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I think my father is a narcissist - what now?

janeywoo
Community Member

Hi all,

New member, looking for support or at the very least an outlet where I can speak freely.

Long story short, in the recent weeks I have come to the realisation that my father may have Narcissistic Personal Disorder....I know I should not try to "diagnose" him, but I was reading an article about narcissism recently that someone shared on facebook and I swear it could have been written about him. It would certainly explain A LOT. I'm actually really struggling right now to even verbalise my thoughts and feelings. There is no way he would ever realise or admit it or seek help because in his mind its always everyone else with the problem, never him. I feel so sick and lost and I really think I need some counselling because I have a lot of issues that stem from my childhood and in particular the way he treated me and my mother (extreme emotional abuse). I have also recently discovered some very sickening things about him and the type of person he really is & things he gets up to beneath his facade and I am struggling to deal or even look at him. When he is in a good mood he is tolerable, but when he's not, he is a terrible, cruel person and to make matters worse I work with him in the family business (mainly so I can help protect my mother from his awfulness) so as much as I wish I could just distance myself from him or cut ties altogether it isn't really possible. And because his is so moody and volatile you just never know how he is going to be from one day to the next.

Where is the first place I should turn to for some kind of counselling or guidance - would a referral to a psychologist from my GP be the best starting point? Feeling utterly lost and confused.

3 Replies 3

Lici
Community Member

Hi Janey,

Let me start by saying welcome to the forum! I'm new here as well and it's been a fantastic experience so far!

I personally came to the realisation that my mother displays narcissistic personality traits through an article on facebook as well. It's really hard to have a relationship with someone who is like that! It did give me some validation that everything wasn't my fault and really made so many things in my childhood make sense though.

I personally think that seeing a psychologist would be beneficial especially to deal with the personal ramifications of growing up with a parent like that. Your GP would be a great place to start as they should be able to organise a mental health plan.

The other thing it took me a very long time to realise and deal with is the fact that you'll never be able to change them. Nothing you can do or say will ever change their perception of anything. I find that I can have a somewhat decent relationship with my mum now that I've come to accept that and am aware that I am not to blame for anything she does. Dealing with the mood swings can be hard, but I try to ignore them the best I can and just remind myself that I am not responsible for her actions.

Another thing I've done a few times is say something like "I did not say that, you're putting words into my mouth and perceiving what I say the way you want to" etc. Sometimes this works and she stops, other times it makes her worse and I end up just walking away.

I'm sorry that I can't be of more help. Just know that you're not alone with having a parent like this. Feel free to vent about it, I'll always reply when I can.

Kind thoughts,

Lici

janeywoo
Community Member

Hi Lici,

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply! I really appreciate it. And you've been very helpful! Just knowing that there are others out there with similar relationships to their difficult parents helps me feel less alone and makes me realise there really are people out there who understand. I can't really talk to my husband about it because he is very much against me causing waves with my father (he prefers to keep the peace with everybody).

I'm 38 and for my entire life have always blamed myself for everything that ever goes wrong and indulged in way too much negative self-talk because of my upbringing....but now that I realise its likely he is a narcissist, and that he is the one with the problems, I think I can begin to heal and keep reminding myself that I'm not the big failure I always believed myself to be.

From all my reading and research I've actually already accepted that he will never change his ways - I've even been saying that long before it dawned on me he really might have a personality disorder. We've always just put it down to him being a moody, bad-tempered, stubborn bully. But I am now convinced it goes much deeper than that, and that is in NO WAY my fault. I suspect his own childhood was pretty bad, which doesn't excuse his treatment of others, but does help explain it. I just need to keep reminding myself that because every now and then I do catch myself still making excuses for his bad behaviour. I suspect its going to be a long road which is why I am definitely thinking counselling will help.

Like you, I think I can maintain a reasonable relationship with him but I've certainly learned the hard way over the years that its best for everyone's sake to just agree with him, fly beneath his radar and definitely don't question or contradict him in any way (no matter how much I disagree with him!). I do know its probably best for my mother's sake to try to keep on his good side, because he'd only take more things out on her.

I am feeling a bit better today - yesterday I was at a really low point and just didn't know how much more I could take before I talked to someone about it. Thanks for hearing me out and letting me vent in a safe environment!

All the best to do and your relationship with your mum xo

Lici
Community Member

Hi Janey,

I'm glad you feel better today!

It's funny you say you're 38, I turn 39 in just over a week. And I too literally blamed myself for a lot for a very long time. It's like I felt like a failure because she never loved me or showed love and I carried that around with me in everything I did. The negative self-talk is something I still catch myself doing a lot. It's so ingrained and taught from such a young age that it's really difficult to unlearn. It's not impossible though!

my mum had a terrible childhood as well it was very traumatic and I really do think it helps to realise that they're only doing the best with the tools they were given. It helped me make peace with her and let go of some of the anger that's for sure!

I hear you with the constantly agreeing just to placate them! It's so frustrating sometimes! Especially if you're trying to teach them something with technology that they asked for help with. Then everything you say is wrong and they're right. Makes me want to pull my hair out! One thing that's frustrated me lately is when she asks about my studies (I'm studying psychology). She'll ask me about what I'm learning and when I'll tell her about something I learnt that everyone does that I found interesting, she's always got to be special and not do that thing. It's so hard to not argue the point because I know she's wrong because it's stuff to do with our vision or the laterality of our brains etc.

Feel free to come in and vent anytime you need! It really is great to talk to someone the same age as me who gets what it's like to deal with a parent like that!

Hope you have a good day!

Lici