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Narcissistic father destroyed my marriage!(12 Posts)
I need some help and advice.
My DH of 10+ years and I separated last year. It was a nasty split. We had a few issues, but the biggest was with my father. I love my family very much, but just realized that my DH was right. My father is narcissistic!
A few months ago I told my dad that I loved DH and wanted to work things out and get back together, he got angry, threatened to disown me, called me some nasty names, sent me some nasty messages, etc. This is when I realized what my dad was. I reflected on my life and realized that I did everything dad told me to do, I couldn’t do anything without consulting dad or he would get angry. I’ve had enough of his behavior, demands, ultimatums, temper tantrums, etc. I have decided I want nothing to do with him anymore. I have decided to disown my parents and live MY life MY way. I choose my DH, I don’t want to be daddy’s little puppet anymore.
Things between DH and I have been going well for the last few months. We are still separated and I hope that we will get back together for good. My DH is still hesitant on officially getting back together as he fears I will allow dad back into the picture.
How do I deal with the guilt and fear of disowning my parents. How do I handle special occasions? How do I handle the situation with my children? Anyone out there go through this?
It's a very positive step you have identified your DF for what he is: a BULLY. I'm very sorry you have this toxic person in your life, trying to sabotage it. It can be very difficult to stand up to that person and even harder when they are your parent.
There are lots of websites aiming to support the adult children of narcissists. Most agree those children, like you, experience a particularly insidious and long-lasting kind of emotional abuse which affects their whole life, as you are finding.
The usual advice is to maintain distance if you can - physical and emotional. Making you upset by being nasty to you makes your DF feel good, plain and simple. If you can, try not to show him any reaction - happy or sad - because he feeds off your emotions. There is a strategy called 'grey rock'. The idea is if you appear as unresponsive as a grey rock he will get frustrated and bored with you and turn his attentions to someone else in his quest for a reaction. Definitely do not confide in him with any of your thoughts, feelings or plans - for narcs, information is power and an opportunity to control you, derailing your life in order to sit back with glee as he watches the drama unfold, such as the crisis in your marriage. It can be shock to learn it is all deliberate calculation. You are in bits and he is loving it.
You have a strong voice inside of you silently shouting 'MY life MY way'. It's a very encouraging sign of your inner strength. You have to keep being strong and, as the saying goes, don't let the bastard grind you down, DF or not. It's very sad for you and your DC but for your own self preservation, and theirs, you need to keep away from him.
You are an adult now. There is no rule that says you have to consult him or do what he says - ever. Emotionally healthy parents know that's the deal; our children owe us nothing. The more you dance to his tune the longer the abusive dynamic between you is perpetuated. Going grey rock will disrupt it nicely. Good luck and I hope it works out with your DH - there are a lot of us about.
Excellent advice from Running. I'll also recommend the Stately Homes thread on here.
Try to go No Contact with NarcF, and that goes for your children as well. Don't let anybody tell you about "grandparent's rights": it is the child who has the right to have the relationship with a.n.family member, not the other way around. It is true that the courts will order contact, but that tends to be when the child has had so much contact (like, daily and/or prolonged) with the GPs, that breaking that bond would be bad.
Also, document everything you can. Dates, times, how you felt. If one of your DC says something about Grandad, document that. Hope you saved the nasty messages: that can help. And if he threatens you, call the police, plain and simple.
I'd also consider Women's Aid or your local domestic abuse people: it's not just about spousal relationships. You need to work on you. You sound so brilliantly clear-headed (well done! ), but you're just starting on your journey of re-programming, and there is no shame in asking for help.
Best of luck!
Here's a great quote when coping with a narc, "Do not expect to receive something from someone who does not have what you want."
You keep going back to your DF seeking his love and approval and, tragically for you, he doesn't have it to give you.
He might be a shit parent, but you can parent yourself as an adult. Try reading books on nurturing your inner child. I'm really glad you have DH as an ally. This website is a really good resource:
Thank you both for your help and kind words.
