Skip to Content

Narcissistic Fathers and 57 Things They Say

A narcissistic father is like the sun in his own solar system, with everyone else orbiting around him. He sees himself as the most important person in every room, always deserving of the best and superior to everyone else. Picture a dad who takes credit for his child’s achievements, always turning the spotlight onto themselves. Having a narcissistic father often leads to miserable childhoods.

A narcissistic father uses statements that are abusive, selfish, grandiose, attention-seeking, dictating, and manipulative. A comprehensive list of 57 examples of such statements offers a real-life glimpse into the verbal patterns of these fathers.

Children of narcissists suffer effects like low self-esteem, perfectionism, and difficulty trusting, shaped by growing up walking on eggshells to avoid emotional explosions. Dealing with a narcissist-dad requires setting boundaries, self-compassion, and sometimes cutting off contact for self-protection.

narcissistic father angrily yelling

What is a narcissistic father?

A narcissistic father is characterized by excessive self-focus, an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. He believes he is superior, better, and more important than others; therefore, he is entitled to more. 

A narcissistic dad places high demands on others and expects immediate and precise adherence to his needs, regardless of whether those needs have been made clear. He anticipates everyone reading his mind and getting it right. 

A narc father prioritizes his own needs over his children’s and uses his child to fulfill his ambitions or self-esteem. He overly criticizes everyone and thinks they should be under his control.​ He rarely pauses to think about others, their needs, or their rights. To him, he is the ultimate authority, always right, and his children must conform to his expectations or face his anger, punishment, and verbal assault.

Unhealthy narcissistic behavior is a symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), a mental health condition defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5).​1​

How does a narcissistic father behave?

A narcissistic father manipulates and exploits others to achieve his goals. He will lie, distort, mislead, and guilt-trip others to get what he wants. He says things like, “I’ve worked hard all my life for you, and this is how you repay me?” and “I’ve given up so much for this family, and you can’t even do this one thing for me.”

What are narcissistic father traits?

  1. Grandiose: A narcissistic father with this trait often has an inflated sense of self-importance and believes he is superior to others. He may constantly seek admiration and exaggerate his achievements or talents.
  2. Arrogant: A narc father is overbearingly arrogant. He believes he’s always right and others are always wrong and inferior. He is dismissive toward others, often acting as if he is more important or knowledgeable.
  3. Attention-seeking: A narc dad craves constant attention and validation from those around him. He may engage in dramatic or exaggerated behaviors to remain the center of attention, often overshadowing others, including his children.
  4. Entitled: A narcissistic dad believes he deserves special treatment and privileges without earning them. He may expect others to comply with his demands and become angry or impatient if they do not.
  5. Manipulative: A narcissist uses deceitful tactics to influence or control others for personal gain. A narcissistic father may exploit emotional bonds, use guilt, or play family members against each other to achieve his objectives.
  6. Controlling: A dad with NPD traits controls every aspect of his children’s lives, from decisions to behaviors, aiming to maintain power and dominance in the family dynamic.
  7. Unstable self-esteem: Despite their outward appearance of confidence, a narcissist-father often has fragile self-esteem. They react aggressively to criticism and rely heavily on external validation.
  8. Lack of empathy: A narc person has a limited capacity to understand or share the feelings of others. A narcissistic father is indifferent to his children’s emotional needs and unable to genuinely sympathize with them.
  9. Contemptuous: A narcissistic dad often has a consistent pattern of disdain or disrespect towards others. He belittles or mocks family members, showing little regard for their feelings or worth.
  10. Envy: A narcissistic dad harbors is jealous and feels resentful toward those with more success, attention, or resources.
  11. Intolerant to differences: A narcissist-dad refuses to accept or be open to opinions different from his own. He perceives any differing beliefs as a personal attack and retaliates against those who do not conform to his beliefs or standards. He reacts to criticism or disagreement with rage, shame, and humiliation.

What are the types of things narcissistic fathers say?

Narcissistic fathers often say the following 6 types of things.

Abusive: A narcissistic father uses abusive words to insult, belittle, and intimidate. He is harsh and aims to emotionally harm others with his words.

Selfish: Statements from a narc father often reflect a selfish perspective and disregard his children’s needs, making it clear that only his feelings and interests matter.

