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Psychological Effects of Growing Up Without a Father

Updated on December 20, 2016
Michael Kismet profile image

Michael is a self-taught expert in human behavior. He enjoys writing and sharing his insights on the human condition.

Fatherless Sons

Fatherless children are at risk.
Fatherless children are at risk. | Source

I Grew Up Without a Father

The psychological effects of our childhood experiences can have an outsized impact on who we become later in life. Earlier today, I read an article that provoked what one might describe as a panic attack. As I read this very disturbing article about the psychological ramifications of growing up fatherless, it all just sunk in for me ... that I was damaged. When I finished reading about the studies on fatherless sons, it completely altered my state of mind.

Unfortunately, I have personally experienced many of the psychological consequences mentioned in the article. Most alarming for me was this statement: "Growing up without a father could permanently alter the structure of the brain." Notice the word "permanently." Maybe I've had my head in the sand—or the clouds. I already knew that children from single-parent families tend to have more difficulties in life, but hearing it framed with these words? I was devastated.

This is what I learned about the likely psychological effects of growing up without a father.

Growing up without a father could permanently alter the structure of the brain.

— Ben Spencer, The Daily Mail

Males or Females?

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More Likely to Be Aggressive

Psychological studies show that children growing up without fathers are more likely to be aggressive and quick to anger. I've always had a copious amount of anger—not just loud anger, but quiet anger, as well. For me personally, quiet anger is more insidious and volatile. Silent anger doesn't have a proper release valve, it just builds up like a growing monster, maturing right along with you. I've spent nearly all my life containing myself because I know it isn't particularly productive or acceptable to be outwardly angry.

Anger makes you think and act with stupidity, and that's just a bad way to release energy. Additionally, I have a greater chance of passing on my aggression to my children. Now I am forced to consider this if I ever decide to have a family. Do I really want to have children that are aggressive and prone to anger? Would I be doing the planet a favor by just letting it end with me? We all want to think or believe that we are in full control of our actions and goals—but are we really?


Depression is more likely in young fatherless teens.
Depression is more likely in young fatherless teens. | Source

More Likely to Be Depressed

Teens growing up without a father are more susceptible to emotional distress. This is a hard subject for me to discuss because it forces me to recall very dark times in my life. I get bouts of depression that just seem to permeate every aspect of my life. My natural introversion magnifies the sense that I am alone in the world, and that no one can possibly understand what I am feeling.

Thankfully, I have always managed to pull through these bouts of depression. I attribute this to the ongoing support of my friends and their unrelenting efforts to help me restore balance in my life. I also remember high school teachers and college professors who went out of their way to urge me to apply myself and do better. In many ways, life is a team sport. Don't be afraid to lean on your teammates for emotional support and reassurance.

More Prone to Low Self-Esteem

The psychological effects of growing up without a father can lead to self-esteem issues. Over the course of my life, I've had very few conversations with my father. I always believed there must be a reason why my father wasn't ever there for me. I was introverted, and I never really opened myself up to others. I could never be myself with my friends or anyone in my social circle; I always carried the feeling that I was damaged or unwanted. Yet, I was lucky. I made healthy friendships that exposed me to a lot of positivity and optimism.

For a teen looking forward to college, I was also fortunate that I never had trouble dating. The women I've dated and had steady relationships with have taught me a lot about how to be a gentleman, and how to treat a woman with the utmost respect. Today, I feel good about myself; I'm content with not being perfect. Concurrent psychological effects have a way of compounding one another; the key is to be more self aware and battle your demons head-on.

Fatherless students are more likely to fail high school.
Fatherless students are more likely to fail high school. | Source

More LIkely to Do Poorly in School

Growing up without a father can affect your education. During high school, I did just enough to get by and get into a decent college. I'm embarrassed to say that so far I've dropped out of two colleges due to lack of effort and motivation. I've never felt good about this—I've robbed my mother of the pride and happiness of seeing her eldest son walk across a stage with a college degree.

I can't go back and make things right, but I hope one day I will be able to achieve some success that will give my mother some assurance of my worth as a son. The negative psychological effects of being raised in a one-parent household can hold you back in life, but you still have a choice—sink or swim. It's entirely up to you.

