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Confronting my Dad

(20 Posts)
DogEgg Mon 18-Mar-13 13:22:22

Thank you Something I am ok. DH, friends and MNetters all being so lovely is a huge help. I say game over because I now feel I've tried everything, said what I need to say and can now finally stop playing along to his rules. This is the most like closure I've ever felt. I still wish it could be right, always will I think, but now I know it's not possible.

He phoned and asked me why I was staying away and not calling him and so I as calmly and clearly as I possibly could, told him. I said everything I wanted to say and he reacted exactly as people here have told me he would. He was defensive, angry, aggressive and accusing, told me repeatedly that I was paranoid. He said he was the victim in this and after all the sacrifices he and Mum had made for me too, that I should remember he has feelings and he ladled on the guilt e.g. "I'm glad your Mum didn't live to see you behave like this, she'd have been heart broken."

He said that if in future he was going to have to consider every word he said or every joke he told in case I am offended then he didn't want to bother with me and that I must have kept notes in a book on all the things he'd ever said if I could remember them so clearly. I told him I didn't keep a notebook, but I remember those things so clearly because they hurt.

The most important thing I wanted to say was that I didn't know how to resolve things and could he as my Dad, the more experienced, wiser person in the relationship, advise me or help. I'd always hoped that one day, when the chips were down, he would see it wasn't for me to make it right alone and do all the compromising. That the penny would drop with him that a Dad should be someone you can look to for wisdom and support. He said "I can't advise you as we are very different people and Dog Egg, you must make your own decisions you know." It was clear to me he could never empathise, or see that our relationship should be a two way thing in which he needed to cotribute as well as take.

Whenever I've ever stood up to Dad him he's always said "Huh, has your DH been turning you against me again so that he can get you all to himself?" and I managed to tell him I didn't like it when he said that, my DH is an honourable man who has been good to my parents, only ever wanted what's best and that I see myself as a woman of independent thought whose words and actions are my own. That felt very good to me.

It was only when I woke up the next day that it occurred to me that during our conversation he hadn't once showed any concern for me or any remorse. He hadn't once tried to understand my point of view. If someone had confronted me and said the things I'd said to him then I would have been distraught and felt so sorry they'd suffered. But this clearly didn't cross his mind. There couldn't have been a clearer picture of just how it could never be right.

It feels like a boil has burst, painful but a relief. armagh is right, I do accept that it can't be fixed.

something2say Sat 16-Mar-13 09:32:13

Dog egg so can you say a bit more about how it went??? Thing is, they generally don't take what you say on board, hence we don't say things for their benefit or to make them change. We say what we have to say for OUR benefit. So how that aspect of it go? Did you say what you had to say? Never mind whether he agreed or not, did you get it off your chest, to his face, nice and clearly and f his answer??? Xx I do hope so.

Also are you alright? You say game over, what does that mean? X

armagh Sat 16-Mar-13 09:26:52

So sorry itdidn't go well, but you expected it not to--it's all about him- your father. Because your brother has Aspergers he may not have the ability to empathise with you, i'd cut him some slack. As for your toxic dad.... Why bother? You have a happy life with your dh. You are one of the lucky ones. Accept that some things can't be fixed. Your dad's loss.

DistanceCall Fri 15-Mar-13 15:14:15

Sorry about the whole thing. I don't think you should give up entirely on your brother, however. He's probably really upset and working through things with his therapist, and probably hoped that he could get some extra therapy with you (not that being saddled with that is you job, mind you: that's what therapists at for).

Perhaps you could send him a message letting him know that you are not angry with him but that you are really finding it very hard to deal with your own feelings about your father and prefer not to discuss it with him right now.

DogEgg Fri 15-Mar-13 15:04:45

Thank you Jess. I'm glad you managed to find some calm and resolution in your relationship with your father.

Jessdurberville Fri 15-Mar-13 14:55:48

Sorry to hear that Dogegg. Your happy life is the best answer to his behaviour, a life without him in it if you can.
My own father behaved badly to me when I was a child and teenager. He had a stroke a few years ago and had a complete personality change (quite common I believe). he apologised for his behaviour and cried in front of me - i got some closure which is very unusual. I still find it hard to show him affection but I no longer harbour feeling of anger or sadness. I hope you can find closure in your own way. x

DogEgg Fri 15-Mar-13 14:39:05

Confronted him. He was vile and concerned only for himself and how sad, abandonned and lonely he was. Game over.

Katisha Thu 07-Mar-13 18:45:19

Having had quite a long experience with a narcissist in the family, I would point out that they live in a different version of reality from you. So while it may well be cathartic for you to confront him in some way, it's pretty unlikely that he will recognise anything you say. This is why you cannot win with them - they just repackage everything according to their weird mindset. They are not capable of seeing themselves, or life in general, as others see it. They can adjust their behaviour for a while if they can see that it somehow benefits them, but fundamentally they don't change and can't.

dogegg, here's a big {{{{{{{{hug}}}}}}}}

you deserve better, you really do.

something2say Thu 07-Mar-13 17:39:55

Dogegg, it does go away, when you take action. Good luck xxx

DogEgg Thu 07-Mar-13 17:17:30

claude - "it does actually sound to me like you'd be better cutting them both out" I can't tell you what it means to me to see someone who has heard my story say that.

DogEgg Thu 07-Mar-13 17:12:15

Thank you all.

Something2say - So brave of you to write the letter. I will write a letter and see how I feel - maybe post it, maybe burn it. I have no fear he'll turn others against me, it's clear he's already done that and am glad of my true friends.

It is all about being brave isn't it. Brave enough to confront and face the consequences and/or brave enough to walk away.

