Let’s talk Daddy Issues. For a while now, I’ve wanted to post a photo of my parents and title the blog post “A Photo of Everyone I’ve Ever Dated.” I’m not sure about that exact approach, but I’m definitely going to write a post about dating versions of our parents soon because it’s one of those things where once you make the connection, your life changes. You stop negative patterns right in their tracks because you immediately know better.

A few months ago, I was talking to my friend David Kessler, telling him that I couldn’t believe how a particular person in my life knew exactly what buttons to push that would drive me over the edge. “How do they know how to get under my skin and push my buttons?” I asked him.

“It’s not who pushes your buttons, it’s who programmed you.”

A Light-Bulb-Moment-WHOA-“aha!” orgy in my head soon followed.

Since it’s Father’s Day today, this whole week I’ve been thinking about my own daddy issues, how they’ve affected me, why they’ve haunted me for so long and really, why the hell I even had such deep daddy issues in the first place when I have a Dad that’s consistently been nothing short of amazing.

Daddy issues aren’t something that’s only reserved for women with absentee, abusive (emotionally or physically), narcissistic or disloyal fathers.

Daddy issues are just as prevalent in women who have a Dad that was and is present.

Why? Let’s find out.

First off, what are Daddy Issues?

When you have daddy issues, you subconsciously attract and are attracted to men that exemplify any unresolved issues that you have in both the relationship and the lack of relationship with your Father or a significant male figure from your childhood. This becomes an addictive pattern because it creates this feeling of comfort due to the familiarity but also creates a perpetual underlying feeling of dis-ease in your relationships. You then become the girl that doesn’t feel like it’s the “right” relationship unless you’re feeling insecure and like you have something to “chase after” and “prove.” You gravitate toward relationsh*ts that “keep you on your toes,” instead of relationships that are mutual and genuinely connected.

 15 signs that you may have Daddy Issues

(I’ve exemplified each one of these at one time or another in my life)

  1. Your self esteem is low, you don’t love yourself and you can’t implement boundaries because you feel guilty for doing so. If the relationship that you have with yourself sucks, your dating life can best be described as a trailer for a self-help workshop and if you continue to have “bad luck” with men, chances are it started with the relationship (or lack thereof) with Dad or a significant male figure from your childhood.
  2. You have a really hard time trusting any guy that you’re with. You have to “screen” them (& that usually happens in a passive FBI investigatory manner). You don’t trust because you subconsciously trusted Dad and he hurt you/didn’t meet your expectations/didn’t accept you/didn’t validate you/loved you conditionally/abandoned you/kept everything really surfacey, etc. This also happens if you feel like Dad didn’t protect you.
  3. You need validation from men and especially from the man you’re dating. If you’re dating someone, you have this thing where you need to make it known to your boyfriend that you’re “in demand.” You even seek the validation of other men when you’re with a good guy (which never lasts). You’re a validation junkie and can never get enough.
  4. Breakups aren’t just devastating for you, they’re catastrophic.  They cause a ton of collateral damage and you find yourself needing to seek validation from your ex like you need to breathe oxygen. This can result in continuing to go back to your ex (emotionally, physically or both), sleeping with your ex, continuing to feel like you have a say in what and who he does, etc. You feel like you “own” him even after the relationship has ended. It’s like losing a family member and a lover all in one.
  5. You like eliciting jealousy and any reactions that display the effect that you have on men. 
  6. In your relationships, you’re jealous and over-protective. 
  7. You need unreasonable levels of reassurance that “everything is alright” that you’re “good enough,” “hot enough,” and the list goes on. 
  8. It’s hard for you to remain single.
  9. You’re a serial monogamist and always act like you know it all. 
  10. You prefer to date older men (hello! that’s still me!). And no, that doesn’t mean you’re dating Daddy Warbucks. It could be just a few years older (I still like more than a year or 2). 
  11. You’re more comfortable in seeking validation from an emotionally unavailable man than you are being with a “good guy.” Good guys bore you. 
  12. In one way or another, you were emotionally orphaned as a kid by Dad or by a significant male figure in your childhood and you’ve been on an emotional driftwood ever since. I didn’t acknowledge or realize this until I was well into my adulthood.
  13. Your Dad was around, but never really “present.” You never felt “good enough” for or truly connected to Dad in some way. 
  14. You have abandonment issues due to emotional or physical abandonment from Dad. 
  15. You consistently involve yourself with emotionally unavailable men.

