How Toxic Fathers Affect Their Daughters Into Adulthood

How Toxic Fathers Affect Their Daughters Into Adulthood

Toxic fathers can have far-reaching, and even permanent effects on their daughters’ lives, even after they have entered adulthood. Read on to know the dynamics and long-term effects of effects of unhealthy father-daughter relationships.

A healthy father-daughter relationship acts as a scaffolding for building a beautiful future for the daughter.

The one that teaches you how the world functions. The one that sees you totter and fall and get back up again, offering unrelenting support. The one that set your idea of men when you couldn’t even speak your own truth. The father is all of this and much more for his daughter.

Healthy father-and-daughter relationships tend to be the spine behind healthier societies and a healthier world. A bond like this ensures healthy examples being set out, the ability to be strong yet compassionate, and can often influence the way the daughter functions as a human being all through life.

Unfortunately, this ideal isn’t attained in every father daughter relationship. The reasons are many, but what really holds is the impact such a relationship has on the child and later the grown-up.

The question is: Can you tell if who you’ve become is partly because of the relationship you’ve shared with your father?

To get an idea, see the below patterns or signs of unhealthy father daughter relationship.

Related: Being a Father Versus Being a Dad: 6 Important Differences

4 Common Patterns Of Toxic Fathers

1. Absenteeism

When you recall the time you spent with your father during childhood, you recall a person who was hardly ever there.

And “hardly ever there” does not mean physically, which boils down to an extremely busy father who had too much work or would fail to show up for parent-teacher meetings.

Absenteeism is often more subtle than you think.

This could have been someone who sat at the same table with you, and yet you felt like he was somewhere else. You may have tried to convince yourself that he’s emotionally invested. The signs of holding and engaging though were entirely missing.

It is likely that you sensed his own behavior wasn’t much different towards his own wife, who also happens to be your mother.

Toxic father and long term effects of unhealthy father-daughter relationships
Having toxic parents or toxic father-daughter relationships is very challenging and cause deep trauma

2. Abuse

Was your childhood peppered with scenes of rage and extreme anger, all of it coming from a father that the children were perpetually scared of?

Would you check in with yourself a hundred times before you spoke your truth to your father, fearing he might explode all over again?

Or was your home an out-and-out minefield every single day, where safety was a constant concern?

Abuse by toxic dads, overt or covert, can be a real cause of women finding it difficult to navigate their personal lives.

Related: Growing Up With A Toxic Father: How Fathers Impact A Daughter’s Romantic Relationships

3. Escapism

The relationship pattern with toxic dads has similarities with absenteeism, but there are differences too.

An escapist father often has addictions, engagements that don’t involve his current family, and feels an overwhelming need to somehow stay detached from his living situation, while maintaining a semblance that he’s part of a “family”.

Alcoholism and drug use are common among escapist fathers, leaving daughters confused about where they stand in their relationship with their fathers.

4. Co-dependence

You might already be familiar with co-dependency between partners. But did you know codependency is as much a truth when it comes to toxic dads?

If you experienced (and still perhaps experience) your father to be this person who treats you as an extension of himself, no matter the context or the stage of life, it’s likely that you’re dealing with co-dependency.

This is a state of fusion where a father feels so inextricably connected to his daughter, he can’t give up control over her life. This is is the case of a father that doesn’t invest – it’s one where the investment is so high, the daughter might feel a silent fear of speaking through her authenticity and taking her own decisions, for her own sake.

How The Past Might Still Be Affecting You In Your Adulthood

The reason toxic dads can have a long-term impact is because this is a primary bond gone wrong.

As children grow up, they look to their caregivers for examples and support, in verbal and non-verbal ways. As a daughter, you may not have consciously registered how your relationship with your father was leaving residues for you to resolve.

But here are a few signs you may need to look deeper into:

1. You find it difficult to commit

Commitment is a sign that you’re ready to take any relationship to the next stage.

However, if you find that your relationships with men always border on doubt and unavailability, it might be a consequence of what you went through in your relationship with your father.

There is locked-up pain in such a situation, which can only be released once it has been explored.

Related: A Recent Study Reveals Fathers Have More Influence in A Daughter’s Life Than Mothers

2. You allow others to take control of your life

A codependent father can often make his daughter believe what he’s doing is for her life to work better than ever.

However, co-dependency realistically leads to daughters feeling like they are not able to get a hang of their own life. It could be about a career they want to pursue, a relationship they want to get into, or even the kind of home they want to live in.

If you find yourself going back to paternal advice for every little thing, it might be a warning sign.

3. You are always angry

No one unhealthy father daughter relationship pattern leads to anger.

It is primarily a lurking sense of injustice that leads to a grown-up daughter feeling anger, almost all the time.

If this sounds like you, perhaps it’s time to hit the pause button and examine your feelings more closely than you have done ever.

Children of toxic parents suffer from a mental health crisis.
Toxic father-daughter relationship

4. You rush into relationships too fast

Relationships with toxic dads can also be the cause of women seeking out a relationship with almost every man they meet. Patterns like absenteeism and escapism can leave a daughter feeling like they have some void to fulfill.

Unconsciously, what they feel is a need for closeness and presence and in an adult state, they look to any man that comes their way, for that support.

5. You’re not sure about feeling love

When a young girl grows up with a father, whose feelings for her are a big question, given the disengagement, it may lead to the person feeling loveless as they grow up.

Sometimes, the consequence could also be someone who doubts that they can love ever and also ever find love that can make them feel happy and safe.

A consistent lack of hope in one’s ability to give and receive love can be a result of having toxic dads.