More Likely to Use Drugs

Fatherless children are more likely to turn to drugs. When I was younger, I battled several addictions. My mother was justifiably busy holding down a job that supported the entire household. I would never portray my mother under a negative light; she loves her children, and she did the best she could. My two older sisters were preoccupied with their college studies. I was pretty much left to my own devices as a teenager.

I always had a circle of friends who were much older than me; whatever they did, I did. They got tattoos, I got tattoos. Suffice it to say, the things they chose to do to pass the time, I ultimately partook in, as well. You might be interested to know, however, that today I'm as sober as a priest. I was able to pull myself out of that tailspin, and realizing this fact gives me hope that I can overcome other hurdles in my life, too. At this point, knowing that I have that inner strength means everything to me. It means I can, in good faith, declare that there's hope for me.

More Likely to Be Incarcerated and Commit Suicide

Even when factors such as income, race, and parent involvement were held constant, fatherless children—especially boys—are twice as likely to wind up in prison. That is an alarming statistic, yet it just makes sense. They are more prone to aggression, more likely to drop out of high school, and more susceptible to negative influences. Given those tendencies, it's not hard to see how that can lead to higher levels of incarceration.

In addition, one of the most unnerving statistics is that nearly 65% of youth suicides are associated with fatherless homes. Growing up without knowing my own father, there is no question for me that children who grow up fatherless are at a much greater risk for depression and, unfortunately, suicide.

Fatherless America

Important Lessons My Father Taught Me

Through his absence, my father taught me that life isn't fair. There are no guarantees that we will attain anything, achieve anything, or be loved by anyone. No matter what predispositions we are born with, or what psychological effects may be associated with our childhood experiences, we are the ultimate forgers of our destiny. I have to believe I can overcome the disadvantages of growing up without a father. I have to believe that I can still determine my future.


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      Madison 4 hours ago

      I'm only 13 but i have so far grew up without a father and the only time i saw him he was fighting with my mother.He only came over for money to steal or to beat the shit out of my mom.It was and still is hard to take in all the stuff he has done to my family when i was younger.I do struggle with school depression anxiety anger and thoughts suicide.My mom and older brother try to tell me its not my fault he left but knowing that he left my mom because I was born a girl i can't help but feel it's my fault.I know I put a lot of stress on my mom with my grades and getting into fights I don't want to make my mom's life harder then it is raising me my brother and sister.I have dated someone before and i would ask him and a few of my friends what it's like having a father.i would ask this just to get a little bit of what it would feel like having a father.

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      Gloria 2 weeks ago

      You haven’t robbed your mother of anything. I don’t know your situation, but it sounds like she robbed you of a proper childhood. She chose to bring a child into the world knowing that it’s more difficult without a father. Maybe your father left her, then I’m sorry, but please don’t ever blame yourself for taking things from her. She couldn’t have expected a normal kid graduating college on time and everything if she knew you grew up with something missing. She watched it happen and should have known there was a problem

      I’m a sperm donor child and my father was incredibly abusive to me. He wasn’t fit to have kids and my mom pushed him into it. There’s a reason he was impotent, he was basically senile from when I turned 10, he was in his late 60s, but still strong enough to beat the shit out of me- his words- with every senile anger episode.

      Also he cheated on giants first wife while teaching high school alongside her, with one of his students. The cops said it wasn’t rape but hey, it was the 80s and I wouldn’t put it past him. The girl was his daughters friend. His daughter was in the same class with that girl. There are large gaps in my childhood and I’m afraid he molested me. I don’t remember anything. Sorry, super off topic. I had to get that out, I’ve only told 1 person.

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      Damian 5 weeks ago

      I grew up without a father I've spoken to him 3 times throughout my life twice around the age of 5 or 6 but he was only around to try and get in my mother's pants again and once I saw him when I worked with his best friend at the age of 14 he didn't even wanna give me 2 dollars to get a burrito his best friend gave him hell for that and it wasnt intentional to work with his best friend just happened also I have faced all of these as well I have bad anger I barely passed high school by bringing up 4 f's in the matter of two days not that I'm not smart it's that I didn't put effort into it I've been depressed and had suicidal thoughts I'm 18 now and recently got my self out of my home town where I'd party often and just was heading down a bad dark road but I can honestly say I've changed for the better and still am but I still honestly get depressed out of no where often sometimes the whole day sometimes for just an hour or so

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      Madison  5 weeks ago

      I lost my father a couple of years ago due to cancer, and I can't explain to you in words how bad it hurts. I'd do anything to get him back, and I feel like nothing without a male role model in my life. I feel like I have anger problems, it's like I'll get mad at the littlest things. I try to at least have a decent relationship with my mom, but that never works out. The only thing our family can do is fight now day, and since I'm only 11 I don't know how to take this all in. My older sister told me to look up fatherless children, so I did, and this popped up. I feel I can relate with everything on here, and hope that no one else has to feel it too.

