Friday, December 23, 2011

Enabler narcissism clarification

I apparently claimed all enablers are narcissists too. I'm not sure I truly wanted to, but it came out that way and I kind of stand by it.

All narcissists have a void at the center of their being. For some narcissists the void is filled by being the main person in everyone's world, while for others it's filled by being the most righteous one, the martyr, the obedient one, the one in the stronger narcissist's shade - and not a real person living and breathing and loving. Just defining oneself far less assertively than one's dominant partner, but still living ON one's definition of oneself and what others might think of it INSTEAD of truly living, if you understand what I mean.

And it's still narcissistic (in being black-hole-empty and living-in-the-mirror) although it's not overtly, dominantly, abusively so.

Facing ALL the Black Holes

There's a reason why being donor conceived matters practically in my journey.

Finding out about NPD has opened many healing pathways for me. I have felt angry and relieved and happy and alive since I found out.

But only since I found out I was donor conceived have I allowed myself to feel sad. And to grieve. Because I know I've always somehow known that I couldn't really expect my father to love me. I've always known that. I've always known at some level that he owed me nothing. And I couldn't bring myself to grieve the father he couldn't be because of his personality disorder. All I could feel was the sheer relief of not having to think of him as the perfect father any longer.

But there was still a black hole I was unable to face because I didn't know it was there.

When I allowed myself to believe there was a father out there I'll probably never know, I started grieving. And feeling sad at times.

And being more alive than ever.

And finally really, truly, totally, madly loving my children.

It's the strangest thing. It just happened. It's like something snapped inside me. Like something burst inside me, releasing liquid joy, allowing me to really love my kids.

A voice inside me said: "They're mine. They're deliciously, wonderfully, tangibly mine. They smell mine and taste mine when I kiss them. There's a bodily joy in the fact that they're mine and no one can take that away from me."

This changed everything. Everything. I wasn't a bad mom before. I did stuff right. I felt a tender love for them before.

But the difference is indescribable. I love them like a mother loves her children. Like an animal loves her cubs. This is real and physical and intense.

There was a block there. And the block was a little voice inside my head saying "Parents can't really love children," which I apparently learned from my childhood. This script didn't fully go away once I reinterpreted it as "NARCISSISTIC parents can't really love children." Part of the script always included also "NARCISSISTIC parents can't really love OTHER FATHERS' children." That was the full script I had learned. And only when it all came out was I capable of unlearning it. Because my children are mine.

Does that make any sense at all? I know it sounds crazy. But it's true.

I've never felt more alive or more joyful. I'm actually on good terms with my social father at the moment and pray for him. My heart aches for my real father, whom I'll never meet. And I'm the happiest I've ever been.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

They come in pairs

Sigh. Had lunch with my father and his girlfriend.

My father's girlfriend is a narcissist too. A nicer, weaker, more compliant narcissist, but still undeniably one.

Come to think of it, how can anyone be "intimately involved" with a narcissist, who by definition is unable to be intimately involved, for years, unless they're also a narcissist and thus also unable to be intimately involved?

I mean, normal people want an actual connection with their partner. If it's not there, they'll lack something and then eventually leave. They won't be cheerfully living a facade for years, only protesting the little things, right?

Compliant co-narcissists are narcissists too. They may not be abusive. They may be quite pleasant and full of life and genuinely charming. But they lack a fundamental something. Their empathy has died after years of abuse. Their ability to emotionally connect with others has withered. They are a shell of a person.

My mother was a shell too. Now I know. I have met other people, other women, other mothers.

Strangely enough, it may have been her step-sister that helped me realize that. My aunt is one of those real people who aren't shells. And there's a world of difference. Although my mother was "nice" and "kind" to others and the light of every gathering and fun to be around... she wasn't real.

He destroyed her. What she might have been if she'd broken free from her own mother's narcissistic abuse.

I'm not angry or assigning blame any more. I'm just sad for these people who've never really been loved unconditionally and never thought they had to learn to actually love.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Life is a constant battle for them

And they have to top everyone. Otherwise they're not alive. You see, they also mostly grew up in narcissistic households and are used to being either the best or useless. So their every conversation is about establishing whether they're the best or at least better than you.

PWC has an interesting post on how narcissists don't want you to be happy for them, just envious of them. It's true.

But they don't seem to really be able to tell the difference. If you admire their achievements / acquisitions when they brag about them, you could be doing it because you want to flatter your superior or because you're genuinely happy for another human being. The difference is beyond them. For them, you're the weak loser if you just say "How wonderful!" or "Congratulations!"

Because, you see, a stronger narcissist would find fault with the achievement / acquisition and this is a risk they take every time they brag about something. You can sometimes sense the trepidation underneath their superiority: Will I win this one? Will my success be attacked? Will I defend it by attacking the attacker well enough? Will I emerge from this as the winner?

You've got to feel sorry for them. Life is a constant battle for them. Support from others is interpreted as their defeat and these losers are immediately discarded as weaklings whose opinion doesn't matter anyway, since they're obviously inferior ("She says she likes my new car, and it must be because she wants to suck up to me because she admires me, which means she's weaker and unworthy of me"). The stronger narcissists who attack them powerfully enough are hated and feared. And they're in constant battle mode. And they're never at ease. And they're so alone.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weird mom dreams

Again, amid clear signals for "you're in the land of the subconscious" (I descend a filthy stairscase stained with blood and excrement, and a gignatic half-serpent, half-lizard scurries across it), I enter a hospital and my mother is there. We're both sick and dying and I realize she's actually alive and we both stay alive and get better.

"Why haven't I seen you all these years? Where have you been?" I suddenly remember to ask her. It's been almost ten years since I thought she died.

"I don't know. Your father must have lied to you about me dying so he could get together with his girlfriend without you objecting."

And then, the other wierd mom dream alternative comes up - yes, she's dead. But I realize she didn't die of breast cancer. My father killed her. He wanted to be free of her and he killed her so he could be with his girlfriend.

I guess this is only normal. I'm pretty sure that's why Hamlet was seeing the Ghost - his mother remarried so soon after his father's death. The idea of foul play just somehow symbolically creeps up.

It's haunting. It's not just the first few minutes after I woke up that I was trying to remember what actually took place and what the true reality of the matter is. It still haunts me, days afterwards.

Friday, December 9, 2011

On Being Wanted: Existential Debt and Existential Fear

Children from narcissistic families often grow up feeling their purpose in life was to please their parents.

Having been created with this purpose and having your very existence predicated upon it takes this to a whole new level.

I didn't know I was donor conceived when I was growing up. But when my aunt told me this only six months ago, I wasn't really surprised. It felt like the missing piece of the puzzle.

I'd always been told indirectly, you see, that I had to be especially grateful and happy about having been so very wanted. They got me, after all, after 12 years of marriage, 20 years of dating, when they were 39 and 40 (why I never enquired into this miraculous birth can be explained only by the deep knowledge that I wasn't supposed to). Which meant they were better parents who loved me more than anyone else out there.

And which meant I owed them much more than normal kids owe their parents.

I hated hearing this even when I was younger and didn't know what I know now.

Now I realize the depth of my existential debt. Created after 12 years of marriage. To a profoundly narcissistic social father. As a last resort, at the latest possible moment (fertility treatment is still not readily available to women over 40 in my country). Amid what must have been a great deal of ambivalence. I should be grateful - he let me exist, after all. That's actually how I do feel - only now it's out in the open and clear to me why I've always felt this way and tried so hard to please him and tried even harder not to displease him.

Even now, I keep feeling like if I do anything to anger him, he'll somehow take my very existence away. This is something I hadn't come across on other blogs by adult children of narcissists - this absolute, gripping, existential fear. I knew there was something else, something dark there, but couldn't quite put my finger on it.

I rationalized this fear: he'll try to take my kids away (although he's shown very little interest in them), he'll get me fired (he doesn't even really know where I work), he'll throw my family out of our home (he could legally do that, but he's renting out my apartment for money, so it would make no sense at all for him to do that - but I've spent many a sleepless night obsessing over this danger).

But it boils down to this: he allowed me, grudgingly, to come into existence. He created me and owns me. I'd better not displease him, or he'll undo it.

Narcissism and Having Children

This is a fascinating issue that is so commonly swept under the rug. What is the role of narcissism in the process of people having children? It's a simple enough question. But it's something no one really wants to ponder.

If you believe - like I do - that narcissism is a spectrum thing and that most people have certain relatively sane levels of narcissism that don't impede their functioning as human beings - then you'll concur that most parents out there are somewhat narcissistic, though they don't have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder prevents people from being able to actually relate to any human being in any real way. It prevents real parenting, period, whether the child is genetically related or not.

