Sam, Your father sounds like a narcissist and the abusive things he did to you did damage you no doubt. Dr. Coleman is writing about normal parents who made mistakes out of love. He is not writing about narcissists, sociopaths, or those who are just totally self centered -- they will always excuse their own behavior, be the victim, full of "unconditional self love" as you say, and never put another person first. I find the http://www.reddit.com page "raised by a narcissist" helpful, perhaps you might also. A narcissist never feels shame or remorse so it will be more helpful for your own emotional health to let go of wanting this or hoping for change in your dad. Another helpful book is Dr Phil's Life Code. One has to learn the "tricks" of these people, learn to have healthy boundaries, and learn to protect oneself from them. You can't change the past, can't change another person, but you can mature yourself, improve yourself, and move on to a good life. Usually that means detaching from the narcissist and not seeing them (much) and not letting them take advantage of you. Here's wishing you the best!
"If there were mistakes, you really deserve to forgive yourself for those mistakes and to have compassion for yourselves. We all make mistakes as parents. It’s an unavoidable part of being a human. Really work on developing that unconditional self-love because it will give you the greatest sense of strength of all." ~ Dr. Joshua Coleman
My father equates his physical and emotional abuse towards his children as parenting "mistakes", as I'm sure a lot of other abusive parents do. My father feels no shame about what he did; he believes he is faultless, despite a lifetime of failed relationships with friends and his own children.
Sure, he did a few things right, like not abusing drugs or alcohol, but that will never excuse the trauma he caused with his punitive, authoritarian style of parenting. He doesn't need to forgive himself - he needs to feel some shame and remorse for what he has done. Unfortunately, this will never happen because he already has ample unconditional self-love.
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