My friend, Paul (fake name), and I jumped on the phone the other day to catch up, and he dove right into how annoyed he’s been with his Dad.
He and his Dad are in business together, and as you can imagine, there can be a lot of misunderstandings and frustrations because the Dad and Son roles are enmeshed with business.
Meaning sometimes Paul will go to his Dad for business advice and his Dad will end up giving him a lecture as a Dad. Then other times when Paul wants his Dad, his Dad will be all business with him.
This was upsetting Paul because it felt like he had lost his Dad.
I asked Paul, “When you were little, what did you desire most with your Dad?”
He said, “Good question. I think I just wanted him around. I wanted him to attend my soccer games and basketball games, but he never did because he was busy with the business.
In fact I would watch other Dad’s participating with their sons, coaching and such, and yearn to have my Dad there too.”
I asked him, “How did it make you feel when he wasn’t there?”
Paul said, “Hmmm. I guess it made me feel like I wasn’t wanted. Like if he cared then he would have wanted to be there.”
It was interesting that Paul made situations like that with his Dad mean he wasn’t wanted.
Someone else could have made it mean that they weren’t cared for or were a burden. There are many ways an individual might translate this.
But Paul’s particular translation was he felt like he wasn’t wanted.
I started to see a common thread in Paul’s life as he was saying all of this to me. I saw how wanting to be wanted was affecting every relationship in his life.
With friends and even at work, Paul would often find himself saying yes to things and situations that at his core he didn’t want to actually say yes to. But if he got invited or someone thought of him in some way, he felt “wanted” so he would find himself saying yes.
In his love life, Paul, being single would be really surprised when he was liked by a women that he felt was good looking or “out of his league”, as if he wasn’t worthy.
He would also find himself shutting down and wanting to isolate when he wasn’t getting many invites or receiving messages back from friends or women.
And much more…
All of this was stemming from wanting to be wanted. Now, who doesn’t want to feel wanted, right?
But for Paul, it was ruling over the choices he was making everyday. He wasn’t free to make the kinds of choices he could make if he knew emotionally his parents wanted him exactly as he is, no more, no less.
I emphasize emotionally, because logically Paul knew his parents wanted him, but when he was frustrated or triggered that’s the feeling that was underneath.
I said to him, “You know you need to talk to your Dad about how you felt, right? So you can move through this feeling?”
He said, “Yes I see that now. I didn’t know all of this was at play in my life, and in the way I relate to him even in the business.”
I told him, “The main question you want to ask your Dad is ‘Did you want me exactly as I am, no more no less? I need to hear you did!’”
Paul had the conversation with his Dad. He expressed to his Dad how he felt as a little boy, wanting him to be there for his games, and how he translated that to mean he wasn’t wanted.
Through that conversation the feeling of not being wanted shifted for Paul.
He told me afterwards he felt a lightness in their relationship that he hadn’t experienced before.
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Did you feel like you weren’t “wanted” in someway when you were younger? Would love to hear. Let me know in the comments below.