I need some advice

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Family Scapegoat

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I need some advice
« on: March 26, 2016, 11:32:18 PM »
I am relatively new to this site.  I have found reading everyone's posts to be immensely helpful and validating. 

Like most of you, I have been grappling with a PD family for all of my life.  Father and older sister (golden child) are full on narcissists.  Mom was depressed with Narcissistic traits.  Dad meets all of the obvious criteria for NPD - including bullying and inability to take ownership of his hurtful behavior.  He is wealthy and has hung the money carrot over my head since I can remember.  Let me control you and you get an inherittence, don't.... and you take the risk of getting zip. 

 He is now 83 and more emotionally abusive than ever.  He is incapable of empathy and angry as all get out.   In a moment of emotional weakness I stupidly reached out to him for support.  As per usual he became enraged at my being emotional (crying) and let loose on one of his tyrades - "why the fuck are you calling me?!  If you called because you wanted a shoulder to cry on you shouldn't have called me," blah blah blah, at which point I froze and hit the "end call" button on my phone.   I later sent him an email letting him know how hurt and abused I felt and that I preferred he didn't come visit the beginning of May.  He sent an email which illustrates his total inability to take ownership of what he said and did. 

His last sentence, "If you now say, "do not bother coming" I will not come and that will be the end of it."  I'm pretty sure I can read between the lines.  If I don't invite him to my home he will not have anything to do with me.   I know I need to have NC with this man, but I feel like I should be able to tolerate his abuse better.  Why can't I just let it roll off?  Why can't I detach from his hatred and not personalize it?  I hate that he gets to me every time. 

I know if he comes to visit he will inevitably chew me up and spit me out.  But I'm so scared to set the boundaries and go NC.  But I also know the devastation his words have and will cause.

Ugh!!


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biggerfish

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Re: I need some advice
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2016, 12:51:11 PM »
Dear Family Scapegoat,

I'm so sorry about how you've been treated. You deserve better! You're in good company here. We are all on the journey to greater freedom and happiness. It sounds like you have some decisions to make.

Can you tell me how important the inheritance is to you? Don't worry...nobody here will judge you regardless of your answer. If you wanted the inheritance, you would certainly be more than deserving of it! But how important it is or not important it is does factor into how to deal with your toxic dad. There's no one wrong or right way to deal with the situation you're in. It's all good. This is really about looking inside yourself and figuring out what's important to you. Then you'll see that you have choices. That's as good as it gets -- realizing at any given moment what our choices are.

Also, I was wondering, if you were to give yourself advice, what would it be? You probably have the answers inside you.  Share it with us!

 :bighug:

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argh

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Re: I need some advice
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2016, 01:59:17 PM »
Dear Family Scapegoat,

I'm so sorry about how you've been treated. You deserve better! You're in good company here. We are all on the journey to greater freedom and happiness. It sounds like you have some decisions to make.

Can you tell me how important the inheritance is to you? Don't worry...nobody here will judge you regardless of your answer. If you wanted the inheritance, you would certainly be more than deserving of it! But how important it is or not important it is does factor into how to deal with your toxic dad. There's no one wrong or right way to deal with the situation you're in. It's all good. This is really about looking inside yourself and figuring out what's important to you. Then you'll see that you have choices. That's as good as it gets -- realizing at any given moment what our choices are.

Also, I was wondering, if you were to give yourself advice, what would it be? You probably have the answers inside you.  Share it with us!

 :bighug:

This is REALLY good advice.

I agree totally on the inheritance front - if it could make a big difference to your life - and you've put up with so much crap until he's 83 - if you can suck it up a bit longer would it in the end make your life easier? Or maybe it's just not worth it?

I think the key thing to realise - which has been EARTH SHATTERING for me - is that actually he has no power over what you feel whatsoever. He really doesn't. You have total and utter control about how you feel - regardless of what he does. Intellectually I have understood this - but recently I have started to properly understand this emotionally. I said to my therapist the other day that it is a REVALATION to me that I get to decide who I want to be.

The reason why he gets to you everytime because you are still responding to him according to the well established patterns that he set up when you were a child - when you had no choice but to behave that way to survive. The challenge is that these patterns become established in your brains and your body's automatic reactions. Changing this is incredibly hard. But you can do it.

So decide how important the money is - and if it is important - then think about some strategies for managing your emotions when you talk to him. Do you have a good therapist? Have you read books on narcissists? Mindfulness is helpful. And if the money doesn't matter then maybe try cutting him loose - but I suspect you will find that to a certain degree the money is a red herring and there are lots of other emotional reasons why that would be hard.

My sister is a horrible narcissist and I used to feel sick the entire time I visited her - and sometimes would just snap and yell back at her because I couldn't deal with it anymore (she yells at her kids) - last time I visited her I just breathed a lot and managed my emotions and even managed to have a calm talk with her. Of course it did nothing, she still yelled at the kids and it was horrible - but I found that I managed my emotions better. And in the long run this will be better for the kids - hopefully they can see a calm way to react to her.

