Unhealthy Father Daughter Relationships

Written by: Rujusmita Selvan – M. Sc (Psychology)

Last updated date : December 12, 2022

The psychology of father daughter relationships should be something very special, unique, pure and strong. Unfortunately, sometimes it can turn into something bad and toxic. Neither the father nor daughter is actually aware that their relationship is not good for either one of them. Having unhealthy father daughter relationships can be very difficult. The behavior of a dad is very important for the daughter to have similar expectation from other men in her life.

Too much love can be as damaging as too little love. An extremely close relationship can easily become a toxic relationship. It can affect a person’s well being and confidence and other relationships as much as a poor father-daughter bond. In addition, once the health of the relationship is broken. It will be difficult for both father and daughter to make things better.

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Chapter 1:

The Psychology of Father Daughter Relationships

The psychology of father daughter relationships are very important. Her father is a major factor in the growth and development of a female. Based on the behavior of her dad, the daughter will have similar expectation from other men in her life. The psychology of father daughter relationship will help in forming her identity and the way she views men and women. We will look at some of the signs of unhealthy father daughter relationships.
  • The father wants to have a complete control over his daughter’s life
  • There are some unclear boundaries
  • A lack of communication
  • The father does not allow the daughter to say her opinion
  • The father compares his daughter to other kids
  • Father does not allow the daughter to be independent
  • The daughter is constantly fearful of disappointing the father.

Chapter 2:

How to Recognize an Unhealthy Father-Daughter Relationship?

The Absent father
Example: You are a 6-year-old daughter. Your father is working 9 to 5, and after work, he goes straight to the gym to work out. When he arrives home at night, he is already super tired to play with you.

We have to admit that fathers have one of the most important jobs in the world providing for their family. Still, that is not the reason why they should not always be present in their kids’ lives. It is a unhealthy father daughter relationship if the dad is not available to talk and spend time with the kid.

Nothing is more important for a daughter than to have a father who’ll be present in her life, supporting her in everything she does and spending time with her.

No matter whether you are his 1-year-old or 21 year-old-daughter. He needs to understand that you will always need him to step up and be your dad.

The Abusive Father
Example: You go to your school counsellor to seek help regarding your father who always abuses you emotionally. When he comes home from work, he always criticizes you, mocks you, and always lashes out at you. Oftentimes, you are beaten up by him too. You feel depressed. So, the counsellor calls your father, who just scoffs and says, “Why does she spill family’s problems to an outsider, anyway?”

Fathers who have a bad temper or have any kind of addiction are more likely to abuse their daughters. Don’t think that you shouldn’t tell anyone about it and that it’s your duty to help him first because it’s not. You’re the one who needs help for unhealthy father daughter relationship. There is no justification for any kind of violence or abuse and you shouldn’t try to justify your father for abusing you or make that your fault. Don’t put up with your dad’s toxic behavior just because you think you have no one to talk to because there are so many people and organizations that can help you.

The Pampering Father
Example: if a 3 and half-year-old daughter wants to eat junk food every day and is begging and throwing tantrums in the convenience store; what should a father do? Should he just blindly fulfill the child’s desire despite knowing it can harm her health in the long run?

When a child frequently and consistently given everything she wants, the child will soon adopt a “pampered lifestyle”. This will make her expecting special treatment. She will develop an attitude of superiority and believe that the needs of other people are less important than their own needs

The Toxic Father
Is he demanding, critical, and manipulative? Does he appear to be overreacting or dramatic?

When you have a toxic father, you will develop a codependent relationship with him in which you will find it hard to make your own choices, have your own goals, and have a fulfilling life. When you say “no” to what your father wants you to do, he will guilt trip you, causing you to never feel good enough.

The Cheating Father
You found out that your father is cheating on your mother. You saw how your mother was crying her heart out at home, her bright personality suddenly changed into a gloomy one. Deep down, you develop a resentment towards your father. You wonder, “How could he do that to my loving mother?”

An anguished father constantly lets you down. Oftentimes, daughters of an anguished father will make unhealthy lifestyle choices such as risky sex and eating disorders because they believe when they self-damage, the father will quit his bad habits. The daughters simply do not know how to respond to their own issues or worries, thus they willingly hurt themselves.

The Inconsistent father
When you have an addicted father, he may experience a change in personality. Thus, he will become unreliable, inconsistent, and unpredictable. He never gives you the sense of safety and consistency. When this daughter with an alcoholic and addicted father grows up, she can develop depression and anxiety.

Chapter 3:

What Effects Does Unhealthy Father Daughter Relationships Have?

Growing up, you dreamt of the person you wanted to spend your life with. Often, you want a person who has similar characteristics as your parents. Whether you grew up in a happy or troubled family, you are still inclined to have relationships that you are familiar with.

The kind of relationship you experienced growing up is considered your comfort zone, regardless if it is traumatic or not. You are more likely to look for a partner who could give you the same kind of relationship you had with your parents.

Chapter 4:

Call to Action

Daughters who have healthy relationships with their fathers tend to develop more fulfilling relationships with their significant other. On the other side, daughters who have unhealthy relationships with their fathers may become too aggressive in asking for what they need or when trying to resolve problems. When these daughters do not get the appropriate attention by their fathers, they feel unlovable, and expect to receive undivided attention, approval, and adoration by their significant other. If you believe that your relationship is an unhealthy one and you want to improve your relationship with your father, perhaps you can consider an appointment with licensed counsellors or other mental health professionals.

"Structured and engaging course" Joan

69 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount