Narcissistic father: the lifelong consequences
A narcissistic father causes lifelong, serious consequences in the lives of his children. You may have been asking yourself for some time what is wrong in your family. You have always felt an emotional distance, felt your father to be very strict, it was different from the parents of your friends. A narcissistic father possesses you as a son or daughter. He does not validate you in being different or in your feelings. This leads to you learning to see your feelings, ideas, thoughts, everything that makes you you, what you do, as wrong, as not right.
Children of narcissistic mothers or fathers often find out late in life that they grew up in a narcissistic family structure and what a profound influence their parents had on their whole lives.
How does a narcissistic father behave?
A narcissistic father sees you as his possession. For him you are not an independent person with your own wishes, feelings, ideas, opinions. He realises himself through you and projects his goals onto you. He forms you according to his ideas. To the outside world he presents this as "caring". A narcissistic father feels threatened by any autonomy aspirations of the child, because he runs the risk of losing possession over you. To keep you dependent, he manipulates, controls, punishes, devalues, emotionally blackmails, belittles your successes and attaches conditions to affection. Narcissistic fathers cannot feel empathy and are emotionally distant.
A narcissistic father is absolutely incapable of criticism and can become aggressive and angry at the smallest incidents.
The external image is everything for the narcissistic father, he needs the attention from outside. He pretends to be the perfect and happy family. Behind the closed doors, the mask then falls.
To the outside world he can
- very charming
- kind, nice and friendly
What is a narcissist like with his children?
You are his possession
- He shapes you according to his willat all costs
- He knows what is best for you
- Interferes compulsively in your life
- supports you only when it serves his ego, when it comes to you pursuing your own goals he sabotages you, belittles your project or makes you afraid to pursue it
- Cannot distinguish his needs from yours
- Sees himself as a good father and you as crazy
- It is not possible for him to see and acknowledge that there are also other ways of acting, thinking and living as he does
He realises himself through you
- You are his poster child
- He uses you for his self-promotion
- if you "succeed well" according to his ideas, this reflects on him, what a great father he is
- the success of the children is very important
- Music lessons, riding lessons, sports clubs, all kinds of support are used to make him look good, because he "cares" for you, and it doesn't matter to him whether you want all this. You get the activities chosen by him.
- projects his goals onto you
- calls you ungrateful when you say that these hobbies do not interest you
- He is not interested in whether you might have other goals.
- There is a role reversal because he uses you as a child to achieve his goals, to increase his self-worth, i.e. you as a child are there for the narcissistic father, in healthy families the father is there for the child.
He manipulates you
Emotional abuse is subtle and often non-verbal. There are often "unwritten laws".
Emotional blackmail or emotional abuse is psychological violence!
- The narcissist bends you without even speaking a word
- You do what I want or you will be punished
- You do what I want or I don't talk to you anymore
- Silent Treatment (punishment with silence)
- Blame (He tells you all the things he has done or sacrificed for you).
- Blame reversal (he manipulates you and makes you believe that you are to blame for the situation and that your reaction to the narcissistic abuse is the problem and not he himself, thus deeply insecuring you)
- Affection/love is conditional
- Gaslighting (the narcissistic father undermines your perception and thus makes you feel crazy)
o You are imagining things
o But you are sensitive
o You are very unbalanced
- He destabilises you, the more unstable you are, the easier he can control you.
- Non-verbal communication (looks, facial expressions, silence) for manipulation and devaluation
- Shames you, makes fun of you
- He makes you emotionally dependent on him, so that you can no longer make independent decisions, even as an adult.
Here you can find more information about emotional abuse. Narcissistic abuse is a special form of emotional abuse.
Have you experienced narcissistic abuse?
I specialize in helping people who have experienced narcissistic abuse and have created a special therapy program for victims of narcissists.
He controls you
- Is overpowering over the children
- Talking back is not allowed
- Disagreeing with other opinions and views, therefore portraying you and others as crazy and your views as pipe dreams.
- He orders what you have to do, has an authoritarian style of upbringing
o Which school subjects you take
o Which school you go to
o In which subjects you do your A-levels
o Which profession you learn, even if your interests and talents go in a completely different direction
o He chooses your sport and registers you
o He registers you for music lessons, you are not asked
- Narcissistic fathers think they know exactly the needs, goals, interests and feelings of their children.