My parents got divorced when I was very young and the time that I was able to spend with my Father was subsequently minimized. So every time I saw my Dad, he was just trying to make the most out of the day and as great as that was, it disallowed a certain realness and connectivity that would have been there if I was able to see him and live with him on a daily basis. Dad and I didn’t really get into the heavy stuff because we just wanted to enjoy our day.

As I got older, this led to me going after guys that were not only emotionally and physically fleeting, but that were completely emotionally disconnected and narcissistic. I had become emotionally unavailable myself and I still battle my reverse narcissism to this day. I made everyone’s bad and hurtful behavior about me not being good enough and failed to let people own their behavior and decisions because I couldn’t own my own.

My consistent pattern of being involved with emotionally unavailable and narcissistic men came from patterns that were branded in my head and heart as a child. You don’t have to have a bad father or an absent father to have daddy issues. You could, like me, have a father that didn’t always express his emotions or you could have a father that you had to “work” to impress or notice you.

I’m, lucky enough to coach some of the most successful, well-known and powerful people and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly they regress to their younger, eager, validation-seeking selves when Dad sends them a simple text after skating in and out of their lives (either emotionally, physically or both) for years and years.

Do I like having my Dad’s approval and validation? Of course, but whether or not I get it doesn’t make nearly as much difference as me approving of and validating myself.

If Dad had a hard time expressing his emotions, accepting you or making your feel beautiful/cool/capable enough, he was most likely emotionally unavailable and unhappy with himself and his life. 

No one had the perfect parent and no one will be the perfect parent. My father is very far from perfect. We are all fighting our own battles. There comes a point though when we need to realize that if a pattern exists, it’s not Dad or our boyfriend hurting us, it’s us choosing to retraumatize ourselves because that’s all we know. We don’t know what availability or connectivity looks/feels like and even though we may claim to want it more than anything, we’re much more comfortable in an environment of claiming to want it while being the victim of emotionally unavailable men.

If you’re wondering why you keep going after emotionally unavailable men, it’s because you’re chasing the familiar.

You’re going after the only thing you know and you convince yourself that if you can do the one thing that no human will ever be able to do (make another person change out of being who they are), then that will invalidate Dad and de-pedestal him; it will deactivate the pain he caused, prove him to be wrong and your Happily Ever After can now begin. This never happens because empathy, emotional availability, compassion, loyalty and responsibility are things that can never be bribed, bought or instilled in anyone.

As little girls, we want to impress our fathers and we want them to think we are as amazing as we think they are. Dad is the first man that we ever say “I love you” to and the man that we subconsciously compare every man to. Good or bad, absent or present.

With dads that are emotionally unavailable, the daughter convinces herself that if she does/is good enough, she’ll get Dad to stay/validate/love her, etc. This then sets her up with a lifetime VIP pass for riding the f*cktard ferris wheel because it allows her to justify staying in relationsh*ts. She convinces herself that he’ll change and scares herself into the submission of believing that if she lets him go, he’ll combust into the man of her dreams with another, “better” girl.

If you have a dad that’s present, celebrate him today and if you don’t have a dad, father yourself by making the promise that you’re not going to be at the end of your life years from now saying “I see it all now. Why did I waste so much time?”

You’re never going to be at the end of your life one day, wishing that you got hurt and devalued more.

You’re never going to wish that you kept putting yourself in the emotional line of fire.

You’re never going to regret getting off the f*cktard ferris wheel and you’re never going to regret using your daddy issues to motivate you out of your dysfunction instead of keeping you immersed in the quicksand.

One of my favorite songs is Daughters because it.is.so.true. (kind of funny that John Mayer wrote it but I love his music so whatev).

Once you identify your daddy issues, you’ll be able to work toward making them a thing of the past and you’ll also be able to make sure that your future/current daughter knows that she’s enough.

If you don’t have or want kids, go find a photo of yourself as a kid and remind that little girl in the photo that she’s more than enough.

Now get out there and enjoy your Sunday.

See you tomorrow xx, N

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Natasha. This was exactly what I needed. You are a healer and I hope you know that your doing God’s work. Thank u!


