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Narcissistic Father: Psychological Description & Working Tips On How to Deal With Them (+ Top 3 Books On The Topic)

What is a narcissist?

There is a common definition of a narcissist man which describes such a person as an individual who has an exaggerated sense of superiority, often accompanied by a lack of empathy. You may observe early signs of narcissism like their belief that their opinion is always “right”.

But there are some more signs of narcissism like being highly critical and judgmental toward others, focusing more on oneself in conversations than those around them, manipulating people to benefit one’s goals, and having the inability to take responsibility for mistakes or wrongdoing. The research shows that these traits do not need to be exhibited at an extreme level for someone to be identified as a narcissist. If you notice these underlying attitudes in someone’s behavior it could be one of the key traits of a narcissist.

What are the distinctive traits of a narcissist?

It is important to first understand what narcissism is and learn to recognize its warning signs to understand how to deal with a narcissistic father. The generally accepted meaning of narcissism refers to an individual’s sense of self-importance or grandiosity. It leads them to expect special treatment from those around them and disregard the needs of others in favor of their own. Narcissists often have a distorted view of reality which they use to justify their behavior.

Another factor that comes into play when dealing with a narcissistic father is the concept known as “golden child syndrome’’ meaning a child in the family that is favored above all others and the one receiving more attention from the parent than other siblings do. This creates an imbalance in which siblings who do not receive the same amount of attention feel frustrated and inadequate compared to their favored siblings. It may cause feelings such as resentment towards their ‘favored’ brother/sister as well as towards their parent(s).

One should also be aware that narcissists typically experience projection. It means they will project negative attributes onto you while internally believing they themselves possess those traits too but cannot accept them within themselves yet. For example, they can blame you for being selfish when they themselves are being selfish.

Can narcissists cry? Some narcissists can actually cry and show emotion. However, it tends not to be genuine emotion. It is rather something used by them as another tactic for manipulating people into feeling sorry for them or giving in to their demands (so beware!).

9 Signs Of a Narcissist Father

Northern County Psychiatric Associates have gathered for you 9 narcissist behavior signs which can have a destructive impact on other family members.

1. Exaggerating

This is one of the main characteristics of a narcissist man. Narcissistic fathers are known for their tendency to exaggerate their own accomplishments and abilities to gain admiration from others. They may also inflate stories about their past to make themselves seem more impressive. This behavior can be extremely damaging for relationships as it puts pressure on family members to maintain unrealistic standards of excellence, or worse, makes them feel inferior.

2. Lack of Empathy

Narcissistic fathers have difficulty understanding the needs and feelings of others. They may be seen as overly self-absorbed and uninterested in the perspectives of those around them. This lack of empathy causes them to be manipulative and controlling in relationships, leaving little room for understanding or compromise from their children or partners.

3. Difficulty With Maintaining Healthy Relationship Boundaries

Narcissistic fathers often struggle with setting healthy boundaries within their relationships. Because they are so focused on dominating those around them, they may disregard the thoughts and feelings of those closest to them. It ultimately leads to resentment and bitterness among family members.

4. Vulnerability

Despite appearing confident and powerful on the surface, narcissistic fathers tend to be very emotionally fragile underneath it all. When faced with criticism or failure they often lash out in an attempt to protect themselves from further hurt or embarrassment. It can create a hostile home environment that is difficult to navigate through as a child or partner.

5. Criticism

Criticizing is another hallmark trait of a narcissistic father’s personality. They consistently find fault with the efforts of those close to them in an effort to maintain control over their lives and relationships. Their criticism often comes across as harsh and unfair. Such narcissistic behavior can lead family members to feeling demoralized or belittled by the words being said towards them by a supposed protector who should instead be showing unconditional love and support.

6. Unhealthy Preoccupation

Narcissistic fathers are known for becoming overly preoccupied with certain aspects of life. Those can be ambitions, success, recognition, or power.  Those values can take precedence over other important areas such as emotional well-being or physical health. It can cause significant distress for family members who worry about his well-being but don’t know how best to approach him regarding it.

7. Perfectionism

Narcissists typically strive for perfection in all areas of life.  It means that anything less than complete success will be met with disapproval from them regardless of how hard someone has tried to reach that goal. This continuous need for achievement can exhaust both the father himself but also his children who are expected by him to live up o these impossible standards at all times.

8. Showcasing Success

Narcissistic fathers often try to present themselves to other people as successful individuals to boost their own egos. They may do it to gain praise from other people, especially when compared to others whom they deem less successful than themselves. As a result, they tend to put immense pressure on their family members to achieve great things so that they can benefit from this reflected glory.

9. Self Absorption

Last but not least, narcissistic fathers are known for being incredibly self-absorbed due to their need for constant attention and affirmation from other people. Because they believe that they know best, they rarely take into consideration the opinions of those around them making it difficult for them to connect emotionally with that closest to them like their spouses or children.

Top 5 selfish parents’ quotes

1. “You are Too Sensitive.”

This is a phrase commonly used by narcissistic parents. This phrase is utilized as a tool of manipulation and control. It negatively affects the child’s self-esteem and encourages silence in response to hurts inflicted by the parent, ensuring their selfish desires remain unquestioned. It is important to recognize “you are too sensitive” for what it really is. An assertion of power that subjects children to frequent feelings of doubt and uncontrollable emotions. Fundamental rights are denied, identity distorted, and trust betrayed.

