Healing The Father Wound

Its 11:11am on February 11 now on the island of Bali, and through divine timing, this is the time where I have decided to write about my experiences with healing the father wound within me. I did not premeditate this, I just happened to look at my phone because it beeped and saw the date and time. It’s the angel number for growth and enlightenment. Seeing this number is a reminder to actively work toward this growth and to acknowledge where I am and where I am going on my spiritual journey. I feel if you wait for a sign to start working on yourself, you have probably already missed the bus. I feel working on yourself is your birthright and the reason for being human. But also, I know things are revealed when you are ready to see and heal them.

After 50 years of life on this planet, it seems funny that I only recently realized that there was such a thing as a father wound. It has shifted my understanding of the processes that I have gone through in my journey towards healing, growth, and self-discovery. The father wound is a disconnect within you that is mirrored by your relationship with your father. This mirror might have been expressed in your life experience of your father as emotionally unavailable, unsupportive, physically absent, or who exhibited toxic characteristics. It is important to understand that your father tried his best with what resources he had and what mental situation he was in. It is more constructive to view the consequences of your interaction with your father as opportunities for your self-healing and growth.

The possible symptoms of the father wound are:

  • Low self-esteem and low confidence
  • Chronic anxiety and depression
  • Angry outbursts and rage
  • Self-criticism, shame, and feeling ‘not good enough.’
  • Difficulties keeping healthy boundaries.
  • Gravitating towards partners who are emotionally unavailable. Self-sabotaging behaviors that hinder growth 
  • Refusal, inability, or lack of desire to thrive.
  • Excessive laziness and procrastination
  • Ongoing struggles with addictions
  • Inability to trust men, and feeling like no one truly has your back.
  • Being highly isolated
  • Issues with authority (mistrust, resentment, paranoia)
  • Being highly reactive to criticism

Going through this list myself and checking which items I have experienced; I would say all of them. The exception would be the lack of desire to thrive, which I have always had. Armed with this precious jewel and divine grace, I can share with you my story.


My father always wanted his first child to be a boy. But then I came, and he was disappointed immediately. However, he decided not to let that stop his fulfillment of all the dreams he had about what he and his first-born child should be doing together. My father was the youngest of 18 children from two wives, and his father died when he was 11 years old. I believe now that he did his best to do all the things with me that he wished his father could have done with him.

Growing up, I got to do a lot of things most male children dream of doing with their dad. He taught me how to box; we even had matching gloves, a punching bag, and a speedball. We played basketball together because he used to be a point guard in university basketball. He even taught me how to shoot a gun, and we occasionally went to the firing range to play with pistols, submachine guns, and shotguns, as he was an avid collector of firearms. Some of my favorite memories were of hanging out in his fish farms and jumping into the water during the fish harvest, but instead of helping, I would jump into the nets to set the fish free. One day I was playing in the boats when I was around 6 years old, and I jumped barefoot on a large rusty boat screw, which cut a 1 cm diameter hole in my foot. We were in the middle of nowhere, and he said there was no doctor. I was screaming in pain, so he handed me a bottle of kerosene and instructed me to keep pouring it into the hole. I remember him telling me, “This is going to hurt, but you can take it, Junior.” It was the most painful thing I had experienced, and I literally saw stars, but I did it. 

Although we had a lot in common, there were some things that I liked to do that my father discouraged. In general, it was everything that was considered girl behavior. I like to dress up and put on makeup, but my father would say that I don’t look good or that I look fat. I liked to sing a lot and was really talented. And he was always telling me I couldn’t sing  One day, a TV director talked to my dad and asked if I could be in this children’s show because I had a good voice. My father looked at me and told him that only prostitutes go on TV, so the answer was No: I was 9 years old. I also like to dance a lot, and I was constantly dancing everywhere I went. My father was constantly telling me I have two left feet and am super clumsy, and dancing was not for me. Besides, only prostitutes perform dancing. Fortunately, he liked to cook, so when Santa gave me a Betty Crocker play kitchen when I was 5, he actually encouraged me. 

Needless to say, when I finally went to school and interacted with other little girls, it was really confusing. My way of bonding with them was by teaching them how to climb trees, because I was surprised to find that they didn’t know how. I remember half my third-grade class was up a tree, and the teacher came running out to scold us. Every now and then, a rare little girl would appear who was into running out into the fields looking for bugs or climbing trees, but in general, little girls were from another planet. 

