Forum

Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
For every estranged parent there is AN ADULT ESTRANGED CHILD!!
November 27, 2011
8:57 am
Avatar
Louise
Guest
Guests

Low Contact Daughter said:

Thanks, I look forward to it. You have very good insights:)

Louise, I read your posting about your estrangement from your mother with sadness and interest. Several points you made resonated with my own experiences within my family of origin.

However, it's getting late here in Oz (around 10:47pm) and I want to make sure my response is well-considered, not rushed.

Will try to get back to you within the next few days...until then, keep your chin up. You will get through this.


November 27, 2011
3:52 am
Avatar
Low Contact Daughter
Guest
Guests

Louise, I read your posting about your estrangement from your mother with sadness and interest. Several points you made resonated with my own experiences within my family of origin.

However, it's getting late here in Oz (around 10:47pm) and I want to make sure my response is well-considered, not rushed.

Will try to get back to you within the next few days...until then, keep your chin up. You will get through this.

November 27, 2011
3:38 am
Avatar
Low Contact Daughter
Guest
Guests

Mandy, I think you are pretty well spot-on when you say "I'm wondering whether we in fact develop these over-compensatory aspects to our personalities BECAUSE of having been around narcissistic and manipulative people all our lives..."

I also think that when people have had relationships with narcissistic significant others, as you and I and others on this board have, they can sometimes have issues with emotional boundaries. Before I continue, I'd like to make it clear that I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist, so I can only speak from my own experience and hope that some points I make might be helpful for others.

The emotional wounds we non-narcissists have incurred following our engulfing, boundary-crossing relationships with family narcissists are deep. So deep that we may have problems setting healthy boundaries for ourselves once we have left (or been left by) the narcissist. Old habits, or unhealthy ways of relating to people, learned at the hands of the narcissist over many years, die hard. And emotional wounds are slower to heal than physical ones. In my case I have to watch that I don't over-identify with strangers who are suffering at the hands of narcissists, or become overly hostile or yearning towards those who remind me of my narcissistic father, and thereby cross boundaries myself. This phenomenon (over-identification, instant sympathy or hostility, and boundary crossing) is known as emotional transference.

From what I've read, transference can be positive and healing if you're in a sound therapeutic relationship and the therapist knows how to deal with it. However, on this board we don't have this training so I think it's something to be aware of and guard against as it's not reality-based and can injure others. Transference is kind of an emotional short-cut, where we project the feelings we had towards significant others (in my case, the father I am estranged from and his victims) onto others, then expect them to behave in that way. Transference blinds us so that we see in others only what we need to see, thereby opening ourselves up to pain and disillusionment as they almost inevitably fail to "follow the script" our transference reaction has set for them.

BTW, transference can also occur when deep emotional wounds have occurred at the hands of non-narcissists. I've just restricted myself to talking about people with narcissistic personality disorder as that is where my life experience lies.

I guess what I'm working up to saying is that this board, where both estranged parents and estranged children can post and interact with each other, is a potential emotional powder keg due to the phenomenon of transference. It is possible, however, that blow-ups and further wounds can be avoided if we keep reminding ourselves that the person we are communicating with on the board - and potentially having an intense emotional response to - is NOT the family member we have lost. Instead, they are a completely new individual with their own unique personality, values and life issues..that they may or may not choose to share with us.

As a final point, I'm not saying that we should avoid responding to others with compassion, appropriately weighted judgement/constructive criticism, or interest. What I am trying to highlight is that we need to be on our guard when we notice that our reactions to someone we have just met are unusually emotionally intense - either in a positive or a negative direction. Then, more likely than not, what we are actually experiencing is transference instead of the forging of a healthy emotional bond with that person.

Like I said, I'm not an expert, just a person who has experienced severe narcissism in her FOO and is working through it. If my post is at all inappropriate or unhelpful, or needs further clarification, I welcome the attentions of this forum's moderators, who are qualified to rectify this.

