Clarke, J. (2021). A daughter’s experiences of her father, and their effects on her intimate relationships [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Middlesex University.

There is increasing evidence that unresolved father-daughter relationships are impacting subsequent relationships of the daughter in adulthood. This interpretational phenomenological study addresses the early ‘lived experiences of the daughter and explores their influence on her through the lens of her intimate partnerships. This study evaluates six accomplished women who have established independence and success in their careers in yoga and the wellness and/or healing industries. They have been specifically selected as an archetypal group of women, which illustrate some of the common challenges of the daughter-father relationship. From these early life impressions, commonalities and meanings can be linked to their romantic partnerships. Participants are aged between 32 and 61, and are from multicultural backgrounds; English, Chinese, Italian, French, American and Swiss. The interviews were all conducted online and transcribed using an interpretative phenomenological research approach (IPA), as outlined by John Smith, (Smith, Flowers, Larkin, 2009) and by (Moustakas, 1994). The research data produced five central father themes and five relational adult couple themes. The father themes were; 1) Father Poor Boundaries 2) Father Objectification 3) Father Betrayal & Infidelity 4) Father Abandonment 5) Father Over-Closeness. The five relational themes were 1) Relationship Betrayal or Infidelity 2) Relational Power/Control 3) Relational Withdrawal 4) Relational Copying 5) Relational Attachment. As part of linking a daughter’s ‘lived’ father experiences to patterns in her intimate partnerships, we can develop greater awareness as to what daughter-father phenomenon support and distort her ability to go on and develop healthy coupled relationships in adult life. Furthermore, by comparing early daughter experiences of the father, the possibility of developing greater insight as to how seeded archetypal personality structures can be recognised and understood and then resolved within a therapeutic or transformation process.

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