The most prominent struggle for most daughters who have had narcissistic fathers is that they tend to be extremely hard on themselves to the point where their standards are too high. When their self-standards are too high, they will always fail, leading to a struggle with confidence and their sense of identity. This also leads to them engaging in self-sabotaging behaviors.
The main reason for all of this is that from a young age, women who had narcissistic fathers lost their sense of self and never were able to correctly develop their own identity because of the way they were treated. As their fathers belittled them, insulted them, and focused only on their negative qualities, these girls became women without knowing who they were outside of what their fathers had told them.
As these women grew, they always learned to question her abilities, dreams, and appearance to determine if they’re as good as they thought. Because they don’t see their worth, they don’t value themselves or their dreams, so these women often struggle to form healthy relationships because they tend to attract men that don’t appreciate them, either.
The effects of a narcissistic father span far beyond childhood. Women that suffered from this emotional and psychological abuse as girls have significantly higher rates of depression, suicide, substance abuse problems, anxiety, and PTSD even after they’ve reached adulthood, though many of these show up much earlier in life.
This study done in 2014 showed that children who have gone through this type of abuse have similar or even worse mental health issues compared to ones that have dealt with sexually and physically abusive situations. That means having a narcissistic father affects girls even more than most people realize, and the lasting damage cannot be understated.
Narcissistic fathers tell their daughters that they aren’t good enough, and make it clear that nothing they do will ever be enough to please them. In public, they may be seen praising their children or speaking positively about them, but it’s all a show to hide the truth and to make the father appear to be a good father in the public eye. What happened in the privacy of the home, however, was an entirely different story.
There is a way to overcome, and it takes a lot of self-searching and work, but it can be done. It may also require the help of a professional therapist or psychologist, which is nothing to be ashamed of. Like some physical wounds require help from a doctor, some mental scars are just too much to take care of ourselves and outside help is needed.
First of all, a daughter that has been through this needs to have a conversation with herself about which dreams are hers and which ones came from her narcissistic father. This can be hard because as she may have pursued her dream of pleasing her father, she did it by continuing her father’s dream for her.
Once she’s decided what her true passions and inspirations are, a daughter must begin to pursue them. That may mean making some significant life changes, or it may suggest starting by pursuing her dream on the side before she can continue it full-time, but it’s essential that she begins to pursue her dreams for herself.
As she goes through life, she needs to learn to celebrate her accomplishments. Although she’s been taught to minimize them and that she can’t take any credit for the good she’s done in her life, she needs to recognize her accomplishments so she can celebrate them.
A daughter also needs to see that she can be proud of herself for what she’s done, whether it’s something as simple as graduating college, landing a good job, or being in a healthy relationship. She deserves all the good that comes out of those accomplishments and should never let anyone tell her they’re meaningless, even herself.
The last thing that a daughter has to do to overcome her narcissistic father accepts that she is still worthy of love despite her imperfections. There’s no requirement to being worthy of respect except to be human. She doesn’t need the approval of others to be loved, and she doesn’t need to work or accomplish anything before she can be loved.
It’s important for women who have been through the trauma of growing up with a narcissistic father to realize that they can overcome their abusive past and thrive.
About The Author: Originally from Michigan, Melody now enjoys working as a freelance writer from her home in Nicaragua, which she shares with her amazing husband and their crazy cat that was raised on goat’s milk from the time her mother abandoned her at just ten days old. They’re excited to be expecting their first baby, who they thought was a girl, were told was a boy, and then was told was a girl. She also recently finished her first novel and is working on making a cat coloring book.
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