Daddy Issues: From Romanticising Trauma to The Real Deal

by | May 26, 2023 | All about Love

“Daddy issues can 100% have an impact on someone’s choice of partners and romantic relationships” says Dr Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist and wellness expert from South Carolina.

Daddy issues, the new kicker in your tinder bio to make people swipe right straight away.

The concept of “daddy issues” have been deeply embedded in the world of dating, with some viewing it as a flashing red flag while others find it oddly captivating. Over the years, this quirky term has infiltrated pop culture and everyday chit-chats, becoming catch-all for a colourful array of emotional and psychological issues stemming from a rocky with dear old dad or any father figure, really.

‘Daddy issues’ is generally a catchall phrase, that often gets thrown around like a snarky punchline, often aimed at women who find themselves entangled in complex, confusing, or downright dysfunctional relationships with the opposite sex. This label is often slapped on someone having a poor or non-existent relationship with their father, hinting at emotional baggage and whispers of unresolved daddy drama.

But just like any trend that struts into town, the term brings along its fair share of impact.

It leaves us wondering how can growing up without a father figure or having a difficult relationship with your dad impact your choice of partners and relationships.

So, Floozies, let’s dive into the psychology, the quirks and the unexpected surprises that arise when daddy issues come to play in the dating game.

Dr Manly explained how the way we are parented it’s very important because it affects us in our life a long way since we learn how to be in relationships by watching our parents. She said: ‘If we have two parents whose relationship is dysfunctional, and the dad is using the child as a surrogate partner, that’s the parent that child learnt.

‘They will unintentionally and likely go with their life that way, because that’s the template they learnt.’

Over the years, the term has morphed into something akin to a personality accessory, complete with emotional trauma and a sprinkling of trivialisation. And where else would such phenomenon find a cosy home to spread but in the realm of social media?

You go on TikTok and the land of viral trends and quirky checklists appear instantly, including the infamous ‘daddy issues’ checklist trend, where users joyfully share their lists of qualities and behaviours supposedly linked to this mysterious daddy dilemma.

When it comes to qualities and behaviours of people with daddy issues, those who struggle with this issue may exhibit signs such as a low self-esteem, a tendency to avoid emotional intimacy, and deep-rooted issues. Additionally, unintentionally over-sexualising oneself can serve as a means of seeking validation and connection. Engaging in conversations that could possibly lead to serious discussions or arguments can be quite daunting, often resulting in a cycle of avoidance.

Moreover, the influence of pop culture also plays a critical role in glamourising and perpetuating ‘daddy issues’, using Arctic Monkeys lyrics, Nirvana band photos, and Lana Del Rey’s seductive tunes to weave a desirable and sexy personality trait.

Speaking of Lana Del Rey, she’s no stranger to the spotlight when it comes to this daddy dilemma.

Blamed by many for taking ‘daddy issues’ to a whole new level of allure, her songs about dating older men and embracing the ‘damaged’ woman lifestyle have certainly highlighted the quirky term.

Now, while some may argue that it helps shed light on potential emotional and psychological struggles associated with these ‘daddy issues’, we can’t help but wonder: should we really be slapping labels and stereotypes on each other like a game of emotional pin the tail on the donkey?

Dr Manly explained how because of media, we come across terms and then embrace the term whatever it is, whether its trauma or daddy issues, that we make it part of our identities.

She said: ‘We tend to use the term in such a loose general sense, that we could say that everybody has daddy issues, because no parent is perfect, so we are all going to have some sort of daddy issues.’

The widespread impact that parental relationships can have on our lives, particularly in the realm of self-esteem and relationships.

Francesca Meloni, a politics student who has experienced a distant relationship with her dad since her parents divorce many years ago, explained how this estrangement has left its mark on her. The lack of a close bond with her dad has directly influenced her self-esteem and confidence, presenting challenges when it comes to forming and maintaining relationships.

She said: ‘I tend to not set boundaries and not say what I need when I enter a relationship, because I feel like I don’t have the right to say it.

‘I tend to avoid confrontation, especially when feelings are involved because I see it as a break deal, that if I fight with this person, I really are about they will leave me.’

While the term ‘daddy issues’ often carries negative connotations, it’s important to acknowledge that troubled relationships with father can also have positive impacts. Dr Manly explained how ‘daddy issues’ can have a positive component as well, as they are not always negative.

She said: ‘If somebody was really the apple of their dad’s eye, and the dad just loved them and over shower them with attention too much, that can actually prevent them from failing and make them feel like the ‘golden child’.

‘However, this can also over inflate self-confidence and undermine healthy self-esteem, so they will feel confident on the outside, but on the inside, they will lack the self-esteem part that comes with facing life trials and challenges and getting strong as a human being.’

You are probably wondering if there’s a balance. Well, don’t stress because Dr Manly delved even deeper to answer your questions. She explained that what we really need is a dad, or any parent, who sees us for who we are, holds us accountable for when we are doing something wrong and gives us constructive feedback when necessary.

She said: ‘By doing that, it will help us see that life involves a lot of self-work and a lot of give and take dynamics that come with it.’

Now, let’s get real, we’ve all heard the term ‘daddy issues’ thrown around like confetti at a music festival. But we need to stop and think about the potential dangers of glorifying this quirky term, and the potential harm of turning psychological and emotional struggles into a mere trend or a punchline.

Let’s ditch the romanticising and fetishising of daddy issues and empower young individuals by focusing on their strengths and helping them build healthy relationships based on respect and equality.

Let’s encourage self-worth and love, and if you or someone you know is showing these behaviours and qualities, we are here to remind you that your daddy issues don’t define you.

Edited by Caitlin Hart

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