Car-ma!

boomerang

A few days before Christmas, my daughter was in a car wreck. She is fine (no injuries), but unfortunately her car was totalled.

Her narc father pays for her car insurance (which is in his name) because due to her age and a few driving violations when she was younger (including driving without a license), rates for her are astronomical and I can’t afford to put her on my insurance either.

It was raining hard and a truck suddenly cut in front of her, her brakes locked up (she didn’t have ABS brakes), and she hydroplaned into the guardrail. She is fine but was pretty shaken up and it could have been bad!   Her car couldn’t be fixed so it was totaled out. The insurance company said they would pay $3,000 for a new car. She was happy because that meant she could get a better, safer used car.

The check came in her father’s name and he kept delaying and making excuses for not giving her the money for the car, or even taking her car shopping. He told her he had to wait for the check to clear. My daughter felt there was something fishy about his excuses and was starting to think he was lying to her.   She knows he’s not trustworthy, especially when it comes to money. He’s also a world class liar.

Finally, he got back to her.   He said that after bank fees there was only $1700 left, so she’d have to find something for that amount. She was very angry and upset.  She thought he’d already spent the money, and he most likely did, since he was bragging to her about his expensive new phone and other things he’d just bought. Obviously, he used her car insurance money to buy toys for himself.

Fortunately, her fiance was helpful, and also because he knows people in the area, he can get inside scoops on good cars at cheap prices. So she was able to snag a 2007 Mazda in good condition and not too much mileage for about $1300.
The car runs great and so far there don’t appear to be any problems with it.

This is when things turned weird.

The day after she got her new car, her father called her and said his truck’s engine blew out. Unbelievably, the first price the mechanic told him he would have to pay to fix it was…wait for it…$1700. He said okay, he could afford that, it be no problem. He lined up a tow truck for his vehicle and asked my daughter to ride him to the repair shop in her new car, where he would wait.

But on the way to the mechanic, he suddenly got a phone call from the proprietor who apologized for the mistake. The price, he said, would not be $1700, it would be $5,000.
Since $1700 is all he has, now he has to find a car for that amount or less.

Car-ma?

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Thinking about my dad.

dadandme1983

I have only three pictures of my dad, and only one of us together, taken in 1982 (shown above).    He passed away suddenly on June 6, 2016.    I can’t believe he’s been gone for almost half a year.

My dad wasn’t a very good father.  In fact, he was pretty terrible.   A covert narcissist (though I don’t think he was malignant or evil), or possibly a borderline, or maybe both, he was always codependent to higher level, grandiose NPD women.   At least in my mother’s case this was true.   For all of my childhood and part of my adolescence, he was an active alcoholic and often lost control and become violent and abusive.  Sometimes he really scared me.   His punishments could be harsh and cruel.  He also invaded my boundaries in many ways and seemed to expect something of me that I could not be, but I never knew what that was.

Much like my mother, he could never accept “negative” emotions and always seemed to expect me to act happy even if I wasn’t. So I learned how to fake happiness or at least contentment, but was never very good at it. But there were also times that he wasn’t this way (more on that in a minute).

He also cut me off for years at a time once I became an adult, refusing to have anything to do with me when I disagreed with him or did something that went against his wishes.   The time around my daughter’s birth was one of those times (not because of her, but because of something unrelated we had disagreed about).   Because of that, he never met her until she was 8 years old.   He did apologize for his lack of contact with me.

In spite of these behaviors, my dad could also be very loving.  When he was loving, he could be the sweetest and most understanding dad anyone could ever hope for.  While I always somehow knew my mother’s “love” was fake, I never felt that way about my dad.    When he showed me love, I knew it was really coming from his heart because it just felt like the real thing.  My intuition about these things is usually accurate.   Although his rages were usually scarier and more violent than my mother’s, as a person he scared me less.  He was less cold and could even be very warm.  As disordered as he was, my dad had a heart.  I always felt like I could talk to him, at least when he was sober or in a good mood.  At those times he could be extremely supportive and empathetic. He was very protective of me and used to get so angry when anyone else tried to hurt me.

The problem was he was so unpredictable.  It was so hard to discern when he would be nasty or nice.    So I usually waited for him to be nice to me, rather than seeking it out. He was such a conflicted person.

