‘Son Hates Father’ Complex: Reasons and What You Can Do

Your relationship with your father can indeed be complex, especially if you regularly interact with him and you’ve developed a profound hatred towards him.

You may not be aware of it but your hate probably manifests in other ways.

It might have been easier if you had cut him off your life, but this hate, while trying to preserve what little relationship you may have, is making your life a bit complicated. You may even find yourself dealing with drama because of your father, of all people.

In this post I’ll discuss the fundamental reasons you hate your father and recommendations on what you can do moving forward.

Your relationship with your father influences the way you live your life, whether you notice it or not.

Even if you don’t have the relationship you’ve longed for, you still have to contemplate it and learn all the lessons you can. This is a perfect case of learning from the mistakes of others and is true especially if you have a son of your own.

son hates father complex

5 Fundamental Reasons You Hate Your Father

1. Your father, for the most part, did not show you acts of love.

Many men are love-starved by their father, but it’s easy to shrug it off because a lot of fathers subscribe to the “norm” that men simply don’t show emotions, let alone acts of love.

There’s a quote, “Mothers teach children about unconditional love. Fathers teach children about conditional love.” While it may be true, showing love is largely how it is shown, and this is where fathers screw up.

In attempts to teach their sons a lesson, they end up hurting the relationship instead, leaving the son unnecessarily confused and then later on hurt for many years.

Sure, the father may be a good provider, but that’s his responsibility! Let’s not equate that with “showing acts of love.”

Related: 8 Effects of Emotionally Distant Fathers on Sons

2. Your father did and does not want to share his life with you.

Even as an adult, you still feel like you’re that little boy who had no business with grownups.

He did not share his victories, joy, challenges, worries, or even his free time.

You can’t even approach him without later getting frustrated for not having a meaningful conversation. Even his hobbies and interests are out of the question. You always feel you grow further apart as time goes by.

3. You suffered or witnessed abuse.

This may be hard to accept especially if you’ve been conditioned to presume that some level of abuse is normal in the grand scheme of things. (It’s not.)

He may not have directly abused you, but you witnessed it. Perhaps he took it out on your mother or siblings or pets.

Because of this you developed this deep hate. How could he abuse his power with people who were ridiculously weaker? How could he do it to his own family?

4. Your father wanted you to be something else.

You may not talk about it, but you feel like he wouldn’t be excited about your life’s work unless you live the path he’s always wanted for you.

You long for his approval but it hurts when you always feel you’re somehow a disappointment.

Related: Why Are Fathers Mean to Their Sons? (10 Reasons!)

5. You feel that your father’s influence over you is negatively affecting other areas of your life.

Especially true if you did not have any other male figures in your younger years, your relationships with your kids, friends, colleagues, community, etc. are largely influenced by your father—but for the worse.

Growing up with a toxic father meant you learned destructive behaviors and habits and now that you’re an adult, they are pervading your whole life. You may know, intellectually, that they are destructive but they’ve been ingrained in you. It may need some work to unlearn them.

You then think this is all your father’s fault and you blame him for it.

10 Tips in Dealing with Hate towards Your Father

1. Your father may just be different from your ideal father.

Excluding abuse and maltreatment, of course, you may be having wildly different expectations of how a father should be, and this frustrates you.

There are lots of intergenerational nuances that, when combined in one person, you simply dislike that person.

The key here is to not expect at all and see that your differences may not be that bad.

2. You may not have turned out to be what your father wanted, but that’s okay.

Your life, your shots. Sure, you can ask for advice and wisdom from people who have been there, but that’s about it. You decide for your life and you should be content even if your father doesn’t support it.

Even if you’re wondering whether it’s going to make him proud or happy, you should still prioritize your needs. Not living someone else’s dream is normal.

Related: 24 Signs of a Bad Father-Son Relationship You Must Watch Out For

3. Accept your father as he is.

This is not to condone his toxic behaviors.

But there is power in leaving and accepting things as they are, without trying to change them.

It would be much easier for you to move on with your life, accepting that you have a bad father rather than convincing him to change and basing your other decisions on this probability of change.

Better carry on with the grieving process rather than get stuck in a situation that’s begging for another disappointment.

4. Understand that he probably loves you, but he has to deal with his own issues first.

If men were only loved and treated right in their childhood, then they would become good enough fathers, at the least.

But the world is inherently evil, too. And these men didn’t have the tools, guardians, and capacity to bring out the good in them.

Your father may be trying, but if he was a victim of another toxic father, then that may explain all the generational curse you’ve suffered.

5. You can have a good life without your father.

Your hatred towards him may be so overwhelming it’s keeping you from enjoying the present moment.

Your relationship with him may be more of enmeshment—you’ve been dependent on him for a long time that:

  • you base your decisions on what you think he would do
  • you emotionally react as if he’s the one reacting
  • you feel you’ve lost your sense of self

And that’s what makes it complex. Remind yourself that you’re now on your own and you’re able to identify what it is you want and need.

Related: 20 Signs of an Emotionally Absent Father (And Signs in You)

6. When you find fatherly men, keep them.

This may be hard for a variety of reasons:

  • you’re introverted
  • you have developed distrust towards authority figures or men who exude great confidence
  • you learned to cope with the use of the internet, thus it’s now uncomfortable to interact in real life

But when you find fatherlike men, keep them. These men should not be limited to those you would treat as father figures. They can be your peers, colleagues, friends, a neighbor, a co-parent, etc.

The point is to keep men who have traits your father lacked. Men you would look up to and respect.

7. Don’t try to repair your relationship with your father.

Your father may be hurting too because of the way he was raised, but it’s not your responsibility to fix your relationship with him, let alone “fix” him.

At this point, the intention and effort to fix the relationship, if you allow it, must be mutual. I would even argue that as a parent, the bulk of the responsibility is his, not yours.

8. Work towards healing.

You may think someone may come along and help push you towards your healing. Say, a girlfriend or a wife.

But remember that ultimately, healing work is largely a you work. You can’t expect somebody else to do the heavy lifting just so you’ll feel better. Real healing work may take a long time and with the aid of professional help.

Healing work is vital but, as a man, you may take it for granted for obvious reasons. Through healing you can embrace and thrive in the future and, perhaps more important, you can form healthy relationships especially if you have kids or you are considering having one.

Related: Am I the Problem in My Family? (For Adult Children & Parents!)

9. Ask yourself, “Am I the man I wanted my father to be when he was my age?”

Whether you have kids, whether you acknowledge your wounded inner child, this question will help you become a better man, even if slowly.

That question may kick you out of your head and be more present in the moment, anywhere you are, and act accordingly in truth and love.

This is also an excellent way to channel the hate you feel into something positive, whether it’s parenting your kids or reparenting yourself.

10. Let go of the hate, but do it for your own sake.

The power of acceptance and moving on can be underrated—accepting things as they are, without having to agree to them or coming up with some sort of meaning or interpretation.

This is making peace with yourself that even though you did not have the father any son deserved, it’s okay and that you can navigate the world because you can think for yourself and find wonderful people who would be there for you.

You’re not doing this because of pressure from society or your relatives. You’re doing this selfishly for your peace of mind and wellbeing.

You can only do so much with hate, towards your father no less. But transcending it and moving on with contentment is something you might prefer instead.


Image Credits: Photo by ÁLVARO MENDOZA on Unsplash

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