Emotionally unavailable people


Your truest friends are the ones who will stand by you in your darkest moments – because they’re willing to brave the shadows with you – and in your greatest moments – because they’re not afraid to let you shine.”

Nicole Yatsonsky

  • They are not touchy feely and will go quite rigid if you go to hug or kiss them.
  • They prefer to communicate via email, social media or text messages. These messages will be peppered with xxx’s and love hearts that do not match their warmth when they see you face to face.
  • If you do not make all of the effort to keep the “relationship” going you will probably never hear from them again, unless they want something from you.
  • They tend to see everything in black and white, good or bad. There is not much room for grey areas when they are expressing themselves and they will be adamant that they are right, even when they completely contradict themselves in a conversation.
  • They always have to feel “better than” and are in direct competition with everyone.
  • On the rare occasions when they do try to express emotions (albeit within the realm of their limited spectrum) it will seem contrived and tone of voice or body language might easily contradict the content of what they are saying.
  • They will try to prevent you from expressing your feelings either by shutting you down or arguing ten reasons why you “shouldn’t” feel the way that you do.
  • They will let you know that they find your feelings and emotions a real burden for them and will imply that it would be better (for them) if you didn’t express them so readily.
  • They do not have an authentic emotional reaction to things like sad films, music, drama or other people’s stories. However, they will fake it if they see everyone else is reacting in a certain way but once you know the person you will see that it is contrived.
  • They are not interested in trying to understand the psychology of their own behaviour or the behaviour of others.
  • They rarely express happiness or enthusiasm, if they do it will be for something good that happened to them, other people’s accomplishments/happiness are nothing to get excited about or celebrate.
  • If you try to depend on them for anything, they will think that you are taking them for granted and will feel suffocated and used, even when they take absolutely everything that you do for them as their right.
  • They see tears as a tool for manipulation and will go cold and judgmental when someone is crying (even a child).
  • They divulge personal information on a need to know basis only. Their desire for privacy tips over into pathological secrecy and all of their private information will be hidden under passwords and key.
  • They have absolutely no hesitation looking at other people’s very private data.
  • They will not have the normal reaction of smiling when they see someone they know and like, their expression will not change or can seem like a hostile cold stare.
  • Their “relaxed” standing pose can be very hunched and rigid.
  • They can have a mood change in a flash for “no apparent reason”
  • If you feel like you are getting to know each other, they can suddenly act like they only just met you.






Body Language

An overt narcissist will have a tendency to have haughty arrogant postures.  For example, the male narcissist might walk down the street with his chest puffed up or move with a swanky stride.  The overt female narcissist will walk into a room as though she was walking down a cat walk.  Covert narcissists are not so “obvious” with their posturing.  However, there all have other strange types of body language such as:

