Narcissist’s Father: Daddy Issues Typology

Uploaded 2/20/2024, approx. 28 minute read

Okay, it's time for another video about Daddy issues from the Daddy of the narcissistic abuse field.

Another video you say.

What has happened to the previous one?

It's still on my YouTube channel.

To save you the search, just go to the description and click on the link if you dare.

Today we are going to discuss what types of fathers produce narcissists.

There are 11 of them or 12.

These kinds of fathers come late into the play and yet have a profound impact on the way pathological narcissism evolves and manifests in later day life in adulthood.

I have proposed Daddies and issues and narcissists.

My name is Sam Vatlin and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love Narcissism Revisited.

I'm a former visiting professor of psychology and currently on the faculty of CEOPS.

Daddy, here I come. Just to clarify something, pathological narcissism forms in the first 36 months of life.

The child, the infant develops primary narcissism and then when the child's developmental trajectory is thwarted and obstructed and the child is unable to separate from the mother and individual.

When I say mother, maternal figure, anyone who fulfills the caregiving functions of a mother, it could be a male, but the maternal figure, when the child is unable to separate from the maternal figure and thus become an individual, it disrupts the constellation, integration and formation, these are big words, of the self. So a child becomes selfless without a functional ego and this gives rise to pathological narcissism. To learn more about this process, I encourage you to watch the videos in the playlist titled From Child to Narcissist on this channel. But it's important to emphasize that the first 36 months of life are the breeding ground for pathological narcissism later on throughout the lifespan. And during this period of 36 months, the towering, dominant, almost exclusive figure is the mother. Again, when I say mother, doesn't have to be biological mother, doesn't have to be the mother of origin.

Anyone who fulfills the role of a mother, could be a grandmother, could even be a father.

And if you are truthful with the maternal role, the mother is critical during this period.

So the formation of pathological narcissism is entirely up to the mother.


There is no father there.

Father comes much later.

Father's role, father's contribution, father's psychodynamics, father's molding of the child, they come much later, usually ages four onwards, northwards, four, six, nine, etc.

The father, of course, is a crucial figure, but not when it comes to the emergence of pathological narcissism.

That's the domain, the unfortunate domain of the mother, the dead mother, metaphorically speaking.

Again, watch the videos from child to narcissist playlist.

So what does the father do?

What's the contribution of the father to pathological narcissism?

How does the father's presence, role, actions, decisions, choices, temperament, character and personality, how do all these affect the trajectory of pathological narcissism in the child?

Well, the father has a profound impact on the way pathological narcissism manifests, on the way the pathological narcissist expresses his or her pathological narcissism as a child.

We're going to discuss this in a minute.

So when the father enters the scene, when the father starts to contribute to the path of the psychological development of the child, to the evolution of the child's skills, capability, to social capability and so on and so forth, the father already finds a ready-made finished product.

The child is already imbued or infected with, if you wish, pathological narcissism.

A bad mother, a mother who is not good enough, a dead mother, to use the phrase, the metaphorical phrase of Andrei Green.

This kind of mother gives rise to a narcissistically pathological, a child with a narcissistic pathology.

And then the father enters the scene, the father starts to socialize the child.

The father introduces the child to various behavioral scripts.

The father helps the child to acquire skills and so on and so forth, but at that stage it's too late.

The child is already, clinically speaking, a pathological narcissist.

All the tools, all the capacities, all the skills that the father conveys to the child become instruments at the service of pathological narcissism.

There's nothing the father can do about this.

So mothers create pathological narcissists.

Fathers teach pathological narcissists how to leverage, amplify their pathological narcissism, how to manifest and express their pathology.

This is the division of labor, the unfortunate division of labor.

Now there's a variety of fathers who would amplify, magnify, legitimize pathological narcissism.

Fathers who would push the child to become even more narcissistic than he or she is.

Fathers who would create an ambience, an environment within which pathological narcissism flourishes or an environment where pathological narcissism is the only way to survive.

A survival strategy, a form of self-efficacy.