Now, sane levels of narcissism we can all relate to, right? I sure can. Thinking that something is cool about the color of your eyes. Or your aptitude for literary creation and interpretation. Or your musical talents. But that those engineers are just not quite as fun as your kind of people - no offense, right? Can we all relate to this? Or am I really very narcissistic for sometimes feeling this way?

Sane narcissism seems to conspire with genetic heritage in order to help kids get the unconditional love they need from their parents. You love who you are and you love your partner so together you get kids who resemble yourself and your partner. You're likely to favor these kids over other humans out there and invest in them. Thus the species survives. It makes sense.

Now, completely non-narcissistic people who truly love all humans in the world non-discriminately and have absolutely NO preferences at all for, say, their musical penchant over someone else's tone-deaf hatred of all music, will likely make quite suitable parents for other people's children - through adoption or unknown gamete donors (though this will not necessarily answer all the issues these children may face in not knowing their genetic parents). These rare godlike perfectly altruistic people will make perfect parents for anyone.

The rest of us imperfect parents have to concede that we we enjoy seeing our traits, penchants, temperaments - and those of our beloved partner, and our ancestors, and his ancestors - in our children. It's really sweet. It's delightful. Can't help it.

It's a form of sane narcissism. The sort of sane narcissism that has quite possibly allowed the human race to survive.

This is the stuff that compels many people to want to have kids.

That makes people go through all sorts of unpleasant infertility treatments before considering donor conception or adoption.

That makes many people who eventually do turn to donor conception or adoption as last resorts have, well, issues. Natural issues. Issues that shouldn't be suppressed. Issues their (")children(") are likely to have, too, because they will likely want to think of their traits / ethnicity / heritage as good, and valuable, and important. These issues cannot be wished away.

And where does that leave the true narcissist, the parent with Narcissistic Personality Disorder? He will never be a true father to any child, biological or not. But a non-biological child he has to pretend he has fathered so he could present himself as fertile will never ever even theoretically be able to please him.

Friday, December 2, 2011

New blog

I started a new blog on being donor conceived. If that part of my story doesn't bore or bother you, feel free to visit.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

On Being Donor Conceived

Maybe I should start a new blog on being donor conceived. I might after I know for sure. In that regard, it's frustration after frustration.

The relative who might know something didn't know anything. Not even ever seeing my (")father(") (?) lately makes it hard to collect a DNA sample. And today I thought I was on the verge of a discovery, one way or another, when I found hard proof of blood types for my entire family - only to be told by the Internet that in the case of my parents (A+ and B+) a donor of any blood type would produce plausible offspring. And I'm plausible. As would any donor's child have been. Back to square one.

Here is an interesting article on being fathered by an anonymous donor, all of which I relate to:

"Some evidence indicates some donor-conceived offspring are not necessarily surprised by the revelation that “Dad” was not their biological father. Some could sense a family secret, while others reported feelings of “not fit[ting] in” with their families. The author David Plotz, who was contacted by many donor offspring, writes that those who learn the truth about their DI origins “are rarely surprised; they always felt something wasn’t right.”

Moreover, many donor-conceived people who eventually learned the truth were angry at having been lied to for years about such a fundamental matter of their being. The reason why many DI offspring “felt something wasn’t right” is because many fathers, try as they might, cannot follow the doctor’s orders to “forget about it themselves.” Husbands often find it extremely difficult to treat donor-conceived children as if they were their own biological children, and such repression is likely to place a strain on family relationships. As Plotz writes:

While good studies on DI families don’t seem to exist, anecdotes about them suggest that there is frequently a gap between fathers and their putative children. [Fathers] are drained by having to pretend that children are theirs when they aren’t; it takes a good actor and an extraordinary man to overlook the fact that his wife has picked another man to father his child. It’s no wonder that the paternal bond can be hard to maintain. When a couple adopts a child, both parents share a genetic distance from the kid. But in DI families, the relationships tend to be asymmetric: the genetically connected mothers are close to their kids; the unconnected fathers are distanced."

Put a narcissist in the mix. Good actors, sure. Extraordinary in the sense implied here? No, quite the opposite, really. See why it matters to me? It would explain so much of our family dynamic and paint it in even darker colors. I started this journey still pretty much wearing my rosy-colored glasses (he loved me, but in a narcissistic way; he was proud of my achievements and just wanted to own and control me; he felt abandoned by me; he was a great dad, although he did it all to be worshiped). This is where I am now: he resented me for existing and being me but had to fake it and even overfake it.

To some out there, genes don't matter. For those who chose donor conception and then lied about it, they clearly matter. Why not opt for adoption and tell everyone? Even if it didn't matter to me (and it does, I'm not going to apologize for that: I look in the mirror and see my mother and someone else, NOT my father, and I wonder who it might be and what he's like and what he likes and what his ethnicity is and whether he shares some of the talents I share with neither parent) it matters that it mattered to them.

Sorry. That's just the way I feel.

Edit: So I did apologize. For my feelings. Just realized that. ACoN to the core ;)

It just occurred to me

My father returned into the country in October after being away for 6 months. We had lunch with him and his girlfriend on October 20. Then, on October 21, his girlfriend had some business in our neighborhood and he spent 4 hours in our home waiting for her.

There was a family celebration hosted by my in-laws where we met, and also one organized by my aunt, where we ran into each other.

Other than that, we haven't seen him. At all. Which is bizarre for my culture. And which I only now even noticed because normally I am just happy and grateful not to hear from him or see him.

We really only see him when his girlfriend attends her classes and he waits for her at our place because he's a jealous abuser.

What's fascinating for me is that he actually uses the words "coming to see you" for those occasions, implying affection for us as the reason for his visits, and he actually seems to expect us to buy it. And we actually don't explicitly call him on it. But it's such obvious BS that it seems insulting to us to even say it.

You don't see your "beloved daughter and granddaughters" for 6 months. Then you see them twice in two days, because that's convenient. Then you don't express any desire to see them again for a month. But, as soon as your girlfriend starts her classes again, you'll be wishing to see us three times a week at times inconvenient for us. What gives?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How I really feel

BAM! I had an unexpected revelation of my real feelings for my father yesterday.

I went to a family celebration at my aunt's. He was invited there for lunch, and my chosen family for dinner. I hadn't expected to see him there.

Which is why, when I entered my aunt's house and saw him sitting there, I almost fainted. My heart started racing, I had trouble breathing, and darkness enveloped me. Spontaneously, I frowned in horror and asked him: "What are you doing here?"

After I'd had time to compose myself, I acted like I always do around him: polite, civil, smiling. My feelings were under control too, like they always are when I know in advance I'll be meeting him.

This isn't new, either. I was reminded yesterday of a very similar event form when I was seven or eight and my father unexpectedly showed up on my school trip, when I thought I'd be free of him for two weeks.

Back then, I also gasped for air. The sun seemed to go black. I felt sudden and intense fear. And all I could utter was also, word for word: "What are you doing here?"

What amazes me is how I've been able all my life to suffocate my feelings and put them under control in order to survive and get on with my life despite his continuing presence. I braced myself and controlled my emotions and reactions.

But there are very negative real feelings under there that only truly surface in their natural intensity when I'm relaxed, not expecting to run into him. And then I do.

Last night, I felt stalked. In reality, I don't even think he actually stalked me - apparently, he came to dinner because he actually had a funeral to attend earlier in the day. But I felt stalked. Like there was no safe place for me that he couldn't invade.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Public Pride and Secret Shame

I was his public pride. My existence was proof of his fertility, my achievements were proof of his natural talents, and his public protestations of fatherly devotion were proof of his love for his offspring.

On the other hand, my very existence was a daily reminder for him of his secret shame, his infertility. I must have been like a slap in the face, just by being me, so different from him and his family of origin.

(I've just spent an hour going through his old photos - incidentally, I'm the one keeping them, he's not really interested in anything involving his narcissistic family of origin, all dead now - photos of him as a baby, toddler, young man, of his sister, father, mother, grandparents, great-uncles and others. I look nothing like any of them. As do my children, who noticeably take after myself, my mother's family, and my husband and his ancestors.)

He must have had a deep ambiguity towards me from the very start and I must have internalized it. On the one hand, he overdid the "devoted father" thing. He probably felt it was necessary to keep others from suspecting anything - but most people I know just found it weird and over the top. On the other hand, I've always felt a dark undercurrent of danger emanating from him, telling me not only "you should be as I want you to be" but also "you shouldn't be."

