#New Warrior Jed Diamond has published My Distant Dad, Heal Your Father Wound read it too finally understand why you…
- Struggle in your love life
- Worry about money and success
- Allow male anger to negatively influence your life
According to National Center for Fathering more than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent. If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency. The male anger and rage we see in everything from domestic violence to school shootings has its roots, I believe, in trauma resulting from growing up in families with disconnected and dysfunctional fathers. Yet, this childhood wounding can be healed.
A father may be physically present, but absent in spirit. His absence may be literal through death, divorce or dysfunction, but more often it is a symbolic absence through silence and the inability to transmit what he also may not have acquired. – James Hollis
Jed’s 15th book, My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound is an adventure story to find the father he lost when he was five years old. It’s also a tale of redemption and healing for both his father and himself.
The trauma of growing up with an absent father contributed to his own bouts of depression, sexual addiction, and destructive relationships. For the first time, he shares the raw, personal, life experiences and his own healing journey. Learning about his mother’s lost father, who died when she was five years old, helped him understand that the father wound impacts women as well as men.
We asked Jed about how MKP had affected his life:
1) What has being part of MKP done for your life and your work?
Being part of MKP has been a turning point in my personal and professional life. I’ve been doing “men’s work” ever since my first son, Jemal, was born in 1969, and I made a vow to him that I would be a different kind of father than my father was able to be for me and to create a world where men were fully supported in being engaged with their families throughout their lives. I started my first men’s group in 1968 and my present men’s group in 1979. My first book, Inside Out: Becoming My Own Man, came out in 1983 and I described the challenges and the journey of what it means to be a good man. We’ve been together nearly 40 years now. After 12 years, we felt close and joked that we’d become like an “old married couple” and needed something to spice up our lives. I’d had known Bill Kauth and Rich Tosi for years and suggested we do “the Warrior” weekend. It was a challenge for all when our group of 7 did the weekend together. When my second son, Aaron, was 18 I staffed the first weekend in Portland, Oregon. He and I went back for the 10th anniversary gathering. I spoke at an elders gathering in Oregon a number of years ago and treasure the Beaver State Circle of Life blanket that was given to me.
2) How has MKP influenced your work?
As a counselor/therapist for nearly 50 years now, my passion has been to “awaken the masculine soul.” (My MKP name is “Soul Turtle”). I guide and counsel men and have started numerous other men’s groups through the years and referred a number of men to MKP weekends.
3) Any highlights of your MKP experiences?
Probably my most memorable experiences was staffing the first Oregon MKP weekend with my son, Aaron, and being there for his father work and talking about the kind of father he needed and wanted from me. We were then both placed in a large blanket and tossed up together. The bonding as continued through the years.
4) How can MKP brothers become involved with your work?
As an elder, I teach, train, and counsel men. I believe there are three questions that need to be answered as we reach the end of our journey here.
- Did I live an authentic life. Was I the best me I could be?
- Did I love deeply and well?
- Have I made a positive difference in the world?
I help men answer “yes” to those questions. My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound is my first memoir (and 15th book) describing my journey and my father’s journey from abuse to healing and reconciliation. The accompanying workbook: Healing the Family Father Wound: Your Playbook for Personal and Relationship Success guides people on their own healing journey so it won’t take them the 70 years it took me to fully heal.
Synopsis of “My Distant Dad” by Jed Diamond
“A father may be physically present, but absent in spirit. His absence may be literal through death, divorce or dysfunction, but more often it is a symbolic absence through silence and the inability to transmit what he also may not have acquired.” – James Hollis
“Kids have a hole in their soul in the shape of their dad. And if a father is unwilling or unable to fill that role, it can leave a wound that is not easily healed.” — Roland Warren.
“You will begin to forgive the world when you forgive your father.” — Tennessee William’s psychiatrist
There is one problem that surpasses all others in its impact on men, women, and society. It is the father wound. We focus on the importance of mothers in determining the well-being of children. Without the support of their fathers, men become disconnected from their true selves, feeling that others are controlling their lives. The father wound may be the most pervasive, most important, and least recognized problem facing men and their families today. The father wound isn’t restricted to men. Women also suffer from the father wound.
However, the father wound, resulting from a father who was physically or emotionally absent, has been largely ignored. Disconnected males, without a strong sense of inner guidance, can become abusive towards women and destructive towards men. We’ve seen this with the outpouring of sexual abuse allegations involving prominent men including Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, and many others.
On May 7, 2016, six months before the Presidential election, I wrote an article “The Real Reason Donald Trump Will Be Our Next President.” In the article I concluded, “Mr. Trump seems to have suffered abuse, neglect, and abandonment as a child.” He was raised by a father who worked seven days a week, whose basic value was “win at all cost,” and who had little time for his role as a parent. Many people identified with Mr. Trump’s rage, without recognizing the underlying cause, and voted for him. When wounded children grow up to hold important political offices, the impact can be felt throughout the world.
As a psychotherapist who has treated more than 30,000 men and women over my long career, I have seen the devastating impact distant fathers can have on the lives of their children and how the wounding causes problems at all stages of life. Boys and girls who experience the father wound often become adults who unknowingly wound their own children. Once I recognized and understood the prevalence and importance of the father wound, I could help people recover from problems that had previously been resistant to both medical and psychological interventions.
According to the National Center for Fathering, “More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent. If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency.”
“All men, whether they know it or not, hunger for their father and grieve over his loss,” says Jungian analyst, James Hollis, Ph.D. “They long for his body, his strength, his wisdom.” When fathers are distant, absent, or rejecting, men suffer a wounding that creates a hole in their soul. “Men’s lives are violent because their souls have been violated,” Hollis concludes.
The father wound impacts four critical areas of our lives: Our physical health, emotional health, relationship health and our social and political health.