Good luck. He sounds foul.

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footprint

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Re: I need some advice
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2016, 02:28:51 PM »
Hi Family Scapegoat,

I'm so sorry you've had to endure this treatment for so many years.  You've come to a very good place and the people here will support you.

Inheritances are sometimes big issues for adult children of PD parents.  If we've endured such horrible treatment for so long, maybe it makes sense to stick it out, as unemotionally invested as possible, so that we can get our share.  However, I want to throw a word of caution into this thinking, which is that many PD parents cut their children out of the will, regardless of how "good" the child is (or was). I think that Karyl McBride talks about this in her book "Will I Ever Be Good Enough", which is about parents with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).  She says that many NPD parents will lead the adult child into thinking that he/she will get something but then cuts the child out.  I do believe that my paternal grandmother was NPD, and she ended up giving very little (of a large inheritance from her father-in-law, left to her after my grandfather's death) to all of her 11 children, leaving it instead to a Catholic organization (this is a very NPD thing to do, because it makes her look like a saint). Many of those 11 children had been "good" right up to her death, and many of them could have used the money. 

Regarding how to try and not let the NPD parent affect us emotionally, it's very hard.  After our births, we bonded with these people even though they were probably monsters to us during our infancy and toddler years.  And so we still have this strong emotional connection and are affected by what they say and do.  In my case, I've found that I have to separate myself from them because, as much as I understand the psychology of why they are cruel, I am still deeply affected by it every time it happens. 

I think that you deserve love and respect, something that you'll probably find from other good people in this world.

footprint

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Family Scapegoat

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Re: I need some advice
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2016, 12:29:02 AM »
First let me say that I am literally in tears with gratitude  at the support and kindness I have read in all of your replies.  Footprint your words made me feel gotten in a way I have never experienced before.   The inheritance is definitely a big issue for me.  I hold a lot of shame around it, because I fear sounding like a money grubbing daughter.  The money has been promised, dangled, and used as a control device for as long as I can remember.  My sister has been given money to start businesses and lord knows what else.   It would be a huge dagger to my soul for a plethora of reasons if he disinherited me.  However, as Footprint points out there is nothing I can do to control my father's decision making.   But I am fearful that if I don't play this card his way that it will have negative repercussions.   And as I write that last sentence it sounds ridiculously familiar.

I feel so validated that you (footprint) still get triggered by your family and are accepting of that.  I have this ruthless bitch who lives in my head (my inner critic) who seizes opportunities like the current one and says things like, "if you weren't such a weak person you could handle this better, If you were stronger you wouldn't let him effect you, you are just too sensitive!"  and on and on until I am dizzy with panic.  That's truthfully the worst part about seeing him, I get so badly triggered I go into an emotional death spiral.  I have tried EMDR, mindfulness, hypnosis, regularly therapy, nonduality work and I still can't seem to channel my inner Claire Underwood around my father.  I was damn close to succeeding at being neutral around him over Christmas.  When he realized his antagonistic tactics weren't working (I wasn't giving him the reaction he wanted) he started verbally attacking my husband which is when I lost it - and burst into tears.  He's ruthless.  I guess that's what it takes to be a successful Wall Street heavy hitter, I sure missed out on that gene.

I came up with a solution I think could work.  My cousin who knows the dynamics has agreed to come stay at our house the weekend my father  is planning to visit.  She is centered, easy going and hard to ruffle.  I don't think that my father will say/do anything too egregious with her around - he is very concerned about his image (until he gets drunk, than all bets are off).  I'm so hoping I can handle it with a buffer around. 

Biggerfish, In some ways I feel like I would be cutting off my nose to spite my face if I went NC, but on the other hand the degree to which he is capable of hurting me (and I know that only I can allow someone to hurt me) is not something I am able to "master yet," which bums me out.  Every time I see him feel like a war veteran who is knowingly entering the same battlefield where he/she has been slayed on countless occasions.    My advice to someone in my predicament would be - if holding out for the money is going to destroy you in the process than it is not worth it.  Whats the point if you are not going to be around to enjoy the money.  The problem is I have a habit of pushing myself waaaay beyond my pain threshold which results in physical manifestations - seizures . 

Just getting your replies has made a world of difference.  It's so validating. 

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footprint

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Re: I need some advice
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2016, 01:55:43 AM »
  I have this ruthless bitch who lives in my head (my inner critic) who seizes opportunities like the current one and says things like, "if you weren't such a weak person you could handle this better, If you were stronger you wouldn't let him effect you, you are just too sensitive!"  and on and on until I am dizzy with panic.  That's truthfully the worst part about seeing him, I get so badly triggered I go into an emotional death spiral.