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      Carole 6 weeks ago

      I am a woman who had a father but lost him in a moment when I was 9 yrs old because he sexually molested me. I now know that emotionally detached myself in that moment because I suddenly didn't know who this man was, and I feared him for the rest of my life. Your description of how being fatherless left you feeling, molded your personality sounds exactly like me. You sound like me, almost to a T. Introverted, angry, letting the anger build up to where you explode. You never outgrow that. I haven't, you described how life is perfectly growing up without a father. A father to nurture you, love you, guide you thru adolescence. Life has always been a struggle for me in the exact same way you described it. And like you, my "friends" are what have been my safety net all my life. But I still and will always struggle with depression, and trust issues, and relationship issues. I've divorced, I've never had children. I could never make the decision to want to have children, I believe because I had such a horrible childhood experience, I just could never get past relating being a child in this world to something "negative" and "difficult". I didn't want to bring in a child to possibly suffer what I had. No, I guess I decided "subconsciously" to end it with me. When you said, "I've spent nearly all my life containing myself ". I'm not a writer, so you expressed in writing what I couldn't. Thank you for sharing your story.

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      l. scott 6 weeks ago

      Perhaps you grew up without a father because your father had these very same traits and lack of innate or learned coping skills.

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      7 weeks ago

      I grew up without a father and I've always felt a gap in my life. I never had any male role models in my life and it can be devastating. I don't want children If I may end up doing the same to them.

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      Paradoxically , I always have wished I should have been an orphan or, to loose my parent early in my childhood ... At home, there was absolutely no love around at all, despite an apparently normal family and family life with three kids ... I never had or might have any confidential conversation neither with any of my parents, nor any of my brothers. Every try ended in a betrayal. Though the parents, dad and mom, looked satisfied and proud about their family !!!

      This makes I 'm always wondering why the absence of parents (and pecurlarly unloving parents) is considered as an handicap ? Isn'it a lesser brake on development to have no than having some of that kind of unloving or indifferent ones (which I am convinced, must be many) ?

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      Not that simple 2 months ago

      We, all are touched by this fatherless problem, in some way or another, since we know first hand what it feels like, how are we trying to change this?

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      moeketsi 2 months ago

      i grew up without a father since birth.It is hard for me to open it to anyone.I`m a fist year varsity student i need help.

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      James 2 months ago

      My parents split in the 50s, my pop was a drunkard, my mom had to raise us on her own. My younger brother myself and my older sister. Some times our father would come around to visit and our mum would turn on us and say if we love him why don't we go and live with him. Kids dont understand relationships or where the next buck is coming from. My mom tried to have a relationship with me that wasnt all that healthy. It greatly embaressed me, when she told all her friends that i was a good kisser. I was'nt doing well in school, I never did homework as there wasn't anyone at home to help me. I covered up the shakey home life I had. I was angry with both of my parents and still am at 64.

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      Greg H. 2 months ago

      Typically when children grow up fatherless we may naturally think it's due to the father choosing to avoid his paternal responsibilities in favor of filling his life with selfish and hedonistic pursuits. I'm here to say that this not always the case. In my personal story, I've been driven away from having an active, present role in my son's life due to his mother's desire to have him all to herself.

      I set up a beautiful nursery and home for him but just before he was to be born his mother decided to take him and go live with her parents. My son is now nearly 5 months old and I've never spent a single overnight with him. His mother has no intentions to ever leave her parents (she is 37) and give him the appropriate family life of a loving mother and father that he deserves. They take the baby out of state to their vacation home for weeks at a time and I barely see my son at all. From the beginning I have always wanted to be a consistent and nurturing father, there for my son each and every day. However, his mother and her parents have decided to make him their own and have severely alienated me in the process.