What compounded things was that I was actually a really cute little girl. Strangers were always telling me what a cute little girl I was, but I never heard it from my father. Every time they complimented me in this way, it felt weird because that wasn’t the kind of treatment I was used to. One day when I was much older, one of my relatives found out that I was taking a public bus to the state university, and she told me that beautiful young ladies shouldn’t be riding the bus alone because it wasn’t safe. I had no idea what she was talking about. One day someone did try to grope me on the bus, and I punched him in the face.

I loved my father a lot and probably spent more time with him before the age of 8 than my mother, so I really wanted to make him happy. You can say that growing up, he was my ideal of what a person should be like because I spent so much time with him. He drank a lot and sang karaoke with his friends, and every now and then they would let me have a song, and this made me feel accepted and appreciated. He would also sing me to sleep on his guitar at night. Because of how much he drank, there were times when he was asleep all the time, and even when he promised me we would do things together, it never happened because he was always asleep. I did not know back then what chronic depression was. I did not know back then what alcoholism was either. I also didn’t know that my mother’s father was also battling the same things.

Despite this, I felt more loved by my father than my mother. Sometimes, when he wouldn’t get out of bed, I would snuggle up to him, and he would tell me how much he loved me and that he felt sorry that we couldn’t do things together now. But also, at that moment, I felt so much love. I felt the most love from him when he was drinking, because this is when he expressed his feelings the most, and when I grew up and we started drinking together, I really felt a genuine connection with him that I remembered we had when I was younger, before he was constantly drunk or asleep.


My father was very athletic and supported my early sport, which was horseback riding. I was very much into equestrian sports when I was in the Philippines, but when we moved to America because my father started a business in California, the sport was too expensive for my family. Fortunately, I found gymnastics and then figure skating. By this time, Dad was too busy trying to make his business work and wasn’t able to be present in this part of my life. I cannot remember my father ever coming to any of my performances or competitions. However, I had a devoted fan in the form of my grandmother, who just loved seeing me dance around on the ice or on the balance beam. She would buy me the most beautiful competition outfits and always tell me how proud she was. But my number one fan when I was six years old wasn’t around much, and when he was, instead of my childhood hero, what I encountered was a wounded and broken man.

My father’s business was going bankrupt. At night, he would drown his sorrows in a bottle of alcohol, and he would call me to join him. At that point, I wasn’t drinking, but I sat there while he shared his day with me. Mostly, he would ask me for financial or business advice, which I tried my best to give him. But what would someone in 6th grade know about corporations? I feel I blame myself for not being able to give him good advice and for feeling the pressure of the mounting debt, and this has impacted my abundance later in life. As things got more desperate, my father’s behavior towards me became more angry, violent, and twisted up by the combination of alcohol and failure. The things that happened during this time were the most painful and traumatic. I was 13, and this was the worst time of my life. Eventually, his business failed, and we had to flee America. 

When we got back to the Philippines, my father was increasingly more despondent than I had ever seen him before. He gave up on himself completely. This stayed the case for most of my teenage years and early adult life. He was emotionally distant from me, except when we were drinking together.


In my late teens and as a young adult, I had a lot of anger and anxiety. I couldn’t fall asleep at night without walking six kilometers first. Also, if you touched me while I was asleep, I would wake up in a panic and punch you. I would wake up angry and be excitedly waiting for someone to cross any kind of line so I could have a go at them to vent some anger on them. I really questioned where this was coming from, and one day I got an acceptable answer. 

There were these magazines called “Theosophical Digest” by the Madame Blavatsky Society that they were selling in the supermarket in my neighborhood. I would buy these religiously, and one of the articles talked about vegetarianism and the impact of animal meat on the human system. I came to learn from this magazine that when you eat meat, you take in all the anger and fear of the animal, and this is stored inside your tissues and becomes part of how you feel. I also got into Buddhist meditation, and one of the themes was non-violence, so I was determined to become vegetarian despite not knowing exactly what it means or having the resources to do it. The first time I tried, when I was in high school, I lasted only one week. My dad made the most beautiful roast leg of lamb and paired it perfectly with a bottle of red wine, and that was that. But I kept trying and eventually did enough research and learned how to cook vegetarian dishes.

