Daddy Issues

Aug 31, 2017 | Blog, Relationships

I remembered a couple of days ago that it’s my birthday this weekend (Sunday). it will be my first birthday in New York, and I’ll be 34 years old. I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s kind of hard to celebrate when you don’t have anyone, really, to celebrate with. The first thing I wondered was if my dad would remember my birthday this year or if he would forget for the third year in a row. Not that I would actually want to talk to him, it’s just the principle of thing – remembering when your first child was born.

I’ve talked about my dad in my Facebook group a little, but not much, publicly. I wouldn’t even know where to start. I suppose he’s one of the factors that led up to me moving to New York to begin with. It’s hard to say when it all started, really, because I was carrying around an illusion for so long that I only realized what reality was when that illusion was completely shattered.

I thought my dad was a normal, albeit bumbling dad of the Homer Simpson variety up until last spring. There’d been some red flags, which were few and far between, that had popped up over the summer prior, but I just shook them off. But today I can say, without question, that my dad suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder of the highest order, complete with delusions of grandeur. I’ve never seen anything like it and it still boggles my mind every time I see it in action.

It was two summers ago that things started to get a little crazy. He’d become increasingly more and more right-wing fringe religious, and he started sending me erratic text messages telling me to take all of my money out of the bank and buy enough food to last for six months because he thought Jesus was coming back in October. When I tried to talk to him about it, rationally, it was like he wasn’t even hearing what I was saying. At the time, I just chalked it up to religiosity, shrugged my shoulders and tried to avoid the subject.

After a series of bizarre and unfortunate events which included him marrying my mom’s first cousin, basically allowing my grandmother to die from neglect while she was sick with the flu (I seem to be the only person concerned with the fact that she was staying with him and sick and couldn’t get out of bed for three days, and he had the presence of mind to text my aunt and tell her he didn’t think she was going to make it but never bothered in that time period to take her to a hospital or call an ambulance, after her bank account was conveniently drained of $80,000 that was meant to take care of her assisted living expenses, but that’s a story for another day), and me breaking up a fight between my step-mother-cousin and my grandmother at my other dead grandmother’s funeral lunch, I finally went into a state of emotional shock after realizing that essentially, every interaction I’d ever had with my father in my entire life was never genuine, and was, in fact, just his way of manipulating me and using me as a means to an end. The person I thought was my father never really existed.

I wasn’t really able to function for three days and then decided to pursue therapy. I also sent my dad a 5 page letter essentially giving him an ultimatum – grow the fuck up or never speak to me again – to which he did not reply to for 3 months and later denied having received at all.

You’ve heard me mention many times how difficult 2016 was – that was a big part of it.

The culmination of this lovely journey occurred when I told him I was getting divorced and he told me, for the second time, that “to follow the man is to follow God.” Because apparently, when you’re obedient to your husband, that’s when everything is great. When you’re not obedient to your husband, that’s when you have problems. “Maybe you should try grounding yourself in the faith you were raised in.” “I’ve found my own kind of faith and I’m pretty happy with it,” I replied. “There is only one God.” Uh… what? He didn’t even bother to ask me what that faith was, or what it entailed. He hasn’t bothered to ask me a single question about myself since… well, I don’t know. I honestly can’t remember any time we’ve ever had a conversation that wasn’t purely surface level since I was 17.

Shortly before I was to move to New York, he baited me into meeting him for lunch so he could ambush me in a BBQ restaurant parking lot and give me his version of a charismatic Christian exorcism complete with speaking in tongues and having a two-way conversation, out loud, with the demon that allegedly has hold over me.

Nothing screams parental love and acceptance like being forced to participate in your own exorcism. And that was just for getting divorced. If he knew I was a practicing psychic and teach people about metaphysics and the occult? He’d probably try to burn me at the stake. Or maybe not… I was born with a vagina so I’m basically a second-class citizen in his book.

I’ve been here for almost two months now. He’s texted me three times, but never once enquired about me or my emotional well-being. Most of the time I don’t bother to respond. My stomach turns when I see “Dad” show up on my phone. He just texted me this morning to ask me for my address so he could send a birthday card. On the up side, he didn’t forget my birthday for a third year in a row. On the downside, I really don’t want him to know where I live – not that he’ll ever set foot here in Satan’s den. The only place I could have gone that would be worse in his mind is California.

There’s so many more undesirable qualities about my father. He’s racist. He’s homophobic. He’s a liar, and a thief. He’s a manipulator who has used his own children as tools for destruction. He’s concerned with no one but himself. These aren’t accusations. They’re cold, hard, observable facts supported by mountains of evidence. My father is, quite literally, the worst human being I have ever personally known.

It’s taken me a really long time to accept the fact that he’s mentally ill and that there’s nothing I can do or say that will make a difference. Trying to have empathy for a person who is incapable of feeling empathy is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’m not really sure that I’m there, yet, or if I ever will be.

The scariest part of it all, to me, is the fact that this man started his own church. There’s a group of people who sit and listen to what he has to say on a weekly basis. Now, how many people is questionable, since he can’t tell the truth, I can only assume that the numbers are exaggerated. But still. That’s terrifying.

I’ve been seriously considering cutting him off completely. I don’t feel any sort of emotional connection to him. The person I thought I had a mild emotional connection to was a figment of my imagination. The thought of what I will lose by cutting him off isn’t what makes me sad. It’s the thought of what never was.

That’s the hardest thing to swallow when you’re raised by mentally ill parents. Mourning the childhood you never had, and the relationships that you will never have. There’s nothing you can do to change it, you can only accept it and let go.