      There are so many reasons why a father may not be a regular part of their child's life. I have been heartbroken over the situation I'm in. All I ever wanted was to be a father and I've been denied that because of the psychological issues of the mother to my son.

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      soshamoore 4 months ago

      hi everyone I was just reading this and it touched me .

      I looked up a 1 year old growing up with out a father I am a single mother who has a young son and has no father or should i say left out of state and lives else where yes we could send out child back and forth and everything else but as a mother of 1 its hard to sit and let a man get your child and has lost lots of trust from you and you ask of him to build the trust and he can have him he has to learn to be a fatuer away from his son before his son comes in front of him

      but any way ..

      it hurts to know that maybe one day the man may never try or my son will grow up most of his life with no father figure and really don't have a choice about it or a say so till he gets a lottle older it hurts me so nuch every day i cry I talk yo my young child and let him know every day mommy loves him and mommy will do her best by her self taking care of him it hurts me cuz i know as a woman I won't be able to teach my son everything it hurts me so so much I just wish and hope any woman who stop and read this or even my long text that you stay strong no matter what and another woman is out here with the sane hurt the same tears the same feeling trying and doing what she knows best.. Thank You and this made me look at things different and ill try my best to alter my life to try and change some of the things that was said above that could happen

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      mom 4 months ago

      This article really touched my heart and I appreciated it so much. So much awesome insight here. I grew up fatherless, and have fought to make sure my son has kept his. Life doesn't always go as planned.

      God bless everyone on their path, and if we're able, lets help to fill the void of other young men/women who spend a lifetime feeling unwanted.

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      Naomy Nyoro 4 months ago

      Growing up without a father makes people make unreasonable decisions that are of rage. If your dad left you some kids think of revenge. If you are out there in such a situation don't let not your aim to prove to him your worth for you are more valuable than the world for you have a father that's GOD. Don't waste your time proving your worth let the world know that you are excellency . Don't let your child go through the same situation or another child be responsible for the world security you can do this if you are reading this.

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      Just a Sad Girl 5 months ago

      i lost my dad in 2015 not knowing him because of a stupid car crash and just im so mad because eventually i have to explain to people and this one girl always makes jokes about me not having a dad. And she laughs and i just shrug it off and play like i dont care, but just like the song mockingbird im sad and i want to cry behind my eyes even when i smile even when i laugh. and im just so mad and upset and i really just wanna sit home alone and i cant open up top people about sitting in my roo m at night crying because i dont want them to lookat me different and i have photos ofhim and i talk to the pictures and i think about if he wouldve loved me and ive started to see things and all i want to do is just. talk to him.. sorry for the rant

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      friend 5 months ago

      Thank you--I am pleased you are sober as a priest and I too learned how life is not fair.

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      RL 5 months ago

      Hi Everyone,

      I'm writing as a young adult who has known his dad for most of his life. It's terrifying being without him for over a year, but what matters is that you have support from your family (I don't normally share this with my friends at school). This article defines what people like us will be when they grow up- and that is a terrible way of looking at things in the midst of such a deep psychological scar. My advice for all the other kids and mothers in my struggle is this: we are the ones who define who we are. Sure, I get more inexplicably angry and frustrated at my friends without a moments notice. But these things are out of my control. Since last year, I have continuously pushed myself to do even better at school than the years before- I know that this is what my dad would have wanted. I've been getting A's in my honors classes, and although it was hard to find motivation, I just think: what would he want for me? What would he want for my future? Look at this loss as an opportunity to succeed; reverse the mindset imposed by the article. I have since pushed myself to run every day and I am on track to run a sub-20 minute 5K. Knowing that I have that much less to lose makes everything bearable for me. Sure, there are lots of memories and flashbacks that will make you cry, but either you stand and take the hits or fall and quit. In addition to balancing my academics and athletics, I have picked up gaming as a hobby to clear my mind. It's a great escape for me, and for you, this might be meditation or therapy. A life without my best friend is a bit grueling for 15 year olds like me, but knowing that there are others like me is very encouraging and motivating for me.

      To all the other victims of fatherlessness, stay strong and always be there for your mother. Really. They will always have your back when you need them. And to all the widows, your kids really do think that you're the strongest person alive, so always be there for them and prove them right.

