"Oh my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent…" Jeremiah 4:19

Characteristics of Narcissistic Fathers

This page is one of the most visited on this site and since I’ve read that 75% of all narcissists are men, that makes sense to me.  I don’t know if the way narcissistic fathers act is the same as narc moms act (view here) but when I found the lists I put farther down on this page, reading them struck a chord in me and I flashed back to one of my stepfathers.

By doing this blog, I’ve come to realize that my 2rd stepfather was a horrible narcissist, abusive to all, violent, cold, extremely controlling and cruel…even while being ver-r-r-y charming, handsome and successful.  Hey, snakes and poisonous bugs can be pretty too…

Boy-oh-boy did he get mad one time when I was 12 years old.  I interrupted his singing in the kitchen while he cooked and I’ll NEVER forget that look…pure hatred and evil….and I felt terrified by just a look.  Ugh, shudder. He was a dirty cop (who was actually convicted of being a dirty cop and put in jail), he beat my mother, brothers and sister, his children were a mess and I heard he died alone and friendless.

Looking back, I realize that two of my mother’s four husbands left her via divorce and the last one died. I do not think any of those three husbands were narcissists but instead more doormat types that she could manipulate and control.  But husband number two, Jack Greer, was DEFINITLEY a cruel, sadistic MALIGNANT narcissist.  HIM she ran from because he probably would have eventually killed her (and I do mean literally, I’m not being funny here.)

:Angry Man" Anita Killi

The list below is common to all types of narcissists but struck me as more “masculine” (remember, it’s said that 75% of all narcissists are men) most likely due to the number of times the word “respect” is mentioned.

In Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders, Aaron T. Beck, Arthur Freeman, and associates (1990) list typical beliefs associated with each specific personality disorder. Here are the typical beliefs that they have listed (pp. 361-362) for Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

  • I am a very special person.
  • Since I am so superior, I am entitled to special treatment and privileges.
  • I don’t have to be bound by the rules that apply to other people.
  • It is very important to get recognition, praise, and admiration.
  • If others don’t respect my status, they should be punished.
  • Other people should satisfy my needs.
  • Other people should recognize how special I am.
  • It’s intolerable if I’m not accorded my due respect or don’t get what I’m entitled to.
  • Other people don’t deserve the admiration or riches that they get.
  • People have no right to criticize me.
  • No one’s needs should interfere with my own.
  • Since I am so talented, people should go out of their way to promote my career.
  • Only people as brilliant as I am understand me.
  • I have every reason to expect grand things.

(View original source here.)


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.

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