The effects of growing up without a loving, engaged, father ripple through the generations and contribute to many of the most serious problems we face in our society today including: Drug and alcohol abuse, depression and suicide, sexual dysfunction, harassment, and addiction, poverty, divorce and unhappy, loveless, sexless, and lifeless marriages, and crime, fear and aggression between groups.
For fifty years I’ve been helping men and the women who love them. During that time, I’ve become one of the world’s leading experts on men’s issues and have written a number of trend-setting books including Looking for Love in All the Wrong: Overcoming Romantic and Sexual Addictions (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1988), Male Menopause (Sourcebooks, 1997), and The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression (Rodale, 2004).
My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound will be the first book to address the father wound and its impact on men, women, and families through the personal experiences of a world-renowned expert on men’s health. This is the time to address these important issues and network with other like-minded people.
“I was five years old when my uncle drove me to the mental hospital.” This begins the story of my own journey dealing with the father wound that resonates with so many other men who have lost their fathers through divorce, death, dysfunction, or distancing.
My father was committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital in 1949, after he became increasingly depressed when he couldn’t find work and felt deeply ashamed that he was unable to be successful at the breadwinner role. He had become a puppet controlled by the dictates of a masculine role he couldn’t hope to fulfill. Much of the 1948 movie The Snake Pit, starring Olivia de Havilland, was filmed at Camarillo and it has been rumored that the Eagles’ 1977, mega-hit, Hotel California was a reference to the hospital. My father was incorrectly diagnosed as “Schizophrenic,” given electroshock treatments, and heavy doses of anti-psychotic drugs. He was told he would need treatment for the rest of his life. Seven years later he escaped from Camarillo and disappeared.
Later in life he became a well-known street puppeteer, offering wisdom and healing throughout the world, from China to San Francisco, with children calling out, “puppet man, puppet man,” whenever they saw him. Upon his death at age 89, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a story, “Requiem for San Francisco Puppet Man.” Antonia Manor, the residence where he lived, was packed with those coming to say goodbye, including world-renowned sculptor, Ruth Asawa, pictured here, who made puppets, in his likeness, for my father.
The trauma of growing up with an absent father and a death-obsessed mother contributed to my own bouts of depression, sexual addiction, and destructive relationships. For the first time, I share the raw, personal, life experiences and my own healing journey. Learning about my mother’s lost father, who died when she was five years old, helped me understand that the father wound impacts women as well as men. Healing intergenerational wounds put me on the path of becoming a psychotherapist who has been helping men and the families who love them, healing my clients as I have learned to heal myself.
When my son, Jemal, was born on November 21, 1969, I made a vow to be a different kind of father than my father was able to be for me and to do everything I could to create a world where the father wound would be healed and families could experience real, lasting love. My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound, is a celebration of that commitment.
There is an accompanying Playbook, Healing Your Father Wound: Your Playbook for Personal and Relationship Success, which will help men and women impacted by the father wound to apply the insights and healing practices to their own lives.
I wrote the book, My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound because I wanted to share my own experiences of my 70-year journey to understand what happened to my father and how it impacted my life. The playbook is for men and women who are ready to heal their father wound and bring all the parts of themselves together.
My Distant Dad is an adventure story to find the father I lost when I was five years old. It’s also a tale of redemption and healing for both my father and myself. The playbook will help guide you on your own healing journey.
Some of my colleagues have read the book and have offered some kind words:
“Millions of us grew up in a home with a father who was distant, absent, rejecting, or dysfunctional. Jed Diamond’s magnificent healing journey offers us a story of hope, reconciliation, and redemption where we can finally come to peace with our father wound and find real lasting love in our lives.” — Rev. Iyanla Vanzant, Host of Iyanla, Fix My Life on OWN; Author Get Over It; Thought Therapy for Healing the Hard Stuff (Hay House)
“In Jed Diamond’s new book, My Distant Dad, he examines a topic that has profoundly affected our society, both men and women, who have grown up with an absent or distant father. So much focus has been placed on the importance of a mother figure but just as important is the presence of a father. For many men this absence has resulted in a sense of being lost and alienated from those they need the most. This book offers a path to healing and wholeness. I know because this book is in many ways reflective of my own journey.” — James R. Doty, M.D., Founder and Director of the Stanford University Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and New York Times bestselling author of Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart
“The absent father is a historical and literary theme, but when that theme is your life story, it is poignant and painful. It is a grace to have guidance and empathy for life without a father and a path forward. Every person whose father was present but absent or physically absent will benefit from Jed Diamond’s wonderful memoir, My Distant Dad.
“Jed Diamond opens his heart to address a problem that millions of men and women are dealing with — the family father wound. Too many people grow up in homes where the father is physically or emotionally absent. This loss creates a hole in the collective soul of society, but Jed’s masterful healing journey gives real hope. Having been a foster parent, and now a father to two young boys, I found this book truly insightful and helpful.” — Chip Conley, New York Times bestselling author of Emotional Equations, founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality
“‘Morris Diamond, AKA Tommy Roberts, The Puppet Man’ is my index card for a patient I met only once, on the Admitting Ward of God’s Hotel. He was in Bed Number 4 of that long, old-fashioned, Nightingale ward, at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco. Still, I remember him clearly, a tiny, very old man, stooped, with long big ears that stuck out on both sides like handles, a high domed forehead, and blue blue eyes. He looked up at me with a kind of clarity and pride that said, Here I am. In My Distant Dad, his son, Jed Diamond, rediscovers him and pieces together the story of his father–bipolar, exceptional, ordinary, perhaps a genius–who somehow, against all odds, carved a life of significance for himself and his son.” — Victoria Sweet, M.D., author, God’s Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine