Do you ever wonder why you are so exhausted raising your kids when their other parent is a narcissist? It’s because, in all practicality, you’re a single parent. Not only that, if you are still married to the narcissist, he or she is the biggest and most difficult of all your kids. He/she causes you a high level of stress most of the time. If you are trying to co-parent with a narcissist you might as well give up right now. Repeat after me, ‘I am the only parent.’ Or, ‘He/she is not a parent.’ While the narcissist is the biological mom or dad, he/she is not interested in, nor capable of properly raising another human being. Let’s examine this concept. What does it mean to parent? Being a parent requires the following abilities and traits: Responsibility Self-sacrifice Initiative Positive role-modeling Hard work Consistency Stability Patience Perseverance Empathy and Compassion Respectability Which of these traits would you say a person with narcissism possesses? Narcissists lack
Such a well-nigh universal tendency is elevated almost to an art form with those afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). When criticized, narcissists show themselves woefully incapable of retaining any emotional poise, or receptivity. And it really doesn’t much matter whether the nature of that criticism is constructive or destructive. They just don’t seem to be able to take criticism, period. At the same time, these disturbed individuals demonstrate an abnormally developed capacity to criticize others (as in, “dish it out” to them).
Although narcissists don’t (or won’t) show it, all perceived criticism feels gravely threatening to them (the reason that their inflamed, over-the-top reactions to it can leave us so surprised and confused). Deep down, clinging desperately not simply to a positive but grandiose sense of self, they’re compelled at all costs to block out any negative feedback about themselves. Their dilemma is that the rigidity of their defenses, their inability ever to let their guard down (even with those closest to them), guarantees that they’ll never get what they most need, which they themselves are sadly–no, tragically--oblivious of. Continue reading “They Can Dish It Out, But…”
Given that psychological abusers minimize and dismiss your emotions, it’s quite common in this process to think “This is stupid” or “I’m making this all up” or “I’m actually to blame”. In fact, you might notice a lot of your healing has been done from the mindset of “What’s wrong with me?”. Again, just include these in your kind awareness. It won’t be easy at first, because these anxieties and doubts have been etched deeply in your thinking. But as you embrace these thoughts every day, the awareness will grow stronger.
taken from:-https://www.psychopathfree.com//articles/unraveling-ptsd-after-narcissistic-abuse.365/ click the link to read the full article
Attributes of Unhealthy Shame:
Unhealthy Shame, (or what Bradshaw calls Toxic Shame) is the unconscious demon that undermines the individual’s self-esteem, self-worth, personal power, spontaneous action, and joyous spirit. All of which produces intense self-scrutiny, leaving a man with an all pervasive sense that he is defective and worthless as a human being. When the “self “considers itself to be basically flawed, the individual experiences excruciating pain and fears within their self, making them want to hide their flawed self from the world. Terrified that they will be found out, the person will goes to great lengths to guard against exposing their inner self not only from others, but also from their own self. Afraid that he/she is not good enough, not smart enough, not intelligent enough, the person becomes a slave to their own incessant inner critic. As a slave they are no longer free to communicate their thoughts and words in an open honest manner. All the time their incessant internal voices are snapping at their heels like hungry dogs, making sure that they rehearse every word before they dare to speak. These overzealous internal voices function for only one purpose, to save the person’s vulnerable self from any form of criticism or humiliation. Unable to operate from their true self, whom they believe cannot be trusted; they abandon their authentic self in favor of a persona that is a false self. Sadly for a narcissist, it is this false self that houses their pathological narcissism. This causes the narcissist’s False Self to looks to the outside for fulfillment and validation from narcissistic supply, because they cannot trust their own perceived interior flawed self. This leads to a spiritual bankruptcy, because rather than just Being, the narcissist is dominated by doing and achieving.
Unhealthy Shame and Its Recognition in Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
Unhealthy shame leads the narcissist to suffer a sense of smallness, worthlessness, and powerlessness in their relationship with others. The shame can be triggered whenever he/she feels exposed (whether shamed by own self, or by another), whether it is real or imagined makes little difference to them. Being “seen” is at the centre of the narcissist’s shame. Their internal images of being “looked at” are so distressing to them, that they wish to disappear out of view when there is the hint of any shame attaching to them, and if they cannot escape then you are likely to experience their almighty rage erupting.
go to the website to read more:- Is There a Relationionship Between Narcissism and Shame?
From Children of the Self Absorbed: A Grownup’s Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents by Nina Brown
- Turns every conversation to him or herself.
- Expects you to meet his or her emotional needs.
