What are “Daddy Issues?” Find Out Now!

The Easy Wisdom Media
11 min readNov 23, 2022

When someone dates or sleeps around with an older male, people claim they are doing it because they have daddy issues. But what exactly are “daddy issues” and how to deal with them? Let’s find out!

What are daddy issues? The Easy Wisdom (www.TheEasyWisdom.com)
What are daddy issues? The Easy Wisdom (www.TheEasyWisdom.com)

He’s got daddy issues. You’ve probably heard of the term before if you know of a gay guy dating an older man.

She’s got daddy issues. You would have used this for your female friend dating an older male.

When someone dates or sleeps around with an older male, people claim they are doing it because they have daddy issues.

In fact, this term is thrown around a lot, and people have created a lot of funny memes about it. But it goes deeper than that.

“Daddy issues” are real and not just slang!

But what does it mean to have “daddy issues”? Is it even a real thing? And how do we overcome them if we are struggling?

What are “daddy issues”?

We use the term “daddy issues” quite liberally without much thought. This phrase is used for women or gay men who have dysfunctional relationships with men, and it often hints towards unresolved issues these people apparently have with their daddies. We use this term to shame women or gay men for being too sexual and needy because they constantly fail to find the right guy for themselves.

Women and gay men whose fathers were absent, abusive, or emotionally distant can find it hard to get along with other men as they grow up and become adults. It’s completely natural to feel this way, and these are nothing more than attachment problems. But when we refer to such a thing as “daddy issues,” we, in a way, make fun of them-passing it off as “daddy issues” belittles them and minimizes their trauma.

Daddy issues are legit and real; before you throw them down at someone casually, you should know that they can mean a lot to the other person going through them.

The psychology behind “daddy issues”

The first thing to know is that “daddy issues” is not diagnosable mental illness. In modern psychology, a more appropriate term for this real trauma is “attachment disorders” or “attachment issues.”

For many of us, the issue that we may have with our caregivers, such as mothers, fathers, aunts, grandparents, or even nannies, boils down to attachment. These attachment problems can happen if you didn’t get enough love from your caregiver when you were young or if that love was inconsistent. And now that you’re an adult, your unfulfilled need for love and emotions is affecting your relationships with other people.

This is what people call as “daddy issues,” especially when a woman has attachment issues with their father, or “mommy issues,” when a man has issues with his mother.

Therefore, instead of calling them as “daddy” or “mommy” issues, I would prefer to call them “attachment issues.” That’s indeed what these issues are.

Also, when you use the term “daddy issues,” you are minimizing, simplifying, or mocking your friend’s past pain, hurt, or trauma. And it is kind of insensitive to do so!

What causes “Daddy Issues”?

So, what causes these “daddy issues,” and how do these “daddy issues” arise due to attachment problems?

A person who struggles to build healthy romantic relationships may have attachment issues because one or both of their primary caregivers were:

  • Physically absent most of the time
  • Emotionally unavailable or distant
  • Physically, verbally or sexually abusive
  • Substance abusers
  • Critical, unsupportive, and degrading
  • Irresponsible and untrustworthy
  • Indifferent or evaded parenting responsibilities

These caregivers and parents often leave behind a unique impression on a person’s emotions, affecting their perception of love, feelings, and trust. In a way, it makes them look at themselves and their relationships with other people through a broken lens.

Typically, there are four attachment styles:

  • Secure attachment
  • Insecure avoidant
  • Insecure ambivalent and
  • Disorganized

If we had a caregiver who was there when we needed them and supported us emotionally, we would grow up with a secure attachment. And while we have experiences in our lives that will affect how we interact with people, for the most part, we will have a healthy attachment to others.

If we had a caregiver who wasn’t there for us at all, was inconsistent, or was abusive, we could experience the other three attachment styles, making it hard for us to have healthy relationships as we grow up. It is because we don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like. We don’t know if we can trust people to be there for us. And we don’t know how to feel safe and okay on our own or with other people because some of us go back and forth between wanting to be alone and wanting to be with other people depending on how we reacted to our parents’ lack of parenting.

Unfortunately, when it comes to attachment and parental research, much focus is given to mothers and their role in our development. Of course, the mother’s role is important. But fathers have an essential part as well.