  • They can look at others with complete distain, to let them know that in the narcissist’s eyes they are not worthy of acknowledgement. A narcissist will often have a wide personal space, but can stare with a cold predatory stare/dead eyes, paying close attention to your body language looking for signs that you might be weak or vulnerable.  These signs could be that fact that you blush easily or that you are indecisive when ordering from a menu or look for advice from others. It may seem that they are “interested” in you and they are they are assessing you to see how useful you might be to them.
  • Their dead eyed stare can look straight through you as if you weren’t there. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, go for minimum eye contact with them.  When they have ascertained what your vulnerabilities are they will jump on the opportunity to exploit them for their own personal gain.  Narcissists have a hidden agenda in everything that they do.  If you can stare back at them and they will usually loose interest as they will realise that you are not so easy to intimidate, only stare back at them if you don’t have an emotional reaction to someone glaring at you.
  • When a narcissist speaks they tend to use a very emotionless language, this is because they are in touch with only the most basic emotions like happy, sad, fear, shame, guilt, jealousy and envy. They do not have access to the vocabulary of the more nuanced emotions because they do not feel them themselves. As we know if a narcissist doesn’t feel them, then they aren’t important.
  • If a person is being emotional or excited about something they can have a very inappropriate reaction, like laughing when someone tells them something that upset them or made them sad or looking upset or being totally dismissive when someone tells them something that they are really happy or excited about.
  • However, when reading other people’s body language in in particular their facial expressions, they are really good at seeing the macro emotions at play which they in turn use to manipulate their victim. When a narcissist is luring someone in, they will pay attention to the rules of conversation and can be very charming.  Once the person is hooked, they will go back to their default position of talking which includes constantly interrupting, never listening, talking over people, looking bored if the focus is not on them or just walking away when someone is in mid-sentence.
  • Normally when we meet someone we smile to show the other person that we are pleased to see them. Not so with the narcissist.  The can greet a person without showing any change in their facial expression (unless they are trying to impress that person), their tone of voice will not show any pleasure in seeing that other person either, it will be flat and emotionless.
  • The narcissist will use very direct language to find out what people’s fears are and what makes them feel uncomfortable, when they hardly know them at all, if you ask a direct question back they will feel under attack and detach from the question without answering. Narcissists have absolutely no intention of being open with you at the same level that they “demand” that you are with them.  If they do not deflect a direct question they will just lie.
  • The narcissist might have an effected way of talking such as talking with a foreign accent even though they have never left the country, being over dramatic in the delivery of their speech as though they were on stage, talk in a very slow and measured way so that it takes them ages to say something, talking in a very quiet voice so that people have to concentrate really hard to hear them and lean into them so that they can hear, talk in a loud booming voice that will drown other conversations out or narcissistic women will often speak in a “ickle baby voice”, like a child of three to appear “cute”, the message being “I need someone to take care of me”.
  • The narcissist has the ability to be extremely charming and engaged with a person who they think are worthy of their attention and will completely ignore someone else because they are deemed unworthy or inferior in their mind, but they can also be ignored because they threaten the narcissist in some way, like being funnier, more intelligent, having nicer clothes, a bigger car etc. The way that a narcissist will approach someone who they perceive as a threat is to evaluate how useful this person could potentially be.  If they cannot see how this person can be used they will sneer and jeer at this person, accuse them of being a show off etc.  They often do this by making faces behind that person’s back, making insulting hand gestures or rude facial expressions.
  • Narcissists can often touch others inappropriately either sexually or to show dominance (not in a touchy feely friendly way). This is an act of control, but they will get very angry of someone should have the audacity to do the same to them.
  • They can push in front of other people in queues or just shove people out of the way on a street to assert their dominance even when they aren’t in a hurry or being chased by something!
  • If they want to get the attention of someone “important”, they can step in front of another person and place their back to them (creating a physical barrier) so that they cannot enter into the conversation. They can do this without a cue that they are welcome into the conversation and they certainly aren’t afterwards.
  • They will often take up more physical space than everyone else by for example, spreading their legs (man spread) in a communal space, by grabbing the arm rest in an aeroplane and making no effort to share the space, not moving out of the way when they know that someone is trying to get past them or by not acknowledging if someone is too hot or too cold in a confined space insisting the temperature is how they like it.
  • Male narcissists will often try to kiss females on the lips when only a kiss on the cheek would be appropriate (done to dominate)
  • Males will  often nudge a colleague through a door before them to let their colleague know that “I am in control here, I decide the order of things”.  In a typical narcissist way it seems like an act of politeness (“no please you go first”) but it is not it is an act of domination.
  • Male narcissists will often hold a hand shake for too long, grip to the point of causing pain or pull the other person’s arm towards them, this is to knock the person they are greeting slightly off balance and again it is to assert dominance.
  • Male narcissists can often “undress” women with their eyes again this is an act of domination and designed to make the woman feel uncomfortable and give the narcissist “the upper hand”.

Unhealthy parenting

Healthy parenting

Parenting starts before babies are even born, with regard to diet, having healthy life style and generally taking care of their unborn.  Once a baby is born they need loads of love and affection, they need to be talked to, to be listened to, to be mirrored, to have healthy boundaries and can be assertive in stating them and above all they need to feel safe, for this they need to have their emotional and physical needs met.

A child needs to feel safe when they are expressing their feelings and secure in the knowledge that they will not be punished for doing so, this enables them to develop intimacy and healthy relationships in the future outside the family unit.

Giving a child a roof over its head and food on the table is the absolute bare minimum that a healthy parent strives to provide

When the children are still young they can be taught different developmental stages of behaviour such as helping with taking care of themselves, encouraging exploration, social interaction, friendship and kindness, letting them make simple choices, explaining why you discipline, help them solve problems for themselves and teaching them how to share.

As they get older they can be set goals, can be taught the difference between right and wrong, to give them the tools to make decisions when the parents are not around, and to celebrate good behaviours.  No matter what the developmental stage of a child they always need love, affection and attention (to be listened to and to be heard).

The primary task of parenting is to raise healthy, happy independent children who are confident, have a healthy self-esteem and who have the coping skill that are necessary for surviving in this chaotic world.  For this to happen the child needs to know that they are loved, cherished and wanted, that what they want is listened to and that they can express their wants and needs without being ignored or criticised for having them.

A child will listen very carefully to what their parents say so the language that is used is very important.  There is a HUGE difference to a child if s/he hears “you idiot, you made a mess of that” or “that didn’t work so well, why don’t you/we try it this way”, the first way is violent, destructive and negative whereas the second way is constructive, honest and helpful.  The residual effect on how the child will feel about himself and her abilities are enormous.  Same action – one destructive reaction, the other a positive encouraging response, message to the child is poles apart, their efforts need to be valued instead of teaching them to try to avoid failure.   A parent needs to have high expectations of their child so that they strive to thrive, rather than quit to avoid failure.

