I'm new here. As background, years of therapy have led me to understand my father is a Narcissist, who abuses, dominates and ownes my mother, my siblings and myself. My mother is a Co-Narcissist within her marriage, but very much takes on the Narcissist role when dealing with me (her daughter).
A major common thread among my parents is their total inability to express compassion (except if expected to do so in a public situation or to preserve their image). In other words, they know how to APPEAR kind and compassionate, but do not do so freely.
Even in my mid-thirties, my father believes he should control my decisions. He is known to become enraged if I don't follow his commands when making major and minor decisions for myself. I am reminded how many people would kill to have a person of his intelligence and expertise advising them. 100% of his recommendations are self-servant, and not intended to help me in even a small way.
My father frequently comes up with "plans" and "opportunities" for me - which always involve a major move or change of job, etc. - which are, in reality, ways for him to help someone else and therefore appear to be a hero. I am nothing but a pawn in his scheme, as I exist to serve him in every way without regard for my own needs or life.
My parents do not know anything about me. They don't know my job title. They don't know my friends' names. They have no clue what I do for fun. This information has literally never come up in conversation with them. They make up information about me to their friends to impress them.
My problem is this. My father believes that he owns my children, as he does me. He has no boundaries. His interactions with them are always self-servant and childish. He interacts with them in order to show-off to others, and then walks away dismissively if he loses his audience.
I do not want my babies harmed in the ways I have been harmed my entire life. Has anyone had experience with protecting your own children from your Narcissistic Parent? Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated.
The following user gives a hug of support to BeachMama:
Welcome BeachMama to this site. You are way overdue to be your own person. Unless you are living with your parents, then you should decide what happens with your life. You are still hoping they will be like real parents. Give that idea up and move forward. You are waiting for something that is not going to happen.
Your father and mother need to be respected as being your parents, but that is all. If your father still thinks he "owns" you then you need to inform him otherwise and then back it up. He will always treat you as his little girl if you let him. Take charge of your life. You owe that to yourself.
Now for your children. It is your duty to protect them at all costs. You know there is a sever problem. Stop the cycle now. Do not allow it like your mother did. Give them a chance to have a life without the pain you have been living with. Your protection for your babies should take priority. Just think of them and you can do this.
Keep these people away from your children, maybe you can't physically keep them away, but you can certainly protect them emotionally. Teach them at their level of understanding that their grandparents may not always have their best interests at heart. You cannot fix your relationship with them, and I commend you for being courageous enough to deal with the issues that you are left with. Your parents have no boundaries, it is up to you to set and enforce them. There is no need to be kind about it, they will ignore anything but direct demands. Is it possible to get them out of your emotional life altogether? Just interact on a purely social level and keep them out of your private personal stuff and all your business. I had to be this way with my mother for many years, just paid my duty visits etc, and deflected any attempt of hers to pry into my stuff. Sera.
Thank you Reg and Sera, for your replies. It is of some comfort to know that others have successfully dealt with this problem. My heart goes out to both of you for your struggles.
As more information, I left home the moment I turned 18. Over time, I got myself through college, married an amazing man, and we are raising our two wonderful children. It was a struggle in the beginning, but cutting myself off financially from my N Father at age 18 was a great move. Now fifteen years later, my hubby and I do ok, on our own. (My Father has made up so many lies over the years - that he put me through college, that he secretly paid the college to admit me, that he bought my car and my house, that he pays my child's tuition, etc. All blatant lies! I wonder what goes through his mind - and if he believes his own BS?)
I keep my parents away from my personal life as much as possible - which is not difficult, because they literally take zero interest in me. However, they are very interested in my children. They believe they are entitled to time with the children. I allow them time with them during family functions, but otherwise keep away from them as much as possible.
My N Father always makes elaborate promises to the children - of playsets and bikes and swimming pools. This is all for show, of course. He never follows through. If anyone asks, he blames me - stating that I forbade it. My older child now knows not to believe a word he says.
I have never left my children alone with my parents. My N Father would abuse them in the ways he did to me. (To hear him tell it, he was a loving, devoted, selfless father - and he has effectively rewritten history to support this assertion.) My Mother would allow the abuse, as she did to me.
The extended family believes I am "odd" and "crazy" and a number of other things. After all, who wouldn't want their own parents to babysit their children? they say. There must be something wrong with me, they say. They console my parents for my behavior. They try talking some "sense" into me.
Since there is no way to effectively explain the Living Hell my parents have made of my life, I never bother trying to explain to anyone. I just let them think I'm the crazy one. Nevertheless, my parents never stop badgering me to take the children, and berating me for refusing. I wonder if there is a better way?
