Oh, daddy issues. You have probably heard the men in your life throw the term around when diagnosing a reason why a relationship didn’t work out with a woman (while pointing the blame away from themselves). Or maybe you are questioning if your complicated past with your father has affected the relationships in your life. Here’s something to consider though: Are daddy issues actually a real thing?
Is avocado toast delicious? Are golden retrievers glorious? Is Beyonce an actual queen?
YES, YES, AND YES.
Daddy issues are sadly real. The idea of the “father complex” pioneered by Freud, and then later studied by Jung and other psychologists in the field, (do you feel like your back in psych class yet?) has been extensively studied and documented. The difference is that what started out as being ironically studied as a male only issue, has now turned into a derogatory woman only issue.
I have a problem with how most use and think of the term “daddy issues.” It has taken a turn from genuine internal introspection into a demeaning label. Men often use the term like a low blow, meaning to say that a woman is needy or wounded. Women can sometimes use the term as an excuse to throw themselves a pity party because they believe their past has doomed them to be undateable forever. I think the second is worse.
Fathers are important in our lives. They protect us, nurture us, and show us our first relationship ever in how they treat our mothers. Even at an early age, we are seeing this relationship and subconsciously cataloging everything to form our own emotional needs and desires for our future partners.
So when we look out into the crowd at our talent show and our dad is absent again, or he continually treats your mother and you far from the way you both deserve; cracks start to form in our heart.
Cracks that we try to mend. We try to mend it with love from anyone with a pulse that looks our way, even if they too treat us horribly. Hey, at least they are there, right? We trust too fast, love too strong, need too much.
Or we go the other route and love nothing. We close doors before they have a chance to open. We only truly trust ourselves and never open up to anyone. “If I don’t let anyone in, then they can’t leave and hurt me,” you try to convince yourself, over and over.
My lovely ladies! (And men! This affects you guys too!) None of that means that you are doomed to be alone forever. Nor does it mean you require a white knight to swoop you up and fix you. It means that you might have some things to work on, and that’s okay. We all have things in our relationships with ourselves or with others that we should be working on.
It’s 2018, and time to take back and own the term daddy issues. We are badass adult men and women who didn’t get to choose our fathers and how they treated us. Yet, we can choose how we respond to others and live our own lives. We can stop opening our mouths in ignorance to throw this label onto someone else, and instead open it in understanding and patience of one another’s different pasts and struggles.
So I’m here to say, “Hello internet, my name is Taylor Hagin and, like a lot of you, I too have daddy issues. But they don’t define me or make me any less worthy of love. I’m not broken and I’m sure as hell not throwing myself a pity party. Who needs a white knight when I can be my own?”