Children will do what their parents do, not what they say.  They will listen to the language used as above, but a stronger example for the child will be the behaviour, actions and reactions of their parents, they mimic the behaviour that they see around them, so it is important for the child to provide a good role model.

This means that discipline begins with the adults not with the child.  You can talk until you are blue in the face, but if your actions belie your words they child will follow your actions.  That is why it is called a role model.

What narcissist parenting looks like

The short answer to “what narcissistic parenting looks like” to a child is that it is absolutely terrifying, confusing and abusive.  It will almost certainly cause lifelong trauma in the child and because the narcissist doesn’t care, adult children of narcissists will rarely if ever get closure on the issue of their childhood.

On the face of it it is a mystery why a narcissist would want to have a child at all since they are completely self-absorbed and genuinely do not have any interest in others.  So why would they want to be a parent when a child will have so many needs, practical, emotional and financial and requires so much of their parent’s time and energy?

Narcissists do not have children because they want to nurture, guide and encourage their baby into being a well-balanced adult, they have children for two reasons.  The first is because that is what they think society tells them to do (and image is everything), they will use their child as a social prop.  The narcissistic mother will hold her baby on her hip but she will not bond with her or mirror her in any way and will get angry with the baby when s/he cries out in distress because his or her emotional/physical needs are not being met.  A healthy response to a baby who cries all the time might be concern, frustration or feelings of inadequacy, the narcissist’s reaction will be anger and rage with the baby, somewhere inside her head will be a voice saying “s/he is doing this to annoy me”.  Secondly, as a parent they will automatically have all of the power in the “relationship” and an enforced ready-made “audience” that will be completely focused on them.  Children are ideal for a narcissist because they can mould and discipline them to how they want them to be from a very young age. The child of a narcissist will learn that they exist purely to facilitate the needs and desires of the parent, and that this is a one-way contract (albeit one that they didn’t agree to enter into).  Their parent(s) are not interested in taking care of their child and their child will be taught that they are not to make demands on the parent(s) as they will almost certainly be punished for it.

Their child will learn that they must take on the role that has been assigned to them by the narcissistic parent, that could be golden child, scapegoat or somewhere in between (see section on narcissistic mother).  The siblings between them will try to maintain any given allocated roles, so as not to incur the wrath of the narcissistic parent(s).

It is for this reason that there is very little point in talking to siblings about a toxic parent, as they will rush to the parent’s defence out of fear of being punished or having to face the truth about the family dynamic.  If both parents are narcissistic that child could be playing two roles at once (for example golden child to one and scapegoat to the other) it is very stressful for a child to try to keep both parents “happy” as they constantly have to check in with their parent to see if they are “doing it right”, should the child deviate from their role they will be punished, ridiculed, sneered at or ignored completely.  This dynamic is extremely confusing for a child as a behaviour that is applauded one day might get punished the next day even by the same parent as the narcissist will change the rules on a whim, the child in the company of both parents might be trying to play both roles simultaneously which very often means trying to be as invisible as possible.

The child also learns that the “love” that they get from their parent is absolutely dependent on how well they serve their needs, the consequence of this is that they child will constantly be in a state of high alert (often living off their nerves) and will be very reactive, they will try to anticipate what the parent wants before it is expressed.  The narcissistic parent is either unaware of the trauma that they are causing, or if they do notice that their child is trembling (or even vomiting) with fear they don’t care and will laugh at their child for being “too sensitive”.

The child also knows that one of the roles that has been given to all offspring is to protect the image of the parent/family at all costs.  If someone outside the family should mention that the parent behaves in an inappropriate way, the child will leap to their defence just as they have been programmed to from a very young age.

Unfortunately, this will be the adult child’s model for “love”, they actually feel uncomfortable around someone who could provide a healthy and loving relationship because they have been brought up knowing that the amount of “love” that they get is directly linked to how well they serve others and they are actually unworthy of healthy love.  This creates even more difficulty for the adult child as they will tend to gravitate towards people who treat them the same way that their parents treated them, they will also be prey for other narcissists who will instinctively know that these adult children will be easy to manipulate and the unhealthy pattern may well be repeated in future relationships with friends and lovers.  This can be prevented from happening again by getting educated on narcissism, knowing your boundaries and learning when to say NO.

The children of narcissists will almost always feel unlovable since they were not loved as children.  They will have a fear that if they meet someone kind and gentle who genuinely loves them or appears to, that they will be exposed further into the relationship as the unlovable “horrible” person that they were always told they were by their parent(s), and as every child of a narcissist knows “mummy/daddy always knows best” as it is repeated ad nauseaum throughout their childhood.

