How to Protect a Child From Narcissistic Father

One of the scariest things a child can go through is being raised by a narcissistic father. These fathers can be manipulative, demanding, and often emotionally abusive.

It’s important to take steps to protect a child from the harm that can come from a narcissistic father.

Here are ways to keep a child safe, according to experts.

Sushree Nishtha Om

Sushree Nishtha Om

Psychotherapist and Motivational Counsellor,

It’s not uncommon that every parent-child relationship goes through challenging phases which encompass the occasional struggle, stress, and distress. For couples, it is understandable and perceptible; they expect and accept it and try their best to manage those discords. 

However, there are alarming times when certain instances go over and beyond the usual family scuffles. It’s not difficult to witness such a scenario in the presence of a narcissistic parent. 

Undeniably, dealing with a narcissistic spouse is agonizing. Helping your children through such a challenging and complex situation can be even more daunting and unnerving.

Narcissistic behavior is projected in varied ways hence children in these situations often struggle with confusion, tremendous anxiety, and a sense of victimization. Children of narcissistic fathers sometimes suffer in noticeable and, most of the time, invisible ways. 

The darts of abuse (physical, verbal or emotional) pierce a child’s consciousness, and the consequences of shouting, violence, authoritarianism, manipulation lead to a feeling of anxiety, shame, self-doubt, distorted eating habits, and self-destructive patterns. 

Related: How a Narcissistic Parent Affects a Child

Respect your child’s feelings and guide them towards developing strength

As a mother/caretaker or a mature adult in the family, your priority is to respect your child’s feelings and protect them from their abusive father. 

Mothers need to recognize that their partner’s abusive behavior is not their fault. Even though the mother witnesses the verbal or physical violence every day and feels helpless at the damaging effects on her child’s psyche, her love, support, and encouragement can guide them towards developing strength, feeling safe and eventual healing. 

A big question, how to protect a child from a narcissistic father? This is definitely a sensitive situation, and every parent has this vexing question regarding their child’s emotional safety and overall development. 

Find safety support and practice self-care

Though we can’t change the fact that their other parent is a narcissist, we can certainly make them aware of the truth, depending on the child’s age and maturity level. Gradually they will have to come to terms with the fact that their father is a manipulative narcissist. 

A mother or caregiver’s role plays a vital role. Their unconditional love, empathy, support, and guidance can improve the situation by helping the child develop inner wisdom and coping skills. 

Finding safe support, practicing self-care, and, most importantly, seeking safety from abuse will help mothers overcome the faulty beliefs their abusive partner has fed them. It will also enable them to become the guiding light their children need. 

S.M.A.R.T S – Self-protection and Survival Skills

Being around a narcissistic father is not easy as they tend to condition their children to feel weak, incapable, and guilty.

Here are a few approaches to help your child be ‘SMART’ and courageously deal with the tormenting and traumatizing situation. These ‘SMART’ coping skills will not only enable a child to handle their emotions but also create a balance in their inner world.

S – Self-care

A huge part of self-care revolves around mental and emotional health. While a child goes through mental, physical, or emotional abuse, they need to learn how to protect themselves. 

Suggest they reach out to someone they trust, retreat to a safe room when they feel threatened, talk to their mother, go out and play a sport, play music, or take a nap whenever they’re feeling low. A mother must also help her child develop healthy boundaries with the father

Children are gullible; even after the ill-treatment from a narcissistic father, they have soft hearts as they belong to him and long for his love and attention. It’s in these moments of vulnerability that a child is most susceptible to abuse and manipulation. If the child has learned to draw firm boundaries, they are bound to be less hurt, resentful, and angry. 

M – Motivate

With an inflated sense of their own importance, the narcissistic father can be arrogant and demoralizing, which not only affects the child’s self-esteem, it also results in loss of confidence in their ability to make choices and raises self-doubts about their caliber. 

