With father’s day approaching, I felt that this was an important topic to address. I know that this is a touchy subject for a lot of people, myself included, but I feel that for many young girls and women, “daddy issues” have led to bigger issues, contributing to unhappiness. Keep in mind that, daddy issues don’t just stem from growing up without a father, they also form when your father is there physically, but not emotionally. For a long time, I didn’t really come to terms with the fact that I had these issues. I kind of just left it as an unspoken situation, buried away in the back of my brain, but once I started seriously dating, it all became clearer.
My parents separated when I was around 4 or 5 years old. While I was too young to really understand the circumstances, I do recall shutting out any man my mother brought around. I still had a relationship with my dad up until my teenage years really. That’s when it became choppy and that’s when I started “dating”. As I look back now, I’ve realized that I allowed myself to be controlled in a way by certain boyfriends. I was passive and submissive. Why? Because I didn’t have that male figure around to confirm my value as a young woman. My mom tried of course, but its just not the same.
The funny thing about me is, I could have had that connection or relationship with my step-father who’s been around since I was 7 years old, but I rejected him, for years. He wasn’t my dad and I made sure that he knew that. He didn’t want any bad blood between us so he stayed in his place. Little did I know, I was only hurting myself. It took me forever to realize that he wanted to take on that role.
Throughout my teenage years, when it came to boys, I was lost and had no clue. I never had a problem talking to boys or getting a boyfriend, no, the problems arose when I got deep into those relationships. It was like I turned to them for guidance, for the attention I wasn’t receiving from my actual father, for the discipline, etc. I allowed disrespect. I ignored red flags. I just wanted to feel wanted and important; accepting any old treatment so long as that void was being filled.
With my very first relationship, I noticed the issues, but still dedicated 2-3 years to him. I was very young. We started dating as freshmen in high school. I didn’t know myself nor did I do any psychological digging like I am now. When that was over, I met someone new. I was older, but still following the same patterns. This time, it was worse, because I was older. Still being controlled. Still being disrespected. Still unhappy. I was approaching womanhood so the cuts hit a little deeper. The pain lasted a little longer. Unhappiness led to depression and self-hate. Then finally, something clicked and I honestly don’t know what it was; possibly me just getting older and wiser. I knew I deserved better and I didn’t need anyone to tell me. I was tired of being sad and miserable. I was tired of hating myself. That’s when the reflection began. I started asking myself why I even put up with any of that, as if I didn’t have a choice. From then on, I made a promise to myself, to dig deep and really get to know me; to confront my past and address it so that I could move forward.
It’s been about two years since I’ve come to terms with my daddy issues and corrected them. I felt a shift in my confidence, the way I walk and talk, and even in the way I am approached. I don’t tolerate any nonsense from men or ANYONE for that matter. I don’t NEED to have a man by my side nor do I need the attention. As young girls and teens, we don’t notice how much of an affect a physically or emotionally absent father may have on our attachment or detachment to other males. We don’t realize how important it is for young girls to have the chance to create that bond with their father or a father figure. We don’t understand how strong a father’s love can be and how it’s absence may be even more powerful.
To get through this, I had to love myself. There was no room for insecurities. I had to accept that my father wasn’t in my life and that it was okay. Things happen that we can’t control. I’m still working on loving me and constantly self-reflecting to ensure that those issues don’t reappear. I’m open and honest about this aspect of me because it helps with healing. I’m much happier this way.