Category Archives: LOVE

Fatherless Daughters: How Growing Up Without a Dad Affects Women

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“People who lose their parents early in life are like fellow war veterans. As soon as they discover that they are talking to someone else who has lost a parent, they know they are speaking the same language without uttering a word.” – Pamela Thomas

“Fatherless Daughter Syndrome” (colloquially known as “daddy issues”) is an emotional disorder that stems from issues with trust and lack of self esteem that leads to a cycle of repeated dysfunctional decisions in relationships with men. It can last a woman’s entire lifetime if the symptoms go unacknowledged and ignored.”

“Growing Up Without a Dad Shapes Who You Are” by McKenna Meyers

“It took six decades, but I can finally utter a huge truth that caused me tremendous shame and sadness: My father didn’t love me. I never spoke that deep, dark secret, but it was always festering inside of me. It manifested itself in many ways throughout my life as I struggled with a food obsession, low self-esteem, social anxiety, and depression.
Whether a dad was present but rejecting like mine or walked away from his fatherly duties entirely, his absence leaves an indelible mark on a daughter’s psyche as she grows into adulthood.

Below, you’ll find six ways a daughter may be affected by an uninvolved dad.

1. Fatherless Daughters Have Self-Esteem Issues

According to Deborah Moskovitch, an author and divorce consultant, kids often blame themselves when dad leaves the home and becomes less involved in their lives. When they aren’t given an explanation about why dad left, they make up their own scenario and jump to the conclusion that it’s their fault and that they’re unlovable.
This is especially true for daughters. Countless studies have shown that fatherlessness has an extremely negative impact on daughters’ self esteem. Her confidence in her own abilities and value as a human being can be greatly diminished if her father isn’t there. Academically, personally, professionally, physically, socially, and romantically, a woman’s self esteem is diminished in every setting if she did not form a healthy relationship with her father

2. Daughters With Absent Fathers Struggle to Build and Maintain Relationships

According to Pamela Thomas, author of Fatherless Daughters (a book that examines how women cope with the loss of a father via death or divorce), women who grew up with absent dads find it difficult to form lasting relationships. Because they were scarred by their dad’s rejection of them, they don’t want to risk getting hurt again. Consciously or unconsciously, they avoid getting close to people. They may form superficial relationships in which they reveal little of themselves and put very little effort into getting to know others. They may become promiscuous as a way of getting male attention without becoming too emotionally involved.
Ever since childhood, I’ve built walls around myself. I didn’t open up to people. I didn’t ask questions about their families, jobs, or hobbies. I kept my life private, and I remained socially isolated. These were all self-protective measures so I wouldn’t experience rejection like I did with my dad. Knowing this intellectually did nothing to help me change my behavior because my fear of rejection was more powerful than my desire to make connections.

3. Women With Absent Fathers Are More Likely to Have Eating Disorders

In their book The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders, the authors Marcia Herrin and Nancy Matsumoto write eloquently about the fact that girls with physically or emotionally absent fathers are at greater risk of developing eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge-eating, body dysmorphia, unhealthy preoccupations with food or body weight, and other eating disorders are all more likely if a girl does not have a father figure as she’s growing up. Daughters without dads are also twice as likely to be obese. Because her longing to have a close relationship with her dad is denied, she may develop what Margo Maine (author of Father Hunger: Fathers, Daughters, & Food) calls “father hunger,” a deep emptiness and a profound insecurity. Daughters are left wondering: What’s so wrong with me that my own father doesn’t love me? If I looked different—if I was thin—would I earn daddy’s love?
I’ve struggled with “father hunger” throughout my life—stuffing my face to fill the void, dieting to get model-thin, and always obsessing about food. My days have been filled with thoughts of eating—either doing it or struggling mightily not to. When I accepted that my dad didn’t love me and that he was an unhappy man with deep-rooted problems, I finally started eating normally and began maintaining a healthy weight. I began treating myself in a loving way by exercising, gardening, reading, walking in the woods, and spending time with family. For the first time in my life, I only thought about food when I was truly hungry. This freed me to enjoy my life in so many wonderful ways.

