Being raised by a narcissistic father can be a challenging and often traumatic experience. These types of fathers are characterized by their lack of empathy, grandiose sense of self-importance, and the need for constant attention and adoration.
Their manipulative and controlling behavior, along with insensitivity and callousness, can have a significant impact on their children’s lives.
In this blog post, I will delve into the narcissistic father traits , signs, tactics and coping tips for dealing with a narcissistic father. By understanding the characteristics of a narcissistic father and the strategies they use, you can begin to empower yourself and find healing from the effects of this toxic relationship.
Definition of a Narcissistic Father
A narcissistic father is someone who displays narcissistic traits, such as grandiosity, entitlement and an excessive need for admiration. The narcissistic father puts his own needs above those of his family, often resulting in a lack of empathy for the other members of the family.
In extreme cases, narcissistic fathers may exhibit emotionally or physically abusive behavior or outbursts due to their need for control and power. Narcissist fathers can be highly manipulative in their relationships with others and may use any perceived weakness or vulnerability as a way to gain advantage over them.
It’s important to recognize narcissistic behaviors early on so that appropriate steps can be taken to help the narcissistic father and prevent further harm caused by these destructive behaviors.
Traits of a Narcissistic father
Here are some Narcissistic father traits:
1. Lack of Empathy
Lack of empathy is a common trait found in narcissistic fathers. The inability to empathize with the emotions and experiences of another person can have drastic effects on their children’s emotional wellbeing. Essentially, it results in them not being able to communicate on an emotional level, understand or validate their child’s feelings, or build a meaningful connection with them.
Examples of this type of behavior can range from berating their children for having valid feelings (such as sadness or anger) to emotionally manipulating them by withholding love and affection. Narcissistic parents may also devalue or disregard the thoughts and opinions of their children while demanding constant praise and attention for themselves without offering any in return.
Moreover, they may not be aware that there are boundaries when it comes to parenting — such as never crossing certain lines that would make their child feel uncomfortable — because they don’t recognize someone else’s emotions beyond what serves them best at any particular moment.
2. Grandiose Sense of Self-Importance
Grandiose sense of self-importance is an another common trait among narcissistic fathers. This type of behavior manifests itself in a father’s need to be the center of attention, and for their authority over others to remain unchallenged.
A sign that your father may have this trait would be if he constantly talks about his own accomplishments, skills, or qualifications; or expresses an unreasonable expectation from other people — such as expecting without demand to be listened to and obeyed without reasonable reason.
A narcissistic father will usually think they are better than anyone else and may even behave aggressively when challenged or opposed.
For example: You might have a parent who brags excessively about their career achievements in comparison with those around them–especially you — in order to assert dominance and their greater wisdom or importance over anyone else.
Alternatively, they could expect unquestioning respect from those around them despite not providing any sort of good example to follow — such as through taking responsibility for mistakes or actively listening rather than jumping straight into giving orders
3. Need for Constant Attention and Adoration
Narcissistic fathers often have an insatiable need for attention and adoration from those around them. This is in part due to their fragile sense of self-worth, as they tend to rely heavily on the validation of others for acceptance and respect. As a result, these fathers can become overly demanding and difficult to please.
For example, a narcissistic father may require increasingly large amounts of attention from his family members regardless of the impact it has on them or other elements within their lives.
He may also take credit for any successes achieved by his children that he had no part in creating or helping grow which causes emotional distress among members of the family system.
Furthermore, if his family does not give him the admiration he desires, he may make passive aggressive remarks or directly criticize those who are closest to him out of pure frustration with himself.
4. Manipulative and Controlling Behavior
Manipulative and controlling behavior is a common trait among narcissistic fathers. This type of behavior typically manifests itself in the need to control or manipulate their children’s choices, decisions, and lives.
Narcissistic fathers often use their power and authority over their children to exercise excessive control that limits their freedom, stifles creativity, and suppresses authentic self-expression.
A common example of manipulative and controlling behavior from a narcissistic father is demanding obedience with threats or punishments used when rules are not followed. This can manifest itself through guilt trips when children try to make independent decisions or do things differently than expected.
Additionally, this demand for obedience often takes form in verbal putdowns towards children who stray from parental demands as well as making them feel guilty for not complying with expectations.