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7 Comments

  1. You can always get a post office box? You can use it for buisness too. I think UPS has boxes also that may be cheaper. There are several places that rent boxes now because quite a few people dont want to give out their home address, except to family (well some family). I grew up with a mentally ill step mother who tourtured me, and abused me, and it took me years to get over the things she did. I mean being woken up in the middle of the night being dragged down the hallways by my hair being called a Cun$? I was probably 9? She was bi-polar, and had multiple personalities, so you never knew what would happen one night from another. She would slit her wrists and fling blood all over the hallway screaming, holding the razors fighting with my father, and then when he tried to get her in the car to a hospital jump out of the car going down the road. It was insane. She even dragged my bed outside one day and burned it, came home from school and saw the smoke, thought the house was on fire, lmao. My father would apologize for her and beg our forgivness for her, and promise to keep a better eye on her, but the things she did to me being the only daughter, her jealously towards me was insane. My 3 brothers were pretty safe. I did have to move and cut off communication which was very hard on my father. I visited probably 5 more times in his lifetime, which was very unfortunate because for the last 7 years of his life he was a parapalegic from a gunshot would when he was robbed from his gas station. I was there when they found him. He was missing for 3 days. I was at the hospital, then visited again when my son was born so he could meet his first grandchild, and another time, That was it. I dont even have any advice, because it’s the hardest subject, I just know what I had to do to save myself. I do hope you have a Happy Birthday even if you just take in a play, or treat yourself to a nice resturant. You dont need someone to celebrate with, You just need to celebrate another trip around the sun <3 I wish you many more trips, and peace of mind Ash!

    Reply
  2. I cut ties with my alcoholic father nearly 4 years ago and a HUGE weight was lifted off my chest the minute I knew our relationship was over for good. Had I known it would feel this good I would’ve done it years ago instead of planning MY life around HIS drinking and behavior.

    He is mentally and verbally abusive to my mother, the quintessential enabler, and there was a huge blowout when I put my foot down and confronted him about it. I said things like he doesn’t deserve her or our love because he is rotten to the core. He raised his hand to me and when I looked him in the eye and told him to hit me, there was a major shift in our dynamic and we both recognized it in that moment. He knew I was the one person in his life he no longer had power over and he will never get over it.

    I have been completely at peace with this situation for years. My mother still thinks it’s a “fight” and that we both “need to stop being so stubborn and hug it out because it hurts me.” This past Christmas I finally told her, after having that discussion time and time again, that this was how it was going to be. I said that while I understand it hurts her and I’m sorry for that, it really has nothing to do with her. I told her she needs to stop making it about how it affects her and accept my decision because I have never been happier or more at peace as he’s not a good person and I refuse to allow someone like that in my life.

    I have a feeling that did the trick and while she may be *thinking* those things still, she’ll never again try to guilt me into changing my mind. And THAT has freed me even more. Love and light to you!

    Reply
    • I’ve had that same conversation with my mom several times now.

      Reply
  3. Ash, I also grew up with a mother who was not very nice and evil at times. She would be labeled a Borderline Personality Disorder these days. During my childhood she would often lie and I would confront her with it and that would enrage her. I would be beaten and punished. I was the oldest and I was the one who took all of her anger and hatred of herself and her life with my father who worked all of the time. If not for my grandmother and grandfather I would probably not be here. It became so bad I graduated High School 1 year early and when I was 16 moved out of the house and found my place in the world. My parents were divorcing but both moving to Virginia? I told my father I’m moving and there is nothing you can do about it (I was almost 17). However throughout the years I dealt with her because of my sister and brother. It got to a point I couldn’t or would not deal with her bullshit any longer and stopped talking to her. I went to therapy and worked out my feelings with a wonderful therapist. When my mother was dying I went with my son to see my mother and say goodbye. My sister became a doctor later in life and was unable to travel back and forth and I had retired so I did it for my sister. It took me almost 60 years to deal withe the pain, anger and rage at times. Ash, you did the right thing. I know it was hard but you will start to feel better as time moves along. Good luck sweetheart your on the right path.

    Reply
  4. I have never experienced anything like this so I have no practical advice, but I just wanted to say, I’m so sorry that you’ve had to go through this. *hugs*

    Reply
  5. The thing I know for certain from observing family members in relationships with a narcissist is they can not stand when someone stands up to them.
    Picture the narcissist as a vampire and you can see them draining your life and soul as they attempt to control you. When that control is CUT, they go into a rage.
    Every single person has a right to set boundaries with other individuals. It does not matter if that person is your parent, spouse, co-worker, friend ECT.
    As a child of 2 alcoholic parents, I have learned many life lessons in my 59 years.

    Good for you Ash in setting up a boundary. !!!!

    PLEASE consider getting this book….
    Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
    by Dr Susan Forward. One book is certainly not going to be everyone’s cure, but it goes along way in validating how destructive some parents are.
    There is also a chapter on…. Confrontation with a Dead Parent.

    https://www.amazon.com/Toxic-Parents-Overcoming-Hurtful-Reclaiming/dp/0553381407

    Reply
  6. Hi Ash! I am so sorry that you are experiencing what I know is one of the hardest things you will ever have to go through. All I can say is that it sucks, but it will get better. You have every right to set the boundaries that you have set, and to decide that for YOUR sanity, it is better if you don’t interact with your father. Some people will never understand, and that’s okay. My mother is a narcissist. I continued to try to attempt to have some sort of relationship with her because she is my mother and I had it beaten in my brain to “honor thy mother and father.” I finally had to come to the realization that it is impossible to have a healthy relationship with her because a narcissist is a toxic human being incapable of feeling any type of love. I wish her no harm, but I wish to have nothing to do with her. It’s sad, but I rarely think about her unless something like this comes up. She’s about as worrisome to me now as a cloudy day, but it wasn’t always like that. It will get better.

    Reply

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