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Fathering Yourself

By Dr. Margaret Paul
December 31, 2006

Are you treating yourself the way your father treated you or the way he treated himself? Learn to be the loving father to yourself that you've always wanted.

Fathering YourselfWhat was your father like?

Was he warm, caring and accepting? Did he stand up for you and protect you when that is what you needed? Was he an adequate provider? Did you feel valued, respected and cherished by him? Did he treat your mother with love, caring and respect? Did he play with you and spend special time with you? Was he interested in the things that interested you and the things you did? Did he take care of himself physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, organizationally, and in his relationships? Could you feel his love for you? Was he firm and consistent in his parenting without being harsh or indulgent?


Was he emotionally gone most of the time? Was he physically gone most of the time? Was he an alcoholic? Was he physically, verbally or sexually abusive to you, to other siblings, and/or to your mother? Was he a nice guy but he ignored the fact that your mother or siblings were abusing you and he didn't stand up for you or protect you? Was he a gambler who lost the money that was necessary to feed you and take care of the bills? Did he run around with other women? Did your parents divorce and he was completely uninvolved with you? Did he abandon the family? Did you grow up without a father? Did your father die when you were young? Was he there for others but completely abandoned himself - giving himself up to your mother or others? Did he take poor care of his physical wellbeing? Was he a person you could not count on to keep his word? Did he get angry or sulk when things didn't go his way?

Now, take a moment to think about how you treat yourself. Are you a good father to yourself? Do you stand up for yourself with other people? Do you provide well for yourself? Do you value, respect and cherish yourself? Do you take loving action on your own behalf? Do you follow through on your commitments to yourself and others? Do you take care of your health and physical wellbeing?


Do you ignore or discount yourself like your father ignored or discounted you? Do you judge yourself like your father judged you? Do you gamble, drink, or indulge in other addictions like your father did? Do you fail to provide for yourself financially like your father did? Are you unfaithful in your relationship, or use sex or porn the way your father did?

Whether you are a man or a woman, you need to be both mother and father with yourself - your inner child. The mothering aspect in the Six Steps of Inner Bonding is the first four steps, the inner aspect - staying in touch with your feelings, moving into a compassionate intent to learn about any distress or pain, dialoguing to learn about what you are thinking or doing that may be causing your distress, and opening to learning with your spiritual Guidance about the truth and the loving action toward yourself.

The fathering aspect is Step Five, the outer aspect - taking the loving action. If you do the first four steps but do not take the loving action, then the first four steps mean nothing. Without loving action, nothing changes and your inner child will feel abandoned - just as you might have felt as a child.

Do you spend much energy trying to get someone else to take the loving action for you - to financially support you, to stand up for you and make you important, to take time with you and make you feel special? Even if someone were to do all of this for you, there will still be an empty place inside, a place that needs you to consistently be both the good mother and the good father for yourself - to consistently take loving action on your own behalf.

Step Five - loving action. Learn to be the father to yourself that you always wanted.

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."

Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.

Photo by Caroline Hernandez


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