The child expresses his agency or her agency through pathological narcissism in the relationship with the father.

These kinds of fathers, and we're going to discuss all the varieties, all the subspecies and variants of dysfunctional fathers, these kinds of fathers collude with the child and in a way embellish the child's narcissistic tendencies, style, personality and disorder - pathology.

They become integrated.

These fathers become integrated into the narcissistic narrative.

They become inextricable collaborators.

In other words, the fathers form a shared fantasy with the child within which the father figure becomes a source of emulation.

This is known as modeling in social learning theory.

The child begins to imitate the dysfunctional or seek mentally ill father.

The child then becomes more and more enmeshed with the father to the point that the child suspends his or her own identity and adopts the identity of the father, which is a great way to describe a shared fantasy.

What types of fathers enhance the child's pathological narcissism rather than suppress it?

What types of fathers legitimize the narcissistic pathology rather than frown upon it?

What types of fathers create an environment where pathological narcissism flourishes rather than an ambience that inhibits pathological narcissism?

What kind of fathers teach the child to become asocial or antisocial rather than prosocial, communal, sublimated and empathic?

What kinds of fathers, in other words, continue the work of the dead mother, of the mother who is not good enough in Winnicott's term?

As I said, there's a variety and we start with the dead father.

The dead father could be a collapsed narcissist, a collapsed histrionic, a collapsed borderline, a collapsed paranoid, someone who is gun through a collapsed psychopath, someone who is gun through a collapsed, someone who has failed in life, someone who has tried very hard and then endured defeat on a regular basis, someone who has been frustrated and thwarted, someone who is constantly faced with losses, a loser, in other words, someone who is inadequate, a collapsed person.

That's the first type of father within the dead father category.

You could also, another type of father is the narcissistic, self-centered, egotistical father.

The absent father, neglectful, ignores the child, pretends the child doesn't exist, regards the child is a nuisance or an annoyance, fends the child's attentions away, penalizes the child if the child dares to demand attention or to insist in a variety of ways, some of them dysfunctional, temper tantrums.

This kind of father is frustrating.

It could be a depressive father.

So all these types of fathers, the collapse, the narcissistic, the absent, the neglectful, the frustrating, the impressive, all these types of fathers are actually dead fathers.

They're unable to carry the paternal functions, they're unable to perform, they're unable to provide the child with a path forward to engender a trajectory of evolution and development in the child, of growth through experience.

These kind of fathers actually creating the child a deep yearning, a fear of abandonment, known as separation insecurity and encourage the child to cling, to become needy, which is a codependent solution or to delusionally withdraw into fantasy, which is the narcissistic solution where the child becomes their own father.

They aggrandize the false self, the false self becomes essentially a parental figure, mainly a paternal figure.

So this is the dead father.

Another type of father which fosters narcissism in the child or continues to enhance the child's nascent narcissism is the shameful father.

The child is ashamed of the father because the father is a failure, a loser, a daydreamer, a fantasist, someone everyone mocks and ridicules and criticizes, a criminal, etc.

When the child is ashamed of the father, this shame resonates with the child's own shame.

You remember that pathological narcissism is a compensatory reaction to shame.

Because the shame is overpowering, disregulating, overwhelming, the child rejects emotions and rejects reality.

Reality is a constant reminder of the shame and emotions come entangled with, fused with shame.

The child is unable to experience emotions without experiencing shame and the child is unable to function in reality without being reminded of his or her shame.

Narcissism is a defense against shame.

And when the child is ashamed of his or her father, this external shame resonates with the internal shame and creates a perfect storm, a firestorm which consumes the child.

And in order to extricate himself or herself from this firestorm, the child transmogrifies, engages itself, shapeshifts into the invulnerable, invincible, godlike, perfect narcissist that he becomes later.

So being ashamed of your father is a pathway to compensatory narcissism.

It's another element, another figment of reality which the child has to reject because these emotions of shame are life threatening, not only overwhelming but life threatening.

So we have encountered the dead, dysfunctional father and the shameful father.

The next type of father which eggs on narcissism, promotes narcissism in the child is the intermittent father.

