Like father, like son

14 Nov 2019

This is a deep as it gets. The Oedipus complex. Does everyone want to murder his dad? At my father's funeral, I was hugely proud of him. As the oldest son, I wanted to honour his legacy. His values were henceforth my values. I would hear nothing bad said about him.

A year later, the bubble was pricked. Someone asked me, "If you had a son, would you want your son to feel the same way about you that you felt about your dad growing up?" The answer was dead certain "No way!" So what was this loyalty all about, wanting to do everything his way? Shortly afterwards I had swung the other way. Everything bad about me was my dad's fault. The truth about my dad was of course not all one or the other, but a synthesis. He was a human.

I had a joyous occasion recently (fast-forward 30 years). We were on holiday. My 19 year old son, who never knew my dad, asked on the last evening if we could go for a walk after dinner. My mind went into overdrive. What had I said? Did he detect problems between me and my wife/his mum? Things can sometimes be fractious. Had he got someone pregnant? None of the above. Instead, we had the most beautiful walk. He said things I could never have said to my father. He said I was the hardest person to speak to about this issue, but he knew I was the one who could help him most.

We could have walked for hours, down the dark lanes, lit only by a phone torch. I was in heaven. I loved being with my son. We were close. Best of all, the spell had been broken. My son had a relationship with me which I never had with my father. Or to quote the film Lawrence of Arabia, "It was not written."


A Moodscope member.

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