When a child has an outburst, help them talk about and express their emotions freely and figure out ways to manage them. Give them frequent hugs and express your empathy; just acknowledge their feelings without shunning them. Reassure them and make them feel worthy of love. 

Motivate your child to practice meditation and prayer not only on a troublesome day but daily. Encourage them to take it up as a tool to provide inner peace and joy in their daily routine. 

Related: How to Improve Mindfulness and Meditation

Further, encourage the child to spend time outside in the open. Join them in outdoor activities, doing something fun, getting some ice cream, and playing silly games to strengthen your bond with the child. 

A – Accept and agree

For the narcissist father, blaming, particularly scapegoating a child, is quite natural. They often lack empathy and disregard how a child may feel about their toxic behavior. 

Help your child to understand and accept the complexity of the relationship dynamics and the problematic situation. When your child needs support and wants to lash out with anger, rather than portraying a negative image, choose the right words that will help the child to calm down. 

For instance, you could tell them:

  • “Maybe your dad didn’t make a good choice of words today,” or 
  • “Yes, I agree that he should have been mindful, but I know you understand and won’t let it affect your peace.” 

When they see a mother who accepts the situation calmly, they will find it easier to accommodate and react less to the problem. 

R – Resilience

Narcissists feel compelled to do whatever it takes to get what they want. Over and above this, they find it challenging to be compassionate and connect intimately with their children. 

One of the most incredible tools to help a child navigate these kinds of challenges is ‘Resilience’. Resilient individuals are courageous and problem solvers. Not only do they tackle challenging situations, but they also strive to find reasonable solutions. 

Encourage your child to keep the communication clear and direct with the narcissist father. When the communication is tainted, there is very little chance of maintaining the connection between the parent-child robust and meaningful. 

Many times, children of a narcissistic father are ridiculed and bullied by their friends too. The peer group doesn’t understand the reality and sensitivity of the situation and may find faults in the child. This unfair treatment; it isolates the child, and eventually, they feel victimized. 

As a mature adult, impress upon the child the advantages of teaching virtues such as compassion, forgiveness, temperance, etc. Motivate and inspire them by sharing the benefits of living an honest and authentic life. 

If they are emotionally mature and stable enough to accept their father’s behavior, encourage them to be authentic and open with their friends and relatives about their situation. The feelings of shame, guilt, pity, and self-doubt subside when a child openly accepts their circumstances.

T – Trauma training

For a narcissist, their own needs come first. Therefore, their children are usually neglected, misunderstood, or abused. On top of it, if a narcissistic father has violent or abusive tendencies, it affects the safety and security of the child.

By safety, I emphasize all three levels: mental, emotional, and physical security. 

First and foremost, educate the child about abuse. Educating them to differentiate between general discord and abusive behavior helps a child develop his coping mechanism. Help the child understand and identify when it’s fine to let go and when to raise an issue. 

Children who go through betrayal and narcissistic abuse deserve a safe space to share their stories, process trauma, ask questions, and make connections with the people who trust them. If these experiences are intense and frequent, a child can easily slip into anxiety and trauma. 

A child with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) has persistent scary thoughts and memories of a past event. As a mother, trauma training may not be your forte, but patient listening can give it a start. 

To help you in this process, a counselor or a trained therapist can show you ways to approach problem-solving with the narcissist father. Making time and space for emotional conversations with your child will help them release their heavy emotions. 

Work on emotional identification by following the steps below:

  1. Ask them how they are feeling right then. 
  2. Encourage them to release their emotions by focusing on their breath for a minute. 
  3. Again ask, “How are you feeling now?” 

This will help them identify the difference between the perception of light and heavy emotions. 

Make sure you have a core group of people who can support you and your child

As a parent, make sure you have a core group of people in your life who can support you in this process. It can be challenging to tackle both your own emotions as well as your child’s. 

Related: How to Build a Personal and Family Support System

Do not hesitate to reach out to coaches, teachers, friends, and neighbors to serve as role models to your child. In the event of a traumatic episode, the most essential and critical prerequisite for a child is your loving presence. 

