Father complex

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“Father Complex” or better known as “Daddy Issues” can be described in psychology as the neurosis (mild mental illness) that results from an individual’s poor relationship with his/her father. When we consider traditional gender roles, the mother is expected to be the caregiver, while the father is expected to be the breadwinner, to some extent the provider/protector.

From the founding ‘fathers’ of the United States, to Christianity’s God (the heavenly ‘father’) and Greek methodology’s Zeus, the ‘father’ of all men and women; throughout history and in present-day, we all seek to look up to a father figure in life, whether that person is our biological parent or not.

To say one has daddy issues is not to say one does not have a father figure in his/her life. It can be one of many things; (death, desertion, present but lack of emotional support, infidelity towards other parent, abuse, and many more). Considering those factors as well as effects of daddy issues (depression, stress, unstable emotions), it is also a term that is tossed around loosely towards people with emotional issues; it is offensive if you’d ask me.

It is sometimes regarded as a sexist term, as it is generated mostly towards women. Many persons, including myself, will argue that this term is used to put women on a spectrum of inferiority, giving us an idea that without a man in our lives it means we’re somehow broken.

But what about the single mothers who play both roles of the mother and father? Is it to say that all children who grew up with their mothers alone need a void to be filled by their father in order for them to excel? NO. My father grew up without a father. I have heard him confess that because of the obvious, he had no idea on how to be a father himself, yet my father is not broken. He is my greatest role model and everything he has learned, the things that he has achieved, and not forgetting how much of an amazing father he is to me, is a result of the upbringing from my grandmother.

For a young boy to have a father figure in his life, I would agree that it means he has have an example to live by, an example on how to be a father or on how to be a ‘man’. For young girls, having a father figure means to have an idea on how and who to date, to have a better understanding of the male psyche.

While some look for the complete opposite of their absent (emotionally and physically) fathers, I sometimes believe in the paradox of women looking to date men who have similar traits to that of their fathers. However, there isn’t anything a man can teach a child about love, growth, and the common necessities that a mother cannot single-handedly do as well.

In our early years of childhood, we are vulnerable; both physically and emotionally. It is natural for one to need and to have a want for a father, and in many cases, a better father. However, society today tends to use the term derogatorily. Many people, including some of you, expected this to be a BDSM Kink article, surprise! Daddy Issues is a term adopted into the BDSM community- where women call their partners daddy, especially if they had bad relationships with their fathers.

Tonya Charles, a Berbice native, shared her explanation of how it can also be misused: “It’s a sexist trend. It’s mostly used against women when they display normal emotions or express their needs, particularly in dating relationships. A woman is said to have, ‘daddy issues’ if she’s a feminist, a part of the LGBTQ community, if she feels that her partner is being disloyal or just demanding more emotional support in a relationship when it’s not really the case.”

Here is how another Guyanese youth explained her side of this topic: “The phrase ‘Daddy Issues’ is a very serious issue, and yes, it is offensive, especially when people throw it around as a punchline. Men and women in our society have grown up without any male role models in their lives, and for some of them, it has affected them in terms of parenting skills, expressing their feelings and commitment.

I personally have heard stories of fatherless women who would boldly say, the reason they go from relationship to relationship is because they never had a father to teach them, or be that role model of what kind of man they should be with. Fathers, not being in their sons’ lives are even more dangerous because that child is exposed to all sorts of influences that may result in future harm. Daddy Issues doesn’t need to be a joke, it needs to be fixed.”

I wonder whatever happened to Mommy Issues? Why isn’t it as widely used as Daddy Issues? Can it be because of the towering number of single-parent mothers in our society? Or maybe, patriarchy made ‘daddy issues’ into a male weapon, using it to justify the fact that a woman is broken until a man fixes her? Whatever the case may be, I urge men to own their responsibilities as being effective fathers in their children’s lives and if you by chance experienced father complex, may the cycle end with you.

Seek professional help if you feel that the absence of your father, affects you from excelling. At the end of the day, both men and women can work together to help erase the terminology ‘daddy issues’ and replace it with daddy’s love. While we should acknowledge the fact that the term is often misused, we should also recognise that young children want a father’s love, a healthy relationship with them and most importantly; the presence of a father figure. It’s sad that some fathers break the hearts of their children long before any boy/girl had the chance to. ‘Daddy issues’ is an issue.