Mod 4: My story – Dad

The whole narc abuse situation is tough when you have a blood relative who is a narcissist. For obvious reasons, we are hard-wired to have very strong allegiances to our parents, children, and siblings. It’s imperative to society that family ties be strong. Happily, normal humans form powerful familial bonds with their close family members which encourage mutual support and unconditional connections.

But when a family member is a narc, all this normally good stuff goes horribly wrong. Not only does a narcissist not form bonds, thus allowing a very one-way system of devotion, but the narc actually exploits this situation. The victim’s very normal love and devotion is used as a chain, keeping him or her close in spite of abuse that would drive any friend or lover away, codependent or no.

Romantic and sexual bonds make splitting with a narc partner very difficult. But familial bonds are even harder to break.

I believed, as do most people, that family members should be loyal and devoted to each other. I nearly always put my daughters’ needs among my own, and when I didn’t, I felt horribly ashamed afterwards. When it came to my dad, I always let him have his way. Part of this was real love, part was daughterly duty, and part of it was terror.

It had taken me a long time, as well as Max’s declaration of the divorce, to see that I didn’t have to be enslaved to my husband. It took me even longer with Dad. And for all the nasty, terrible things he did to me throughout my lifetime, I never got consciously angry at him.

Until the break.

The day Dad demanded his car back, he let fly a string of the nastiest, most ironically unfair accusations I could have imagined. In a few short minutes, he managed to dismantle my entire pipe dream that I had been successful at convincing him I was a good daughter. The thankless, unpleasant work of a lifetime amounted to not even one bean, much less a hill of beans.

The unfairness and utter tragedy of that—over five decades of effort for nothing—made me absolutely lose it.

I fantasized about actually pouring this rage out on my father, but I knew that would be totally pointless. It wouldn’t make a bit of difference to him. It wouldn’t make him take back his cruel words or apologize. It wouldn’t make him admit the tiniest flaw or failure.

This made me even angrier. Believe you me, I wrote down all my hate and fury, even though I wouldn’t get to share it with him. It was cathartic, and healthy, and it helped a little. Eventually I got my rage down to a slow burn, and then a manageable warm glow, if you will.

Did I want vengeance? Hell yeah I did. But I learned a very valuable lesson from my experiences with Max: karma is a real thing. Later in the story you’ll hear even more on that subject. But as far as my dad’s situation, he was an old, sickly man, with no family now and barely a friend to his name. And his failure of a life story was going to end with him dying alone, never having asked forgiveness from the daughter and granddaughters he so sorely mistreated.

I think after he yelled at me on the phone that fateful day, it never occurred to him for a second that I wouldn’t be begging for forgiveness from him within 24 hours. The fact that that request is never going to happen is a fate he’s dealing with right now. Or rather, being a narcissist, ignoring.

So, what have I to say about forgiveness and reconciliation? As you might guess, quite a bit. We’re going to discuss all about that and the other issues these stories have raised in the Mod 4 Knowledge section…

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