I can't begin to imagine what raising a donor-conceived child does to a narcissist. And to that child. There's a whole chapter on cloning as the most suitable reproduction of mini-mes that narcissistic parents so desire in Clone being: exploring the psychological and social dimensions by Stephen E. Levick. My father was the golden child because he looked more like his mother and was the more "handsome" of the two, according to her. My aunt was scapegoated for looking like her father and thus not being as beautiful as her mother.

Then, on the other hand, if it is indeed true (and I'm almost positive it is), then I sort of feel for him. And somehow feel that, given the situation, he did relatively well. He could have been much worse.

Why did they never tell me? My mother was once going to tell me something "when I turn 18" but then claimed she didn't remember what it was when I asked her about it on my 18th birthday.

Did he want to protect me from knowing I'm not his, poor me? Or protect himself from people knowing about his infertility? Or a mixture of all that?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Matters of biology and whether biology matters

My mother's stepfather was the person closest and dearest to me when I was growing up. He was also the only non-narcissist and non-enabler in my immediate family. So, when sane, normal people are concerned, genes don't generally play a decisive role - these people treat children decently, whether they're related to them or not.

Narcissists, on the other hand, will mistreat any children in their care, whether they're their biological parents or not. So, why does it even matter whether my NF is my biological father or not?

Well, just imagine your run-of-the-mill malignant narcissist in his situation and things begin to make sense. First, our narcissist discovers he is infertile, which is a difficult thing for any man - or woman - to reconcile with, but it is crushing for a narcissist - infertility is one of the most devastating narcissistic injuries conceivable. Add to this injury the insult of his wife's great desire to have a child - if necessary, with another man's sperm. The narcissist grants her this wish, but she is supposed to take the blame for those previous 12 years of infertility. The newly-created child is already proof of his fertility in front of others, but a constant reminder of his lack of manhood (or whatever he might have in his narcissistic mind) to himself.

Can you really claim this situation is not somehow just a bit more complex than the narcissist getting his own child, a potential mini-me?

The malignant narcissist's wife gives birth to a child that looks quite a bit like her and seems to be happy, getting what she wanted and what he might have wanted too, but couldn't have. As a man who has been known to repeatedly do things just to spite others and rain on their parade and ruin it for them, he:

a) becomes the perfect, ideal, most dedicated father ever, bottle-feeding the infant, taking the child out for long walks, helping the mother to such an extent that she barely notices she has a child, for which she and the child are eternally grateful, or

b) out of envy, sabotages the nursing relationship and takes the baby away from the mother to prove that though she may be the biological parent, he can still usurp the child and control her and force her to love him more. The mother consents to this, out of gratitude and guilt, and doesn't complain because, after all, he's spending time with a child not biologically his, and this is so sweet of him. She lets other things go because of this too.

I'd go with b).

What do you think?

I know. I just know.

I had a dream a few nights ago where I was descending steep and dangerous steps to get to the edge of a deep and dangerous river where I could meet a fisherman who'd sell me a fish. Halfway down the steps, wondering whether I'd break my neck or drown, I realized I already had a fish in my hands. And it was a stinky, disgusting fish I didn't know what to do with. Nothing I'd like to prepare for my family or eat. I just looked at it.

The moment I woke up, I understood that this meant I already know my father is not my biological father. I don't need to do a DNA test - risking him discovering I know this and paying money for it - in order to find out. I already know. And I don't really know what to do with it.

My aunt recently remembered another tidbit from a long time ago (she digs stuff up from her memory, just like all of us do, in no particular order, as it all comes back to her): my mother told her, before I was conceived, about their fertility issues.

Apparently, instead of doing it the normal way - males go first, because it's much less invasive - my mother first underwent extensive fertility testing which revealed there was nothing wrong with her before my father agreed to be tested and, whaddya know - the test revealed "half his sperm was dead, and the rest of it was lazy," my mother told my aunt in the strictest confidence.

My mother told me as much when I was 18.

Short of a divine miracle, the only way in which my mother could have conceived in 1981 was via donor sperm.

I look nothing like my father or his sister or parents, and neither do my kids. Not a single little insignificant trait. A short glance at my kids next to their parents or anyone in my husband's family quickly and easily reveals those little familial similarities.

What difference does it make? Not much, really. But there are implications of this on my mind that I'll just have to share.

Friday, October 21, 2011

He's back

It's weird. I have little energy for describing my encounter with him. I found I was acting somewhat narcissistic around him which may or may not have been related to his being more defensive and polite. It's all weird.

His girlfriend was here and she found it appropriate to use us as audience or protection to discuss her issues with him. Bizarre verbal abuse and pathological jealousy stuff. I said in front of him that the only way to counter his irrational behavior might be to stop taking it seriously. He said nothing and grinned in a forced, eery way. I might now be "audience" to him, which is good. He's on his best behavior in front of us.

I find, though, that I have a hard time being in the same room with him. For no particular reason. He's just a presence I feel uncomfortable around. I didn't feel like this before.

When I look at him, there's just one thing I see. Know those cartoons where a starving person sees a roast when looking at anyone or anything? Well, I look at him and I see DNA samples. I see stuff that might help me determine if he is indeed my biological father or not. And not much else.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The error in his strategy

He never conditioned me to feel sorry for him, to feel close to him, to feel anything for him that might be tender. No, he was always strong, tough, needing nothing from anyone. He never even pretended to show me any tenderness or love. He faked it and talked about it to others, but he didn't show me any affection, even fake stuff, not really.

He only conditioned me to fear his wrath.

His narcissistic mother, on the other hand, pretended to love him and his sister to death and conditioned them to cater to her emotionally and to feel guilty about her emotions.

And through much of my childhood and adulthood he tried to manipulate me using her tactics. Which failed. Because, not being properly conditioned, I took him at his word.

For instance, things like "Well, if I embarrass you, although your friends like me, I won't be at your party" were met with my "Great, thanks" instead of "Oh, no, of course you don't embarrass me, please don't be hurt!"

My vacation is over

Daddy dearest is coming back to town. My 6-month break from him is over. I hadn't heard from him in three weeks, most probably because I hadn't complied with his request that I send him ALL the pictures I have of our summer, but he ended the silent treatment to notify me of his return, complain of "no news from me :(" (read: no photos) and... request more photos.

I sent him a few pics of my husband remodeling our apartment (tiles, painting, floors - he did everything himself and I'm very proud of him.)

I find I'm not like the rest of you. I don't dream that my father will be somehow transformed and then we could have a real relationship. I have no desire for a real relationship with him. I don't remember a time after my earliest childhood when I did.

It appears any feelings I could have had for him except fear (and occasionally anger) have been numb for a long time. Years. Decades, even.

He never fostered those feelings, like many NMs do, for instance, inspiring the illusion of a relationship in their children - he only fostered fear.

My only wish in dealing with him is for a time to come when I feel I am stronger, healthier, and not afraid. To feel truly free of him in my head.

I feel him as a sort of opponent, adversary, foil - but one I will always treat civilly and diplomatically, never making a faux pas that might justify any move against us.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I've been feeling weird and lost. Lots of stuff happening which I don't know what to do with emotionally.

My "boss" (direct superior as of this year, but there are other wonderful people there) has lied about me and to me and caused complications, but things are looking up and working out, apparently.

My father is apparently giving me the silent treatment again for not sending him more photos, which I'm enjoying and happily ignoring.

The narcissistic author I'm translating for has managed to get me to promise to finish his book by early October (he's one of those voice narcissists, darn them). It MIGHT be done by the middle of the month. He owes me money again, so I'm not TOO worried or guilty, but still.

I have serious narcissistic traits in my subconscious. Or so I think. Proof: My M. Phil. mentor is now the head of the gov't uni dept. I recently dropped by and thanked him for his mentorship. It must be because I'm hoping to secure a position there.

Except: I've wanted to thank him for a long time because he truly was and is an amazing, wonderful, supportive mentor. Through my ACON journey I realized I had a serious problem expressing anything that might seem like "sucking up" (because I saw my father's toadying too often) and I felt I wanted to right that wrong. And I don't actually WANT to work there, but he might have thought that this was my hidden agenda. I'm so screwed up.

Friday, September 30, 2011

And my direct superior is a psychopath!

Apparently. I'm slowly discovering a whole network of her seemingly unnecessary lies and attempted manipulations. All directed against me, for some reason. Weird stuff. I'll bore you with the details later.

I had worked with her for two years before and only noticed she wasn't very friendly, but was very ambitious and didn't seem to like our students very much. Now I have the knowledge to notice other stuff, and hopefully deal with some of it too. At least work on not taking it personally and not seeing it as a reflection of my actual work and worth.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Evil Strategy

That's right. I've devised an Evil Strategy. It's my first ever.