Furthermore, manipulating feelings also happen regularly within these types of families — such as using anger as a tool to keep children obedient rather than relying on reason; this type of manipulation makes it more difficult for the child to question what is happening around them due to fear caused by unpredictable outbursts.
5. Insensitivity and Callousness
Insensitivity and callousness are common narcissistic father traits, which can have a serious impact on the well-being of their children. These behaviors involve an individual’s lack of understanding or complete disregard for the feelings of others.
A narcissistic father may not express empathy or sympathy, display limited warmth and affection, be highly critical and treat their child as a tool to meet their own needs.
For example, a narcissistic father may ask their teenage daughter to do all the chores around the house but deny her pleas for help with school work or leisure activities; they might also put themselves first in financial matters such as college fund contributions for only one child instead of equally splitting it among siblings.
Additionally, this type of parent might invalidate or ignore any grievances brought up by their children leaving them feeling unheard and unimportant within the family unit.
Ultimately these patterns can lead to anger issues in teenagers due to feeling powerless in attempting to defend themselves from these injustices, as well difficulty forming trust with future relationships due to fear that they will also be taken advantage of like with their parent figure before them.
Signs of Narcissistic Father
Here are some signs of narcissistic father:
1.Narcissistic father blames family members for the problems
When a narcissistic father blames his family members for the problems faced in life, it is often a sign of an underlying pattern of pathological behavior. A narcissist will typically blame others to protect themselves from any feelings of guilt or shame, as well as to preserve their own self-image.
For example, imagine that a father has an issue with his child not getting accepted into their desired college. Rather than accepting any responsibility himself, he may externalize this problem by blaming the child’s lack of effort and intelligence on their mother or siblings instead.
This allows him to maintain his sense of superiority while also avoiding painful emotions associated with failure and disappointment.
Another common way narcissistic fathers will blame their family members is by using them as scapegoats in times of crisis or during times when they can’t control a situation.
For instance, if something goes wrong at work that results in embarrassment or public humiliation for the narcissist, he will often attempt to shift the blame onto someone close to him such as his spouse or children instead — even if there is no evidence that points towards them being responsible for what happened.
Overall, blaming family members for problems can be an indication that there are issues with underlying narcissism present within the home — and should be taken seriously if observed on multiple occasions or even just once depending on how extreme it seems.
2. Narcissist father Expects Unconditional Love and Devotion
A narcissistic father may expect his child or children to provide him with an endless amount of admiration and attention — even if those expectations are not warranted or right.
It is common for these fathers to view their children as mere extensions of themselves rather than individuals capable of making decisions independently — they often demand that they follow whatever rules they make without question or explanation from them.
This type of parenting creates an oppressive environment where the child feels powerless and unable to escape from such stifling demands out fear that doing so will only further displease the father figure in their life.
An example would be if Bob has two teenage daughters who he expects should shower him with compliments whenever possible — including about how well he dresses, how great his appearance looks compared others’, etc..
Even though these seemingly ‘positive’ types expectations might appear benign on the surface level at first glance, over time if left unchecked could lead Bob’s daughters into feeling resentment towards him because they don’t necessarily agree with him — but instead just appease him in order avoid any repercussions (i.e., anger/manipulation).
Narcissistic fathers are usually unaware that there needs are taking priority over those closest around them — which can hurt both parties involved: The narcissist by not getting genuine connection or appreciation while also leaving their loved ones feeling overwhelmed by unrealistic demands placed on them constantly.
3. Narcissist Father Shows Little or No Interest in Child’s Life
Narcissistic fathers can show little or no interest in their child’s life as a symptom of their underlying condition. It is important to note that not all fathers who do this are narcissists, but it can be an indicator in some cases.
One example of how this would manifest itself comes from an example of a father who was incredibly ambitious and driven himself but never showed any genuine interest in his son’s achievements or accomplishments.
Instead, he focused on what others would think people would think if they found out about his son’s successes, paying more attention to the appearance instead of the actual accomplishment.
This behavior is often seen with narcissistic parents because it helps them maintain their own sense of superiority and control over others’ opinions.
4. Narcissist Father Demands Constant Praise and Adoration
It is not uncommon for a father who suffers from narcissism to require constant praise and adoration. This demanding behavior can be very difficult for family members to deal with, as it can be both emotionally draining and deeply disempowering.