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      Alfonso Soberanes 5 months ago

      My father was never around. Last time I seen him was when I was at the age of 3 or 4 but now that I am older I just get curiousity of how his character is like. Hopefully some day I get to know him in person and actually thank him for not being in my life because I probably wouldn't have come to be how I am positively motivational onto others as I am now. When the time comes if it comes, and if I have to I will take care of my father once he gets older and doesn't have anyone to help him. I just don't find the logic in hating my father for not being in my life. We all have flaws and are not perfect. Yeah he wasn't in my life so what, there's no excuse for one to not live our life's to our fullest potential.

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      AREC14 5 months ago

      dealing with the fact that my husband may not be a part of my life anymore due to drugs. we have two little girls 3 1/2 and 9 months... I'm am scared beyond anything that this is going to have negative ramifications for their future... I know life it's always the smoothest climb. I am a teacher, a respected member of society with no background in this life. It touches everyone and anyone. I need help. I need to know my daughters can grow up and be successful while I fight everyday for them.

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      Vicky 5 months ago

      Iren, your comments give me hope for my son who's never met his dad. I worry about him although he's only 3 now. I wish he had a great dad but I'm giving him all I can. I he too can focus on the positives. If anyone has any advice for the single mom, dos and don't, please share. I hope those of you who suffer will find peace and love and hapiness. You deserve it!

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      0Boy1 5 months ago

      Im fatherless, never knew him, and it makes me feel really alone and helpless when researching "daddy issues " online because hardly anything helpful appears online. It feels like no professionals are working or caring for the scarred fatherless children and teens out there. Its a major issue and getting to be more and more common, yet nobody seems to have a straightforward plan to help people with their daddy issues. It's just frustrating and I wanted to share.

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      Been there 5 months ago

      Kobus du plooy,

      I also had problems that I believe stemmed from growing up without a father.

      If there's one thing I can recommend to you or anyone in our would be to LIFT.

      Start hitting the gym & lifting weights. I did this & suddenly I began to love myself & it gave me the support I've needed all these years.

      After I started working out, I began to care about my body so in return I started to eat & drink healthier, getting my necessary amount of sleep. I gave up a lot of addictive habits once I picked up working out. Trust me on this one.

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      Harry 5 months ago

      I'm 35, have very few friends, am hardly social, work as a cleaner, dropped out school and an apprenticeship, have little interest in life and have almost no contact with the rest of my family.

      I'm like a boat out at sea with no motor, no sails or no oars. Just there, slowly drifting through life. Waiting to wake up from this dream, hopefully having developed something of myself.

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      Ronan 6 months ago

      Hi guys

      i'm just letting you all know that i have grew up all my life without knowing my dad and i don't feel like i have any of these issues. I don't have depression, i don't have anger issues and i am definitely not aggressive.

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      Kobus du plooy 6 months ago

      Hi guys,i never do this stuff.... Just feels like i need to share my story as well. I can relate to alot of not just the articles but comments as well....So i grew up without an dad i had numerous step dads thy come and went but my mother was beaten up by not just my father he was an SA champ boxer back in the day so he broke her nose twice, she always told me this storys of my father being a bad man thy called him "devil" because of his boxing, that was his nickname in the ring. But as the years go by i was always curious who my dad was obviously.. I grew so much hate for any man who lifted his hands to a woman thanks to all the low lifes my mother used to date, i had one wish and that was to become 18 so i could kick the living shit out of anyone who dares lift there hands to a woman doesn't matter how much i hate that woman per say i would disintegrate that male person.. I saw my dad once in my entire life and he was a good man he loved me so much just for that week but my hate and anger towards my dad would never subside.. When i saw him i saw him beating the woman i carried close to my heart my mother.. But yeah i fucked out completely long story short drug abuse used alot of drugs and still am i use weed cause it calms me down and distracts my mind i never finished high school cause we kept on moving around we had nothing i stayed at a bar with my mom for a good 12 years of my life and clearly if you read this post you can see i didn't finish school, im 20 years old but i feel 4 0 cause if been throughout so much shit in my life.. So yeah that screwed up my entire life and im unemployed and my life looks really bad i don't know where life is taking me.. Im depressed if im alone im starting to get alot of suicidal thoughts but thats been keeping me up and running all this time and giving me hope is my real father in fact the father of all of us our creater our molder our reason for opening our eyes in the morning our almighty God.. I can seek comfort by him and i can cry and talk to him without any judgement or pitty.. I know the lord wouldn't have put me on this earth if i was to just fade away... But anyhow i became 18 and i smoked every single guy touching my mom and 2 sisters now 20 and i put my step dad in the hospital foe choking my sister i broke 3of his ribs and broke his bridge... Really not proud of what i did but i grew up in that mind set and im trying to change for the best but theres a struggle between these emotions and i guese that gives me a split personality... But i can relate with the silent anger issue cause im a quiet person in general... But thanks for reading this... And if its of any help for youngh people always try and make the best of youre life every opportunity you get RUN JUMP AND GRAB A HOLD! cause there's some people that don't have that opportunities to make a success of them self.. Be grateful, be grateful for even the smallest things in life.. God bless you all