It brings comfort, support, and reassurance to a heart that longs for unconditional love and care. It not only makes a child feel safe, but it also aids them in managing their fears, overcoming their grief, and helping them recover wholesomely. 

My recommendation as a counselor, if you or your child need help and assistance from a mental health professional, please do not have qualms about asking a doctor or other health care provider for a reference. 

Tania DaSilva

Tania DaSilva

Child, Youth and Family Therapist | Clinical Director, Behaviour Matters

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health diagnosis; symptoms and where individuals fall on the spectrum can vary. 

Symptoms can include:

  • Exaggerated self-importance
  • A need for excessive admiration and attention
  • A need to be seen as superior and the best

They can face troubles in relationships due to a lack of empathy and care for others’ feelings as well as taking advantage of others. They can be described as arrogant, pretentious, and envious at times. 

When the reality includes these symptoms, the individual has low self-esteem and has trouble handling anything perceived as criticism. They may react with rage or belittle those around them, struggling with emotional regulation and feelings of anger, contempt, stress, shame, and vulnerability. 

If your child has a parent who is diagnosed with or struggles with narcissistic tendencies, here are some tips to help protect them from the potential impacts:

Be their calm and safe space

When one parent struggles with their emotional regulation, it helps to have another parent who can balance the emotions

Remember, your child may already feel unsafe or uncomfortable due to the rollercoaster of emotions they are witnessing, so it is crucial to create a safe, secure, and supportive environment and relationship with and for them.

Validate and explore their feelings

Not only do we want to create a safe and calm space for our children, but we also want to use that space to allow them to share and explore feelings. Talk about feelings, develop emotional awareness, check in on how they are feeling and what is going on for them in their life or mind. 

Use that time to validate any shared feeling and encourage them to continue to speak to you about everything and anything; remind them you are there to understand them and support them.

Teach kids about healthy relationships and expectations

Teach them about how others should treat them, develop healthy social-emotional skills and help them develop their values and boundaries. 

If we take time to teach kids about healthy relationships and expectations in general, they will become more able to identify what is not ok and more likely not to accept it. 

When doing this in more general terms, we are not criticizing or singling out the other parent but validating and supporting any connections or observations the child makes and providing support strategies.

Don’t fall into the traps the co-parent sets for you

The narcissistic parent may try to set you up, get a reaction from you or unacceptably treat you. Do not fall into power struggles or emotional battles, and always model healthy boundaries and reactions, especially when your child is watching.

Seek support to protect your child from any abuse

If your child is physically or emotionally abused, seek support immediately — a lawyer and/or therapist can assist in keeping your child safe.

As adults, we are to keep our children safe, even from their other parents, and support is available to help you through these difficult parenting moments. 

Dr. Mitch Keil, PsyD

Mitch Keil

Owner and Psychologist, Keil Psych Group

First, let’s understand the world of a narcissistic father. He likely has his own shame wounds or was the narcissistic extension of a parent, thus subjugating his identity and creating similar wounds to what your child is experiencing. 

His world is organized in such a way to protect his own shame through the conquest of more, better, the best. To avoid embarrassment at all costs through perceived superiority in an addictive, compulsive fashion has flipped meaningful values on its head.

Things like recognition, authority, validation, and success trump connecting, peace, authenticity, and more soulful living. Any reasonable approach to address the shortcomings in parenting feel like an assault because of the wounds he carries. 

Ideas like empathy, shared experience, mutual understanding are foreign languages. My hope is that if you can see out of his eyes you, to understand the world he lives in, you might be able to better understand how to be helpful and facilitate an optimal relationship with what he can give.

Help the child grieve the difference between the father they needed and the father that is present

As they get older, help them to grieve the difference between the father they needed and the father that is present. Don’t criticize – validate, listen, empathize. 

A father with NPD has real, lifelong limits. It’s essential to accept this as a fixed and likely unchanging situation. Only then can you move to deal with the emotional injuries stemming from having a narcissistic father- recovery is lifelong. 

