Hi everyone. I posted before about my narcissistic father, and received some great advice. Lately things have gotten worse and I'm hoping someone can help me.
I am happily married with two young children. My father's controlling, abusive and selfish behaviors continues to be a black cloud over my family and marriage.
Recently my husband and I put our house up for sale. My father caught wind of this and became enraged. How dare I make such a big decision without consulting him! How dare I use a mortgage company, realtor, etc. of my own choosing! I'm far too stupid and incompetent to handle such important decisions and I'm going to regret being so "pig headed" as he puts it. [He calls me stubborn and pig headed every time I fail to follow his orders.] He feels I should use his "connections" in the community so that he can feel responsible if the house sale goes smoothly.
He berated me for weeks about this. I received near-daily messages instructing me to ditch my realtor and call "so-and-so" (a person in his social circle who he wants to impress). He put me down to other family members, and convinced many of them that I was making reckless decisions and acting like an unappreciative brat.
Having my reputation ruined by him is something I've had to deal with all my life - unless I'm supplying him with endless affection and compliments, then he perceives me to be against him and he retaliates.
Two things I've learned: He feels threatened by a lack of constant adoration, and he feels threatened if he is not involved/in control of everything. I do not understand the nature of the perceived threat, but I know he responds viciously each time.
So, some time passed and I thought he had cooled off. He called and invited me out to dinner. I was suspicious because he never invites me anywhere - NEVER - and he certainly never does anything for me out of the kindness of his heart. I went to the dinner, but I was braced for the worst.
First, he insisted on picking me up rather than meeting me there. This is typical of his controlling personality. It is terrifying being a passenger in his car. He is all over the road, playing with his phone, the radio, the mirror the entire time he is supposed to be steering the car. He screams and lays on his horn, swerves in and out of cars, and is ruthlessly aggressive. He becomes furious over nothing - including normal traffic delays such as red lights.
At the dinner he talked and I listened. He complained ruthlessly about all the other family members who have recently "wronged" him. My sister who changed jobs without consulting him (she's an "embarrassment" for not using his contacts in her job search). My grandfather who invested a sum of money without consulting him (he's a "crazy retard who should be locked up"). My aunt who he's left several messages for, who hasn't called him back (she is also dealing with an ill husband, a troubled teenager and two young children - but nobody's time is as important as his, so these are not valid excuses). He perceives all of these slights as serious personal attacks against him - and he intends to make them all pay for it.
Later he moved on to chastising me for my "idiotic" real estate choices - then shrugged it off as, "I did my best to raise you and now you're your husband's problem." I would like to note that he doesn't consider this to be rude or hurtful in any way - he can dish it out even though he can't take it.
In the car on the way home, he went on and on about how lucky I am to have a father who "spoils" me. He said that his friends are jealous because he and I are "so close." These comments made me sick -- my father hasn't treated me to ANYTHING in probably two decades (though he lies all the time about things he supposedly bought me or did for me - and sometimes I think he lies so much that it actually becomes reality in his head).
Also, the comment about us being "close" couldn't be further from the truth!! This man knows NOTHING about me, or my family. He never asks! He doesn't care! He doesn't know what my job is, who my friends are, what I do on the weekends. (Again, he makes up information when he talks to other people, but he pulls the information out of thin air.) As long as I'm asking him questions and stroking his ego, he thinks we have a relationship. It's almost comical that he can't see how one-sided our communications are.
Anyway the last thing he said to me before I got out of the car was this: "I noticed that every time I ask to take your kids for a weekend, you make up some ******* excuse. Don't you realize how embarrassing it is that my friends get to see their grandkids but I only see mine at family functions. The next time I extend the invitation, I expect you to comply."
Of course, I will never leave my kids with this horrible man. His interactions with them are self-serving and childish. A crying child receives a blank stare from him, or a complaint that the child is "manipulative." A hurt child receives an order to "grow up and stop being a baby." The man has no compassion whatsoever.
Until now I've gotten by with making excuses when he wants to take the kids. After all, the majority of his invitations are insincere anyway so it's never been a problem. I never dared tell him I'm not comfortable leaving my children with him, because World War Three would ensue - and he'd depict me as a villain to anyone who would listen. And people who don't really "know" him would feel sorry for him.
But apparently it's come to this, and I have to lay down the rules about him not being alone with my kids. So how do I handle this?
Yes my mother is still married to him. She has her head so far in the sand, she is of no help to me. She used to cry all the time over his abuse and shameless cheating. Now she pretends none of it happened. Though he continues to abuse her to this day - he screams at her, calls her names, blames her for everything, treats her like a servant, lies to her, cheats, condescends.
Though she used to talk openly about his abuse, now she denies it. She does anything he tells her, including bullying me to serve his needs.
Despite being completely subservient to him, she is VERY selfish and demanding in her relationship with me. She throws tantrums, give me the silent treatment, lies to me, etc. She is also very paranoid and thinks everyone is talking about her. (Often people DO talk about her - as in, why would she stay and let herself be treated that way.)
In my opinion, my mother doesn't want to admit that he's abusive because that would be admitting she subjected her own children to that abuse.