Being vegetarian helped me a lot with the anger and anxiety. The death of an animal causes a lot of hormones to flood their system, such as adrenaline and cortisol; We are impacted by the same hormones, as we have them too. After 2 weeks of coming off meat, the unexplained anxiety and fear that kept me awake at night melted away. 

Another thing that helped me a lot was sports. With my background in gymnastics and figure skating, it was easy for me to get into the cheerleading team, which I was eventually captain of. I also fell in love with something called high impact aerobics (this was the Jane Fonda era of legwarmers and thong leotards). I started to compete in aerobics marathons and aerobic dance sport competitions. Sports and winning made me feel successful and appreciated. It gave me an outlet for the energy of anxiety and rage within, which got transmuted into a highly competitive mindset. I wanted to be perfect, and every win would validate something inside me that just wanted appreciation and connection. Sadly, no one in my family ever came to watch any of my competitions. It was like who I was in my family and who I was outside of it were completely different. 

Not only was this true for sports, but for the precious jewel that I found in my neighborhood, which literally saved my life. I had a neighbor who was a Tibetan Buddhist nun. Me and my friends would come over to her house all the time, and she would teach us meditation. The energy in her house was completely different from where I lived. People were affectionate with each other and weren’t yelling all the time. They served such amazing vegetarian food, and the tea was out of this world. So were the meditations. The feelings and experiences that I found, diving into my inner universe with her guidance literally changed the way I interacted with the world. I found my true home within myself. I would practice meditation every day and this helped me feel the difference between who I wanted to be and who I didn’t want to be. It helped me understand who I really was because you can’t find this outside yourself, and no one can see it but you.


When I was applying for universities, I wanted to go to an agricultural college and run the family farm, but my parents said that only dropouts and drug addicts go to the state-run agricultural college. They made me choose one of the universities that people from my social strata usually went to so I could “be with the right people.” I chose, as my first choice, a double major in physics and computer engineering because I wanted to make my father proud since he had always wanted to be an engineer. For my second major, I chose mass communication because it sounded fun, and besides, it didn’t matter because I was going to be an engineer anyway. The university admissions department put me in mass communication because it fit my personality more. I spent one whole year applying for the engineering course, and when I finally got accepted, it only took me 3 years to get irreconcilable failing marks and be kicked out of university. Of course, my father was furious, and so was the beating I received. But by this time, I had received so many beatings that I had gone completely numb. While he hit me, I just looked into his eyes and didn’t react at all, showing as much defiance as I could. 

Something inside me snapped because of this experience. I reasoned to myself, “Ok, so if he thinks I am such a bad kid, let’s be the worst kid ever.” So, I did the most revengeful thing that I could think of: I joined a musical theatre group so I could sing and dance with the prostitutes that my father was so worried I would become. I found myself in the theatre. I found my family and my tribe (who were all creatives and pursuing arts degrees like mass communication). Due to all the roles I landed and the morale boost that I got from performing and expressing all the emotion that was usually pent up inside of me and out of reach, I found some form of therapy. I realized creative expression was the outlet I needed for coming to terms with myself and treasured this part of my life. The sad part was that no one in my family ever came to watch me.

Later on, when I left university, I fell in love with belly dancing and started performing with a dance troupe. This is when I discovered that I have sexy women’s hips. I used to walk like a man, but after bellydancing, I discovered Shakira knew what she was doing. I also discovered the freedom of expression I felt as a little child – when you allow your body to be taken over by the music. People said that I was a good dancer, but as usual, my parents never even saw a single show.

