Let’s talk about Father’s Day with toxic fathers.
This blog is for educational and awareness purposes only. The terms narcissist, sociopath, and psychopath are used as descriptors to identify toxic and harmful personality traits. The said terms are not intended to diagnose anyone with any disorder.
Father’s Day can be tough for us if we have absent, neglectful, or toxic fathers. It is the day all survivors who have horrible fathers dread. Even though Father’s Day isn’t held up to the high standards of Mother’s Day, it can feel like an obligatory celebration for you. Especially if you have a narcissistic father who believes the world revolves around him.
We see everyone on social media posting how “wonderful” their fathers are. They change their profile picture to their father or t a picture of themselves with their father. It can often seem so over the top especially if they dedicate a long and loving post to their father, but you just can’t relate to how they feel.
Toxic and narcissistic fathers have low emotional intelligence and a large ego. They’re often irrational, self-absorbed, and manipulative.
These types of fathers typically are doted on and feared in toxic family systems as they always have a need to display dominance to control their family. They will use gaslighting and other forms of violence to make sure that they get their way.
For Father’s Day, they may expect extravagance with a dinner, a barbecue, or gifts or they may just expect a lot of praise and attention. Some toxic fathers may refuse to celebrate the day and be annoyed that it’s happening. That may happen when the toxic father feels like they can use an approach where they want to be built up by you. For example, the toxic father may say he doesn’t want anything on Father’s Day, but he does. He just wants you to read his mind and he may sulk around and become more bitter than he typically is because you didn’t read his mind. You didn’t do more than say, “Happy Father’s Day.” Because he wasn’t interested in a big “fuss” over him.
“Oh don’t do anything for me.” Can translate to, “You should know better than to ask me. Just do it.”
What do I do on Father’s Day?
If you’re no contact with your father, you can view Father’s Day as a regular day or you can celebrate a father figure that you have in your life. Do you know anyone who has all of the qualities you wish your father had? A past teacher, your other parent who had to step up and parent you alone, or even a friend. You can celebrate yourself if you are a father, celebrate yourself because you may have had to be your own father or celebrate with your partner if you have one, or do nothing at all.
It’s okay to do nothing for people who have harmed you. This is just a day. Use this day for self-care. Do something for yourself or just stay home and relax. You will make it through the day.
If you are in contact or low contact, you can keep things simple. Remember you have boundaries. Even if your father doesn’t respect you, you don’t have to take that behavior. Gray rocking is always good. Keep conversations about him and keep your personal life out of any conversation - even if it is something good. You know your situation and what you have to do to keep yourself safe. Please know that you have many options but can choose what is best for your personal situation.
You can send a card or a text to say “Happy Father’s Day” without leaving your home and celebrating with your chosen family or have a self-care day too or spend time with him and the rest of your family.
You are never obligated to celebrate someone who has caused you to suffer through years of trauma and abuse. You do not owe your toxic father anything. You deserve to have time to heal and protect yourself.
Stay safe on Father’s Day!