If my father asks why I haven't humored him and sent him the photos he requested although I've already said "no" to him, here's what I'll say:

"Oh! You were serious? It sounded like a joke."

This is not a lie. And it's not a justification. It's showing him how he's coming across. If someone sends you a total of 17 photos as a result of your constant pestering and then says "I don't know what else to send you," it's only logical that your "Send me all you've got" reads as a joke.

I guess I started thinking about Deborah's suggestion that I behave like his own narcissistic mother would, and that caused a paradigm shift in my thinking. Suddenly, the question occurred to me: "Why does it always have to be me on the defensive? Justifying myself? Thinking of ways to prove I'm not being mean? Is it absolutely forbidden to put HIM on the defensive if he deserves it by behaving in a clearly abnormal way? It might actually not be forbidden. Wow."

Am I evil?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

There is no "no" in Narcissese...

... is there? The photo situation is not resolved and I was gonna ask you how I can translate the "no"s I've expressed to him into language he can understand... but it's impossible.

There is no "no" in Narcissese. When they want something, they won't understand politely phrased "no"s. They'll refuse to.

After another, more polite request for photos, after which my husband remembered we had a few other pics we could send, I sent him three relatively lame photos, one of which didn't even include us - it was a landscape.

Now he texted me, asking for MORE.

I said "I don't know what else to send you. I'm not like you, I don't take hundreds of pictures every month."

Was that a "no"? Or did I hallucinate? I thought that meant "no" - I'm not sending any more photos.

His response?

"Then send me all you've got, even if it's only 10 photos."

Google has a suggested search "telling a narcissist no" which I used. The search, however, yields no actual practical advice.

The question exists. The answer doesn't.

Do you have one for me?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Tiger Inside the House

I had a very vivid dream this morning which I knew had a connection with Kiki's brilliant grizzly bear post even while I was having it.

In the dream, there was a killer, man-eating tiger already in my home. As long as we fed him what he wanted and let him play with us the way he wanted, the worst we'd end up with were a few scratches and tiny bites. And we lived in constant fear that we'd piss him off and he would just rip us to shreds. I wanted him out of my home but there didn't seem to be a way to do that without seriously jeopardizing our very lives. There was just nothing I could do except humor the gigantic, frightening tiger. There was no rational way out.

I didn't tell anyone about my dream.

Today we all went to the store and I told my daughter she could choose one small toy. She picked a tiger. A tiny, puny, fragile-looking toy tiger made in China.

The moral of the story? I don't have a clue. It's just one of those coincidences you can't make up.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I've been very busy lately doing a simultaneous/consecutive interpreting gig at a seminar. I leave home at 8AM and come back around 6PM and have very little free time and am tired when I do, which is why I haven't been writing here regularly. You understand, don't you?

See, my father refuses to. He intentionally and maliciously refuses to. Because he wants photos from our seaside vacation! Several days ago, he asked for our photos. I have a feeling that having our photos is a control/ownership issue for him, but there's not enough rational reasoning to not let him have any at all, so I sent him 9 photos.

Then he asked for more in an email, saying he was so lonely and missed us so much. The next day, he texted me with the same request. I replied that I'm not even at home and that I'm working all day, every day. He then wrote to request that my husband send him more photos, just so he could see our dear faces during his lonely days. This nauseated me, but I sent two more. Then another sickeningly sweet plea for photos came. Now I waited a little, and then sent two obviously bad photos, hoping he'd understand the message - this is basically all you're getting, and I'm just barely being polite now.

Our Internet package means sending just one photo takes several minutes during which time you can't surf. So, it's a real time commitment. Also, but I didn't tell him this, there are pictures I'm simply not giving him. I sent him official, posed family shots, which I don't mind sharing with anyone. I'm not sending the really cute, real ones of my kids. 

Then I received yet another email today! He's sure we're very busy. But surely we could find time to send him more! And he's certain we have more pictures than we sent him!

How pushy can you be? How can't you get that enough's enough?

My husband says this is now just insane behavior and I should just ignore him. I'm kind of scared to just ignore him, because I know that will piss him off more than anything. I don't want to justify not sending any more, either, because I don't have an obligation to share our photos with him. I'm considering sending him a photo of our car or the view from our balcony, but it might be too much tongue-in-cheek, especially since he'll probably see the photos eventually.

Suggestions? How does one communicate to a narcissist that enough's enough without being rude?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Savior/Martyr False Self

There are things about me that are fake; there are those that are here as a result of conditioning; there are those I developed as my rebellion against the conditioning.

Many of them are relatively harmless. Some are kind of dear to me, and, as long as I acknowledge that this is not uncompromisingly my innermost self, I can let myself indulge in them (like sometimes wanting to be one of the boys, drinking beer out of the bottle in the park, having a little general rebellious streak).

But one thing that really stood out to me in the story, the unhealthy thing, the thing that forever connects my false self with the tyrant, necessitating their joint death as the only way out, is the savior/martyr complex. The main character in my story so obviously has it that it hurts me to realize it. She's thrilled to have someone to protect. Her life has meaning. Then she's ready to suffer torture and death for him at the hands of the man who wants him dead. And not only that. In the process, in the first version of the ending which disgusted me, she never objects. She never raises her voice. She never tries to defend herself. Not because she's really compliant. Far from it. No, it's because doing any of that would be like weakness or immorality. 

In other versions, I let her get raving mad, kick him in the balls, take his gun, all sorts of stuff. But it feels wrong to her to do anything violent to him, or even speak up against him to the cops, and then survive, it's unlike her, makes her somehow unclean. The last time she does it, they both die. He shoots her straight through the heart, which just goes all numb (like in my dream - I'm choosing to reinterpret it as the voluntary death of my false self now), and the young man hidden behind the heavy bookcase manages to tip it over and it crashes on the killer's head.

She has sometimes done good for others, when I was a student representative and fought the good fight. Stuff like that. But she does bad stuff, too.

She exists, it seems, only to be a savior and a martyr, and without a tyrant, she doesn't feel alive, she's just depressed and cynical. She invents tyrants where there are none. She finds the same dynamic everywhere, even where it doesn't exist, and then the savior becomes the sanctimonious judge of those with power who's overly lenient to those without it, and the martyr becomes the whiner.

She's not evil. But she keeps me seeking out abuse from my father or anyone else and interpreting it as this big battle against evil in which she will be the moral victor by silently enduring everything and never even being impolite. And the abuser will just tire of the abuse because he's not getting the desired result, the expected reaction. And he'll move on, frustrated. He's physically stronger and has all the power, so all she can do is shut off and endure it all sullenly and not give him the satisfaction of witnessing any reaction in her.

This may have been a decent survival strategy when I was a child, but now it no longer serves its purpose.

Christians here, please answer this: have you identified with Christ and the martyrs when feeling good & strong by taking stuff silently? Better and stronger than the abusers? I know feeling better and stronger than others is not exactly a Christian sentiment, but, well, maybe some of you know what I mean.

I don't, on the other hand, really identify with all that love and forgiveness for one's tormentors. Just the idea of being stronger by silently enduring and never showing you're suffering. That's not Christian at all, I fully realize.

But somehow, for me, it got blended with my general ideology.

How does one get rid of that? And what does one do instead and still feel good about oneself?

The moral of the story

The story I wrote had only one ending that worked - the one in which both the Tyrant and the False Self die. And they do have to both die to make me healthy, although the False Self is the main character. They feed each other, they make each other possible in my psyche. The Tyrant is not really my father - he is an internalized version of my father, an inner figure of censorship and destruction, much more dangerous and powerful and violent than the man ever was. The False Self is not really me. She needs to go. And only in that case does the hidden and threatened Inner Child have the chance to have the freedom to grow and develop into something that could be me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Denouement

I finally finished the story. I took long, long breaks because it was really hard and scary.

In it, all the characters are apparently parts of me and include my very developed and detailed False Self, my threatened, hidden Inner Child, the Abominable Tyrant, and two cops who come in the end - something like surrogate parents.

The story has five or six endings that I tried - and I left them all in, in the spirit of deconstruction and transparency, along with my thoughts on them - and all these endings are very violent and full of rage.

But the only one that works is the one in which the False Self and the Tyrant both die.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Spoiled and Coddled

When I was 15, I had a conversation with my mother in which I shared with her that there was nothing in life I wanted or made me happy, no dreams or wishes or desires I wanted fulfilled, nothing between now and death that I can imagine would make life somehow worth living.

I now realize that I was telling her, in my teenage angsty way, that I was mildly depressed. I now realize that, as a psychologist, she should have picked up on that.

Instead, she said: "That's because you're spoiled and coddled. You always had everything, so that's why you don't want anything."

