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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soulful guide to overcoming grief for your missing Dad, 13 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Longing for Dad: The Search for Fathering (Paperback)
Dr. Erickson writes clearly about absent fathers from both her personal experience and a clinical standpoint. This is an excellent work because she succeeds in conveying important and complex psychological theory for laypersons to incorporate into their journey of healing.
Dads fail often and easily in their children's mind. But such failure is rarely, if ever, purposely intended by Dad. It is difficult for some suffering adults to know and believe today, based on lingering childhood experiences, and not seeing the best of Dad, that his deeds were not planned. This is largely due to the fact that, as kids, they had difficulty seeing their father's own personal struggles and social-cultural realities outside of their own needs as kids. In this respect, it is easy to understand that little boys and girls can't organize their feelings properly--or as Dr. Erickson calls it in an "abstract" manner: kids only really care about their own survival, central importance, and how much they deserve love while growing up. And this is good... However, unfortunately, what children fail to grasp as they pass through their childhood without an appropriate father, is that fatherhood is awfully difficult and that Dad's apparent behaviour should not lead a child to blame him or herself for what appears to be a lack of loving from him.
Many grown men and women carry flawed imprints of 'childish' conclusions with them into adulthood. Well, sometimes Dad was just a plain jerk... In any case, adults manifest it through agression, fear of men (boyfriends), feelings of inferiority around groups of men, passive aggression, and a host of other ways. Grown men and women often pass their feelings of inadequacy due to father loss to their own children by acting out like their own father. Cycles can perpetuate if left unchecked.
Dr. Erickson sets out diffenrent sources and impacts of father loss. One major strength of this book is that her typologies and descriptions of causes and effects of father loss speak to any affected reader's situation and history. This is done without making the reader feel boxed in or categorized.
Another major strength is the inclusion of several helpful appendices. They include meaningful and insightful comments and 'instructions' for spouses and potential therapists. These provide supporters to 'get on the same page' before, during and after the reader's healing journey.
For readers that are ready to accept the painful process of introspecting into the dad-child dynamic, this book helps as a guide towards forgiving Dad, overcoming grief, and, hey, maybe even getting your Dad back at some appreciative level.
Thanks Dr. Erickson; good luck fellow travellers.
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Longing for Dad: The Search for Fathering
Longing for Dad: The Search for Fathering by Beth Erickson (Paperback - 31 May 1998)
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