Mod 5: My story – Dad

In some ways it’s easier for the adult child of a narcissist to recover from that breakup than it is to get over an actual life partner like a spouse or boyfriend. Certainly the logistics are easier and money less of an issue. However, your relationship with a parent or sibling has existed your whole life, probably all the time you can remember. There’s no option to reclaim what you were before you met the narc because her or she was always there.

The bond of obligation to a blood relative is also much harder to sever without guilt. You have a lifelong history of feeling it is your duty and responsibility to be involved with and watch out for this family member. Such beliefs are natural and very hard to shrug off, as we have discussed.

I think what helped me the most to stand firm with my resolve to stay no contact with my dad was my recognition that he had bullied me from the time of my birth all the way up to the present, when his life was nearly over. I clung fast to this fact and didn’t let anything cloud it.

When I was a teenager, my mom told me a story of when I was only a tiny baby, maybe just a few weeks old. My dad was not generally interested in holding me. One time she finally persuaded him to do so, and for some reason I began to fuss and cry, as babies will do. Instead of handing me back to her, he became upset and literally threw me on the bed. Not set me, threw me. In a way that made her alarmed that I might have been hurt.

Infants know very little about the world, and have zero ability to survive on their own. All they learn in their first days on the earth is that Mom and Dad are there, keeping them warm and dry, fed and clean, and comforted when things are scary. Luckily for me, I learned my mom was there, and I was a very frightened, risk-averse, mom-clinging sort of child. I think that’s because I learned my dad, who I had expected would protect me, might at any moment turn on me, hurt me, and abandon me. Who knew what the big, bad world at large might do to me?

That moment in my history recurred thousands of times in hundreds of different ways over the course of my first 57 years in the world. No one held a gun to my dad’s head at any point and forced him: every single time, he chose to mistreat me, contrary to normal parental behavior. Some of these actions were knee-jerk. Many of them were coldly calculated with complete premeditation.

When someone treats you this way, and life finally brings you to the moment where denial fails and excuses run out, the time has come to change your world view. My new world view, after the fateful phone call when my dad kicked me to the curb, was that he was an incurable bully. I knew what one does regarding bullies of my dad’s type: one avoids them. So, it only took me a day or two to decide I was going no contact with my father, despite how “unnatural” that might be.

“I have a father who emotionally abuses me” became an unquestionable fact of my life, similar to “my height is five-foot-one.” While having this new “motto” didn’t cure all that ailed me, it also became a principle that made my decisions henceforth rather easy to make.

Do you visit the person who emotionally abuses you? Do you send them cards, call them? No. Do you worry if that person is doing okay? No. Do you invite them over on holidays? No. Do you feel guilty for acting as if they don’t exist? No.

And what happened next only strengthened my resolve. I began researching more online about parental bullies of adult children. In the course of that research, I came upon information about narcissism and NPD.

What an eye-opener that was.

Not only did this disorder match up perfectly to my father, it also fit my ex-husband. I’d long ago realized I had only been interested in Max because he was like my dad. But now I saw they shared the same personality disorder. And what an astonishingly awful disorder it was, too.

It was fascinating for me to read explanations for all the bizarre things I had experienced. Meanwhile, this NPD stuff also explained why I hadn’t reacted in a normal human way to those bizarre experiences, which was an even bigger deal, really. My education went a long way toward untangling the inexplicable mess that had been my relationships with two of the three key men in my life.

Don’t get the idea though that this process was a snap. I had to do all the unlearning and learning I’ve been talking about throughout the Lucy Rising Program. I had to figure out what I had been through, and sort through the lies about my past that I had always believed (Mod 1). I had to process the stifled emotions and get over the anxiety (Mod 2). I had to stop feeling guilty (Mod 3). And I had to work through my rage (Mod 4).

After all is said and done, if I were limited to only five words that I would tell fellow narc abuse victims to remember, they would be these:

This person was your abuser.

Do you miss them? This person was your abuser. Do you feel guilty for leaving them? This person was your abuser. Do you feel like you brought your sufferings on yourself? This person was your abuser. Do you feel like you should call them? This person was your abuser.

You catch my drift. Hold that thought until you don’t have to hold it anymore, and can just set it aside and fill your mind with nothing but good, positive things because you haven’t the slightest interest in your narcissist anymore.

In the first days and weeks after the split with my dad, every single morning he was on my mind the first moment I opened my eyes. I used to feel like there would never come a day when that wasn’t the case. Well, one day I realized I hadn’t given him a thought until 7:30 a.m. And one day it wasn’t till noon. And as the months passed, one day it wasn’t until evening. Now, sometimes I don’t think about him for days.

Long before you get to that point with your narc, you can start putting your energies into living your own life. Let’s get started talking about that right now in the Knowledge section….

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