Friday, August 26, 2011

All Apologies

Kiki made me remember. There was one time I expected my father to apologize. He'd slapped me in the face repeatedly for making a silly childish comment that one day I'll be stronger than him. I told him this memory bugged me a few months later, and that I wanted to truly make up because I loved him and forgave him. What I got what Kiki's Non-Apology, Version 5: A Denial. He supposedly didn't remember. "See, it was such a non-event that I forgot. But I forgive you, too." It was apparent he was lying. I knew it at 8 years old.

I never expected an apology or any sort of closure from him again. Heck, I never really expected to have a relationship involving emotions with him again.

I don't think he noticed this. But he demanded apologies from me, all right.

When I was 13, a cousin of his was having heart surgery in our city and was staying with my father's narcissistic mother. I'd never met the man, but was told I was expected to go to grandma's and see him before the surgery. I fully intended to, although I didn't really get it, but then one of my best friends was hospitalized for a concussion the same day, and I kept her company through it.

I didn't feel guilty. I felt fully justified in my decision. But my father was angry and gave me the silent treatment. Fine. I ignored him, too. It went on for days, weeks.

And then my mother asked me to apologize. Because, she said, he was hell bent on keeping this up forever if I didn't.

So I did. To be the only sane person in the family. It was an obviously fake apology. But he grandiosely accepted it and gave me a cold, but grandiose, fake hug. I felt nauseous. But, as far as he was concerned, everything was just wonderful again!

With them, there's just "on" and "off." Because both are fake. He's neither angry when he's "angry," nor does he love me when he "loves" me.

He won, and he knew it was a close one, so he didn't have to win by much.

Like recently, after being so very upset and "worried" after I forgot to let him know I've successfully relocated, I received a profusion of fake sentiment the moment I sent a short, official message informing him of my next relocation. He knew he'd just barely won, so he took it. A narcissist secure in his position of control and manipulation would have demanded contrition and groveling and amends.

It's all about power and control. There's nothing else.

I don't want an apology for anything. I have absolutely no interest in that. There's never going to be a relationship that can be redeemed by such closure. That's laughable. There never was one.

But this information about the things he's done... including, possibly, being infertile and me being donor conceived and lying about it to me and everyone else... now, this information could give me some power and control. In case he ever attacks my family in any way, I have ammunition for defense. I'm not above saying: "Wanna evict us? Tell lies to my friends, family, neighbors, employers? Fine. There are truths about you you wouldn't want shared with everyone you know. So leave us alone."

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I just now realized that other dreams in which I was persecuted by a dark murderer may have been about my father too.

In one of them, a man with a gun is chasing me through a labyrinth. At one point, I get sick and tired of running away. So I confront him and tell him "Just go ahead and kill me." He presses the gun against my chest. He hesitates. So, looking him straight in the eyes, I pull the trigger myself. The bullet goes through my heart, which has gone all numb. I don't feel a thing. The ground just gets softly closer and then there's only darkness.

I've thought about it and I do feel my father as a truly dangerous man, with the potential to actually hurt me. I'm not sure to which extent this sentiment is irrational, but it's there and that's a fact.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A frightening dream

I'm at the computer and a man attacks my father, stabbing him in the thighs (very aware here of the symbolism of wounds to the thigh in mythology etc. - a sexual wound meaning sterility, among other things. My father may not be my real father, and some other man may have given him that particular sexual/narcissistic injury of not being fertile and not being my real father.) My father complains to me of being indifferent to his injuries, and I say in a cold voice "Oh horrible. Oh no." and start chasing the perp down the street.

Next thing I know, a horrible murderer is chasing me down the street, trying to kill me. I know all the time it's really my father. I'm in the witness protection program because I know something I shouldn't and the murderer wants me dead (many things I'm aware of now, including his infertility, that he wouldn't like publicized).

I enter a house where my chosen family is with another family I really like - a young married couple with two kids that I'm friends with. This is their home and they're hiding me. (I see them as good parents. I talk to them openly about my father and NPD. They get it.) At some point, however, the wife lets the murderer in and starts talking to him. I'm not sure if she does so in order to kill him or to betray me. But he's no longer dangerous after this.

Thoughts? One I have is: there's a lot of fear in there.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Black and White

Cheshire's post got me thinking. I too have succumbed to black and white thinking since the beginning of my recovery.

In a way, it's only natural. When your world is rocked by a revelation, when all your paradigms shift, you're going to go through a period of seeing the world in dichotomies. Have you just become a "born again" Christian? You're going to see the world split into believers and non-believers. Have you just had a baby? You're going to be noticing parents and those who are not all around you. Have you diagnosed your parents with NPD? You're going to be splitting the world into "narcissists" and "non-narcissists" for a while.

It's understandable. After a while, though, this kind of thinking impedes our recovery, because that's exactly the kind of thinking we inherited from our narcissistic parents. People got written off and discarded after getting defined as something unworthy. Based on very little.

For me, personally, the black and white thinking was slowly superseded by a spectrum type thinking. I started seeing "narcissism" as the basis of human evil and present to some extent in most of us, but only really diagnosable as a disorder at the point where it disrupts normal human functioning. When I see it in myself - the relatively small selfishnesses or the proud, martyr-like "selflessnesses" - I no longer categorize myself as a narcissist and thus beyond redemption. I acknowledge a negative element and attempt to eradicate it. Gradually. Mostly, I trust God to do most of the heavy lifting for me.

I'm fresh out of anger and resentment. I feel sorrow and pity for my father. Maybe because I haven't seen him for so long and he's done nothing upsetting lately. Who knows? I just know this feels better.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

No one here gets out alive

The book I've been translating gave me an insight about enablers. There are no "non-narcissistic" enablers. No one can have a "relationship" with a narcissist for years and years and years and raise children with them and watch those children get mistreated in ways that children of narcissists get mistreated and not have or develop some protective narcissistic traits themselves. The "dear old mom" or "sweet, but weak dad" never were real. We imagined them.

My author (who does have narcissistic traits, but is beginning to sound more human to me by the page, especially considering the abuse he survived in his childhood) keeps reminiscing wistfully about his mother, who was (quite apparently) a cold bitch. The fact that she suffered horrible abuse at the hands of her husband does not change that. She survived by shutting off her empathy and all feeling.

But he keeps imagining "what if." What if he killed his evil, sadistic father, and stayed with just his mother? Would she then have stroked his hair sometimes? Would she then freely show him her love? Would she then not have bathed him in boiling hot water when he had meningitis just so the doctor wouldn't see him "dirty"?

Although my family was much more "normal" than his, I recognized so much of my mother in his. The basic indifference, the insistence on looking good to others, the "could have shown love to me if only..."

No. When normies get involved with narcs, they either run when they find out what they got themselves into, or they become zombified themselves.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Don't Dig Deep

That's what I was told. In those words. When I said I wasn't really loved by my narcissistic family, though they may have boasted about my successes to other people.

"Don't dig so deep," the former neighbor of my malignant narcissistic grandmother, who suffered somewhat at her hands too, and knew how the evil woman tormented her family, said. I was amazed, to put it mildly. I'd never heard this sentiment actually expressed. I thought everyone knew you were always supposed to be digging deep. That's the accepted wisdom in my world.

Except, no one was ever doing it, not really. When I was "digging deep" before, I thought it meant acknowledging to myself how evil, selfish, cold, unloving, disloyal, cowardly, I really was. And everyone else probably was, to some extent. Except my perfect parents, who were the only ones above reproach.

Digging deeper than that made me realize I was being too hard on myself because their projection conditioned me to. At first, I didn't understand. How could I have hidden this from myself and instead thought horrible things about myself? And then, when I allowed myself to feel again, it hit me - it's easier to be evil than to be unloved. Unloved by your own mother and father. You'll lie to yourself, say that you rejected them, because you're cold and hard and cruel, anything, just to keep yourself from realizing that mommy and daddy never loved you.

The neighbor, in a way, had the guts to admit it: it's scary and dangerous to dig that deep. To the depths that make you realize you never had parental love, the most fundamental thing in the world. Everyone has at least a tiny measure of unease when they hear of the possibility of parents not loving their children. Because no one received perfect love from their parents. (If there's such a thing as original sin, that's got to be it.) That's why the myths and taboos surrounding parenthood are so strong.

And why we have such difficulty being heard and believed and validated.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Now and Then

People will let you complain on and on about your friends, lovers, and children.

But they won't listen to you talk about your parents and their parenting.

Long time ago, let bygones be bygones, water under the bridge.

I don't want to disparage, discount, or denigrate those who are suffering now.


What is being done to formed adults now is something that is being done to formed adults. Formed adults can walk away or fight back.

