If you grew up with a narcissistic father, you know that the scars from that upbringing never really fade. You might think you’ve moved on and put it all behind you, but the truth is that the pain of having a narcissistic parent can stay with you for a lifetime. In this blog post, we’re going to explore what happens to children of narcissistic fathers. We’ll also provide some tips for healing those old wounds.
The Scars That Never Fade – What happens to children of narcissistic fathers
The first thing to understand is that narcissistic fathers are not just “self-centered” or “egotistical.”
As children, we are completely dependent on our parents for love, attention, and approval. So if our father is a narcissist, it can have a profound effect on our development.
What happens to children of narcissistic fathers? Feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness
Narcissistic fathers do not bond with their children.
They’re so wrapped up in themselves that they fail to see their children as individuals with their own needs and feelings.
As a result, what happens is that narcissistic fathers view their children as extensions of themselves and expect them to meet unrealistic standards.
In addition, narcissistic fathers often have an overwhelming need for attention and admiration.
This need is so great that it often comes at the expense of their children.
Narcissistic fathers tend to be very critical, both verbally and emotionally. They may also belittle or dismiss their children’s accomplishments or interests.
What happens to children of narcissistic fathers? Feeling suffocated and trapped
Narcissistic fathers also tend to be very controlling.
They may try to micromanage every aspect of their children’s lives in an attempt to mould them into a version of themselves.
This need for control can cause children to feel suffocated and trapped.
It can also prevent them from developing a sense of self-agency and hinder their ability to think independently.
What happens to children of narcissistic fathers? Confusion, anxiety and depression
Lastly, narcissistic fathers often use emotional manipulation to get what they want from their children.
They may guilt-trip their kids into doing things they don’t want to do or gaslight them into doubting their own perceptions and memories.
When exposed to this type of manipulation, what happens is that the children of narcissistic fathers are left feeling confused, anxious, and depressed.
It can also make it difficult for them to trust other people later on in life.
What happens to children of narcissistic fathers? Low self-esteem
Many children of narcissistic fathers grow up feeling unloved and unworthy.
They learn early on that nothing they do is ever good enough and that they will never be able to please their father no matter how hard they try.
This can lead to a lifetime of low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy.
It can also make it difficult to form healthy relationships because these children often don’t believe that they deserve love or happiness.
In addition to being emotionally abusive, narcissistic fathers may also be physically abusive.
They use physical violence as a way to assert their power and control over their family.
Children who grow up in homes with physically abusive fathers suffer from physical and emotional scars that can last a lifetime.
The Long-Term Impact of being raised by a narcissistic father
Narcissistic fathers leave a damaging and lasting impact on their children, both emotionally and psychologically.
Their children suffer from a range of issues such as low self-esteem, anxiety and depression, or even codependency in adulthood.
Difficulty developing healthy personal relationships
The children of narcissistic fathers often have difficulty developing healthy personal relationships for a few key reasons.
First, their father may have modeled unhealthy behaviors in his own interpersonal relationships, making it difficult for the child to learn how to establish and maintain healthy relationships with others.
Second, the emotional manipulation and abuse that they experienced can make it hard to trust others and form secure attachments.
Finally, the lack of empathy exhibited by their father can lead to difficulties in understanding how to empathize with others, as well as effectively communicating their needs in relationships.
Difficulties in asserting themselves
A narcissistic father is incapable of unconditional love, so his children end up feeling insecure, self-doubting, and lacking in self-esteem.
Without being taught how to express themselves, stand up for their opinion, or identify what is important for them personally, these children will be too afraid to voice their needs out of fear of criticism or disapproval.
As such, even as adults they may struggle to effectively communicate their needs or advocate for themselves in order to assert themselves.
Low self-confidence and feelings of worthlessness
Constant criticism from a narcissistic father leaves children feeling insecure, questioning their abilities and decisions, and doubting their value
Because of this, they come to the conclusion that they are not worthy or capable, so they find it difficult to have faith in themselves or take risks in order to achieve what they want.
Anxiety and depression
The children of narcissistic fathers often struggle with anxiety and depression due to the lack of emotional support and validation that they receive from their father.
Feeling constantly judged, criticized, and dismissed can cause them to feel helpless, worthless, and anxious.
These feelings can lead to further feelings of despair, self-doubt, and low self-confidence which can manifest into depression over time.
Without a strong sense of identity or self-love it can be difficult for these children to cope with life’s stressors, leaving them feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, and stuck in a cycle of negative psychological effects.
Poor communication skills
Without a validating, nurturing figure in their life, these children may lack the confidence to properly express themselves.
Additionally, if they experience criticism or dismissive behavior from their father when attempting to communicate their feelings or ideas, it can further worsen their communication skills.
This may lead them to become increasingly introverted and avoidant of any meaningful conversations for fear of judgment or feeling overwhelmed.
Weak sense of self
A narcissistic father treats his children as an extension of himself, which denies them the opportunity to have their own unique identity.
These children are often expected to think and act in ways that please their father, with little regard for their own feelings or desires.
This disempowering dynamic prevents the child from developing a strong sense of self as they grow up, as they learn to rely on external validation instead of trusting their inner voice.
As adults, these individuals may find it difficult to form healthy relationships or make positive decisions when faced with challenging situations due to a lack of self-confidence and personal autonomy.
Codependency issues in adult relationships.
The children of narcissistic fathers are often taught that giving is the only way to receive love and attention.
As adults, these behaviors can set them up for codependency, as they often find themselves seeking out relationships where they hope to find acceptance and validation by constantly putting others before them.
This pattern of over-giving with no expectation of reciprocation can leave them feeling taken advantage of or even ignored, perpetuating feelings of low self-worth and making it difficult for them to create healthy boundaries in their relationships.
Conclusion – What Happens to Children of Narcissistic Fathers?
The consequences of growing up with a narcissistic father can leave deep psychological wounds that can haunt individuals well into adulthood.
These unresolved issues may manifest in various forms such as anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and relationship issues.
Seeking professional help is essential for discovering the root causes of these problems, processing them, and healing them at their source.
With patience and dedication, individuals who have experienced this type of childhood can learn coping strategies to manage their difficult emotions and begin rebuilding their lives with more confidence and stability.
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Carla Corelli is an author, advocate, and survivor of narcissistic abuse. Having grown up with a narcissistic father, Carla experienced firsthand the profound impact of psychological and emotional abuse. Fueled by her personal journey, she pursued a degree in psychology and has dedicated herself to shedding light on the complexities of narcissistic abuse.
With over fifteen years of experience in writing and advocating for survivors, Carla is deeply committed to providing support, education, and empowerment to those who have endured similar trauma. Through her articles, Carla aims to offer a compassionate space for healing and growth, while advocating for greater awareness and understanding of narcissistic abuse.
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