“Who’s Your Daddy?”

We’ve heard men refer to it, others criticize it or we ourselves have battled with it.

The blog’s title can be misleading but this won’t be an article about bedroom chatter.

While at lunch this week, I sat in a trendy spot nearby work to have a Tortilla Soup. It’s one of my favorites, unfortunately, it’s rare to find an exceptionally good one. I was in luck! I found a quiet table at the restaurant to indulge in a delightful lunch! The tables were close together allowing me to hear a conversation between two guys. I didn’t necessarily want to listen but couldn’t help it when the topic of “daddy issuescame up. One of the gentlemen was shooting at the mouth about how he is thinking about dumping the girl he was seeing because of her daddy issues!

The term stems from Sigmund Freud‘s “Father Complex” theory, later adopted by Carl Jung and psychoanalysts that came later in time. It basically described the mental instability that can come from a having an inferior relationship with our fathers. The theory helps explain some of the emotional baggage we lug around. Modern society has managed to attach the label to groups of women giving many a bad reputation. Not only does it give many women a nasty rap, it places an unfair stigma on most.

A woman is referred to have “daddy issues” when she displays certain unhealthy behaviors in romantic relationships. There are signs may sound familiar to you.

  • The overly insecure, clingy girlfriend or partner who goes through her boyfriend, lover or husband’s phone or into a jealous spin. The mistrust can come from the most benign of situations, almost innate.
  • The woman dealing with fears of abandonment that avoids being alone at all costs. She will often find herself tolerating bad relationships while convincing herself it’s the lesser evil. Putting herself at risk a lot with abusive or dishonest men.  Unfortunately, these women might not understand their pattern of negative behavior.
  • Another big way of manifesting daddy issues? A constant hunger for outside validation. This woman can never have enough attention. She wants to be wanted, loved at a high intensity running into trouble in relationships when their needs can’t be met. It creates a neediness no one can fulfill, eventually, behavior pushes men away.

The journey of discovering who we are is difficult. Opening your eyes to the truth is never easy but necessary. If we’re not willing to see things for what they are, acknowledge the bad things that have happened to us we can’t really heal.

Do women get hit with the “daddy issues” label? Yes, but we’re not the only ones affected by the relationships with our fathers (or mothers, for that matter). People are complicated and broken in some way, shape or form. No one is perfect – including our parents. We’re all a work in progress. Both men and women can have daddy issues manifested, differently. Men can experience these problems and demonstrate the effects by emulating their fathers. As adults, they may take the role of a workaholic, abuser or serial cheater. They will repeat their father’s negative patterns creating toxicity in their own romantic relationships.

I came to deal with my own daddy issues later in life. I wasn’t seeing that the negative relationship pattern was being created by bad choices. Unresolved emotional pain caused by the severed relationship with my father had been a huge factor in the romantic part of life. The father-daughter relationship laid a foundation for the way I was bonding with romantic partners. The relationship with my dad heavily influenced my behavior in adult relationships. It set a tone, from the way I attached or communicated with a partner to how I allowed myself to be treated. It even affected how I resolved my problems with partners.

It wasn’t until I began to own up to my part in the mess, that things changed. Learning new behavior is a process taking time, patience and practice but it is possible. A willingness for self-forgiveness and acceptance has to happen to turn the ship in the right direction. Building the ability to free yourself of judgment, blame and disapproval takes courage. You are who you are – your past does not define you. Everyone has baggage but it doesn’t mean you have to carry it with you for the rest of your life. You’ll find once you drop the emotional load, life will look brighter and roads to the future, will too.

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