8 Ways to Deal with a Narcissistic Father

Are you interested in how to deal with a narcissistic father? Then this guide is for you!

Having a positive male role model in your life is important to grow up confident and secure.

However, if your father is a narcissist, this can leave you with little self-confidence and feeling like you’ll never be good enough, whether in other relationships or in dealing with life in general.

How to Know if Your Dad Is a Narcissist

If you have a narcissist for a father or he has narcissistic traits, you’ve most likely experienced all or most of these signs within your life.

Your dad is really conceited or self-serving

Beyond a sense of entitlement, your narcissistic dad makes it clear that he is the most important person in the world.

Being superior to everyone else, only the best in life is good enough for dear old dad.

Obtaining those things and experiences that he craves may even put the family in financial jeopardy in some cases, but your father will always be able to rationalize his actions and his purchases.

He loves being the center of attention

It’s nice to be admired sometimes, but your narcissistic father takes the cake.

He might make up stories or exaggerate his accomplishments to gain the admiration that he so desperately needs.

He’ll even use your accomplishments to boost his prestige in the eyes of others, making him look like such a great father, but you know the truth.

He cares more about what others think of him than his own children

What your dad decides to do is often based on what others will think of him.

He’ll even neglect his family’s emotional and sometimes physical needs to pursue those interests that will help to soothe his over-inflated ego.

He may spend more time outside of the home connecting with contacts or pursuing his own pleasurable experiences despite what his family thinks about him.

If others give him the kudos he needs, your dad will feel no need to change.

Your dad doesn’t give you much attention except to criticize or berate

You don’t receive much in the way of nurturing or praise from your father. Even if you complete a task to his specifications, he won’t give you credit for your accomplishments.

Most of the encounters you have with your dad are engaging in activities that he enjoys or hearing about all of how you fail as his child.

He pushes you too hard for his own benefit

Your father wants you to succeed, but not for the reasons most dads do. Again, his success is somewhat wrapped around yours, so it’s in his best interests for you to have some serious accomplishments.

To make this happen, he may have overly high expectations that you just can’t reach and may schedule every minute of your day in pursuing activities so that he can live vicariously through you.

He doesn’t care about anyone’s feelings but his own

You may notice that others find your father to be very charming. This is because he doesn’t mind using others for his gain.

He expects everyone else to give in to his whims and often succeeds in this effort.

Your dad has no problem using others to get what he wants and tossing them away when he has no further need for what they have to offer.

You’re afraid of your father

Many fathers invoke fear, including strict disciplinarians and abusers. However, you may never know what to expect with a narcissistic father.

Knowing what will set him off on his next rampage can be difficult.

This may cause you to walk on eggshells for fear of suffering your father’s wrath. Even if he doesn’t use physical punishment, he knows exactly what words to use to cut you deeply and to your very core.

Ways to Deal with a Narcissistic Father

Whether you’re still living at home with your dad or you’ve already moved out, there are some ways that you can deal with your father’s narcissism to create a better and more confident future for yourself.

1. Understand narcissism

Learn as much as possible about narcissism and what it causes people to do.

This can give you a better understanding of why your dad acts the way he does, though it most likely won’t change how he is.

In this case, knowledge truly can be power. The more you know about narcissists, the better you can equip yourself to resist narcissist’s attacks on your own self-esteem.

2. Recognize your feelings

You aren’t bad because your father doesn’t give you the love and attention you deserve.

Although you want and need his validation, these feelings of emptiness and worthlessness most likely won’t be resolved through him.

You need to realize that you are valuable and worthwhile. You can give yourself the necessary acceptance to advance to a brighter future.

3. Put yourself first

You’ve most likely revolved your life around your narcissistic dad.

Now that you’re old enough to understand things better, it’s time to make choices that will benefit you and your future.

It may be difficult if you still live with or spend time with your father. You may feel it’s easier if you comply with his wishes for the time being.

Just remember that you are more important than he may give you credit for.

4. Set boundaries

Whether you live with your father or not, you’ll want to set boundaries. This is much easier if you don’t live with him full-time.

However, try to avoid confrontation when doing so.

A narcissistic father doesn’t see his children as independent and capable human beings but rather as an extension of himself. He will try to cross the line, so stand firm and follow through with consequences.

5. Don’t replay the past

You can’t win an argument with a narcissist, so pointing out everything he’s done wrong as a parent isn’t useful. Accept what was and move on from there.

Additionally, you’ll want to avoid falling into the same coercive behavioral patterns from your past. Once you learn a narcissist’s tactics, you’ll be better able to get out of the destructive rut you lived in for years.

6. Avoid gaslighting and hoovering attempts

One of a narcissist’s favorite tools is gaslighting. Placing blame onto you for things that don’t go his way or making you think you’re crazy or forgetful are some ways in which your dad may try to gaslight you.

Don’t fall for it. His behavior is caused by his personality disorder and is not your fault.

If you’re an adult trying to cut off ties with your dad due to his destructive narcissism, he may try hoovering tactics.

While a narcissist is more likely to use hoovering in romantic relationships, they can also use it in other types of relationships.

In hoovering, your dad may promise that he’ll change, give you gifts, or do other things to make you believe him. Again, don’t fall for this.

Once he knows he’s back in your good graces, he’ll return to his normal narcissistic routine.

7. Seek help

Whether you live in or out of your father’s home, you may want to get some assistance in overcoming the damage done to you by your narcissistic father.

Finding a qualified counselor can be a good first step to finding your true self outside of your father’s control.

Suppose you’re still underage or living under your father’s roof. In that case, you can try to get emotional and mental support through guidance from your school counselor or a trusted teacher or a religious leader.

It’s important for you to have a good adult role model for you to look up to during this time.

8. Stay safe

If your dad is prone to fits of rage, as many narcissists are, you’ll want to have a way to remove yourself from situations that could turn dangerous.

As an adult, you’re most likely free to leave whenever you please, so take advantage of this.

If you cannot get away on your own, get help from your other parent if that option is available.

Spend time with a close friend or neighbor if you can leave.

Calling law enforcement may be your best option if you cannot leave the situation and you’re in true danger.

Can a gifted therapist help you too?

If you struggle with anxiety, depression, high-stress levels, relationship issues, or other specific challenges, one-on-one support from a therapist can help a lot.

You don’t need to go through this alone. There’s no shame in getting help!

Thousands of people get tailor-made support from a kind, empathetic, helpful therapist when faced with difficult life situations.

I recommend BetterHelp, which is a sponsor of Personality Unleashed.

It’s private, affordable, and takes place in the comfort of your own home.

Plus, you can talk to your therapist however you feel comfortable, whether through video, phone, or messaging.

Are you ready to break the negativity cycle?

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