Thinking about my dad.

dadandme1983

I have only three pictures of my dad, and only one of us together, taken in 1982 (shown above).    He passed away suddenly on June 6, 2016.    I can’t believe he’s been gone for almost half a year.

My dad wasn’t a very good father.  In fact, he was pretty terrible.   A covert narcissist (though I don’t think he was malignant or evil), or possibly a borderline, or maybe both, he was always codependent to higher level, grandiose NPD women.   At least in my mother’s case this was true.   For all of my childhood and part of my adolescence, he was an active alcoholic and often lost control and become violent and abusive.  Sometimes he really scared me.   His punishments could be harsh and cruel.  He also invaded my boundaries in many ways and seemed to expect something of me that I could not be, but I never knew what that was.

Much like my mother, he could never accept “negative” emotions and always seemed to expect me to act happy even if I wasn’t. So I learned how to fake happiness or at least contentment, but was never very good at it. But there were also times that he wasn’t this way (more on that in a minute).

He also cut me off for years at a time once I became an adult, refusing to have anything to do with me when I disagreed with him or did something that went against his wishes.   The time around my daughter’s birth was one of those times (not because of her, but because of something unrelated we had disagreed about).   Because of that, he never met her until she was 8 years old.   He did apologize for his lack of contact with me.

In spite of these behaviors, my dad could also be very loving.  When he was loving, he could be the sweetest and most understanding dad anyone could ever hope for.  While I always somehow knew my mother’s “love” was fake, I never felt that way about my dad.    When he showed me love, I knew it was really coming from his heart because it just felt like the real thing.  My intuition about these things is usually accurate.   Although his rages were usually scarier and more violent than my mother’s, as a person he scared me less.  He was less cold and could even be very warm.  As disordered as he was, my dad had a heart.  I always felt like I could talk to him, at least when he was sober or in a good mood.  At those times he could be extremely supportive and empathetic. He was very protective of me and used to get so angry when anyone else tried to hurt me.

The problem was he was so unpredictable.  It was so hard to discern when he would be nasty or nice.    So I usually waited for him to be nice to me, rather than seeking it out. He was such a conflicted person.

I loved my dad.  I still do.   Today in church the priest talked about praying for those loved ones who have passed on.    Until now, I hadn’t been able to cry about my dad’s passing.   I experienced a lot of other emotions — shock, anger, rage, regret — but I never really grieved.   We hadn’t been close in years.

But today was different, and I sat there wiping away tears and realizing how much I miss my dad, and feeling so sad because we never had a chance to get together before his death and reconcile or come to  some kind of understanding as father and daughter.  There was no closure.   I never even got to see him in the hospital, and I was unable to attend his memorial service.  There was this vast distance between us (I never went No Contact with my dad).   He never got the chance to see how much I’ve changed and grown.   I know he would be proud; he always told me he wanted to see me thrive and be happy one day. I knew he meant it too.

I hope wherever my dad is right now, he has learned a few things and is working out his demons and his soul is being cleansed.  I don’t believe death is so final that you just go to either heaven or hell and that’s it, because no one is all good or all bad.    I think our souls continue to grow and mature and sin can be cleansed even after death.

I also hope he understands that his youngest daughter, who I know he loved in spite of the terrible way I was raised,  has realized a lot about why things happened as they did, and is now using those lessons to become a better and happier person.   A person who has processed enough of this trauma that she can finally reach out and begin to help others.    I hope he is looking down from wherever he is and is proud of what I became.  I hope he knows that I love him and pray for his spiritual freedom too.  In many ways, both my parents were teachers to me.  Harsh teachers to be sure, but I still learned so much once I realized what I’d been up against.   Framed the right way, narcissists can teach you much about yourself, if you can move on from hating them and try to understand why they did what they did and why it was done to you.

Dad, wherever you are, I miss you and love you….in spite of everything.  I forgive you.

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20 thoughts on “Thinking about my dad.

  1. Lucky Otter,

    I’m glad that you have been able to see beyond the abuse to the love your father felt for you at the deeper level of his being. Though it’s sad he’s passed on it must be healing for you to be able to recognise this.