It's a father who engages in splitting.

I'm all good.

You my child, you're all bad.

Hate, hate and love, hot and cold, come hither, go thither.

This is the intermittent father, the father that is not predictable, that is not reliable, that is not rock solid, that is not stable.

In other words, a father that is not a secure base.

Although clinically speaking, a secure base is only the mother, I think fathers can induce her a secure base.

It's time to revise the theory.

But this kind of father, a father who cannot be relied on to function in a stable, predictable manner can never serve as a secure base.

And this creates in the child approach avoidance which reflect the father's own intermittency, the father's own approach avoidance.

This approach avoidance cycles feed on and off each other and encourage the narcissistic child to develop an insecure attachment style.

This also challenges the child's sense of self worth.

It becomes, the sense of self worth becomes labile, fluctuating in a way dysregulated if you wish.

The signaling, the father's signals are mixed. The messaging is unclear, ambiguous and the child is hard at work trying to decode and decipher the father's intentions, moods, wishes, demands and usually the child fails.

And this constant failure, the father's constant displeasure, visible ostentatious disappointment in the child, the father's approach and then avoidance which signal to the child that he is a bad object, something in the child is wrong, the child is inadequate somehow, the child is not attractive and not lovable.

All this undermine the child's ability to regulate his or her sense of self worth.

This kind of child resorts to the outside, resorts to other people in order to regulate his or her internal environment.

This kind of child doesn't have innate mechanisms for self stabilization.

The child in this case is not a secure base to himself or to herself.

The child then outsources regulation, this is known as external regulation, outsources regulation to other people and then based on the feedback from other people, on the input from other people known in narcissism as narcissistic supply, the child then is able to somehow generate a kaleidoscopic hive mind picture of itself and regulate itself somehow, at least in the short term.

And all this comes from the maternal end, the paternal absence later on in life.

By Paula, so to speak, father, father who is never one person, kind of multiple personality father.

It's very difficult to generate, the child is unable to generate a fixed picture of the father and of himself or herself in relation to the father.

The next type of father who brings out narcissistic tendencies and dimensions of personality in the child is the antisocial entitled father.

This is a father whose consummation rejects authority, is defined in your face, see if I care kind of father, antisocial rejects society, it's mores, it's rules, laws, anything men made.

This kind of father feels entitled to special treatment, to accomplishments which are incommensurate with the father's investment or commitment, hard study, hard work.

This kind of father is usually also lazy or indolent, expecting everything to fall into his lap effortlessly.

So this kind of father is a bit psychopathic and the child via the process of modeling imitates and emulates the father.

The child learns that society is a bad thing rather than socialize the child to become a useful member of society rather than acculturate the child, introduce the child to the dominant culture rather than inculcating the child.

Scripts, behavioral scripts, social scripts, sexual scripts, this kind of father teach the child that society is the enemy, the adversary, how to get him, the world is hostile, it's a jungle and that the only path forward is by force, power guarantees survival, goal orientation is the way to go.

Gradually these kinds of fathers, the antisocial entitled fathers convert the child from a budding narcissist into a malignant narcissist, a combination of psychopathy, sadism and narcissism.

The next type of father who is likely to breed a narcissist is the fantasy-prone father.

That's a father who is rejected reality, usually because of failure, constant repeated regular failure.

This kind of father prefers to live in a daydream, in a fantasy, in a paracosm, in a virtual reality in a world of his own making and he drags his child into this world, into this fantasy.

The child becomes the father's number one fan, supporter, colluder, collaborator and so on.

The father is introduced into a shared fantasy with the father and they thrive within the shared fantasy as long as the child is obedient and submissive and the father is dominant and infallible and never wrong.

When this kind of child grows up, he learns that fantasy is far preferable to reality and that the only way to interact with people is via a shared fantasy.

He also learns that it is legitimate to coerce people, to force them, to control them, to become part of the shared fantasy.

He knows no other way of interacting with people.