Grandiose: A narcissistic dad makes exaggerated, grandiose claims about his abilities, achievements, or status, often boasting or bragging. He tries to impress others and reinforce his perceived superiority, sometimes bordering on delusional self-importance and claiming credits that are not his.

Attention-seeking: A narc father is attention-seeking. He constantly says things to fish for praise.

Dictating: Narc fathers say things to dictate, command, and control. They expect compliance with their demands and express anger when their authority is questioned or challenged.

Manipulative: A narcissist-father exploits others for their gain. His manipulative behavior includes guilt-tripping, gaslighting, and playing the victim.

What are the things narcissistic fathers say?

Here are 57 examples of things narcissistic fathers say to their children.

  1. “You’ll do as I say, or you’ll regret it.”
  2. “My house, my rules. If you don’t like it, there’s the door.”
  3. “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it.”
  4. “You’ll do it my way or not at all.”
  5. “Only an idiot will make mistakes like that.”
  6. “Why can’t you ever do anything right? It’s not that hard.”
  7. “You can make your own rules when you have your own house.”
  8. “I don’t care what you think. This is not a democracy.”
  9. “You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.”
  10. “I’m the law here.”
  11. “If you can’t like my rules, find somewhere else to live.”
  12. “Why can’t you ever do anything right? It’s not that hard.”
  13. “I shouldn’t have to tell you what to do. You should already know.”
  14. “You’re always disappointing me. Can’t you just do as you’re told?”
  15. “You’re so stupid. Even an idiot wouldn’t make that mistake.”
  16. “You never think before you act. What does your brain do?”
  17. “I don’t understand why you can’t just do things the right way.”
  18. “Are you a dummy?”
  19. “Why do I have to explain myself over and over again?”
  20. “Can’t you just get it right for once? You’re always a letdown.”
  21. “You’re so ungrateful. You never consider how your actions affect me.”
  22. “You’re always trying to make me look bad.”
  23. “Why are you so selfish, never thinking about my feelings?”
  24. “You’re too sensitive. You need to toughen up.”
  25. “You’re so incompetent compared to your brother.”
  26. “Your sister never gives me any trouble.”
  27. “Can’t you see how much stress you’re causing me?”
  28. “You are such an embarrassment.”
  29. “You’re always making a big deal out of nothing.”
  30. “You’re always embarrassing me with your behavior.”
  31. “You’re such a disappointment. You’ve ruined my reputation.”
  32. “You’re always trying to make me look bad.”
  33. “You’ll never be as successful as I am.”
  34. “I can’t believe you made such a simple mistake. I would never do that.”
  35. “Why can’t you be more like me? I was always top of my class.”
  36. “Remember when you couldn’t even ride a bike? I was winning races at your age.”
  37. “See, you’re messing it up again. I never had these problems.”
  38. “I can’t believe you’re struggling with this. It’s so easy for me.”
  39. “You’re always so slow. I would have finished that in half the time.”
  40. “You’re always so clumsy.”
  41. “You lost again? I won several medals at your age.”
  42. “I can’t believe you’re my child. You’re nothing like me.”
  43. “I’ve done so much for you. You should be thanking me.”
  44. “Look at what a great father I am. I’ve raised such successful children.”
  45. “Your mom is so smart. She married me.”
  46. “I’ve sacrificed so much for this family.”
  47. “I’ve worked hard to provide for this family.”
  48. “You will not find another parent willing to spend this much on your education.”
  49. “I’ve always put this family first.”
  50. “I’ve always been the responsible one in this family.”
  51. “I’m always the one who does everything. Your mother does nothing.”
  52. “I’ve always been the one to make the tough decisions.”
  53. “I’ve worked hard all my life for you, and this is how you repay me?”
  54. “I’ve given up so much for this family, and you can’t even do this one thing for me.”
  55. “If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t have anything.”
  56. “I’ve sacrificed my dreams for you, and you don’t appreciate it.”
  57. “You’re always thinking about yourself and never about me.”

What is it like having a narcissistic father?

Having a narcissistic father is like walking on eggshells or living in a landmine full of unpredictable emotional explosions and hidden psychological traps. Each step feels cautious and calculated, as any slight misstep can trigger an outburst or a critical backlash. You carefully monitor everything you say and do to avoid the explosion. You become hypervigilant to the dad’s moods and adept at reading cues to anticipate his outbursts.

How does growing up with a narcissistic father shape you?