If the child or adult child tries to set healthy boundaries, the narcissistic parent will over ride their child either by explicitly ignoring their request, or by getting angry, upset, sulking or by physically forcing the young child to do what they want.  The narcissist will not take any responsibility for any of the negative comments/actions that they make to their children.  They constantly put their child down or insist that are only doing what is best for the child, even though they are mindlessly pursuing their own needs.

The narcissist parent will try to pull every conversation that they have to be about them or something that they can pontificate about.  They will talk louder to drown out other conversations that might take place at a dinner table or tell their child to “stop showing off” if their child is singing, dancing or getting prizes at school.  If the narcissist cannot control their child in public (because they are wise enough to know not to berate their off spring in public as they would at home), that child will be punished at a later date.  They will be told that they “made completely fool of yourself” or that they made a terrible social faux pas and some punishment other than the verbal humiliation will almost certainly ensue.  This could be in the form of limiting the child’s contact with the outside world which is completely under their control (so that they don’t embarrass themselves again).  This type of ridicule and cruel criticism of someone who is enjoying the company of others can lead to the development of social anxiety later on for fear of making an idiot of themselves but more importantly to the child upsetting their parent(s).  This means that the child is only really happy in formal social situations such as theatre, cinema or even funerals where the roles are clearly defined, safe and there is no impromptu interaction if they do not want it.

The narcissist parents feel that they are entitled to invade every aspect of the child’s life.  They will give a running commentary on everything that they know about in their child’s lives from friendships, school subjects, all out of school activities, boyfriends/girlfriends, marriages, how to bring up children and will control the relationships between the family members and will try to enforce their opinion where ever they can so that they feel powerful.  In a way, they are that powerful because they brainwash their children from when they are born.

One of the side effects of this sort of tyrannical invasion is that the child(ren) can become pathologically secretive and will not feel comfortable about telling their parents anything that is going on in their lives.  Narcissists are what has been referred to as emotional vampires, they will control and manipulate the emotions of their children from the beginning, as the child gets older and expresses more independent opinions the narcissist just rebuffs harder using rage, sadism, criticism and negative feedback to get control.

Both narcissistic parents have common attributes.  The most difficult one to accept is the fact that narcissist parents do not love their young.  They only “love” them for what they can give them and that “love” is absolutely conditional.

Society will not let us say “bad” things about our parents, because of course all parents love their children.  This is not the case when a parent has a narcissistic personality disorder and it is why as an adult child of narcissists that you may have very many confusing issues which are difficult to understand where they came from.  Both narcissist parents will say that they love their child, but it is not true.  If you think that you are the child of a narcissistic parent you need to examine their behaviour, past and present and ignore the content of what they say.  The most notable aspect of narcissist parents is that they categorically refuse to see their children as anything other than their possessions or pets.

This is a very unhealthy and dysfunctional scenario.  The child doesn’t know any better and so will accept it as the norm, but it is a hugely inappropriate burden to put on a child since that child is

  • An innocent
  • Has no experience of life
  • Is trying to work stuff out for themselves because they are not being nurtured or guided, but are being neglected and deprived of parental care and are frequently put in a position where they are expected to take care of the parent(s)
  • Has all the responsibility but absolutely no power or control

Paradoxically narcissist parents never truly see their child as an adult (when they have grown up) and will continue to act out in exactly the same way that they did when they were a child even if they are married, have children, an important job etc.  The strange thing is that a narcissistic parent will frequently talk at their children as though they were adults, but once they become adults they talk at them as though they were a child.

Since narcissistic parents do not see their children as independent individuals they will often use “we” (first person plural) as a way to say what they think.  This is an indication of the fact that they see the family as “their” unit, rather than a collection of individuals, and to inform their children that there is one way to look at things, that is their way and it is non-negotiable (even though what the parent says they think will change constantly).  If they child disagrees with a narcissistic parent, especially in public, it will be met with rage (though not overt) and will almost certainly be punished at a later date.

Some very common traits of narcissistic parents:

