Daddy issues. A term that was used over and over again in 2019 and even still today. Something that women often talked about in an effort to explain what they've been plagued by and how it affected their romantic relationships and decisions. Something that some either over use, negate, or misunderstand. But what exactly is it? What does daddy issues even mean?
Truth be told, it's just what it sounds like. Clinically speaking, it's when a woman has emotional and psychological issues based on the relationship, or lack thereof, with her biological father. Perhaps her daddy was absent, abusive, or even angry. In my case, my dad was absent. It's like he was here, but not here. I've explained that he and my mom separated when I was 3 years old. Though he was here in the city, I didn't see him as much as the little girl in me needed to. So imagine that in my situationships, desired relationships, and perceived datingships I connected with men that were here, but not here. They were often emotionally unavailable and unable (or unwilling) to give me what I desired and sought. The relationship with the same sex parent determines a lot of of how our romantic relationships will go. So in my case, it was OK for me to reach out to men first. I'd get happy when I did see them. I'd call them when I needed things. Why? Because that's the blueprint that my father had created.
As a life and dating coach with New Thing Life Coaching, I have different methods, tools, and strategies when it comes to helping my clients. Primarily in dating and relationship sessions, I use the H3 Approach. The first H is household. I need to know about a woman's household in order to properly help her with achieving the goals we create. I know and understand that the relationship with her father says a lot. After Household comes Habits. I need to see why she's done what she's done. Our demeanor and relationships in general are influenced by the same sex parent, but knowing that romantic relationships are mimicked by the relationship with the parent of the opposite sex parent allows us to evaluate, identify, and rectify.
If you have a unique set of issues stemming from the relationship with your father, I recommend a few things.
Tips on working through unresolved daddy issues
Be honest about your relationship with your father and any wounds that exist. Don't avoid, ignore, or downplay. They exist and it's time to call a thing a thing.
Let go of self-blame and forgive your dad and yourself (for whatever you told yourself about your relationship with him). It's easy to personalize things, as this is normal with those dealing with fear of abandonment. Forgive your dad, forgive yourself, and stop thinking the issue is present because of something you did. You'll find yourself always blaming yourself in all of your relationships (work, romantic, friendships, etc).
Examine your relationship with your father and attempt to reconnect if there have been any wounds. If you're able, be bold and reach out. Have a conversation. Use your voice and start the process that can free you. He may never be the one to make the attempt. Truth be told, he may not even know that there was an issue. The great thing is that he may even be able to help you be your best self.
Look at ways you may have accepted an unhealthy romantic relationship to fill the void your dad left (dating unavailable men or ones who are all wrong for you). Until you connect the dots, you'll repeat the pattern.
Give up your dream of a perfect connection with your father and accept that tension may exist and must be confronted. All relationships go through rough patches. Some never get better, truth be told. But you can at least rid yourself of any expectations that only lead to frustration.
Expect resistance and be patient. It may take time to iron out the kinks in your relationship. Again, he may not believe a problem exists at all. He may not even think he did anything wrong. That's OK. You're doing this for you.
Explore your intentions and desires. Coaching and talking to close friends can help you to come up with realistic goals. The goal is not for him to change, and perhaps even acknowledge anything. It's the starting point for you to release all that has held you back. It's for you to use your voice and speak up for inner little girl that never got to speak her truth.
Create healthy boundaries. It's not necessary to dredge up past hurt every time you meet with your father, if you all get to that point. Asking questions about the past can promote healing, but allow time for you and your dad time to reconnect before discussing the past.
Request a change and be patient. Try one request at a time and, again, have realistic expectations. Also be open to the idea that nothing may even change...
Express your thoughts, feelings, and wishes clearly and calmly. This could be verbally, a letter, or a release ("I release you from not being more active in my life"). You may decide not to share your letter or release with your father, but this step can still be therapeutic — especially if your dad died before you were able to reconnect or get through any of these things. I wrote an email to my father years back. He never responded. Truth is, he claims to not have read it. But I got it out, and that's all that matters.
I can say that it took me years to get to the root of my wound and begin to nurture it, water it, and allow it to blossom. I had to allow the pain to break through. Pain is something that must be felt and endured, not avoided. You must do the same. From that point, you are then able to heal yourself from the present pain inflicted by the hands, words, actions, thoughts, and absence of another human being. Once the pain has been dealt with and conquered, your power is yours again.
What's the point?
Until you divorce your daddy, he'll always have control over the men you entertain. Along with that, he'll have a hand in the way you see God, and who you perceive Him to be. Many women are unable to separate bio dad from heavenly Father. We spent years striving for acceptance, validation, approval and more all because daddy didn't give love. And now we believe that the same is necessary when it comes to God. This is far from the truth. Months back, I did a video on divorcing your daddy as part of the One Flesh series. Check it out here. If you're ready to be proactive on your journey, join The Sassy Institute. TSI is this ministry's 12-month self-paced program for single Christian women. Month 1 is all about healing, also tackling those daddy issues.
Either way, be free, sis. You deserve more than you have settled for. Regardless of what daddy did or didn't do, said or didn't say, you have a God in heaven that adores and delights in you. It's time to act like you know that...