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      Bb 6 months ago

      I grew up with a big secret around me. My mom and step dad briefly separated and during this time I was conceived and she lied that she didn't have sex with anyone else during this time. I had no clue until I was 25 when I asked my step dad if he was my real father. He firmly said no and he knew it the day I was born. Wow what a shock. I've been living with this emotional hemotoma for the last 30 years. Finally did DNA tests to confirm in 2012. My mom has total amnesia so I have no clue who my real dad is. Wish there was some support groups out there for something like this. Even after all this time it's still very difficult as far as having confidence , dealing with shame, trying to be a good father myself etc.

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      bernie 6 months ago

      Iren Pronk you win the chocolates,what a superb piece you 've written here ,you are an example of humble greatness and a guiding light to anyone who has been dealt a cruel card of fatherlessness.One thing l would like to add here also is yes there's there is a huge number of dead beat dad's unfortunately in this world in which all good parents and society in general acknowledge and condem and so rightly so but çould l remind everyone here that there are huge numbers also of loving dads +moms that have and are being denied the chance of giving their kids of all ages the love they hold for them by the actions of alienating parents through either lies,manipulation and money ,this l know as lve gad 13 years of wait Ing and wanting for my 4 precious girls to come back into my life even though it wasnt l that had the affairs or chose to leave the family unit which was my world .For further understanding of this area of child abuse google "Parential Alienation".

      Lets all learn to put kids before our own selfessness as they have no say in the matter but we so called adults do.

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      Dnr 7 months ago

      I myself can relate to this throughout my teens I attempted suicide many times because I didn't have a father today not so much but I'm still greatly sad and depressed that I never had an old man to guide and protect from the horrors of the world growing up

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      Jewels 7 months ago

      @framcisco I don't even have to type my story. I can relate to yours

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      Vickie 8 months ago

      I grew up not knowing my dad because he passed away when I was 20 months old and have had a difficult time most of my life and have tried to find a father figure most of my life and now that I am grown I feel bad about still trying to find a father figure. I wish I could let it go but for some reason it still haunts me. I am 65 years old and it bothers me that I still feel

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      Francisco 8 months ago