- Ignores the impact of his negative comments on you.
- Constantly criticizes or berates you and knows what is best for you.
- Focuses 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 and ignores your needs.
- Has a high need for attention.
- Brags, sulks, complains, inappropriately teases and 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 throws tantrums or intimidates.
- Has an attitude of “anything you can do, I can do better.”
- Engages in one-upmanship to seem important.
- Acts in a seductive manner or is overly charming.
- Is vain and fishes for compliments. Expects you to admire him.
- Isn’t satisfied unless he has the “biggest” or “best.”
- Seeks status. Spends money to impress others.
- Forgets what you have done for them yet keeps reminding you that you owe them today.
- Neglects the family to impress others. 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.
- 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.
- Attempts to make you feel stupid, helpless and inept when you do things on your own.
- Has poor insight and can not see the impact his selfish behavior has on you.
- Has shallow emotions and interests.
- Exploits others with lies and manipulations.
- Uses emotional blackmail to get what he wants.
- May engage in physical or sexual abuse of children.
(View original source here.)
One thing I “suspect” is that narc dads probably molest their daughters more than other abberant personality types (this is JUST my suspicion so don’t quote me on it.) It would go along with the 2nd list directly above which includes sexual molestation. It also fits right in with that sense of entitlement and envy as in “She’s mine and I don’t want any other man touching her so I’ll introduce her to the wonders of my sexual prowess so that she knows what a true master in bed is like” or something equally creepy.
I remember a woman in a church based recovery group back in 1996 and her father had molested her. She is still, to this day, the most wounded human being I’ve ever met and I remember thinking how awful it must have been to have your own father sexually molest you. And I wondered how a woman could ever trust “Father God” coming from that. She didn’t and she was so broken, fearful and wounded.
That was when I found out the word for God “Abba” does NOT indicate male but instead indicates “one who sustains.” If you have a hard time with the idea of a loving father God due to a horrible relationship with your own father, look to God as “Abba” God who loves you and sustains you. God is both male and female and above humanity in every way. This helped me to trust the Lord when I was struggling with issues about my own fathers (all 4 of ’em!) and my prayer is that this helps you too.
The above lists describe characteristics as opposed to delving into specific behaviors. I highly recommend reading how narc moms act (view here) because I suspect that the behaviors are similar and if you’re trying to figure out if your father is a narcissist, the TYPES of behaviors and words that are probably common for both male narcissists AND female narcissists may help you.
So how do you survive a narcissist father?
Every narcissist is a hero and a legend in his own mind. And, so was Daddy.
- Get into a good therapy. You want to come to terms with dad for who he is, and how he hurt you. He’ is your father after all, and you will need to differentiate from him in order to enjoy his presence without being undermined. It’s no small task.
- His arrogance and constant need for ego stroking can be annoying. AcceptDad for who he is. If you put him into place in your mind, he may simply end up being a lovable, but annoying father. Take the best, as long as he doesn’t still have the power to hurt you.
- Do not let Dad hurt you. If he has a rage attack, you may decide to get in the car and leave. Limits are often a good thing. “Dad, this is not constructive.”
- Cut ties if it is too toxic or dangerous. Some narcissistic parents have violent or abusive tendencies. It goes along with their self righteousness. You are now and adult. Take care and take caution.
- Has your Dad affected your dating habits and choices? Some identify with their father by becoming arrogant themselves. Others are anxious in their attachments because they could never trust Dad’s undivided attention. Do you date narcissistic people yourself?
- Keep your expectations realistic and low. Don’t expect a relationship with a narcissistic person to be based on mutuality or reciprocity. Narcissists are selfish and can’t put your needs on par with their own. As an adult, you can keep these conflicts with your father at a distance; but if you date or marry a narcissist, it probably will wear you out.
- When you want something from a narcissist, convince them that it will be to their benefit. I am not a big fan of dishonesty, but some people with narcissistic traits can be manipulated. When you want such a person to do something for you, you need to spin it in a way so that your request seems to be to their benefit. This may work with your father and with others too.
- Never let a narcissist determine your self-worth. Narcissists lack empathy and the ability to validate others, so be careful about trusting them with sensitive information or sharing important achievements because they won’t treat it with the respect it deserves. I have seen this backfire many times.
- Sometimes compliance is the simplest way to deal with a narcissistic parent. It may sound cheap, but if your father is narcissistic, you may not be interested in cutting him out of your life. He is your Dad, after all. Sometimes, it’s easier, and requires less effort, to comply with most of his wishes. It may not be worth the fight. You are an adult now, and you are not under his roof anymore.
