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How Do Narcissist Fathers Affect Their Daughters? (And What You Can Do)

by | Mar 25, 2023 | 0 comments

The term “narcissism” on this blog is used to describe a specific set of personality traits. It is not intended to be used as a professional diagnosis.

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Narcissistic parents can have a profound impact on their children’s emotional, psychological, and social development.

Especially when it comes to narcissistic fathers and their daughters.

Daughters of narcissistic fathers may struggle with self-esteem, emotional regulation, and developing healthy relationships.

Trust me, I’m living it right now.

Even if your daughter doesn’t have a strong relationship with her narcissistic father, the way he treats her can be devastating.

It’s heartbreaking, but unless there is a very good reason to keep him out of her life, he will be there if wants to be.

And you can’t change his behaviors.

What you can do is help your daughter through the situation by providing her with love and support, as well as helping her build confidence and healthy self-esteem.

If your daughter has a narcissistic father, there are many ways you can help. Let’s take a look at how narcissistic fathers affect their daughters and what you can do:

Do Narcissists Treat Daughters Differently Than Sons?

Narcissistic fathers may treat daughters differently than sons, but this can vary depending on the individual narcissist and the dynamics of the family.

Here are some ways in which narcissists may treat their daughters differently:

  • Objectification: Narcissistic fathers may objectify their daughters, viewing them as extensions of themselves rather than individuals with their own thoughts and feelings. This can lead to daughters feeling invalidated and objectified.
  • Enmeshment: Narcissistic fathers may encourage enmeshment with their daughters, blurring the boundaries between themselves and their daughters. This can lead to daughters feeling overly dependent on their fathers and struggling to form healthy relationships with others.
  • Comparison: Narcissistic fathers may compare their daughters unfavorably to themselves or others, making their daughters feel inadequate and unworthy. This can lead to daughters struggling with low self-esteem and self-worth.
  • Emotional neglect: Narcissistic fathers may neglect their daughters emotionally, dismissing their feelings and needs. This can leave daughters feeling invalidated and struggling with emotional regulation.
  • Sexualization: In some cases, narcissistic fathers may sexualize their daughters, leading to inappropriate behaviors and interactions that can be harmful and traumatic for their daughters.

Narcissist Father Effects on Daughter: 5 Ways

Narcissistic fathers can have a profound and long-lasting impact on their daughters.

Even though our society is moving away from gender norms, there is still a difference in the way a girl relates to her mother and to her father. And when her father is a narcissist, it can disrupt the balance of care between both her parents and cause a disruption in her well-being.

Narcissistic fathers are characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a need for admiration and attention from others.

While a narcissist can certainly have a negative impact on anyone if their life, here are some ways in which narcissistic fathers can affect their daughters:

1. Low Self-Esteem

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Narcissistic fathers may undermine their daughters’ confidence and self-esteem by constantly criticizing and belittling them. They may also compare their daughters unfavorably to others, making their daughters feel inadequate and unworthy.

Still nowadays, young girls are generally more impressionable than young boys.

With so much pressure from peers and social media, girls are already facing potential self-esteem issues – having a narcissistic father doesn’t help.

2. Difficulty Forming Healthy Relationships

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Daughters of narcissistic fathers may struggle to form healthy relationships, as they may not have learned how to form secure attachments or trust others.

They may also seek out relationships with narcissistic partners, perpetuating a cycle of unhealthy relationships.

Oftentimes (though not always the case), girls will model future relationships on the one they have with their father, seeking similar traits in a partner.

When their father is narcissistic, they don’t have a great role model to compare partners to. They may grow up believing that their experience is how men are expected to treat women.

3. Codependency

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Narcissistic fathers may encourage their daughters to be overly dependent on them, making it difficult for their daughters to become independent and self-sufficient adults.

This, unfortunately, perpetuates the outdated idea that women should be dependent on men, allowing them to make all decisions and control the household.

Again, this can have a negative impact on a girl’s future relationships, as she may assume that being controlled by a man is perfectly normal.

4. Inability to Regulate Emotions

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Daughters of narcissistic fathers may struggle with regulating their emotions and may experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

One of the ways that narcissism can affect emotional regulation is by causing a sense of invalidation in the victim.

Narcissists tend to belittle or dismiss the feelings of their victims, which can cause them to doubt their own emotions and struggle to regulate them effectively.