      All of this I have and still am experiencing. I grew up in a "single parent home" with a stepdad but single parent home indeed. He was an alcoholic stepdad who would come home every night and beat my mom senseless in front of me and my two other siblings who were too scared and weak to even defend her. We were victims of his atrocious and horrendous beatings. I remember being labeled as the "devil" by him because I would break many things in the house (kids do that, it's normal) but he didn't understand that. Him and my mom would argue , scream at each other constantly and he would take it out on us. To give some background info my mom was a small fragile 5 foot 1 woman , we are Mexican and she was too scared at that time to even report him to the police because she was scared of deportation. We grew up extremely poor, I had to steal toys and even go to bed hungry because sometimes there wasn't enough food to eat. I would despise coming home because I knew he would be there or even if he wasn't whenever I heard the door lock being opened me and my siblings would anxiously scramble about and try to hide. I used to get punched, beat with belts, wires, hangers, smacked for every little thing. My mom "loved" him too much to even see the harm that she was putting herself and us through (something I can never be mad at her for because she was also a victim). I never had a childhood, instead of playing with toys I would be locked in a cold dark room doing 5 digit multiplication problems because "he" believed that I should be studying and doing anything remotely academic. I grew up bullied in school, insecure of myself, and having to deal with it all over again at home. My mom worked every day and I would always be in the hand of a babysitter until she could pick us up from there and take us home to where I believed was "hell". Fast forward years later. In high school I had severe addiction to drugs, ecstasy, molly, coke, over the counter prescription cough medication, acid, and recently I've had an addiction with oxycodone. Anything that could remotely distort reality and make me escape it all, hell. Luckily I dropped it all and started working out and that eventually became an outlet for my anger. Fast forward more years and now I'm 22 but the effects have already taken a toll on me. I'm now an attractive young man, who is in great shape, can be seen as a "perfect masculine figure" but I'm still insecure. I have had problems with relationships because I tend to get angry easily , controlling, and jealous. I get mood swings from time to time and sometimes I get periods of just wanting to escape everything and deleting my social media accounts and just wanting to be left alone, working out, not talking to anyone. I'm a huge procrastinator, I consider myself weak because I'm emotionally unstable and am a ticking time bomb because i don't tend to show my anger but once it comes out it's extremely volatile and I become a walking bomb. Yes one does have a choice and can't blame other for their failures but once it's been conditioned in your mind for your whole life, so many fucked up factors that just make you a shit being just wanting to end your life as the days go on it's hard to just say "man up" or "you can get out of this mindset if you think more positive" if it were that easy I wouldn't be writing this. Also for me not having any decent male figure in my life has also been trouble finding out my sexuality because it took the outside world to teach me what it was to be a "man". I'm in college, I have laid off the drugs, I still workout and workout religiously because to me that's therapy and the only thing keeping me sane. I work, I do everything by the books, haven't had any encounter with law enforcement but I'm still emotionally unstable. I have problems being intimate with others and I tend to break away from people who tend to show me that I'm not the shit being that I think I am. For some odd reason I dwell deeply in the past and it might sound weird but I actually like being hurt now, physically and emotionally because it gives me that drive to just excel and push myself even harder even if it means deteriorating my own self. The show goes on though. Growing up fatherless, never meeting him has impacted me a lot, all I have is hate and pity for that man (who is now dead since 2009, hit and run accident) so I'll never get the chance to tell him all of this. Thank you to anyone who has read this. Takes a huge load off of me at 2:26 in the morning. Thank you.

    • Iren Pronk profile image

      Iren Pronk 8 months ago

      So what? I grew up without a father too - but in the end we can decide how we let the situation affect us. Within every situation, we face a choice on how we let it affect us.

      The choice is simple. You don't let it affect you negatively, let it make you stronger. If nobody taught you how to find the right woman? Go out there and learn how to talk to them and find what type of girl makes you happy, just to name one example. Or find a friend who knows it better than you do. There you go, you are encouraged at a younger age to learn about life yourself. I want to emphasize: yourself. We are encouraged to become more self-reliant at a younger age, and therefore become more equipped to find solutions to problems we face ourselves.

      My point is: that in our fatherlessness, we can find strength. We are put in a position where we are forced to find out about life for ourselves. Just do it and stop the self-pity. Learning about life yourself will probably equip you with a more unique and original view of life compared to others. Embrace it. Own it. Share it. Test it. Refine it if you feel like it. Or not. Who cares, you choose.

      The problem with the article you just mentioned is that it sets us up for failure, not for more happiness in life. We have to redefine the fatherless household narrative to a more positive one. For our own good.

      More likely to commit suicide? Yes, oh that's so true! I've thought about it plenty of times when faced with huge setbacks and with no-one to talk about it. What did this give me? Wisdom. I was forced to reflect and find a solution myself, I looked for additional sources of advice, books, the internet or from other role models I admire. Because I had no father to teach me how to deal with setbacks. I was forced to learn how to deal with huge setbacks and blows myself, I had to learn it myself and now I can teach my peers how to deal with theirs. Great practice to become a good father yourself. Boom.

      With all respect: eliminate the word suicide from your vocabulary, rise above any situation you face and be reflective enough to understand what it is that you miss to properly deal with the situation and go out and get it. Do things your way. It's the right way. Follow your gut. Your way might be a way ton of others need that their fathers couldn't give them. Again, we can find strength here, an asset we are encouraged to develop.

      Ignore the article you just read. Don't let random articles online give you random panic attacks. This is confirmation bias in action. We start looking for ways to reaffirm that fact. To give you an example:

      More likely to use drugs.

