Theory & Essay

Why “Daddy Issues” Don’t Really Exist

Stop bitching, man, and get over it.

“You know, it was just typical daddy issues. Nothing else, really.”

The statement above was my friend’s (“Jim”) response to a question I asked regarding a woman (“Jane”) he’d recently cut ties with. Despite her quite distinguished ass-to-waist ratio, he’d grown tired of her flakiness, her (relative) youth — He’s 31. She’s 23. — and her emotional instability. The response came when I asked him if he ever figured out why she was so prone to random (and public) bouts of strange behavior. (Example: At a get together several months ago, she got upset with Jim and decided to leave and sit in his car with the windows open for the rest of the night. The low temperature that night was 37.)

Apparently, she didn’t have the best relationship with her father, and this combined with the fact that the last couple guys she dated were also in their 30’s was all the proof he needed that she just had serious daddy issues.

While I didn’t dispute my friend’s claim, hearing this woman’s obviously faulty behavior being dismissed as “daddy issues” made something click inside of me, something that had been festering for years now and finally needed to come out:

“Daddy issues” are f*cking bullshit

Think about it. Think about how every single dating and relationship-related thing that could possibly be wrong with a woman always seems to come back to her father.

If a woman seeks approval from men it’s because she didn’t get enough from her father.

If a woman only dates older men it’s because she’s searching for a father figure.

If a woman’s only attracted to distant and emotionally unavailable men, she’s trying to replicate the relationship she had with her father.

If a woman dates players and man hoes it’s because her father was the same way.

If a woman’s extremely and unnecessarily hard on men it’s because she’s a daddy’s girl.

If a woman’s promiscuous it’s because she either didn’t give enough love from her father or had an inappropriate relationship with him.

If a woman can’t properly gauge a man’s character it’s because her father didn’t teach her how.

If a woman’s too sexually naive she was babied by her father.

If a woman f*cks an illegal alien it’s because her dad got abducted by a UFO

Point? If every single woman on the planet has some form of daddy issues — and, if what everybody seems to say is correct, they do —  then daddy issues don’t actually exist!

I mean, there’s a reason why there’s no such thing as “human issues” or “10 toe issues” or “two nipple issues.” An “issue” is no longer an issue if everyone has some form of the same f*cking issue. At that point it’s just…normal — no one on Earth has a perfect relationship with their fatherand this normalcy means that this “issue” can no longer stand as an excuse for effed up behavior.

Jane’s relationship with her father didn’t make her a f*cking weirdo. No, the fact that she was f*cking weird made her a f*cking weirdo. Daddy issues didn’t cause your ex-girlfriend to break-up with you because she just couldn’t be with a guy who “liked her too much.” No, she couldn’t be with a guy who liked her too much because she was an asshole and an emotional nincompoop. A woman only attracted to much older men isn’t trying to “replace” her dad. She just a lazy f*ck who tries to explain her lazy f*ckness by saying that she’s too mature for men her age.

Seriously, a grown woman (or man) blaming odd dating and relationship behavior on daddy issues is like a black man getting fired from the Cheesecake Factory and blaming slavery. Sure, maybe your life might have been a tad different if your great-great-great grandmother wasn’t massa Jackson’s favorite nighttime foot warmer, but you got fired today because they caught your creepy ass eating the tomatoes out of the shrimp and bacon club sandwiches.

This isn’t meant to minimize the importance of a father in a young woman’s life and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Dads matter and shit. But, using daddy issues as a universal excuse, distinction, and diagnosis subtly absolves accountability, making all dads equal scapegoats for shitty behavior.

You know, I’m not a dad yet, but I might be one day. If this day comes, there’s a 50/50 chance that my child will be a daughter, and I will do everything in my power to protect, love, and educate this girl. But, if she decides to cite a hug I didn’t give her in 2018 as the reason why she can’t find love in 2038, I’ll have one message for her: F*ck you

—The Champ

***If you get a minute, check out Do ‘Good Men’ Think Too Much? — a review of “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm at Night” by Andrew Ladd at The Good Men Project***

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • miss t-lee

    The last sentence? #ComedyGold *snickers*

  • Girl Kanyeshrug

    Well, not all women have ‘daddy issues;

    ‘Daddy issues’ do exist

    Women with ‘daddy issues’ aren’t the ones who recognize that they themselves actually have the issues.

