There are many suggestions on how to fix an unhealthy father-daughter relationship, and there is a tonne of healing dad and daughter quotes too. There are also many types of bad father-daughter relationships, including neglectful ones and abusive ones. Father daughter relationships psychology can help re-establish independence of mind and free the daughter from the father’s shadow.
Can we ignore our maternal and paternal experiences and move on? The simple answer is no. What we can do, though, it is to unravel the positives and negatives from those experiences and extinguish or amplify the elements we choose.
The father-daughter subject is highly emotive
One of the dad and daughter quotes states: “My dad broke my heart way before any boy had a chance to,” while another says, nostalgically, “A daughter needs a dad; to stand with her on the day she marries the man she hopes will be just like her father.” Yet another declares, “I may find my prince someday, but my daddy will always be my king.” This other one warns dad, that “Having kids doesn’t make you a father; raising them does.”
Such is the emotive nature of the complex father-daughter relationship. And within each of these quotes lies the enduring influence of dad over daughter, and the adult rebellion against bad father-daughter relationships and negative influences of unhealthy father daughter relationship of yester-years.
Daughters facing a challenge with their dads may choose to keep mum about it, and even pretend he is a great dad if her peers are full of stories about their wonderful dads. The delight that fathers bring to ones friends may be the cause of much pain to a daughter with a bad father. Seeing and hearing other girls talk highly of their dads brings upon a girl both bitterness and self-regret. “Why did God give me a dad like this one?”
Daughters who have had terrible dads and unhealthy father daughter relationships may find it difficult to believe there are good dads out there. They wonder how it would have been if dad was different – would we be in a better place in life?
Each father is the original benchmark for his daughter
It is a fact that children learn by living, then as adults live what they learnt. Any father is the “normal” father to a daughter; as she grows, she believes that all fathers are like her father.
Only later in life does she start to realize discrepancies, as she interacts with other children and hear stories about their own fathers. Even then, she will see the other fathers a being “different” from her own. She does not envisage her father as being different from the rest. She may, as a result, not recognise or accept that hers is an unhealthy father daughter relationship.
Most daughters trust the views of their father
When he says you look great, there can be no question that you do. Afterall, dad has nothing to gain or lose by just being dad and speaking his mind. Consequently, a father who makes derogatory remarks about his daughter in her presence makes her feel inadequate as a female and embarrassed about herself. He is right; she does not meet the bar.
Most noteworthy, she may feel undesirable to men and ward off a man who really loves her because she feels he must be feigning. When a boyfriend says she is beautiful, she feels he is lying to take advantage of her, because of the (more authoritative) assertion of her dad that she is not pretty.
A father should never kid around with his daughters mind
It is therefore important that a father does not play mind games with his daughter. His utterances – especially those that touch on her sensuality – get deeply ingrained in her psyche. She can truly come to believe she is not beautiful and not worthy.
Through her childhood eyes, the girl keenly observes how her father-figure treats her mother, and uses that to create her own image of a man. While she approaches puberty and then teenage, she uses that image to make critical assumptions about relationships and to set her expectations of her future husband. Furthermore, if the relationship between her father-figure and her mother is violent and abusive, she develops fear of men and possibly a dislike of them.
Unfortunately these impulses are established in the subconscious, and when they play out in real life in later years, even she does not recognise the source of her feelings and attitudes towards men.
Step-by-step guide to fix unhealthy father daughter relationship
It is important for one to re-trace their past in order to understand what from that past may be having negative influences on the present. And having discovered the bad elements from the bad father-daughter relationship, to rise up in a strong way to overcome that yester trap. It’s a journey of psychology: father daughter relationships can be corrected and a daughter can re-establish her independence of mind. Yes, you can loosen the grip of your past on your present, but it requires alertness and purposeful action.
Step 1: First, acknowledge how you truly feel about your father
Do you, for example, feel proud of him, or embarrassed about him? Have you felt like leaving an event when he arrived at the same venue? How do you feel telling someone, “Meet my father.” Do you feel overwhelmed by your father’s “shadow”?
Next, compare various aspects of your life with your dad’s life. If there is a close match, it is likely you are drawing influences from your father. Areas to check:
(i) Traits of men you engage with.
(ii) Your lifestyle.
(iii) Your language.
(iv) Your composure.
If your relationship with your dad negatively influences the way you relate with other people, especially men, it is time to deliberately de-link your psyche from him.
By appreciating who he is/was, you come to accept that people are different. Even you are different from other people; you have your own character. Accept that your dad is who he is or was. And that your dad is NOT you.