  • The will constantly give unsolicited advice. This advice can range from what their child should study to who their friends should be.  They will decide what script best suits their image of themselves and they will expect their child to comply.  Their comments will be peppered with expressions such as “you really should”, “you are making a fool of yourself by”, “if I were you”, “no, I insist that you do it my way, you are only a child, what do you know”.  It is worth making note that at no time will a narcissistic parent sit you down and ask their child what they want for themselves or how they are getting on in life.  They are simply not interested.
  • They will however, constantly intrude on the child’s privacy and barge in unannounced “to see what you are up to”, “see if you are okay”. This is not curiosity about their welfare, this is information harvesting so that they have information “on you”, that they can use it against you at some later time as a control tool, they have absolutely no qualms about doing this because they are “their” children.  This invasion comes in the form of opening post, checking phones, reading emails, rummaging through bedrooms, walking into bathrooms without knocking and generally trying to track their child as extensively as possible.
  • They can either show complete indifference or over react when you bring them a problem. A good example of this is being sick.  They could say your fine you don’t even have a temperature even though you might have appendicitis.  Or else they can go into over drive with all the associated histrionics “Oh I am so worried”, and jump right in to the middle of the situation and make it all about them, wearing faux expressions of weariness and concern, seeking out the head doctors and nurses and demanding their attention.
  • Narcissistic parents can very often act helpless “oh what do you want me to do?” “I would love to help you but I don’t know how”, when a parent says things like that to a child, the child will try to step into the gap and assume an age inappropriate amount of responsibility.
  • The narcissist parent will be at once very secretive about themselves but at the same time share too much information with their children, such as marital difficulties, they will do this to try to get the children take sides. A parent might tell their child about sexual experiences that they have had or generally treat their children like they are all just (same age) friends hanging out together.
  • The narcissist parent while are very guarded about themselves in public will talk about their children in a completely uncensored way with absolutely no discretion, loyalty, honesty or support for their child. If they don’t know anything about their child (because they are not interested or the child has learnt to become very secretive) they will just make stuff up.
  • To make themselves feel strong a narcissist parent will often tell their children that they are weak and inferior to them in everything that they do (or even anything they might attempt to do in the future). They will always remind say that they are superior and that always must be acknowledged.
  • They will often be know-alls “I know everything worth knowing and if I don’t know it (which would rarely be admitted to) it is not worth knowing.” If a discussion starts about something that they know nothing about, they will just change the subject of do something to bring the attention back on to them.
  • If someone upsets them the child had better actively take their side (otherwise there will be recriminations), if someone upsets the child they will happily take the side of a complete stranger that they have never even met saying “you must have done something to deserve it”.
  • They can get very angry sometimes but will not say why, they will just let their child know that they will punish them for their anger later. Their anger might be triggered by someone being critical of them, since they cannot tolerate criticism they will blame/project and punish their child for this slight (even though the child was not there)
  • Their child must agree with everything they say, although they can mock, sneer, invalidate and criticise the things that their child says.
  • They will share things about their child in public that their child would prefer to be kept private, if their child says anything even slightly negative about them – they will be punished.
  • They can falsely accuse their child of things that they never did or said, if they defend themselves it will make the narcissistic parent a liar and they will be punished for that.
  • They demand respect, but do not have to show their child respect and won’t at any time.
  • They will never apologise to their child but the child must always be ready to apologise to them (even if it is not their fault).

Do you have narcissistic parents?  Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I trust my parents?
  • Do I feel loved and cherished by my parents?
  • Do I feel like I have been a burden/disappointment to my parents?
  • If I got in to difficulty of some sort would I go to them for support or advice?
  • Are there things that I/we as children were not allowed to do that “normal” families did not have a problem with such as sport, going to parties, getting a part time job and going on school trips (and not for any financial or practical reasons)
  • If you won a prize (at school or some other sort of competition) would you be inclined to share it with your parents or keep it a secret?
  • Do you feel responsible for your parents in general?
  • Do you feel like you had a large part to play in their happiness?
  • Did you feel like your family home was your collective home or were you a guest there and being let stay there was dependent on your behaviour?
  • Apart from the most basic things, do you know much about your parent’s family of origin?
  • Do you believe what they tell you about their own history and achievements?
  • Would have gone to your parents if you were being bullied, felt sick, frightened or were hurting in some way?
  • Do you feel better or worse (more vulnerable) after you have shared information about yourself with your parents?
  • Do you feel comfortable in your parent’s company?
  • Are your parents polite to you?
  • Do your parents talk to you or talk at you?
  • Can your parents celebrate your achievements or important life events such as birthdays, marriages promotions or the birth of your children?
  • Are you close to your siblings?
  • Do your parents pitch one sibling off against another?
  • Can you talk openly with your parents about your ideas, dreams and values without fear of being ridiculed or invalidated?
  • Have your parents ever told you that “you are not good enough” when you shared an aspiration/dream with them, even though they might know absolutely nothing about the subject
  • Have they told you “you are not qualified” for something when you suggest that you are going to apply for a job.
  • If you are qualified in a profession, do they ever solicit your professional advice or do they still treat you as a child and seek advice somewhere else?

If you agree with even a handful of the above questions you have probably been raised by narcissist(s).  It is not disloyal to admit it, it is healthy for you to acknowledge it so that you can move forward into a healthier and happier life.