Ideally, I would like to move far far away. However, my wonderful husband wants to remain near his own aging parents, and I am fully supportive of this - for everyone's sake and especially since these are the only "normal" grandparents my children will ever know.
What is the solution for remaining in close proximity - and being entangled in some of the same social circles - as your N parent? Between their incessant demands and the lies they tell about me, I feel like I'm under constant attack, even when I lay low.
PS - I have attempted cutting my N Father out of my life completely. I didn't return his calls, etc. for several months. He retaliated with vicious lies and rumors - turning quite a few people against me. I have found that it is easier to toss him a bone every now and then - does anyone else feel this way?
I just joined this forum after doing extensive searches on the internet to try and figure out what the heck is wrong with my father. After reading all the personalty traits of a narcissist.....I am sure I found it.
I am a 52 year old single mother of two (19 & 20). My relationship with my father has been strained since I can remember. I suppose with Christmas over, my inner turmoil and nightmares have begun again. After reading so many posts, I am pretty sure he is a narcissistic father.
My father is 87 and my mother is 83. He is and always has been the king of the castle, my poor adorable mother caters and waits on him hand and foot. She lays out his clothes in the morning, puts on/and takes off his shoes (since he says it is too hard to do), even though my mom just had knee replacement surgery. He sits in his chair and she cooks and serves him meals, snacks and beverages all day long. It has become worse over the years.
As a child he was emotionally and physically abusive (not sexually abusive thank god!). I still toss and turn over the explosive fights that have occurred over the years. I was always told to apologize to him to ''keep the peace",for his outbursts, temper tantrums and mean demeanor, which I did and hated every second of it. As a teenager no boyfriend was good enough and he made sure they knew. By 18 I had enough and left home and never returned.
I was married, my ex turned out to be bi-polar (another story there!). My father treated him like a child as well. It is a nightmare bringing any man around him, his personality changes, his voice deepens and he takes over the conversation with the same old stories about himself that can last for hours. No one dares to stop him.
I rarely had the opportunity to spend quality time with my mother, he always had to be there. It has gotten to the point now, that when we talk on the phone he listens on the other end, and reads the emails I send her.
Nothing I do is right, he still belittles me and brings up issues from the past and starts his explosive arguments like it had happened yesterday. He can be very rude and sarcastic. If I try to defend myself, which just starts up his anger again, so I try to ignore it. Any little thing can set him off, and you just don't know when it is coming. He also exagerates stories and truly believes them to be true.
My daughters and I live an hour away from my parents, and unfortunately it has to be that way. We lived close to them for approx. nine years. He would drive by my house, just to see if I was home or not. He would look through my things when he came in the house, thinking it was his right. A few times he displayed aggressive behaviour around my daughters when they were young, then I blasted him for that! We ended moving further away, which is unfortunate especially at their age.
So I am guessing these are traits of a narcissistic father?
Sorry for the long post...and rant!!!!
The following user gives a hug of support to anonlychild:
anonly - are you my sister?!?! Wow, sounds eeriliy similar to the life I lead. Luckily for me and my family, my father moved 500 miles away when my children were very young so visits were limited after that point. But I spent countless hours teaching my children what they could and couldn't believe about their grandfather. I would let them know that I loved my father, but he wasn't always truthful, etc. etc. My father died 8 years ago and my mother's life was transformed.
It's a very, very hard issue to have in a family dynamic. You can't cut them out of your life or your children's lives for various reasons (as you both have outlined). Yet you are afraid to let them be around your kids much, and rarely if ever without you present to "protect" and watch over your kids!
The way I learned to handle it after I moved out at 18 was to emotionally distance myself from the situation. I, too, was made to apologize to my father for imagined slights to keep the peace. My mother did not deserve the treatment she would get if Dad thought I had insulted him or slighted him in some way. So I would apologize and keep the peace. But I refused to let it get inside my head.
Beach, I really feel for your situation wherein your father charms others who don't know his true personality, and makes you the villian. However, the only thing you have any power over is the way you raise your own children and whether you let his actions bother your psyche. I would caution you to not turn your kids against your father because you are then teaching them now to interact with men in a power situation. However, you should let them know that even though you love your father because he is your father, you understand that he, like all adults, has faults. I understand, very very well, how hard this balance is. When the kids were small, my father used to try to teach them "nasty" behaviors or words, or try to get them to do something he knew I would not approve of. So instead of asking him to stop and incurring his wrath, I began punishing the children in front of him. Especially if there were other people present. Then when he expressed his displeasure that I was punishing the kids and it's not their fault, my simple statement was, "Then stop telling them to do that." And I'd walk away. Obviously, this may not work in all situations, but if you find some type of remark that works for you, that will go a long way toward making you feel better and teaching your kids about YOUR morals and values. Perhaps when someone from the community or extended family makes a statement about how can you keep your parents from babysitting, you could say something on the lines of, "Oh, I didn't realize it was such an issue with them! The last I knew, they were too busy to watch the kids!" And just smile and leave it alone. If you develop come-backs that allow you to smile and respond without having to divulge any details, maybe that would help? Just a suggestion ...
