TL;DR: I want to communicate to my narcissistic father that it is unacceptable that he is attempting to blackmail my sister.

Refer to my past questions for more information regarding my father and what the struggles have been with him so far.

Unkind treatment of my sibling

What to say to steer passive-aggressive narcissistic parent away from saying gulit tripping things

Long story short:

  • I have not spoken with him since October 2018
  • He refuses to let me in the driveway of his house, for some ridiculous reason of his own that he is yet to reveal

My father has sent her pictures of past birthdays spent with him and tried to communicate with her but in a very guilt-tripping way that she's ignored so far. The reason he sent her pictures today is that it is her birthday today.

So recently, my sister has been trying to get her things from his house. He has said that he won't give her things back unless she sees him (which is basically blackmail)

My goal for this conversation with him would be to email him and let him know that his interaction with my sister is unacceptable. I can't control how he sends her pictures to try and guilt trip her but holding her things over her head just to make her see him against her will is unacceptable. I want to make sure I consider all things before I go ahead and email him.

I have considered 1. not talking to him at all- would solve nothing 2. Confronting him angrily- would solve nothing 3. telling my sister to deal with it- stresses her out more and I am not a cold person

I know that the best way to deal with a narcissist is not to deal with him at all. However, this is not ideal because he still has her things. Once her things are returned, all interaction with him will end soon after.

  • What would happen if you accompanied your sister to retrieve the items? Since he wants to see her so badly, he may not block you if it means that she will be there.
    – David K
    May 8, 2019 at 12:07

1 Answer 1


I personally believe that at this stage and level of unacceptable behavior: involving the authorities might be something to consider. I've found that narcissistic people enjoy that sense of power and if they feel they have the upper edge, they aren't likely to respond appropriately and listen to you... unless there's a greater power to set them straight.

Since your father has your little sister's items, he feels he has the position and authority to make demands and blackmail. Because you aren't able to obtain the items since they are currently in his possession, it's pretty difficult to make demands yourselves. So until you have these items, he still has his sweet sense of power.

For sensitive situations like these, involving personal items and blackmail (threats), I absolutely believe involving authorities (indirectly or directly) can be useful in an interpersonal context. The idea that a higher power can enforce appropriate behavior may very well be enough to right a wrong situation.

I remember seeing my neighbor always having kids from the neighborhood who would pester her chickens and she continuously told them to stop but they'd always end up coming back. Eventually, she decided to involve the police by calling them over and talking with them and ever since then she hasn't had problems.

The idea is once you suggest authorities might be involved it might make him think: "huh, this situation has really gotten this far... maybe I have behaved and acted incorrectly". If the counter-"threat" isn't enough, and it takes some hard action, that'll have even more potency in convincing him to reconsider his behavior.

Of course, that's the extent of what you can do. And that is really what is likely to be the most successful to work. He needs to understand his place and how his power is pseudo in nature. He needs to have a more harsh response to his ridiculous behavior. It may be unfortunate enough it doesn't convince him his behavior is absurd, but that's as much as you can do as I see it.

  • This was my first thought. If ownership of the items in question isn't in doubt, refusal to hand them over when asked is something the police will act upon, and depending on the details and jurisdiction might well be a crime. If he refused in writing (mail, text, etc.) taking that to the police and asking that they escort her over when she collects her things should be very doable.
    – Tom
    Mar 15, 2022 at 14:30

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