Narcicistic father. Is he too old for me to take a stand?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My father is very difficult and always has been. He has never been interested in any of his children and thinks of us only in terms of how he might be able to brag about us to others. In his mind, this means we should be well off and married to rich men who kiss his buttosky. It is not uncommon for him to call us horrible names an d to say things like "Not one of you children ever gave me one moment of pleasure! Not one! And I was a PERFECT father) <====lol. He has NEVER said a good word about any of the three of us. I'm not exaggerating.

    I'm ashamed to say that the reason my sister and I put up with him to a certain extent was because he would sometimes give us small amounts of money when we needed it. He was hateful about it, but he'd do it. And both my sister and I don't have a lot of money. I know now that I should have done without his small favors long ago and put my foot down long ago, but I didn't and now he is 88.

    In the last three years he has gotten even more abusive. He told my brother that because of his age he is "not holding back anymore." Heavens, we laughed at that because none of us thought he was holding back before, but I guess he has been because as awful as he has always been, his attacks are worse and more frequent. He does not, in any way, have Alzheimers. He is very lucid, clear, and has a remarkable memory for his age, especially about things he considers past slights. The last time I talked to him, he was livid beyond being livid because on Father's Day I was with my own family and forgot to call him.

    So I called him the next day. He didn't answer the phone (I thought he was out, but I now realize he was angry and pouting) so I left an upbeat apologetic voicemail saying I was sorry it was late, but Happy Father's Day. He didn't accept the late well wishes. He thinks I sounded too cavalier about forgetting to call him on father's day. He thinks I didn't sound sorry enough that I forgot. He won't speak to me because of it, although he did call me one time. When he called me it was pure abuse.

    Basically he ranted and yelled about things from forty years ago to his 85th birthday party, which I planned and it didn't go off because we couldn't come in on the appointed day (long story). He told me, all of us were crapola (using the shorter word) over and over again. Then he called my brother afterward and told HIM that we were all the "S" word. He repeated that over and over again.

    I'm so done with his abuse. Once he gets over his anger (it has been over a month now that he has been furious that I didn't call on Father's Day) he WILL call me again. I want to tell him that we are not **** and that if he is abusive to me again, I am going to have to get off the phone. My inheritance could be at stake. However, my sister and I have a pact that if he disinherits one of us, we'll split the money anyway. And if I don't get the inheritance, it's not the end of the world. My mother disinherited me (nobody knows why--she was as bad as my father was). I survived that.

    My real question is, should I even go there since I was dumb enough to wait to bring it up until he was 88? I really DON'T want to hear it anymore. I especially get hot when he demeans my husband, whom I love very much, because he doesn't make a lot of money. He's Crapola

    I wouldn't START anything, but if he called me a name, I would tell him, "No, I'm not crapola. If you can't be nice to me, I'm going to get off the phone. That is abuse."

    Is it too late for that? Cruel to do that to such an old man? Is it worth it?

    Actually, Sis an d I have some fun with it. We text each other all the time with stuff like "Hey, Sis, you're crapola. What did you ever do for me?" And then the answer: "You're "S!" I remember when you forgot to call me on my birthday twenty years ago." We laugh about it a lot.

    My father is a classic narcissist. If it's not about him, he isn't intersted. He never even went to see his great-grandson and has no interest in him or any of us, really. Dad can not even pay attention to what others are saying if he isn't the center of the conversation. He truly believes the sun doesn't rise until he does. He has been verbally abusive and borderline violent (throwing things with fury in his eyes) all of his life and in all of his relationships. His father was sort of like that too.

    Wise women, what d'ya say? :)
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  2. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Well, it is never too late to stand up for yourself! It's not about how old he is, it is about you deciding what you will take and what you won't.

    But I have admit, that if I were you, I would consider also inheritance issue. To be frank, how important that money would be for you? You have clearly worked for that money over 21 (LOL, I'm guessing it may be significantly over 21) years, so depending his health I would consider if it is smart to give up so late in the game. That of course depends about how significant inheritance would be for you.