      "Oh no, that's so true, I was addicted to cannabis at the age of 14 and sold it myself at 15. That's so true, I am definitely to use more drugs in the future. Totally. Let's get some cocaine!"

      In this particular case, we are making ourselves believe, that indeed, we are more susceptible to drug addiction. This is why I think we must make a collective effort to redefine the fatherless household narrative. Did you know Obama grew up without a father? I wonder how his fatherlessness made him who he is today.

      In order to shape our future, we must look for our past to understand the present. I am more mature now and I understand why I did what I did. And I forgive myself, and I looked at what unique characteristics each life event gave me, what unique coping mechanisms it forced me to develop and now I have the luxury to choose how I can apply them in other areas of my life.

      Do we continue to let our fatherlessness define us? No! Let it make you unique, original, better attuned with your own emotions, a more sociable person, a quicker and better learner, a more helpful person to your friends. Anything you want it to be.

      Because in our position without a role model, without any male guidance, we have the luxury to find our own role model, we have the luxury to guide ourselves. Because, when we miss our father and ask ourselves, what should I do now dad? This is where we find ourselves. Our strength.

      We are mature now, we understand what's going on. So do we continue to let it shape us for the worse, or for the good. The choice is ours. What an awesome choice to have. Choose right.

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      Leonard 8 months ago

      What I would love to see is an article that compares the effects of growing up without a father in different races versus cultures.

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      Haider 8 months ago from Melbourne

      I wouldn't say permanently but yes growing up with a single parent does alter your brain.

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      meine komische welpe 10 months ago

      Yep, I got all these symptoms, I'm 48 and grew up without a dad. Fortunately for you, you could at least date. I've had decade long dry spells. I'm good looking, high IQ, but just completely hostile to women. I have never been able to overcome it, no matter how much therapy I go through, how much exercise, self-exploration. I am just hostile to women I find attractive. I can't stand even looking at them. My sister is fucked up in the head too.

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      Mandy 10 months ago

      Thanks for an interesting article as I struggle with a 10 year old boy whose father lives states away and ignores him. Luckily, he has wonderful family and a step-dad to help guide him. The holidays and his birthday are still difficult for him. :(

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      Michael Kismet 10 months ago from Northern California

      Thank you for your comments Chuck, they are much appreciated. It is rare that I learn so much from the comment section, of one of my articles. But every thing you shared makes total sense, and it is personally very thought-provoking. When it is time for me to be a Father, I'll make sure to incorporate what you taught me here today.

      Thank you again Chuck, I am deeply humbled.

    • Chuck Bluestein profile image

      Chuck Bluestein 10 months ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

      Then at age 10 I read Psycho-Cybernetics and got into self-improvement. The author was a plastic surgeon and made ugly women beautiful looking. The thing was that they still felt ugly. So he did a lot of experiments on feedback. He found that if you told school children that they were smart, they did better in school. If they were told that they were stupid then they got lower marks in school. You have heard of nature versus nurture.

      The IQ of your children is up to the science of you and your wife's genes. Anger and emotional intelligence is up to how you and your wife act. Children learn by imitation. If you and your wife never get angry, your children will never get angry. In the Yequana village (in book Continuum Concept) the children were raised with attachment parenting. The children never got angry and neither did adults. With meditation it does not matter where you are at. Everyone has a chance of becoming perfect. Not doing perfect things but feeling perfect peace, endless love and joy unparalleled all the time.

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      Chuck Bluestein 10 months ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

      This was a very good subject and article. My cousins consider my not having a father to be great luck or fortune. My grandfather struggled with his own businesses while his children grew up. But he retired wealthy. When my mother divorced my father, my grandfather decided to be like a father to my brother and I so I grew up wealthy and with a retired person taking care of us. That was so great that I had a better childhood than Charles, Prince of Wales. His sons are Prince William and Prince Harry.

      Then my mother did something that defined who I was. She took my brother and I to the library every 3 weeks (longer than that & you are fined). My brother & mother read fiction and did not learn. I only read non-fiction and learned about insects, rocks & minerals and snakes. We stayed all day at the library and left with about 10 books each.

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      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Hi, you have written a very useful hub. You said everything in your sentence that you are the one that decides. I have a great believe in Jesus and he brings me where I need to be. Christ can help you over come anything. Stella Voted up and sharing.