What Causes Daddy Issues?

Daddy issues in adults are caused by an ongoing need for understanding, love, support, and approval that wasn’t received in childhood. These needs can transfer into bad relationship decisions during adulthood.

Attachment styles

It’s not uncommon for daddy issues to result in 1 of 3 types of insecure attachment issues. Additionally, some studies indicate that certain attachment styles — like those seen in people with daddy issues — even increase the risk of developing a substance abuse disorder later in life. 

Fearful avoidant  

Some people with daddy issues avoid getting close to anybody. When challenges arise in a relationship, they tend to run away. They also worry about and have difficulty with intimacy.

Anxious preoccupied  

Anxious preoccupied daddy issues cause some people to feel unsettled when they’re not with their partners. It’s common for them to be very clingy and worried about being left.

Dismissive avoidant  

People with daddy issues who avoid conversations or who are dismissive are likely trying to navigate serious trust issues. They’re afraid to depend on anybody else because they don’t want to be hurt again.

Types of fathers

There are several different types of fathers and father figures that can cause the type of trauma that results in relationship difficulties during adulthood. Let’s take a closer look at six different types of fathers who are likely to cause children to develop daddy issues.

Fathers who overindulge children

These fathers spoil their children by giving them rewards they haven’t earned. They give a lot of attention and love, which seems like it would be a positive thing. However, this creates unrealistic expectations of what the child, as an adult, should expect from relationships. 

A daughter with this type of father may end up having unhealthy ideas about her future partner. She also may seek out someone who she believes will be capable of providing the lavish lifestyle that she’s used to.

Fathers who are emotionally unavailable

These fathers may be physically present in the home, but they do not offer the emotional connections their daughters need. A daughter may feel abandoned and incomplete, even though her father was there during her childhood.

Fathers who are violent or abusive

The abusive father may mistreat their daughters or others in the family by being impulsive, angry, or unable to control his emotions. Children who grow up with abusive fathers often end up living with mental health conditions in the future.

Fathers who are controlling and toxic

The controlling father wants to be overly involved in every area of his daughter’s life, always trying to shield her from being disappointed. Growing up with this type of father might result in seeking out dominating partners and, maybe even subconsciously, expecting to be micromanaged.

Fathers who are always distressed and filled with anguish

In a normal father/daughter relationship, the daughter looks up to her father and admires him. If a daughter grows up around a father who’s always negative and defeated, her faith in him may dwindle. As a grown woman, she may be rebellious and possibly depressed. 

Fathers who are physically dependent upon their children

If a child must provide basic daily needs for her father’s survival, it can lead to low self-esteem as an adult. A daughter who grows up having to care for her father because he’s unable to care for himself might be easy to manipulate or exploit for financial or sexual purposes.


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