    My dad has similar characteristics, though he is likely more Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) than narcissistic and I have dealt with him my whole life. You certainly have my sympathies whatever you choose to do.

    Others are likely to tell that this is about self-respect and it is right thing to stood up and defend yourself, and they are probably right. But you and your sister seem to have ways to cope with the abuse and sometimes it may be enough that you know it is not about you, it is him and his issues and decide to just go all teflon and go through the final years with him. Just listen and not let anything really stick. Detach completely emotionally but go through the movements. But that of course is only worth it, if pay day is big enough.

    You don't own anything for your father, so do what is right for You!
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Suz. I don't really take his words as gospel. I think he's rather off the rails, to be honest. He always has been. But he knows what he is saying and doing. This isn't new behavior for him, just intensified behavior he has always displayed. At the same time, in he wee recesses of my mind, it DOES hurt. My mother didn't like me

    Both of them were crazy in their own ways. I kept trying to please my mother until her death. She never forgave me for whatever she was angry about (nobody is sure) and in the end she disinherited me anyway. I'm sorry I played up to her. I just wanted her love so badly. I found out that it takes two to make a relationship work and she didn't want to do it.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I don't think Dad would actually disinherit me, but he could. Never know :) He doesn't have so much stashed away that it will make us rich though. I'll have to think about what you said.
  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Absolutely take a stand. My mother is almost that bad and getting worse. She has never approved of ME. I have never done anything right and still don't. My house is never clean enough. My kids nor I are not good enough. I don't go visit her every day like she did with her 80+ year old mother (my mom is 68). She's glad she never treated her mother the way Ive treated her. It doesn't matter that I am the only one that has ALWAYS dropped everything when she needed something and taken her everywhere. When she's had back or leg surgery, I'm the one that took care of her. But, I have finally taken a stand with her (she's written me out of her will, too because of it). If she makes a negative comment about me or my kids, I hang up or leave without another word. I have VERY limited contact with her now and went for 4 months without any contact at all because she had crossed the line and tried to justify it.

    You don't deserve to be treated the way he treats you. The first time you decide to take a stand, tell him you will NOT put up with this emotional and verbal abuse any more and that from now on you will simply hang up. Then all subsequent phone calls should be ended abruptly without further explanation. Just hang up on him.

    I am sorry he's such a horse's patootie. No one deserves to be treated this way and it's never to late to stand up to him. I'm very proud of you for doing it at all. Many people don't.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    My parents don't have anywhere near what you describe for behaviors, but they weren't easy to grow up with or to have around either. But now that we live closer to where they are, there are some things I notice. And one is... the older they get, the less ABLE they are to "hold it together". Neither has Alzheimers. But both are "aging in their minds" - what we used to call common senility. And the less they are able to hold it together, the more they lash out.

    Your dad might be trying to make it look like a deliberate decision to not hold back any more, but... maybe, in reality, he knows he doesn't have whatever control he used to have, and so to look like he still has control, he is calling it a deliberate decision?
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Hmmmmmmm...good question. I never faced those issues with my parents but my Ex has similar characteristics. The two easy child's (in their 50's) just keep their distance, are polite and don't "take his bait". GFGmom is the one who stays in touch with him most and is, of course, the one hoping to get some $$'s when his time comes. She evidently has a few sentences she uses "you may be right Dad" "sorry I wasn't perfect" "I guess all of us have made mistakes" etc. When the conversation gets too too...she says "sorry I've got to go now, have a great day". Yep. GFGmom actually has it mastered.

    I personally think her approach is probably the healthiest. (Likely the first time I've said anything positive about her, lol!) When each of my parents died I was very glad that I had always been polite and there were no mean words in our past. One of my sisters still believes that our Dad was angry with her the week he had cardiac arrest. Truly I don't think he was...but she does...and it has been almost forty years.