Related: Narcissistic Fathers: The Dark Shadow They Cast From Childhood To Adulthood

It’s not an easy task to open up the past, sit with it, and examine what may have made you the person that you are today. But relationships with primary caregivers often give us the clues we need to move on for good in life.

With a little time and patience, we can create a world for ourselves that is safe, trustworthy, and fulfilling.

How an unhealthy father daughter relationship damages a daughter's adult relationships
How Toxic Fathers Affect Daughters into Adulthood Pin
Father-daughter relationship issues
How Toxic Fathers Affect Daughters Into Adulthood pinex
How Toxic Fathers Affect Daughters Into Adulthood pin
How toxic dads affect their daughters into adulthood

— About the Author —


  1. Bootstrap Avatar

    It’s a shame it took me half a century to find this article. Family, friends, teachers, society, and health care providers watched and did nothing but condemn me for being a good daughter with toxic family. My father destroyed my entire life.

Leave a Reply

Up Next

Dive Into The Mind Of A Distancer: The Partner Who Pulls Away

Discover The Mind Of A Distancer: Things To Know Well

Pursuer distancer relationships cause a lot of heartache, especially for a pursuer. Learn about the mind of a distancer to understand your own or your partner’s behavior so you won’t take it personally.

As codependants, we usually gravitate toward insecure relationships where we’re a distancer or a pursuer. We may be a distancer in one relationship and a pursuer in the next. This is due to early attachment problems and dysfunctional parenting.

Reacting makes it worse! A distancer reacting by withdrawing or the pursuer reacting by pursuing exacerbates conflict and unhappiness.

Understand The Mind Of A Distancer

Up Next

What Is Unintentional Gaslighting? The Surprising Ways You Might Be Gaslighting Without Knowing It

What Is Unintentional Gaslighting? How Good Intentions Can Go Awry

Ever found yourself questioning your own reality after interaction with someone you know? Unintentional gaslighting can sneak into conversations, leaving you feeling disoriented and invalidated, even when no harm is intended.

Accidental, unintended or unconscious gaslighting in relationships can make you doubt your own thoughts, feelings, or even sanity. Someone’s words or actions can make you feel uncertain, dazed & confused without even realizing it.

Gaslighting, a term derived from a movie titled “Gaslight,” refers to the act of manipulating someone into doubting their own experiences and perceptions. But what is unintentional gaslighting?

Let’s explore this lesser-known concept and shed light on

Up Next

Lost Connection: How To Heal From Emotional Neglect In Marriage And Find Hope

How To Heal From Emotional Neglect In Marriage: Tips

Do you know why some marriages appear to be thriving while others seem to be crumbling? What is it that creates such distance among spouses? While there can be various reasons behind marital distress, one often overlooked but significant factor is emotional neglect in marriage.

Emotional neglect can quietly erode the foundation of a relationship, leaving both partners feeling lonely, disconnected, and unfulfilled. Let us delve into the depths of emotional neglect in marriage, exploring what actually is, signs, underlying causes, and most importantly, how to heal and nurture a healthier emotional connection with your spouse.

What is Emotional Neglect in Marriage?

Emotional neglect in marriage refers to a pat

Up Next

Vulturing: Beware Of This Latest Toxic Dating Trend!

What Is Vulturing Dating: Toxic Signs To Be Wary Of

In the world of dating, there are more online trends than you can swipe in a day. The new one on the block is called vulturing dating. Let’s find out what it means in a relationship.

So, What Is Vulturing Dating?

Among the colloquialisms of modern dating, this one is called “vulturing.” In a similar vein to the predatory bird it’s named after, vulturing entails someone hovering around people who are on the brink of ending their relationship.

They wait until they can swoop in with malicious intent on damaged hearts — sometimes as soon as possible after their former partner cuts them loose and they’re emotiona

Up Next

Conditional Relationship? 8 Red Flags Indicating You’re in a Relationship with Strings Attached

Conditional Relationship: Signs You Are In One

Relationships can be an incredible source of happiness, love, joy and contentment. However, not all relationships are the same; while some might feel as comforting as a warm blanket on a cold night, some are like an annoying sweater that doesn’t fit well. Being in a conditional relationship can make you feel like the latter.

Conditional relationships, in particular, can make you feel unsure and alone, because the relationship and the “love” comes with strings attached. So, how can you know if you’re in a conditional relationship or not?

We are going to talk about the signs of conditional love, what does cond

Up Next

How To Deal With An Obsessive Ex That Won’t Leave You Alone: 5 Steps You Can Take

How To Deal With Obsessive Ex: Urgent Steps You Can Take

Dealing with an obsessive ex is one of the most horrible experiences one can go through. What are the best ways to handle obsessive people? What are the effective steps you can take when it comes to dealing with an obsessive ex? Let’s find out!

There are certain people who just can’t handle being dumped. They go crazy. They hate losing their “control” and “power” over their partners.

Recently my good friend ended an abusive relationship. Thankfully he realised he was in a relationship with a narcissist and that his only way forward was without her. Soon after the relationship ended, he found a new partner — he was ecstatic, he was just about to ride off into the sunset with his sweetheart.

There was one issue — his e

Up Next

The “False Self” Of A Narcissist: Look Beyond The Facade!

Hidden Narcissist False Self: Make Believe Traits in Them

The narcissist false self is charming and confident, masking underlying insecurities and emptiness beneath. Let’s find out other secrets they hide!

Narcissists have a false self. They’re master illusionists. They behave like a little king or queen — whether bragging or sulking. Their whole personality is a charade crafted to deceive you into believing they are confident, superior, self-sufficient, likable, and caring.

In studies, groups of people met with and liked a narcissist, but after 6 more interviews, they discerned the narcissist’s true nature and changed thei