Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?

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JustKathy

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Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« on: March 04, 2019, 04:16:43 PM »
I may never know the answer to this one, but it still keeps me up at night 40 years later.

When I was in high school and started to defy my NPDmother, she tried to blame my teenage resistance on substance abuse even though I was a total goody-two-shoes. My father always stood by her, refusing to believe me. One day Nmother went out for the afternoon and conveniently took my sibs with her. I was alone in my room doing homework when my father stormed in, said he knew I was smoking pot and that he could smell it "all over the house." There was no pot and there was no smell of any kind. I told him he could search my room but he declined. I was punished anyway, with no pot, no smell, no nothing.

To this day I wonder if he really believed her lies and managed to convince himself he was smelling something, or if he didnít smell a darned thing and was simply acting on orders. Iím now NC with him, but even if I had the chance to ask him I doubt he remembers that day. This stuff went on weekly (if not daily) until I finally ran away. I'll probably never know the answer, but it haunts me.

Is it really possible to convince yourself that you saw or smelled something that was NOT there, or will enablers just say and do anything to comply with their master? Or both?

Anyone else experience this?



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11JB68

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2019, 04:27:31 PM »
Sorry - I consider myself a bit of a codependent/enabler with my updh, but this sounds bizarre/delusional on f's part.
I will, in an effort at self-preservation (and at preservation of my DS as well) sometimes not stand up to updh. But to outright participate in a delusional think like that - no. As soon as I started to come ootf and as soon as DS was 'old enough' (20?) I sat down with DS and explained to him what I feel is 'up' with his dad, and my feelings/approaches to dealing with it.
That being said, there were unfortunately times when I 'stood by' and did not stand up to updh out of fear when I felt he was being too hard on our DS. :( For that I feel very badly/guilty. But I have NEVER 'believed' his delusions!

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JustKathy

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2019, 05:04:42 PM »
Quote
I will, in an effort at self-preservation (and at preservation of my DS as well) sometimes not stand up to updh. But to outright participate in a delusional think like that - no.

Thank so much. That helps a lot.

My enfather usually stood there quietly while my mother attacked me and said nothing, so I always thought he was caught in the middle or just doing the self-preservation thing, but smelling something that wasn't there is just plain nuts. It might be something I need to talk to a psychiatrist about. He did do some pretty extreme things throughout his life in the interest of protecting/serving her, so he may have been faking it. Maybe it's a study in how far an enabler will really go. I just don't know.
Crazy.  :stars:

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11JB68

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2019, 05:15:53 PM »
My own enF, when I had my 'final blowout' with my uPDm, stood there in front of me and said to her 'you've done nothing wrong'. I knew then that I was done...with both of them.
Then flying monkey aunt called me asking me 'why are YOU doing this to US'?....
Wow.
I'm not saying this is right, or whatever, and I guess it depends on the kid and their maturity etc...I'm not trying to alienate DS from his F, but when I had the 'big talk' with him last summer I flat out told him that if it ever came to a choice between him and his F I would choose DS. That the only reason I placate/stay/etc is if I feel it is in ALL of our best interests.
That being said, I do know that my relationship with DS has suffered due to uPDh's maneuvers. uPDh becomes very jealous of any time I spend with DS, private conversations etc... It's very sad for me.

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Starboard Song

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2019, 05:45:46 PM »
In my last conversation with my superstar-enabler of a FIL, it became clear that there is a spooky deep level of double think going on.

He understands his wife is, uh, special. But he also truly believes everyone should accomodate her, and that her emotions justify her beliefs. He signed onto her program long ago in an act of self-preservation, and became her mechanic. It is his job to get all the appliances in her life -- you know, her daughter, mother, sisters -- to work properly when they act up.

During our last meeting, he would list a few mean things we supposedly did. Four I would demonstrate to be flatly not true, with written evidence. Two others I'd provide exculpatory context for. When I then pointed out that his wife had actually done worse things, he'd just stare a moment, and then ask me again to please send her an apology.

He'd make up false quotes consistent with her beliefs of our guilt. When I'd demonstrate with actual emails that the words he was quoting were not correct, he'd call reality "silly" and deny that he was mistaken. But he'd then stare at me.