My father is also a narcissist. I have read both of the books, below, and they really helped me both understand the condition and they give excellent advice on how to cope. It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure “Children of the Self-Absorbed” has a section on to cope with these narcissists if you have kids. I am so sorry to hear your story. The pain some parents cause is truly horrible. I wish you the very best.
Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-up's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents (Paperback) by Nina W. Brown
If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World (Paperback) by Dan Neuharth
My Mom was my issue. When I read some of these things, I can't believe it wasn't just me. She had absolutely no idea who I was. I'll never forget when I was about 40 years old we were having a conversation and she needed a point of reference regarding my likes and dislikes. She made a reference to a celebrity I had a crush on. It was a teen boy star from my pre-teen years. That was the closest thing she could come up with, the last instance in her brain of knowing anything about me. It was one of those awaking moments.
She would not drive the freeways. I would drive her to visit family members. It was an hour there, an hour back. Her mouth did not stop the entire drive. She would not ask one thing about me and, if I tried to comment on her statements, she would interrupt me and take off on another story she had to tell. I always made excuses thinking she was just that lonely and needed someone to vent to.
She had a way of doing things that made you question motives. I came home from work one day and she'd come to my house, let herself in (she always had keys) and painted and wallpapered in my home. I didn't want it done. But she had a way of making me feel non-appreciate of her hard work. Of course, she was frequently on my couch when I got home from work also uninvited so I realized later that she'd painted and papered because it was, in her mind, HER home.
She also put up a great front to family and friends.
I'm still not convinced she was a clinical narcissist. But she was darned close. And it won't hurt me to do some research.
To BeachMama: You are one smart woman. You got out early and took back your life. You should be very proud of yourself...I am. I wish I'd have
been as strong as you were. I wasn't and still am not. But I'm better than I was so I think of myself as a work in progress. And I am not my Mom. To a degree, that's good enough.
Strange as it may sound, his narcissism can actually be turned to your advantage. Not by him, but by you.
You can use him as an example to your kids about how NOT to behave in society and with family. You can have the privilege of being a better person.
Also, now that you are an adult, you don't have to listen to him anymore. In fact, you can find humor in his rantings and ravings. I have relatives like this and I just politely smile when they try to give selfserving advice, just smile, and say "ok." "Ok"' doesn't mean I agree, it means that I am not judging them.
However, since it has gotten to a point where he wants to micromanage your life, don't let him. Be respectful to him because he is your father. However, you are also a grownup and owe it to yourself to live how you wish.
You are not alone, every thing you just wrote could have been written by me. I am 51, father is 73.
I recently dared to criticize my father for his behaviour and he is furious, I am tired of him trying to control me, putting me down, lying to me and about me.
He has emotionally drained me.
Anyway he is not talking to me now and the gray cloud that has surrounded me since i was a child is starting to lift.
I will not speak to him again and for that i feel no guilt, only relief.
Last edited by Mod-S4; 08-01-2011 at 11:16 AM.
Reason: Unnecessary quote removed. Please respond to the original poster. Thanks.
My father, who died a few days ago, was a narcissist, who enjoyed inflicting emotional pain on all four of his children.
I was the youngest, a daughter, and his favorite.
After a lot of therapy, I decided that I could not protect myself from the pain that he inflicted and became estranged from him.
There were attempts at reconciliation throughout the years, but he was never able to acknowledge the pain. Or if he did, he would say something else that was cruel and hurtful.
Now that he's gone, I feel I am free. I never have to feel badly about a father's day or his birthday that goes unacknowledged.
My 6 year old daughter met him once, but they never talked. I explained to her that he was mean, and the only way I could protect her from him was for them not to have a relationship.
I feel at peace with his death, but I feel proud that I didn't have to sacrfice my daughter to the same abuse that I had to deal with.
I have no regrets.
We are only able to change ourselves, not other people.
Sometimes the only way that we can have healthy boundaries with people is to have no relationship with them. I hope you find peace in your relationship with your father.
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