Growing up with a narcissistic father often leaves children with low self-esteem. To cope with and survive the challenging environment, children often unconsciously adopt some of the following mechanisms, influencing their development and shaping their personalities. The 9 effects of having a narcissistic father.

  1. Perfectionism: Some children become perfectionists, being hypervigilant to gain approval or avoid criticism. These children strive to excel in every aspect, setting unrealistically high standards for themselves.
  2. People-pleasing: Some children learn to anticipate the narc father’s needs and say or do whatever will meet them. These children constantly try to earn love and validation through caretaking and appeasement. This type of behavior is known as co-narcissism, as defined in a 2005 study published in The Therapist.​2​
  3. Rebellion: Some children react by rebelling against their father’s authority through defiant behavior, openly challenging the father, or engaging in actions that directly oppose his desires.
  4. External validation seeking: With a lack of validation at home, some children seek approval and affirmation from outside sources like teachers, coaches, or peers. They become highly driven to succeed in academics, sports, or other activities where they can receive recognition.
  5. Escapism: To cope with the harsh reality of their narcissistic home life, some children turn to fantasy, daydreaming, or immersive activities like playing video games or watching TV. These serve as an escape from the emotional stress they face.
  6. Distrust: Some children have difficulty trusting others or forming healthy relationships.
  7. Emotional detachment: Some children learn that self-expression is dangerous. They suppress themselves to keep the peace, often becoming emotionally detached. Their own feelings and desires are buried deep out of necessity for survival. 
  8. Enmeshment: Some children become emotionally enmeshed with the narcissistic father and emulate his narcissistic traits.
  9. Support seeking: Some children find solace and guidance in relationships with other supportive adults, such as relatives, teachers, or friends. These figures can provide the empathy and understanding they lack at home.

What are the symptoms of children of narcissistic fathers?

Here are the symptoms of children of narcissistic fathers.

  1. Low self-esteem and lack of confidence
  2. Chronic shame
  3. People-pleasing
  4. Hypervigilance and perfectionism
  5. Self-doubt and difficulty making decisions
  6. Fear of failure or criticism
  7. Fear of abandonment
  8. Problem with boundary setting
  9. Co-narcissism
  10. Depression and Anxiety
  11. Identity issues
  12. Difficulty expressing or regulating emotions
  13. Difficulty being assertive
  14. Problems with trust
  15. Risky behavior

How to deal with a narcissistic parent?

Dealing with a narcissistic parent begins by seeing the situation for what it is. Identifying the root of your struggles often lies in his actions. Accept who you are, knowing that his flaws aren’t your duty; the core problems come from him, not you. 

Define clear limits and talk using “I” not “you” to get the message across effectively. Rehearsing what you’ll say can get you ready to interact and avoid unproductive fights. Sometimes, keeping your distance from him is needed for your wellness.

Connect with friends, family members, or support groups that understand and confirm what you’re going through. Seeking help from a mental health provider may be necessary. A counselor can help you navigate the intricate dynamics with your narc dad.

Adjust your outlook and be compassionate to yourself. It’s a journey demanding patience, insight, and self-compassion.

Should I cut off my narcissistic mother / father?

You should cut off your narcissistic mother / father if it is necessary to protect your well-being. Usually, that means you have tried everything, but his behavior is still causing distress in your life, and severing the ties can improve or protect your quality of life.

Why is my dad a narcissist?

Psychologists have not pinpointed the cause of narcissism. A 2021 research at the University of Georgia reviewing studies of narcissism conducted over the last 20 years concluded that a combination of factors likely influences the development of narcissistic traits. More studies are needed to identify the complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors in the formation of narcissism.​3​


  1. 1.
    Miller JD, Widiger TA, Campbell WK. Narcissistic personality disorder and the DSM-V. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Published online November 2010:640-649. doi:10.1037/a0019529
  2. 2.
    Rappoport A. Co-narcissism: How we accommodate to narcissistic parents. The Therapist. 2005;1:1-8.
  3. 3.
    Miller JD, Back MD, Lynam DR, Wright AGC. Narcissism Today: What We Know and What We Need to Learn. Curr Dir Psychol Sci. Published online October 1, 2021:519-525. doi:10.1177/09637214211044109


    * All information on is for educational purposes only. Parenting For Brain does not provide medical advice. If you suspect medical problems or need professional advice, please consult a physician. *