Adult children with narcissistic fathers struggle to maintain healthy self-esteem, feel validated in their efforts and have trouble honoring their own feelings and intuitions. 

Further, they struggle to feel successful worthwhile and tend to struggle with anxiety and depression in later teen years. Grief is an essential component of healing. Only after grief and acceptance can you find a way to participate in the more limited relationship that is available. 

Find a healthy, emotionally present father figure or mentor

One way to help heal the wound your child is experiencing is to help them find a healthy surrogate father. Helping them find an emotionally present, fatherly figure through sports, interests, hobbies, and other available mentors can be incredibly helpful.

We now know that attachment wounds can be helped with the help of a healthy, consistent mentor figure over a period of time. If none are available, this is where therapy can come in. 

Many who had fathers with these criteria connected to a therapist as a child/teen and as adults report it as the central agent of change in their lives. The power of therapy to help cannot be overstated. 

The quality of relationship that therapy provides is often antithetical to the wound being created. A therapist offers an empathic, interested, attentive, supportive, wisdom-filled type of guidance and validation – something scarce for the child of an NPD father. 

Let the child connect with NPD dad and facilitate the relationship as best you can

Help your child connect with NPD dad in what seems most natural for him and facilitate the relationship as best you can (except in abusive situations). Don’t give up on this. 

Please don’t bash the dad; the child knows they are half of him – a bash about him is felt as a bash to the kid. It may create a wound they will need to later compensate for. Try your best to help facilitate the kind of father-child interactions that will be helpful to your developing kid. 

Set clear boundaries in co-parenting

“When you do X, I will do Y.” Follow through 100% of the time without bringing a ton of emotional heat. 

It is important to approach those with NPD in an almost business-like format regarding caregiving. This is particularly important if you are co-parenting in a divorced family. 

Related: How to Communicate With a Narcissist

Another great option is to encourage joint therapy in the spirit of healthy cooperation. I have watched this go incredibly well for many divorced parents out there. 

Accept that you won’t be able to stop all wounds

As the other involved adult figure, accept that you won’t be able to stop all wounds. Don’t try to play mom and dad at the same time; this is often experienced as engulfment by children. They need their space to grow. 

Don’t try and make up for what you believe your child is hurting from or missing. It’s best to figure out how to honor your unique role in their lives and play it as best as you can. 

There’s no such thing as “making it up”; just an exhausted parent who is struggling to do more than they are able. Further, getting your support is vital in dealing with what you are likely going through. 

Seek professional help until you have appropriate support and understanding 

Parents who seek help from therapists fare much better than those shooting from the hip. My advice is to find a psychologist that you can see for some time until you feel like you have the appropriate support, understanding, and skillset to support your child and manage ongoing issues with dad. 

Laurie Hollman, PhD

Laurie Hollman

Licensed Psychoanalyst, Choosing Therapy | Author, Are You Living with a Narcissist?

Seek treatment or support from people who sees the situation more clearly

A father with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder lacks empathy for their child but only seeks to be aggrandized by that child’s accomplishments or beauty. 

The child doesn’t experience personal recognition but rather the accolades of a parent who wants to be admired for their child’s successes. A child prodigy is exceptionally at risk, feeling so molded by this parent that they fail to gain an identity of their own. 

In my experience as a psychoanalyst treating many narcissists, I can recall such children in their late teens when normal identity should become consolidated who say to me quite early on in treatment, “I don’t know who I am.”

Younger children, of course, seek paternal approval only to discover in unclear ways that it is not their hard work that’s being prized but their success at winning their parents’ conceit. 

This becomes distressing to the child though they can’t pinpoint why. But they never experienced basic genuine unconditional love. Love comes with conditions. The child’s role is to elevate the parent. The child knows no other life until his accomplishments are recognized and praised by teachers and coaches who see him for himself alone. 

Now the child is confused because the parent may be averse to the offerings of such people. It is because their influence on the child feels risky to this parent who wants to control and own this child as his possession.