- Alternatively, you can assert your own authority and challenge his. Narcissists get away with their behavior because others (passively) allow them to. Sometimes, you may need to adopt an authoritative stance – and firmly impress upon him that his demeaning attitude is unacceptable. You are no longer a child, and you are not as vulnerable to his rejection or anger. Be prepared for push back. Narcissistic people HATE criticism.
- Pity the Narcissist. Arrogance doesn’t really inspire sympathy or compassion. But at the end of the day, when you think about it, you may come to pity someone who is in constant need of compliments, attention and validation. It is freeing.
Appreciate the Healthy Adults Out There:
While it’s hard to grow up unaffected by a narcissistic father, there may have been others who helped you along the way. Looking back on your life, you may identify a grandfather, a grandmother, a coach, a teacher, a therapist or a religious figure who really appreciated you. Maybe, your mother saved the day.
Take in the Good:
I hope you can find the good. There may have been some good in your narcissistic father. Embrace that, while distancing yourself from the rest. Plus, there may have been special men and women in your upbringing – internalize their good. And, there are good people to care about today – bring in this good as well.
Finally, realize the value within yourself. You don’t have to be great to be good enough. That’s an important healing.
As the son of a narcissistic father you never feel that you can measure up. Dad was so competitive, that he even competed with you. (Or, didn’t pay attention to you one way or the other.) You may have accepted defeat – you’d never outdo your dad. Or, you may have worked hard to beat Dad at his own game just to get his attention and some semblance of fatherly pride. You somehow never feel good enough even when you do succeed, you still feel empty and second rate.
Just like girls need to be adored by their fathers to feel validated, boys also need their dad to believe in them. You may even become a narcissist yourself. This way you get Dad’s attention (after all imitation is the highest form of flattery); and you learn from your old man how to manipulate and use people.
Daughters of narcissistic fathers often describe feeling “unsatiated” when it to comes to getting what they needed from their fathers. They never got enough and would have to compete with siblings for time with Dad. As a young child, Dad would comment on how beautiful you were. But as you grew older, he would rarely miss out on commenting on weight and attitude. You probably carry these concerns into adulthood, even if you found success. With a Dad like this, it’s never enough. With men (or women), you often feel vulnerable and worried you’ll be dumped for someone else. Anxiously avoiding commitment or taking on the narcissitic role are both natural ways to keep relationships safe; it’s understanble and self protective.(But, you lose.)
A daughter needs her dad’s adoration; it validates her and helps her internalize her specialness. Healthy fathers give their girls that gift. You are special and deserve love, for being you.
“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm, but the harm (that they cause) does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves”. ~ T.S. Eliot
You used to think that by the time you were in your twenties and definitely by your thirties you’d have your act together – you’d be establishing a successful career, have your own place, be in a committed and stable relationship, visit the gym enough to have the body you always wanted and your social life would be vibrant.
But, you’re nowhere near where you thought you’d be, and the tiny boxes next to the list of achievements that you’d hoped to accomplish are still unchecked.
As your confidence deflates, you look back on your own upbringing, and think about your father – Mr Self-Assured. He seemed to have it all – charm, success, popularity and he never seemed to be plagued by self-doubt, unlike you. He was the hit of the party, knew everyone and made things happen. You couldn’t get enough of him.
How Kids Experience Narcissistic Traits:
Come to think of it, did his confidence border on arrogance? Is it possible that you were raised by someone with narcissistic traits? And if so, why is it important?
We take our families for granted – it’s natural that we do. Each family is a miniature sociological experiment, with its own set of unwritten rules, secrets, and nuanced behavioral patterns. We take our mom and dad for granted; like this must be what it’s like for everyone. Your dad may have been narcissistic, but you just assumed that all fathers were like him.
Here are some signs that your dad had narcissistic tendencies or was an out-rightnarcissist.
- Dad was self-centered and pretty vain. He had an inflated sense of self-importance that led him to believe he was superior and entitled to only the best.
- Dad used people for his own good. He would take advantage of others, to the point of exploiting them when it suited him. Everybody seemed to cater to him, or at least he expected them to.
- Dad was charismatic. Everyone wanted to be around him and he relished admiration from others. He loved being in the spotlight and the positive reinforcement that came from being the center of attention.
- No one had an imagination like Dad. Grandiosity is alluring, and so were hisfantasies of success, prestige, and brilliance. He would often exaggerate his achievements, and his ambitions and goals bordered on unrealistic.
- Dad didn’t take criticism well. Nothing stung him like criticism; he often cut those people out of his life, or tried to hurt them.
