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How to Survive Without a Father-Figure.

A guide to surviving adulthood.

Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash

Every creature learns to live by emulating or learning from their parents. When a kitten grows up to be eligible for hunting, the mother would bring a rat home to her kitten. This is in order to teach the young one how to hunt. At first, she would bring a dead rat, so the kitten could play around with it, and understand what a prey looks like. Then she would bring an injured one so that the kitten could run after it. After that, she would take her kitten somewhere to practice hunting. The mother would perform the action in front of her offspring and then let him try for himself. This goes on for some time until the kitten is efficient at hunting.

Humans learn to function in the world much like other animals. But in our case, some situations deprive us off the opportunity to learn from our parents, so we struggle in the world. This is especially the case for men without father-figures. Although the title suggests that my emphasis will be on males, my tips can also apply to females. The reasons why some men don't have a father-figure is because:

1: Their father died when they were little.
2: They have — or had — a weak relationship with their fathers.

I struggled because of the second reason. You see, my grandfather was a real jerk. He was opposite image of a good man. He was gluttonous, lazy, and bad-tempered. He sealed the fate of my father when he decided to marry. After his marriage with my grandmother, he realized that he despised her, so he started beating her regularly. He didn't even have mercy on his children. Also, he made sure my father didn't have a normal and peaceful childhood by sending him to work when he was still a child.

So my father grew up without having interacted in a normal way with his father. He developed a quiet demeanor, and when I was growing up, he didn't spend much time with me. I am guessing he hadn't learned how to do that from his own father. Having spent little time with my father negatively affected me, and the effects are still visible in my life despite my efforts to overcome it.

I struggled to interact and communicate with adults.

By spending time with your father, you would get to go to different places with him, and see how he functions in the "real world." Up until my 19th birthday, I was socially inept, especially when I had to deal with adults. I just didn't understand the basic talking, negotiating, and confronting etiquette with adults. I was surprised to see some of my friends younger than me communicate with adults so smoothly. And guess what they all had in common? They all had great relationships with their fathers. I on the other hand, became nervous when talking to others, and sometimes made an awkward situation for myself. Some of my worst moments were during social events where I had to interact with adults.

Secondly, I struggle — even now — to be disciplined.

Photo by Tom Morel on Unsplash

There is no one to hold me accountable for things. Back then, when I left religion, I didn't have to sit down with my father to discuss things, nor when I dropped out of high school. He was okay with anything as long as I didn't bother him. In life, you need a strong individual who can guide you to the right path, or when you are about to make a a bad decision, knock some sense into you. Good fathers always try to create good habits in their children's lives.

They force their children to do things they are reluctant to do. For example, sleeping and waking up early. They involve them in certain outdoor activities, or sports, or make them do regularly chores around the house. And if they fail to do so, he would give the due punishment in the right manner. These things bring about a healthy lifestyle later on in their children's lives. Although I have a huge ambition, and try to not waste time, I still find myself wallowing in useless entertainment and pleasures. For example, when I open medium to write, I get distracted and go on social media. After several hours, it's midnight, and I have wasted three hours. I get anxious and waste some more time. In those moment, I always wish there was someone who could pull me by the ear and reprimand me for my lack of discipline.

So, how did I solve some of my problems resulting from not having a father-figure?

By having:

1: A fictional/historical role model.

When I watched the James Bond movie, Casino Royal, I was intrigued with the main character. He was good with women, played poker, got involved in dangerous missions and was an overall badass. I wondered if it was possible to get the same level of confidence as him, and I realized that despite being a fictional character, I could still learn a few things by analyzing him. The main thing being that in order to be as confident as him, I had to learn several skills. Communication, problem solving, and being able to defend yourself are all what differentiates real life James Bond's from the common man. Sure, you might not be forced to jump from a huge crane to chase a bad guy, but you would need to use words to persuade people, or the skills to get yourself out of a predicament.

That movie had me interested in languages, psychology, exercise, and building wealth.

Sometimes when I feel like writing is a waste of time I look at music composers like Beethoven and Mozart. They consistently created and worked despite not getting the success they deserved, and now their legacies are unmatched. Even thinking about the Symphony 9 and how Beethoven composed that music while being deaf gives me a huge motivation to create something worthwhile.

You don't have to draw inspiration from historical and fictional characters always. Heck, you can even look up to someone you know in real life, like Saddam Hussain. (Just kidding.)

2: Not playing it safe.

Don't be a pussy. Not having a father-figure will put you at a disadvantage, and by not taking risks, and avoiding discomfort, you are doing yourself harm than good. You are already screwed up, so why play it safe? If you are going to be late to work, and can take a shortcut through a bad neighborhood, do it. If there's someone who is bothering you at a public place, confront him, or better, punch him in mouth. (I am not advocating for violence. My point is, stand up for yourself, and others.) If you think your boss is screwing you over your pay, confront him. Start a plan to get wealthy even though success looks remote and your idea seems risky, or join a martial arts class to develop discipline. Don't be a jerk, just stop being timid.

And lastly,

3: Fix things.

One of the defining characteristics of a good man is being able to fix things in the house. Whenever something in the house is damaged, start repairing it. Even if you don't know how to, start tinkering around and you will eventually figure it out. But don't take too much unnecessary risks. For example: messing with electrical appliances without any knowledge. The point isn't only about being able to fix things. Otherwise, calling a plumber to fix a pipe will not only save you time, but it will ensure the pipe is correctly repaired. The idea is that you assure your family members that you are available if anything goes wrong. It's the assurance which you are displaying. Good men are present in their house and take an interest in it. After you have provided the material needs of your family, you need to provide the emotional needs by being available.

As I said, these tips can also apply to women. They have to find out what makes a good woman, and find someone — a role model — that has these needed qualities. Then she can started imitating her.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Let me know what you think about this.



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A writer, classical music junkie, and a hermit. I like to write about writing and psychology. If you have a freelance gig for me, email me at faradali520@gmail