Narcissistic individuals often have an inflated sense of self-importance, need frequent validation from others, and are highly sensitive when they do not receive the attention they crave. This may manifest in a narcissistic parent taking on a heavy-handed approach to parenting — expecting their children to satisfy their emotional needs of continuously praising them or risk facing their disapproval.
A parent excessively focused on winning the admiration of his children may also display envy if his kids receive accolades or recognition he doesn’t himself attain — leaving children feeling intimidated and dismissed no matter how well they perform at home or school tasks.
A prime example would be an incident involving my own father who often demanded unwavering praise while exhibiting low levels of empathy towards my siblings’ successes or achievements (unless it was directly linked to him).
He even verbally berated me once because I failed to enthusiastically congratulate him after he received positive feedback about something he had done at work that day which I wasn’t aware of priory.
During such moments, you grow more conscious about your expressions in order so as not draw his wrath — something that makes you feel diminished and inferior for being forced into submission every time you fail comply with his expectations.
Therefore, demands for continuous appreciation by fathers affected by narcissism should certainly set off alarm bells among family members.
5. Narcissistic father Plays Favorites among Children
Plays Favorites among Children as a sign of narcissistic father is an unfortunately common occurrence in many family dynamics. A narcissistic father will typically show preferential treatment to one child over the others, which can have devastating impacts on the child’s self-esteem and development.
A parent’s approval or disapproval has an incredible impact on a child’s sense of identity and worth. When one child receives undeserved special attention from their father, it causes the other siblings to feel devalued as human beings, leaving them with deep emotional scars like insecurity, fear, envy and animosity that can last for life.
It sends them messages like “you are not good enough,” “you don’t deserve my time,” “your achievements don’t matter.” These feelings of neglect create feelings of resentment toward their parents that could even lead to mental health issues later in life such as depression or anxiety disorder.
In the worst scenarios, this dynamic creates unhealthy competition between siblings where they strive to please their father by competing with each other; a situation where only one sibling wins at any given time while all others lose further leads through psychological manipulation by their father — often unconscious — strengthens his power over his children making it possible for him to continue manipulating them throughout life even when he doesn’t live with them anymore. To put it simply: The narcissist dad turns your siblings into rivals instead of allies when facing him .
An example would be if two children shared similar qualities and ambitions but only one was acknowledged or praised by their dad — this might create tension between siblings as well as within themselves since whatever achievement is accomplished by either sibling will most likely still go unnoticed due to constant focus being shifted towards the favored one out of jealousy from what is perceived as unfair attention stolen away from oneself .
This puts both sides at odds trying desperately win approval from someone incapable or unwilling provide it without creating conflict among equals thus trapping everyone involved in an endless cycle that reinforces itself destroying relationships between family members permanently until proper interventions take place.
Read more here about Narcissistic mother.
Tactics Used by a Narcissistic Father
Here are some tactics narcissistic fathers use to control and manipulate their family:
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation used by narcissistic fathers to control their children and make them doubt their own memories, thoughts, and feelings. It is a manipulative tactic often used to shift blame or invalidate the victim’s beliefs.
In essence, gaslighting occurs when a narcissistic father attempts to control the reality for their child by manipulating them into believing something that isn’t true. They try to convince their child that what they are feeling and experiencing isn’t real because it doesn’t match up with what the parent wants them to believe.
This can be done through verbal abuse, subtle threats, withholding information or affection, actively discounting their feelings or ideas as “silly” or “wrong,” isolating them from friends and family members who might support them in challenging authority figures — all designed to confuse children who are dependent on adults for guidance.
For example — a Narcissistic father may tell his daughter she will never amount to anything if she follows her dreams of becoming an artist instead of getting a corporate job he thinks will bring more stability; he may use subtler tactics such as telling her no one else believes in her artistic talent so neither should she; he may even go so far as accusing her of lying about experiences in order to deny ever having said those things himself.
The goal here is always the same — the father seeks out ways of making his daughter question herself so much that she begins doubting everything around her — be it people’s intentions towards her or even facts about herself — which leaves him with greater power over how she lives her life.
Triangulation is a destructive tactic used by narcissistic fathers in the family setting. It involves manipulating two or more individuals in such a way to cause contention and conflict among them, while diverting attention away from the narcissist’s own bad behavior. This often leaves family members feeling confused, insecure and uncertain of whom they can trust.