All the interpersonal relationships of this kind of child who has had a fantasy-prone father, all these interpersonal relationships are nothing but make-believe, pretenses, movies, theater plays, theater productions.

Next is the harsh, critical and rejecting father.

So father, who is impossible to please, you can never do right. You are always, as a child, inadequate and worthy, a loser and a failure.

The child is unable to develop an embodiment of sense of selfbecause the father won't allow it.

The father competes with the child for scarce narcissistic supply.

The father is always more, always better, better accomplished.

A bigger victim, whatever the child may come up with, is a self-identity.

The father is always more, always been there before, always done it before.

The child can never impress the father.

The child can never elicit the father's gratification and satisfaction, let alone gratitude.

The father becomes an external, harsh critic, an externalized sadistic superego, always putting the child down, humiliating, degrading, demeaning, chastising, castigating.

Harsh, critical, rejecting, this kind of child, already exposed to a dead mother, already in the throes of emerging pathological narcissism, this kind of child becomes a covert narcissist, maybe an inverted narcissist, which is a subtype of covert narcissist, a people pleaser, a codependent, clinging and needy, emotionally blackmailing, controlling from the bottom.

It's a form of narcissism, of course.

So this is the outcome of a harsh, critical, rejecting father.

This kind of child is also very likely to become emotionally dysregulated and suicidal, suicidal ideation.

Very closely aligned, very closely aligned to the harsh, critical, rejecting father is the unjust, sadistic father.

What's the difference?

The harsh, critical, unrelenting, disappointed, always rejecting father believes that he loves the child.

He believes that this is a form of tough love.

He's doing all this for the child's sake.

He is criticizing the child in order for the child to attain and accomplish more.

He is rejecting the child because the child needs to learn about loss and rejection, about life as it is.

He is critical of the child because he's truthful.

This is all about tough love.

The unjust, sadistic father doesn't bother to pretend.

He enjoys inflicting pain on the child, torturing the child, taunting and tormenting the child.

He enjoys injustice, inflicting injustice on the child.

He enjoys totally confounding the child by providing the child with the wrong type of input.

When the child is nice, the child is punished.

When the child approaches the father, he's rejected.

When the child is evil, the child is rewarded and so on and so forth.

The rewards or reinforcements are incommensurate with the child's actions and speech acts.

So, this kind of father creates mayhem and chaos within the child.

He does not allow the child to develop what we call an internal working model, a theory of mind about what makes other people tick.

He does not allow the child to adopt social norms and mores as guiding lights.

He does not allow the child to sublimate, to convert internal drives and urges into socially acceptable actions and manifestations.

He doesn't allow the child to function.

And he enjoys the child's egotistiny, discomfort, anguish and pain.

This kind of father creates psychopathic narcissists.

The dysregulated father is a father who is probably a borderline but not necessarily.

He finds dysregulation in other mental health disorders such as, for example, bipolar disorders, paranoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder and so on.

The dysregulated father is unable to control his emotions, his moods, his moods and thereby, his emotions overwhelming, threatening to drown the father.

And the father reacts by acting out, by decompensating, by losing it, by crazy making.

In this type of environment, the child is busy most of the time trying to make sense of what's happening and on the other hand, parenting the father, somehow ameliorating and mitigating the father's distress.

The child assumes responsibility for the father's evident despair, depression, anxiety and misbehavior.

The child feels that he's guilty or she is guilty somehow for what's happening or at the very least responsible and that she has the power, this is magical thinking, she has the power to re-regulate the father, to restore the father's peace of mind, inner peace and happiness, to put a smile on the father's face.

These are the parentified narcissists, the narcissists who play the role of a mother, maternal figure in the shared fantasy.

The next type of father is the incestuous father. The incest could be ambient, could be emotional and could be physical, of course, in extreme cases.

Now, incest and childhood sexual abuse, CSA, they usually result in borderline personality disorder or in extreme cases of rape and so on, in dissociative identity disorder. It is extremely rare for CSA to lead to narcissism and that's precisely why therapies that are more or less effective in managing some behavioral aspects of narcissism, therapies such as schema therapy or transactional analysis or my own cold therapy, they rarely, if ever, in the case of cold therapy never used in people with childhood sexual abuse background, these people are likely to have a borderline personality organization and therapies that involve, for example, re-traumatization, the Fohr-Nozakh therapy, the Samvaknin cold therapy, these therapies are dangerous to such people.

