an individual be truly happy and free! Constellations are a great way to deal with “bad” fathers AND mothers. In constellations reconciliation is possible!


NOTE: Reconciliation as it is used in constellations doesn’t suggest that reconciliation makes it possible to have a great relationship with dad in this life, but it does bring peace to the individual and facilitates the re-integration of the splits.

 Join us at the MIDWEST INSTITUTE FOR SYSTEMIC CONSTELLATIONS and learn how to retrain the brain to deal with stress or stressors in a positive way—individual or group constellations available in person or by Skype.


Liz Jelinek, PhD