I loved my dad.  I still do.   Today in church the priest talked about praying for those loved ones who have passed on.    Until now, I hadn’t been able to cry about my dad’s passing.   I experienced a lot of other emotions — shock, anger, rage, regret — but I never really grieved.   We hadn’t been close in years.

But today was different, and I sat there wiping away tears and realizing how much I miss my dad, and feeling so sad because we never had a chance to get together before his death and reconcile or come to  some kind of understanding as father and daughter.  There was no closure.   I never even got to see him in the hospital, and I was unable to attend his memorial service.  There was this vast distance between us (I never went No Contact with my dad).   He never got the chance to see how much I’ve changed and grown.   I know he would be proud; he always told me he wanted to see me thrive and be happy one day. I knew he meant it too.

I hope wherever my dad is right now, he has learned a few things and is working out his demons and his soul is being cleansed.  I don’t believe death is so final that you just go to either heaven or hell and that’s it, because no one is all good or all bad.    I think our souls continue to grow and mature and sin can be cleansed even after death.

I also hope he understands that his youngest daughter, who I know he loved in spite of the terrible way I was raised,  has realized a lot about why things happened as they did, and is now using those lessons to become a better and happier person.   A person who has processed enough of this trauma that she can finally reach out and begin to help others.    I hope he is looking down from wherever he is and is proud of what I became.  I hope he knows that I love him and pray for his spiritual freedom too.  In many ways, both my parents were teachers to me.  Harsh teachers to be sure, but I still learned so much once I realized what I’d been up against.   Framed the right way, narcissists can teach you much about yourself, if you can move on from hating them and try to understand why they did what they did and why it was done to you.

Dad, wherever you are, I miss you and love you….in spite of everything.  I forgive you.

Nothing much to say.

nothingtosay

My daughter broke up with her boyfriend (the engagement has been off a few weeks) and she and her dad (my ex) are going to get an apartment. I worry about that, because it seems like he is freeloading off her the way he used to freeload off of me.  He uses her guilt and  feelings of duty to him to get what he needs from her.    She has a good job and seems fairly happy, and he isn’t abusive to her in the same way he was to me (he doesn’t dare and he’s too ill now anyway) but I still worry because that’s not much of a life for an almost 23 year old.  She seems incapable of maintaining a relationship for too long because she grows bored once the limerence wears off.

Sometimes I worry that she’s going to wind up being  one of those dutiful adult daughters who never marries or has a family of her own but devotes the prime years of her adulthood caring for her aging parent, in this case one who she has a very codependent relationship with and manipulates her to get his way.   I don’t want him to devour her soul, but ultimately it’s her choice.  She knows it’s not a very healthy relationship and she’s a codependent sort of person, but she loves him and feels like it’s her duty “because he has no one else.”

She’s spending a few days at my place, but she has to sleep on the couch because my housemate has the other bedroom.

I saw my therapist tonight and I wasted time talking about everything but my feelings.

Other than that, I don’t have anything else to write about tonight.

Like Chinese water torture.

This is also the reason why I could never live with my ex again (well, one of many!) In this short conversation, my son was asking his father to please stop spamming his Facebook timeline with negative opinions about certain political candidates, because people my son works with, including his boss read his Facebook page. He’s also friends with his boss in spite of their opposite political leanings. He has asked his father to stop doing this in the past, and has had to block him before because he wouldn’t stop. Watch the way his father takes NO responsibility for his inappropriate behavior and then tries to turn my son into “the bad guy” by making him block him AGAIN. I know EXACTLY what he’s talking about because I also went through this same sort of crap with him over and over again (and he finally blocked ME–good riddance, I say!)  He’s the king of subtle gaslighting, blame shifting and denial.

It seems like a small thing,  maybe if this was an isolated incident it wouldn’t be a big deal–but imagine this type of irritation happening over and over and over, many times a day.  It was crazymaking in the extreme!  I like the way my son handled it:  “Dude. Relax.”

 

convo_22216

 

 

More family drama.

camera_stuff
My son with a huge telephoto lens The Parasite sent him.

The Parasite (my ASPD/malignant narc ex) is now giving my son the silent treatment. A few days ago, flush with all his new money, he sent my son a very expensive, professional quality Nikon camera and various photographic accessories. It was nice of him. But there were strings attached: my son was told not to tell me The Parasite got his $31K from the government or tell me about the expensive photographic equipment he received. The Parasite must have known he would tell me though, because my son has always been honest to a fault. He’s honest even when he shouldn’t be.