For example, if there are three siblings in a family with a narcissistic parent — one might be favored as the golden child while another becomes the scapegoat who takes all of the blame from their father’s actions.
The third child might become ignored by their parent altogether. In this scenario, triangulation allows for two children to be pitted against each other; with each of them vying for favor and acceptance from their father — which ultimately serves his own interests rather than those of his children’s wellbeing.
This kind of behaviour has long-lasting effects on families — leaving members feeling stuck in confusion, resentment and distress that can persist long after childhood into adulthood if left unresolved or not addressed adequately enough on time.
Projection is a defense mechanism used by narcissistic fathers in the family context to shift blame and accountability away from the self. It is a technique of putting one’s own unacceptable thoughts, feelings, and motivations into someone else. The idea behind this tactic is that if you can project your flaws onto another person, then you don’t have to take responsibility for them yourself.
For example, an abusive father may say things like “You’re just as bad as I am” or “That’s why you’re so messed up — it must be in your genes”. By suggesting that his children are already messed up before he even interacts with them, he shifts blame away from himself and tries to make others think that it’s not his fault for their issues.
In this way, he can maintain control over everyone else in the family while avoiding any responsibility for what happens within it.
Narcissistic fathers may also use projection when they are accused of anything negative — whether real or perceived — by denying their role in the situation and instead projecting these same feelings onto someone else (usually their partner or children).
This could include such statements as “I’m not mad at all — you’re the one who’s angry” or “It’s not my problem that things aren’t going right; it’s yours.”
By projecting their faults onto someone else — rather than accepting personal responsibility — narcissistic fathers attempt to control both how they feel about themselves and how those around them perceive them too.
However, this tactic ultimately serves only to fuel resentment within families while damaging interpersonal relationships between parents and children alike.
Isolation is a classic tactic used by narcissistic fathers in the family. It involves setting up an environment which encourages independence and self-sufficiency, while also allowing them to maintain total control over their children’s behavior and thoughts.
This is often done through refusal to engage in meaningful communication or discussion with the child, as well as actively trying to isolate them from people outside of the family.
For example, a father may forbid their child from attending social events or hanging out with friends for no good reason other than wanting to keep their children away from those influences.
The goal of this type of isolation is to make sure that the child only ever gets exposed to what he wants them exposed too, ensuring that they never push back against his rule or oppose his opinion on any matter.
Not only do these tactics create a feeling of loneliness and insecurity within the child but it can also lead them into adopting narcissistic traits such as an obsession with perfectionism and grandiosity.
7. Financial control
Financial control is one of the most common tactics used by narcissistic fathers in families. In such cases, the father uses money to keep his children dependent on him, reinforcing his power over them and proving that he is the household’s major provider.
For example, a narcissistic father may give his children a limited allowance every month, or perhaps an expensive gift if they show admiration for him. He may also deny them access to basic necessities unless they comply with his wishes and demands.
At its core, financial control indicates that a child needs their parent’s ‘okay’ before moving forward with any decision — even if it means continuing their education or investing in necessary items like clothes or food.
This type of control establishes parental authority in all aspects of life and communicates to the child that they are not capable of being financially independent.
Impacts of having a Narcissistic Father on Kids
Having a narcissistic father can have a significant impact on a child’s psychological well-being. Some of the potential effects include:
- Low Self-Esteem: Children of narcissistic fathers often grow up feeling invalidated, criticized, and rejected. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem.
- Difficulty in Relationships: Children of narcissistic fathers may have difficulty forming healthy relationships with others, as they may struggle with trust and intimacy issues. They may also struggle with codependency or attracting similarly abusive partners.
- Emotional Instability: Children of narcissistic fathers may experience emotional instability and mood swings, as they struggle with feelings of anger, frustration, and insecurity. They may also experience anxiety and depression.
- Shame and Guilt: Children of narcissistic fathers may internalize the blame for the difficulties in their relationship, leading to feelings of shame and guilt.
- Difficulty in Setting Boundaries: Children of narcissistic fathers may have difficulty setting and maintaining healthy boundaries in their relationships, as they may struggle with asserting themselves and standing up for themselves.
- Impairment in Empathy: Children of narcissistic fathers may struggle with empathy and the ability to understand and connect with the emotions of others, as they may have been raised in an environment where their own emotions were disregarded.
