This Is How Growing Up Without A Father Affected My Relationships

Shutterstock / gabczi
Shutterstock / gabczi

It can be a lifelong syndrome if the symptoms go unrecognized and unacknowledged.

My dad…

…was tall and slender.
…could throw down in the kitchen.

…was artistic and musical, and was the person who taught me how to sign my name.

…did drugs.

…hit my mom.

…made empty promises.

…was not around much.

…should never have procreated.

I used to say to myself, “I don’t have daddy issues.” That was a bold face lie; I just didn’t know it at the time. My life manifested itself into a clusterf*ck I sometimes don’t recognize as my own but through continual self-awareness, development, and honesty I now know why: because I have fatherless daughter syndrome.

Fatherless Daughter Syndrome is a disorder of the emotional system that leads to repeated dysfunctional relationship decisions, especially in the areas of trust and self-worth. It’s caused by the lack of a father/daughter bond, which leads to the daughter not having a clear understanding of what a healthy, loving male/female relationship looks like. It can be a lifelong syndrome if the symptoms go unrecognized and unacknowledged.

The first relationship a little girl has with a man is the one she has with her father.
This relationship gives life to what that little girl, who will eventually become a woman, will believe she deserves in her relationships with men. It’s impactful, poignant, life shaping, and oh-so-necessary. What happens to the little girl who doesn’t have the chance to experience this relationship?

Well, you’re looking at her.

Without a good relationship with my father, I had a hard time deciphering what I deserved or who I was worthy of having in my life.

There was no blueprint, outline, or guide to help me understand the right way to be loved and because I didn’t truly know, I settled. I wholeheartedly could feel when something didn’t feel right in my relationships but elected to stay in them because my sense of self was not fully developed. My decisions came from a place of scarcity rather than love. There were so many things my dad could’ve showed me (which would have saved me the trouble of making many mistakes later in life) but he was selfish and put his needs before mine.

I haven’t seen my father in close to ten years, which is by choice. I know where to find him but I haven’t decided if it is necessary.

Since I have taken the time to be away from the world and reevaluate my life and my decisions, I have had the opportunity to understand my pattern. This is why I say I am recovering from Fatherless Daughter Syndrome because I have taken the time to really look inside myself and understand what I want. It has not been easy but it has been necessary because the life I want and work hard towards everyday will not allow for it to be any other way. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Find more must-read sex and dating tips!
Follow Her Catalog on Facebook today.

This post originally appeared at YourTango.

About the author

Toi Smith

More From Thought Catalog