I suggested he and she needed to do some hard work with a counselor to get back to step 8, where you acknowledge you have a problem and apologize to the people you've hurt. He just stared at me in shocked silence. It was then that he -- for the first time in two years of crisis -- admitted I had been right all along. He knew she had emotional control issues. He knew they were chronic and poorly medicated. He knew he had adopted tactics to defuse her rage and to stay married to her in spite of it.

And then he blithely repeated the entreaty for me to issue a fresh apology and he has never communicated with me since.

I think they know what they are doing. I think they believe it is right. Like a cat in its box, I think they cover up their smelly deeds, even from themselves. I have deep pity for them. They are suffering in their role, even as they do so much harm.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2019, 06:52:00 PM by Starboard Song »
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Andeza

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2019, 08:01:17 PM »
I used to think he did, but after the divorce he broke Out of the FOG for the most part and has since apologized for never standing up to her. We have a decent relationship now. So I would say it depends on the enF. Mine just didn't want to be targeted by her and the revolving crazy that was me being GC when he was away, and then scapegoat any time he was at home, so he kept his mouth shut and never countered anything my M said.
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all4peace

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2019, 09:30:00 PM »
As 3 out of 4 of me and my sibs have directly confronted our uNBPDm about her pathological lying (not what we say to her face), enF has sat there without a word. It's unfathomable to me what he may be thinking or how he processes it, but the only thing he has ever said in regards to her behavior is "We need to be more tolerant." Despite repeated escalating confrontations (escalating, as in with my therapist, with multiple siblings and their spouses) enF remains totally clueless about how our adult relationships are at this point of disintegration.

I told T, who facilitated the meeting with my parents, that my take on it was that enF was highly motivated to "not see." T agreed. There's a very high price and vital choices to be made when "seeing."

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Bloomie

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2019, 12:26:57 PM »
JustKathy - I too experienced false accusations that were completely unfounded and out of character and outright ridiculous throughout my life into adulthood that were taken as truth and acted upon by my father - the only evidence of my misdeeds being my mentally unstable, historically unreliable uBPD mother.  :blink:

For me, there is a difference between someone who is codependent and enabling and a narcissistic family system. In my own case, my family system was narcissistic and by definition from The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and Robert M Pressman:

Quote
In the narcissistic family, the needs of the  parent system are paramount... the parent system's ability or, more accurately, the inability to focus on the needs of the children is the determining factor in defining a narcissistic family.

They go on to describe a narcissistic family system as one in which the parent system is overwhelmingly self involved and can mirror only itself and its own needs. As children, we exist only for the parent to the extent that we meet or refuse to meet the needs of the parent system. Period.

For me to understand my father's aligning himself and becoming the dominating and at times violent enforcer of my mother's clear chaos and willing participant of which he also was a target, I had to understand that all that truly mattered in their world was each other to a pathological degree that defied any reality but their own. Mirroring and echoing. Their survival. Their identity was one. Their debilitating shared narcissism. They were all that truly existed for each other until the day they died.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 12:29:42 PM by Bloomie »

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blacksheep7

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2019, 12:52:04 PM »
That is when there are other problems in the FOO and they need a scapegoat to put the blame on someone in order to avoid all the restÖ.the chosen one.  :(

I may be the black sheep of the family, but some of the white sheep are not as white as they try to appear.

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all4peace

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2019, 01:40:24 PM »
Bloomie reminds me of a phrase we hear in politics--echo chamber. In both our unhealthy family systems, that's the dynamic I see at work. If you only get your information from other unhealthy unreliable sources, then your conclusions will be consistently erroneous.

In Dh's family, the entire family system revolves around the dysfunction of the parents.
In my family system, it worked that way until recently, when all of us at different times and at different paces began coming OOTF. I see my parents now having a very tight and closed information loop with each other that allows them to completely ignore what their children are calmly and clearly telling them, and instead cling to their own distorted beliefs. (ie: in their world, it's not that they've been abusive, neglectful and NM a pathological liar....it's that our generation has a problem with estrangement and that's why our relationships have crumbled).

