Father Complex: The Psychology behind ‘Daddy Issues’

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‘Daddy issues’ is a phrase readily used in today’s society. It is often ascribed to women who date older men or struggle in some element of their relationships. But what are daddy issues, really? What is the psychology behind a father complex, and how can someone work through these emotions? Let’s take a closer look at the father complex and why it is so prevalent today.

What Is a Father Complex?

In psychology, ‘daddy issues’ are described as a ‘father complex.’ A father complex develops when a person has a poor relationship with his or her father. The need for approval, support, love and understanding progresses into adulthood, and it may result in bad decisions with relationships.

How ‘Father Complex’ Became ‘Daddy Issues’

Originally, the phrase father complex was used to describe a man who had a distrusting relationship with his father. As psychologists explored the complex further though, they assigned the term to both genders. Somewhere along the way, society colloquialized ‘father complex’ into ‘daddy issues’ and eventually attached the phrase only to women. In psychology, we still use father complex in reference to both genders.

Women AND Men Can Have Father Complexes

As the term ‘daddy issues’ gained popularity, it became almost exclusively associated with women. However, both men and women can experience father complexes. Men with father complexes tend to struggle with approval and self-worth, while women tend to yearn for protection and validation. With that in mind, every father complex is unique, and it can manifest in any number of ways. The experience is as complex as the name suggests.

Overcoming a Father Complex through Therapy

The best way to overcome a father complex is through therapy. A therapist can help you understand the root cause of your emotions and behaviors, then work with you to find personalized solutions for them. Therapy is an adaptive process that covers a wide range of topics: depression treatment, anxiety treatment, grief therapy, self-esteem building, stress management, anger management, and much more. Your therapist can help you bring closure to past experiences and alter your current thought patterns. In the end, you will understand your mind better, and you will feel more in control of your actions.

If you would like to schedule a confidential counseling appointment, call Perspectives Counseling Centers. We have specialists in nearly every area of mental health care, and we will match you with the best therapist for your specific needs.