How can my husband communicate with our son?
My husband comes from a cold and aggressive family, with an authoritarian father, manipulator and absent for his children. As a result, despite my requests, he can not communicate with our 6 year old son. This one does everything to attract his attention and, failing, he gets shut in more and more. What should I do? (Frédérique, Cambrai)
The situation you describe is painful for everyone. For your son, who seeks to meet his father by all means, including "melee" (heckling, etc.) that seem problematic. For your husband who, failing to be a father, undoubtedly relives the horror of his own childhood and feels guilty. For you who, helplessly, attend all of this, and for your daughters who share your anguish.
I do not think that continuing to blame your husband for his attitude is a good idea. To change, he would have to do some work on himself and question the incapacity he assumed. It is probably only an unconscious way to continue to obey a tyrant father who can not stand that his son is able to be a father in his turn. It's better to talk to your son. Explain to him that what is happening is not related to his person (with another son, it would be the same) but to the fact that his father, because of its history, has trouble being a father of a boy.
This will allow him to regain self-confidence. To stop waiting for this father what he can not - for the moment - give him. But also to start looking for what he could find in him, which has been until now impossible because it is - without you want it - parasitized by what you think: that his father is not not "as it should". Children are able to find in any man "father". Provided that their mother - which is not going to have been said - "positive the positive" (as minimal as it is) instead of "negativer the negative".
Good luck! I'm sure you'll succeed in helping him.
Psychoanalyst, author of Speaking is living (Nil), Claude Halmos replies each month to four letters selected from an abundant mail, of which we publish excerpts.