If any person refuses to accept information that doesn't fit their existing view, their view isn't going to change. It's costly and takes courage to face what we don't want to face, and unfortunately it appears that many of our parents with PD characteristics never actually face their shadow sides.

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HeadAboveWater

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2019, 02:50:20 PM »
In my last conversation with my superstar-enabler of a FIL, it became clear that there is a spooky deep level of double think going on.

He understands his wife is, uh, special. But he also truly believes everyone should accomodate her, and that her emotions justify her beliefs. He signed onto her program long ago in an act of self-preservation, and became her mechanic. It is his job to get all the appliances in her life -- you know, her daughter, mother, sisters -- to work properly when they act up.

This is so well put. I have experienced the same phenomenon with my in-laws. I'm not expert enough to know that it is universal, but I can confirm that more than one family has had this experience.

My FiL has deeply held ethical beliefs that govern his personal, political, religious, and professional realms. He might give a monologue on one of these ethical beliefs over dinner.  However, my MiL will sometimes say something that runs right over those beliefs. When the rest of the family points out that something she has said is abhorrent, she is let off the hook by enFiL. He tells us that we misunderstood her or are over-reacting. If what MiL says is tactless enough to cause hurt, she will never offer apology. It is those of us who are hurt who must apologize if there is family conflict.   

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JustKathy

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2019, 02:51:54 PM »
Wow, thank you all for your insight. These comments have been so validating.

Several years back I had a therapist who was quite knowledgable on the subject of NPD. When I told her about the things my father had done to hurt me she told me "he did the best he could under the circumstances." There were times when he could be a great dad and would take me to concerts and things that she didn't want to do with him, but when it came down to defending her lies, he was always on her side. That only added to my confusion, one minute being "Daddy's girl" and the next minute being falsely accused of something.

The only time I ever called him out on something he replied with, "Well, you know how your mother is." As Starboard Song said, he knew she was "special," but also bent over backward to accommodate her disorder. As a result, I have more anger toward him than I ever did toward her. She was, yes ... "special." What was his excuse?

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Cecilia13

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2019, 04:35:34 PM »
I have come to believe that my enfather is too afraid to experience my mother's rage to ever rock the boat by standing up for the truth and defending me. 

I was a dutiful daughter on steroids until my early 40's, when I started to develop a backbone.  I set some long overdue boundaries which resulted in me being called selfish and controlling, which hurt me a lot at the time. 

When I called my mother out on some of the major hurtful lies she had told about me, she denied she ever said anything. When my mother realized that her usual tactic of deny and deflect was not going to work this time, she started crying hysterically. My enfather immediately reprimanded me for upsetting my mother and making her cry.  He then went on to say that I owed her an apology.  When I told him that I had done nothing to apologize for, he told me that I needed to be "the bigger person" and  asked "what difference does the truth make?"  He then went on to tell me that the secret to getting along with my mother was never disagreeing with her.  He told me that if she says it is pouring outside and I look out the window and see nothing but sun and blue skies, I am not to contradict her.  That was a turning point for me.

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SunnyMeadow

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2019, 12:53:46 PM »
I have come to believe that my enfather is too afraid to experience my mother's rage to ever rock the boat by standing up for the truth and defending me. 
He then went on to tell me that the secret to getting along with my mother was never disagreeing with her.  He told me that if she says it is pouring outside and I look out the window and see nothing but sun and blue skies, I am not to contradict her.  That was a turning point for me.

My dad does this too. He's so beaten down by my uPDm that it's just easier to agree so he can get through the crisis. I was doing the same thing because anytime I didn't agree 100% with my mom, she'd blow her top. I understand my dad's tactics to get through life but I sure wish he'd find his backbone. Sadly, she crushed it  :-\



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Starboard Song

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2019, 02:14:58 PM »
I have come to believe that my enfather is too afraid to experience my mother's rage to ever rock the boat by standing up for the truth and defending me. 
He then went on to tell me that the secret to getting along with my mother was never disagreeing with her.  He told me that if she says it is pouring outside and I look out the window and see nothing but sun and blue skies, I am not to contradict her.  That was a turning point for me.

