I recently come across example of how important fathers are to their daughters. One of my patients in her mid twenties having difficulty trusting men, especially older men but also younger men of her own age. Resulting in her having difficulty forming a healthy relationships with men. After talking to her for a while there was nothing remarkable about her childhood. She seemed to have had a happy childhood. In her early twenties however she had a bad experience with one of her professors at a university. She looked to the professor as a father figure with wisdom and life experience. They had many conversations about life and the topics she was interested in his field of speciality. The girl found him to be very knowledgable and she was inspired by his thoughts and ideas.
Overtime it come to light that the professor did not look at her as a daughter or as a young student thirsty for knowledge but more as a potential women to have a relationship with. She confronted him with this and straighten things out. She made it clear that she was not interested in a relationship with him. It never the less left her wondering about men in general.
Soon afterwards her real father who had been divorced from her mother for a while started to date with a lady who was much younger than him. She felt uncomfortable with this but didn’t know why. It occurred to her that her concept of ” father archetype” was threatened. She said “if the professors and fathers are trying to have relationships with younger women who is protecting these young women?” Is this not the role of fathers and professors in trusted position?
I had no other answer other than agree with her. I only asked her that she should be little kinder to herself and to her father by relaxing the “father archetype” definition. The father archetypes concept is only a guide to what father figure ought to be like. Not all men abuse their position of trust. Her father ( she agreed ) genuinely loves the younger women he is with and there was no abuse of trust in their relationship. I also asked her to talk to her dad about how she feels about his behaviour; he may shed some light on his behaviour that may allow her to be kinder to herself and to her father; I told her that she should also talk to a counsellor . Hopefully, this would result in her having a healthy relationship with her father and men in her life.
- Reminders from a wonderful daughter while wrestling with Samantha Shaw lied to through divorce (diakrinomusings.wordpress.com)
- Is it time for new models? (changingwomen.org)
- The Father-Daughter Relationship (kelseykayhoward.com)