November 26, 2011
2:22 pm
Avatar
Louise
Guest
Guests

Hi Low Contact Duaghter,
Gosh I am so saddened to hear of your awful experience with a father so crazy. It must have been excruciatingly hard for you growing up and I really hope you had escapes from the insanity via good friends or interests. Good friends from 1st grade on, were my escape and my family.

I too grew up in a highly dysfunctional family, as my brilliant and tortured father was an alcoholic. Such a severe case that he drank himself to death by the age of 42!

I was the oldest with a sister 3 years younger, and I was the go between between my father's physical violence against my mother. I would bodily get in he middle of their fighting beginning at the age of five. I was the grown up.
My father, like yours, physically abused animals, our family dog, which was completely heartbreaking to me.
Strangely thiygh, with all of the chaos, unpredicatabilty and danger my father brought to our household before my parents divorced when I was seven, I also loved him very much.
He was brilliant, astute, witty and had very funny observations of people. I got all of those traits from him and I love that, except the brilliant one!

The pain of estrangement with my mother far outweighs the hell of being a child of an alcoholic. Somehow I always understood the complexities of the disease and understood that it was not my intelligent father speaking when he had been drinking. I always knew that it was his demons. How i had that insight at such a young age still baffles me because the issues were certainly never explained to me.
I never saw his out of control behavior as having any bearing on his love for me. Never once. He knew me, liked me, got a real kick out of my feisty personality but more than anything he wanted to know and understand me. He would share his wisdom with me. he let me know him.

My mother, whom I am sadly estranged from as well as my stepfather of 35 years (who adopted me when I was 39) and my only sister.
On the flip side of my father 'getting me' and knowing me, my mother has always been put off by my take charge, call it like I see it personality. Where I take the bull by the horns and call a spade a spade, my mother ducks her head in the sand and turns a blind eye to adversity.
Her passivity has caused and fueled much of the chaos in our family.

My mother comes with her own baggage as she was treated like the poor stepdaughter by her own mother, the definition of narcissism. Beautiful, frightfully vain, wealthy, married to the "catch of Philadelpia" in the 1930's and considered the pinnacle of Philadelphia Society, she seemingly had it all. Despite all of her priviledge and good fortune, my grandmother was a tormented soul who meted out psychological abuse to my mother and her three younger sisters their whole lives.
My far too polite and princely grandfather, cut from the same mold as my mother, never intervened nor protected his girls from my grandmother. Irreparable damage and dysfunction was the result.
My grandmother's ill-treatment of her daughters continued on to her grandchildren, and me being the eldest I got a heavy dose.
The complexity of my personal estrangement from my mother is hard to describe adequately. It is subtle, complex and it's roots benign. As my mother is a kind, lovely person who doesn't have a malicious bone in her body, people, including my husband who I've been with for 25 years, cannot understand how i could possibly take issue with her My only explanation to those few that have inquired that she truly is all of those wonderful adjectives, though being her daughter is a very complicated role to be in.

To exemolify, i can never count on my mother being there for me emotionally when I most need her. She retreats. It has been a damaging pattern with her my whole life. Sometimes I think that by the grace of God I was born resilient enough and smart enough that I was able to raise myself into a kind, compassionate person in spite of the lack of protection or direction from my mother. I have made good healthy decisions in my life which is more than I can say for some family members.
I say this not boastfully but as a matter of fact as i would have much preferred a mother who was looking out for me and showing me through her actions, not just words, that she actually loved and cared what became of me.
No matter the chaos of my father and the dangerous situations I faced because of his drinking nor the agregiously unjust ways family members have treated me, my mother chose not to be involved and very often would take the opposing side, believing me to be a liar.
I can say withiut hesitation that I am honest to a fault and to my own detriment. My honesty is more of a challenge than my mother can bear. I think it unnerves her that i can see through her. I have always hated having this insight and power over her. I wanted her to be in charge, her to be the wiser one, not me.
Over the past 20 years, my whole adult life, her passivity- when the chips were down- became harder and harder to
bear. To cite an example, I, an extremely healthy 43 year old, had an out of the blue heart attack five years ago.
When I called my parents to notify them from the ER of my situation, as my husband was unreachable on a plane, my mother chose not come to the phone to speak with me. As it came out later in Family Counseling, when I said how hurt I was she didn't speak to me in my legitimate time of need, she responded, verbatim, by saying, "it was late, I had taken some cough medicine and I was afraid that if I had talked to you you would have tried to talk me into coming out to see you". She was on the East coast, I on the West.
Her explanation literally blew my mind, (the psychologist's too) but what it really did was exemplify her lack of basic concern or care for me. She, who I had always diligently protected from her mother and my father, once again had left me flapping in the wind. This instance validated my lifelong fears that she didn't care about me as a normal mother should.
I could write a novel about similar experiences but the bottom line was, whenever I was around my mother, I left her feeling literally toxic inside. I began getting never-ending migraines, chronic muscle spasms and feelings of despair all from the stress of her neglect and rejection of me.
As the psychologist explained it to my mother, "when you see a five-alarm fire you disappear. When Louise sees a five alarm fire, she takes it on".

