Money, privileges, presents, perks, special indulgences are the glue that keep narcissistic families together. It isn’t love (narcissists are incapable of loving or intimacy of any kind). It’s the image of a devoted family, like a beautifully composed photograph—placed on a mantelpiece to show others something that is not true. Many people are fooled by this charade. This includes the narcissistic father’s children. If you have a mother who is psychologically fused with her narcissistic husband and looks up to him and has no identity of her own, there is great pressure for the children of this pathological union to believe the family fairy tale. “Once upon a time I had a wonderful father. He worked very hard and loved his children. Everyone thought he was great. He was very successful and charming. Mother was always by his side, reminding us to obey our marvelous father. He provided everything for us…….etc.” When you view the truth beneath this piece of fiction it is ugly, cruel and treacherous. Narcissistic fathers treat their children like objects. They weed out those who can benefit their ego interests and ignore and/or abuse the others. They demean the children they don’t favor to their golden children. This occurs to the point of extreme abuse perpetrated by the father, mother and siblings on the targeted child (children).
The narcissistic father offers monetary incentive to some of his children so that they will overlook the callous cruelty of their father. Dad makes deals with each child, promising to give him or her exactly what he wants.Children are vulnerable to accepting money. Of course narcissistic dad makes secret arrangements with each son or daughter and is told he is the favorite. The narcissist spends his entire life lying to everyone—even his children. He thinks of them as narcissistic supplies who will make you look more superior, attractive, successful. Most children of narcissists go for the money bait or the “I am my dad’s favorite” promise.
There are children of narcissistic fathers who are truthseekers. They will not be manipulated and exploited. Even as very young children they knew that their dad was a fraud and the essence of deceit. This makes their childhoods very difficult. Other children learn as adults about their father’s true nature. They are no longer in favor. His attention is drawn elsewhere. They feel the hurt of not being genuinely loved. They were used as props to maintain dad’s image. These victims of narcissistic fathers finally break the tie and eject dad from their lives. Often this means that they say goodbye to their brothers and sisters who are still playing the game in which they pretend and act like dad is a great person in exchange for financial rewards and the professional and personal connections that come with being associated with this man they call father. Those who make this decision move through a process of loss, recognizing that they never had a real father—-rather an empty unfeeling image of a parent.
After going through this process, the lives of these sons and daughters are renewed. They form loving and meaningful relationships who love them unconditionally. They are now free to lead their lives, to be completely themselves, to use their creativity and to look forward to a future that is full of integrity and hope. To learn about the narcissistic personality in-depth, visit my website:thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life