So people with childhood sexual abuse are contraindicated in re-traumatization therapies and in certain types of therapies that are efficacious with, as I said, some aspects of narcissism.

And so the incestuous father converts the child's nascent emerging pathological narcissism into a borderline variant, into a dissociative variant. This kind of father, the incestuous father pushes the child to become a borderline or someone with equivalent of multiple personality disorder. There are many variants, so it's DD and so on.

And therefore the incestuous father falls out of the remit of this video, is excluded from this video because it leads to other mental health issues, which overshadow the original pathological narcissism, although they retain some aspects of that early stage narcissism, they retain, for example, retain the grandiosity element.

The parentifying father is a father who is ostentatiously, conspicuously or vertically helpless, self-sacrificial, needy, clinging, demanding, emotionally black-mating, forces the child to fulfill parental functions, to take care of the father as if the father were the child and the child were the father. It's an inversion of roles, it's role reversal, and it has profound effects on the child.

This gives rise to a type of narcissism that is an ancastic, narcissism that is concerned with perfectionism, with rules, with obsessive compulsive elements, with rigidity, narcissism that is hyper-moralistic.

This would be a pro-social or communal narcissist who would sadistically subject his flock, his followers, and so on and so forth, to all kinds of demands which are inflexible and set them up for failure.

The parentifying father generates a narcissist who feels deep inside that he is never good enough because what child can fulfill the parental role successfully? No one, no child can do this. The child keeps failing, the father's expectations keep being frustrated, visibly frustrated, the father becomes aggressive.

And so the child feels that he always has to cater to other people's needs. Somehow he's always short of the mark, always a failure and to compensate for this, the narcissist, the child turned narcissist becomes rigid, moralizing, demanding, perfectionistic, and punitive, punishes people up to the point of becoming a sadist actually.

The next type of father is the instrumentalizing father.

It is a father who uses the child to realize the father's unfulfilled dreams and wishes.

A father who instrumentalizes the child in order to obtain narcissistic supply.

A father who flaunts the child, brags about the child. A father who uses the child as a badge of honor. There's a process of co-idealization.

This kind of father idealizes the child, at least in the eyes of others. And at the same time idealizes himself. It is my child. If my child is perfect, this means that I'm a perfect parent. If my child is successful, that means my genes are superior. So this is self-aggrandizement through themy child is successful, that means my genes are superior. So this is self-aggrandizement through the child's agency.

The father uses the child to garner supply the same way one would use a start of symbol, a flashy car or an amazing smartphone. The child becomes not a source of narcissistic supply but a trigger for narcissistic supply.

Now the same father could idealize the child, idealize the child and pedestalize the child when he interacts with other people and at home humiliate the child, berate the child, criticize the child, harshly impinge on the child's boundaries, breach the and frustrate the child's expectations, reject the child.

So the child learns about intermittent reinforcement. The child is exposed to two conflicting messages.

The father tells everyone that the child is perfect while treating the child is a lot less than perfect, as imperfect to the point of shame and frustration. And the child cannot form a cohesive sense of identity.

When father tells the neighbor that I'm perfect, is this the truth? And when father tells me that I'm a hopeless loser and failure, a bad object and worthy of love, unlovable, is this the truth? What is the truth? Because the child has these two constant streams of information which are conflicting mutually exclusive and contradictory. The child cannot put the two of them together.

Modeling is disrupted and the child's identity never coalesces, never gets integrated or constellated.

And this is a child who grows up to have an identity disturbance, a major feature, especially in borderline personality disorder, but also in narcissism.

The pedestalizing father, in any case, is clearly isolate the child, the child from reality.