So I guess the estrangement is fueled by our fundamental differences as human beings. Our chemistry is at odds.
My mother views our estrangement as my fault, me being difficult and my choice. She has said to my best friend that she thinks I'm happier without my family. She blames me and takes no ownership of what has happened.
As I see it, it takes two to tango.

The pain I have felt over the loss of my mother and family is truly indescribable. It haunts me in the day and in my dreams. I am in a constant state of mourning the loss of my mother. I feel completely hollow inside some days. Other days I'm okay and then out of nowhere my feelings of grief level me.
The guilt and sadness I feel for my children who barely know their family overwhelms me and I often fear the lash-back from them for their alienation, is sure to come soon.
I try my very best to apologize to them they that are suffering because of my problem with my mother but it still doesn't negate my sadness for their loss, nor theirs.

I was raised knowing all of my grandparents, a few of my great grand parents and my huge extended family in Philadelphia. We vacationed together, in our longtime family summer house, in a pristine spot in New England every summer of my life. Dysfunction aside, I knew what it meant to be part of a family. My kids don't have a clue.

If I felt that after all these years of trying to make my mother see how her inaction, disconnectedness and lack of honesty with her self is the breeding ground for more hurt and dysfunction in our family; that she might finally see the light and make the necessary changes, I would run back to her tomorrow. If I knew I wouldn't have to bear more rejection, misunderstanding and false accusations from her I would be the first to reconcile. But, I am too afraid of more pain. Each time I have tried to meet her half way, I leave with a more profound hurt which takes months to bounce back from.
The only option left to me is to stay away and protect myself from further heartbreak. As sad as I am and as much as I miss her everyday, I think that the pain is still less than the times that my mother has neglected and rejected me.
I would love to hear from others how you cope. This is a heavy cross to bear and I'm so afraid it will never get easier.

November 25, 2011
5:32 pm
Avatar
Louise
Guest
Guests

Louise said:

Low Contact Daughter said:

Hi Louise,

Though I am technically not yet estranged from my father (I will leave my mother out of this as she passed away 2 years ago), I am so low contact with him and with other family members that the situation you and I are in is probably not so different.

Unfortunately I have had little choice but to drastically reduce contact to preserve a healthy, functioning sense of self and peace of mind.

My situation is that my father is severely personality disordered. He is self-absorbed, manipulative, shallow and deceitful in his emotions, cruel, lacks empathy and seeks attention constantly. He is a narcissist (whom I will now refer to as "N-father"), which means his personality is in the same general ball-park as psychopathy from what I've read, though supposedly not quite as antisocial.

Growing up, my siblings and I were treated to constant and unpredictable bouts of insane rage from N-father, including physical and verbal batterings. Unfortunately, his cruelty didn't end with small children. On one occasion he drowned a litter of little kittens we found in our backyard, rather than taking them to the vet as a responsible, caring adult might do. I still don't know why he did this (apart from the fact that, like most bullies, he genuinely enjoys seeing other creatures suffer). And there were, unfortunately, more incidents like this to follow. As an animal-lover myself, I still find it deeply distressing to remember his cowardly actions to creatures smaller and weaker than himself.

