Daughters of Narcissistic Fathers: The Invisible Illness

Updated: Nov 13

Daughters of narcissistic fathers secretly or unknowingly spend the rest of their lives dealing with wounds from their fathers many forms of neglect, emotionally and intellectually, for the remainder of their adult lives. I say unknowingly, because some daughters may believe that their fathers where normal because they had nothing else to compare them to or because their father has gaslighted (manipulated) them into eternal gratitude for whatever little he may have provided. This is a list of some common struggles reported among daughters of narcissistic fathers

  • Fear of abandonment

  • Fear of loneliness

  • Love has to be earned

  • Feeling unworthy

  • Eating disorders

  • Feeling unlovable

  • Low self-esteem or not being good enough

  • Lack of proper boundaries

  • Perfectionism

As a child, if repeatedly exposed to narcissistic episodes this can result in chronic stress and lead to trauma.





How a Narcissistic Father Emotionally Damages His Daughter:


Narcissists only see the world from one point of view and that is "what can everyone do to please me". The narc is like a child, he disregards everyone else's needs so that his can be met.


For example James is supposed to spend time with his daughter, but James would rather be with his girlfriend, so he leaves his daughter for the weekend with his father instead of spending time with her. James will also, pretend he is ill on the weekends he is supposed to have his daughter and spend the weekend at a hotel with a woman instead. When James daughter sees her father putting his needs ahead of hers and valuing time with other woman instead of time with her she begins to feel unloved, unworthy, abandoned and lonely.



Because image is so important to narcissists, they may demand perfection from their children and the child will try to work hard for her fathers love and attention. The child may feel they have to excel academically, go to prestigious schools or maintain a certain physical appearance to make her father love her. This is where the need to earn love, be perfect (which is impossible) and eating disorders start to become a problem for unloved daughters.


i.e. James would often make comments to his daughter about how pretty his girlfriends daughters where and his daughter would feel bad about herself.


Narcissistic fathers lack empathy. They cannot feel their children's pain and they really don't want to be bothered with other people emotions. So when James daughter would call emotionally distraught or even suicidal she was met with a "you'll be fine." Next subject please and she is completely invalidated or unheard by him. This leads to feeling of not being worthy and low self esteem.


Daughters of narcissist's can never rely on their fathers for acceptance, self worth or love. He simply is unable to give it. It is like asking a blind man to read this article. The first thing is to understand the disorder so you can have some comfort in knowing that even though you deserve every ounce of your fathers love he is not able to give it. The next step is to learn how to receive love from others in healthy ways. Many daughter suffer from victim re-traumatization and recreate your abusive relationship with their father with a romantic partner. Finally, learning to get what you need from yourself so that you do not need to depend on others to satisfy your needs. Having an internal locust of control will help stabilize your relationships and improve self worth and esteem.

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