Daddy issues: Do they determine your relationship karma?
Having a terrible father will not necessarily make you any more messed up in love than if your dad was your hero.
If you had a terrible father growing up, you’ve most likely suffered painful consequences in at least some of your romantic relationships. There’s just no way around that, is there?
By “terrible” I mean a number of things such as but not limited to: narcissism, addiction, never around, always around but never present, mean, abusive, distant, complicated, unreliable, unsafe, irresponsible.
You could have been a sensitive child with a father who lacked the emotional regulation skills needed to make you feel supported and safe. You may have felt defenseless from his moodiness, often swallowed by his darkness with feet that stung from the sharp edges of cracked eggs shells you walked on day in, and day out.
However, growing up with “daddy” is not necessarily the recipe for healthy relationships later on either.
Your daddy could have been your hero: always there for you, fixing all your problems, never disapproving, rescuing you from any and all your mistakes. Perhaps you could do no wrong in daddy’s eyes, you were his favorite, after all. And likely, you still are. You were safe in his arms. Accepted and looked after. His opinion, his laugh, his presence. He’s the one you turn to when the shit hits the fan, and he’s the one who is always there for you. Gotta a problem? No problem, cause daddy will fix it for you.
Terrible Father vs. Heroic Father. Two archetypes that will both lead to some daddy issues.
If he was your hero, then no other man will be able to be and your relationship is going down. If he was terrible, you’ll long to fill the emotional void with the wrong people. Either way you’re looking to fill shoes that just don’t fit.
Perhaps your childhood story is not so black or white. Maybe its a peppery tale that still led to more relationship roadkill than you would like. Bottom line is that none of us are immune to painful relationships and nor should we be. It’s what moves us along on our journey.. it’s what grows us. Eventually.
To you sensitive souls who had a terrible father: To those who have repeatedly dated unavailable men (or women) or who have tolerated behavior that is below standards that you don’t stand by, who’ve chased lovers, or clung to them when they become distant, or get lost in the romance without practicing discernment, or who habitually fall in love with addicts, or secretly hang on to their “potential” :
Its time to stop carrying your father’s darkness. His pain does not have to be yours anymore. You are no longer defenseless, you are a woman even if at times you feel like a child.
Dropping the bag of dark will require a couple of things, and one is Forgiveness. To forgive isn't reasonable, but its something else. Its a different perspective. It’s understanding that when we don't get the love we deserve, we can often get what we need. Forgiveness is the longing to die without the unfinished business of our past, and dealing with the unfinished business of your past is the kind of emotional labor all of us have to tackle no matter what our history. With help, and the dedication to building your sense of worthiness and clarifying your boundaries, it can be done. You are 100 percent capable of having a wonderful relationship. Ya, YOU.
If you’re in a relationship or marriage, your commitment to letting go of your father's darkness over and over again will transform your partnership. This is a promise. Yes, it is a very simple thing, but resistance will complicate it.
To daddy’s little girl: Oh god, how I’ve often wished to be in your shoes. But, after years of studying, researching, and working with a myriad of women with all sorts of fathers, I’ve seen the hard effects of what having a heroic father could do to your relationships. You too may have chased the unavailable, dated below your standards (why need a standard when you already have the love in your life in your dad?) You, could have been dumped more times than you can count, or have rejected more than you can count since no one could live up to your expectations. In particular if you date men, you may have noticed them withdraw, leave, and fight because they knew they could never be your hero. You already had one.
To those who were daddy's little girl: You must divorce your dad. It’s time to make space for someone else to become your hero.
And again, If you’re currently in a relationship or marriage, your commitment to divorcing your dad will transform your partnership. Promise. A very simple thing but resistance, as always, will complicate it.