The child becomes an object, the child is objectified. Child is not allowed to interact with peers, not allowed to be exposed to failure and loss. Whenever the child misbehaves, the father justifies the child, teaches the child that it's okay to misbehave, that this is normative. This kind of child develops an impaired reality testing, cognitive distortions, including grandiosity and antisocial psychopathic behavior.

And finally, there's the submissive, codependent, covert or inverted father, inverted narcissist father, covert narcissist father. It's a kind of father who is passive aggressive, who is always peevish, who is always self-deprecating, but in a humiliating manner, self-humiliating manner.

And as I said, submissive and codependent, this kind of father broadcast to the child that the only way to prevail or to survive in an interpersonal relationship is to act as a doormat, to give in, to succumb, to accept.

And the child adopts this as a manipulative Machiavellian strategy. It's known as control from the bottom. It is narcissism, make no mistake about it. This is what's known as covert narcissism. Usually when the mother is dominant, yet dysfunctional, mother who is dominant and narcissistic, dominant and borderline, dominant and absent, dominant and hateful and rejecting, etc. When the mother is dominant and the father is submissive, defiant, codependent, reasonable, kind of a ridiculous caricature of a man and of a father.

When this contrast, when the child is faced with this contrast, the child learns that there are only two models in the world. Either you suspend yourself, your needs, your wishes, your dreams, your priorities. You unbecome, they become someone else's extension, catering to the needs of someone else all the time in return for subverted covert control.

That's one solution. That's the father modeling the father or modeling the mother, in which case the child becomes a rapacious, eruptive, overt, grandiose, psychopathic, often antisocial narcissist.

So in a household where the father is recessive, submissive and the mother is dominant and both of them are dysfunctional, the child grows up to be either of these two solutions, both of them are narcissistic, one is a covert solution, one is an overt in your face, psychopathic solution.

As you see, thecontribute to the formation of pathological narcissism.

The father is not the reason the child adopts in narcissistic solution to trauma and abuse.

The father is not the cause of, shall we say, the emergence of the narcissistic personality or the false self.

The father comes into the game, enters the scene much later than this and finds a finished product, a child who is already a narcissist.

But then it is up to the father to somehow redirect this kind of child, a narcissistic child. It's up to the father to determine how the child's narcissism would manifest in adulthood, in later life.

It's up to the father to somehow ameliorate and mitigate the narcissism or redirect it in socially acceptable ways. It's up to the father not to exacerbate the condition and make it much worse, drive it towards psychopathy, for example. It's up to the father to provide regulation, stability. A secondary secure base, it's up to the father to provide a model for emulation, become a role model.

The father can do so much to prevent the initial infestation with pathological narcissism, this dysfunctional solution to trauma and abuse. The father can do so much to limit it, to render the child a much more functional and happier individual later in life, to allow the child to experiment with separation and individuation without hurting itself or others in adulthood. It's all up to the father because the father is the main agent of socialization and skilling.

And yet fathers who are as mentally disturbed as their children are not up to the task. These are dead fathers, collapsed, narcissistic, absent, neglectful, frustrating, depressive, inadequate fathers, shameful fathers, failures, losers, intermittent fathers who engage in splitting, approach avoidance, bipolar, antisocial fathers, entitled fathers, fantasy-prone fathers, daydreaming fathers, harsh, critical, rejecting fathers, unjust, sadistic fathers, dysregulated fathers, incestuous fathers, parentifying and instrumentalizing fathers, pedestalizing fathers, idolizing fathers, submissive, co-dependent fathers who are essentially covert narcissists.

All these types of fathers are going to make the child's narcissism much, much worse.

A child who is born to a family where the mother is a dead mother and the father is any of these types that I've just mentioned is doomed.

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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of love and hatred being two sides of the same coin, and how they can be interchangeable. He explains that both emotions lead to attachment and bonding, and that they can coexist in the same mind, leading to ambivalence. He also delves into how this ambivalence can manifest in mental health disorders and the various defense mechanisms people use to cope with it. Additionally, he explores the different types of dissonance that arise from experiencing love and hate simultaneously, and how it can lead to inaction and trauma-like responses.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
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