What parents do FORMS their children. They can NEVER walk away because their parents remain in their heads forever. They can NEVER really fight back because they'd be fighting against a piece of themselves. I'm trying to do that now, but it's so damned hard not to listen to their voices inside me!

So, how come people would listen to me complain about my husband forgetting to throw out the trash but won't be comfortable with me complaining about my parents never loving me?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fiction Therapy

I've actually started writing fiction again, after a decade, and this time it's real. I'm writing a fictitious story with fictitious characters, but it's more real and honest than anything I've ever written, including purely factual essays. And it's scary. And I don't know what will happen, but if I just let it happen, without interfering, it does. And it makes so much symbolic sense that it's eery.

For instance, one character (my false self, I think) hides another, (my inner child, I think) behind her bookcase from a persecutor who's trying to kill him. And the moment that occurred to me as the only possible course of action, I realized that this is exactly what I did. I hid my traumatized inner child and my truth and the real me behind my books. I wasn't allowed to think my father and my family were anything less than perfect. But I was allowed to read Orwell and feel rebellious against Big Brother. I was allowed to read Kafka and relate so perfectly to the feeling of being persecuted by an evil system designed to crush, denigrate, and annihilate. I was allowed to read about the Gnostics and despise the evil Demiurge who imprisoned souls in his world and demanded to be worshiped by them.

Writing fiction brings even more things to light than factual blogging! It's incredibly therapeutic.

The next thing that will happen in my story is an open confrontation with the persecutor. This scares me, because it feels potentially prophetic. Will it end in a general carnage, like a Shakespearean tragedy? I hope not. I hope 'my' characters can emerge relatively unharmed. One can hope.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mea Culpa

I can't, I mustn't blame my mother for anything, because it's my fault, it's all my fault. If I'd been gentler and warmer and more loving as a child, instead of agreeing to be appropriated by my narcissistic father and pushing her away, she would have shown me how warm and loving she could have been. But didn't dare. Or something.

He pulled me away from her and her away from me. I pushed her away. She just obeyed. It's my fault for allowing it. And now she's dead.

My aunt, her step-sister, is warm and loving and normal. So, she'd have been like that too, if we'd been a better family to her, right? They did have different mothers, though. And lived apart. In very different homes. 

I'm the cold bitch here.

There were a few hugs that were real. Unlike his, which were also rare, but fake, in addition.

But I have to admit.

She criticized me and pigeon-holed me and defined me in negative terms too. She embarrassed me in front of others by revealing private things about me and laughed cheerfully and innocently about it. She expected me to perform in front of others and make her proud - parade my "knowledge" and "talents".
She once showed much more concern about what a doctor will think than what I felt before a surgery I had. This was very painful for me at the time. I thought it was utterly unfair.

I might be starting to remember things about my mother.

And they're not too pretty.

They formed a duo of performers when we were out together. Both jovial, jocular, vivacious. At home, though, he was a dark tyrant, and she was a vegetable on the couch. But they had these roles well rehearsed, both of them, together.

She pretended away his insane behaviors and made light of them and excused them in front of me. She was his sidekick. They functioned together.

They shouldn't have had me. Maybe if she hadn't had me, she wouldn't have got breast cancer. Maybe they'd be happy now, in a fake world, together. The abuser and the willing abused, who look so good in front of others. With no one to ask questions.

I shouldn't have been born. I mean, God probably didn't mean for the two of them to even have a kid, right? But they created me and I should be grateful, right? Because they'd have been happier without me.

They should have had a spaniel. Or a plant.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All about my mother. Or, My Mother and Her Discontents

I'm becoming sure my mother was a child of a narcissist too, but never dealt with it. Instead, she married one, a much worse specimen. This was all she knew.

When she complained to others about anything at all, it was about how her mother wasn't getting her due credit. Her possibly narcissistic mother, who was living with us, was the one babysitting me when I wasn't going to daycare (although she thankfully made her husband take me with him on his daily meanderings through the city, which were the fun part of my childhood), and she didn't feel she was seen as important enough, what with my narcissistic father claiming me and controlling me completely, and his narcissistic mother agreeing to meet me for a photo-shoot of "look, we're taking our granddaughter to the park!"

(All these narcissists were just using me as prey, as a chessboard, as the territory they could fight over and claim. Who did the most for me? Who got to control me? Who was I supposed to be most grateful to? Dear God, I remember people telling me in whispers things that were supposed to make me love them more and be grateful to them more than the others. Well, I showed them. I didn't love any of them. I shut down. They all gave me the creeps. I became cold and emotionally reserved and cynical. Around them, anyway.)

It was still all about her mother. Who demanded her due. Rarely about her. Who got her baby basically taken away from her. She wasn't even allowed to nurse me. She tried, realized she had inverted nipples, and bought a nipple shield. My father, the engineer, who wouldn't let me touch a toy before he read the manual, then figured it out himself (playing with it on his own for a while), then gave me an hour-long tutorial, after which the toy would lose all its appeal, that insane technically minded man who read all the manuals in the world for everyone else, forgot to pierce a hole in the nipple shield. And this was only ascertained much later. And not by him. He claimed the baby, i.e. me, was too weak to nurse because she's starving, and that's why the nipple shield wasn't working. So he promptly bought a bottle and formula and "saved" me. He didn't forget to put a hole through the nipple of the bottle, interestingly enough. So he sabotaged our nursing relationship, like he sabotaged our every relationship from the very start.

But she didn't complain much about him appropriating me. She claimed to her friend that I'd "saved" her from the daily visits to her MIL. Because my father focused on me, he didn't pay the daily pilgrimages to his mother any more. It was cute when I first heard this. But now I resent it. I wasn't born to save anyone. If she wanted saving from her MIL, she should have refused to go. Or, better yet, she should have divorced that horrible woman's son. I was a baby and wasn't supposed to be saving family members from each other or be used as a pawn in their games. I needed saving myself.

Then, she had "fleas" of her own. She was used to being constantly criticized and didn't mind being the butt of cruel jokes. But she had so much riding on appearances in front of others, appearances that were supposed to be kept up by me. Her mother was a lady and looks mattered to her, and my mother internalized this. Not just being pretty, no, you had to suffer in some way, wear uncomfortable clothes because they looked fancy and lady-like. I remember a horrible cap that hurt and itched and got etched into my forehead, and I kept taking it off, crying, but my mother kept putting it on, because it was pretty. There was the oft-told incident of how my mother spanked me into wearing a pretty dress that I didn't want to wear outside because I knew it meant No Playing, Just Posing. I remember being as old as nine and going for a walk with my mother and my cousin and having to be dressed nicely. When we got to the park, we started climbing trees, and my pants got dirty. We immediately had to leave, because I was "embarrassing" her, and she spanked me along the way (that wasn't embarrassing?) although we'd just come and my cousin had to come from another part of the city to go for a walk with us.

I remember having career counseling in elementary school. Part of it included aptitude tests and an interview with a psychologist. I was told I was "above average" and could do most things I liked. I was happy with that. My mother wasn't. She was a psychologist and actually went to the psychologist who tested me and got exact information from her. She shared my exact IQ, which she wheedled out of the psychologist, with me, in a concerned way. "It must be higher than that" she said worriedly. "They applied an adult scale on you, and you're just 14" she added. Until recently, no, to this day, at this very moment, I'm painfully embarrassed by my IQ of 133 on the Wechsler scale (which roughly corresponds to 153 on the Cattel scale)*. I feel utterly inadequate. I only recently did some googling and was surprised to discover it was in fact not that bad. Top 2%. Good enough for effing Mensa. Why wasn't she happy with that? Why wasn't that good enough for her? What would have been?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Not without her husband

My aunt only recently realized an astounding little fact.

She doesn't remember a single time when she saw her married sister - my mother - alone. Without her husband - my father.

He controlled her every movement and her every spoken word. Eery.

The narcissist's afterlife

... is living on in the carefully plotted narratives about himself that are to be spoken by those remaining behind.

My father dutifully repeats the narratives plotted by his mother about herself and her family, although his heart's not in it. He seems to expect me to do the same for him.

This is good. He doesn't want to be remembered by his grandkids as the Evil Grandpa Who Disinherited Us. Well, that's the hope, anyway.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Narcissistic parents engulf or ignore. They can't have a sane relationship with their offspring. My father was a combination of the two, more controlling when I was a little doll he could exhibit and take credit for, and more ignoring when I grew up and grew a mind of my own. Which felt so much better and made me think at the time that I had great parents who let me do all sorts of stuff.

