His angry “little boy” is running the show in his relationships.

March 11, 2014

Dear Wayne,

You talk about “silencing the little boy ” in your book. That’s me all over. If I don’t get my way, or if someone doesn’t measure up to my expectations, I can act like a real jerk. My dad left my mom when I was young and all I really remember is feeling that he let me down. And believe me, he let me down in many ways, like making promises he never kept. As a result, I have a short fuse and it makes me get into arguments that I always regret. And it also comes out on the road when I find myself screaming at idiot drivers. Anyways, I’m really tired of being this way. I need some help.


Ready to Pick a Fight


Dear Fighter,

It’s hard getting over the hurt of a dad not being there for you. Those of us in that situation have often spent a good deal of energy—way into adulthood—searching for a substitute dad. That kind of needy energy can push a lot of men out of our lives, rather than closer. We also find ourselves painfully disappointed because we’re bringing unrealistic expectations to these relationships.

You sound as if you understand why you feel the way you do. Now you need to take some action to change your behavior. Here’s a first step: Make a commitment to be a completely different driver for the week. Expect idiots on the road. Rather than being naive and then surprised by the inevitable unaware driver, come prepared. Tape a note to your dash that says, “Slow down and enjoy the ride.” When you hit the freeway, drive in the third lane, drive slower, and watch those potential hazards drive right by you.

This won’t protect you from all potential mishaps on the road. But what it will do is show you that you can drive on your own terms, that you can be the master of your emotions, and that you can rid yourself of some of the anger that’s getting in your way. If you can make such a tremendous difference on your way to work with such a simple behavioral change, imagine what you’re capable of doing in all areas of your life.

It’s time to be your own best father. When you start taking care of yourself, you’ll begin to see that you don’t need daddy as much as you thought, not any more. But as always, I suggest that you find other men who can support you, and who share your same challenges, as you make these changes in your life.