Living in the same house as this man was an anxiety-provoking nightmare, the proverbial "walking on eggshells." My mother was submissive and cowed, she rarely stood up for us. Instead, she subscribed to a quasi-religious viewpoint that "marriage is for life" and refused to see the monster she had chosen to have children with for what he was. I guess this denial of hers was a form of self-protection: it's hard to maintain anger and blame against someone once you've realised this.

I could go on and on about N-father but I'll restrain myself. I doubt I'm on the right forum to gain a sympathetic hearing as, apart from yourself, the people who seem to post here are mostly estranged parents.

I feel for them, as I'm pretty sure that 95% of them are not narcissists and have genuine empathy and love for their children. For them, there is hope that a reconciliation might be possible - provided, of course, that their children are reasonably healthy psychologically too.

Unfortunately, in my case, my father is deeply narcissistic so there can never be any kind of "reconciliation" or two-way relationship between us. Narcissists never change, they never see a need to. It's always the world and everyone in it who has a problem, never them. They view themselves as god-like and perfect, deserving of special treatment and accolades in spite of how miserably they treat their nearest and dearest. Other human beings aren't really real to them, sadly, but are more like cartoon cut-outs. They view others as appendages to themselves, or mere tools to be made use of. Then, once those tools start showing signs of wear-and-tear, or start developing a mind of their own (as all normal children do), they are swiftly and brutally rejected.

You may be wondering why I've had to go the extra step and also drastically reduce contact with other family members (as well as N-father). The situation is this: one personality disordered individual who is dominant in a family tends to "warp" the others, so they become enmeshed - or co-dependent - with him/her. Sadly, this is what has happened with my family. They are currently playing a deeply unhealthy game of denial that I like to call "happy families", punctuated by hidden explosions of resentment whenever N-father does something selfish or hideous (such as having loud, vigorous sex - loud enough so that all his adult kids could hear it - with his new girlfriend in the bed my poor mother had died in a few months previously).

Aside from an aunt on my mother's side, I'm the only one who feels repelled by N-father's background and personality, the only one who has read up on narcissism, and the only one who desires healthy boundaries in her life as a result of this. These boundaries include avoiding people in my life - whether related to me or not - who are intrusive, deceitful, cruel and emotionally damaging. N-father used to love to try to induce guilt in us as children by stating triumphantly that "blood is thicker than water." Now, as a fully-grown rational adult, I beg to differ. Just because we share DNA doesn't mean you get an automatic pass to be a jerk. Love and respect are not unconditional, even between family members. They are precious gifts that must be earned.

Unfortunately, what my siblings and I experienced growing up also left its mark on us as adults. One sibling developed depression, another anxiety. A third was hospitalised for months with anorexia, and I wonder how much of this was due to N-father's hateful, misogynist rants when she was growing up about girls becoming "fat, slow and useless" once they developed normal secondary sexual characteristics at puberty. I myself didn't escape the legacy, unfortunately. I had a stress-induced breakdown in my early thirties resulting in hospitalisation and several months off work. My family history was a major contributor.

Anyway, Louise, hopefully this posting helps show that reducing or cutting off contact with family or parents is not something anyone does lightly. It is a last resort, done so one can finally move on with life with peace of mind and integrity. And, unfortunately, if you are in a situation where those you are estranged from have huge difficulty seeing anyone else's point of view but their own...the situation may well go on to be permanent.

Thanks to the blog owner for providing a forum for postings of this nature.



November 25, 2011
5:29 pm
Avatar
Louise
Guest
Guests

Low Contact Daughter said:

Hi Louise,

Though I am technically not yet estranged from my father (I will leave my mother out of this as she passed away 2 years ago), I am so low contact with him and with other family members that the situation you and I are in is probably not so different.

Unfortunately I have had little choice but to drastically reduce contact to preserve a healthy, functioning sense of self and peace of mind.