- Is not able to communicate normally
You are never enough
- Lectures you and criticises you all the time
- It trims you for performance
- Play down your successes, you try and try and try, but it will never be enough.
- You don't get praise, so you only try harder to get praise at some point.
- Makes you small
- Always picks out your weaknesses and rides on them
- He highlights the much lower achievements of others, your achievements are hushed up, played down or ridiculed.
He is absolutely incapable of criticism
- May become angry or aggressive if you criticise him or her.
- Aggressive, moody, insulting behaviour, even over trifles
- Eliminates people from his life who dared to criticise him (Silent Treatment)
- Is omniscient
- Is infallible
He cannot show empathy
- Hurts or humiliates you with things you have confided in him/her
- Not interested in your feelings
- Sprinkle salt in your wounds
- Essentially leaves the day-to-day upbringing to the mother, intervenes only in the important aspects or for self-expression.
- The family is not a priority
- The profession has priority
Overt narcissistic father versus covert narcissistic father
You may think that your father fits many of the descriptions, but not the grandiose, openly aggressive, dominant, extroverted and self-promoting behaviour that is often described in narcissists. It is possible that your father is a covert narcissist. Covert narcissism is often very difficult to recognise.
Covert narcissists can
Covert narcissists are
- Extremely critical
- extremely easily offended
- Not willing to take responsibility for their actions
- see themselves as victims
If you try to talk to a covert narcissist about his behaviour towards you, the conversation will go like this:
The covert narcissist
- denies everything you say
- twists the conversation so much that you end up feeling guilty and wondering what you did wrong and apologising
- presents himself as a victim
Covert narcissists have the ability to leave you completely confused and unsettled with what they say to you.
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Narcissistic father versus narcissistic personality disorder
The boundaries between a narcissistic father and a narcissistic personality disorder are blurred. It is not important for you as a person affected to know whether your father has a narcissistic personality disorder or "only" has narcissistic characteristics. Narcissistic personality disorder is - to put it simply - only the intensification of narcissistic behaviour. If you have been exposed to narcissistic behaviour by a parent, it has been extremely damaging to your development and has had an enormous impact on your entire life - even if the parent does not have an explicit narcissistic personality disorder.
The profound consequences for the children of a narcissistic father
The following is a selection of the most serious consequences; I discuss the emotional consequences separately below.
You have lost your identity
- You don't know who you are because you were never allowed to be who you are.
- You have lost yourself completely
- You feel empty inside
- You do not know your needs
Probably the most massive effect of a narcissistic parent, the loss of identity. You have no idea who you actually are, what makes you you.
You have completely lost the deep connection to yourself, to what makes you you, to other people and to life as such. You no longer know what that is.
You are never good enough
- You are very performance-oriented to compensate for this feeling of "never being good enough".
- You are shy
- You are very insecure
- You are perfectionist (because you can never do it well or right enough)
- You don't even try to do anything, because you can't do it anyway.
- The narcissist has destroyed your self-worth, thus making you dependent on him, because you think that without him you are completely worthless and lost.
You are emotionally dependent
- You never learned that it's okay to do your own thing, no matter what it is.
- You have never known that you are all rightthe way you are
- You constantly worry - even as an adult - whether your narcissistic father likes what you are doing.
- Even as an adult, you still seek the approval of your narcissistic father for things you intend to do.
You are extremely adapted
As a child you learned that you have to conform and fulfil the expectations of your narcissistic father in order to receive protection, food, love, approval. This is a pattern you learned as a child.
- You live as a child in constant fear of losing that protection if you are not right enough
- You are - directly speaking - afraid of your father, afraid of losing his goodwill - although he was supposed to protect you from danger as a child, he was the source of danger for you.
- because you have no other coping strategy, you repress this fear.
- Your system is therefore constantly in a state of alarm and tension.
- You constantly check your father's mood in order to be able to adjust to him.
- You continue this pattern of adaptation as an adult in your job, partnership, circle of friends, you have to please at all costs.
- You can't set boundaries, you can't say "no".
You are torn inside
- You realise that the behaviour of your narcissistic father is not good for you, but on the other hand you look up to your father, that's what children do.
