Daughters of Narcissistic Fathers (DoNF) – The Struggle of Growing Up in a Narcissistic Family

Growing up in a narcissistic family can be hell on earth for daughters of narcissistic fathers (DoNF).

Narcissistic fathers tend to be controlling, manipulative, and emotionally abusive. They may also be physically abusive or neglectful. The constant barrage of abusee leads to these young women growing up feeling inadequate and unloved.

As these daughters of narcissistic fathers age, the negative effects of growing up in such an oppressive and abusive environment manifests in various ways. They are highly likely to struggle with low self-esteem and a weak sense of self.

In addition, in most cases they find it very difficult to form and maintain healthy relationships, because they don’t know what healthy looks like.

How does a narcissistic father behave?

Growing up with a narcissistic father can be an emotionally draining experience. Victims of a narcissistic parent often live in a constant atmosphere of fear. The narcissistic parent is skilled at using manipulation tactics to control their children and make them feel guilty or obligated to do as they wish.

He may also attempt to humiliate his daughter and destroy her self-confidence by putting her down or criticizing her in front of others. This can manifest in the form of constant criticism, belittling and devaluing their accomplishments.

A narcissistic father is also likely to play favourites, bestowing special attention and favoritism on one child (the golden child) while making another feel like they are an outsider (the scapegoat). This can lead to feelings of jealousy and rivalry between siblings, creating a difficult family dynamic.

He will invariably be emotionally abusive, manipulating his daughter with guilt or threats. He may use her as a pawn in his nasty games or make her feel responsible for his happiness, and will withhold love and affection if she doesn’t meet his expectations. In addition, he will not hesitate to gaslight her if it suits his purposes.

There is also the possibility that the narcissist may resort to physical violence as a way to assert power and control over their daughter. This could take the form of hitting, slapping, or any other form of physical abuse.

Daughters of narcissistic fathers have to grapple with a host of negative influences. Here are some of the ways narcissistic fathers treat their daughters:

They constantly criticize and belittle their daughter’s every achievement, destroying her self confidence.

They use guilt-tripping as punishment for not meeting their expectations and standards.

A narcissist father will manipulate and control his daughter’s decisions, such as where she should go to college or what career path she should take.

They expect obedience in all matters, no matter how unreasonable their demands may be.

Narcissists often take credit for any success that their daughter has achieved without giving her recognition or praise for her efforts.

They exhibit favoritism toward other family members while neglecting the emotional needs of their daughter(s).

Narcissistic fathers have unrealistic expectations of their daughters, expecting them to excel in everything they do.

They blur boundaries and invade their daughter’s privacy by wanting to know every detail about her life, such as who she is hanging out with or where she goes after school without giving her the appropriate space or trust needed for her growth as an independent adult.

What was the daughter’s role in the narcissistic family?

The golden child of a narcissistic father is often treated as an extension of the parent, expected to meet all their needs and expectations. This can become detrimental for the child, as they are not only groomed to be perfect but are also made responsible for the emotional well-being of their parent. This places an unbearable burden on them, leading to feelings of guilt and shame if they cannot meet these demands.

The scapegoat of a narcissistic father is usually the child who receives all the blame for any issues within the family. This type of treatment can range from verbal to physical abuse, causing significant trauma for the child. The scapegoat is frequently seen as disposable by their parent and put down harshly whenever anything goes wrong.

The forgotten child of a narcissistic father is the one who is often overlooked and ignored. They don’t receive either the positive attention or crippling criticism that their siblings do. Instead being pushed to the side lines. They grow up feeling forgotten. This can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, worthlessness, and isolation.

It’s no surprise that children of a narcissistic father suffer long-lasting psychological effects, regardless of which role they play in the family dynamic.

The golden child may become a narcissist themselves, while the scapegoat and the forgotten child can often suffer from depression or anxiety.

The Impact of a Narcissistic Father on his Daughter

Growing up with a narcissistic father can have a lasting impact on their daughter’s sense of self, relationships and life choices.

The behavior of narcissistic fathers often leave their daughters feeling neglected, invalidated and unworthy of love and acceptance, resulting in various short and long-term psychological struggles.

Difficulty establishing and maintaining healthy relationships due to low self-esteem, trust issues and defensiveness.

A lack of assertiveness, making it difficult to make decisions and stand up for oneself in various situations.

An inability to identify and express emotions in an appropriate manner due to years of emotional neglect from their parent.

Struggling with addiction. Many daughters of narcissistic fathers use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their feelings and situations they don’t know how to handle.