FOG Fear, Obligation Guilt

Emotional blackmail is one of the narcissists favourite forms of manipulation.  FOG stands for Fear, Obligation and Guilt, they use it to threaten either overtly or indirectly, to quietly punish you for non-compliance to their demands

  • Such as pretending to be sick
  • Using their own false/exaggerated fears to manipulate you to serve them
  • Weakness and vulnerability to make you take care of them


  • react with a totally inappropriate rage
  • Call in exaggerated favours that they have done for you in the past
  • Pull rank
  • Demean/call names
  • Tell you it is your duty

Remember that you are always dealing with a narcissists sense of entitlement emotional blackmail is the used because they are unwilling or unable to make a direct request for what they want.  Why should they have to bother?  They are entitled to what they want anyway and a direct request would involve you doing them a favour (which to a narcissist means they would be in debt to you in some way).  They cannot negotiate either as that means relating to the other person and their situation and needs.  The narcissist is not interested in either, they just want what they want and they usually want it now!

Emotional blackmail in intangible, there is no logic to it and the leverage that they use will be something that you feel is instinctively wrong (gut feeling) but they will be so convinced that they are right and entitled that it is easy to think “if they are so certain maybe I am missing something” or “if they feel that strongly about it”  The other thing that they do is provide very mixed messages,  such as “you are not making enough money, the Smiths next door have just bought a new car/gone on holiday”, you work harder and longer hours  and you are met with “you are never at home/you don’t spend enough time with the family”.

If you pull them up on the fact that they cannot have it both ways, they will see your standing up for yourself as insubordination/criticism and you will be met with rage, sulking or storming off (followed by some sort of punishment), it is a complete double standard and you will always be wrong in the eyes of the narcissist.  They will use all kinds of “tools” to make you in the wrong in their eyes and make you doubt your sanity and theirs.  The temptation is to just go along with what they say for the sake of a peaceful life.  This approach does not work with a narcissist because they just push the boundaries out further, remember they are always looking for drama and love to evoke emotion in others.  You will never be able to satisfy a narcissist, there may be moments of calm but these are fleeting and if they think that you are relaxing in the relationship they will definitely go on the offensive again.  They want you to be hyper reactive and in a perpetual state of danger management, it makes them feel powerful and it does not happen by accident it is designed to confuse and keep you off balance.

The blackmailing only works if you comply, the narcissist will make a demand either forcibly or subtly “You have to do… ” or they might just say it with their “little voice” peppered with sighs so that you ask “what is wrong” and then they reel you in implying that s/he will get sad, sulky or angry if you do not meet their demand or will make the demand after they have reeled you in “I would feel so much better if you would just do…”

You might not want to rush to their aid (again) but they will manipulate in two ways, you will feel sorry for them or you don’t like neglecting your friends/partner in their hour of need.  Your line of reasoning could be “if I called a friend when I was THAT upset, how would I feel if they turned me down”, the reality is that they are acting and you would never get so upset by trivia like a narcissist does, but the same rules do not apply.  They have just violated your boundaries a little further and this is a win for them.

If you try to get out of what really amounts to obeying them, they will put on more pressure either by being melodramatic or by pushing on one of your vulnerable spots.  Again this can be either direct or indirect depending on what they think will be more effective.

When you obey their demands they know that their manipulation has worked and they will employ it again and again in various ways.


  • Fear of abandonment
  • Fear of upsetting a lonely elderly parent
  • Fear of temper tantrums and confrontation
  • Fear for your own physical safety


  • “After all the sacrifices I have made for you”
  • “You never ….”
  • “You always …”
  • “I can’t do it”
  • “You are so ungrateful”
  • “You did that because..”
  • “Why won’t you?”
  • “I would do it for you”
  • “You are so selfish”
  • “I need your help” (means you do this for me while I do something more pleasurable)
  • “It is your duty”


  • For having done something to upset or offend
  • For being cold hearted
  • For not pulling your weight in a relationship
  • For spending too much time at work
  • Not earning enough money
  • Having interesting/useful friends
  • Being happy/enjoying yourself

Lazy Parasites

Narcissists are notoriously lazy in practically everything that they do (unless they feel like they have a worthy audience or they are working towards a specific personal gain).  It is for this reason that they do not cooperate well either in the home or in the work place.  Because of their immense sense of entitlement and superiority they will see that it is the job of everyone else, to take care of their needs.

This laziness can be in the form of not wanting to do menial jobs around the house, not wanting to work outside the house to bring in a second income, riding on and taking credit for the work, opinions and efforts of others, not taking care of their relationships both familial and social, unless they perceive a person to be either useful or powerful in which case they can turn on the charm in a dazzling way.

Laziness also manifests itself in how they look for a partner.  A narcissist will automatically look for someone with low confidence and self-esteem or a carer/giver type, as they will know instinctively that they will be easier to control, manage and well give them more of their time, attention and resources than someone with a healthy sense of boundaries and a strong sense of self.  Just like predators in the wild, they will seek out wounded or hurting prey so that they do not have to expend too much effort or energy in hooking their target.  This prey will have already been primed from previous experiences to succumb to the initial charms and attention of the narcissist, they will lie, manipulate, cheat and will mirror what they think their prey wants to hear.

