Narcissistic Fathers by Jo Sutch

Narcissistic fathers often emotionally damage their children. They disregard boundaries, manipulate their children by withholding affection (until the children “perform”), ignore their children when the child needs them,

and neglect to meet the needs of their children in many many ways, because they are interested only in meeting their own needs.

Their image and perfection is essential to narcissists; they often demand perfection from their children.

The children thus feel intense pressure to be perfect

and try to ramp up their talents, looks, intellect or personality to please their father.

It has a high personal cost to them if they succeed in fulfilling their father’s wishes – and it can cost them just as much if they fail. It’s a no-win situation.

There is profound unhappiness among the members of a family ruled by a tyrannical narcissistic father, who sometimes pretends to be the silent strong person but is undermining every one in the family as often as he can.

In many of these families, the mother simply echoes the father as she feels uncertain of herself

(due to his emotional abuse)

and is afraid to take her husband on.

Often this destructive pattern is the result of the mother’s own childhood.

Not aware of the dynamics of narcissism, she went from a cruel, tyrannical father or mother to a brutal, domineering husband.

Repetition of psychological patterns, such as is seen with abuse and narcissism, is common.

The mother chooses a spouse similar to her abusive parent and raises a family in an abusive environment like the one she was raised in.


• Daughters and sons of narcissistic fathers frequently report that they can never feel satiated when it to comes to getting what they need from their fathers.

They never got enough time with their father and would have to compete with siblings for that rare time.

Most family pictures are of him with the children, because he is so seldom around them it triggers photos. In the end the albums lie and say he was since there are so many of these .

As a young child, a father might comment on how beautiful his daughter was.

But as she grew older, he would rarely miss an opportunity to comment on her weight, clothing, or make up in a negative manner.

The daughters often carry these concerns into adulthood, even if they were otherwise successful. With a father like this, nothing is ever good enough.

Their relationship with men in the future is clouded by feelings of vulnerability and worries that they’ll be dumped for someone else.

It’s self protective but doesn’t lead to healthy relationships.

• Sons of narcissistic fathers describe feeling that they can never measure up.

Their fathers were so competitive they even compete with their sons.

They either unconsiouly compete or pay no attention to their sons.

The sons often simply accept defeat – how can they possibly win against a grown man?

Sometimes they take another tact and work hard to beat their father at his own game- just to get his attention and some semblance of fatherly pride.

Yet they never feel good enough even when they do succeed; they still feel empty and second rate.

The father signals this with his constant frowns, eye rolling, and demeaning body language.

Both girls and boys need to be loved by their fathers in order to feel validated as individuals.

Narcissists are incapable of loving anyone other than themselves. Repeat that sentence. It is true!

Some of their children become narcissists themselves.

That way they get their father’s attention (imitation is the highest form of flattery) and they learn from an expert how to manipulate and use people. The father openly encourages this with laughter and nods of approval.

Having a such a father is a nightmare for every member of the family except the “chosen child” (or children) whom he picks to reflect his perfect image.

The chosen child is groomed to become his little clone.

They have been chosen for their looks, intellect, special talents, or some other characteristic such as position in the family, that the narcissistic father regards as valuable to him.

Other children in the family are bypassed because they have not measured up to his expectations.

They can be very bright, kind, considerate, or sensitive–none of this matters to the narcissistic father.

If the child

needs braces or has some physical needs this child is then looked down upon for common ailments and that child is neither valued or respected.

After all he does not make the father proud, does not say to the world “Look at the fine human being I produced!”

He doesn’t care about the quality of his other children’s character or personality.

These children suffer; they spend their whole childhoods doing their best, trying to get their father’s love and attention yet they always come up empty-handed.

There is also usually the “scapegoat” child.

Narcissistic fathers are often mean and cruel to these children and let them know- on a regular basis- that they are deficient, unmotivated, always wrong and too soft.

They are worthless to him and are blamed for everything that goes wrong.


(From Children of the Self Absorbed: A Grownup’s Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents by Nina Brown)

Forgets what you have done for him in the past but keeps reminding you that you owe him today

Does it all: Is a super person to gain admiration

Threatens to abandon you if you don’t go along with what he wants

Does not obey the law-sees himself above the law

Does not expect to be penalized for failure to follow directions or conform to guidelines

Ignores your feelings and calls you overly sensitive or touchy if you express feelings

Tells you how you should feel or not feel

Exploits others with lies and manipulations.

Neglects the family to impress others.

Wants others outside the family to admire him

Attempts to make you feel stupid, helpless and inept when you do things on your own

Uses emotional blackmail to get what he wants

Turns every conversation to himself

Expects you to meet his emotional needs

Ignores the impact of his negative comments on you

Constantly criticizes or berates you and knows what is best for you

Focus on blaming rather than taking responsibility for his own behavior

Expects you to jump at his every need

Is overly involved with his own hobbies, interests or addictions ignoring your needs

Has high need for attention

Brags, sulks, complains, inappropriately teases, is flamboyant, loud and boisterous

Is closed minded about own mistakes.

Can’t handle criticism and gets angry to shut it off

Becomes angry when his needs are not met and tantrums or intimidates

Has an attitude of “Anything you can do, I can do better”

Engages in one-upmanship to seem important

Sees everything in life as a competion.

Acts in a seductive manner or is overly charming to the adult sons wife.

Is vain and fishes for compliments.

Expects you to admire him

Isn’t satisfied unless he has the “biggest” or “best”

Spends money only to impress others

Cannot listen to you and cannot allow your opinions

Is more interested in his own concerns and interests than yours

Is unable to see things from any point of view other than his own

Wants to control what you do and say-tries to micromanage you

Has poor insight and cannot see the impact his selfish behavior has on you

Has shallow emotions and interests

May engage in physical or sexual abuse of children

The tyrannical narcissistic father is a bully- a cruel, lying, arrogant person,

believing his own lies and therefore making them seem true to those who might doubt.

Seeks status.

He is a tyrant that is totally entrenched in his grandiose world and insistent that everyone follow his commands.

He is emotionally abusive and can cause significant emotional damage to all family members.

Unfortunately, his behaviors and lies cause the relationships within a family to be toxic and can cause lifelong wounds.

Author: GreatCosmicMothersUnited

I have joined with many parents affected with the surreal , yet accepted issue of child abuse via Pathogenic Parenting / Domestic abuse. As a survivor of Domestic Abuse, denial abounded that 3 sons were not affected. In my desire to be family to those who have found me lacking . As a survivor of psychiatric abuse, therapist who abused also and toxic prescribed medications took me to hell on earth with few moments of heaven. I will share my life, my experiences and my studies and research.. I will talk to small circles and I will council ; as targeted parents , grandparents , aunts , uncles etc. , are denied contact with a child for reasons that serve the abuser ...further abusing the child. I grasp the trauma and I have looked at the lost connection to a higher power.. I grasp when one is accustomed to privilege, equality can feel like discrimination.. Shame and affluence silences a lot of facts , truths that have been labeled "negative". It is about liberation of the soul from projections of a alienator , and abuser ..

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