Robin Bailey is attracted to big men. The kind of men who will hold her, make her feel secure and safe.
The reason, she says, is that her father died of a heart attack when she was just 11 years old.
His absence left her longing for validation, and has manifested throughout her life in various ways; self-esteem issues, body image issues, eating issues, and an attraction to men in the image of her father.
Listen: Robin and Bec tell their stories. (Post continues after audio.)
“My whole life has been marred a little bit and it’s only now that I’m in my forties that I have the confidence not to need to be validated in the same way and I do believe it was because my dad wasn’t around,” she said on the latest episode of The Well.
“No-one was there to tell me I was pretty or show me how to relate to men and boys when I was growing older and going through puberty.”
It was a conversation that made co-host Rebecca Sparrow really “stand up and think” about the impact of fathers on their daughters and the role they plan in laying down so much of the foundations of who we become.
Sparrow's own dad was the kind of dad every little girl wants. He raised her to be strong and free, with the kind of self-belief where if she told him she wanted to be Prime Minister, he'd tell her yes, she could be.
"He just always looked at me and spoke to me as if I had the greatest value in the world of what I offered as a human being, so I look back now and that confidence that he thought so highly of me... is so directly related to my father," she said.
Psychologists have recently taken a keen interest in the role that the father-daughter relationships plays in building resilience and raising fierce women.