4. Daughters of Absent Fathers Are More Prone to Depression

Not surprisingly, girls who grew up with dads who were emotionally or physically absent are more likely to struggle with depression as adults. Because they fear abandonment and rejection, these women often isolate themselves emotionally. They avoid healthy romantic relationships because they don’t feel deserving and fear getting hurt, but they might jump into unhealthy relationships that ultimately lead to heartbreak. In either scenario, the women are in emotional peril and frequently become depressed. If they don’t deal with the cause of their sadness—an absent dad—they may never be able to develop healthy relationships with men.
To top it all off, data suggests that children without fathers are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.
According to Denna Babul and Karin Louise, authors of The Fatherless Daughter Project, it’s helpful to simply realize that we’re not alone. In fact, one in three women see themselves as fatherless and struggle with feelings of abandonment. Knowing this fact helps us see that there’s a whole sisterhood out there who share a common pain and a need to connect. When we open up and share our journey, we help both ourselves and each other. Whether we feel the loss of a dad through death, divorce, drug addiction, estrangement, or emotional neglect, we must grieve in order to move forward. Read Five Steps to Heal Her Pain: How a Fatherless Daughter Can Move On From Her Dad’s Rejection for ideas on how to avoid falling into depression. A gifted therapist can be key to helping us do just that and becoming happier people.

5. Dadless Daughters Are More Likely to Become Sexually Active Earlier

Studies have shown the many benefits that come from a strong father-daughter bond. Most notably, girls who are close to their dads are less likely to get pregnant as teens. They delay engaging in sexual relationships, wait longer to get married and have children, and when they do find a husband, their marriages are more emotionally satisfying, stable, and long-lasting.
Countless studies also show that women who have unstable or absent paternal relationships are more likely to start having sex earlier and engage risky sexual behaviors. Daughters are four times more likely to get pregnant as a teen if dad isn’t in the picture. Studies show that more than 70% of unplanned teenage pregnancies occur in homes where there is no father.

6. Abandoned Daughters Are Susceptible to Addiction

As with depression, eating disorders, and low self esteem, the absence of a father can trap a daughter in a negative repetitive pattern she can’t easily break out of and turn to drugs to self-medicate and help numb the pain. She is more likely to find herself trapped in a cycle of substance abuse, for example. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse. Not only are kids in father-absent households about four times more likely to be poor (which can trigger many negative cycles), fatherless adolescents were found to be 69% more likely to use drugs and 76% more likely to commit crimes.

Can a Daughter Survive Without a Father?

Try as I might, I was never been able to get any traction, always making a mess of this or that and never able to form long-lasting friendships. I rejected happiness because I never felt worthy of it. I did so much to sabotage my life and make myself miserable.
Then last year my older sister revealed to me that she, too, had felt unloved by him. I immediately felt enormous relief and then great euphoria. I realized it had never been about me—that I was bad, ugly, stupid and undeserving. It had always been about him—his unhappy childhood, his cold mother, his negative nature, and his dissatisfaction with being a husband and father. It had never been about me…never.
I could finally shout: “You were a piece of crap and now I’m done with you! I’m not your prisoner any more!”
According to Caitlin Marvaso, AMFT, a grief counselor and therapist, to recover from a father’s abandonment, a woman “must learn how to father herself, hold herself, and receive the type of love a father provides. It is a lifelong process, but with the proper support, tools, and patience, it is totally possible. That being said, the grief and pain never goes away, it just changes.”
A daughter whose father abandoned her can grow, thrive, learn, excel, succeed, love and be loved, and live a wonderful life when she realizes that the problem isn’t her, it’s him. This is the first step toward healing.

What Is Fatherless Daughter Syndrome?

“Fatherless Daughter Syndrome” (colloquially known as “daddy issues”) is an emotional disorder that stems from issues with trust and lack of self esteem that leads to a cycle of repeated dysfunctional decisions in relationships with men. It can last a woman’s entire lifetime if the symptoms go unacknowledged and ignored.
Does the Reason Affect the Result of Fatherlessness?
Half of the daughters in the US self-identify as having no father in their lives, but the reasons for that fatherlessness vary. Approximately 28% lost their connection to their dads via divorce or separation, while 26% cite emotional absence as the reason for the estrangement. 19% lost their fathers to death, 13% to abandonment, 13% to addiction, 12% to abuse, and 4% to incarceration. 6% say they never met their father.
Certainly, a daughter whose loving dad passed away when she was 15 will be affected differently than a daughter whose father abandoned her when she was born. Unfortunately, many studies do not account for the reasons for fatherlessness.
The effects of fatherlessness can be mitigated by many factors. Daughters who were brought up in households with two moms, a loving and very-involved step parent, or participating grandparents or other extended family members will probably not experience the same lasting wounds and negative impact of a father’s abandonment.