There may be a crossfire between such teachers and this parent, but remember there is hopefully yet another parent also living under the duress of this narcissistic spouse. 

Imagine the narcissist is the husband, and the loving, empathic parent is the wife. Like her child, she might at first have been drawn to this man’s charm and eloquent praise and approval but soon feels empty of her very own self or life. 

If she is awakened early enough in the child’s life and perhaps with treatment for herself or support from friends who see her situation more clearly, she may risk her husband’s wrath by engaging with the teachers and coaches.

This real love from the other parent offers a subtle but actual escape route for the child, especially as others outside the family influence the child by giving honest appraisals. The child can feel he has earned for himself and on his own. 

There may be angry words spoken by the narcissist with his wife and child. He may become enraged (not violent) and give days or silent treatment to the child and wife at different times. This curious behavior will hopefully heighten the child and other parent’s awareness that something is way off. 

They feel hurt and owned, not indeed loved by this narcissist they once admired and adored. They realize the narcissist never feels admired enough–he cannot be satisfied without renewed recognition on a regular basis.

A chapter in a book I published may give more insight so I’ll quote a passage:

“In the myth of Narcissus, there is another character, Echo, who stands behind Narcissus and, having lost her ability to form her own words, repeats the utterances of others. 

She falls in love with Narcissus and follows him, hoping he will say loving words that she can repeat back to him. But Narcissus is so taken with his own self-love, that he is unable to hear her. Unable to capture his attention or love, she dies.

This story is the template for the narcissistic parent who cannot see, hear, or react to the needs of another—including his child, who is represented by Echo. 

According to Pressman and Donaldson-Pressman (The Narcissistic Family, 1994), this is an allegory for the narcissistic family, where the parent’s needs are focused on rather than the child’s independent functioning.”

Mirlo Liendo

Mirlo Liendo

Youth Counsellor | Domestic Violence Expert | Author, “Finding Courage In The Conflict

Teach kids the tools to make their own safe and informed choices

Ending a relationship with a narcissist can prove to be the most challenging time in one’s life. Add children to the equation, and it can be a nightmare. 

Between surmounting litigation expenses, deliberate waste of time in court, and post-separation abuse – the one thing that must remain a priority are the children. 

Related: How to Divorce a Narcissist

Leaving the relationship does not mean the abuse will end. With a narcissist, shared custody leads to post-separation abuse. When the narcissist discovers they no longer have the same access to you, they will use the children to hurt you. 

You may feel helpless, but there are many ways to support your children and protect them from a narcissistic father. 

The top ten, in no particular order, are: 

  1. Have a court-ordered access agreement, and stick to it. 
  2. Have a predictable routine with your children.
  3. Remind your children regularly that they are loved. 
  4. Role model appropriate boundaries.
  5. Provide a safe space for them to be heard.
  6. Tell them they are your priority.
  7. Do not argue or react to the narcissist with emotion.
  8. Do not speak ill of the other parent or their family.
  9. Do not blame the child(ren) for what the father does or says.
  10. Do not complain to the children about attempts the father makes to counter-parent.

Knowledge is going to be their power. Something I share in support of mothers attempting to navigate these very muddy waters is; you may not be able to ever erase this man from their lives, but you can teach them the tools to be able to make their own safe and informed choices. 

Speaking with them in age-appropriate language, listening to their fears and concerns, and allowing them to trust you to lead them in the safest direction is often the best you can do.

Arming your children with the wisdom to develop healthy relationships with anyone is the ultimate goal.

Lynn Catalano

Lynn Catalano

Licensed Attorney | Toxic Workplace Coach | Founder and CEO, Lynn Catalano Speaks

For a child of a narcissistic father, it’s a constant feeling of walking on eggshells. As a child, you are hyper-aware of the triggers of the narcissistic parent. You do everything in your power to avoid those triggers.  

