What does Daddy Issues mean? What are Daddy Issues? Meaning, definition, explanation


The concept of an overly strong and often very ambivalent (filled with conflicting feelings) attachment to one’s father originated with the founder of modern psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939), and was considerably expanded by his student Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961). Important to know: Both Freud and Jung were still based on the philosophy and sagas of antiquity and the Renaissance, which also already knew the father complex.

What does Daddy Issues mean? What are Daddy Issues? Meaning, definition, explanation

First of all, it is undisputed that the father is the most important male caregiver for his child for a long time. So far, so Freud, so common knowledge, so good. Now, of course, it depends on how well the father does his thing. Mostly he is imperfect, because there is no education about the father (and the mother), but he plays a role for the child, on which the child orients itself. The boy experiences in the father the model of strength and competence, the girl experiences him at best as protective and endowed with wise counsel, moreover (important for the concept of Daddy Issues) as tenderly loving with a very latent, preferably never lived out erotic reference. This total work of art is perceived by the girl as “paternal”. This is how (heterosexual) boys tend to think about their (heterosexual) father.

In the relationship between father and son, violence can play a more or less significant role, which in turn, according to Freud, has its latent origin in the boy’s secret desire toward his mother, which the father fends off with violence. Freud named this thematic area the Oedipus Complex after the Greek myth of Oedipus, who unknowingly slew his own father and married his own mother after being abandoned as an infant (which is why he did not know his parents as a young man) because the Oracle of Delphi had predicted this very scenario.

The Daddy Issues, on the other hand, reflect the Oedipus complex from the point of view of the girl; they also play a role predominantly in young women. However, they are somewhat different in nature, because although young women are often in a violent clinch with their mothers, which plays a role in the Daddy Issues, violence plays a rather subordinate role – simply because women are less prone to violence than men due to their hormonal framework (the lower testosterone level). The Daddy Issues of young women, however, just like the Oedipus complex of men, arise from the desire towards the opposite-sex parent (always from heterosexual people). This desire is associated with jealousy of the girl towards the mother (correspondingly the Oedipus complex with jealousy of the boy towards the father).

Daddy Issues: Reference to Greek Mythology According to Carl Gustav Jung

Just as Sigmund Freud derived the Oedipus complex from the Greek myth of Oedipus, Carl Gustav Jung also found a corresponding Greek mythical figure, namely Electra. He therefore named the father complex the Electra complex. Electra’s father was murdered, which she avenged very bloodthirstily out of excessive pain. Thus, the Greek saga narrators described the girl’s excessive attachment to her father, with hostility towards her mother also playing a role.

It should be noted, however, that the Greek saga worlds and the psychoanalysis of Freud, Jung, and other psychologists based on them exaggerate certain conditions that are not immutable according to more modern findings. This is a very essential insight. The Greek mythology, for example, assumed a fixed fate from which no one can escape. This can be seen in the Oedipus saga, among others: The parents abandon their baby because the oracle prophesies that it will one day slay its father and marry its mother. As a young man, Oedipus also learns of this prophecy and wants to escape it by supposedly moving away from the area of his birth. But on the way he meets his parents, does not recognize them, and fate takes its course. This is not the case in real life: our fate is by no means predetermined, not even by the imprint of the parental home, even if modern therapists are very fond of taking up this aspect. Behind it there is nothing more than the handing over of responsibility for one’s own actions to the parents.

However, everyone can also take responsibility for himself, there are enough successful examples for this. Accordingly, neither young men are slaves to their Oedipus complex nor young women are slaves to Daddy Issues. They have the choice to live with these references or not.

How do daddy issues show up in young women?

The notorious father complex can initially lead young women to turn sexually to much older men, i.e. men of their father’s age. This can be accompanied by hostility towards their mother, but it does not have to be. From this alone we can see that the saga of Elektra is actually an imperfect model of the father complex. The relationship towards the father can also be completely opposite:

  • There are women with Daddy Issues who have a particularly loving and erotic relationship with their own father.
  • There is also the exact opposite: Some young women with Daddy Issues have a distant, dysfunctional relationship with their father.

The complex produces other very remarkable phenomena. For example, there are women who were abused by their father as girls and later choose a partner who outwardly resembles their father very much and possibly has very similar interests, the same profession, etc., but in character is the exact opposite of the violent father, i.e. very gentle and loving. Important to note: He does not appear gentle and loving only because he inevitably learns about his wife’s past history and wants to spare her any hint of aggression at all costs, no: He is gentle and loving by nature.

Aggression is not in his repertoire. But he is intriguingly similar to his wife’s father. Finally, as an even more curious constellation, there is the partner who represents the exact opposite of the father, in whatever way. The father may be tall and slender with a full head of hair, the partner is short and fat with a bald head. The father is a technician, the partner is an artist. This woman has recognized her outsized erotic attachment to the father – her Daddy Issues – is terribly ashamed of her incestuous tendencies and is masking them with a partner who is the opposite of her father. She may even seriously love this partner out of the very strong motive of concealing her incestuous tendency.

Daddy problems symptoms

  • Women with Daddy Issues always need undivided attention from their partner.
  • They crave love, so to speak, and constantly question it. This is based on the unquenched childish longing for the father’s love.
  • They preferentially choose partners who resemble the father, in very rare cases also the exact opposite (as described).
  • At least in phases and sometimes permanently, women with pronounced Daddy Issues choose much older men as sexual partners. Younger men are uninteresting for them.
  • If the father was violent, it is also possible that the woman is attracted to macho men. Attention: The reverse is not true! Not all women who end up with a violent man had a violent father!
  • Women’s insecurity in relationship issues leads to frequent quarrels that break out for trivial reasons.
    Gladly these women flatter their man and spoil him with sexual favors and small gifts to receive his praise.

When are daddy issues problematic?

First of all, the fact that we are all shaped by our parents, whose genes we carry within us, is not problematic from the outset. Daddy issues and an Oedipus complex only become a problem when the people concerned simply overtax their partners with their behavior. This overtaxing can manifest itself in constant greed for attention and utopian expectations. Our partners cannot heal childish, very formative experiences; that is not the purpose of a partnership. Nor can they replace the beloved father (or for men, the beloved mother). When these problems arise in a relationship, behavioral therapy can help effectively.

Autor: Pierre von BedeutungOnline

Hallo, ich bin Autor und Macher von BedeutungOnline. Bei BedeutungOnline dreht sich alles um Worte und Sprache. Denn wie wir sprechen und worüber wir sprechen, formt wie wir die Welt sehen und was uns wichtig ist. Das darzustellen, begeistert mich und deswegen schreibe ich für dich Beiträge über ausgewählte Worte, die in der deutschen Sprache gesprochen werden. Seit 2004 arbeite ich als Journalist. Ich habe Psychologie und Philosophie mit Schwerpunkt Sprache und Bedeutung studiert. Ich arbeite fast täglich an BedeutungOnline und erstelle laufend für dich neue Beiträge.


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