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HomeHealthHow Your Brain Is Fundamentally Changed by Having An Absent Father.

How Your Brain Is Fundamentally Changed by Having An Absent Father.

How Your Brain Is Fundamentally Changed by Having An Absent Father. My middle-aged father suffered a psychological breakdown when I was five years old.
After taking an excessive amount of sleeping drugs, he was admitted.

My mother was informed by the doctors that he required extensive care and might never leave the hospital.

In the end, my mother filed for divorce, leaving me to raise myself without a father.

I was unaware of the effects that having an absent father had on both my life and the lives of millions of other men and women.
The National Center for Fathering claims that “More than 20 million kids live in homes where a father isn’t present.
Many more people have father figures who are emotionally absent yet physically present.
Fatherlessness would be an epidemic deserving of attention as a national emergency if it were recognized as a disease.”

What wound does an absent father leave?

It’s the unfavorable outcome of growing up without a father, either physically or emotionally.
Like me, the majority of people adjust to whatever their life circumstances are, rarely connecting our adult struggles to childhood trauma.

However, extensive research conducted over the past 20 years has shown that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), such as losing a father through death, divorce, or estrangement, can harm development.

1.Adolescent hypersexuality, substance addiction, overeating, and smoking.

2.Adult anxiety, despair, and heightened sensitivity to loss.

3.developing and sustaining wholesome romantic relationships as an adult is difficult.

4.increased chance of developing chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

5.working long hours as a subliminal effort to distance oneself from connections.

How can the absence of a parent’s nurturing support affect us so profoundly and for as long as it does?

When I started to worry about my lifelong episodes of depression, my heightened sensitivity to loss, my irritability and rage, and my trouble maintaining meaningful relationships (I’ve been married three times), I frequently asked myself this question.

Could the loss of my father when I was five years old and the subsequent effects on our family be the cause of these issues?

In his book Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, renowned social psychologist and neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman presents research findings that I found to be rather intriguing.

His findings support an idea that Aristotle held and that he conveyed in his politics: “Man is a social animal by nature…
A person is either a beast or a god if they are unable to live a normal life or are self-sufficient enough not to need to, in which case they do not participate in society.”

Our lives and well-being depend on our social relationships.
Humans have a basic need for food and shelter, according to Lieberman, as well as a basic urge to belong to a group and establish relationships.

However, when we suffer early losses, particularly those of a parent, our capacity for social connection is harmed.

According to Lieberman, the size of our brains is a sign of our social nature and the necessity to remember all of the significant social ties in our life.
In his research, social scientist Robin Dunbar demonstrates this connection.
According to Dunbar, the size of a species’ social group is the best indicator of the size of its brain, specifically the size of its neocortex, the outermost layer.
According to Lieberman, “the brain defaults to a neuronal configuration known as the default network whenever we are not engaged in an active task, such as when we pause two math problems.”

That the default network resembles another brain arrangement, the one used for social thinking or understanding other people and ourselves, according to Lieberman’s research, astonished me.

Our brains are analyzing and getting ready to connect socially even while we are at rest.

You would expect that the brain would simply shut down when it was sleeping.
However, Lieberman notes that “Evolution has gambled that the greatest thing for a human brain to do in each spare time is to prepare ready for what comes next in social terms.”

In one study of individuals, it was discovered that giving $10 to charity caused people’s reward centers in their brains to become more active than receiving $10 did.
The Dalai Lama and other spiritual leaders have discovered this.

The actual secret to happiness isn’t being richer so we can be happier; it’s about giving to others.
We’ve developed into a culture that downplays the value of relationships in society.
We are unaware of the significance of our early social relationships with our fathers.

Recently, economists and psychologists collaborated to assign a monetary value to our interpersonal connections.

When we realize the monetary value of our social connections, it might help us realize their significance.

According to Lieberman, increasing your happiness by volunteering at least once per week is equivalent to increasing your income from $20,000 to $75,000 per year.
It’s like getting a $100,000 annual raise if you have a friend that you see most days.

You gain an additional $60,000 a year just by regularly interacting with your neighbors.
However, when you sever a significant social relationship — in this case, divorce is analogous to having your salary drop by $90,000 per year.

Increasing our social connections these days may be much simpler and more beneficial than attempting to earn a lot more money.

They didn’t specify how much we lose when we lose a father’s love, but I have a feeling it’s a big loss and a wound that never heals.
We can recover from these early wounds, which is wonderful news.