Jennifer Kromberg, a doctor of psychology and freelance author of Psychology Today magazine wrote an article in July of 2013 about how daughters’ early relationships with their fathers greatly affected their future romantic relationships, and how those women chose partners.
We have all heard the notorious “woman with daddy issues” remark harshly and casually thrown around by men who have had a negative experience dealing with a troubled woman – someone who acts out, has anger, jealousy or self-esteem issues, or who simply doesn’t like men. In fact, many of us have used that term I’m sure at some point in our lives not really empathizing with the seriousness of its source. For women who have had a traumatic early childhood experience with the one male model in their lives, this term is very painful, and something they must battle with every day. Sadly, “Daddy Issues” are very real and not to be taken lightly at all.
As infants, we take in a complete sensory experience of our everyday surroundings and this shapes our perception of normalcy. If you have a verbally or physically abusive father, or on the other hand, a gentle, loving, strong father, then that is what our synapses will transmit as “normal”. Not only is this factual, but many studies throughout the past two decades prove the influence of fathers on their daughters’ future relationships.
For better or for worse, regardless of circumstances, children love their parents unconditionally and accept whatever kind of attachment they are given – whether it is neglectful, abusive, wonderful and everything in between, our first attachment patterns shape our expectations for future relationships. Consciously and unconsciously, our parents teach us how to express and receive love, how to process feelings, and how to handle ourselves in a relationship. They create the terms under which we form human interaction.
So, a woman’s childhood relationship with her father will undoubtedly shape her conscious and unconscious perceptions of what personality and behavior is acceptable in a romantic partner. Interestingly enough, even the women that state they chose partners who were opposite of their dad are basing their decisions on the relationship (or non-relationship) with dad – a choice to go opposite is still a choice based on dad.
What this means for you is if you did not have the best relationship with your father and have found yourself stuck in an unhealthy relationship pattern that you wish to be free of, start doing some soul searching, possibly seek the help of a therapist and get yourself unstuck so you can finally attract someone who deserves you, and be happy.