Daddy Issues and Chasing Misogynistic Men

by Charmaine Griffin

I love guys who are a completely and incandescently charming with a hint of misogyny and a dash of emotional unavailability. They are either too far, too busy, or fresh out of a relationship. My subconscious yearns for the challenge presented by a man who dangles himself right in front of me but doesn’t fully want to commit. My therapist says it’s because I’m attracted to men that are just like my father. If my father was always busy, traveling, not someone I could open up to emotionally, and rarely made time for me, then that’s exactly the type of man I will want. If he was in any way misogynistic or controlling, that’s the icing on my attraction cake.

If I was to describe an interaction with Him — the typical guy my beautiful subconscious falls for — he’d sound perfect. He’d also mimic my dad'S personality. On the first date, he greets me with sweet kisses caressed in words of patriarchal seduction. In the first hour of meeting, the moments are always the same with lightning chemistry coupled by deceptive compatibility as he checks off all my boxes with a great smile, career goals, he’s cultured and well versed in art and music, and claims to be all for breaking down gender norms and women having as much freedom as possible, sexual, emotional and the like.

But there are some caveats. Behind every door he opens for me he boasts about how his mother raised him to be the perfect gentleman. He pushes my hand away to pay for dinner because he wants to show that while he respects my independence he’s able to “take care of me." He’s sexy, and his touch is electric. He seems determined and knows what he wants in life, whether what he wants is me or not. The nonchalant attitude he possesses makes me want to break down his walls, in hopes that I’ll be the one to win the prize that I’ve idolized him to be.

I’d like to believe I proudly wear all the labels and titles that would make me a true feminist — strong, confident, independent. I’m the first to argue that women’s rights are constantly threatened by our male-dominated society and that if the tables were turned, the world would nearly exist on the heels of a utopia.

But on the back end, I always gravitate towards men who mask themselves behind a facade of routinely practised charm, flattery, and progressive-language. It’s the facade that blinds me to the fact that indeed they aren’t interested in more than just a momentary fling that does not exceed a three-month expiration date. The thrill of chasing a woman who wants you but doesn’t need you is like sweet honey to the men I frequently attract.

Then the real fun happens. Suddenly my daddy issues come front and center as the star in this show. At the first push, I cave. His job is taking up most of his time, he’s not ready for a relationship, and he really just wants to have fun with me. He’s no longer the gentleman that saw me as an equal because with time he’s pushed back on my “aggressive” nature. The words, “hey, can you do this” and the response of “sure babe of course” turn into unappreciated declarations of what I as a woman should be responsible for from cooking to cleaning, to submitting to his desires. I slowly bend trying to prove myself as a woman who can do it all — be strong and vulnerable, assertive and passive, a leader who is also submissive — thinking that if I do all the things, and be every type of woman, he will provide my need for emotional security. I soften my tone, reduce my arguments, and let my divine feminine energy take over my masculine balance.

I begin to chase. Text too much, call too much, trying to figure out where I went wrong. Now that I’m no longer wonder woman cloaked in all of my femme glory, he has lost respect for me. His emotional openness is non-existent as he wonders why I’m giving in to his needs so much instead of being the powerhouse he first met.

It’s the best game of cat and mouse that I’ve ever played because as soon as he reveals his true self as controlling and highly misogynistic he pulls away from me, and I start my chase. He is my drug of choice and the challenge to my feminism. Because of Him, I at times feel like a fraud as my cloak of women’s empowerment gets taken down the moment he presents himself as an authority figure, just like my father. Completely contradicting everything I stand for and a repeated pattern of unresolved daddy issues, but it feels so good.