What Are the Emotional Effects of Being Abandoned by a Father?

Compared to those with healthy paternal relationships, fatherless women report…
feeling less happiness and lower levels of well-being,
higher levels of frustration, anger, and anger-related depression,
difficulty navigating the emotions of intimate relationships, and
overwhelming fears of abandonment.

What Are the Psychological Effects of an Absent Father?

To summarize, depression, suicide, eating disorders, obesity (and its effects), early sexual activity, addiction-formation, and difficulty building and holding on to loving relationships are all side-effects of an absent father.

Love

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“Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, love never fails” ((( ♥ )))

-Unknown

How to handle difficult relationships

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This can be a challenging time of year for everyone and their relationships. We can feel stress, old, unresolved anger and grief from our past. Uncomfortable feelings rise up from our families, old friends, past lovers, current lovers, business partnerships, roommates and coworkers.

These unprocessed emotions can’t be solved overnight, but if you’re dealing with someone who is sick, strung out, toxic or crazy, it’s best to detach with love. Just having this course of action might give us all some comfort and support.

Read this from “The Language of Letting Go”. It could give you a valuable course of action:

“Detaching in Relationships
When we first become exposed to the concept of detachment, many of us find it objectionable and questionable. We may think that detaching means we don’t care. We may believe that by controlling, worrying, and trying to force things to happen, we’re showing how much we care.
We may believe that controlling, worrying, and forcing will somehow affect the outcome we desire. Controlling, worrying, and forcing don’t work. Even when we’re right, controlling doesn’t work. In some cases, controlling may prevent the outcome we want from happening.
As we practice the principle of detachment with the people in our life, we slowly begin to learn the truth. Detaching, preferably detaching with love, is a relationship behavior that works.
We learn something else too. Detachment – letting go of our need to control people – enhances all our relationships. It opens the door to the best possible outcome. It reduces our frustration level, and frees us and others to live in peace and harmony.
Detachment means we care, about others and ourselves. It frees us to make the best possible decisions. It enables us to set the boundaries we need to set with people. It allows us to have our feelings, to stop reacting and initiate a positive course of action. It encourages others to do the same.
It allows our Higher Power to step in and work.
Today, I will trust the process of detaching with love. I will understand that I am not just letting go; I am letting go and letting God. I’m loving others, but I’m loving myself too.”

40 Relationship Red Flags You Should Watch For

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I’d say 90% of my readings are on love life challenges. If we could stay alert and watch for these signs when we meet someone, we could save ourselves a lot of pain down the road. I think this is a pretty good list, and I hope you will find it useful. AND it applies to men AND women!!

Here’s a few of them:

40 Relationship Red Flags You Should Watch For (As Told By 40 Women Who Didn’t)

They aren’t that committed

Don’t chase those who don’t seem as committed as you. If someone genuinely is interested in you or likes you it won’t be like pulling teeth to hang out or see them.

Believe them

If someone tells you they’re an asshole, believe them.

If he promises to break your heart, he will

I was seeing a guy who told me point blank to my face “I will break your heart as hard as I can.” My first reaction was to tell him he was a good person.

He was most certainly not a good person. He was barely capable of being an okay person. I seriously wish I could go back in time… grab Past Me by the hand, and get the hell out of there. It would saved me some major grief.

If he thinks he’s the only

If someone thinks they are unique as in literally the only person who sees the truth about the world and society…or that you are the only one who knows the truth about the universe…or both of you together are the only woke people in the world and everyone else and other institutions are all sheep. That’s a very bad sign.