My situation is that my father is severely personality disordered. He is self-absorbed, manipulative, shallow and deceitful in his emotions, cruel, lacks empathy and seeks attention constantly. He is a narcissist (whom I will now refer to as "N-father"), which means his personality is in the same general ball-park as psychopathy from what I've read, though supposedly not quite as antisocial.

Growing up, my siblings and I were treated to constant and unpredictable bouts of insane rage from N-father, including physical and verbal batterings. Unfortunately, his cruelty didn't end with small children. On one occasion he drowned a litter of little kittens we found in our backyard, rather than taking them to the vet as a responsible, caring adult might do. I still don't know why he did this (apart from the fact that, like most bullies, he genuinely enjoys seeing other creatures suffer). And there were, unfortunately, more incidents like this to follow. As an animal-lover myself, I still find it deeply distressing to remember his cowardly actions to creatures smaller and weaker than himself.

Living in the same house as this man was an anxiety-provoking nightmare, the proverbial "walking on eggshells." My mother was submissive and cowed, she rarely stood up for us. Instead, she subscribed to a quasi-religious viewpoint that "marriage is for life" and refused to see the monster she had chosen to have children with for what he was. I guess this denial of hers was a form of self-protection: it's hard to maintain anger and blame against someone once you've realised this.

I could go on and on about N-father but I'll restrain myself. I doubt I'm on the right forum to gain a sympathetic hearing as, apart from yourself, the people who seem to post here are mostly estranged parents.

I feel for them, as I'm pretty sure that 95% of them are not narcissists and have genuine empathy and love for their children. For them, there is hope that a reconciliation might be possible - provided, of course, that their children are reasonably healthy psychologically too.

Unfortunately, in my case, my father is deeply narcissistic so there can never be any kind of "reconciliation" or two-way relationship between us. Narcissists never change, they never see a need to. It's always the world and everyone in it who has a problem, never them. They view themselves as god-like and perfect, deserving of special treatment and accolades in spite of how miserably they treat their nearest and dearest. Other human beings aren't really real to them, sadly, but are more like cartoon cut-outs. They view others as appendages to themselves, or mere tools to be made use of. Then, once those tools start showing signs of wear-and-tear, or start developing a mind of their own (as all normal children do), they are swiftly and brutally rejected.

You may be wondering why I've had to go the extra step and also drastically reduce contact with other family members (as well as N-father). The situation is this: one personality disordered individual who is dominant in a family tends to "warp" the others, so they become enmeshed - or co-dependent - with him/her. Sadly, this is what has happened with my family. They are currently playing a deeply unhealthy game of denial that I like to call "happy families", punctuated by hidden explosions of resentment whenever N-father does something selfish or hideous (such as having loud, vigorous sex - loud enough so that all his adult kids could hear it - with his new girlfriend in the bed my poor mother had died in a few months previously).

Aside from an aunt on my mother's side, I'm the only one who feels repelled by N-father's background and personality, the only one who has read up on narcissism, and the only one who desires healthy boundaries in her life as a result of this. These boundaries include avoiding people in my life - whether related to me or not - who are intrusive, deceitful, cruel and emotionally damaging. N-father used to love to try to induce guilt in us as children by stating triumphantly that "blood is thicker than water." Now, as a fully-grown rational adult, I beg to differ. Just because we share DNA doesn't mean you get an automatic pass to be a jerk. Love and respect are not unconditional, even between family members. They are precious gifts that must be earned.

Unfortunately, what my siblings and I experienced growing up also left its mark on us as adults. One sibling developed depression, another anxiety. A third was hospitalised for months with anorexia, and I wonder how much of this was due to N-father's hateful, misogynist rants when she was growing up about girls becoming "fat, slow and useless" once they developed normal secondary sexual characteristics at puberty. I myself didn't escape the legacy, unfortunately. I had a stress-induced breakdown in my early thirties resulting in hospitalisation and several months off work. My family history was a major contributor.