2. “Stop Being So Dramatic.”

This is a phrase often heard coming from narcissistic parents in an effort to minimize their children’s natural emotions. In reality, this manner of speaking is an attempt to manipulate their child’s emotions into either complying with their wishes or avoiding conflict. Narcissistic parents are often selfish and controlling, and so they use “stop being so dramatic” as a tool to avoid ownership of their own behavior while seeking control over their child’s reactions. As a result, it can stifle the emotional development of the child, damaging their sense of self-confidence and worth.

3. “I Never Said That.”

This phrase often gets used by narcissistic parents to evade responsibility for their actions and absolve themselves of guilt. A common trait shared by most selfish people is that they are unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their wrongdoings, instead blaming others and throwing out false accusations. Denying things with “I never said that” allows them to avoid accountability and shift the blame onto someone else, masking their own vices under a veil of innocence.

4. “I’m Just Trying to Help You.”

When interpreted through the lens of narcissism, this phrase is being used as a form of control. It is an effort to manipulate their children into thinking that any resistance is wrong. Unfortunately, narcissistic fathers rely on these kinds of psychological games far too often. Attempting to realign their children’s thoughts and feelings, they are dependent upon external approval from them instead of independent internal judgment.

5. “You are So Ungrateful.”

One of the selfish parents’ quotes often spouted by narcissistic fathers is “you are so ungrateful.” This simple statement can be so emotionally evocative for children. It implies not just an absence of gratitude but a deep sense of selfishness and ingratitude. The underlying message here is that the father believes that his contributions to his family’s well-being have gone unrecognized and unappreciated. This accusation can cause immense guilt and embarrassment in the child. Even if they know logically that their parents have no right to expect them to offer such profuse thanks for the basic necessities of life. By using this phrase, abusers leverage their position in order to make people feel guilty even when there is nothing for which to be grateful.

3 Books That Will Guide You In Dealing With a Narcissistic Father

1. “Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents” by Dr. Lindsay Gibson

This book offers a comprehensive guide to understanding the dynamics of emotionally immature parents, such as narcissists, and how they can shape their children’s lives. It helps readers identify patterns of emotional insecurity in their childhoods, understand the ways in which they still carry these patterns into adulthood, and learn to create healthier relationships with those around them. Dr. Gibson’s book provides deeply insightful advice on how to take care of oneself and build strong relationships with family members, colleagues, friends, and romantic partners — regardless of the type of parent one have had growing up.

2. “Narcissistic Fathers: How to Deal With a Toxic Father and Complex PTSD” by Caroline Foster

This book focuses on helping victims of narcissistic parenting cope with difficult emotions from childhood traumas. This book explains how people who have endured emotional abuse from narcissistic fathers often suffer from complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). It explores how to recognize the signs and symptoms of C-PTSD, provides tools for healing, and encourages readers to process past traumas so that they can move forward in life with greater self-awareness and improved mental health.

3. “Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect” by Jonice Webb

This book helps readers better understand the effects that growing up with a narcissistic parent can have on one’s emotional well-being long after childhood has passed. The book is based on Webb’s research into Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN) which occurs when parents fail to provide their children with a healthy amount of empathetic attention or validation for their feelings. Webb discusses how CEN leads to feelings such as unhappiness or emptiness later in life and provides readers with insight into why it happens so that they can begin the process of healing from past hurts and take steps toward improving their emotional health today.

How to Deal With a Narcissistic Family Member?

  • Identify the Manipulation Tactics

It is important to be aware of the tactics that a narcissistic family member may employ to manipulate and control you. Those may be exaggeration, lies, guilt-tripping, bluffing, and intimidation. Once you are able to recognize these tactics, it will be easier for you to resist them and take back your power.

  • Establish Clear Boundaries

Establishing healthy boundaries is essential when dealing with a narcissistic parent or family member. Respect yourself enough to set limits on the behavior that you accept from them. Don’t let their criticism or controlling nature wear away at your self-esteem. Communicating these boundaries clearly can help prevent future conflicts.

  • Don’t Take It Personally

When someone has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, they often blame other people for any problems in their life and lash out by projecting their feelings onto others. Try not to take everything personally. Remember that their behavior isn’t about you but about them.

  • Practice Self-Care

Taking care of yourself both mentally and physically is imperative when dealing with a narcissistic parent or family member who drains your emotional energy. Make sure to take time each day away from them for activities that make you feel good like yoga, meditation, or journaling. It will help you stay grounded and keep yourself from getting overwhelmed by their behaviors or words.

  • Seek Professional Help

If possible, seek professional help if things become too difficult to manage on your own. If it feels like the situation is negatively impacting your mental health significantly over an extended period of time, professional help is a working solution here. A therapist can provide valuable insight into how to deal with a narcissistic parent so that everyone involved can move forward in a healthier way.


In conclusion, there is no easy answer on how best to approach dealing with a narcissistic father yet understanding basic concepts such as projecting could help give insights into why someone behaves in certain ways thereby helping form healthier strategies when interacting with him/her. At times it might seem easier just to ignore issues involving this person yet ultimately standing up for yourself (whilst setting firm boundaries) might be necessary – especially when faced with situations where taking action could potentially benefit both parties involved long term!