Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?

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JustKathy

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2019, 04:57:31 PM »
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And he truly has no comprehension of basic emotions.

Yes, this! My enFather also seemed unable to comprehend basic human emotions.

When he disinherited me on NPDmother's orders, I cried hysterically. My father asked me why I was so upset because he didn't really have any money anyway. I told him I didn't want his money, I wanted his LOVE. He was genuinely confused about how to react to that statement. A normal parent would have said something to affirm that they loved their child, but mine just went into his Forrest Gump mumble mode and blabbered, "Oh well, whatever, um, you know how things are." The normal reaction of, "Oh no, I love you very much" was not something he understood or knew how to process. It was like a computer malfunction. I swear there was smoke coming out of his ears because he couldn't process that his own daughter wanted to be loved, or felt unloved by what he had done.

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sandpiper

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2019, 09:03:43 PM »
In my early days at these boards there was a fascinating discussion about how our PD relatives would 'test' new people in their lives to see if they'd set boundaries for bad behaviour (which led to them being booted out the nearest garbage chute) or if they'd tolerate, enable or fuel the PD's bad behaviour - in which case they'd be moved to the inner circle & rewarded accordingly.
The mental health worker who explained my sister's PD to me asked me if she had a large group of friends & a partner who lovingly accepted all her bad behaviour. when I said yes, he nodded & said that they choose people who will reinforce their behaviour and they'll push away anyone who will demand or expect healthy behaviour from them.
I have spent the last decade since then, casually observing the partners of narcissists - and this is just consistent across the board for age, culture & gender.
Added to this, when the opportunity arises I try to study the parents of the enabler.
I think quite often that an enabler quite often grows up in an unbalanced system within their own family which is why, when they meet the PD, they find them attractive, and they don't run screaming into the night determined to be far more cautious next time round.
Dysfunctional behaviour gets 'normalised' within family systems.
I have a cousin who had a really vile emotionally abusive mother. He married a narcissist, and so the cycle continues.
A lot of the behaviour is often very covert and a lot of PDs can be quite high-functioning. They don't tend to age well as it becomes obvious over time that they've missed major developmental mile-stones when it comes to maturing.
I think some partners just get trapped and sadly sometimes they stick their heads in the sand. They've fallen for a facade and they protect themselves emotionally by clinging to the idea of what they thought they had found.
If you read about abusive personalities you'll see that they 'test' potential partners and once the partner is trapped and it is difficult to leave - kids, mortgage, heavy investment of time/love/experience - that's when the abuser will show their true colours.
That understanding helped me to make it feel a whole lot less personal, once I saw us all as part of a dysfunctional system.
It is staggering to watch the power that a narcissist has over their partner & how they won't stand up to them.
I think you have to bear in mind that while some people will tolerate & enable this, there have probably been plenty of people who have quietly walked away, having taken the narcissist's measure and been quietly horrified by what they've seen.

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AnneH

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2019, 08:33:17 PM »
Did he believe her lies? That's the No. 1 question I have always had about en F. Being part of my FOO was like being in a cult (in my case it was centered around uNM). Once you have managed to extricate yourself, you can't believe the ridiculous and empirically untrue things you and the members you have left behind were led to believe. I was also a "goody two shoes" but I'm sure that, had my mother "smelled pot," there would have been an immediate joint hallucination placing the blame on me. Your story reminds me of the time uNM accused me of re-arranging the decorative items on her dresser. (en F was in charge of dusting the furniture so I'm sure that, if anything was actually moved, that was how it happened). Of course he didn't remind her of that. He just stood right there when uNM said that she would be benevolent and assume from then on that I was crazy and incapable of remembering what I had just done, because it would be just too horrible to think *I* might be consciously lying.

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JustKathy

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2019, 01:05:21 PM »
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Once you have managed to extricate yourself, you can't believe the ridiculous and empirically untrue things you and the members you have left behind were led to believe.

I also lost my siblings to her lies after going NC. My enFather believed her from day one, but my sister and brother didn't appear to be buying into it until after I walked away. Suddenly, the sister I had always been close to refused to speak to me, refused to reply to any letters, both email and snail mail. Neither of my siblings ever witnessed me doing anything cruel to Nmother, but whatever they were told, they believe it. She died five years ago and they still choose to stand behind her in death.