Anyway, Louise, hopefully this posting helps show that reducing or cutting off contact with family or parents is not something anyone does lightly. It is a last resort, done so one can finally move on with life with peace of mind and integrity. And, unfortunately, if you are in a situation where those you are estranged from have huge difficulty seeing anyone else's point of view but their own...the situation may well go on to be permanent.

Thanks to the blog owner for providing a forum for postings of this nature.


November 25, 2011
1:23 pm
Avatar
Mandy
Guest
Guests

Low Contact Daughter said:

Hi Mandy,

I read your post and I wanted to respond, hopefully to reassure you.

You have compassion and empathy for other human beings so, as long as your youngest son does too, there is hope that you both will reconcile. It may not happen immediately, it may take some work and gentle persistence on your part to let him know you're there for him without him feeling pressured or intruded upon, but there is definitely a big ray of hope in your case. That your other two children are there for you as a loving support is testament to the fact that you were a good mother to them growing up. You, and parents like you, were not who my post was directed at. It was directed at that small percentage of the population who happen to be destructive narcissists and also – regrettably – parents.

It was strange reading your post, actually, as it's almost the reverse of the situation I'm in as an estranged child. Even before our estrangement, my father (like your son) rarely contacted me as an adult – the exception being when he needed attention or help with something. His almost complete self-involvement meant that he never saw me as a three-dimensional person with thoughts and feelings of her own. Hence he never tried to relate to me as anything more than a convenience.

I feel really sad to read that this has also happened to you with your son. I hope he is healthy enough psychologically to be able to put himself in your shoes and see what pain his actions are causing others. If he can do this, he's well on the road to establishing some sort of real emotional connection with you instead of putting up a wall and hiding.

My best wishes to you, I hope it all works out.


Low Contact Daughter, can I adopt you? You are a lovely, lovely person with so much depth, insight and kindness (and maturity). What a sad thing that your father gets to lose out because he's too self-absorbed to see what a precious daughter he has.

I'm wondering whether we in fact develop these over-compensatory aspects to our personalities BECAUSE of having been around narcissistic and manipulative people all our lives. (Like your situation, my mother was deeply narcissistic, which probably explains why I married a narcissistic man, and have now raised a narcissistic son …)

You, low contact daughter, are such a lovely young lady that it truly is your father's loss. But so sad for you …

PS: Sadly, my son lacks the sensitivity or caringness to understand what he's putting me through. Nothing short of a miracle I believe will change things. He simply doesn't care.

November 25, 2011
10:56 am
Avatar
Helen Marie
Guest
Guests

Dear Low Contact Daughter: I wish all of our estranged children had the wisdom that you do. Unfortunately, my adult daughter sides more and more with her abusive father, as the years go on. In cases like ours, the best thing to do, is to detach.

I feel bad you have to deal with this. My son became very, very depressed and couldn't handle his father's abusive and hateful ways. In his memory, I remain strong and refuse to put up with my ex's and my daughter's harrassment.

November 25, 2011
4:27 am
Avatar
Low Contact Daughter
Guest
Guests

Hi Mandy,

I read your post and I wanted to respond, hopefully to reassure you.

You have compassion and empathy for other human beings so, as long as your youngest son does too, there is hope that you both will reconcile. It may not happen immediately, it may take some work and gentle persistence on your part to let him know you're there for him without him feeling pressured or intruded upon, but there is definitely a big ray of hope in your case. That your other two children are there for you as a loving support is testament to the fact that you were a good mother to them growing up. You, and parents like you, were not who my post was directed at. It was directed at that small percentage of the population who happen to be destructive narcissists and also - regrettably - parents.

It was strange reading your post, actually, as it's almost the reverse of the situation I'm in as an estranged child. Even before our estrangement, my father (like your son) rarely contacted me as an adult - the exception being when he needed attention or help with something. His almost complete self-involvement meant that he never saw me as a three-dimensional person with thoughts and feelings of her own. Hence he never tried to relate to me as anything more than a convenience.