    Yes they behave badly/weirdly as a result of the issues but some/most find their way eventually with time…

    We should be a little more understanding of people (that doesn’t mean we should put up with nonsense). People have had all sorts of difficult things happen to them. The result of some of these things being ‘daddy issues’…

  • E

    We all got issues. BUT, I think that it’s easier to “explain away” things away and claim that it’s beyond your control than to own up to it.

    But I would say that Daddy Issues do exist. People just happen to be WAAAAYYYY to quick to throw it under the “Daddy Issues” umbrella.

  • Usually women that will openly tell folks that they have Daddy issues– don’t.
    A lack of a father in a girl’s life can lead her to search for fatherly traits in other men, I do believe some women just use the “I have Daddy issues!” card just to be a crazy b*tch, but the women with legit “Daddy Issues” will probably snap if you attempt to tell them that they do– especially if you’re male o__O

  • I believe a lot of the daddy issues that allegedly don’t exist come from a lot of mamas making poor baby daddy decisions. *shruglife* My mama told me she knew my daddy won’t worth a danm but yet she chose to marry his punk azz anyway. She had a good daddy, what was her excuse. smh…

  • T-Mac

    “If a woman f*cks an illegal alien it’s because her dad got abducted by a UFO.” <LMBO! Real tears


    This isn’t meant to minimize the importance of a father in a young woman’s life and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Dads matter and shit. But, using daddy issues as a universal excuse, distinction, and diagnosis subtly absolves accountability, making all dads equal scapegoats for shitty behavior.

  • Tes

    Daddy issues…I think that a woman’s issues with her father is it’s own separate thing from her issues with herself and her issues with men because as some point, she’s a grown @ss woman and she has to be accountable for herself. Daddy is important. Momma is important. But they can only take you so far into your life before it’s time you start thinking, feeling, and doing things for yourself, possibly with the guidelines that they taught you, but not with a necessarily deep seated need to please either of them.

    You can’t blame the dealer for your hand; you work with what you got, accept it, and play it to the fullest because you almost always end up with a better hand than someone else.

  • Madame Zenobia

    What’s hilarious is earlier tonight I was joking with my date about strip clubs and he asked if I’d ever get on stage and my response was “Oh no, my Daddy loved me when I was a kid.”

    I’ve always thought all women do have Daddy issues. Either you had a bad one and that effects your relationships negatively or you had a good one so you (think) you are better at recognizing good men.

    At the end of of the day with I think in the situationy our friend is the one with the issue. (no offense) Yeah, occasionally you’ll run into the mature 23-year-old, but realistically a 23 yr old and a 31 yr old are going to be (or should be) at two different places emotionally/maturity-wise. Her strange behavior aside she’s going to be young, emotional and flaky because she’s 23. That’s what you do at 23 – you think about yourself and your needs not much else. If that’s not what your friend wanted in a relationship he shouldn’t date chicks in their early 20’s. Flaky and emotional is part of the territory at that age. Just because she’s immature (or less mature than him) doesn’t mean she has Daddy issues, it means she’s young. (Again, subtracting the weird behavior – the sitting in the car at 30 degrees thing is just straight up looney.)

  • Mo-VSS

    Let’s just say Daddy Issues are real, but everything isn’t a daddy issue.

    Now time for a PSA:

    Here’s what I’d like to offer for some of us black folk that don’t like to think that mental issues exist (don’t worry, I’ll make the correlation soon). Sometimes people are emotionally unstable because they are mentally ill and not diagnosed. I know we associate mental illness with homeless folks in the park talking to themselves and self medicating with drugs/alcohol. But, there are plenty of seemingly “normal” people with bizarre behaviors (like the behavior your friend’s girl displayed) that, at best is just strange and at not-so-best is some form of mental illness.

    Regularly scheduled programming resuming in 3…2…1…

    Now back to daddy issues. You’re right. If everything is related back to parents or daddies then we can all claim that excuse for any destructive or counterproductive behavior. The solution isn’t to trace the behavior to the root of the problem and be done. The solution is to fix the behaviors so people can have healthy relationships. And really, after a certain time passes, what your parents, aunts, play cousins and the rest of ‘nem did in their lives. All that matters is what you’re doing with yours.

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