My Father the narcissistic shell of a man?!(sorry long)

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by totoro, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Well, I think even if you all were here watching from the outside, you would still be sitting shaking your heads.
    OK, for what it is worth, I truly believe my Dad is trying, I think he has become what he can. I think this is *his good side*. LOL
    He cried (tiny bit) when he met the girls, he could not sleep that night. He thought about them all night. These things surprised me.
    He noticed that K looks so much like my Mom... this was huge for me.
    He showed up with 2 huge stuffed puppies for them, he played dolls with them.
    One day he came in wearing their goggles and floaties and hats! Saying come on it's swim time!
    He and his wife came to School and helped drop them off and pick them up. They spoke Spanish to the girls and told them about Mexico.
    The girls loved them.

    But then he would just go on and on to me about the past, I don't know if this is his, catharsis... his dealing with things?
    But he will say things like, "So why did you try to kill your self?"
    He will ask for an answer, but then act like he just doesn't get it and like it is all no big deal.
    Tell me all about times with hookers with my StepMom...
    He truly feels like we were all just kids growing up together. He doesn't think it was really *bad* to have me deal drugs or do drugs... he just laughs and shrugs it off. Taking me to bars every night from 13 on, normal.

    I don't care about these things anymore, but he keeps bringing them up and trying to understand... I guess trying to understand me?
    I have told him all about how I was just messed up, with my Mom's suicide and the abuse, being molested, getting pregnant, having BiPolar (BP)... so many things... I had no-one to talk to. That was it no more no less. It sucked.
    But then he just laughs and says, "well we were all crazy back then, sorry"
    Then he will tell me a story about how he did something even crazier say 10 years ago, stole an RV and took it to Mexico! He just laughs about it!
    He acts like he wants to feel and like he is trying but he seems like a shell of a person at times.
    This was our best visit ever. This was the best he has ever been. But with my Dad, if push came to shove... he would turn on people.

    husband was very sad one night, I asked him why, he said, "I just wish your Dad understood how great you are, I wish he got it. I wish he realized what he has missed"

    I was talking to my girlfriend and I told her there was nothing to be angry about, she said, "I will be angry for you, I am angry because he doesn't how much he has f'd up and lost by not being in your life"

    I guess I see their points, but I can not make a person feel. I can not make a person be a *Dad* the way society and the way we tradionally see a *Dad*. So if he sticks around for awhile and remains safe....well I guess I will continue to let the girls be in his life.
    As for me, the wall was built so long ago... I don't think I will ever let it come down. I will be his friend, but if he were to disappear or die. So be it. I don't have a Mother or a Father. But I have love... (you all are part of this)
    So I am chalking this up to a good visit.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It is what it is. It was a good visit.
    You are right ... your dad will not change. There is something missing there and he's never going to "get it."
    husband sounds so sweet and wonderful!!!
    Try to focus on that and not what is not and will never be there. So many of us are/were stuck with-bad parents and it takes yrs to just let it all go.
  3. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Thanks Terry! You know what is funny is that my Dad admitted to being a counter... Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) type thing. I think with all of the talking about K, he really is interested in her. He has started looking into his own issues.
  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Toto, I'm glad that your visit with your dad was good, and on your terms.
    You're a very strong person, to be able to let him into your life while still protecting yourself and your girls from being hurt.

    You're right, that he likely just doesn't have it in him, whatever it is that makes a Dad. He likely won't ever "get it", and it's great that you understand that, can accept it, and can have a relationship with him.

    I think your husband is is very sad that your Dad doesn't see what a great person you are, and how much he's missing by not understanding that. But it's his loss.

    Hugs, Toto. You did great!

  5. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    You are handling this much better than I ever would have. You're obviously in a good place emotionally.

    I'm sorry that he's never going to be the kind of Dad you would like to have, but I'm really glad that you are able to accept him for who he is and are keeping yourself guarded.