I feel really sad to read that this has also happened to you with your son. I hope he is healthy enough psychologically to be able to put himself in your shoes and see what pain his actions are causing others. If he can do this, he's well on the road to establishing some sort of real emotional connection with you instead of putting up a wall and hiding.

My best wishes to you, I hope it all works out.

November 25, 2011
12:49 am
Avatar
Mandy
Guest
Guests

I feel more for estranged children than I do for myself, a semi-estranged parent. Everywhere I go, I see young adults and teenagers, who look lost, and who I want to reach out to. Not only because I see my youngest son in the expressions on their faces and in their mannerisms.

I love my youngest son beyond words, but no matter what I do, how much I give him, I never hear from him (apart from when he needs help).

The irony is I can relate to children reaching out on websites like this. I was raised in an alcoholic dysfunctional home and was sent away to institutions more than I was at home. After attending nine schools and many institutions, despite being told I had an IQ that meant I could do medicine, I left school early because I didn't have the essentials to attend school.

I vowed to never inflict on my children what I'd been through. It would seem though that whatever I did – the opposite to what I experienced – has backfired on me in my youngest son. I have made mistakes, like any parent, but with my youngest nothing was too much for me to give. My two older children who didn't have it as easy are sweet as – my biggest supporters, as I am theirs.

What really gets me right now, a tiny thing I know, is that last Christmas I gave him and his girlfriend a prepaid night at a luxury hotel, all expenses paid – and this was just a tiny portion of his and her presents; there were heaps more presents -I went a little crazy as always – and the voucher is now expiring – he hasn't even used it.

Apologies - rereading my post, I realise I started off about estranged kids and then made it about myself, but I suppose what I'm trying to say is that amongst the narcissistic damaging parents there are those who've had it hard themselves and can't seem to win no matter what they do.

November 24, 2011
10:21 pm
Avatar
Low Contact Daughter
Guest
Guests

Hi Louise,

Though I am technically not yet estranged from my father (I will leave my mother out of this as she passed away 2 years ago), I am so low contact with him and with other family members that the situation you and I are in is probably not so different.

Unfortunately I have had little choice but to drastically reduce contact to preserve a healthy, functioning sense of self and peace of mind.

My situation is that my father is severely personality disordered. He is self-absorbed, manipulative, shallow and deceitful in his emotions, cruel, lacks empathy and seeks attention constantly. He is a narcissist (whom I will now refer to as "N-father"), which means his personality is in the same general ball-park as psychopathy from what I've read, though supposedly not quite as antisocial.

Growing up, my siblings and I were treated to constant and unpredictable bouts of insane rage from N-father, including physical and verbal batterings. Unfortunately, his cruelty didn't end with small children. On one occasion he drowned a litter of little kittens we found in our backyard, rather than taking them to the vet as a responsible, caring adult might do. I still don't know why he did this (apart from the fact that, like most bullies, he genuinely enjoys seeing other creatures suffer). And there were, unfortunately, more incidents like this to follow. As an animal-lover myself, I still find it deeply distressing to remember his cowardly actions to creatures smaller and weaker than himself.

Living in the same house as this man was an anxiety-provoking nightmare, the proverbial "walking on eggshells." My mother was submissive and cowed, she rarely stood up for us. Instead, she subscribed to a quasi-religious viewpoint that "marriage is for life" and refused to see the monster she had chosen to have children with for what he was. I guess this denial of hers was a form of self-protection: it's hard to maintain anger and blame against someone once you've realised this.

I could go on and on about N-father but I'll restrain myself. I doubt I'm on the right forum to gain a sympathetic hearing as, apart from yourself, the people who seem to post here are mostly estranged parents.

I feel for them, as I'm pretty sure that 95% of them are not narcissists and have genuine empathy and love for their children. For them, there is hope that a reconciliation might be possible - provided, of course, that their children are reasonably healthy psychologically too.