I also found a part-time profession teaching aerobic dance. Because of my athleticism and theatre training, I found it very easy to teach dance classes and fitness workouts. I made good money, although my parents were desperately waiting for me to “get a real job.” I used this money to go to the agricultural college that they still refused to pay for. I chose BS Agriculture with a major in Entomology (the study of insects) because it sounded fun, and I just wanted to do things I liked. I graduated but quickly realized that my love for singing, dancing, and helping people won out, and I became a freelance group exercise instructor who sang with a rock band on the side. This was so unacceptable that I remember my mother desperately asking me, “How do we make sure that your brothers and sisters don’t turn out like you? ”

I tried my very best to be the worst kid in my eyes. I was drunk all the time. I crashed at least six of my parents’ cars. Of course, they beat me, but cars are more expensive than ribs. I started hanging out in the school of fine arts and away from the cultured business college, where I sat bored while people compared their Rolex watches. I broke up with my “acceptable” boyfriend that my parents loved and started dating musicians and artists. I felt free but hated myself enough to abuse my body in various ways due to the subconscious need to punish myself for being bad. I was not happy, but at least I was not what they wanted. 


One day at a university party, I met a really cut guy who had a higher alcohol tolerance than me. I asked him what he did, and he said he was a songwriter and singer in a band. I said, “aren’t we all?” and proceeded to plan to get him drunk so I could have a good time. This was how I met my ex-husband and the father of my children. We immediately felt something strong between us. We thought it was love.

We had a very manic relationship that swung from the extremes of “Kama Sutra” and “World War 3.”  I did not know what a Trauma Bond was back then, but as trauma bonds go, it was a match made in heaven. A trauma bond is when two people who have survived a common abusive situation get together and mirror that abuse to each other so perfectly that they form a strong bond that is usually very difficult to break out of.

I was super obsessed with him. Subconsciously, he made me feel exactly like my father used to. He used to sing to me while playing his guitar, and my father used to do this. We would go to karaoke bars after work and get drunk and sing like I used to do with my father and his friends. He was even depressed and would spend a lot of time asleep, and I used to snuggle up next to him to soothe me when he was passed out; just like I used to do with my father when I was little. He would even make me stay up with him while he got drunk and told me about his day, sharing his deepest feelings. Once, he came home drunk and broke my nose. I loved him so much that I couldn’t leave him. He was just like Dad. For my part, I was just like his mom. His mom physically abused him. So did I, taking out on him all the rage I had towards men in general and my father in particular. 

While I was in this marriage, once again, like when I was a child, my home life was very different from my successful career teaching group exercise classes. I quickly rose to a high management position, running the group exercise department of a multinational fitness company. I was on the cover of magazines, got sportswear endorsements, and was a leader and role model. Since this was the only part of my life that was successful, I threw myself into it like it was the only thing existing. I became the biggest workaholic because I could feel the hole in my heart in every part of my life, but when I was working, I got distracted by other “more important things.” Also, anyone who has ever performed to a crowd of people knows that the energy that you can build can be addictive: receiving all their eyes on you, hearing them clap in appreciation, feeling their love. But is it actually love? Who are you really to them? Who are they seeing up on stage? And who do you actually really want to see in the audience? 

Later, I realized that the only one who could give me the attention that I was seeking was myself. I found it through Hatha yoga. For me, it was the ultimate answer to my life at that point in time. It was a blend of physical exertion and inner meditative awareness. Because of my meditation background, I would gravitate towards yoga styles that had a very strong inward focus and understanding of the subtle body of energy channels and chakras. The style that attracted me the most was something called “Anusara Yoga.” The founder of this hatha style believed that people were locked in their hearts and created this style to help people open up to Universal Love. It was perfect! I threw myself into it completely. Soon, all my group exercise classes were replaced by yoga. All I did was eat, sleep, and breathe yoga, and soon I was being mentored to train other teachers in it. Hatha yoga started me in the process of feeling my inner world and melting the ice around my heart. However, my life was still not balanced because being addicted to yoga meant that the other parts of your life that needed fixing got ignored. 


It was a blessing that my life fell apart soon after. I lost my job, and my marriage fell apart. To keep from going insane, I took a small job teaching yoga in a hotel in Dubai. In only three months, due to my reputation in Asia, this led to a bigger job as the regional head of yoga development and training for the same company that I worked for back home. I started training yoga teachers throughout the Middle East on their behalf. In a year, I was able to bring my children over and start my life as a single mother in a foreign country. I was determined to do better for my children and give them a better future than I had in terms of parental attention. I became their mother and the father they never had and who I never had. Instead of focusing on the external action of what I wanted to do with them and who I wanted them to be, I focused on how I wanted them to feel. I wanted them to feel supported, appreciated for who they are, and I wanted to be there for them emotionally and physically when they needed me. I can say that my children healed me a lot. I realized the best thing I could do for them was to work on myself so they wouldn’t go through what I went through. But to be completely free from my inner pain, I needed divine intervention.