So my son called the other night and told me, and that’s how I knew. He could tell I was upset even though I was happy that at least he’d bought my son a camera. He then told Parasite that he’d told me, and his father went ballistic, and has now blocked his calls and blocked him on Facebook and told my daughter he doesn’t want to ever speak to him again.

I know it’s temporary; he’s played these narc games before. My son being The Parasite’s second favorite scapegoat (after me), is used to being emotionally abused by his father. Growing up, there wasn’t much I could do to stop it.

But now the wonderful gift my son got is tainted. I know it would bother me a lot to look at a gift given to me by someone who days later blocked me and refused to speak to me just because I was honest. Especially if I was honest to someone I loved as much as my son loves me. The Parasite knows my son prefers me to him (even though my finances limit me to cheap gifts) and that enrages him. It just makes me so sad. I hope he’s still able to enjoy the gift.

On a happier note, my daughter got her engagement ring! I think they have the date set for April 20th (4/20, lol). She will have just turned 23. That’s young, but not too young, and her fiance is 4 years older. This is what she wanted so I’m happy.

ring

My son’s father turned from a loving dad into a monster.

ian_9months
My son at about 9 months. His dad doted on him then.

Turning on a child who was initially loved and doted on is not unusual for malignant narcissist parents. If the child proves to be sensitive, highly intelligent, or can see through the parent’s agenda, they may find themselves suddenly turned into scapegoats. Betrayal of a child means nothing to a narcissistic parent. The child was never a child even before the betrayal, just supply.

My son (who I’ve been calling Ethan on this blog but that is not his real name) was born in October 1991 and initially was very much wanted by his father. During his infancy his father appeared to love him very much and it wasn’t unusual to find my beautiful little boy snuggled up against his dad’s chest. Though Michael (also not his real name) was showing signs of the abuser he would soon become, the abuse was directed at me, and didn’t happen often enough in those days that I was that concerned.

By the time Ethan was 3 or 4 he was showing signs of being a highly sensitive (and very creative) child. He cried frequently and was given to tantrums when he sensed discord, anger or chaos around him. He was always very sensitive to his environment and didn’t react well to everyone and he hated change. He still remembers himself as being an extremely nervous child, but those nerves were due to his high sensitivity. I was much the same way when I was his age. I could always identify with my son.

I remember when he was two, when we were moving from New Jersey to North Carolina. Because we didn’t have a lot of money for a long distance mover, we moved most of our stuff (except large pieces of furniture) in a U-Haul and a car over five separate trips. During the time the house was being slowly emptied, Ethan began to act very strange. He stopped eating, looked pale and his eyes looked too big for his face. He hadn’t really started talking much yet, but did this strange “parroting”–he’d repeat “Hi Mommy! Hi Daddy!” over and over, in a strange high pitched voice. It was creepy. His doctor said not to worry, but he just wasn’t himself. Then it finally dawned on me: a very young child sees things disappearing and doesn’t understand why (he hadn’t come on the moving trips to see where the things were going). His two year old mind deduced that eventually his parents and baby sister would disappear too, leaving him alone, so the nervous parroting of “Hi Mommy, Hi Daddy,” was to make sure we were still there and weren’t going to leave him. To a sensitive child like Ethan who hated change as much as he did, watching the things in his environment disappear must have been traumatic for him. I asked him about this recently and he still remembers it. He told me my suspicions had been correct. He was afraid we would disappear!

ian_age3
Third birthday. He received a cake with a blue toy car on it.

Michael saw this high sensitivity as soon as it became apparent, and suddenly his affection toward his son came to a screeching halt. He began to pick on and belittle him, calling him names such as stupid, idiot, “faggy,” pussy, baby, and loser. As young as Ethan was, I could see how his self esteem was already taking a beating. Soon he became nervous and awkward around his father but of course this just fed the abuse.