Growing up with a narcissistic father conditions you to accept their bad behavior, silent treatment, and manipulation. Their reputation is always the most important to them over their character or their relationships. It’s all about how they are perceived in their community.

Immerse child in a life filled with emotional privilege

To counteract my father’s narcissism, my mother immersed me in a life filled with emotional privilege. I’d never heard this term before. I always knew I was loved. My mother said so multiple times a day. As an only child, I felt like the center of her universe. 

In college, I realized how idyllic my childhood was compared to others. My mother provided a safe environment while telling me I was smart, pretty and teaching me empathy for others. She created a cozy bubble where I felt comfortable and secure. 

I grew more self-confident each year. She exposed me to all kinds of people, different races, religions, and backgrounds. I learned empathy because my mother had many other relationships, and we talked about everything. Every book she read to me, every show we watched, or movie we saw – we discussed afterward.

Just like the character Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” says:

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Create a foundation of inner resources

Basically, my mother made sure I wasn’t a narcissist by creating a foundation of inner resources. What are inner resources? Mom defined this as the certain knowledge that you’re loved, valued, and important. 

They’re defined as having the ability to help yourself manage or achieve something. I grew up thinking of inner resources as the knowledge I am loved. 

This knowledge provided me with the power to take risks, try new things, and make new friends. The opposite of this power is the inability to cope with difficult situations for a person with little or no inner resources. 

I was well-adjusted and fully formed emotionally until she died suddenly. Then I had to face his narcissistic ways as an adult. It was a wrecking ball relationship. 

Frank Thewes, LCSW

Frank Thewes

Private Practice Therapist and Owner, Path Forward Therapy 

Below are two ways to help protect a child from a narcissistic parent. The parent can teach this or, ideally, in combination with a child therapist:

Bolster the child’s personal identity

Helping a child develop their personal identity can be done by assisting them in identifying and utilizing positive personality strengths and attributes and allowing them to focus on building confidence through engaging in things they excel at like music, art, academics, sports, or other interests.

These will help a child develop a healthy personal identity separate from a narcissistic parent.

Help them learn to stay grounded to regulate their emotions

The abovementioned activities will help the child ground themselves. Grounding is vital in this context because the child will need to regulate their emotions with a narcissistic parent, which is a complex task.

These approaches are internal for the child and don’t demonize the narcissistic parent. If a child has a good sense of who they are, healthy self-confidence, and solid emotional regulation skills – they are less likely to be negatively affected by a narcissistic parent.

Related: How to Raise Kids so They Do Not Become Narcissistic Adults

Arlo Jared Lorenz

Arlo Jared Lorenz

Founder, Felt It In MyHeart Press | Author, “Empath to Self Love: A healing guide to compassion, sensitivity, and protection

From day one, my father was abusive, hitting me for crying and a general inability to face his own demons. He felt justified in all of his actions, even hitting his infant son. This came to a head with my biological parents; he left us, and soon after was a divorce.

I fear that there will be no end to abusive manipulation without separation, so that is the baseline for my experience and what follows. As he was my father, I was court-required to see him twice a year, every year where the hitting and manipulation continued.

He was always justified and able to reason his actions through experience or religion. As an abused individual, I fell victim, protected him, and failed to report his actions.

I learned through my writings and attempts to reintroduce him into my life that he would not change, could not change, and would not take responsibility for leaving or hitting me, much less any psychological pain he caused. This was his shortcoming, not mine.

Related: Can Narcissists Change if They Want To?

Protect the primary parent first

Protecting a child is impossible if you can not first protect the primary parent. Visitation will just elicit more manipulation of the child if there’s no supervision. A truly narcissistic individual will use the parent/child relationship as a bargaining chip or leverage against the primary parent at every opportunity.

After years without perceived success, my own father got tired of paying child support and eventually gave me up for adoption, and this was a blessing to us both.

Maintain their own well-being

The list below is an excerpt from my most recent book “Empath to Self Love.” I believe that it fits your need quite well, although it was built for an abused individual to be able to maintain their own well-being with a consistent narcissistic presence in their lives.

