The Real Reason The Term 'Daddy Issues' Exists Has Nothing To Do With Women

Guille Faingold

Society makes it hard for women to own what belongs to them.

Just recently, Emma Watson had to take back and defend her own body, after critics called her new Vanity Fair photoshoot "non feminist."

In the same vein, women have also taken back being called "crazy."

Even men are starting to acknowledge how dismissive it is to throw that label onto a relationship without acknowledging their responsibility in it.

But there's still a long way to go when it comes to the concept of "daddy issues."

Being labeled as a woman with daddy issues in a relationship is the ultimate low blow.

Not only is it easy for men to slap this label on any woman who's willing to get vulnerable or start asking questions in a relationship, but it's easy for women to fall into the pattern of believing they are somehow undateable because she did, in fact, grow up having issues with her father.

One of the most popular Instagram accounts, Daddy Issues, boasts over 3 million followers, and pokes fun at itself by posting memes about being "undateable" and preferring to be alone, rather than going out and trying to find a relationship.

Adopting and using the label does little to help women take ownership of it.

But in this case, adopting and using the label does little to help women take ownership of it.

Holding on to a stereotype men have created to evade emotions in a relationship only reinforces the idea that it is somehow a real epidemic that women need to "fix."

According to clinical psychologist Erika Groban, PhD, the term "daddy issues" merely serves as "a catch all term used to describe women that men view as needy and wounded."

Daddy issues actually isn't a real issue.

In fact, there is no unique psychological disorder that only affects women that can serve as a medical term for "daddy issues." Meaning, it's not actually a real issue.

Here are a few reasons why the label is dangerous, and how women can educate themselves, and any man who readily uses the term:

1. You're not doomed to be undateable.

According to Dr. Groban, it's more helpful to think about what may cause negative behaviors in a relationship, instead of using a blanket label to understand it.

To do this, she suggests looking at attachment styles. Understanding your attachment style helps you better understand how you form relationships with other people.

There are four main attachment styles: secure, insecure/avoidant, insecure/fearful and insecure/anxious. The blanket term of "daddy issues" may fall into the three latter styles.

"The truth is, all people seek connection, some just don't know how to do it," says Dr. Groban. This includes both men and women.

She adds,

Look for patterns. If you notice you have extreme difficulty establishing and sustaining meaningful romantic relationships, there might be an opportunity to look at how your early relationships with your parents may be affecting you, and what that taught you about what it means to love and be loved.

2. It affects men, too.

Insecure attachment styles are just as prevalent in men as they are in women. Dr. Groban notes,

Society doesn't value traits associated with females (like being emotive, or vulnerable), and sort of lumps that together and calls it daddy issues.

She continued,

It allows men to be off the hook, both as romantic partner, but also as a father who may have been neglectful or hurtful, leading a woman to act out.

For men, having parental issues may look different, but both men and women need love and support from their parents, and if they didn't get it, will certainly look elsewhere for fulfillment.

Again, it's important to note this is not a permanent cycle, and can always be set on the right track.

3. It's another way to shut women up.

Similar to calling women "crazy," or more historically, gaslighting them, Dr. Groban says the term " takes blame away from men and gives them room to behave in a way that they want to."


In the psychology world, "daddy issues" is strictly known as a derogatory word.

Along those lines, if a man is telling a woman she has daddy issues, and that's the reason the relationship isn't working out, she should question him rather than look to herself as the problem.

If your partner uses the word "you" over and over again when describing issues within your relationship, it could be possible he or she is evading the real issue at hand, particularly his or her responsibility in it.

Look out for those signs before pointing to yourself as the only issue in a partnership.