Soon Michael began to physically abuse Ethan, spanking him almost every day just for being who he was. Whenever I criticized or questioned Michael about why he was treating Ethan this way, he just said he was trying to “toughen him up.” (this from a man who called himself a feminist–go figure that one out!) I told him his aggressive behaviors toward Ethan to “man him up” were not working because Ethan wasn’t built that way, and besides they were very unloving. I told him I was afraid Ethan would think his father hated him, but of course my concerns were dismissed and I was called wrong, stupid or crazy. We had many fights about this, but the abuse never stopped. In fact it kept growing worse.

Michael constantly made fun of Ethan, imitating his speech, his walk, his awkwardness. Ethan was bullied at school for a time, just as I was, and my heart broke for him. I loved my son so much, and couldn’t bear to see the way his father treated him.

ian_age8
Ethan at about age 8, around the time his father destroyed his car collection.

The incident that I remember with the most anguish occurred when Ethan was about 8. He had a collection of about 15 or 20 collectible cars his grandfather had given him over several years and Ethan was very proud of them. He displayed them on a 5-tiered shelf in his room. One evening Michael came raging into his room for one reason or another (he was often drunk and some of his rages seemed to be caused by nothing) and knocked over the stand, sending all the beautiful and expensive replicas crashing to the floor. All of them were destroyed beyond repair. Ethan burst into tears and begged him to stop, but Michael was relentless and began pounding on him, calling him a stupid faggot crybaby, and demanding to know why he couldn’t “man up.” I was in the room at the time, desperately trying to push him away from Ethan but to no avail, because Michael was much stronger than me, and by then I was myself afraid of his rages.

This incident haunts me to this day. It’s hard for me to think of it without my heart breaking, because of how painful it was to see my brilliant, creative, sensitive little boy’s car collection destroyed for absolutely no reason at all — and my son’s self esteem taking such a beating from the man who had once seemed to love him so much during his first few years.

Fortunately, Ethan was always much stronger than he seemed, and smart too. He chose to live with me after we divorced instead of his father. Kung Fu lessons paid for by my father (which he stuck with for 3 years and got as far as brown belt) and an Outward Bound expedition for his 8th grade trip began to change him and help him rebuild his self esteem.

ian_age15
Age 15.

He came out as gay at age 17, and since then has become a happy and well liked young man with many interests and talents who is making good choices in life. (He also chose to live hundreds of miles away from the family but I can’t say I blame him for that). While it’s sad he lives so far away, I’m happy that he’s happy now and that after everything he went through, he may be the most mentally stable member of the immediate family. He is the only one of us who doesn’t appear to have a personality disorder.

ian_age23
Today at age 23, living on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Not all children who were turned on and scapegoated by a malignant narcissist parent were so lucky. Many were psychologically destroyed or even killed. Ethan was one of the lucky ones.

See also:
My Son Didn’t Escape Unscathed: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/05/11/my-son-didnt-escape-unscathed/
My MN Ex’s Weird Attitude to His Son: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/02/24/my-mn-exs-weird-attitude-to-his-son/

My family tree of narcissism

dna

NPD is an inherited disorder (as well as acquired). It runs in families. Here is how it shows up in my family (immediate family shown only, as I do not know my extended family too well, thanks to my MN mother’s manipulations to keep me from them).

People raised in NPD families also have an unfortunate tendency to marry or enter into relationships with other people with NPD, and my family tree definitely shows this tendency.

My NPD Family Tree

Paternal grandparents: Grandmother (no NPD); Grandfather (possible NPD) —-> Father (low spectrum NPD); 1 other son (no NPD)

Maternal grandparents: Grandmother (possible NPD); Grandfather (possible NPD) —-> Mother (MN=malignant narcissist); 3 other children (unknown if any of them have NPD)

My mother: MN; my father: low spectrum NPD and enabler —–> 5 children from 2 marriages each (1 deceased): my mother’s oldest daughter is her most loyal flying monkey and probably NPD; I don’t think my other half-siblings have the disorder (they were raised with at least one non-NPD parent); I was the only scapegoat and have Avoidant PD, which is the polar opposite of NPD.

Me (no NPD); Michael (NPD, possibly MN) ——>; 2 children: son Ethan (scapegoat and non-NPD); daughter Molly (NPD, probably not MN)

Michael’s immediate family:
Mother (MN); father (non-NPD but an enabler and absent much of his childhood) —–> Michael (NPD, possibly MN); 1 sister (non-NPD but abused by her NPD husband)