    Thank-you for your blog and excellent work on explaining how narcissism works and how to heal from it, for victims and narcs. From what I’ve seen, you have developed some excellent theoretical perspectives that advance our understanding of the disorder (such as covert narcissism , the chronological developmental phases of developing it in childhood). As someone coming from three generations of narcs, only awakened 18 months ago from the work on the internet, and whose daughter is currently alienated, I am also grateful that you have been able to share your personal, biographical perspective and pain as it is in going through pain to knowledge that we find healing.

    I notice that your PayPal link is broken – if you want to fix that I would be happy to make a donation.

    You ask elsewhere (and the comments are closed there) why there appears to be so few male victims of narc abuse. I suspect that the numbers of male and female victims are similar but that men under-report. This is firstly an emotional illness and men have not been good at talking about feelings in the past in our culture (the parenting principle that big boys don’t cry still applies too widely and has contributed to the current identity crisis that many boys experience ) and appear reluctant to open up in public on blogs and social media. As an example, I’ve noticed that in the parental alienation group I’m a member of (https://m.facebook.com/groups/308779155942958?ref=m_notif&notif_t=like) many women post on behalf of their partner about alienation that’s occurred to the partner’s children with a narc ex but I’ve never seen this happen the other way with a man reporting for a woman.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ted,
      I have no idea why this was in my spam folder! I am so touched that my blog has been of help to you and given you some clarity and understanding about NPD — both the narcissists and those who are victimized by them. I’ve found there is no black and white — there’s a lot of overlap between people who have developed narcissism and those who have been victimized. Often, they are one and the same, and I can’t talk about narcissism without realizing that people with NPD were themselves not given the early mirroring that they needed. Pete Walker, in his wonderful book “C-PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving,” recognizes this too. He talks about the “four F’s”– these are 4 different ways trauma victims/people with C-PTSD cope: flight (avoidance, anxiety), freeze (dissociation), fight (narcissistic and borderline defenses), and fawn (codependency). I am so sick of the demonization of people with Cluster B disorders and have become an activist lately to try to educate people who dismiss them all monsters without feelings.
      I do practice No contact with my own abusers. I think this is healthy and necessary. They can be dangerous, especially if malignant.
      It wasn’t until I was able to let go of my hatred (which does help you when you are going NC with them) that I began to be able to see how I needed to change too, and that has made all the difference, and got me away from that awful victim mentality that leads to nothing but misery and helplessness. By seeing them as victims too, they seem to have less power over me.
      Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot.

      You can still make a donation! I can’t get the Paypal button to work, but all you have to do is sign into Paypal here: https://www.paypal.com/home
      Then use my email address, which is otterlover59@gmail.com
      I really appreciate your wanting to offer your support!
      God bless!

      Like

      1. You’re welcome. Letting go of being a victim is so important. Finding out about and educating myself on narcissism was a great help in this for me. I’ve donated! Hope it helps. Best wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. This is the report from my account. It says you have to accept.

          Paid with
          VISA x-8202
          You’ll see “PAYPAL *OTTERLOVER5” on your card statement.
          Transaction ID
          2FA97629AN451960B
          Sent to
          otterlover59@gmail.com
          Note
          Hi Lucky, I hope this helps. Thanks for all your good work. Best wishes, T
          Details
          Sent to £50.00
          Fee£1.90
          Total£51.90

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Ok, I don’t know if I can correct that. If there’s no otterlover59 (which you diid tell me above was your e-mail address) then maybe the payment will be rejected and I can resend to you.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. I hope so! 😮 Let me check my account again but I don’t think it’s there. I’m sorry about all the inconvenience. 😦 I know you’re probably really irritated and I don’t blame you, but I appreciate your thoughtfulness just the same. I’ll let you know if it comes through.

          Like

        2. Hmm, I’m wondering how it could have been debited since there was nowhere for it to go unless someone else DOES have an account under that email. It’s very weird. I feel guilty now even though I never got it. 😦 Have you tried to contact their customer service to get it back?

          Like

        3. Though the payment’s gone though on my Visa statement but it’s pending in PayPal and I’ve clicked ‘cancel’. They also say it will be re-credited to my account if not claimed within 30 days. I’m sure it will get to you eventually, Lucky!

          Liked by 1 person

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