Here is a list of ideas; these can apply well to individuals in abusive relationships:

  1. Set boundaries to a text-only relationship.
  2. Obtain a mediator that works as a go-between so that there is no direct contact.
  3. Take no opinions that they can disagree with.
  4. Compliment them to keep them calm, but maintain the boundaries so that you may live your own life.
  5. Don’t take the bait. If you are confronted, observe them, but limit your reactions. Taking the bait may create an argument, which is what they need to obtain power over you.
  6. Appear disinteresting; don’t be dramatic. Be boring in their eyes so that they feel no need to engage with you.
  7. Grow stronger and develop your sense of self. Begin a healthy relationship with yourself and others. Manipulative people generally know when they can’t win, and with more strength and healthy relationships, this will become apparent.
  8. Leave the situation if you can. You are better and stronger than them, even if not in this moment. By leaving, you will be.
  9. Send them positivity when they are not around you. Most likely, they cannot source their good feelings, so if they feel better when away, they will be more inclined to stay away.

If a young person were to explore this list, it would be vitally important to maintain a sense of self within their efforts. The most crucial tip to dealing with a narcissistic individual is to know thyself as they will attack any viewed weakness to use it against you.

Victoria Taylor

Victoria Taylor

Founder, Best Case Parenting

Children of narcissistic fathers grow up with post-traumatic symptoms that persist into their adult years. These maladaptive behaviors are often passed on to their children and can make it particularly difficult for children to form meaningful relationships, maintain self-esteem, and learn to trust others in relationships. 

Often, because of how narcissistic fathers interact with their children, the children become aware of the narcissist’s very presence in their home. This makes them particularly vulnerable to abuse from this type of father. 

When you find you’ve been co-parenting with a narcissist, you should seek legal advice, build your and your child’s resilience, and see what you can do to minimize interactions with the father.

Be calm and make your child feel validated

Narcissists are experts at causing you to accept your feelings aren’t genuine. This is incredibly destructive to children. In a situation like this, you must be a calm parent and validate your child. 

Permit your child to realize that you see and hear them and that their sentiments are legitimate without belittling the narcissistic parent. Having that help from you can assist your child with adapting better to the narcissistic parent’s invalidation.

Protect your child from abuse

Allowing your child to be physically or emotionally abused by a narcissist is not a good idea. If you witness or learn that a narcissistic parent is harming your child, you must intervene. It is your responsibility to protect your child, and failing to do so will make you just as guilty as the abuser.

The best thing you can do to protect your child from a narcissistic father is to keep the child away from him as much as possible.

Document and keep records of the abuse

If you are the mother, start keeping records of the abuse now. Anything that demonstrates he’s an abusive person is fair game— whether it’s towards you, the kids, pets, or anyone else.

Use voice recordings and detailed notes if the abuse is verbal. Use camera recordings and photos. Police reports and doctor’s visits are also great evidence if the abuse is physical. If there is broken furniture or he made holes in doors or walls, take pictures of that too. Keep detailed journal entries about what occurred, and include the time and date.

Prepare months or even years before taking him to court

You want to prepare months or even years before taking him to court to get full custody of the kids. If you go to court empty-handed, there’s a strong chance you’ll get joint custody. In this case, he will be around the kids unsupervised, and you won’t be able to temper the abuse that happens.

Even if you bring all this evidence to the court, he may still get custody of the kids without a good lawyer. The law doesn’t recognize that narcissists exist and doesn’t understand them. They see these parental cases as two equal adults who should get fair time with their kids.

And because narcissists are ultimately cheap with other people, they will likely opt for joint custody, so they don’t have to pay child support. Even if they don’t want to deal with the kids.

Don’t let him intimidate you with threats

He will likely say all kinds of things to intimidate you so you don’t leave. But don’t believe him when he says he will take your kids away from you. Know that these “facts” are probably false scare tactics.

