Narcissist Father and Last Chance to See him
So basically my father and i have a rocky relationship. If he wasnt my father i would have nothing to do with him. He is a typical narcissist and gasslighter. Without fail makes me feel like shit about my self and doubt me and my decisions and bluntly lies and manipulates. Most of my life he has made me feel crap about myself. Ive tried to talk to him but its always my issue and im too sensitive. the last few years i have really really stepped back.
However earlier this year he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He has been devious and lied and with held information and played the 'but im so dumb i just dont understand' card when ever ive been upset that he hasnt given my sister and i information thats accurate and current. He lives in WA 5 hours drive south of perth. i live in NSW 2.5 hours drive north of sydney with 2 kids. im debating about going over to see him for one last visit. i already know the trip is going to leave me destroyed emotionally and ripped apart or in an arguement and im worried my kids will see that. the only reason im thinking about going is for my kids. to see their pop one last time.
my dad thinks cause he is my father he is entitled for me to financially ruin myself if need be to get there to see him. my job is uncertain at present and I dont even know if ill have the money to get there as it is. But we are nearing the point of no return and I am seriously being eaten about this whole situation.
even through this my sister and i have been dealing with comments and remarks that we arent there and my brother is the one looking after him. My brother is the same as him and basically thinks love is doing what ever the other person wants even if it means destroying others or your own life.
In my heart i dont think i want to see him. I have let him make me feel like shit and like im not enough for years and even this is another thing he uses to make everyone feel bad for him and again we arent enough as we arent there. I just dont know if its something i will regret. or will my kids hate me for not taking them.
This whole things is eating my day and night. Because of my work situation i cant afford to talk to my counsellor. I just dont want to be a grown up and have to make this choice. how do i do it?!
Firstly, I’m so sorry you have to go through this - after everything you have had to endure with your father.
It sounds like you have been able to recognise boundaries for yourself over the years after much pain and you understand that contact with him will most likely bring everything to the surface. It takes all the strength in the world to step away from a loved one, especially a parent who is supposed to be there to support you and vice verse. It is not a persons ‘right’ but a privelege to bring children into the word and care for them. no person is entitled to a child’s love or support - it needs to be nurtured and reciprocated with respect and care. It sounds like he is incapable of taking the steps to make amends and be accountable for his actions.
I myself come from a family of four kids. My dad is very much the same and we dangle between having no contact for months on end to allowing some contact. He will never change and will remain narcissistic and mentally unwell until the day he passes. My siblings have children (my gorgeous nephews and nieces) and they have made the decision not to have contact. Because we all endured so much abuse because of him - and continue to do so - our dad has forgone this privilege of having contact with his grandchildren. He chose this path by choosing not to engage with appropriate help and choosing not to look himself in the mirror.
As for your brother, it sounds to me that he has unfortunately learned these behaviours from your father. It sounds like your brother is carrying on the cycle of family violence by focusing the blame on you and your sister - rather than shining the light on your father and calling out his shitty behaviour. If this decision is more about what your children will think one day - I would say to you that your children will be thankful to have parents who love them and protect them from people like your father. If this decision is about your feelings of not saying goodbye before he passes, then that’s something only you can answer. i will say to you that none of this is your fault. You have the right to decide whatever it is that feels right in your heart. Don’t compromise your mental health and your safety because of an expectation that others place on you. If you decide not to say goodbye in person, that doesn’t make you a bad person and it doesn’t mean that somewhere in your heart you don’t love your father - it just means it’s not worth subjugating yourself for.
sending love your way
What a terrible thing, to be experiencing such anguish, especially when people have been and still are treating you so poorly.
If you were to give of yourself to others, what would they be willing to share with you?
- 'Are you prepared to give me the money for us to come? I do not have the money and I may soon not have a job. This is your opportunity to give/share thoughtfulness and generosity'
- 'Are you prepared to resolve great pain related to abusive hurtful behaviour in the past?' This is your opportunity to give/share thoughtfulness, kindness and perhaps healing'
- 'What are you prepared to give (in the way of words) to my children if we come?' This is your opportunity to give/share thoughtfulness and wisdom'
If the answers were to sound a little like 'Don't ask me to find the money, that's your responsibility! Why do you have to make this about you?! What have your kids got to do with it?' then I suggest you allow these words to release you from going.
If you were to imagine yourself in a situation where you had a chance to bring someone closer to you, before you passed, your responses to this person may perhaps sound more like this: 'Don't worry, I'll do everything I possibly can to find the money. I want you by my side so I can share with you how much I truly love you. I want you to bring your children so I can share with them how much I love you'. Whilst we may give to others, sometimes just through the act of showing up, others have the opportunity to give as well. I believe, during significant moments in life, it is about what can be shared.
Perhaps, if I found myself in such a situation I may say to my father, my brother and whoever else, 'If you are looking to gain and not give then what is there to share at this time?'
Saying to yourself 'I will move forward and give myself release, from a time where others are not willing to share' is simply another way of saying 'I will forgive myself for not showing up during a time of selfishness'.
Take care of yourself Unicorns&Rainbows. There is magic, colour and beauty in not just your name..these things are within you
Your guilt level is off the scale, but this is common with being on the tail end of gaslighting.
This "visiting him for the last time" thoughts is the result of this. Why cant the last time, be the last time?
There comes a time when obligations are to your own emotional and financial benefit. Your brother is entitled to make his own decisions, you are not him and such expectations keep you on edge and cause you worry and guilt.
If anything I would not be including your children on the trip. I would also do a fast flying trip so you can avoid a long emotional drive there and back.
But the core of the issue here is your circumstances and that is not for anyone else to judge....including siblings.
I hope you are ok
Beyondblue Topic guilt the tormentor
Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply. These messages have left me in tears.
Your words ring through to my heart. I know all of this but my guilt is eating up the sensible rational side of my decisions. I have always tried to fight to be a good child and earn his love and its never been enough and I know in my heart that its not on me its on him.
Those questions asked 'therising' i already know his answer to all of those and they are basically what you wrote or 'well i dont have any money and you both work and are far better off than i'. He missed my daughters birthday again recently and when it was brought up went straight into 'im so stupid, its all stupid pop, pop forgets again, now im the asshole that forgot'. this is the general way we roll. I had been able to put some emotional distance between us over the last few years but this has really just made me feel like im being bad and horrible and heartless not wanting to go.
My mum supports me as she experiences this all first hand. My sister was a baby when my parents separated and has asked me before about why its so bad and she tries to understand but doesnt see it the way i do. which is fine but when i see hurt in her eyes I then feel that doubt about what im saying and doing. I get that lovely little voice telling me im just being dramatic and over reacting or reading into things (all things my dad has continuously said over the years to pull me down).
This situation is really eating at me. I havent been able to afford to see my counsellor due to job uncertainty so I have had a lot of really dark moments and a few anxiety attacks. I just want to be better and stronger. I want to feel confidence in my decisions. I know what I should do for myself. I think im too gutless to deal with him if i do it.
I really appreciate all the words you have written and they really really do help and ring true for me.