Once you become involved with the narcissist they will show his or her true parasitical nature and gradually manipulate their “partner”, “friend” or colleague into taking care of them.  They will do this absolutely without remorse or any sense of moral wrong doing or guilt.

Another ploy that narcissists will use to ensure that their needs are met is by invalidating the efforts of others and exaggerating their own contribution through lies, manipulation (either overt or covert) and drama.

A narcissist is “emotionally” very lazy and will not work on their “relationships” unless they think that the other person could be useful to them.  They will not take up the phone or write to a sick or depressed “friend” and they would seriously resent having to listen to them or worse still take care of them in some way.  That is not the role that they have assigned themselves and would definitely see it as beneath them.  Other people need to do that for them.  In fact, in the eyes of a narcissist, other people are not allowed to have needs or feelings, if they do they had better take care to keep them to themselves as it will only make the narcissist angry and resentful if they feel that they are being “put upon” in any way.  Their attitude is that other people are only there for their convenience.  If you are any trouble they will ignore and shun you until they want something from you.

Narcissists do not invest in their relationships once they have their target (friend, lover or acquaintance) “hooked”, as it takes too much energy and effort.  Obviously their own children take no effort to be “hooked” because the narcissist views them as their own property from the moment they are born.  Due to the parasitical nature of the narcissist, they will feed off the energy and efforts of others.  Consequently, if you are in close proximity to a narcissist it can feel like all the oxygen is being sucked out of the air or it is like being covered in ticks, having your blood slowly but constantly sucked out of you.

They will say things like “I would love to help you but…”, “I was going to bring you chicken soup but…”, “oh I was just about to do that, but you got there before me” the mechanism that is at work here is that they are trying to extract gratitude or a sense of indebtedness without having actually done anything.  Naturally they had absolutely no intention of doing anything at all.

The narcissist if a master in the art of harvesting compliments and praise for something that they didn’t do.  For example, take a husband and wife scenario: guests have been invited to dinner and the wife has done the cleaning, shopping and cooking all day long, then just as the husband (or vice versa) hears the car pulling up to the house, will jump into action and rush to the stove and start stirring pots or put finishing touches on the table.  The guests will turn to the narcissist who has been completely lazy until this point and pay a compliment to them and the narcissist will say in a totally insincere way “Oh no my spouse did it all” and the guests will think how modest s/he is and generous in their “praise” of their partner.

Narcissists unlike other parasites do not know when to stop taking, so they will eventually leave their partner so depleted that they can lose the will to live, if a narcissist makes a partner depressed or suicidal they will feel no remorse what so ever.  They will see it as an achievement in the ultimate execution of power and at the same time get annoyed with their “host” for lowering the quality of the narcissistic supply.  They will spend other people’s money with loose abandon if given access to it, they will take credit for things that they did not achieve, they will get angry if they are not given everything that they want without question, they will verbally, emotionally, sexually and spiritually abuse their partner in a way that will leave them feeling confused, exhausted and weak.  Just where the narcissist wants them to be.

Narcissistic Fathers

It is fair to say that most narcissistic fathers have less impact on their children than narcissistic mothers do.  That may well be changing, but certainly in the past this was the case, purely because in general the mother spent more time with her young children than her male partner did.  However, it is fairly well accepted that children take their role model and get their self-esteem from their same sex parent.

Narcissistic fathers are very similar to their female counter parts.  They disregard boundaries and only provide their children with conditional love.  That condition depends on their performance and that “performance” has to be perfect to project an image of who he thinks that he is.  He objectifies his children and his self-image will change depending on the company he is in, so it could be 2 or 3 different images in one day and the child will be expected to change with every character change that he makes.  It is an impossible situation because the child has to be on high alert at all times so that they can mimic their father’s behaviour and they will be let know if they do not perform the way the father expects them to, either by name calling, being ignored or a warning glance that alerts the child that they will be punished later for non-compliance

Narcissistic fathers will also withhold affection and control their children (and often wife) by threatening to abandon them or with anger and aggression.  This creates a very insecure family unit which is very often a repetition of patterns of behaviour played out in past generations.  The husband can go from being a brutal and tyrannical father to a bossy, arrogant over bearing husband into the charming man next door, the pious church goer and volunteer for worthy causes, to a needy victim playing father looking for emotional support from his children all within the space of a day.  There is a myth that girls marry the personality type of their fathers and boys marry their mothers, but they can marry their same sex parent too as the type of “love” that they are given by a narcissist feels “normal”.