This is everything 😊❤️🙌🏽 Thanks for making what would have been a painful day, so much happier 😘


Natasha what an amazing post for a Sunday morning.
This just jump started my morning and I feel amazing and alive.
What you do for us soul sisters / tribe/ community is so admirable. The time, the effort that I see you put in pays off.
I also wanted to tell you that you will achieve so much more than you think you have already achieved with this blog. I can see you doing so many great things. I believe in you. I love you. You are the best figure, sister, role model that has changed my life tremendously. You saved me from so much pain. I probably would have gone through so many relationsh*ts and would not be able to figure out my dating patterns or reflect on myself if I did not meet you or find this beautiful blog.
I also dd not know that I am a serial monogamist. I know I can do anything, once I enter your blog. This blog is POWERFUL. AMEN!!!!!


Thank you so much for this Catherine, this made me cry!! Love you sister 🙂 xo


Thank you sister! Today was a rough day-but I’m managing and taking care of the little one. I’ve even started to set BOUNDARIES with other people and have stopped accommodating 😳 Say whaaaat? I love you and can’t wait to tell you more soon 🙃- Diane


Love you too! Proud of you soul sis! xx


Completely on point again. Not only did I leave my relationship with an emotionally unavailable man I had to face my own trauma with my father. It has been a hard 5 months of self relflection and understanding my “compulsive repetition” pattern. I couldn’t have gotten this far in my healing without my therapist and you!!! I now have all ends covered! Haha! Thank you Natasha..you really are a blessing.


I’m so glad that it helped! You’re doing all the right things. Thanks so much for the love and support Tan 🙂 xoxo


Natasha, thank you. I stumbled upon your posts at EXACTLY the time I needed to. Especially the relationship and emotional unavailability articles. I’ve read a lot of articles (prior to yours) and talked to a lot of people trying to figure out what the hell was going on in my fairy tale relationsh*t and within myself, and have gotten no where but more confused and defeated. You have been the one to provide truth and clarity and a guidance on how to move forward. Thank you so much for sharing your life and wisdom. I hope you know how much you are appreciated. Thank you! ❤


You’re going to make me cry. Thank YOU so much Eve! 🙂 You are loved, supported, back and believed in. XOXO


Brought me to tears and empowered me all at once.
I knew the what and why in a very foggy state; you pulled me out of that fog and gave me clarity, and now I am all the more ready and anxious to break this toxic pattern, embark on the road to forgiveness and move forward.
Your words speak truth and they heal!
Eternally grateful,


Sammi, you brought me to tears. Thank you very much 🙂 I’m so happy it helped! You are believed in, supported & never alone. All my love to you. xo


Thank you so much for writing this article…it has given me that extra push to go ahead and seek out a counsellor for my issues. At 22,I need to break the cycle now if I’m ever going to have a good relationship with anyone.

Thanks again,


I’m so happy that it served you. You are believed in, loved, supported and never alone. Thanks June! xx


In my 2nd therapy session, she told me “you have screaming Daddy issues”. I responded with, “I do not. I have issues with my mother who defined my relationship with my father because he wasn’t in my life”. Then later I googled “do i have daddy issues?” and then I found this and you. I do have Daddy issues. Your words “your dad is the first man you say I love you to”, really hit home with me because I never got to say I love you to my father and I was 7 years old before I had a step dad that I could say it to and he didn’t say it back. Now, I understand why I said “i love you” to every single guy I dated (and probably frightened). I am also beginning to understand why I’ve chosen the people I’ve wasted so much of my time with. They were all my normal.

I’m working thru a devastating break-up. He didn’t break up with me…why would you end a relationship with a bottomless ATM with no rules or limitations? I ended it for me and am single for the first time in my adult life (i’ll be 52 on my birthday).

Forever grateful for having found your blog and will continue to use your words to fill my brain with your spot on affirmation. Horses always bite me but I’m gonna stay on my white horse despite my fear! Love & Hugs!!


I randomly came across this blog and let me tell you, you made me understand so many things about myself. I needed to read this. Blessings xoxo


Hi Cierra!

I’m so happy that the blog has helped and am honored to have played a part in your healing and realizations. Thank you for the love and support. All my love to you soul sister 🙂 xo

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