May 29, 2010

Movies and “Emotionally Frozen Men”

Just below is a report from a guest contributor describing the film Departures. You can see the trailer for the film at the end of this blog post. This man's contribution is not so much a movie review as a tale about how his life was changed very much for the better as a result of a beautiful film.

Let me know if you can relate to his story.

I just saw the movie Departures about a man in his mid 30's. It’s a beautiful film with great music. It’s about Daigo, a man who had a very distant father who abandoned his family when Daigo was a child.  He also has a very disconnected relationship with his male mentor and is in a marriage without much emotional connection. Daigo is a walking wounded and emotionally lost man who doesn't know he is lost.

What is interesting to me is that if you had asked me seven days ago if I had any father issues, I would have said no. I guess you could say I also have been a walking wounded male, but until this film experience, I was unaware of the depth of my condition.

I knew I was emotionally abandoned by my father. In his first marriage, my father backed out of his driveway during a big storm and accidentally ran over and killed his two year-old son. In his second marriage, when I was born, to keep his pain buried, my father became emotionally frozen. He would never display affection or get close to me, I believe to protect himself the possibility of another loss. As a child I could feel his silent pain, yet never really understood it.

Over the years my father issues have also been silent. I hadn’t realized the degree to which I have taken on my father's emotional programming and also become frozen inside. While I have always assumed I was a “normal” man, sadly, it's clear I have passed on that emotional style to my sons. The saddest thing is that I have always wondered why I felt so distant from my own children. This has been a 39 year puzzle for me.

I will be 65 years old this year, and this film was a big wake-up call for me. I have never connected my father's emotional dots to me, and my children until now. This new awareness of my emotional style has allowed me to start working on changing my behavior toward my two adult sons. What a gift. I recommend this film to you all.

Phil P.

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