The son feels the disappointment of his father because he no longer embraces the values of his father. The father only sees the son as a disappointing flawed reflection of himself. And the son; therefore, bares his father’s shame.
It’s like this. The father cannot find joy in just being himself; rather, he measures himself by the fortunes he has amassed and the image that he has cultivated in the community. Yet, he does not know himself. Therefore, he cannot behold his son for who he is either. (And the son has no real knowledge of who his father is.)
So, the father laments that the son does not reflect back to him his own image of “success,” of “financial accomplishment.” The flaw is in the father.
And the son feels a double shame, the shame for being a “disappointment” to his father (i.e., not the reflection his father was seeking), and the shame of not being seen by his father for who he is.
Like Narcissus, the father is looking for himself in the mirror of his son. But the job of a father is to be a mirror that reflects back to the son his own uniqueness so that the son can begin to truly see himself.
Now, my client, the son, must learn how to parent himself, to “self-reflect” on himself, nurture himself, encourage himself.
One of my greatest honors is to be a surrogate mirror in the lives of men and women who carry within a shamed child who longs to catch a glimpse of their own brilliance. And when they do, to help them polish the mirror of their soul so that they can continue to see and cherish themselves for who they truly are.
For those who would appreciate personal support and an opportunity to work through trauma in therapy, I’m here to listen, reflect, process, and provide some specific education and skills to facilitate healing. I look forward to assisting you.
*A reflection on the psychodynamics of one client; shared with his permission. This reflection is equally true for any combination of Father or Mother and Daughter or Son.