“I’m damaged. Nobody understands me…”

A huge red flag I’ve learned is when a man (or woman) says ‘I should come with a warning label’… or some equivalent like; I’m damaged, no one understands me, I’m dangerous/edgy, I don’t play well with others… just take them at their word and leave. It’s not worth the emotional effort to get through to them and they will constantly use it as an excuse for bad or abusive behavior.

The Clinger

He insisted on spending every possible moment he could with me. Every single weekend he’d stay at my place… Any time I complained about anything he said or did, I was attacking him and making him feel bad, and he would make everything my fault until I felt bad and apologized for getting mad at him.

I dated him for two years before I realized he wasn’t my responsibility and I finally broke it off with him.

They aren’t there for you

When the person is never there for you. When you always have to be the one to support them and get nothing back. When someone is unable to be independent from their family and explains toxic, abusive or otherwise unacceptable behavior as “it’s just how they are”.

Being inconsistent and indecisive

In both romantic relationships and friendships: inconsistency and complacency. I’ve often tried to make excuses for people who are hot/cold, who don’t keep plans or put any effort into making plans, who don’t say what they mean and mean what they say. That kind of person is fun for a drink every once in a while, but they’re nowhere to be found when you really need them.

Doesn’t text back

If you get busy with work, etc for a long period of time but he doesn’t know, and still doesn’t text you. For example, when I get busy with work and my boyfriend knows, he will back off to let me focus on stuff; if he doesn’t know I’m busy and I don’t respond, he checks in on me to make sure everything is okay. I’ve dated guys who have gone two days without texting me and it wasn’t because they thought I was busy, etc, they just didn’t feel like talking to me.

Always an excuse

He always had an excuse for why he didn’t do what he said he was going to. Always with the excuses. The excuses were barely believable which was pretty insulting too.

Read the rest of them here

 

Intimacy

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“We can let ourselves be close to people.

Many of us have deeply ingrained patterns for sabotaging relationships. Some of us may instinctively terminate a relationship once it moves to a certain level of closeness and intimacy.

When we start to feel close to someone, we may zero in on one of the person’s character defects, and then make it so big it’s all we can see. We may withdraw, or push the person away to create distance. We may start criticizing the other person, a behavior sure to create distance.

We may start trying to control the person, a behavior that prevents intimacy.

We may tell ourselves we don’t want or need another person, or smother the person with our needs.

Sometimes, we defeat ourselves by trying to be close to people who aren’t available for intimacy – people with active addictions, or people who don’t choose to be close to us. Sometimes, we choose people with particular faults so that when it comes time to be close, we have an escape hatch.

We’re afraid, and we fear losing ourselves. We’re afraid that closeness means we won’t be able to own our power to take care of ourselves.

In recovery, we’re learning that it’s okay to let ourselves be close to people. We’re choosing to relate to safe, healthy people, so closeness is a possibility. Closeness doesn’t mean we have to lose ourselves, or our life. As one man said, “We’re learning that we can own our power with people, even when we’re close, even when the other person has something we need.”

Today, I will be available for closeness and intimacy with people, when that’s appropriate. Whenever possible, I will let myself be who I am, let others be who they are, and enjoy the bond and good feelings between us.”

– The Language of Letting Go

stand in truth

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I learned that who doesn’t look for you, doesn’t miss you.
And who doesn’t miss you doesn’t care for you…
Destiny determines who enters your life but YOU decide who stays…
Therefore, value whoever values you, and don’t treat someone as a priority if they treat you as an option.

Singles Awareness

When The Rain Comes In Silence by Burçin Esin

As a follow up to my post on relationships, here’s a great quote for single people:

“There’s so much more to life than finding someone who will want you, or being sad over someone who doesn’t. There’s a lot of wonderful time to be spent discovering yourself without hoping someone will fall in love with you along the way, and it doesn’t need to be painful or empty. You need to fill yourself up with love. Not anyone else. Become a whole being on your own. Go on adventures, fall asleep in the woods with friends, wander around the city at night, sit in a coffee shop on your own, write on bathroom stalls, leave notes in library books, dress up for yourself, give to others, smile a lot.

Do all things with love, but don’t romanticize life like you can’t survive without it. Live for yourself and be happy on your own. It isn’t any less beautiful, I promise.”

—Emery Allen #TodaysMantra