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Father Complex: 13 Effects of a Good or Bad Father on a Girl

Father Complex

Whether we want to admit it or not, our parents shaped who we are today. So, if you’re wondering if a girl has a father complex, here’s how to know.

None of us can control the family we’re born into – or adopted into. It’s obviously out of our control. And some of us are lucky and have good, loving parents. If that is true, then you have a better shot in life. But others have the unfortunate luck of having neglectful, abusive, or even absent parents which can lead to lasting damage in adulthood like a father complex, narcissism, etc.

Regardless of what kind of family you grew up in, your parents helped shape who you are. And the dynamic between you and your mother and father also helps shape what you expect from other people – particularly in romantic relationships.

I was one of the lucky ones. I had loving parents, especially my Dad. He was always proud of us, always treated us with respect, and told us to never marry any man who didn’t treat us as well as he did.

That set the bar high for me. Really high. And while that’s good on one hand, it did present some problems for me because most of the men I had relationships couldn’t live up to my expectations, although I am lucky to have eventually found one.

My point is, that not all girls are lucky like that. So let’s take a look at what damage a dad can do to his daughter, as a result, having her develop a father complex.

What happens if she has a bad father complex

Let’s start by talking about the consequences of having a deadbeat dad. If a girl had a father who was absent, neglectful, or otherwise abusive, then some of the following things might be a result – the father complex.

#1 She date older men. Think about it. If your father was not emotionally nurturing, then it’s not surprising that a woman would subconsciously like to date older men. It’s not like they say to themselves, “My dad rejected me, so I need to find an older man who loves me just like my dad should have.” But many times, it happens that way. They are looking for a “father figure” in a romantic sense. [Read: 15 things you MUST know about dating a girl with daddy issues]

#2 She doesn’t trust men. Come on, if you were neglected by your father, you wouldn’t trust men either, right? I mean, your dad is supposed to be the only man who loves you unconditionally. And if he doesn’t, then that is a huge part of a father complex. A woman will always be wondering how a man is going to screw her over.

#3 She has low self-esteem. If your dad didn’t love you, then why would you feel good about yourself? Makes sense, right? Even if your mom loves you to pieces, there is still a psychological and emotional rejection that stays with women if their dad wasn’t around. As a result, she doesn’t think much of herself, probably because she thinks he didn’t.

#4 She has a pattern of choosing men wo don’t treat her well. You would think that opposite would be true. I mean, let’s say your parent abuses you, then wouldn’t you think you would go find someone who treats you well? Unfortunately, that’s usually not the case.

A woman with a father complex will subconsciously be drawn to men who treat her like crap – just like her dad did. That’s because it’s familiar to her, even though she doesn’t like it. [Read: Father daughter relationships and 10 daddy issues it can lead to]

#5 She’s jealous and needy. Okay, so add these up: rejection + low self-esteem + untrusting + men who don’t treat her well. That is bound to equal jealousy and neediness. Again, going back to the theme of rejection here, she will always think she’s not good enough for a man and that he’s going to find someone else better.

That results in jealous and needy behavior. On some level, she actually expects men to leave her so she does everything in her power to try to prevent that. Ironically, it sometimes has the opposite effect.

#7 Does not take compliments well. Let’s say a woman with a father complex actually starts dating a nice guy. He’s good to her, treats her well, and gives her compliments. Weirdly, it makes her feel uncomfortable because she’s not used to it. Subconsciously, she feels like she’s not worthy of a man’s love or deserves to be treated so well. So she tries to “reject” that behavior in some way. [Read: The signs of low self esteem and ways to increase it]

#8 Pattern of promiscuity, drug, and/or alcohol abuse. In order to fill the emotional hole in her heart left by her dad, a woman with a father complex might turn to having sex with a lot of men in order to feel “loved” by a man. In addition, she could also turn to substance abuse just to make the pain go away.

#9 Relationship problems. Because she mostly likely never saw her parents model a good relationship, she also has relationship problems herself. She never had a good relationship with her dad, so she never learned how to have a healthy interaction with a male. So, the cycle continues.

What happens if she has a good father complex

Believe it or not, having a father complex is not always negative. The term “father complex” actually just means a psychological state relating to your father. So, even girls who had loving fathers can actually have a father complex. Let’s look at what happens when the opposite happens.

#10 She has high standards of men. Just like me. I had a great dad, but as a result, most of the men I had relationships with never lived up to my standards. They were never as emotionally available or unselfish as my Dad was. As a result, I was always disappointed in my romantic relationships. It took me a really long time to find a man who did measure up to my standards. [Read: Higher standards and why going low only leads to lousy relationships]

#11 She relies on men too much. This may or may not be true. But if someone is a “Daddy’s Girl,” maybe she expects men to take care of her all the time. She might end up being too dependent on men and not develop a sense of independence that is unrelated to men. While that may or may not be bad *depending on your interpretation*, sometimes relying on other people too much can be to your disadvantage. [Read: 30 traits that make any girl a feisty, independent girl with a dangerous streak]

#12 She expects men to pay all the time. If a woman’s daddy always opened his wallet every time she asked for something, well, then she might expect every man to do that. While it’s great to be chivalrous, there is a fine line between chivalry and having a woman take advantage of a man.

#13 She wants to be the center of attention. If she was constantly doted on by her dad, a woman with a father complex might expect to be adored and the center of attention when it comes to men. This could get old pretty quickly.

[Read: 15 traits that make any girl a high maintenance woman]

As you can see, there are a lot of things that be the result of having father complex. Maybe you know someone who has one, or maybe you do yourself. But now that you know how to spot it, hopefully you’ll deal better with this state of being.

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Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...

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