    So, I suggest "sorry, Dad, I have to go now"....then call your sister and vent. Hugs DDD
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm with the "don't take a stand" side for several reasons.

    Your sister and you may agree now that you will take care of each other after his death, but what if he lives another 10 years and she is the only one she's screaming at all that time? She might decide that you got off easy and resent you for it. And it's not as though you won't hear every nasty thing he has to say about you and your husband if you try to shut him down. Every little word and slight will get back to you. He'll make sure of it.

    More importantly, especially with the statement that he's "not going to hold back anymore", I believe that he has issued a challenge to his children to see who he can make the most miserable and/or cut out of the will. If you are correct that he is not suffering any type of dementia, then he has this very well planned out. He feels he's not getting enough attention, and lashing out is the only way he knows how to get it. Imagine what a thrill it would give him to have someone actually fight back! Don't go there.

    Other than the Father's Day thing, do you ever call him? I know it must be torture, but it would probably throw him off the track if you called and asked him how he was doing. He wouldn't have that putrid anger all built up and planned out because you would be the one initiating the contact.

    The next time you do talk to him, regardless of who initiates it, I would not tell him off if he says something nasty. I would say, "Oh, my goodness! The pan on the stove is smoking, I have to go!" Then I'd hang up. It accomplishes the same thing. I'd do it every time he calls. Burning pan on the stove, dog peeing on the carpet, someone at the door. Anything to hang up on him. I've been known to go to the front door, ring the doorbell and make the dog bark to get away from people on the phone if I don't want to talk to them. He'll figure it out, and better yet he can't say anything bad about your for doing it that way. Things happen and sometimes you have to hang up the phone.

    I was at a picnic a while back and a man was there with his teenage daughters who were visiting for the summer vacation. They were from New Orleans and very proud of The Saints. They wore gold and black everything, so the conversation of where they lived came up. One of the girls, about 14 years old, said something less than flattering about her mother, who is apparently lacking in maternal instincts. The father said, "Does it need to be said? Does it need to be said right now? Does it need to be said by you?" It was a kind of mantra, and it shut her down very quickly. All of what your father says that is hurtful is a "no" answer to those questions. Don't lower yourself to his level.

    FWIW, the last thing my father said to me before I tried to make my point that he wasn't going to treat me badly anymore was "I never told any of you kids that I was proud of you because 'perfect' was the least I expected of you." I have not heard one word from him or my four brothers and sisters in the 14 years since. Well, not directly anyway. I hear plenty about what they say about me. Believe me - you don't want to go there.

    I hope you will consider how bad it could be if you actually gave him a reason to be angry at you. He's a nasty piece of work when you're a meek and loving daughter. He'll be ten times worse if you aren't.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, witz. Well, you kinda have to know Dad. He doesn't want to cut any of us out of his will. He likes the power that gives him, plus that just isn't anything I think he'd really do. It's possible, but he's been threatening that for so many years that it's just hot air to us. At the same time, it's always possible, which is why Sis and I have been careful. And it's not like he has millions, trust me. As for my sister, naw. She isn't like that either. I have a very small family. It's just me, my brother and my sister, really, and we are very close. I'm not worried about that. And, yes, we tell each other what Dad says about us, but mostly to laugh at. It's not malicious. We know what he's like and he never spares anyone the hate, and he wouldn't stop spreading it around now. He is just a very unpleasant person and he lacks the ability to be nice to anybody.

    However, thank you for the tip about just cutting him off in other ways, like ringing my own doorbell, lolol. If I knock on my door, all my dogs will go ballistic and he won't be able to hear anything but the dogs. That's a GREAT idea!!! I like it better than contradicting him on something he truly believes (that all of us are crapola).

    I usually call him once or twice a week just to check up on his health. I try to keep the conversation strictly to benign topics such as the weather. I didn't call this week because he won't pick up the phone if he knows it's me so I'm not going to waste my time. I'll wait until he's done pouting and he calls me.