When we are children, our fathers teach us a lot about boundaries. By being risk-takers and rougher in sports, for example, our fathers show us what we can and can’t do and make us discover what we are okay with and what we are not. They help us understand risk and fear and remind us that they are there to catch or pick us up when we fall down.

Our fathers also represent the role of a male adult family member, which can affect us regardless of gender. If you are a male, your father can show you how males are supposed to act in certain situations, like at work or with other guys, or how to interact with females and in romantic relationships. And we can often mimic their behaviour without realizing it, finding ourselves acting just as they did.

Our relationship with our fathers also plays a massive role in building our self-esteem and confidence. It is because our mothers, most of the time, tend to be nurturing, consistent, and home-sustaining caregivers, and we often take them for granted. They are more likely to be present and provide more support and positive reinforcement than most fathers can. Fathers, however, tend to be away from home more often. I know it sounds super traditional, and not everyone’s family is like this. But for many of us, it still rings true.

Because our fathers are away from home most of the time, we seek their approval the most when they are around. Many children grow up believing that if they please their fathers, they will stay around more often or that their father’s approval is more valuable than their mother’s because they don’t give it as readily as their mothers do.

Our relationships with our fathers can also affect our sexuality. If you are a female, your relationship with your father is your first male-female relationship. Women get to navigate that, see how that works, and learn how men are and how they differ from women in the things they like and the way they express themselves.

And it can affect how women interact with other male family members going forward. Because their fathers are like the blueprint from which they draw their new life plans.

In the case of fathers and daughters, a girl with an emotionally distant or physically unavailable father may not learn how to interact with other males in healthy ways. An abusive, indifferent, or disregarding father can make the girl or woman fear that she doesn’t deserve love or believe she deserves to be ill-treated by other men.

If you are a male, it’s the same. You can look to your father and see what male relationships are like, how men are, what they do and don’t do, etc.

Men who didn’t have a positive father figure during adolescence can struggle on various fronts. A male model’s absence can make it challenging for the son to figure out what a healthy relationship with women or the family looks like. These insecurely attached boys may grow up to become absent or abusive fathers and partners themselves. These men may also suffer from low self-esteem, struggle to regulate emotions, and trouble opening up and communicating. This can hamper their ability to forge intimate, healthy, and trusting relationships.

Our fathers are the first examples of our experiences with other adult males. And we can’t help but pick up on things, especially when we are young. We assume that the way they act is how all men act. But, frankly, we don’t know any better. And it can obviously lead to a lot of issues.

The impact of “daddy issues” on our adult relationships

Having an absent, emotionally distant, or abusive parent can cause you to develop some undesirable and unhealthy attachment styles as you grow up and become an adult. And these can be as follows:

1. Fearful-avoidant attachment style

A person who develops such an attachment style may draw someone close only to push them away as things become intense. They may do it because they fear being hurt or rejected and may experience conflicting emotions about relationships. Getting closer to someone can make them uncomfortable or commitment-phobic. So, when problems come up, they may try to avoid them instead of facing them and finding a solution by putting their trust in others.

2. Anxious-preoccupied attachment style

People with this kind of attachment style are insecure and struggle with low self-esteem. As a result, they can come across as jealous, clingy, very demanding, or obsessive in their relationships. They act and behave as if they are starved for love and are very anxious about their relationships.

Read also: Jealousy in a relationship is most often an indication of these 5 things?

3. Avoidant-dismissive attachment style

People who exhibit this kind of attachment style come across as independent and self-assured and disregard the idea that they need anyone to feel complete. These individuals are okay with getting physically intimate but avoid emotional predicaments. These people often mask their real feelings when faced with emotionally taxing situations.

The impact of these attachment disorders is devastating and can prevent the person from making meaningful, healthy, and fulfilling adult relationships.

Signs of “daddy issues”

Signs you have daddy issues- The Easy Wisdom (www.TheEasyWisdom.com)
Signs you have daddy issues- The Easy Wisdom (www.TheEasyWisdom.com)

Here are some common signs of “daddy issues,” which are behaviors associated with an insecure attachment style in women or gay men:

1. Using sex as a tool to feel wanted, desired, or loved

Someone with “daddy issues” might offer sex freely to get attention, comfort, or acceptance. This kind of person might have more than one partner, so they don’t get too emotionally involved with just one person.