Experiencing codependency issues in abusive relationships due to the expectation of receiving validation through the approval of others rather than feeling worthy in and of themselves. They are used to being treated poorly and do not believe that they deserve any better.

Feeling disconnected from one’s true self or sense of identity. Narcissism creates an environment where anything other than perfection is not accepted or rewarded. This leads to feelings of worthlessness and shame over the slightest mistakes made throughout life’s journey.

What can daughters of narcissistic fathers do to heal the wounds of their childhood?

If you’re struggling with the aftermath of growing up with a narcissistic father, there are some things you can do to help heal the wounds of your childhood

Find a good therapist and commit to the process

Therapy can be a safe place for daughters of narcissistic fathers to process experiences from the past, and learn valuable tools for managing emotions, understanding triggers, and creating healthy boundaries.

A therapist can help them gain insight into their feelings and develop better communication skills, which are essential for maintaining boundaries. They will also be able to recognize patterns in relationships and unhealthy coping mechanisms, as well as develop new relationship habits that prevent further codependency.

With the right guidance and support, individuals can take control of their lives, while gaining knowledge and strategies to create healthier relationships in all aspects of life.

With time, the adult daughter of a narcissistic father will regain her personal power and establish healthier relationships with herself and others.

Therapies such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can be especially helpful in managing trauma.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT works to identify and change unhealthy patterns of thought and behavior. This type of therapy can be particularly helpful for those whose relationships have been affected by the presence of a narcissistic parent.

By using CBT, individuals can learn to recognize their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors so that they can recognize negative patterns that have been instilled by their parent, and work towards more positive outcomes.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT focuses on developing skills for coping with intense emotions. It works to help individuals build emotional resilience and strengthen their ability to regulate their emotions in order to promote healthier relationships.

With DBT, individuals learn mindfulness techniques and strategies to identify and change unhelpful patterns of behavior. By learning these skills, individuals can better handle difficult moments without resorting to unhealthy behaviors or destructive thinking habits.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is specifically designed to help those who have experienced traumatic events, including childhood trauma involving a narcissistic father. EMDR focuses on helping individuals relive traumatic memories in a safe and contained environment while reprocessing these experiences.

By using this form of therapy, individuals can gain insight into their reactions and learn new coping skills to respond to current and future situations in healthier ways.

Read self-help books to inspire you

Daughters of narcissistic fathers face unique challenges that can impact their self-esteem, relationships, and mental well-being.

Reading self-help books can help to provide much needed insight into the complex emotions and dynamics of what they’re going through. Through the understanding gained from these books, they can begin to take action towards healthier habits, boundaries, and relationships.

Self-help books also offer validation that helps to build confidence in one’s own decisions and strength. With guidance from these resources, daughters of narcissistic fathers can learn how to break free from patterns that have been holding them back and start healing.

Join a support group

Joining a support group for daughters of narcissistic fathers can be invaluable for healing. Being in a safe space with peers who can relate to similar experiences is a powerful form of validation and understanding.

Support groups provide an opportunity to discuss strategies on how to navigate relationship dynamics. It is also a safe place to share successes and setbacks along the journey of healing.

Connection with others who have gone through similar struggles gives strength, hope, and resilience. These are all essential components to moving forward towards a healthier life.

Practice self-care

Practicing self-care is an essential part of the healing journey for those suffering from childhood trauma.

Simple activities like exercising, meditating, and eating a nutritious diet can help to manage stress levels in the present and long term. In addition they also provide emotional comfort during difficult times.

Self-care is not only beneficial for managing current emotions. It also creates long-term healthy behaviors that will enable individuals to live a healthier, more fulfilling life. It allows time for reflection and growth so that they can focus on building healthier relationships with themselves and others.

Ultimately, engaging in self-care is a way to show yourself love and nurture your wellbeing on the path to recovery.

Build a Support Network

Reaching out to someone you trust is a step towards finding the comfort and support that you need to help you heal.

Whether that be a family member, friend, therapist, or any other person who can offer understanding and compassion, this kind of connection can help in validating your feelings and progress in healing.

Seeking help from someone who knows how to listen with an open heart can provide invaluable insight into your own journey and will allow you to feel heard and connected.

Your past need not dictate your future

Healing from trauma takes an immense amount of strength and courage. It can be difficult to confront these issues and create a healthier path forward.

However, with the help of therapy, support, self-care, and understanding, it is possible for adult daughters of narcissistic father to reclaim their personal power and build a more fulfilling life.

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