One of the more annoying aspects of my father's engulfing ways when I was younger was his involvement in my school. Kiki wrote about how her mother didn't volunteer at her school and seemed utterly uninvolved. My father was too involved. But it wasn't about me. It was about him and the narcissistic supply he got from the teachers. He was president of the school board. He was the one who went to all the parent-teacher meetings. Very few teachers ever met my mother. He'd boast about me and ingratiate himself to the teachers, flattering them. It made my stomach turn.

What was worst for me was when he infringed on my times of freedom. The school trips! For a child from a perfect family, I sure loved the freedom from home that the school trips offered just a little too much. Two weeks away from home! Other kids cried and missed their parents. I never did.

During one school trip, he wrote me an elaborately illustrated letter full of silly cliches and with the instructions to show it to my teacher! I was later questioned on how the teacher reacted. The whole thing was beyond embarrassing.

And for a child who was "so attached to her father" as everyone, especially he, kept repeating until it became an unquestioned truism, I sure was horribly shocked and appalled to run into him just a couple of days into the delicious freedom that was the school trip! I was eight and I remember that moment vividly - I was walking down a path, with sunshine in my face, and he jumped out nowhere and stood in my path, blocking the sun. The world grew dark. I had the expression of utter shock. "Dad, what are you doing here?" I asked. "Aren't you happy to see me? I came to help the teachers. If I embarrass you by being here, I'll pretend I don't know you the whole time we're here." I guess, knowing what I do now, that it was supposed to elicit a reaction along the lines of "No, of course you don't embarrass me; please don't ignore me!" Instead, I took him at his word and said "Ok, great. Let's pretend we don't know each other!"

In the days that followed, however, although he dutifully ignored me, he started preying on my friends, acting wonderfully towards them. One by one, he took them under his wing, until I was isolated and alone in ignoring him and not talking to him. In the end, I relented too. He'd won. Everyone was on his side, hanging out with this wonderful, involved dad, not understanding why his own horrible daughter wasn't talking to him, not understanding why I felt betrayed by them. So I started talking to him too.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Impromptu lies are the most fun kind

Because the narcissist hasn't had time to weave an elaborate network of deception, and what he blurts out is just funny.

A few days ago, my aunt came to visit. As she is in frequent contact with my father, she told him of this plan, and he asked her to take a few pictures of our new redecorations in progress so he could see what the new big space in our apartment looks like.

He mentioned this when he called me on the phone yesterday. So I asked "Why would you ask my aunt to send you pictures? We've been documenting the whole process thoroughly with our own camera and can certainly send pictures ourselves if you're interested."

His response? "Well, ummm, I didn't know if you were at home. Or at the summer house. And you don't have a landline there. And text messaging is... Ummm."

He knew my aunt was coming to visit us. But he didn't know if we were at home. While she was visiting us. At home.

This just makes me laugh. But it doesn't help me get to the real reason. Is it beneath him to ask me for the pictures of my home? Is he demonstrating to me that he can find "spies" all around who'll provide him with pictures of everything I do, so he can "control" it from a distance? What's the real deal here? I don't get it. It's silly and it doesn't even upset me, but I find myself genuinely curious.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Only the Blind Can See

It sounds like a paradox, but I'm dead serious. The reason it's so difficult to explain to others what we were missing as children and are still missing now is because it is such a normal, essential thing that those who had it and have it don't even notice it. How can you explain Lack of Love to those whose parents really loved them? How can they understand what it's like never to have received free, safe, unconditional love from those whose duty it was to provide it?

So we talk about the fluff. We talk about their selfish or abusive or lying actions and are told that other parents sometimes do the same. They talk about how our parents raised us, put us through school, bought us stuff. But all this is irrelevant fluff. The issue is Lack of Love. Parental love is something absolutely essential, and yet something invisible, because it's simply taken for granted.

Like eyesight. We don't go around thinking about eyesight all day long, thanking God we have it and feeling empathy towards those who don't. We take it for granted. Only if you're blind, and have known what having eyesight is like, are you likely to See its importance.

When we are told "Well, maybe your parents were unable to really love you, but they put you through school and bought you stuff" it's like telling a person whose parents gouged their eyes out in infancy "Well, your parents blinded you, but they bought you some nice shades, and that white cane they got you sure is neat." 

I was blinded early in my life. And only recently have I begun to realize what having eyesight feels like. And only now do I realize what a difference it makes and how essential it is.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Infertility as narcissistic injury

Googling a bit today. Interested in how narcissistic fathers react to being infertile and having kids by donors. Was appalled to read in a book on infertility counseling some advice on how to deal with patients with narcissistic personality disorder while they're undergoing fertility treatment, which is especially hard for them because infertility is a narcissistic injury.

So, they're knowingly helping narcissists become parents? Have they maybe thought that these people are infertile for a reason?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How my father ruined our special day and then lied about it

It almost seemed like a genuine mix-up at the time, although so many things didn't add up. But now that I know my father is a pathological liar, I have a new take on it. He deliberately interfered with our plans for the day my newborn daughter and I left the hospital just so it could all be about him, and what he did ruined it for us.

The story: my husband and MIL are supposed to pick my newborn first daughter and me up from the hospital after 11 days we spent there (that's another, long, sad story). We have the time agreed upon. My father phones my husband and asks him when he's picking us up at the hospital. My unsuspecting husband answers the question truthfully.

I'm slowly getting ready to leave my hospital room, nursing my daughter in a relaxed way, because I know I have more than half an hour before my husband arrives. The nurse suddenly enters the room and tells me my ride is here! I start packing like a maniac and leave within seconds. The baby hasn't nursed properly, but we'll be home soon, so I can live with that, but still I'm a bit angry about this already.

Whaddya know? The person waiting downstairs isn't my husband. It's - surprise, surprise! - my FATHER. I'm in shock. I shout "What are you doing here? Is DH here?" He's genuinely surprised that I'm not ecstatic to see him, the only true light of my life, instead of my husband. His saccharine smile turns into a pale "oops" expression.

"This is not the person who's here to pick you up?" Asks the nurse. "NO!" I shout. "Then we can't release you." Of course. My husband was supposed to bring clothes for the baby and me. It's the middle of winter. I'm standing in the icy hallway, freezing in the thin, short, revealing hospital gown, and my baby... my baby is placed on a table behind glass, wrapped into cloth, and I can't hold her, I'm just looking at her lying there all alone, next to another poor screaming baby. My baby's not crying, she's just lying there, looking sad. 

I turn to my father. "What were you thinking? Why did you come here? Why did you get me out of the room?" I'm yelling.

He realizes now that whatever he was trying to pull by coming before my husband failed miserably. Did he want to be the first to hold the baby, even before her own father? Did he think he'd be the first to have himself some alone time with us and then boast about it? Whatever beautiful image was concocted in his mind was now shattering into pieces. "I didn't..." he starts. "She misunderstood. I just asked about you, and said I was your father, and they brought you here."

I was angry even while I believed it. Just coming there, uninvited, unannounced, completely inappropriately, on purpose beating my husband to it by half an hour, even if he wasn't planning to get me out of my room on his own, was a major offense. Now that I realize his story was probably a lie, and he most likely did want us out of there and to himself, I'm appalled.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A new take on Matt 10: 34-36

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household."

When you find yourself in a narcissistic household - a household controlled by someone closed to all light, truth, and love - and awaken and open yourself up to real light, truth, and love, the narcissist will become your enemy. It's inevitable. They can smell it.

I recently started replying to my father's "What are you doing?" with "We're enjoying life together" and he's been worse lately. This is because his daughter's ability to enjoy life with her chosen family is like a slap in the face for a narcissist.

They can't love and live and enjoy. They want to "suffer" and blame and complain. And they want others to do the same. If you dare be happy, you're not one of them. You're the enemy.

I cried in public today

I was waiting in a line with my one-year-old in a mei tai. A nice elderly couple started talking to me and cooing to the baby, tickling her. The man, in particular, paid special attention to her, and his wife kept saying "Oh, grandpa, you're boring that poor baby!"

And I just burst into tears, right there, in that line. I couldn't help it.

It occurred to me that this perfect stranger paid more real, positive attention to my child than my father has to both my children in the 4.5 years that I've been a mother.

And I was just so sad. I was so close to asking these people to adopt me.

I told my aunt this. She hugged me. I feel kind of "adopted".

I've become so much more vulnerable lately. I "didn't need" love before, or hugs, or attention. I was "strong". It was all so sickly sweet and sentimental to me. But it is only the narcissists' fake displays that are syrupy and sickening. The real thing also exists. And it's truly nourishing and wholesome.

Friday, July 1, 2011

"Because I hate you."

This was something my father said quite frequently.

