When you hear the term “Daddy Issues” do you automatically think of the cliche poor misguided girl who’s fumbling through life seeking validation from men? I for one, will admit that anytime I would hear someone utter the phrase “Daddy Issues” my mind immediately jumps to Monica Calhoun’s infamous role as Ebony from the movie The Players Club or Diamond when she laced us all with the unforgettable line, “Make the money, don’t let the money make you.” But what exactly does it mean to have “Daddy Issues” and who is more predisposed to having them? According to our good ole friends over at Urban Dictionary, Daddy Issues are, “what a girl has when she is rejected by her father. Often results in her having trouble finding a significant other and trusting people.” While I don’t take lightly the psychological difficulties that terrorize an overwhelming amount of women (and men) due to what Psychologist Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung have identified as The Father Complex, I challenge you to consider a new perspective on this topic; maybe having Daddy Issues isn’t all that bad…
Before we jump into all of that, let me provide you with a little personal context. The second the news broke that we were having a daughter, crazy thoughts immediately raced through my mind. Would she be the negative reciprocity for all the hell I put my mother through during my adolescent years? Are daughters really the payback due to fathers from women of their past? Questions like these flooded my mind incessantly until one day it finally hit me during a conversation I was having with no one in particular, “I’m over thinking this…all I have to do is make sure my daughter doesn’t end up on a pole and I would have fulfilled my mommi duties.” Mind you, the kid was still in utero when I came to this conclusion. So being the logical A squared plus B squared equals C squared type of thinker I am, I rationalized that if my job in life is to keep her off the pole; then her father’s charge in life is to make sure she doesn’t develop any Daddy Issues. Sounded reasonable enough to me at the time, but oh boy was I wrong!
My daughter has been the stereotypical Daddy’s girl ever since she slid out the womb. No lie, her very first picture was of her clinging on to her father’s finger for dear life! By the looks of it, you would’ve thought he carried her for all nine months. Now don’t get me wrong, up until about the age of 3, it was real cute, but now… I’m just praying for her future husband because that man has his work cut out! At a very young age, my daughter’s expectations exceeded the standard. I mean this kid will literally pause every time before entering a building causing everyone behind her to stumble as she waits for the doors to be opened for her. Or my favorite, she’ll somehow talk her father into buying a brand new box of Lucky Charms because “somebody” ate all of the marsh mellows. Oh, and let’s not hide the fact that she‘s made it crystal clear to the universe that she’s #TeamDad all day! But I get it; as a child, I’d prefer the Disneyland Dad over the Rule-Enforcement Mommi any day! Now it would be completely remiss of me to label her father as a “Disneyland Dad” in the traditional sense of the term; however, what I will say is that anytime he’s in her presence her entire world lights up as if she had just landed on the happiest place on Earth. Regardless of whether they’re out and about or doing absolutely nothing at all, that girl loves to be with her dad. Mind you the fun police aka weekend warden aka sugar snatcher, better known as mom, gets left in the weeds until there’s a need for the “bad cop.”
I’m sure by now you’re probably thinking nothing you’ve read thus far has anything to do with Daddy Issues and everything to do with a crazy jealous mom, but are you aware that the root definition of The Father Complex colloquially known as “Daddy Issues” is simply “a group of feeling-toned ideas associated with the experience and image of a father.” Meaning, there can be both positive and negative impacts on how a father exerts his influence in the life of a child. Culturally, we’ve associated this complex solely with the negative impacts that fathers have on their children, but in all actuality, we have a very misconstrued idea of what it is to have a Father Complex. Put simply, it’s a spectrum and we all fall somewhere in between based on the influence our fathers had in our lives. Even if a father was not present, there is still an impact on a child’s life which places them on this spectrum. Conversely, when a father is present there’s also an impact on a child placing them somewhere on the spectrum. The intention of this post was to highlight the unspoken end of the Father Complex spectrum where the children of amazing fathers who are extremely active and supportive in their children’s life typically fall. These are the fathers like my daughter’s father who provide positive reinforcements and teach their child(ren) how to be valued and respected in life. The way my daughter’s father dotes on and dang near idolizes her use to annoy the hell out of me, because I was always fearful that she would end up spoiled, entitled or self-righteous. I’ve come to realize that this is not the case at all and in fact, his interactions with her are setting precedents that will, in turn, will allow her to mature into a confident woman who demands the same level of love, attention and respect from any man of importance that steps into her life.
All in all, I’ve learned that we as moms, have to take a step back and allow for this father/daughter relationship to serve as the prototype for what a girl should expect of a suitor later in life. At times, we have to sacrifice being the favorite and allow our children to be overly loved, overly encouraged, overly supported, but not enabled by their father. It’s the job of the father to provide protection and provision for his child(ren) while mothers then go in and ground them which then brings about a beautiful balance. I can’t express just how grateful I am to my daughter’s father for the amazing relationship, foundation and dynamic he has built with her and how I am forever indebted to him for all of her positive Daddy Issues!
Happy Father’s Day