“Fatherless-ness” is an
issue that needs to be discussed. Many times women don’t understand why
they have the issues they do, but it’s only because they haven’t been
able to put a name to their struggle. My philosophy is, “if you can name
it you can change it.” The name is the Fatherless Women’s Syndrome; it’s
a syndrome that affects many women. Webster’s Dictionary defines
syndrome as “a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and
characterize a particular abnormality.” Within the Fatherless Women’s
Syndrome, there are some very distinct symptoms that have an abnormal
effect on our emotions. When a woman is left without her father, she has
emptiness inside, she struggles with abandonment issues, and she may
even feel unloved or unwanted. Some ladies without fathers in their
lives may disagree with this diagnosis and may feel that their fathers’
absence has no affect or control over their lives but, even if it’s
subconscious, it does have and affect and if we would be honest with
ourselves, we would see that the syndrome shows its ugly head in all of
I’m not just speaking from a theoretical point of view; I’m speaking as
a sista who has experienced it first hand. I know what it’s like to be a
five-year old child with tears running down her face, crying out to her
mother saying, “I miss my daddy.” I know what it’s like to have a pain
so indescribable inside of you that all you can do is go to the
refrigerator and try to “numb” yourself with food or try to get sexual
gratification to make the pain go away. But after trying to numb
yourself with food, sex, or drugs, the emptiness and pain is still
Webster’s Dictionary goes on to define a syndrome as a set of
"concurrent things—as emotions—or actions that form an identifiable
pattern.” LADIES! We have to look at our patterns in our
relationships—especially with men.
You thought Mike was the one—Mike isn’t there.
You thought Tim was the one and Tim is no longer in your life.
And you just knew that Robert was a sure thing, but Robert disappeared
All of these failed relationships have set a pattern, and until we are
willing to recognize that there is something seriously screwed up about
this, the dysfunctional cycle will continue and the syndrome will
continue to control your life. The question we should ask ourselves is
why these relationships failed one after the other. Usually what happens
with the woman who has Fatherless Women’s Syndrome is that she becomes
either too clingy or too defensive and afraid of commitment.
The woman who is too clingy holds on to a man for dear life in fear that
he will reject her and leave her like the first man in her life—her dad.
The man who she is clinging to perceives her as being too much of a
responsibility, so he leaves.
The woman who is afraid of commitment is very defensive and guards her
heart—she doesn’t let herself get too close. This woman usually calls
herself the “independent woman.” The title is something she believes
will shield her from dealing with a greater reality, the reality of
having the “syndrome.” She may believe that being in a relationship with
a man is a sign of weakness—not realizing that it can be a sign of
strength, because that mate is there to compliment the person she is.
Men want nothing more then to feel wanted by their woman. It makes a man
feel good to be our “knights in shining armor,” so if he feels
unappreciated he will eventually get tired of it, and leave.
In both instances, it leaves a woman in precisely the predicament she
Fatherless women have to be more conscious in their actions while in a
relationship. Many times, we feel as if we are at war trying to fight
off the symptoms of the syndrome in order to have a healthy
relationship. Most will agree that it’s not fair the way the cards have
been dealt but we have to play them the best way we know how and that’s
in seeking guidance from our higher power. The question might arise in
your heart; the damage has already been done, are there any possible
solutions? The answer to that question is yes. Any woman that has been
left without her father knows the pain that it entails. Sometimes it
feels like the anguish will never end but for all the ladies out there
struggling with the syndrome, I’m here to tell you to reach deep down
inside yourself, accept the loss and reclaim that part of you that has
been damaged. We have to determine within ourselves that, although our
father’s absence has left an emptiness inside of us that cannot be
filled with anything else, we will not let it affect who we are and the
women we are becoming.
We will not let it affect the way we feel about ourselves. We will not
let it affect our future relationships with men. We will own our own
thoughts and feelings in our own relationships. We will reclaim our
bodies and our femininity. We will not loose ourselves in a relationship
because of fear of not feeling wanted and feeling that submission is the
only way in which to keep our relationship. We will not continue to give
our bodies in sexual acts just because we believe that’s the only thing
we have to give or because we believe it’s the closest we can get to
experiencing true femininity.
There is something about the father daughter relationship that is so
special and unique; it’s where a woman recognizes her role and where she
learns about a man’s role. This is why when a woman is left fatherless,
something is lost; she doesn’t truly understand who she is as woman or
the right things to look for when choosing a mate. Even though we may
lack knowledge of ourselves as women, we must recognize that we are
always women, and we are always worthy of love, even if our past
experiences contradict that truth. We have to be willing to step up and
be the diva’s God created us to be. And with some serious prayer and a
love for ourselves, the wounds can finally be healed and the syndrome
broken. I encourage women who know this struggle to let God begin a new
work in you and let him be the potter in your life to remold your heart
that you may be able to live in an abundance of happiness and
prosperity, able to lean towards more fulfilling relationships and most
importantly that you may be able to forgive.
Special Note: I give thanks to my dear lord and savior Jesus Christ, my
mother (who has been a strong example of a true woman) and a book (that
I suggest to all women who want to learn about the healing process of
their father’s absence) called “Whatever Happened to Daddy’s little
Girl” by Jonetta Rose Barras.