QUESTION: Masters, I find the relationship I have with my father very confusing. Sometimes I feel like he’s hugely controlling. Sometimes I feel like he’s massively helping me. And because of the latter I tend to not understand or am able to process the former. Part of me thinks he’s a master manipulator, part of me thinks he’s just trying to be a good Dad. I’m being very careful not to put my own emotions into this because they have gone from love to rage with regards to him. There was a time about 10 years ago or more when I was advancing spiritually very quickly, and it was almost as if he sensed it and threw up such an emotional storm for me that I had to stop. With your help I’d like to understand what I hoped to learn from my father coming into this life. ~Steven, UK

ANSWER: You chose your father to be the center of a circular life. Everything has revolved around him pulling you in and not allowing you to go outside his influence without deciding to be dragged back in rather than letting go. Family has been a part of your identity which you have given controlling force over decision making.

Societal definitions of the relationship and obligations a son “owes” to his father have played a major role in your behavior. The parts you each chose are not typical. In the incidents where he has been massively helpful, he has been a teacher, a best friend, and a guide, not a father. He thrives on control and manipulation, which you have believed is a part of a father’s role. However, that is not normally the case – it is a part of his life lesson only.

When you talk about your emotions, you are actually referring to the emerging acceptance of your inner essence. It appears as an intuition about the choices you have if you don’t let the father-son relationship make you think you have no choice. The love/rage dichotomy is the positive/negative solution to a life lesson.

His reaction to your spiritual journey reflected his fear that you would cut the bonds of his influence in accepting your own path. Spirituality is all about oneself, why you are here, and what you have to learn. It is a solo endeavor, and another’s influence only prevents growth.

What you came to learn is when you are fulfilling your own freedom of choice vs. when you are giving it up to your father under the guise of responsibility. The journey is yours alone.