She also feels slighted that I won't leave my children with her. I can't trust her because the one time I left my son with her, the first thing she did was call my father to come over behind my back. I'm sad that I can't trust her, but she made her bed and now she has to lie in it.
(For the record, my husband and I are not crazy overprotective of the children. We are comfortable leaving them with my in-laws overnight because they are loving and attentive.)
Strategies for detangling yourself from a narcissist's web?
In dealing with my NPD father, I have come to understand that a narcissist believes everyone in his life to be an extension of himself.
As his daughter, I exist to serve his needs. To him, my own life and needs are irrelevant, as my main purpose is to enhance his life. If I give compliments, ask him questions, prop him up then I'm good. If I neglect to flatter him, fail to ask the right questions about him or in some way embarrass him, then I'm bad. And when I'm bad, his revenge is brutal.
As an example, it enrages my father when I make decisions for myself without running them by him. He is certain I'm doing it to hurt him, and he is terrified that I'm going to somehow reflect badly on him.
Are there any strategies for getting a narcissist to understand that I am a separate person from him? That my decisions and behaviors are NOT in any way connected to him?
I realize that he will never love me, or care about me, or take any interest in me as an individual. That is something I am learning to accept (though it is still very painful). I'm just looking for ways to express that I act like an individual because I AM an individual and most of the things I do that enrage him actually have nothing to do with him.
The following user gives a hug of support to BeachMama:
As you have no doubt realised long ago, the only way to deal with a narcissist is total non-contact. I know this is difficult for you to maintain for yourself, but it is a priceless gift you are giving your children. Explain him to them as they get older. Contact is less damaging to them if they realise that he has a vital part of his personality missing and so cannot relate to them normally. Cheers, Sera
Re: Strategies for detangling yourself from a narcissist's web?
I agree with rosequartz. the best way to deal with a narcissist is to not deal with them at all. NPD runs in my family....or should I say it gallops. My mother had Munchausen's and I was her proxy. You don't get more narcissistic than that.
Are you still living at home or are you on your own? I found the bet way to deal with my parents was to lie. If they didn't know what I was doing, then they couldn't take it personally. Lying to save your sanity is okay.
Now with my parents gone I still have to deal with siblings and I have a sister who is the same as my mother. I deal with her by not even talking to her unless I have to. And then it's stuff like the weather.
Your loyalty is to yourself and whatever you have to do in order to live a good life without the chaos of a narcissist in your life is what you have to do. As a mom of grown kids(34 and 32)our job is done once you leave home and your job is to make your life what you want of it and our input is not needed. Enjoy your life despite his misery.
Your father sounds a lot like mine. I haven't spoken to him in over 3 years. Every few months he sends me a bazaar letter. I feel bad that he isn't part of our lives and doesn't see the grand kids, but I don't think he feels that bad. When we did see him occasionally, I was always concerned about how he treated them. Of course, they always had to do what he wanted to do.
Wow, really sorry that you have to go through something like that. Like some of the other posters has mentioned, the best way to deal with it is not to have any dealings with him. You have to ask yourself 2 questions. 1. What good is coming out of the relationship with him and 2. what are the bad things that are coming out of it. I am sure that #2 will have a whole bunch of things and #1 will have nothing. He is never going to change his ways. I have learned that we cannot change people, especially if they don't want to change. The only thing that we can do is either change the way we think or remove ourselves from the situation.
So my advice is to not have anything to do with him anymore. I know he is your father, but he really hasn't been much of a father to you has he.
Hello, me too I have just discovered the nature of our family disfunctions: narcissic father - dissolved mother - enraged brother - ADD me.
For years, I couldn't figure what in hell was that horrible feeling I was carrying all the time: a type of guilt to succeed, to have fun, to have friends etc... because the rest of the family were in their misery.
I had left home early to go have a life of my own - many many miles away from "home" but the guilt was following me even after 10 years.
After the turn of some bad event (I left my good husband for a beautiful narcissic dude) I decided to come back in that family to recuperate the lost and go observe our family dynamics.
It hit me when I realise my parents were in fact THE central problem.
I guess I had gone and lived without any conscioness what so ever...!
It's only now I can 1) understand how horrible the dynamic was, and why at the age of 8 I already tried to "divorce them" and 2) how my intuition to leave was the best thing I could have done for myself and how coming back was the worst decision!!!
I am trying not to regret my decision and detangle once more. At least I comprehend the situation since I read the amazing book from Mrs HIRIGOYEN.
I recommend this book to anyone who deals with these problems. She calls it: "Moral Harrassment".
The best recommendation she gives: PROTECT YOURSELF! Nothing can be done to change the situation. The narcissic or the perverse will remain the same, and crank his power to destroy even more.
I recognise a lot from your story, and am curious how you and things are now and if you made any changes in contact with your parents?
I've just had my first child and am struggling a lot with the decision of 'breaking off contact with my father' - something I would love to do as the contact only gives pain and stress but because of guilt and loyalty feelings I have never done. But I don't want my boy to experience the same as me, and am more then often thinking about should I not be stronger now and break all contact?