  6. mom_in_training

    mom_in_training New Member

    Wow Totoro, I do have to say that I am amazed with the strength that you have. I am glad that the visit with your Dad went well. You are right, You cannot make a person feel let alone change them. They are who they are and we all know that if any change occurs that is up to that individual. You are a great person and who knows someday if he has not already realized that he may not know how to express it to you. You just never know. Its awesome that although you have walls up (Do not blame you there) you are willing to just accept him as is and can see that he in some ways is working on his own issues. You go girl.... :)
  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    T, my dad died 10 years ago today. He was a major weird guy. No good. Actually claimed to have killed somebody once. I believe him. He was, um...affiliated with the mob. He physically, mentally and emotionally abused my mother.

    He did not play a big role in my adult life. But, he was still my dad. He still made me a PBJ sandwich like nobody else could when I was little. He still was the one that played bumble bee and pretended to sting me (which was actually tickling me) when I was little. He always had a Bazooka Joa bubble gum on him when you needed it. He always made us laugh at his antics.

    Even if there were no good memories, he still is a story in my life. He is the only 'dad' I have. I am VERY fortunate to have a stepfather that is a real father to me. But, my dad is still my dad.

    So, it is REALLY good that you got this experience with your dad. I think you are wise to keep up your wall and to also protect your littles with that same wall. They do not need their own as long as you have one.

    HUGS! I am happy for you.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow, Totoro, fascinating that learning about K has made him interested in his own issues. Still, I wouldn't get my hopes up. I suspect he will think it is interesting from an analytical point of view but won't apply it to himself. Too much emotional work, Know what I mean??
  9. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I'm sorry you didn't get the Dad that you deserved. I have spent decades grieving that Dad myself, and mine was just aloof. You are an amazing person to have so much goodness and love in you to give when so little was given to you.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I think you've found a place where you've been able to detach from all the pain that was and the frustration of what "should" have been -- and based on all the bad you've been through, it's good that you can do this. I think it's absolutely essential. It's what's allowed you to move on and create your own life, full of all the things you didn't have when you were younger. You CAN NOT change anyone but yourself, and you've acknowledged the wisdom in accepting that. Anyone who hasn't been down a path similar to yours will understandably feel outrage for your losses (as expressed by your husband and your friends). But I think anyone who HAS been down a road like yours will see that you've let go long ago in order to preserve your own sanity and allow yourself to keep growing. The unfortunate souls who never let go of the pain in their past are destined to relive it day after day in one form or another. I am glad the visit with your dad is going well -- it's really nice that your girls will get to see some of his positive attributes. I hope that's the memory they get to keep forever.
  11. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I really think you have a the right attitude. As you probably know the anger that you once felt, and I know you did, led you to some really scary places in your life. By letting go of it you were able to build the life that you have now. My mother, God bless her, still talks about how she "raised" my sister and I. In her mind, she sees it that way. I cringe when I hear it, but I know that in her reality that is the truth. That truth doesn't exist for the rest of the world---but if it helps her cope with her choices in life, I can't fault her. You be proud of who you are inspite of him. And love him from afar. He does seem to have come a long way from who he was and maybe that is as far as he can go.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    You have an amazingly healthy attitude toward this man. I can only imagine the therapy and introspection and work it took to get to this point. I admire you for it, greatly. I would still be stuck on "doesn't he undestand how much it hurt me when X happened because he did Y????"

    I think you have an amazing husband. He seems to truly appreciate you and all that you have accomplished and overcome in your life. I will second (or third, or forty-ninth) his statement, "I just wish your Dad understood how great you are, I wish he got it. I wish he realized what he has missed"

    I ma glad you know that WE love you, and that you are part of OUR family!!

    Enjoy the positive things that go on, but don't leave the kids alone with him very much, not if "But with my Dad, if push came to shove... he would turn on people. "

    No matter how interested he is in K and her problems, don't leave the kids alone with him much. Too risky, in my opinion.

    I hope you can feel the love we are all sending you!

  13. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    It's a shame he doesn't understand what he lost. Some druggies keep the druggie mentality long after they quit using. They. just. don't. get. it! His loss.