    Thanks again for the doorbell idea! That's a winner!!!!
  9. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I read your post and only had a moment to glance thru the responses...

    Yes - it's too late to take a stand WITH HIM. He's 88, he's been your father for at least over 21 years (wink) and it is way too late to teach an old dog new tricks. Taking a stand WITH him will cause polarity. Frankly - it's not worth the effort or the pain.

    been there done that. Still struggling with it. (whatever you do, DO NOT TEACH YOUR FATHER HOW TO TEXT. Or to use facebook. (You're so vane, I bet you think this status is about you, don't you, don't you? -- with apologies to Carly Simon)

    Furthermore, anyone who hears the story from him about his "ungrateful daughter blah blah blah" WILL TAKE HIS SIDE. Because he is 88. Know what I mean??

    But it's not too late to refuse to play the game. To change your responses, to not engage, to put up an invisible wall between your inner being and his coldness. Still working on that myself.

    Along those lines, - I love the doorbell idea. Thank goodness for cordless phones!!! I think I will be employing that trick soon!
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I only have a cell phone...hehe.

    I've been detaching and disengaging for years now. It's just that when he gets mad, he calls ME and screams and abuses.

    And you're wrong. If he tells anyone about us, it is basically us three he would tell and we know better. He doesn't have male friends, has never had an interest in any. He does have one female friend and I never met her and don't care what she thinks. Other than that, there is nobody for him to talk about us to. AND WE KNOW WHAT HE'S! :)
  11. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    You do not need to listen to ANYONE who screams and abuses...

    remember (TV show) "The Weakest Link"? A simple "goodbye" and visualize him dropping into a black hole as you hang up. I am so sorry he is so crummy.
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well, I don't know your father. So keep that in mind.

    There was a time I could not please my Mom, and that, trust me is putting it so mildly that it might as well be marshmallow fluff. We'll just say I'm being very kind. She was abusive, vicious, vendictive....... If she had not been so kind to my children, I'd have dropped contact with her the moment I left home. Unlike your dad, age has mellowed her instead of made it worse. But while I endured that abuse as a child when I was not with gramma, I refused to endure it as an adult. Oddly I discovered along the way that the more I told her off, the more she seemed to respect me. And I'm going to say that while with most people I can remain tactful and not raise my voice, my mom can bring out the worst in anyone and has on several occasions triggered my own vicious temper. So there have been more than plenty of times that I've thrown it back at her as awful, if not worse, than she gave it if the situation called for it. I did NOT pull punches. Someone who treats others that way, especially their "loved" ones, doesn't deserve to have punches pulled regardless of age. Nor do they respect it if you do.

    I've been disowned any number of times. I refuse to give in. I refuse to compromise. I refuse to be guilted. I demand respect and I will get it or there will be no relationship. This is with everyone, not just my mother. I treat others with respect and I expect to be treated the same way, I will not tolerate less. I won't lie to you, it took quite a while for my mother to realize this. But as I said, she learned and she respected me for being strong enough to stand up to her. We've managed, since those boundaries took hold, to develop a pretty close relationship. I find it amusing that I'm the only one of her kids she completely trusts, the one she turns to for advice or when she needs something. Because I am the only kid who will tell her exactly like it is, whether she wants to hear it or not. lol

    You never know, maybe your dad is just waiting for one of his kids to have the guts to blast him back. I'll never forget the look on my mother's face the first time she got it from me (it wasn't pretty she'd triggered my temper), it was as if I'd just slapped her silly, she started to talk, thought better of it and shut up. My mom has a vicious temper inherited from my gramma who's was worse, mine is like my gramma's and my mom knows it.

    Even if it doesn't cause him to treat you better, your boundaries will be in place and you no longer have to subject yourself to his abuse.

    People treat us how we allow ourselves to be treated. This includes our parents.