Don’t let your kids have an abusive relationship imprint

Don’t stay in the relationship because you may not get full custody. Kids seeing him abuse you is possibly the worst thing they can watch.

If you leave him, they won’t see this dynamic. If they see this fighting and abuse between partners, it becomes their unconscious blueprint for love in the future. Then the cycle will likely continue of them finding abusive partners as adults. Or, even worse, they may become the abuser.

Getting full custody can be a challenge, but it is worth it in the end. Stay strong, quietly collect evidence, file for custody without warning him, and leave him. That’s the safest way forward for your kids.

Jod Kapilakan

Jod Kapilakan

CEO, Abundance No Limits

Minimize or stop children’s contact with such father

A narcissist father or a narcissist parent is a person who has a narcissist disorder. Such fathers are truly possessive and protective about their children. Also, these kinds of people feel offended, disturbed, and threatened if their children grow independently.

Why is it important to save a child from a narcissistic father? A narcissistic father tends to hurt their children. They manipulate their children so well that the kids are dependent on them. These things make such fathers happy.

In some cases, these fathers compete with their children. Such fathers don’t fulfill the children’s needs and don’t believe and trust their kids because of attitude and arrogance.

The first thing to do is, minimize or stop children’s contact with such fathers. Tell the truth to the children and explain why it is important to stay away from the father. If the kids get angry or disheartened, let them express their feelings.

The mothers of such affected children should build more trust and love with the child. Seek help and counseling to get out of the problem.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can you tell if your father is a narcissist?

If you suspect your father may be a narcissist, there are some signs to look for. Narcissistic fathers may:

– Constantly belittle or criticize their children, often in front of others.
– Make their children feel guilty for wanting something they don’t approve of themselves.
– Refusing to accept blame or responsibility for their own mistakes and instead blaming others for any problems that occur.
– They’re overly controlling and demand absolute obedience from their children.
– They become angry or retaliate when they feel their authority is being challenged.

It’s important to remember that not all behavior that might be labeled “difficult” or “challenging” is necessarily narcissistic. However, if you’re having recurring experiences with your father that fit some of these descriptions, it may be worth talking to a professional about your concerns.

Can a narcissistic father change?

It is possible for a narcissistic father to change, but it can be difficult and usually requires professional help, such as therapy or counseling.

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often have difficulty recognizing their own unhealthy patterns of behavior and have a hard time taking responsibility for their actions.

For a narcissistic father to change, he must first be willing to acknowledge his behavior and its impact on others, which can be a major hurdle due to the nature of the disorder. A genuine commitment to change and consistent efforts to address the underlying issues are critical to progress.

Working with a mental health professional who specializes in treating personality disorders can help a narcissistic father develop self-awareness, empathy, and healthier communication and relationship skills.

However, it is vital to manage expectations and understand that change is a long and challenging process.

Can a narcissistic father influence your own behavior in relationships?

Children of narcissistic fathers may be at increased risk of developing a range of negative relationship patterns as they navigate relationships as adults. Here are some examples of how your own behavior may be affected:

Low self-esteem: If you have a father who constantly belittles or criticizes you, it can be challenging to develop a strong sense of self-worth, which in turn can affect your ability to form healthy and fulfilling relationships.

Difficulty with boundaries: Growing up with a narcissistic father can make it difficult to set clear boundaries in adult relationships, whether it’s not asserting your own needs or allowing others to treat you with disrespect.

Tendency to seek validation from others: If your father was emotionally distant or unsupportive, you might be more inclined to seek validation and approval from other people in your life. This could cause difficulty in forming authentic and meaningful relationships with others.

Fear of abandonment: Narcissistic fathers are often unpredictable in their behavior, which can be difficult for children who crave stability and security. This could lead to the development of a fear of abandonment, a belief that others will inevitably leave or disappoint you.

If you recognize these patterns in your own behavior, it may be worth discussing your experiences with a therapist or counselor to develop tools and strategies for building healthier relationships in the future.

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