And Armagh - not one measly million I'm afraid. Which is a shame, what with money being my god and all grin

i think it's normal to want him to know how much damage he has done.

you could try writing a letter - putting everything into it - and then burning it. or send it to him. i agree with cogito that you won't necessarily get a response or the response you want.

perhaps just to get that feeling of closure, or that you stood up for yourself and you are drawing a line.

it does actually sound to me like you'd be better off cutting them both out.

i also like cogito's idea of writing a few put-downs before you phone his so that you're well-prepared.

armagh Thu 07-Mar-13 16:59:08

Unless he was leaving you millions that would give you and your family a great life after he is gone grin

armagh Thu 07-Mar-13 16:55:55

Do you have to keep in touch with him? I'd just leave him to his own life

something2say Thu 07-Mar-13 16:51:44

I wrote a long letter to my abusive mother when I was about 24 and actually sent it!! I still have a copy and its not a bad letter, pretty well put with most of what I would want to say in there.

It basically said 'you ask why I am no longer in contact with you, we'll this is why.' I went on to list abuse after abuse.

Of course I was very scared after I had dropped it into the letterbox and then a few days later when I calculated it would be arriving, but in retrospect I deserved that chance and am happy that I took it.

Like the others have said, don't expect an admission or anything. Most perpetrators go to their graves never admitting anything but it is very brave to write, and a real mark of your self respect. If you want to, do it. Sit down and get it all out.

But do prepare for some aftermath. Sadness, loss, anger and so on. It needn't be this way,but they make it so, and what for? They waste the potential for love, they push you into sacking them off when you want to love them. Etc.

X. Let us know what you decide.

TheArmadillo Thu 07-Mar-13 16:46:57

Yes be very careful about what you are expecting as a response.
You will not get an apology, you will not get an acknowledgement that you are right. You may not get to finish what you want to say. He may use any vulnerability you expose against you. He may use your outburst against you to turn others against you.

Be sure as to why you want to do this and the likely outcomes. Think of possible alternatives e.g. writing it down and burning it. Make sure if you do it you have support on hand.

Take care of yourself and your safety as a priority. I'm not saying don't do it, just go into it with your eyes wide open.

DogEgg Thu 07-Mar-13 16:33:03

That's really helpful Cogito. I don't think I need an apology, I just want him to know I'm strong and not going to put up with it any more.

The Riddikulus plan already makes me feel less of a victim. Thank you.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Mar-13 15:16:31

Confrontation is only pointless in the sense that you're not going to get an apology or anything like that. However, sometimes it's enough to just say it out loud.... regardless of the response. Once it's said, it's said and that can be quite liberating if not actually fully satisfactory.

I would not go as far as to say go round there and go potty smile But the next time some bitchy comment comes your way, have a few scornful put-downs ready and use them to make him look stupid. You know when Harry Potter meets a Boggart.... the critter that takes the shape of the thing you fear most? The spell to get rid of it is 'Riddikulus' and Rowling was onto something there. Nothing a narcissist hates more than being made to look silly.

DogEgg Thu 07-Mar-13 15:07:30

I'm 48 and having read loads on MN about narcissistic parents the light suddenly came on. I realised my Dad is a narcissist and so was my Mum, who died just before Christmas. It seems pathetic that I didn't realise before, but I didn't.

I honestly didn't think that how I was treated was different from any other child (or adult), that being made to put myself second to them, be grateful for my very existance and receive constant put downs wasn't normal. I've always felt worse after seeing my parents, but thought it was guilt that I wasn't doing enough. My parents didn't seem to get on and constantly (hours and hours at a time) used me and my brother as marriage guidance counsellors behind each other backs on all subjects including their sex life.

My brother seems to have suffered more than me and has OCD,Aspergers, depression and social anxiety. He and I have never got on which I put down to us being so different, but now it's so clear that it was engineered by my parents to keep us separate and weak. My brother said he's spent decades believing my DH and I are dreadful people because of what our Ps said about us. We're not horrid, we're ordinary people who are kind to each other and have made a happy little life for ourselves. DB and I developed an uneasy truce when my M died. Neither of us feel any grief for M at all and my DH is just plain relieved.

To my face my Dad undermines me and says nasty things as a "joke". If I object he says I take things too seriously. To my brother behind my back he's worse about me and my brother tells me what he says. Dad judges every area of my life and finds me failing e.g. I dress too young (I'm happily a mumsy frump), money is my God, my husband is a pr1ck, I'm selfish and on and on.

I've discussed the narcissist discovery with brother who is talking about it with his therapist. I'm trying to work through things with the help of my fantastic friends and my wonderful, supportive DH who all say what D says is rubbish and to let it go. But it all still hurts me, the past and the present treatment all hurt, however much I try not to let it.

I'm working on reducing contact with D to a bare minimum and now he's taken to saying "A voice from the past" or some such when I call. My brother, has chosen not to reduce contact with D for his own reasons which I totally respect, but I asked him to stop telling me what D says about me (I can't stand to hear any more and it doesn't help me move on) and now DB has taken offence and stopped speak to me. I have to give up on that one I think; I just don't have the energy.

I know from everything I've read on MN that confronting a narcissist is pointless but I'm SO VERY HURT AND MAD at my D and want to tell him I know what he's and M have been all these years, what they#ve said about me and my DH and that's why I'm backing away from him. But just what do I do with all the anger towards him about everything?

How do I get over the need to tell him how I feel? Is there any point just going round there, going potty and coming away to take a deep breath and get on with life?

Thank you for reading and sorry this is so long - just writing it helped.

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