Monday, June 11, 2007

Conversation with a Narcissist

If you are sick and tired of reading about my ongoing struggle to emotionally detach from my narcissistic adoptive father, STOP! Warning!

Try as you might to keep the conversation short, chances are, you still walk away feeling upset and churned up and wondering what the hell just happened.

It's worth trying to analyze my most recent encounter, so here I go.

First, I tell my NAD (narcissistic adoptive father) that I'm going camping with my husband and girls and will be out of cell phone range for two days.

The minute I walk into the house, the phone starts ringing.

It's NAD. I don't answer because I'm relaxed and happy and I'll talk to him later. Fifteen minutes later, he calls again. He calls every half hour or so for the next several hours and I'm tempted to unplug the phone, but by this time I'm now stressed out and feel like I'm being stalked. So I answer.

"Thank God you're back!" he says. "I've been watching TV and there are so many wrecks and I thought something had happened to you."

"No. We're fine. I just walked in the door."

"You don't know what you've put me through. Thank God you're back. Now I can relax. I'm just exhausted."

(Trying hard not to feel guilty for taking couple days off from calling him and for causing such misery--which is ridiculous)

Then I make a joke about him being a worrier and he says angrily, "Well, you're my only daughter and the only person I have left in the world and what would I do if something happened to you and I'd be all alone and have nobody and I've been feeling so lonely and you don't know what I'm going through."

And then I'm furious.

Once again, he's not really worried about ME as an individual. He's worried that something may happen to his sole source of narcissistic supply. And yes he has dementia and is a lonely old man stuck in an assisted living facility. But he's always talked this way and it's only recently that I've realized how diminishing it is. How manipulative. There's this picture of us together when I was around five. I'm not smiling and I'm desperately trying to stand as far away from him as possible and still be in the frame. I look miserable and stunned. NAD is laughing at the camera. That picture says it all. I've been trying to get away from him as long as I can remember.

12 Comments:

Anonymous mia said...

"Why haven't you CALLLLEEEDDD meeeee?" Not: How are you? Is everything OK? Just "you are causing ME stress".
It's such crap Nina. SUCH crap.I am at my wits end with my mother too. The only thing that keeps me from walking straight away is her age. You and I are on the same poorly built boat in the same tumultuous ocean and reading your posts is like someone throwing me a life preserver. Sorry I haven't been around much lately.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Hi Nina,

My name is Elizabeth Svoboda, and I'm a writer for Psychology Today magazine (www.psychologytoday.com). I'm putting together a story about how best to deal with parents who have personality problems and was just reading some of your thought-provoking blog posts.

Would you be available for a brief (~15 min) phone interview within the next couple of days to talk about your experience and provide advice for others who might be suffering in similar situations? If so, e-mail me as soon as possible at elizabeth -at- elizabethsvoboda.com.

Best, and hope to hear from you--
E

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