Monday, July 09, 2007

There's something finally wrong with my aging, narcissistic adoptive father.

After twenty five years of quarterly trips to the emergency room for a variety of imaginary ailments, he's actually sick: all the most important arteries to the heart are more than 70% blocked and he's too old for surgery. So that explains the chest pains.

I'd always wondered, would I have any sympathy left if he were truly sick?

And it turned out I did. Turns out there were a couple ounces of untapped sympathy left...but the reserves are getting low, folks. Vapors.

I actually thought...Gee, now that things aren't looking so good...he actually seems nicer and we're getting along a wee bit better and ain't that nice.

Hah!

Now that things have calmed down and he's out of the hospital and out of the woods (for now)...and I'm slightly less solicitious...BAM...he's getting nasty.

And that's when I realized I'd fallen into the narcissistic web. Again!

IF he's getting lots of attention...
IF he's getting lots of sympathy...
IF I listen and do not attempt to impose any bit of myself, my views or my life...
IF I just make every conversation about him....

HE'S HAPPY. HE'S NICE. HE ACTS APPRECIATIVE AND LIKE HE LOVES ME.

But the moment - like last night - that I act the least bit distracted because I'm dealing with other stuff, he immediately turns on me.

Age does not soften the die-hard narcissist.

Repeat.

Emotional detachment still required.

And the nagging question that STILL won't go away.

Is someone like my a-dad capable of love? Did he love me? Or did he just NEED me? He could never SEE me...acknowledge me and my needs. And if a person can't do that, do they really love you or are you just being drained or cathected or whatever that scary word is?

14 Comments:

Blogger elizabeth said...

Nina I'm absolutley convinced that narcissists worsen with age. That is why I had to cut my mother off when I did. I could see her getting worse even in her 50's. You know a few more wrinkles, a few more pounds, she can't age gracefully, and so she rages and manipulates even more.

And I'm also absolutely convinced that narcissists are not truly capable of love. They would need years of intense therapy, and well that isn't going to happen.

I tried the emotional detachment for a very long time with my mother. It didn't work. For me it was a matter of personal self-respect and my dignity. I should not have to be "detached" from my own mother. Better not to have her in my life at all than to have a fake relationship based upon holding up her perfect mirror image, otherwise known as narcissistic supply.

For me, life is too short to live it with such shallowness.

You owe him nothing. nothing.

8:20 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

PS You might want to check out my link for "Elise" on my blog she talks about dealing with her elderly NPD mother. She only has contact with her mother through attorneys.

I'm sorry for the way your NPD a-father treats you. I really makes me angry because you do not deserve it! So sorry if I sound angry. I just hate NPD so much, just as much as adoption. I'm rooting for you to be free of him.

I'm stop ranting now and just send you hugs.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Thank you, Elizabeth!!! I'll check out Elise. If I wasn't an any only child, if I hadn't become his power of attorney, if I didn't hope there may be something left in his meager estate to leave to my daughters' college fund...well, maybe I'd be doing the exact same thing and still trying to work through it. The Latino-Catholic guilt tethers you from your first wobbly step away from them. My a-cousin has a similar (bio) mother, but NPD just takes our adoptee issues and takes them to a whole new level of hell! You were very wise, Elizabeth. While my Dad is undeniably difficult, it almost seems like your mom uses you for target practice with painful zingers that leave you scarred!

9:14 AM  
Blogger Elise said...

Hey Nina,

Thanks for checking out my blog. I hope it can be of some help to you. I have a pattern of being very patient, trying many times to just explain it one more time, more clearly than before. Eventually, LONG after I should have, I just snap.

I finally reached that point of "compassion fatigue" with my mother. I am so tired of trying to go around with a dustpan cleaning up after her when she is certainly smart enough to fix her problems --- particularly given her financial resources. She just refuses to.

She's been working (intermittently) with a geriatric care managerm who's been able to make baby steps with her (like, after calling her 10 times, she might get through once. Repeat the last sentence fou times and she might successfully get my mother to a doctor's appointment). I've been hands off, no contact, for over 18 months. It's hard at times, due to knee-jer socialization factors, but overall my life is a lot better.

She's never given me a power of attorney (nor either of my brothers, who are attorneys!), btu I have hear Health Care Proxy and pay all her bills --- I guess she's willing to give away a lot of control when it suits her (these measures were set up long before I broke contact with her).

Good luck to you --- I will check back on this blog regularly.

Thanks

Elise

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