- Dad’s rage was truly scary. Some people get mad and yell a lot. Dad could hurt you with his anger. It cut to the bone.
- Dad could be aloof and unsympathetic. Narcissists often have a hard time experiencing empathy; they often disregard and invalidate how others feel. Of course, he was exquisitely sensitive to what he felt, but others were of no mind.
- Dad wasn’t around a lot. He got a lot of gratification outside the family. Other fathers hung out with their families a lot more. Plus, he craved excitement and seemed to be more concerned by what others thought of him, rather then how his own kids felt about him.
- Dad did what he wanted when dealing with you. Narcissists don’t step into someone else’s shoes very often. He did things with you that he enjoyed; maybe you did as well.
- Dad wanted you to look great to his friends and colleagues. You were most important to him when he could brag about you; sad but true.
- You couldn’t really get what you needed from him. Even if Dad provided on a material level, you felt deprived on a more subtle level. For example, you wanted his attention and affection, but would only get it sporadically, and only when it worked for him.
When you go through these traits, some may hit home; while others may not be relevant. Some may ring as very true; while others as less so. This is why narcissitic traits are not synonomous with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Narcissism is not a dirty word, in fact, narcissistic traits are commonly found in most of us. There’s nothing disturbed about that. The other extreme is the Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a controversial, but often helpful label. For the record, our diagnostic categories are somewhat arbitrary and lack the veracity of harder medical diagnostic labels like a broken femur or glaucoma. These disorders are easier to document and study.Personality Disorders help us organize our thinking about an individual, but may fall far short of a truthful depiction of a whole complex person.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a person is narcissistic or merely has a healthy self regard. Narcissism isn’t about having high self-confidence; it’s a love for oneself that has morphed into a preoccupation. The term is based on Narcissus, the Greek mythological character who was so infatuated with himself, that it ultimately proved fatal.
Although it’s not actually fatal, narcissism can become so pathological that it satisfies the criteria, however faulty, of a personality disorder. The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV-TR) defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) as
“A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts… as indicated…. by the following”:
- wanting to be admired
- having a sense of entitlement
- being exploitative
- lacking empathy
- being envious
Another characteristic typical of narcissists is a disregard of personal boundaries. Narcissists don’t always acknowledge the need for boundaries which is coupled with their failure to realize that others do not exist merely to meet their needs. A narcissist will often treat others, especially those that are close to him, as if they are there to fulfill his needs and expectations.
Now that you have a firm grasp on what a narcissistic father may be like, let’s take a look at how he might affect his kids. (We will get to narcissistic mothers another time.)
How a Narcissistic Father Can Hurt his Son or Daughter:
Narcissistic parents often damage their children. For example, they may disregard boundaries, manipulate their children by withholding affection (until they perform), and neglect to meet their children’s needs because their needs come first. Because image is so important to narcissists, they may demand perfection from their children. The child of a narcissist father can, in turn, feel a pressure ramp up their talents, looks, smarts or charisma. It can cost them if they fulfill their Dad’s wishes – and it can cost them if they fail. No winning here.
In general, here‘s how a narcissistic father can affect a daughter or son.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a serious condition which affects an estimated 1% of the population. Narcissism is characterized by an extreme self-interest and promotion with an accompanying lack of concern for the needs of others.
Narcissism is named after the mythological Greek character Narcissus, an extremely handsome young man who rejected the love of Echo and, as punishment, was condemned to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to obtain he object of his desire, he died there in sorrow.
The following list is a collection of some of the more commonly observed behaviors and traits of those who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Note that these are not intended to be used for diagnosis. People who suffer from NPD are all unique and so each person will display a different subset of traits. Also, note that everyone displays “narcissistic” behaviors from time to time. Therefore, if a person exhibits one or some of these traits, that does not necessarily qualify them for a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. See the DSM Criteria on this page for diagnostic criteria.
Click on the links on each trait for much more information about a particular trait or behavior and some ideas for coping with each.
Abusive Cycle – This is the name for the ongoing rotation between destructive and constructive behavior which is typical of many dysfunctional relationships and families.
Alienation – The act of cutting off or interfering with an individual’s relationships with others.
“Always” and “Never” Statements – “Always” and “Never” Statements are declarations containing the words “always” or “never”. They are commonly used but rarely true.
Anger – People who suffer from personality disorders often feel a sense of unresolved anger and a heightened or exaggerated perception that they have been wronged, invalidated, neglected or abused.
Baiting – A provocative act used to solicit an angry, aggressive or emotional response from another individual.