2. Dating older or dominating men

In some cases, women or gay men who experienced attachment issues in childhood seek the love they didn’t get as children from their fathers. Not having a protective or emotionally available father during childhood can make these people look out for men who not only care for them but also dominate them, protect them, and rule them emotionally and financially.

3. Choosing an unfit partner

Many people who have “daddy issues” end up continuing the cycle of mistreatment by actively seeking out romantic partners who have the same flaws as their fathers, be it someone who is unfaithful, abusive, emotionally distant, or addicted. These people with an insecure attachment style often suffer from low self-esteem and, therefore, may choose unfit partners as they may feel they don’t deserve anyone better, fear being alone, or feel unlovable and undesirable.

4. Inability to trust a partner or feel secure in a relationship

People with an insecure attachment style can come across as clingy because they are terrified of abandonment. So, they might need constant reassurance from their partners and can quickly become suspicious or jealous. Therefore, “daddy issues” can cause trust issues and make people feel insecure.

So, the bottom line is that your relationship with your father plays a crucial role in your development and how you forge relationships with other men when you grow up. It also affects your choice of men regarding dating and how you respond to your relationships.

So, before we can work through any issues, we must first understand how our fathers affected us.

How to overcome or resolve “daddy issues”?

Don’t worry! Just because you think you have “daddy issues” doesn’t mean you have to live with them forever. You can overcome them.

So, how to deal with “daddy issues”?

1. Know yourself better

The first step is to know yourself and your thoughts about men. You can’t change what you don’t understand. So, it is an excellent way to start paying attention to people you like and those you don’t. You should be curious about why this is so. Also, it would help if you began to recognize how you talk to yourself, especially regarding your relationship with men. You can also start journaling about your thoughts and feelings, what role you think men play in your life, and what it means to be with a man. The idea is to focus on your past and present relationships with men and your thoughts and beliefs about them. It would be beneficial, and you might learn a lot about yourself.

2. Look for patterns

The second step is to identify any pattern that may emerge from the above. Sure, we can have that one relationship that didn’t go well. But what kind of relationships do we continue to have with men? Do we have repeat friendships where we put in all the effort? Maybe it’s your boyfriend who constantly puts you down. And then you realize that five out of seven relationships have been that way. Or, you may keep being around men who are not emotionally available, and you put all your energies into them without getting anything back.

Dig into this and see what you find. Looking into relationship patterns, good or bad, will help you uncover a lot of hidden emotions. It will also enable you to overcome toxic friendships by identifying them immediately. Alternatively, you will notice an unhealthy pattern more quickly. And overall, it will help you be happier in your relationships.

3. Get to know your father a bit more.

The third tip to overcoming your potential daddy issues is to get to know your father a bit more. It may mean asking other family members about him to understand him better.

Investigating who they are or were, as well as what your father’s father was like, will help you understand some family patterns. It will help you better know where they are coming from or possibly realize even more about why you were affected by them in the same way you were.

It’s a kind of emotional detective work you have to do. Being curious about your emotions, thoughts, and family history can reveal more about you than you ever thought was possible.

4. Re-father yourself

If you had a father who was inconsistent with you, emotionally unavailable, or not supportive in the way you needed them to be, is there a way for you to offer yourself all of that right now?

Can you finally go to the museum he always promised to take you to? Or teach yourself to ride a bike finally, or do any other things you always counted on him for?

The good news is that you can do it, which will help you heal. It would be beneficial if you spent some time determining what you needed from your father but did not receive and then determining whether you could give it to yourself.

When you reparent your wounded inner child by offering it emotional first aid, you start to heal and feel better.

5. See a therapist

Therapists are invaluable resources who can help you see things you otherwise would not see. Therapists can help you identify patterns you can’t see yourself and then help you break those patterns, eventually paving the way for you to heal.

Have you ever felt like you struggled with daddy issues? Is there more to it than what I talked about? What else has helped you work through these issues? Please let me know in the comments section below!

PS: Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel for some life-changing and thought-provoking videos.

Originally published at https://theeasywisdom.com on November 23, 2022.

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