Unfortunately, in my case, my father is deeply narcissistic so there can never be any kind of "reconciliation" or two-way relationship between us. Narcissists never change, they never see a need to. It's always the world and everyone in it who has a problem, never them. They view themselves as god-like and perfect, deserving of special treatment and accolades in spite of how miserably they treat their nearest and dearest. Other human beings aren't really real to them, sadly, but are more like cartoon cut-outs. They view others as appendages to themselves, or mere tools to be made use of. Then, once those tools start showing signs of wear-and-tear, or start developing a mind of their own (as all normal children do), they are swiftly and brutally rejected.

You may be wondering why I've had to go the extra step and also drastically reduce contact with other family members (as well as N-father). The situation is this: one personality disordered individual who is dominant in a family tends to "warp" the others, so they become enmeshed - or co-dependent - with him/her. Sadly, this is what has happened with my family. They are currently playing a deeply unhealthy game of denial that I like to call "happy families", punctuated by hidden explosions of resentment whenever N-father does something selfish or hideous (such as having loud, vigorous sex - loud enough so that all his adult kids could hear it - with his new girlfriend in the bed my poor mother had died in a few months previously).

Aside from an aunt on my mother's side, I'm the only one who feels repelled by N-father's background and personality, the only one who has read up on narcissism, and the only one who desires healthy boundaries in her life as a result of this. These boundaries include avoiding people in my life - whether related to me or not - who are intrusive, deceitful, cruel and emotionally damaging. N-father used to love to try to induce guilt in us as children by stating triumphantly that "blood is thicker than water." Now, as a fully-grown rational adult, I beg to differ. Just because we share DNA doesn't mean you get an automatic pass to be a jerk. Love and respect are not unconditional, even between family members. They are precious gifts that must be earned.

Unfortunately, what my siblings and I experienced growing up also left its mark on us as adults. One sibling developed depression, another anxiety. A third was hospitalised for months with anorexia, and I wonder how much of this was due to N-father's hateful, misogynist rants when she was growing up about girls becoming "fat, slow and useless" once they developed normal secondary sexual characteristics at puberty. I myself didn't escape the legacy, unfortunately. I had a stress-induced breakdown in my early thirties resulting in hospitalisation and several months off work. My family history was a major contributor.

Anyway, Louise, hopefully this posting helps show that reducing or cutting off contact with family or parents is not something anyone does lightly. It is a last resort, done so one can finally move on with life with peace of mind and integrity. And, unfortunately, if you are in a situation where those you are estranged from have huge difficulty seeing anyone else's point of view but their own...the situation may well go on to be permanent.

Thanks to the blog owner for providing a forum for postings of this nature.

November 24, 2011
1:32 pm
Avatar
Louise
Guest
Guests

Where are you, estranged adult children..?

I am going on year three of being estranged from my whole family (I know you're asking yourselves WHAT is wrong with this person?) but I can tell you, I'm pretty darn normal.
For you estranged parents out there- I can assure you, there is no adult child who would EVER, EVER choose to be in the situation they're in. You have had some very significant part in creating this most painful of situations for them.
Maybe you're not listening to your child's needs, maybe you're too scared to reach out? Maybe you think you have and won't go the extra yard to keep trying or proving you want your child back and will go to the ends of the earth to make that happen? No matter what ages we all are, parents are always the parents and should be the ones to be the ones to end the estrangement. Take responsibility!

We the children of estrangement are a highly underepresented group, that is to say- all of the attention goes to the parents and your suffering. I don't want to discount that pain as I'm sure it's real- but no child would ever choose to inflict such awful pain on themselves unless it was a solution of LAST resort.
It is truly the most unbearable, life altering experience on many levels that I've ever endured. Way beyond the loss of my father who died when I was 19. this pain follows me wherever I am.
Other adult children please speak up. We need as much TLC and understanding as our parents do. I know you are probably like me and hate then position you are in. It haunts me every day.
Being estranged from my family makes me feel adrift, disconnected, worthless, ashamed and haunted. I mourn the family that my wonderful children barely know.

Please tell me how you cope with this terrible dilemma.

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles

Most Users Ever Online: 887

Currently Online:
13 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 1368

Members: 5

Moderators: 0

Admins: 3

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 8

Topics: 1392

Posts: 7233