Daughters with absent fathers also struggle to build and maintain relationships. Women who grew up with absent dads find it difficult to form long-lasting relationships. Their dad’s rejection would scar them, and they would not want to risk getting hurt again. Whether they know it or not, they’d avoid getting close to people. They would form a superficial relationship where they’d reveal little about themselves. Often, they would behave promiscuously without getting too emotionally involved. These women would build walls around them. They won’t open up to people and keep their lives private. They’d also put in self-protective measures so that they would not experience rejection again. However, this would lead to the inability to experience intimacy in relationships.
Another outcome from emotional issues would be eating disorders. Women who grew up without their fathers can also develop eating disorders to cope with their emotional distress. They can experience anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating, body dysmorphia, unhealthy preoccupations with food or body weight, and other eating disorders simply because they did not have a father figure growing up. Moreover, daughters without dads are twice as likely to be obese.
Aside from food addiction or the obsession to be thin, daughters abandoned by their fathers were also susceptible to other forms of addiction. Because of their low self-esteem, they were more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs. Researchers found fatherless adolescents to be 69% more likely to use drugs.
As teenagers or adults, daughters of absentee fathers are also more prone to depression. Girls who grew up with dads who were either emotionally or physically absent are more likely to struggle with depression as adults. In the daughter’s fear of abandonment and rejection, these women often isolate themselves emotionally. As a result, they avoid healthy romantic relationships because they don’t feel deserving and fear getting hurt. On the other hand, they would jump into unhealthy relationships that ultimately lead to heartbreak. In either setting, the women are in emotional jeopardy and recurrently become depressed. If they don’t deal with the cause of their grief—an absent dad— they may never be able to develop healthy relationships with men. Data also shows how daughters without fathers are more than twice likely to commit suicide after succumbing to depression.
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