- You have started to talk yourself into believing what has happened.
- This leads to the fact that even as an adult you continue to tolerate the behaviour of your narcissistic father.
- You have difficulties reconciling the outwardly perfect image of your family with your inner feelings. You have had a feeling deep inside for a long time that something is not right in your family, but you cannot put your finger on it.
You have no emotional bond with your father
- Your father is like a stranger to you
- You know little or nothing personal about him
Physical and psychological complaints
- Depression and burnout
- Psychosomatic complaints
- Restlessness and inner tension
- Sleep disorders
- increased body tension
Looking for something other than talk therapy?
The trauma due to narcissistic abuse is in your body, not in your head. In my therapy program specifically for narcissism victims, I work directly with your emotional injuries that are stored in your body.
Consequences for the sons of narcissistic fathers
- You have been drilled for performance, you are career-oriented
- No matter what you do, it will never be enough
- You are very competitive
- You can never live up to the expectations of others
- You cannot recognise your own successes
- Even if you are successful, you feel empty inside because it is still not good enough.
- You carry all this with you into your adult life.
- in partnership and at work, performance is paramount
Consequences for the daughters of narcissistic fathers
Below you will find some examples of the effects a narcissistic father can have on you as a daughter.
- Your narcissistic father shaped your image of men
- You will look for partners who resemble your father, who are dominant and to whom you adapt, because that is what your unhealed system knows and therefore unconsciously seeks.
- You are performance-oriented because you still think you have to earn recognition
- Due to the narcissistic father, the father-daughter relationship is permanently disturbed
- Your narcissistic father destroyed your self-worth, so you attract narcissists as partners (narcissists can only dock with people with low self-worth).
The emotional consequences of a narcissistic father
If you had a narcissistic father, you have suffered a trauma. You were taught that you are not good the way you are, you don't know who you are because that was never tolerated, you have completely lost your identity. As the daughter or son of a narcissistic father, you were left completely alone emotionally. Having a narcissist as a father makes you lonely. Because of the narcissistic behaviour, you have in your childhood
- feel unlovable
- Fear of rejection
But because you have a narcissist for a father who was emotionally unavailable, you were left emotionally alone.
When we are overwhelmed by emotions as a child and there is no one to support us emotionally, we begin to Suppressing feelings. You put those scary emotions in a box, locked it up, and shoved it into a dark corner.
This was your survival strategy. And you hold on to this survival strategy until today.
Dealing with the narcissistic father
1. stop hoping that your narcissistic father will change
Let go of the idea that your narcissistic father will change. That is not going to happen.
2. do not take it personally
It can only come out of a person what is inside him. Everything the narcissist says and does is an expression of what it looks like inside him. It has nothing to do with you. Nothing at all.
You have only believed that all your life.
3. minimise contact
Minimise contact or break it off. If you decide to have contact, you set the rules for that contact. Stick to these rules. No meetings in your own home, so you can get up and leave more easily. Be cautious with information, your narcissistic father will use it against you, because that's what narcissists do.
4. learn self-love
If you love yourself, your self-worth will automatically rise as a result. Narcissists can only play their narcissistic games with people who have low self-worth. They need this to compensate for their own low self-worth. If you increase your self-worth, this protects you from narcissists, you become uninteresting for them.
How do you get more self-love? I offer sessions specifically on the topic of self-love.
5. learn to set boundaries
You determine these boundaries. No one else. When you learn to love yourself, you automatically learn to set boundaries out of love for yourself.
Narcissistic father-is breaking off contact the only way?
You will eventually come to the point where you have to make a decision:
For you and your life or against you. If you want to heal, you need space for yourself. You have a right to heal. To unfold. To freedom. To your life. A narcissistic father sees autonomy as a threat. Narcissists live by possessing you. But you can't heal yourself that way.
This has brought you to the point where you are now.
Therefore, you have to change something if you don't want to go on as before.
You may have thoughts like: I can't break off contact with my father. I can't abandon my mother.
Yes you can!
You may have feelings of guilt. This is called guilt reversal and is a classic tool used by narcissists for manipulation. A narcissistic father tries to make his children feel guilty.