I know I need to walk away from DF, but I feel guilty and afraid and am getting major anxiety. I don't want to fall back into his world. I'm angry for what he has done. I don't ever want to see him again. I don't know how to tell him, or if I should.
I should have listened to DH along time ago, but I pushed him away and ran to DF instead because that's what DF wanted. I see the mistakes I made, I really want my DH back, so far things are going well but I feel like I'm smothering him as I seek constant reassurance that we are and will work things out. We have been seeing a marriage counsellor which is helping.
Whether or not you & DH can get through this, it sounds like nc with your F would be a good thing.
Stately Homes will see you through.
What's going to happen if you tell DF? That's right. Verbal abuse and intimidation. He will interpret your decision, correctly, as a major criticism and he will be RAGING in defence.
Don't tell him! What he wants more than anything is an audience and he has trained you over many years to provide that for him. Don't discuss your plan - actions not words. JUST DO IT - no need at all to say it. Consider how old you are. People your age make their own choices, yes? It's not unreasonable to keep away from someone who is controlling and damaging your life, in fact it is most sensible. If you need permission I give it to you right here, right now, to keep away from him and not to announce it to him first. You are living in a free country. You are FREE to do what YOU want (within the law of course).
Your alternative is to tell him, he will kick off, you will be upset and your DH will be incredulous and pissed off when you seek comfort from him. You will have jeopardised your reconciliation and your DC's happiness, if their parents subsequently divorce. That would mean shuttling back and forth between mum's home and dad's home and sad children with a sad mum and a sad dad. I'm sure you don't want that for these people who make you FEEL GOOD.
Seeking constant reassurance from DH is a sign you are looking for a surrogate parent in him, to compensate for the loving, supportive parent you missed out on growing up. He can't fulfil this role for you. You need to learn to parent yourself, to self-soothe, to calm your anxiety yourself. Talk to a counsellor, try yoga, meditation, treat yourself to something you enjoy every single day, learn about your inner child, have a duvet day, hang out with people who make you feel good. Avoid those who don't.
Make no mistake: what your DF is doing to you is ABUSIVE and ILLEGAL. For the first time in your life you need to put YOU FIRST and as a consequence, your DC too. They want a happy, relaxed mum, not a bag of nerves.
Talk to your GP about your anxiety. Say you would like to be screened for complex PTSD.
Do practical things like don't respond to texts or phone calls from your DF. If he starts getting angry at family events you can't avoid attending where he is there, walk away, leave. Don't give him that audience he craves.
You seem properly afraid of him. Phone Women's Aid for advice 0808 2000 247 available 24hrs every day. If he won't leave you alone, consider talking to the police by phoning 101 or, if you are really frightened, 999. They want to hear about intimidation too. There's a greater awareness of emotional and psychological abuse because of the new law. It's not ok and you don't have to put up with it.
You don't have to make a big announcement to your father, you don't have to tell him anything you don't want him to know. I would gradually reduce contact with him, be less available. I hope a reconciliation between you and your dh does happen, if it does it is none of your fathers business. If he kicks off walk out, if he comes to your house ask him to leave, If he gets threatening in your home call the police. Take back the control for your immediate family's sale. The poster advice is spot on. Good luck.
What a tragic story, OP. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. It sounds as if your DH is extremely supportive of you but, as PP have said, he cannot reparent you. Do you have a therapist of your own, aside from your marriage guidance counsellor? It might be useful to have someone else to lean on just for you.
I guess because this is all new to me I'm having a hard time dealing with the flood of emotions and letting go of the learned behaviours ingrained in me for 40 years. I am slowly trying to change my ways for the better, but am still having off days filled with overwhelming anxiety and guilt.
I have always been family focused, but have changed it to just my DH and DCs. I am seeing someone other than the marriage counsellor. This site is a great help too! It's nice to get advice from people who have experienced similar situations as I find most therapists don't really understand.
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