Cliché’s are so uncool. Nobody wants to be a cliché. We all want to be unique and have unique problems, alas when it comes to women’s relationship challenges too often daddy issues are the root cause.
I have been shooting a TV show called Mokapelo – women in their 20s and 30s with love related problems write in to the show seeking supportive interventions from me. It is a 13 episode show but we go through tons of letters to pick the participants. Delving into these women’s challenges re-inforced something I already knew. The relationship you had with your dad as a baby and young girl (and/or with your primary male caregiver), and the relationship that your mom had with your dad (and/or with her male partner) when you were young have a HUGE impact on your relationships and other experiences in adulthood.
I like to declare that; “everybody has daddy issues” (I am a fan of sweeping statements, they get people talking.) Once when I made this declaration, a friend countered: “I don’t have daddy issues, my daddy was perfect.” In fact her daddy was so “perfect” that she is still struggling to meet a man who will live up to the her idealized first love. It turns out that even having a super-daddy can be an issue!
By the way, if daddy was an awesome dad but a crappy husband, this will negatively affect your romantic relationships in adulthood, and possibly even how you feel about yourself as a woman, as you experience his mistreatment the most important woman in your life, your mom.
I’d have to write a whole series of posts to go into all the ways your childhood relationship with your father can sabotage your current happiness, but I did something even better, I developed an eCourse on Healing Daddy Issues. Here I want to focus on the lesser known impacts of this relationship.
“I don’t feel safe”
One of the primary roles of the father is to PROTECT.
Babies and children who grew up with an absentee father, (he could’ve have been physically absent or he could have just been uninvolved, nje) often don’t feel secure in the world. As a baby you get that sense of security literally from being held by daddy, feeling seen and prioritised by him. Your sense of security is also adopted through your connection with mom, if mommy feels unsafe/insecure/unprotected you will feel the same way too. Babies are extremely attuned to their mothers feelings and for a very long-time they do not perceive themselves as separate from their mothers.
Feeling unsafe has all sorts of ramifications.
It is likely to result in trust issues. When you feel unsafe trust becomes a BIG deal. Who can I trust? Can I trust him? How do I know if he is trustworthy?
Trust issues often manifest as control issues. People tend to want to be in control when they don’t trust others not to harm them or let them down.
Feeling insecure has an impact on your self-confidence.
It has an impact on the metaphoric size of your world. Have you noticed, on the playground, at parties or even just visits, the children who are most secure are the ones who are likely to venture the furthest from their adult caregivers? The ones who are insecure are very clingy, sometime even literally hanging on to your leg or firmly planting themselves on you lap, unwilling to play out of sight. This behaviours extends in to adulthood, just in less obvious ways. When you do not feel safe you don’t venture too far from “home”, you take less risks, you are unwilling to put yourself out there. You are more inclined to do things perfectly. All this limits your experiences and your reach in life – the size of your world.
You can leave a comment if you want more details on the “Healing Daddy Issues” eCourse, it is a 6 week course or you can purchase it here. I am also running an Easter Special, where along with the eCourse you get group coaching, in a closed Facebook group, everyday for the 6 week period. You can access the special here.
“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.”
– Katharine Hepburn.