My marriage ended not long after it began. One child was conceived and before he was 3 years old, I was living with my son, all on my own. Anyone who has been through a divorce (or the end of any serious relationship) knows that it takes years for the final curtain to close. So, you can imagine that my brief marriage was not a happy one.

How does this explain how my father impacted my life? It was after my divorce that I decided to go back to University, to complete another degree in the field of Psychology and Human Relations. It was during this time that I began to explore my own motives for getting married to a man that was so different from me. When I compared him to my father, I realized that they were polar opposites. Literally, from one extreme to another.

And it dawned on me…my father impacted my life in a very big way. The more I thought about it, the more obvious it became. All I had to do was review my childhood experiences with him, how I felt as his daughter, how I perceived him as a man, how he treated my mother. Then, I looked at my relationships, the personality traits of my boyfriends, the quality of those relationships, how they ended and why they ended. My father’s influence was everywhere.

My revelations were so eye-opening, so therapeutic that I wanted to share it with every woman that I could. I was curious to know if every father impacted their daughter the same way that my father affected me. By the time I had graduated with a Masters Degree, I was already preparing the research for my book, which I titled “Father Effects: How Your Father Influenced Who You Are and Who You Love.” The results of the research were incredible. We are all impacted by our fathers.

The data was collected using a survey. Over 1000 women responded to it. It could have kept going, but I had enough information to perform a statistical analysis and write my book. It all began with one question and from there the details of every woman’s experience with their father and their relationships just flowed. The first question, which I’d like you to answer to yourself was: Were your childhood memories of your father positive, negative or mixed?

I won’t get into all the results of the survey here, although I will tell you that my personal response to that question is, “Mixed”. In a nut shell, my father and mother divorced by the time I was 3 years old and if you’ve been paying attention, that is the same age that my son was when my marriage ended. Hello…do we see a pattern here?

If you want to read the results of my research you can find it online and in my published book, but I will share these brief details with you now. There are several father daughter issues that prevail, time and time again. Women who have Abusive Fathers, (both mental and physical), Emotionally Unavailable Fathers, Alcoholic Fathers and Abandoners (this is the group that deals with divorce as well) have not had it easy. Each of these Father types has had a very intense impact on their daughter’s lives.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t find true happiness in a relationship if you’ve had or have one of these fathers. It does mean that your journey was or will be more challenging. You have to do a lot of work to separate your childhood experience from your adult relationships. You have to stop the cycle.

Is it easy? I’d be lying if I said that it was. It takes work. We walk around for years with bruises, scars, heartache and disappointments. We run from those that remind of us our father or we are attracted to the same type because we look for healing and closure. We know what we need but we don’t believe that it’s possible to find it or how to. We don’t even know if we deserve it.

Did your father impact your life? There’s no doubt he did. How did your father impact your life? Take a look at your relationships with men. If you’ve worked through your issues and have found a wonderful man who treats you the way you deserve to be treated…well done! If you don’t need a man and you are perfectly content with yourself…bravo! But, if you are still struggling…then get started today. You can improve your life, find true love, achieve serenity…if you really want to and you’re ready to do the work. Who ever said that life was easy? But in the end, it will be worth the trip!

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Author's Bio: 

Shari Jonas graduated from McGill University in Montreal, with degrees in Psychology, Human Relations and Family Life Education. She devoted years researching the topic of womens' experiences with their fathers and how it has impacted their lives, their self esteem and their relationship choices. Her book, "Father Effects: How Your Father Influenced Who You Are and Who You Love" was published in 2002. Recently, she has written a 2nd edition as an online guided workshop.