  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    What's the female friend hoping for? I can't imagine any woman in her right mind sticking around for that kind of abuse unless they expected to get something in return out of it.
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    OMG I think our father's are twins. I haven't spoken to mine since father's day and unless I break down and go over there I never willagain because he will never call me. Honestly my father sounds much like yours. He has always been a miserable person, we never did anything right, he was always angry at one of us for something and would try to get the other two on his side. He caused so much trouble between us siblings that I have not talked to or seen my older sister in over 30 years, no one has. He has disowned us all so many times, actually changed his will several times. Her wants the power over us. It's ridiculous because he has nothing. He sold the house we grew up in two years ago for $39,000. He gave my younger sister and I $13,000 and saved $13,000 for himself. I immediately put it in the bank to help pay for easy child's wedding at some point. He gave older sister nothing and put in his will he doesn't want her to have anything, although there is nothing left now, no insurance, no jewelry, nothing of any value. So now he has no control over me anymore.

    His current favorite is younger sister. Loves her and her family and we are uppidy snobs according to him and sister. No matter that I took care of mom for six years when she was bedridden and then took him grocery shopping and paid his bills and cleaned his house for 15 years after that. Obviously I haven't done enough and I have audacity to call him on it when he is treating me poorly.

    Latest problem began Christmas 2010 when I asked him not to have alcohol on Christas Eve because difficult child had recently gotten out of rehab. That caused a big problem with him and sister, who brought wine over and they celebrated in the kitchen of his one bedroom apartment, as if that was OK. We stayed to be nice but I called several days later to discuss this and we ended up in argument. Things were already strained with my sister over many issues so then she got into it with me and hence we have barely spoken the past two years. Just this past Father's Day easy child and I went to visit him with gift and he was at corner bar and I discovered my key to his apartment didn't work. We went up tp the bar and asked why I couldn't get in and he told me he changed his locks because I never come over anyway. That hurt me and we left and I haven't spoken to hm since. As we were leaving he made a dismissive hand gesture to us. A few days later I wrote him a letter and sent it, telling him how I felt about him locking me out and that I never felt unconditional love from him because his love always depended on who he wasn't mad at at the time. I told him that I couldn;t understand why he wanted to spend his last years with so much anger (he's 92) but that I wasn't going to get caught up in his games and life was too short for that.

    He is having a great time with sister's family according to fb pics my sister posts. She defriended me but I can see her fb profile pics. I realized he has always been like this and I was always too afraid to lose contact with him to stand up but phooey on that anymore. The price for having him in my life is too high. He is a nasty bitter angry dysfunctional man and has never known how to treat his family. He would never call me....never. He thinks it's our duty to call him and has always felt that way. Geez I call my easy child all the time I don't wait for her to call me.

    So I don't know what you should do. Telling him off will not change him, will make no difference in how he treats you, but it may make you feel better. Al I know is I hope and pray I never ever get like him.

  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    LOL Witz. Well, first of all, my father loves the ladies and has had many since my mother threw him out (that was one smart thing she did, although he blamed all of us for the divorce because he thought that if we'd talked to Mother she wouldn't have divorced him). The joke there is that Mother was as stubborn and bullheaded as him and wouldn't have listened to any of us, but he likes to think she would have, so...whatever. He still brings this up. He had another SO for twenty years and I have no idea what she saw in him. She was uber-wealthy and he mooched off of her. They did travel together and he likes traveling, but doesn't like to pay for his partner so she was able to pay her own way. He treated her like garbage, yelling and swearing at her, screaming horrible things to her about the amount of time she spent away from him and with her totally disabled daughter. Her daughter had a rare form of arthritis and couldn't lift even her head or hand...she needed total care. My father used to make fun of her personality and looks all the time. If it were me, I would have booted him out the door and never spoken to him again, but she just sort of ignored him and saw her daughter anyway. I don't know what she was thinking. She was a nice lady, didn't need him for money at all (she didn't work, didn't have to work) and was intelligent too.