    That you could accept him as he was is wonderful. Even if you never see him again, your girls will have some wonderful memories of their grandfather. What a very special gift you have given them.
  14. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    <<<HUGS>>> he gives new meaning to taking the good with the bad....
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It sounds to me like he's just on the shallow side- ie- he doesn't think too deep. But, I agree that he seemed to enjoy the girls and genuinely care about them- and you! Maybe he's been trying to answer some questions for himself and just didn't pick up on the fact that it wasn't really a good idea to keep bringing up the past. Anyway, I'm glad you have a pretty objective view about how he is and can accept it for that- it won't be any more, but it might not be any less and that could add something to your and the girls lives.

    So all-in-all, it sounds like it was worth him visiting. I'm glad it wasn't as bad as it could have been!
  16. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    You guys rock!!! it is so nice to just be able to talk and have people actually get it! Without the pushing, "but he is your Dad".
    Yeah, well, a lot of us have been down that road!!! With a lot of our family members.
    Thanks... you guys really do help keep it real. I actually do feel good about the whole thing.
  17. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Sending hugs and lots of love.
  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm glad that you had a good visit. He really doesn't get it, does he? I'm sorry that he is pressing you for your explanation of how what he did made you feel. That's not something you can explain. It just is.

    Honestly, those questions sound a little demented. How can he not understand that those things weren't good for you? You're doing very well, given the circumstances. I'm glad that your husband reached out to you. Hopefully he won't visit often! ;)
  19. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    I think many people, especially men, have a hard time dealing with past mistakes. My father was physically and mentally abusive to my entire family. We all absolutely hated him for years. Now, I'm the only sibling that has anything to do with him. But, he acts like your dad in some ways. He has never once said anything about the way we were raised and seems to be in complete oblivion as to why my other 2 siblings have no contact with him. Duh.

    I know he's smart enough to know you don't beat someone or tear them down emotionally, but he still won't even say I'm sorry. Your dad sounds a bit crazy, but should know what he did to you is not good. He should own up to that.

    I'm glad the visit was good in your eyes. Keep strong.

  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It sounds to me like he is justifying the past and trivialising anything that he could be criticised for, to duck out of ay possibility of being criticised. People do this, even if they know they are wrong.

    One of my sisters was fairly horrible to me when I was little. She's been good since, but when she was in her teens and I was just starting school, she was often mean. I can look back now and understand why she was so angry and why I was the target (I was there). Like you, I can look back now, having dealt with the fallout (which could not even come close to what you have been though, of course) but she herself cannot. She had to rewrite the truth in her own way, to trivialise it and even justify it, in the same way your father has made light of all he did and tried to make it seem not only normal, but a fun thing to do.

    It was my mother's funeral, easy child was about 14 at the time. We were at the wake afterwards; if anything, at the after-wake wake. My sister was talking to easy child (loudly) about what a nuisance little sisters can be, about how it is perfectly acceptable to give them a hard time because after all, little sisters are a real nuisance. easy child was grinning, looked like she was having fun and I was seething - my older daughter was being indoctrinated to bully her younger sister and encouraged to compare stories as if they were telling funny stories. It was wrong, it was immoral and it was also undermining my parental authority - it had been triggered by my correcting easy child for shouting at her sister.

    I didn't react - there would have been no point. It did occur to me though, that my sister was still more damaged by what she did to me, than I still was by what she did.

    Later that evening when we were alone in the apartment we were staying in, easy child came and talked to me about it. "I couldn't believe just how ignorant Aunty could have been, to talk like that to me. I know you've told me hat she used to do - how could she justify it like that?" and she gave me a hug. Her grin had been partly horrified fascination, partly not wanting her aunt to realise just how badly she condemned herself with every word.

    It's all in the past for me, there is no point in trying to resolve things with my sister - she was only a child herself and to her credit, she did stop as soon as she was old enough to realise it was wrong. She's been good to me since. But in her mind, the only way she can live with herself is to trivialise and deny. A pity, because SHE is the one now most damaged by what she did.