Narcissists not only wear a mask, they assume a clever false identity when they are in the public eye. On the surface they can be very difficult to spot. They make great eye contact, have a warm firm handshake and know how to talk to people–hitting all the right notes. This is markedly the case if they want something from you that is valuable to them. They swoop in with a pitch perfect level of excitement and dynamism that is is exhilarating. They are very convincing in getting deals done, putting pressure on their competitors, being entitled to huge fees for their services and yes, in the games of personal seduction. They will do whatever it takes to reach their goal. They think big. They will take all the marbles. They don’t care if someone else loses and is left with nothing. That’s his or her problem. The narcissist says to himself: “That guy’s weak and incompetent–unsure of himself. He let me do just what I expected–walked all over him/her.” Narcissists are consistently insistent that they are right.
When we look at a tyrannical narcissistic father we find deep unhappiness among the other family members.In many scenarios the mother echoes the father, feels unsure of herself and is afraid to take her husband on. The wives of many narcissists decided unconsciously that they would stick it out with this impossible man for an indefinite time. Much of this destructive pattern is the result of the mother’s own family background. She has never separated or individuated from her original family of origin. Unwittingly, she has gone from a brutal tyrannical father to an overbearing monarchical husband. Patterns of psychological repetition are frequent. Issues that are unacknowledged and unresolved are often repeated in our life choice of a spouse.
Having a tyrannical father is a nightmare for every member of the family except the chosen child or children whom he picks to reflect his perfect image. They become his little clones. They have been chosen for their look, smarts, special talents, drive, physical attractiveness, etc. Other children are bypassed because they do not come up to the NF’s expectations, his special requirements. This has nothing to do with the kind of human beings they are. They can be very bright or not, kind, considerate, empathic, sensitive, deep thinkers–none of this matters to the narcissistic father. He doesn’t give a damn about the quality of his child’s character or who they are as an authentic person. These children suffer horribly because they can wear themselves out doing their best, trying to get dad’s love and attention and they always come up short–with nothing. Narcissistic fathers are often mean and cruel to these children and let them know often that they are deficient, unmotivated, always wrong and too soft. I have heard many of these adult children, heartbroken over their father’s rejections and abuses of them over many years.
The tyrannical narcissistic father is a bully, a bad child, a mean, lying, inauthentic person. He is deeply entrenched in his grandiose delusional world, insisting that everyone must follow his commands or else.
Some spouses and children of narcissistic fathers discover that they have had enough. They have suffered too long. They have their time of reckoning and decide that they will choose to lead their lives separate from the Narcissistic King of their Childhood. They are no longer afraid of him and his roar and threats. They don’t give an ear to his name calling. They have decided to heal and go forward with professional help in many cases to do the work of discovering their real selves, that part of them that is separate from tyrannical dad.
This is a tremendous accomplishment to rescue yourself from this family constellation. You have won yourself back from all of the scapegoating and mind jamming of the tyrannical narcissistic dad. You are moving forward at a great clip, using your special gifts, discovering those parts of you that were in hiding for so long, the humor that you held inside, the feelings of delight in the moment, the capacity to love deeply and to begin to trust.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.