Step 2: What are your dad’s strengths and weaknesses? (traits he likely passed on to you)
Write down all the good and bad things you know about your dad. There are some instances where you may actually find that there is/was so much good in your dad that it surprises you. Bad traits tend to overwhelm what is good; and putting down all traits of your dad makes you recognize and accept his strengths and weaknesses.
Step 3: Call a spade a spade: Accept your past father-daughter relationship – is in the past!
How you interacted with your dad in the past is out there – in the past. What you can influence is the future. Even if he was to change, that would be in the future. The past is what it is. Stop the regrets now. Life cannot be re-lived, but your spirit can be re-newed.
Step 4: Start thinking about yourself
Now that you have thought about your dad and you understand him better, it’s time to turn your attention to yourself. What can you remember that is great about you in your past? You may be tempted to say – nothing really (and that may be due to one of your dad’s influences). Stop! There must be something you did, said, achieved, etc. that brought a good feeling at the time it happened. Pick that up, it belongs to you! Now take your thoughts back to some thing you did for someone. Anyone. At any time in your life. Remember and note good times that you had as a child; remember times that you were useful to others.
Step 5: Re-establish your worth
Take your positive childhood experiences, memories and achievements to understand your worth and abilities. Start to re-establish yourself from those childhood times all through to your now. You will find that many of the great childhood abilities and mannerisms you had have survived the weather. You can still do great stuff and think great thoughts! Things your father said or did then are, luckily, in the past. You are now grown up and in a position to replace his words with your positive thoughts. To counter his negative actions with your positive ambitions.
Step 6: Grab the “feeling good about myself” moment, and run with it!
If you start feeling good about yourself, that is very much in order. Run with it! Promise yourself that things will change, because you will make them change. There is a divine power given to us by the Creator, free for our use in our proclamations. Call upon that divine power and declare your future shall not be determined by the shadows of the past.
Step 7: Start the separation process
It’s now time to objectively list down all those aspects of your life that your dad’s shadow commands. For example, if you hate men because your dad was a bad man, list that as one of the “shadows”. If you drink yourself senseless because your dad brought booze to the house and made you a drug addict, pick that as a “shadow”. This list of shadows is your new war fronts. Remember you have the ammunition to destroy them, so list them boldly.
Step 8: Strategise for the war
Prepare for the fight. Every change must be a result of strategy. Note down the response you need to mete on each of the “shadows”. What exactly you need to do, the knowledge you need to gain, the tools you need to use. For example, if you are an alcoholic, you need to know which rehabilitation centres are near you, what they do and where they are. If you hate yourself or how you look because your dad once said you are ugly, you need to find inspirational groups and counselors that can put that behind you.
Step 9: Arm yourself
Engage with the tools and knowledge that you need. Browse the internet, visit places, talk to people, and collect all the things you need to help you ward of the “shadows”. Seek the views of other people about various aspects of life, and compare those to what your dad made you believe. Learn objectively; you will find that people’s views can be substantially different even on what seems straightforward; and that enhances your conviction that it’s your own view that ultimately counts in your life!
Arm yourself with a prayer. Nothing can deliver spiritual and mental rejuvenation and freedom like a connection with the Almighty. Nothing fashioned against you will succeed if you believe and pray about your redemption.
Step 10: Take action!
Time for war! Yes! Start taking the decisive steps to bring down the unhealthy father daughter relationship; knock down the shadows. Are you ugly because he said so? Prove the shadows wrong; get a makeover. Get into a splendid hairstyle and admire yourself on the mirror. Have you been drinking too much? Discard the lot in a dustbin – even unopened cans and bottles. Drain that wine in a kitchen sink and say to it, “be gone, shadow!” Do you feel bitter about your dad? Forgive him! Do you hate him? Feel him — see his past, his point of view, his vulnerability; he is human. Smile about his strengths and cast to the wind his weaknesses. Accept him! Act!
Above all, pray. For yourself and for your dad.
Step 11: Gain control
As you fight the war, take control of your circumstances and make new decisions. Revise old decisions that you made under the influence of “shadows”. You are your own person; you have your own brain, your own body, your own spirit – exercise your individuality.
Step out; the way you want, not the way you were influenced.
Step 12: Define your independent destiny
Now go on, love yourself and believe in your unique destiny. Trust youself. Associate with those who bring joy and positivity in your life. Avoid the nay sayers, in fact, cut them off! Be bold to face disappointments and betrayals, because they will be there. Open up to different opinions, because they will come. Be confident that you can attract good people and good things, because they exists.
We hope this step-by-step guide has contributed well to your search for an effective way to fix the negative influences of an unhealthy father daughter relationship. We close with one of the most assertive of dad and daughter quotes, “The only thing that goes on in your life…is what you allow to go on in your life…!”
Live life. Pray. Be happy!