    And then he'd call us up and swear and scream about her to US. I think she just wanted any man who would travel with her. After she passed on, he had a few women and one of them wanted marriage. She was a doll. I am glad she broke it off because he wouldn't marry her. This new woman is "more like a friend." Yes, my father has had sex until recently, maybe he still does, but not with her. God only knows what she wants from him.

    Telling my father off just enrages him. He has no interest in any of his children and could and would walk away from us, never to see us again, without grieving. None of us are any good. There is no favorite. He dislikes us all. If he is indifferent to us, he is totally oblivious to his grandchildren. He doesn't even know their birthdays and never sends a card. Often he will say, "You shouldn't have adopted those kids, but YOU WANTED TO" like it was a bad thing. He even picks on my dogs. "They're expensive and YOU CAN'T AFFORD THEM!"

    His lack of interest in my children is not because most of them are adopted. He pays just as little attention to his three biological grandchildren and has never once made the effort to see my biological son's son, his great-grandson. And he doesn't even remember great-grandson's name. He calls him Jeremiah (his name is Jeremy). We are NOT important to him, none of us.

    Nancy, I'm so sorry you have an equally horrible, divisive father. I wish my father drank. At least it would be an excuse for his horrible behavior, and maybe we could get him drunk when he does show up at family J/K. I know it's not funny. I also know that these horrible parents cause so much trouble between the siblings. They are just so impossible to deal with and cause so much trouble...and I think they LIKE causing trouble. It's really sad.

    My father has never changed his will. For one thing, he's lazy and doesn't want to see the lawyer or go to the bank. For another thing, I don't think he is really going to do it. It's just a threat so he can control us. Many times he has said, smugly, "I'm in the driver's seat. You know why." He means his will. My brother is the executor and told us he has never once even called his lawyer about changing the will.

    My father is one of the most unhappy people I have ever met. He can make a bright, beautiful sunshine be rain, if you Know what I mean?.
  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I would really advise not to even think of inheritances or wills. That subject is a mine field. My children's paternal grandparents loved them to death. They had nothing (even less than I do, lol) but I knew that the Noritake china was intended for the children because they loved the china...not because it was valuable. Very, very shortly before their surviving grandparent Ex took them to an attorney who made the will short and sweet. Everything went to their beloved son (Ex). The children did not get a photograph or a teacup. Ex and his second wife liquidated or donated the contents of the house. They collected the small insurance policy. The children only had the "opportunity" to attend the funeral with their bioDad. My advice..don't even think about inheritances. You truly don't know what, if anything, you may receive AND it had nothing to do with emotions anyway. Hugs DDD
  17. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes I do kwym, totally. I can't believe they are so alike. My dad loves the ladies too and always has, his marriage vows to mom never stopped him. I have a half brother I just found out about a few years ago.

  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yes, they are a lot alike. Funny thing is, they would not like each other if they met. Not that my father likes ANYONE...
  19. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    My father was the psychic/psycho (?) twin of your dad. He was the classic narcissist and miserable SOB.

    I basically cut him off completely but of course it was easy to do because there was no inheritance involved. Most of his phone calls involved him asking me to send him money. When he'd call me and yell, I'd pretend there was phone trouble. I'd yell: "what did you say? I can't hear... too much static" and then I'd hang up. Once caller ID came into vogue, I generally didn't even answer the phone when I saw it was him.

    Towards the end of his life, he became maudlin and would call me to cry and apologize. At that point, I had no desire to torment him anymore so I would just accept his apology and say I forgave him and pretend that I didn't remember the event he was calling about. I felt badly that he never realized his potential in life and as I get older, I feel more sympathy for him but I don't miss him.
  20. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No MWM, they would not like each other. My dad didn't like anyone either, except fellow beer drinkers and gamblers. One of the reasons he really doesn't have much to do with us is because we don't drink much and my sister's family does so he feels more comfortable there.Dad has always been socially awkward, doesn't know how to make small talk or even be socially polite. He sits there and expects everyone to come to him and if you don't he is slighted and pouts.