Victims may feel that their emotions are not important or that they are overreacting, leading to a sense of confusion and distress.

What Can You Do?

Every situation is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution when your daughter has a narcissistic father.

The most important thing is to be there for your daughter, provide her with a safe and supportive environment, and help her find ways to cope with her father’s behavior in healthy ways.

Helping your daughter deal with a narcissistic father can be challenging, but here are some suggestions that may be helpful:

Validate Her Feelings

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It’s important to acknowledge and validate your daughter’s feelings.

Validating a child’s feelings is an important part of helping them develop healthy emotional regulation skills.

Here are some ways you can ensure your daughter’s feelings are validated and heard:

  • Listen attentively: When a child is expressing their feelings, it’s important to give them your full attention. Make eye contact, put away any distractions, and let them know you are fully present and listening to what they have to say.
  • Empathize: Try to put yourself in the child’s shoes and understand how they might be feeling. You can say things like, “That must be really hard for you,” or “I can see that you’re feeling upset.”
  • Reflect back: Repeat back to the child what they have said to show that you have heard and understood their feelings. You can say things like, “So you’re feeling sad because your friend didn’t invite you to their party,” or “You’re frustrated because you can’t get the toy to work the way you want it to.”
  • Avoid dismissing or minimizing their feelings: It’s important to avoid phrases like “you’re overreacting” or “it’s not that big of a deal.” These phrases can make the child feel like their feelings are not important or valid.
  • Offer comfort and support: Once you have validated the child’s feelings, offer comfort and support. You can say things like, “I’m here for you,” or “Let’s work together to figure out how to make things better.”

By validating a child’s feelings, you can help them develop a healthy sense of emotional regulation and self-worth.

This can help her deal with the way her narcissistic father dismisses her feelings – and help her process and cope with the entire situation.

Don’t Badmouth Her Father

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It’s important not to badmouth her father in front of your daughter, as it can be harmful to her relationship with him.

Instead, focus on the positive qualities and traits of her father and help her find ways to connect with him in healthy ways.

I know that can be hard, especially if you can’t come up with anything positive about her father.

If this is the case, take it from Thumper the rabbit: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Talk To Her About Her Father

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Even though you shouldn’t badmouth her father, it’s important to talk to your daughter about why her father treats her the way she does.

First of all, ensure her that it’s not her fault! She didn’t do anything to deserve this treatment, this is just the way her father treats other people.

When it comes to explaining narcissism to a child, it’s never easy, but remember to keep it simple and be age-appropriate. You can even use examples, such as showing your daughter movies that feature narcissistic characters (like Mother Gothel from Rapunzel).

And always encourage your daughter to ask questions, answering them with reassurance and support.

Provide a Safe and Stable Environment

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Provide your daughter with a stable and supportive environment at home. Make sure she feels safe and loved, and give her opportunities to connect with positive role models and supportive adults.

Show her affection in ways she is comfortable with, such as hugging, holding hands, or snuggling – this will help her feel secure and loved.

You can even find out her love language and fulfill her emotional needs that way.

Remind your daughter she is safe with you. If she is anxious or scared, provide reassurance and say things like, “You’re safe here,” or, “I’m here for you.”

You should also focus on including positive and supportive adults in her life so that she can see what healthy adult behaviors and connections look like.

Set Boundaries

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Set boundaries with your ex-partner and communicate them clearly to your daughter. Make it clear that certain behaviors are not acceptable, and make sure your daughter knows she can come to you for help if necessary.

If you have a court order, you can actually add in stipulations that her narcissistic father can’t say certain things or treat her a certain way.

Now, proving if he does can be difficult, but having it in a legal document may deter him from behaving in this way.

Otherwise, it’s important to teach your daughter how to set her own boundaries. Give her the strength and confidence to speak up when she doesn’t like the way she is being treated.

Encourage Therapy

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Consider encouraging your daughter to see a therapist who can help her process her emotions and experiences. A therapist can also provide her with tools and strategies to cope with her father’s behavior.

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Be There For Your Daughter

It’s important to note that not all daughters of narcissistic fathers will experience these effects, and the severity of the impact will vary from person to person.

But if your daughter’s father is a narcissist, you need to be prepared to support her through her experience.

By building a strong foundation in your relationship with your daughter, you can help her build confidence and strength so that the way her father treats her doesn’t break her down.

Does your daughter have a narcissistic father? How do you help her deal? Share your advice in the comments below.

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