After years of making light of his own hair loss, this bald man wants the jokes to stop.
I lost my hair during my early 20s. I'm now 42. My dad was bald, and he often made fun of himself to other people -- so I ended up doing the same thing. I only now understand that my dad was probably doing this to hide his insecurities about his hair loss. Why do I think so? Because after reading a number of books, I have decided that I want to feel good about myself and I don't want anyone laughing at me anymore. The problem is, I see how I've empowered people in my life to joke around and I want it to stop. My nephew earned his Eagle badge in Boy Scouts. At the celebratory dinner someone remarked that all the men at the table "were Eagles." My brother said, "Yeah, but Robert is a bald Eagle!" I felt humiliated. I don't want to laugh with them anymore. Mitch, how do I take back the permission to make light of my hair loss? I figure that since I gave permission, I must be able to take it back.
Miffed in Missoula, Mont.
I think your dad was definitely hiding his insecurities about his own hair loss and probably felt empowered in his own way by be ating everyone else to the punch through poking fun at himself. Often sins of the father are passed on to the son, really sins of the parents to all of the children, in what we refer to as trans-generational patterns. In your case you have achieved a level of consciousness, self-awareness and self-respect to say that this has to stop. I applaud you for saying no more to those you have given permission to in the past. Now we have to look at the best way for you to take that permission away from them.
I want to encourage you to first clear any energy you have around your own judgments you’ve held, and possibly still do, concerning your hair loss. Forgiving yourself, and quite possibly forgiving your father for his choices, is the first place to start. The key here is to quietly, from a place of calm and centered-ness, take the power back without most even realizing you're doing so. Then be aware of your own impulses to participate in any self-deprecating behavior and replace them with information that reflects how powerful you really are. You and others need to start hearing words that reflect your grace and strength so that we create a new script -- one that celebrates you for who you are.
Then we probably need to look at the friends and family who have enjoyed the laughter at your expense, and in this case we can start with your brother. You will need to find a quiet, organic way to approach the subject and to do so from a place of ownership. This is about first acknowledging that you started this and have played into it, much like you witnessed your dad doing so. He needs to understand that you realize how this has held you back in many ways, how it has been part of your own patterns and a way that you battled your insecurities. Having come to this realization, you've decided you're going to stop doing this and would appreciate his support. At no time do you need to confront him or others unless it continues. Good luck!
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