My dad does this too. He's so beaten down by my uPDm that it's just easier to agree so he can get through the crisis. I was doing the same thing because anytime I didn't agree 100% with my mom, she'd blow her top. I understand my dad's tactics to get through life but I sure wish he'd find his backbone. Sadly, she crushed it  :-\

That's a lot of us, then. We each have had the enabler directly acknowledge their tactics and motivation, and implore us to join them in self-abasement.
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Starboard Song

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2019, 02:35:56 PM »
Sorry - I consider myself a bit of a codependent/enabler with my updh, but this sounds bizarre/delusional on f's part.
I will, in an effort at self-preservation (and at preservation of my DS as well) sometimes not stand up to updh. But to outright participate in a delusional think like that - no. As soon as I started to come ootf and as soon as DS was 'old enough' (20?) I sat down with DS and explained to him what I feel is 'up' with his dad, and my feelings/approaches to dealing with it.
That being said, there were unfortunately times when I 'stood by' and did not stand up to updh out of fear when I felt he was being too hard on our DS. :( For that I feel very badly/guilty. But I have NEVER 'believed' his delusions!

I want to say thank you for having the courage to share your experience, and the strength to maintain your humanity through such adversity.

I'm glad you are able to share your voice with us.
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Starboard Song

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2019, 02:43:12 PM »
Is it really possible to convince yourself that you saw or smelled something that was NOT there, or will enablers just say and do anything to comply with their master? Or both?

In the last 48 hours I am getting a lesson in how bizarre an enabler can get. I can't share details, but my enabling FIL is deeply out of touch with the human world. There are basic things people do to show they care, or don't do, because they respect others. And there is a minimum capacity to process and understand others we all just assume: if you are smiling you are likely to be happy, for instance; if you are frowning, that suggests displeasure.

I am learning indirectly that he gets it all backwards: doing the don'ts and not doing the do's.  And he truly has no comprehension of basic emotions. I went to bed stunned last night, unable to believe what I was hearing through a trusted family friend who had observed him.

I never had a chance with my FIL. Through years of debasement and increasing isolation he has become a shadow. I feel great pity for him, but no longer believe he is capable of plain dealing in complex emotional matters.

I never had a chance.
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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2019, 06:44:55 PM »

Quote
In the narcissistic family, the needs of the  parent system are paramount... the parent system's ability or, more accurately, the inability to focus on the needs of the children is the determining factor in defining a narcissistic family.

They go on to describe a narcissistic family system as one in which the parent system is overwhelmingly self involved and can mirror only itself and its own needs. As children, we exist only for the parent to the extent that we meet or refuse to meet the needs of the parent system. Period.

For me to understand my father's aligning himself and becoming the dominating and at times violent enforcer of my mother's clear chaos and willing participant of which he also was a target, I had to understand that all that truly mattered in their world was each other to a pathological degree that defied any reality but their own. Mirroring and echoing. Their survival. Their identity was one. Their debilitating shared narcissism. They were all that truly existed for each other until the day they died.

THIS IS SO TRUE!!! I remember having an argument with my mother at the time of my engagement about family hierarchy. She was pontificating absolutely, the needs of one's spouse are greater than the needs of the children. One hundred percent. The needs of the children come not even close to the spouses. Period exclamation point. My dad was nodding in angry agreement. That is definitely the value they lived in their marriage. I said that was not how we planned to order our family. Well then I'm going against the church.  :sadno:

My father the classic narc, my mother the inverted narc who can't feel whole unless she is serving a narc. Yup. We daughters didn't exist for them either.

On the original question, I do believe my mother believed my father implicitly. Her personality was one that never questioned authority. And my father was the ultimate authority on everything in her life. No matter how off the wall it was. She completely bought into the absurdity that all of my father's problems were other people's fault, his "discipline" was deserved, she had to work three jobs and still there wasn't enough money for their basic bills. Like the others have said, somehow taking the abuse was less painful than reality.

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11JB68

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2019, 01:02:49 AM »
Thanks starboard :)

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GentleSoul

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2019, 04:18:32 PM »
Fantastic shares in here, thanks everyone.  So many triggers. Pain coming up and out of me.  Thanks.

False accusations were common in my "family" resulting in extreme violence by my "mother".  In reality it was excuses for her to unleash her inner rage and take it out on us kids.