The daughters of narcissistic fathers do not feel valued by him except for what they could give him in terms of narcissistic supply.  Sometimes narcissistic fathers will flirt with their daughters to try to woo more admiration out of them.  They can be full of compliments and praise when she is young but turn cold and critical once she gets older and stops being “daddy’s baby girl” and tries to get some independence.  This breaking away causes narcissistic injury and is met with steely hostility.  Once a father turns on his daughter in this way, nothing is ever good enough for them.  They can sneer and deride their daughter or try to entice them back into the “loop” which would take away their limited sense of an independent self, either way it is something that will follow the daughter through to adulthood and influence her choice of partner which will be peppered by feelings of not being good enough for someone who is kind to her, feel vulnerable  and insecure that they will be dumped as she was by her father when she tried to be herself, or she could develop a selfless co-dependent relationship where she serves the needs of a narcissists and puts aside who she really is.   This might feel “safe” but it most certainly is not a healthy relationship.

The sons of narcissistic fathers usually suffer more from emotional abuse than their daughters do.  The father is usually very competitive with his sons and will often either put down their own sons to buoy up their own sense of superiority or simply ignore them completely.  Sometimes they oscillate between the two, the sons often just admit defeat as this competition is very often in sport, where they do not stand a chance (because the narcissistic father will not let his son beat him, even if it means physically or emotionally hurting his child, humiliating him or making him cry).  Like with a narcissistic mother a son will never feel good enough for his father, because if he “beats” him at something his father will shame him and if he doesn’t he will be sneered at.

As with narcissistic mothers, both boys and girls of narcissistic fathers need to be seen and be validated.  That will never happen because narcissists are incapable of loving or admitting that anyone is an equal to them and the more they belittle their sons the more superior they feel.  Some children of narcissists become narcissists themselves because they are so traumatised by early childhood experiences that their emotional development gets arrested.  Perhaps they follow their father’s model to try to attract his attention, maybe they just get wounded and that is as far as they dare to go or they might learn from the father’s role model how to use and manipulate people.

Having a narcissistic father is horrible for all of the family.  Including his “golden child”, the golden child is often seen as the privileged one.  However, it is an excellent way to divide and conquer children, favouritism begets animosity and if children are hostile between each other (even if it is just a sense of “that’s not fair”) they are much easier to control, as they will not know what makes the favourite and as long as this insecurity exists between each other they will not gang up on the parents.

If a golden child embraces their enhanced position of privilege they will be resented, ostracised and bullied by their siblings, if they don’t they will be despised by both the fawning parent and the other siblings because they are still the chosen child and they are trying to reject it.   They will still be mistrusted because they are allowed special privileges that the other children are not allowed and yet they are either trying to reject it or they will feel ridiculously entitled and do what they can to maintain their privilege.  Everything within a narcissistic family is always very unstable.  The father who focuses on the “golden child” will not care too much about his other children, these children will try very hard to get the attention of their father, but they will only get his attention when he wants something from them and is often mean, cruel and cold towards them.

So here are the main traits of narcissistic fathers?

  • Has a ridiculous sense of entitlement
  • Has a need for perpetual admiration.
  • Often has inappropriate emotional reactions to situations
  • Expects his children to take responsibility for his “sense” of happiness.
  • Constantly puts is children down and insists that he knows what is best for everyone all of the time.
  • Claims that he knows everything “I know everything that is worth knowing” and is superior to others.
  • Will tell his children who they are, even if he mostly ignores them has absolutely no interest in them and never asks them any questions about themselves.
  • Does not notice the devastating impact of his negative comments and behaviour on his children.
  • Nothing is ever his fault, someone else is always to blame.
  • Every conversation is about himself, where he is the hero/victim, the one who saved the day.
  • Expects to dominate conversation at meal time and will sulk if he is ignored.
  • Is over involved in his own hobbies and expects his family to sit on the side line as he indulges himself.
  • Teases or tickles young children to the point of making them cry but remains indifferent to their pain.
  • Never makes mistakes.
  • Always has an attitude of “anything you can do I can do better”
  • Will use his power as an adult and a parent to “prove” he is better than his children.
  • Expects to be admired and respected and gets angry if he thinks that he is not getting sufficient amounts of either.
  • Will flirt or be excessively charming to get admiration both within and outside the family unit when it serves his purpose.
  • Nothing upsets him like criticism.
  • Physically unaffectionate or would give or withdraw it when it suits him
  • Will not listen.
  • Tells children what to think and feel.
  • Relates absolutely everything around him, back to himself.
  • Has very low emotional intelligence.
  • Is manipulative and a liar
  • Constantly threatens to abandon his children.
  • Gets angry with his children if they express opinions other than his own.
  • Like the narcissistic mother, he will be extremely controlling but will not take responsibility for his actions.
  • Will try to glean “information” about his children from their siblings, rarely addressing them directly, so that everything that he knows is third party information and therefore probably altered, either intentionally or unintentionally (triangulation)

The narcissistic father is bossy, over bearing and can be cruel, pompous, arrogant and self-serving.  He is totally self-absorbed and gets angry or into a full blown rage if his demands are not met.  His behaviour is abusive and very damaging to his children the scars of which can be carried into adulthood.