The inner critic is our worst enemy of all. NPD parents do their jobs embedding these critics in us, then they waltz off while we are left to damage ourself with this inner voice.  This is the main thing I'm working on now.  I too have done EMDR, mindfulness, and regular therapy to overcome the voice, and it's slowly working but it's a long process.  I also sometimes regress and things get worse for a while.  For me, this is the root of my problems now, granted the this root is intimately related to everything NPD parents have done and how they engineered me since I was a child.  One thing that has helped when the inner critic comes is for me to visualize my parents inside of me saying those things.  I would not say those things to anyone, but they would, and did, my whole life long.  So even though it's "my" inner critic, it's not really me inside of me, if that makes sense.  It's them, and I need to get them out.

I came up with a solution I think could work.  My cousin who knows the dynamics has agreed to come stay at our house the weekend my father  is planning to visit.  She is centered, easy going and hard to ruffle.  I don't think that my father will say/do anything too egregious with her around - he is very concerned about his image (until he gets drunk, than all bets are off).  I'm so hoping I can handle it with a buffer around.
 

This could be a solution for you, Family Scapegoat, at least for this situation.  NPD parents are always concerned about their image.  Mine always said and did the cruelest of things when nobody else could see them, then they would say triggering things to me in front of others---things that they knew would affect me but that I would not be able to explain to others. Your cousin could help if he cares enough and doesn't show his true colors, and he's otherwise manageable.

Just getting your replies has made a world of difference.  It's so validating.

You've been through a lot, Family Scapegoat, and you deserve a lot of validation.

footprint

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movingforward2

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Re: I need some advice
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2016, 11:33:07 AM »
I'm so very sorry.

I have a unpd/ubpd MIL.  She has disinherited my H, but she is in her early 60's and we've had issues with her for the past 13 years, going NC with her a little over 4 years ago.  For us, we didn't see the emotional harm she was doing to our family worth a dime of her inheritance and my H stood to inherit a decent amount...enough to allow us to live comfortably in our retirement and to provide small things for our kids and future grandkids (like a down payment on a home, family vacations to Disney, etc.)  Without the inheritance our family will struggle, but we are only in our 30's, so if we make good decisions now, I think we'll be okay.  We  are pretty frugal.

However, if we had put up with NMIL until she was 83, I am not sure that we'd feel the same way.  That is a long time to put up with the abuse. In my opinion, the money should be yours anyhow because that is just how most things work...kids inherit what their parents have left.  What burns me up most about our situation with NMIL is that she didn't earn a dime of her money...she inherited it all and actually at one point, made my H sell an apartment that his grandmother gave him as a gift (he was only 18 and couldn't support himself, so he had to do what she said).  So...essentially NMIL stole about $80K from my H and he's now written out of her will  because he won't play nice.  If H had to put up with his until she was 83, you better believe he'd do everything he could to make sure she didn't take him out of that will. 

The idea of having your cousin over is great.  Sounds like a good buffer for you.  Sorry you are going through this.  Dealing with people with personality disorders is very stressful, but I've found a great deal of healing on these boards. 


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biggerfish

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Re: I need some advice
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2016, 01:18:37 PM »

I came up with a solution I think could work.  My cousin who knows the dynamics has agreed to come stay at our house the weekend my father  is planning to visit.  She is centered, easy going and hard to ruffle.  I don't think that my father will say/do anything too egregious with her around - he is very concerned about his image (until he gets drunk, than all bets are off).  I'm so hoping I can handle it with a buffer around. 

 

I love this creative solution. Sometimes the solution has to be for just now. We don't always have to come up with the grand "S"olution with a capital S.

I knew you had good advice for yourself!

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Jade63

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Re: I need some advice
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2016, 05:30:42 PM »
Just adding my 2 cents...
I have been NC with my 76 year old NM for 16 months. I am an only child. I, too, struggled with the inheritance issue. Then I finally came to a few realizations:

She could live another 15 years.
Even if I toe-the-line for the next 15 years, she could still leave it all to the Home for Wayward Cats in the end just for spite over some perceived insult.
I consider that sacrificing my inheritance by going NC is simply payment for my freedom and peace.
Besides, if she ends up needing nursing care, there may be nothing left anyway.
And lastly, I do not want to obligate myself in any way as a caregiver.

~Jade

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Serendipity12

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Re: I need some advice
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2016, 10:08:35 AM »
I'm with Jade on this one. What finally did it for me was the realisation that 1) my personality disordered mother had already re-written her will at least 8 times and was probably going to continue
2) that I would spend the rest of her days treading on eggshells around her and probably see the lot left to the donkey home any ways and 3) she had begun to complain about my children, now that they are past the cute toddler stage and won't always agree with everything she says/hang in her every word. As it was they never had unsupervised contact.
What price mental health? My sisters and I have all had cancer at one time or another and the stress the pdm causes surely doesn't help.