When it comes to my enFather, during my teenage years NM often framed me by doing things like planting cigarettes in my purse or tampering with liquor bottles to make it look like I was underage drinking. Maybe my father saw enough "proof" of other incidents that he allowed himself to believe other things without proof. Still, I KNOW he was aware she had issues as he admitted to that fact many times, saying things like "well, you know how your mother is." Knowing a wife has issues, how does a father not step back for even a minute and question things, especially when there's a good reason to question what they're seeing. The crazy wife says the teenage daughter is in her room smoking pot, the daughter begs to be believed and offers to let the father search her room. Father walks away, standing firmly behind his wife. Maybe he refused to search my room because of the possibility it would have proven his wife wrong. Then what would he have done?

This is why I'll never forgive my father and actually have more resentment toward him than Nmother. One of us was going to suffer her wrath and it wasn't going to be him. He threw me in front of himself like a human shield to take the bullet for him. Now he expects me to have a relationship with him like none of that stuff ever happened.

One of my biggest questions now is, does he even remember it? I'm guessing he doesn't. This stuff went on daily in my house and he was just going through the motions to get through his day. My world was being destroyed, but for him, just another day in the life.

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JustKathy

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2019, 01:22:07 PM »
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If you read about abusive personalities you'll see that they 'test' potential partners and once the partner is trapped and it is difficult to leave - kids, mortgage, heavy investment of time/love/experience - that's when the abuser will show their true colours.

Thanks for that very informative post, Sandpiper. When I was around ten or so I really started to notice how mean Nmother was to my dad. I convinced myself that he was miserable and only staying in the marriage for the sake of the kids. She got noticeably abusive toward him when we fell into the pattern you describe: cross-country move, bought a house, had a mortgage, three kids in school. I was certain he would divorce her when we were grown. Wrong! He Stayed with her for 55 years, until she died.

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sandpiper

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2019, 06:42:28 AM »
Glad to contribute, JK.
Both my sisters followed my mother's pattern of being adoring and admiring during the courtship period. Once they had what they wanted they dropped the mask and showed their partners who they really were.
FWIW I think there was a bit of that on both sides of each partnership.
It's part of an unhealthy mindset in a romance, though, which starts off idealising the partner and wearing a 'mask' to attract them.
Then once the honeymoon is over & both people drop the facade, things get ugly.
It's that shifting pendulum between idealisation and devaluation.
I think they find each other, there's a huge attraction, and then they both feel angry and betrayed when things get real and they have to deal with a real, flawed, vulnerable, imperfect, damaged human being - instead of Prince Charming or Mr/Mrs Right.
Society doesn't help things with all those ridiculous movies about falling in love & finding a soul mate. The media would do far better to teach us good communication skills than to spin the hollywood/disney romance stuff.

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JustKathy

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2019, 04:49:19 PM »
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I think they find each other, there's a huge attraction, and then they both feel angry and betrayed when things get real and they have to deal with a real, flawed, vulnerable, imperfect, damaged human being

Good insight here. I've always wondered how NPD women manage to attract their enablers. What you're saying makes sense, that maybe their PDs aren't on full display at the start.

In talking to other children of Ns, I find the mothers fall into one of two categories: 1) Divorced very early in the marriage because the husband couldn't handle it and bailed out or, 2) Lifelong commitment with a husband who willingly enables them. The latter seems to be more of the norm. Perhaps at some point most enFathers just decide to live with the circumstance, though they might also choose it.

My enFather's background is a complete mystery to me. I never knew anyone on his side of the family. They lived overseas and Nmother kept them away. I've often wondered if his own mother was herself an N and he was just used to it. It does seem to pass itself down through the generations. My GC brother ended up marrying someone EXACTLY like our own mother and is now her enabler. In his case, it was a learned behavior.

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Jumpy

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2019, 05:21:40 PM »
wow.

I find this post so, so moving. I'm relatively new here, but have been spending a lot of time just soaking up truth after truth. I'm married to uPPDw and have two young kids. My eyes have been opening more each day here. I've mostly, until today, been in the various chosen relationship sites, and a few posters have suggested checking out the Dealing with PD Parents section. This is the first post I found and wow. It's still pretty raw, but I'm determined to be a good dad to my kids. Your sharing here has helped. thanks.

