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 mom characteristics 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 2nd 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 can 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 aberrant 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.


16 thoughts on “Characteristics of Narcissistic Fathers

  1. I am 22 years old and just realizing my father is a narcissistic jerk, but definitely without the sexual avoided and alcoholism. Since my dad is overall an intelligent, good looking, and dutiful guy, his horrible character goes unnoticed. Almost everything on both lists resonates with my father and his personality. He isn’t extremely cruel, meaning, I did get a good amount of hugs and love from him growing up but not enough for his lesser qualities to go unnoticed. Not enough for me to NOT seek out similar stories which is how I found this forum. My father is verbally abusive and sometimes physically abusive to my mother and I. My sister threw a radio at his head right before he kicked her out for “being disrespectful” (she was only voicing how horrible of a person he is) and she ended up moving back to New York and getting murdere by her new boyfriend. The cycle is repeating itself because I am getting kicked out soon but I will try to make a better way for myself. My mother asks helpless for the sake of her marriage so she actually goes along with whatever he says and does. He can do no wrong. He keeps others dependent on him through favors and this is how he manages to appear a decent person. It’s all twisted and that’s part of the reason I’m so angry. He’s been in and out of prison my entire life. The first time he was gone until I was 6 years old. He left again when I was 12 and he is just coming from doing a 10 year bid at 22 years old. I just want to move forward and detach myself from him. I tried forgiving and loving him but I just receive more criticism. My father views emotions as a weakness and an opportunity to assert his imaginary power. No one can truly control anyone. He never got the memo

  2. That second to last paragraph about the meaning of Abba hit me so hard I cried. I have had such trust issues with God all my life because of my dad (a description of whom is laid out nicely in these lists) Thank you thank you thank you for sharing this!!!


    “Prevalence of lifetime NPD was 6.2%, with rates greater for men (7.7%) than women (4.8%). NPD was significantly more prevalent among Black men and women and Hispanic women, younger adults, and separated/divorced/widowed and never married adults.”

    So more men than women are narcissists, but according to these numbers it’s not 75%, it’s more like 60 %, so a little over a half, but less than two thirds.

    • That doesn’t surprise me…but I do know that the number one page searched on this blog is “characteristics of narc fathers”…and yeah, I’m sure the stats have been updated since I first started this blog 5 years ago. Narcissism is on the rise in society overall. I also think female narcs “hide” it better and often present as helpless and/or caring and/or victims. Victim narcs are REALLY hard to spot. Good link though (and I’m wading through 3 years of comments so forgive my late reply.)

    • You’re right…it’s only 60% men. Another reader posted this and I think YOU in particular will find it offensive but hey, it’s from EXPERTS. And btw, I’m not sure where you’re getting the feminist sexist idea…perhaps you failed to notice that this is a blog about my MOTHER? Last time I looked, she was definitely a female and definitely a narcissist. Sorry if the truth offends you but then again, most men who post on this site exhibit the characteristically narcissistic attitudes of belittling and denying the truth. Got any mirrors handy buddy?

      “Prevalence of lifetime NPD was 6.2%, with rates greater for men (7.7%) than women (4.8%). NPD was significantly more prevalent among Black men and women and Hispanic women, younger adults, and separated/divorced/widowed and never married adults. NPD was associated with mental disability among men but not women. High co-occurrence rates of substance use, mood, anxiety, and other personality disorders (PDs) were observed. With additional comorbidity controlled for, associations with bipolar I disorder, PTSD, and schizotypal and borderline PDs remained significant, but weakened, among men and women. Similar associations were observed between NPD and specific phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and bipolar II disorder among women; and alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, drug dependence, and histrionic and obsessive-compulsive PDs among men. Dysthymia was significantly and negatively associated with NPD.”

  4. My dad is this 100%. I’m still stuck here and I can’t put up with him anymore and i want to die. please if you know any way to get him arrested so i can leave please help me, im too young to die but ill be forced to if i cant get out

    • I did a quick visit to your twitter page and saw in December you’re happy with reconciliation with parents and a boyfriend. Demra, try to find a therapist because you can’t “get” happiness from others and I suspect you might have some issues that will crop up over and over. I exhibited a lot of Borderline Personality Disorders when I was young and it was NOT a fun way to live. Try to get to a Co-Dependents Anonymous meeting (they’re free and in practically every city in America) and see if anyone else there has a narc father. It helps to have others who have suffered in our corner! Best of luck to you sweetie.