Sons of Narcissistic Fathers
Sons of narcissistic fathers often face unique challenges growing up and in their adult relationships. Some of the ways in which having a narcissistic father can impact sons include:
- Lack of Emotional Connection: Sons of narcissistic fathers may have difficulty forming close emotional connections with others, as they may have grown up in a household where their feelings were dismissed or invalidated.
- Difficulty with Intimacy: Sons of narcissistic fathers may struggle with intimacy in their romantic relationships, as they may have learned to avoid vulnerability and emotional openness.
- Confusion about Masculinity: Sons of narcissistic fathers may have a distorted view of masculinity, as they may have learned to equate strength and power with a lack of empathy and emotional expressiveness.
- Struggles with Self-Esteem: Sons of narcissistic fathers may struggle with low self-esteem, as they may have been criticized or rejected by their father.
- Inability to Trust: Sons of narcissistic fathers may have difficulty trusting others, as they may have experienced betrayal and manipulation from their father.
- Difficulty Setting Boundaries: Sons of narcissistic fathers may struggle with setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, as they may have learned to prioritize the needs and wants of others over their own.
Daughters of Narcissistic fathers
Daughters of narcissistic fathers often face unique challenges growing up and in their adult relationships. Some of the ways in which having a narcissistic father can impact daughters include:
- Lack of Emotional Connection: Daughters of narcissistic fathers may have difficulty forming close emotional connections with others, as they may have grown up in a household where their feelings were dismissed or invalidated.
- Struggles with Self-Esteem: Daughters of narcissistic fathers may struggle with low self-esteem, as they may have been criticized or rejected by their father.
- Inability to Trust: Daughters of narcissistic fathers may have difficulty trusting others, as they may have experienced betrayal and manipulation from their father.
- Difficulty Setting Boundaries: Daughters of narcissistic fathers may struggle with setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, as they may have learned to prioritize the needs and wants of others over their own.
- Attraction to Narcissistic Partners: Daughters of narcissistic fathers may be drawn to narcissistic partners, as they may be familiar with and comfortable with this type of behavior, or they may struggle with codependency and attracting similarly abusive partners.
- Confusion about Femininity: Daughters of narcissistic fathers may have a distorted view of femininity, as they may have learned to equate being liked and accepted with sacrificing their own needs and wants.
Dealing with Narcissistic father
- Mindfulness and Self-Reflection: Practicing mindfulness and self-reflection can help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and your relationship with your narcissistic father. This can give you the emotional distance and clarity you need to effectively cope with their behavior.
- Creative Outlets: Engaging in creative activities, such as writing, drawing, or playing an instrument, can help you process your feelings and emotions in a healthy way. This can also serve as a form of self-expression and help you reclaim your power in the relationship.
- Boundary-Setting: Establishing and maintaining clear boundaries is crucial in dealing with a narcissistic father. This may involve setting limits on their behavior or simply choosing not to engage with them on their terms.
- Finding a Support Network: Surrounding yourself with supportive people, whether it be friends, family, or a therapist, can provide you with a much-needed sense of comfort and validation. This can also help you feel less isolated and give you the courage to stand up for yourself.
- Practicing Self-Care: Taking care of yourself, both physically and emotionally, is essential when dealing with a narcissistic father. This can involve engaging in self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, or spending time in nature. By prioritizing your own well-being, you can build your resilience and better cope with their behavior.
In conclusion, dealing with a narcissistic father can be a difficult and challenging experience, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. By understanding the traits, signs, tactics and coping tips for dealing with a narcissistic father, you can empower yourself and begin to heal from the effects of this toxic relationship.
Whether it’s through mindfulness and self-reflection, boundary-setting, finding a support network, or practicing self-care, there are many strategies you can use to help you cope and move forward in a positive and healthy direction.
It’s important to remember that healing is a journey and that it takes time and patience. But with the right support and resources, you can learn to love and accept yourself, and find peace and fulfillment in your life.
- https://psychcentral.com/blog/recovering-narcissist/2019/05/5-common-struggles-children-of-narcissists-face-in-adulthood By Psych Central
- https://www.newportinstitute.com/resources/mental-health/narcissistic-parent/ By New Port Institute
- https://www.choosingtherapy.com/raised-by-narcissists/ By Choosing Therapy
- https://www.talkspace.com/mental-health/conditions/articles/how-to-deal-with-a-narcissistic-father/ By Talkspace