I used to teach a pranayama and meditation class every Tuesday at 6 a.m. in one of the gyms I oversaw. There was an elderly Indian gentleman who would always come to my class. One day after class, he hands me a book and says, “Please read this book because when you teach us, I feel the same energy flowing through you.” So, I took his personal copy of “Autobiography of a Yogi” and started reading. This was my introduction to something called Kriya Yoga. 

After reading the book, I wondered if I was fortunate enough to meet a Guru who would guide me in this lifetime. I had a real longing for it because, at that point in time, I felt alone and lacked guidance. I practiced hatha yoga and Buddhist meditation for 2 hours every morning because I was determined to work on myself and knew how important this was to my healing journey. But I was longing for someone to come and support and guide me. 

Around a month later, I was teaching at a yoga festival, and my students got lost and accidentally went to the wrong class. This class blew them away, so they invited the man who was teaching it to come do a private class for them. They also invited me. They said it was someone from India named Dr. Pradeep Ullal. I skeptically showed up just because I did not want to disappoint my students. I was in the kitchen helping with the snacks when, through the kitchen door, I saw an Indian man in jeans and a Bruce Lee T-shirt. He was looking straight at me. We locked our eyes. I didn’t know it yet at that time, but Guruji told me later that he was reading my energy and thinking, “Of all the people in this room, this being is the only one who is fully ready for Kriya Yoga.”

I really believe it is our destiny that Guruji and I have this blessed Master and Disciple relationship. He says that we have done this before in many lifetimes. I feel it and believe it. What is even more magical than meeting an upgraded father figure and having him in my life is the practice of Himalayan Kriya Yoga itself. This practice was such a game changer. It’s literally like using a firehose to clean out your garage. Quickly, all the drama and trauma left me for good. Not only this, but I started to feel inside me what love feels like. I noticed that what I thought love felt like before was incorrect. What I was feeling before was a nervous system defense built around trauma. Real love doesn’t feel like an ache or butterflies in the stomach. Real love feels like an expansive explosion of bliss from the center of your heart, which reaches out to include more and more of the universe inside it. You literally feel one with everything, and everything is just bliss. After a while, you let the universe in, and it all comes rushing into your heart, and you actually implode with bliss in every atom of you. This bliss doesn’t depend on where you are, who you’re with, or what you smoke. I remember once waking up in bliss and having to drive my kids to school. I was so high that, in traffic, I was looking at the sky and the beautiful sun. Then I happened to look at the guy in the car next to me, and his face was all pinched up and grumpy, and he was ready to run the car in front of him down as we were in a gridlock traffic jam. This made me laugh so much at what a sense of humor life has. One big thing that this helped me with was my addictive personality. Once you have this massive experience of love and bliss inside of you, you no longer need to distract yourself from how you feel. In fact, the more you want to sit with yourself, because it feels so good. This feeling can’t compare to anything else, speaking from experience.

Note that this did not happen overnight, and it took a journey. And in the journey, Guruji was unconsciously undoing all the hurt, pain, and anger that I had towards my father through his compassionate example and the universal love and divine transmissions he channels through his mere presence. What was more astounding was the technique of Himalayan Kriya Yoga itself, which also blended ancient yogic understanding with a real scientific understanding of our bodies and the universe. More profound than this are the results that Himalayan Kriya Yoga brings to those who practice it. As Guruji says all the time, “True Power Lies in Its Effect”.  Through the powerful effect of Himalayan Kriya Yoga, I was able to heal every single impact of the father wound in my life.

It has changed so much how I relate to the world. The kind of men that I attract into my life has changed. The way I feel towards men of authority has also changed. I feel confident in who I am, and I know fully who that is. I am at peace with all my relationships, and the practice of Kriya has even improved my relationship with my father and my ex-husband, with whom I have a good relationship as a friend. Most important is the balance in my life that really wasn’t there because I was not operating from the center of my heart. Due to this, I have more abundance in my life. I feel safe, protected, and supported by the Universe. I can give and receive love from those around me, and in return, life has been so good to me.

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