Yes, ‘Daddy Issues’ Are a Real Thing — Here’s How to Deal
The termdaddy issues is thrown around a lot, but most of the people are getting it wrong. The term is a real meaning.
It is a catchall term to describe almost anything a woman does when it comes to sex and relationships.
“She hasdaddy issues if she has sex too soon, doesn’t want to have sex, or is looking for reassurance.”
She likes to get spanked and called a bad girl, and she also likes to call her partner “daddy” in bed.
To set things straight and get you in the know about this almost always misused, misunderstood, and overly gendered concept, we reached out to Amy Rollo, triple licensed psychotherapist and owner of Heights Family Counseling in Houston, Texas.
It is difficult to say if the term “daddy issues” is an official medical term or a recognized disorder in the DSM-5.
This could explain why experts have an issue with the term.
Rollo doesn\’t believe in the term “daddy issues”. Many people see this phrase as a way to reduce females\’ attachment needs.
Rollo says children need an adult in their lives to form secure bonds.
“If this isn’t formed, many people can form avoidant or anxious attachment styles. If a child doesn’t have a father figure in their life consistently, this could lead to an insecure attachment style later in adulthood.”
She says that these attachment styles are what some people refer to as “daddy issues”.
We can’t say for sure, but the consensus seems to be that it dates back to Freud and his father complex.
Freud wrote about male patients and their resistance to treatment in his 1910 paper, “The Future Prospects of Psycho-Analytic Therapy.” The term “father complex” was created by Freud and Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst.
From that theory came the Oedipus complex. The terms “Oedipus complex” and “father complex” were the same, but Freud used “Oedipus complex” more frequently in his work.
Oedipus complex refers specifically to boys with unconscious sexual urges toward their mother, often resulting in feelings of guilt or castration anxiety. According to Freud, this is a natural developmental phase all boys go through.
Electra complex, a concept introduced by Jung, is used to describe the same theory as applied to girls and their fathers.
Yep! People have different experiences with their parents. Attachment styles can be affected by the attachment patterns formed during childhood.
Attachment styles are categorized into two categories, secure and insecure, with several different types of attachment styles.
- Anxious-preoccupied: People with this attachment type may be anxious, and crave closeness, but feel insecure about their partner leaving them.
- Dismissive-avoidant: People with this type may have trouble trusting others for fear of being hurt.
- Fearful-avoidant: People with this type may feel unsure about intimacy and tend to run away from experiencing difficult feelings.
A responsive and emotionally available caregivers are what leads to secure attachment styles.
Insecure attachment styles, on the other hand, result from having a caregiver who was unresponsive to your needs and emotionally unavailable.
If your caregivers readily met your needs, you will develop secure attachment styles.
As you can probably guess, people who have a loving and secure relationship with their caregivers are likely to grow into confident and self-assured adults.
These folks likely have their life together in various aspects, including their close relationships. Their relationships tend to be long lasting and built on real trust and intimacy.
There are attachment styles that are not secure.
Some attachment styles could look like they are from a father.
She says that they often appear as:
- being anxious when you aren’t with your partner
- “It’s necessary that the relationship is okay.”
- The relationship is doomed if there is any negative vibes.
It isn’t just about romantic relationships, either. Your relationship with your caregivers and your attachment style also affect other close relationships, including your friendships. This can be described as an attachment disorder.
Everyone. There are alsodaddy issues that are not just a female thing.
“It doesn’t matter what sex and gender you were assigned at birth or how you identify, your relationship with your caregivers will always have an influence on how you approach and deal with adult relationships.”
The way a person\’s issues present might not look the same, and so-called “daddy issues” could actually be grandma, grandad, or mommy.
Or something else entirely! No one is immune.
Who knows? Freud first focused on the relationship between father and son, so it is a bit odd.
Rollo says that making females the “poster gender” for “daddy issues” is potentially harmful.
“It is a way to dehumanize a woman’s needs or desires. She says that some people use the term to refer to themselves as slut-shame.”
If a woman wants to have sex with men, it must be because she hasdaddy issues. Something must be wrong with her to want sex.
Rollo says that using the term “daddy issues” is not good for a woman\’s relationship.
Rollo emphasizes that anyone can have attachment wounds from not having strong relationships with their parents, even if the term is usually reserved for females.
It’s believed that people will gravitate toward the type of relationships they’ve had in the past, even if it was a troubled one.
If your relationship with your caregiver was traumatic or disappointing, you might be more likely to choose a partner who will disappoint you the same way.
Some people think that this is the type of relationship they should have because it was their norm growing up.
Having a partner like the parent is an unconscious hope for some.
If you haven’t dealt with these issues, they can still affect your relationship with a great partner.
Insecure attachment styles can lead to behavior that pushes your partner away and creates a disappointing relationship based on your previous experiences.
“There is evidence that a poor relationship with a person’s caregivers can affect their sexual behavior, but there is not much evidence on how that affects their sexual identity.”
Not to push the gendered stereotype, but a lot of the research available on how a poor relationship with a father affects a child’s well-being and development is focused on females, mainly cisgender and heterosexual.
Several of those studies have linked less involved or absentee fathers to everything from earlier puberty to increased sexual activity.
“It doesn’t mean that issues can be related to baggage in the bedroom.”
“Males who didn’t get to know their fathers might be worried about their masculinity.”
This type of insecurity is further fueled by pressure based on gender norms, which can make someone shy away from dating and sex, or lead to engaging in overly macho or aggressive behavior.
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Not everyone with a bad relationship with their dad will become a sexual predator. Every person has their own choices when it comes to sex.
“Rollo says everyone should be allowed to create their own sex life. She says that sex life shouldn’t be Pathologized if it’s within your value system and not harmful to your life.”
“It’s possible to say a partner is a daddy in bed or prefer sexually dominant partners. Wrong!”
The role of a father is seen as authority. Authority is a favorite for some.
Rollo wants people to understand that healthy sex can look like a lot of things. Role-playing, for example, is more common than many may realize.
“It’s valid to want to slip into a naughty nurse costume and take care of your partner, regardless of your motivation.”
If you keep getting into relationships that are similar to the ones you were in as a child, then it may be time to make a change.
Can you spot a pattern in the type of partners you choose? Are your relationships plagued by anxiety, stress, or drama?
Learning about the different attachment styles can help you figure out if a change is necessary.
Taking some cues from different — healthier — relationships and family dynamics around you may help you see how things can be. Try to take what you learn and apply it in your own relationships.
You may also consider taking with a counselor or therapist. They can help you work through unresolved issues and help you identify and change your attachment patterns.
If you’re underinsured (meaning your insurance won’t cover what you need) or unable to pay out of pocket for mental health care, low-fee or free community mental health clinics can provide the care you need.
You can use the American Psychological Association’s Psychologist Locator to find a qualified psychologist in your area.
“We all have our own version ofdaddy issues, whether it’s a poor relationship with a care giver, a parent who was absent by death or divorce, or parents who fought a lot.”
“You aren’t destined to a life of poor choices and heartache just because you didn’t get the security you deserved or were given a less than stellar example to lead from.”