Go your own way! For the first time in your life, do what is right for you. You decide who you want in your life and who you don't want. You decide who is good for you and who is not. You are not responsible for your narcissistic father. You are responsible for yourself. He is responsible for himself and your mother is responsible for herself.
You alone decide whether the break in contact with your narcissistic father is permanent or temporary.
If you decide to have contact with your narcissistic father:
Only on your terms. You decide what the contact should look like. You set the conditions. If your father does not abide by these conditions, you break off. You get up and leave or end the phone call.
You do what feels right for you. Don't let anyone tell you what to do.
You are doing this for your own protection!
Do you want to free yourself from your narcissistic father?
Emotional dependency runs deep. When you heal the deep emotional injuries associated with it, you can begin to discover yourself. Who are you? What do you want?
Why it is so important that you free yourself from your emotional hurts
You have established avoidance strategies due to the emotional injuries you have experienced because of your narcissistic father, in order to
- Your emotional pain
- The worthlessness
- The fears
- The shame
- Your brokenness
- The inner emptiness
- The guilt
- Your insecurity
not to have to feel.
I.e. you are unconsciously busy all day suppressing your emotional pain so that you don't have to feel it.
The problem, however, is that when you push down your emotional pain, the hurt that your narcissistic father caused you, it does not make the narcissistic trauma go away. It continues to ferment under the surface, like a festering focal point.
And it takes so much strength to push all those emotions down.
When you suppress pain, you also suppress joy.
When you start to suppress one emotion, you automatically suppress all the others. If you suppress fear, powerlessness or shame, you automatically suppress joy, love, bliss. You dull. You no longer feel the pain so strongly, but nothing else either.
What avoidance strategies do you use?
- You become aggressive easily
- You withdraw
- You engage in alcohol, smoking, eating, excessive activities (work, sport, sex, shopping, computer games).
- You are shy
- People Pleaser
- Helper syndrome
- Circles of thought
- And many more
These and many more are avoidance strategies that you established as a child in order to survive emotionally. Unconscious behaviour is always emotion-driven. With certain unconscious behaviour you suppress emotions that you do not want to feel because you are too afraid of them. As a child it was important that you had these survival strategies, because you had to survive emotionally somehow. Now, however, you no longer need these strategies and they are very likely to keep you from being who you really want to be.
If you want to throw off this old ballast, you have to heal your inner child.
Who or what is your inner child?
Your inner childis the younger version of you that has experienced all this pain. This wounded child is stuck in your present adult body with all its pain. You may have pushed the pain down so that you don't have to feel it, but that doesn't mean the hurt is gone, it is still fermenting inside you and affecting your life, your partnership, your relationships with other people, your job and even your children.
Your inner wounded child controls your life. Whenever you act unconsciously, your inner emotionally wounded child acts.
Do you know when you get triggered?
This is the reaction of your wounded inner child.
- You react via
- become aggressive, even though you did not want to be
- Saying things you didn't really want to say
The transformation of the emotional pain of the inner child is a central part of my sessions. Because where the pain originated, it must also be resolved, at the child level.
Let your wounded inner child find peace.
Be the one to break the cycle of emotional hurts that have been passed down from generation to generation.
How to release narcissistic entanglements
This is exactly where my therapy programme for narcissism victims, which I developed especially for narcissism victims, comes in - at the child level. Narcissistic trauma is a complex event and requires a comprehensive treatment approach.
My Therapy Programme for Narcissism Victims
In my therapy programme for narcissism victims we work on different levels:
- You gradually free yourself from your old emotional pain.
- You learn to establish self-love and self-worth in your life
- We realign your mindset so you get a positive focus
- We transform your limiting beliefs
I work with deep, powerful inner journeys into the subconscious, where the limiting beliefs and emotional hurts planted by your narcissistic father have taken hold.
Here you will find detailed information about my therapy programme especially for narcissism victims.
If you are looking for an alternative to traditional talk therapy, you have come to the right place.
I am an expert on narcissism, healing practitioner & mentor. My mission: emotional release & working with the subconscious mind. I supported people to free themselves from the shackles of their emotional hurts and traumas, and related repressed emotions and patterns, regardless of the cause. My particular area of heart and specialization is supporting women in releasing their narcissistic trauma so that they can once again live a self-determined life with self-love, self-worth and self-confidence.