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Sophie48

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2019, 10:21:52 PM »
My dad was very well aware of my mom’s “issues.” At times, he was her target. To people outside our family, he probably appeared as the most patient, admirable, forgiving, loyal man on earth. Heck, I believed it most of my life!

Naively, as an adult, I assumed his complacency about how my mom was treating me was because he just didn’t realize, specifically, what she was doing at the time. She was utterly raging and out of control, but it was all in letters, voicemails, and email sent by her. She was unable to drive, so she couldn’t visit me in person without his help.

Later, I played some of her voicemails for my T. She thought my mom was, at the very least, drunk (her speech was so slurred it was hard to make out some of what she was saying, but what we could make out was horrible; T described it as “evil.”) but possibly on drugs as well. For her to get alcohol or drugs, my dad would have to be involved. That realization was shocking in and of itself.

Still, I believed him to be a reasonable adult, who, once knowing the truth, would be appalled and would actually care about the well-being of his daughter. I thought if I told him what was going on, it would somehow help. I thought at least he and I could still have a relationship.

But, even before I could tell him about the things she’d done to bring harm to me, in essence, he ordered me to “be the adult!”, because she “couldn’t.” It didn’t matter how mean or how destructive she was to me, it was clear it was all on me. He held me 100% responsible, because as far as he was concerned, she was 100% NOT.

My mom’s behavior didn’t surprise me. At times, it shocked me how far she was willing to go to cause me harm. It was certainly horrible. But overall, it wasn’t unexpected.

Admittedly, I’m more upset over my dad’s behavior than hers, because I honestly thought he cared about me. Finding out I wasn’t even worth listening to, was hard.

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JustKathy

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2019, 03:00:47 PM »
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This is the first post I found and wow. It's still pretty raw, but I'm determined to be a good dad to my kids. Your sharing here has helped. thanks.

Hi jumpy, and welcome to this forum. So glad to hear that reading these posts have helped, and even better to hear that you're so determined to be a good father. Wishing you all the best.

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Still, I believed him to be a reasonable adult, who, once knowing the truth, would be appalled and would actually care about the well-being of his daughter. I thought if I told him what was going on, it would somehow help. I thought at least he and I could still have a relationship.

Sophie48, this sounds so much like me. I REALLY believed my dad was a normal, reasonable adult who would eventually believe me and protect me. I was so certain that once he learned the truth of what Nmother had been doing to me he'd defend me. When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer I was hopeful about having a normal, healthy relationship with him once she died. Instead, she insisted that he disinherit me, which he happily did on her orders and did not change things back after she died. That was the final gut-punch that opened my eyes to the unhealthy amount of loyalty he had to her, even after she was gone. I spent 55 years believing that my father really did love me. I made excuses for him, telling myself that he was brainwashed. It's been so hard to accept the truth about him.

like you, I'm also more upset over my father's behavior than hers. I knew she was a lost cause but really did believe he loved me and cared for me. Learning that I was wrong about him was far more painful than anything she ever did to me. It HURT. It will never stop hurting.

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AnneH

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Re: Do enFathers REALLY believe a PD mother's lies?
« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2019, 03:58:07 PM »
I, too, wanted to believe that my en F was reasonable and would want to protect me once he "saw the truth." I was aware that, before they had children, NM had received some kind of mental health care with en F's support for what she termed "a nervous breakdown". I hoped he would be able to see that she needed it again. When I was newly married, NM sent me an email accusing me of sending her "back down the black hole" of her "nervous breakdown" and not playing my assigned role of keeping her out of said "hole." My crime: saying we would have to discuss how she treated myself and H during her next visit (her previous visit, for our wedding, had been full of allusions to divorce.) I forwarded the email to en F for help, but he just said that it was a perfectly normal email from the "best mother in the world" and that I  had basically better get back in line. When I did not, I got the silent treatment for the better part of the year. NM was also diagnosed with stage IV cancer around the same time (she lived with it for 4 years), and it was always used as an excuse to attack me whenever I tried to set up a boundary for her behavior. It is a terrible diagnosis, and I know first-hand what cancer can do, but it was "outrageous" on my part to have any boundaries or any standards whatsoever when NM was ill. After she passed away, HPD sis simply took over her role (and things got much worse) so and I ended up going NC with her, en bro and en F.