In my work with fatherless daughters, I have discovered that many of women grew up with a very good father, yet, he was not able to be fully present in their lives. Nevertheless, the impact of a Detached Dad can create many negative consequences in a female’s life once she reaches adulthood.
The Detached Dad is usually emotionally absent from his daughter’s life. A Detached Dad can be physically present but emotionally absent from his daughter because he doesn’t spend quality time with her. He can be in the same room with her and even involved in activities with her, but he’s not emotionally connected to her. He’s usually focused on something else or he simply lacks interest and becomes disconnected altogether. There could be very valid reasons why this dad is always preoccupied, such as financial stress, workplace stress, and even relationship problems with mom. Or perhaps he simply does not fully understand how to relate to his daughter and believes he’s a good father because he is around.
Even though the dad has very valid reasons for his distance, he does not realize the impact this behavior is having on his daughter’s life. The daughter begins to feel like she’s invisible and starts to develop feelings of unworthiness as she gets older. She may try hard to get attention from men by giving of herself in ways that do not serve her. She goes through life carrying a desperate need to be seen, wanted and loved. She embarks upon a never ending search to look good by spending lots of money on hair, clothes, shoes, make up and even plastic surgery. She will do anything to gain the attention of a man because she merely wants to be significant to someone.
It’s important for the daughter to recognize that her father’s inability to connect and bond with her deeply is more about him and not her. When she learns that she does matter and that she is significant, she will cease from the risky behaviors that no longer serves her. In the complicated world fatherlessness, the daughter must always know that she is loved, and lovable regardless of her father’s failure to demonstrate this truth to her.
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