    • Sounds like you need to find a way to support yourself so you are not dependant on him. Learn a skill, go to school? Take out a loan?

  5. ~Working to Build support for anyone that has & is being
    ABUSED. Abuse of ANY TYPE, Emotional,Verbal, Physical, Sexual etc~.

    Those with Mental Illnesses,Addictions, all around needing help to Deal with there Feelings, Pain & Suffering, and what ever else you may need to reach out for help & understanding?

    When WE ALL stop to find the source of our pain & suffering we start to Heal..Where only alone if we can’t or won’t talk about it..

    Please if you feel in your heart & soul it could help anyone,
    feel free to share this post. Check out and remember to “Like” & Share, comment,tag. And any other pages on ours that you feel could help others in anyway possible.


  6. when you think about what a narcissistic wound is (as I understand it a wound resulting in the first three years of life, mainly before 2 when the separation from parent and definition of self is happening) it becomes clear to me at least that male narcissists may have suffered serious maternal neglect and not only formed the false exterior facade sense of self but also because of having an early childhood largely devoid of maternal physical affection they when their sexuality developed began to fill that void with sexual behavior. Many feel intrinsically unlovable and rejected by the primal female, mother, and so it is easy to see how they could disastrously end up being child predators since children are so affectionate and their (the narc’s) need for non-sexual love was not met and replaced instead with sexuality and sexual acting out. I could definitely support your theory that these are the prototypical child molestors.

  7. One more thing to make it clearer …….. I hide a huge part of my life from my father …… he obviously doesn’t know about the abuser from my workplace and my outings with my friends etc. So I make conscious effort to give him as less control of my life as possible …… but lately during the process of admission to my college, I am having to take his help for the form filling and paying of fees. And I tried to do a lot of things on my own, but ended up making mistakes. So I have to take his help and listen to his criticism all the time, including gas lighting about how much money he has with him to pay my fees and how he is going to arrange for it and guilt tripping me for using his money. The point is I need his help, because I have no one else for advice on how to do things correctly. But I know when I am taking his help he is manipulating me to his advantage and making me do things that I don’t want to do and I don’t even realize before it is too late. I want to do things on my own but I make mistakes and if I take help I get manipulated. That is why I am helpless.
    Just let me know if you have any advice on this. Some way of keeping my sanity and getting help while not losing confidence, if it is possible at all…. thanks….

  8. My father is 70% of the above mentioned qualities. Ironically, a second old man came to my life at my workplace and showed me my father’s negative traits and showed me why I am negatively affected by him. The irony is this, this second man has 100% of the above mentioned qualities and abused me much worse, helped me too. He was a nurturing figure yes, and did go that creepy way of molesting me to show what a true master in bed is like. I don’t talk to him anymore after that incident. But it leaves me helpless very often. He has convinced me that I cannot trust my father and he is right. But that leaves me feeling worse. Both my father and this man resorted to their own way of gas lighting. And I feel like escaping to a new gaslighter to protect myself from the present one.

    Here’s my problem, there are so many webpages out there teaching us to identify a narcissist. There are pages explaining how to deal with a narcissistic father when you are an adult and living away from him. I am an adult but I still live with him, I am dependent on him. And I am even today gas lighted in many ways. I know getting away from this situation altogether is the best way , but I would have to live on the streets. Some one please tell me how to deal with a narcissitic father while you are living with him. How to keep your sanity and not let your confidence be affected. I got the best news of my life today that I got into the college I was trying hard for , and today I am already at breaking down point today. I really am looking for advice on how to survive this while I try to break out of this situation. Please help if you have any useful advice. Thanks, take care.

  9. I think your right on when you say narciissistic fathers tend to molest their daughters / children more than other personality types, simply because one characteristic of a child preditor’s personality is narcissiim.

    So yes, I would tend to agree with you on that!

  10. Check
    etc etc etc

    My father in a nutshell. I am so lucky to have a mother who left him, constantly talks to us; her children, about NPD, helps us understand his sickness, and thus put up boundaries between us and him. She did all the emotional work required, read up on everything she could find, and was always very vocal, never kept quiet or held back. She is my savior.
    At 17 now, almost 18, I have my own ideas about life, own goals and dreams, and own defense mechanisms that can keep that monster at bay. Contact is limited, and I assume that by the time I leave for college next year, I will cut off any and every contact with him.
    Thank you so much for this article. As I read down the list, the similarities were not just surreal, but spot on. EVERY ONE OF THEM, but the last. He has never physically or sexually abused us, but he definitely tried to emotionally.

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