Blaming – The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.
Bullying – Any systematic action of hurting a person from a position of relative physical, social, economic or emotional strength.
Cheating – Sharing a romantic or intimate relationship with somebody when you are already committed to a monogamous relationship with someone else.
Denial – Believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen.
Dissociation– A psychological term used to describe a mental departure from reality.
Domestic Theft – Consuming or taking control of a resource or asset belonging to (or shared with) a family member, partner or spouse without first obtaining their approval.
Emotional Blackmail – A system of threats and punishments used in an attempt to control someone’s behaviors.
Sense of Entitlement – An unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others.
False Accusations – Patterns of unwarranted or exaggerated criticism directed towards someone else.
Favoritism – Favoritism is the practice of systematically giving positive, preferential treatment to one child, subordinate or associate among a family or group of peers.
Frivolous Litigation – The use of unmerited legal proceedings to hurt, harass or gain an economic advantage over an individual or organization.
Gaslighting – The practice of brainwashing or convincing a mentally healthy individual that they are going insane or that their understanding of reality is mistaken or false. The term “Gaslighting” is based on the 1944 MGM movie “Gaslight”.
Grooming – Grooming is the predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior.
Harassment – Any sustained or chronic pattern of unwelcome behavior by one individual towards another.
Hoovers & Hoovering – A Hoover is a metaphor taken from the popular brand of vacuum cleaners, to describe how an abuse victim trying to assert their own rights by leaving or limiting contact in a dysfunctional relationship, gets “sucked back in” when the perpetrator temporarily exhibits improved or desirable behavior.
Impulsiveness – The tendency to act or speak based on current feelings rather than logical reasoning.
Imposed Isolation – When abuse results in a person becoming isolated from their support network, including friends and family.
Intimidation – Any form of veiled, hidden, indirect or non-verbal threat.
Invalidation – The creation or promotion of an environment which encourages an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.
Lack of Conscience – Individuals who suffer from Personality Disorders are often preoccupied with their own agendas, sometimes to the exclusion of the needs and concerns of others. This is sometimes interpreted by others as a lack of moral conscience.
Lack of Object Constancy – An inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of your immediate field of vision.
Magical Thinking – Looking for supernatural connections between external events and one’s own thoughts, words and actions.
Narcissism – A set of behaviors characterized by a pattern of grandiosity, self-centered focus, need for admiration, self-serving attitude and a lack of empathy or consideration for others.
Neglect – A passive form of abuse in which the physical or emotional needs of a dependent are disregarded or ignored by the person responsible for them.
Normalizing – Normalizing is a tactic used to desensitize an individual to abusive, coercive or inappropriate behaviors. In essence, normalizing is the manipulation of another human being to get them to agree to, or accept something that is in conflict with the law, social norms or their own basic code of behavior.
No-Win Scenarios – When you are manipulated into choosing between two bad options
Objectification – The practice of treating a person or a group of people like an object.
Parental Alienation Syndrome – When a separated parent convinces their child that the other parent is bad, evil or worthless.
Pathological Lying – Persistent deception by an individual to serve their own interests and needs with little or no regard to the needs and concerns of others. A pathological liar is a person who habitually lies to serve their own needs.
Proxy Recruitment – A way of controlling or abusing another person by manipulating other people into unwittingly backing “doing the dirty work”
Raging, Violence and Impulsive Aggression – Explosive verbal, physical or emotional elevations of a dispute. Rages threaten the security or safety of another individual and violate their personal boundaries.
Sabotage – The spontaneous disruption of calm or status quo in order to serve a personal interest, provoke a conflict or draw attention.
Scapegoating – Singling out one child, employee or member of a group of peers for unmerited negative treatment or blame.
Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia – The use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome.
Self-Aggrandizement – A pattern of pompous behavior, boasting, narcissism or competitiveness designed to create an appearance of superiority.
Shaming – The difference between blaming and shaming is that in blaming someone tells you that you did something bad, in shaming someone tells you that you are something bad.
Stalking – Any pervasive and unwelcome pattern of pursuing contact with another individual.
Testing – Repeatedly forcing another individual to demonstrate or prove their love or commitment to a relationship.
Thought Policing – Any process of trying to question, control, or unduly influence another person’s thoughts or feelings.
Threats – Inappropriate, intentional warnings of destructive actions or consequences.
Triangulation – Gaining an advantage over perceived rivals by manipulating them into conflicts with each other.
Tunnel Vision – The habit or tendency to only see or focus on a single priority while neglecting or ignoring other important priorities.