I only recently realized that I don't remember he ever actually said "I love you" to me. It was just so strongly implied that no one would dare question it. And the most frequent way it was implied was when I asked permission to do something, he refused it, I asked "Why?" and he replied:

"Because I hate you."

He said it in a sarcastic tone of voice, and it was meant to be interpreted as "What you want is bad for you and I love you, and that's why I won't let you do it." I think. That's how I interpreted it, anyway.

Now? Now it seems to me that even a pathological liar of his abilities could not bring himself to lie on this one. He told the truth for once.

An exhaustive list...

... of things narcissistic parents do.

"Because her abusiveness is part of a lifelong campaign of control and because she is careful to rationalize her abuse, it is extremely difficult to explain to other people what is so bad about her. She’s also careful about when and how she engages in her abuses. She’s very secretive, a characteristic of almost all abusers (“Don’t wash our dirty laundry in public!”) and will punish you for telling anyone else what she’s done. The times and locations of her worst abuses are carefully chosen so that no one who might intervene will hear or see her bad behavior, and she will seem like a completely different person in public. She’ll slam you to other people, but will always embed her devaluing nuggets of snide gossip in protestations of concern, love and understanding (“I feel so sorry for poor Cynthia. She always seems to have such a hard time, but I just don’t know what I can do for her!”) As a consequence the children of narcissists universally report that no one believes them (“I have to tell you that she always talks about YOU in the most caring way!). Unfortunately therapists, given the deniable actions of the narcissist and eager to defend a fellow parent, will often jump to the narcissist’s defense as well, reinforcing your sense of isolation and helplessness (“I’m sure she didn’t mean it like that!”)"

Sigh. The "perfect father" campaign was so successful that even I made myself grudgingly believe it much of my life - he boasts about me and praises my accomplishments in front of others, he must love me... right? I knew better than to air dirty laundry in public - in fact, I never spoke to anyone about anything personal at all, and hated talking about family stuff with anyone. As a result, I actually never had close friends - just discussion sparring partners.

Everything is deniable, everything is "not meant in a mean way", everything can be spun so that others find it hard to believe us. Kiki has a heartbreaking post on how her godmother took her mother's side and completely ignored and discounted her truth. The same happened to me with my ILs. Many things narcissists do has also been done by normal, imperfect parents. It's the moments when the mask slips, when you look at the abyss behind, the disgust, the hatred, the enjoyment of hurting you, that makes all the difference and that can't be explained or proven to others.

"While she may never praise you to your face, she will likely crow about your victories to the very sibling who is not doing well. She’ll tell you about the generosity she displayed towards that child, leaving you wondering why you got left out and irrationally angry at the favored child rather than at the narcissist who told you about it. "

I only now understand some of he sillier lies my father told. I'm an only child, so he seems to have used his girlfriend in an attempt to create the twisted golden child/scapegoat dynamic. For instance, when we redid the old summer house in an attempt to make it inhabitable at the beginning of our marriage, struggling with money all the while, of course, but happy and proud of what we'd done, he visited for the first time, after 16 months. He told me, for some reason, right after discounting everything we did with "You shouldn't have wasted money on this summer house" (which was our home at the time, mostly because I knew we wouldn't really let us have the city apartment), that he had just given 7,000 euros to his girlfriend so she could redecorate the apartment she rents out.

When I later mentioned this to her in casual conversation, she was genuinely surprised and shocked. He never gave me any money, she said. The crazy lie had just one function: to make me realize I was now the less beloved one.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Something is rotten

The official stories of my family of origin are so ludicrous that, now that I think about them, more and more of them seem certain to me to be covering up lies.

Take the story of my conception. My mother told me once, in a whispering tone of voice, that nothing was wrong with her and that they'd been trying to have a child for 12 years because my father had a low sperm count. You can only find out you have a low count by being tested. My father recently told me they'd only been trying for 2 years and there were no real problems. It makes no sense. But his official story has changed.

My aunt told me the official story as it was told back then. My mother conceived a few months after my aunt, her stepsister, 13 years her junior, gave birth to her son. This was after 12 years of marriage. What a coincidence, right? Amazing! Only, not really. Because he felt the need to explain it, authoritatively, in such a sappy, insane fashion, that it has "FAKE" written all over it:

Allegedly, my mother held her newborn nephew and this finally got her hormones going, so she conceived!

Yes. That was the story. That's his official explanation. If you think it's ridiculous, you're not the only one.

My reconstruction of events: they've been trying for 11 years without success; they've been tested and he has low sperm count; perhaps they've already tried to use his sperm, but it's failed; he's refusing to use a donor's sperm, which makes her unhappy, but she's hopeful and won't press the issue; then, unexpectedly, her baby sister, 13 years younger, has a baby, and my mother is pushing 40; suddenly, she grows desperate and manages to persuade her husband to allow her to have a baby too; he agrees, but no one is ever to find out that he was the infertile one. She goes along with that. And much more.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Inches and yards

I'll never learn. A narc's criticism is based on projection. Period.

I believed my father when he said, and he did so often, that I was ungrateful and couldn't understand enough was enough. One of his favorite phrases directed at me was "Whenever I give you an inch you take a yard". It was for things like being too cheerful and bouncing and jocular after he joked with me a little. I never actually asked for much.

Here is a great post on how it is the narcissists who always take a yard. You give them some kindness, a bit of a compliment here, some loving behavior there, and they smell blood and instantly attack for more control over you. I've seen it with my father. I tried placating him, once I understood he was a narcissist, by being extra respectful and kind and offering him drinks when he dropped by and never talking about myself and asking about him and his childhood and listening to him. He stopped announcing himself. I signed a polite, kind message with "love". He gave me the silent treatment for forgetting to let him know we've arrived safely, something that wouldn't have happened earlier. The nicer you are, the weaker they think you are, and therefore they attack, thinking they'll get more control.

Because that's all they know and want. Control. They don't understand kindness and love as anything other than weakness.


I tore down walls and exposed dark closets to light

Literally. Instead of old, dusty, dysfunctional closets, I now have a big, open space, filled with light, which will be our kitchen/dining room/living room. And the kids will have their room!

I had horrible anxieties surrounding this. I expected the ceiling to come crashing down (none of the walls were supporting walls). I expected the neighbors to call the police (they're nice and I informed them in advance). Nothing happened. It's beautiful. The perfect beautiful home for my family. All we've ever wanted.

And it occurred to me. I was nervous about investing so much in our home because it's legally his and he could take it away at any time. But the thought came to me as I was looking at that big open space full of light. This is my home. It's mine. We switched, it was just an oral agreement, but it's valid, and I'm sticking to it. The only reason we didn't switch properties legally was because my father would have to pay a tax (I wouldn't, because according to the local law I'm next in line to inherit his property anyway, while he's not next in line to inherit mine). This is my home and no one will throw me out of here without a good fight. We won't move out. We'll prove that we agreed to switch. We invested a lot in this apartment. We increased its worth by a lot. It's ours.

Sure, he could still try. But I'm not afraid any more. If he does try, I won't just say "Sure, Dad. You can give and then take away, you can agree to something and then pretend it never happened, you can do it to me again, like you always have, because your name is on a piece of paper." No. I'll go to court. I'll get it all out in the open. Everyone will know who he is. He'll be exposed. The walls of his world will come crashing down and his dark closets will be exposed to the light. And that's what he fears the most. So, even if I legally might not be certain to win, I might not have to. He won't want to face the truth publicly. He won't send the police to have us evicted. That kind of stuff looks bad. He's a narcissist, not a psychopath or a sociopath.

The worst case scenario? He sends the police, we refuse to move out, I sue, we go to court, I lose. At least I will have fought for my family.

I don't know now what I was afraid of. The walls are down, the light is in, and nothing happened. It's beautiful.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


So I forwarded my father some birthday pics that I received from my ILs. Mostly, my aunt and I wanted to conduct an experiment to see how quickly they ended up with her and with what message. But, also, I didn't want to be a bitch. Unnecessarily.

His response to me was profusely sugary. He's been signing everything with double messages of love since I stopped signing mine with our usual family signature that included "love".

Sure enough, my aunt was sent the pictures immediately. His message to her stated that "My girlfriend asked Pronoia to send us the pictures so she did". Does this mean that Pronoia should have sent pictures without being asked? Or that if he'd asked, she wouldn't have sent pictures? My aunt probably gets the version of our relationship in which I'm a cold, ungrateful daughter, which is why it was phrased like this.

I wonder why I keep thinking what he's thinking and expecting him to be fair and think well of me if I'm being fair and nice to him. Expecting him to acknowledge I'm being nice to him despite his unkind actions. That's not how he operates.

I fee like upsi's latest post must be meant for me. I feel reproached from both sides and I don't know what I personally want. I want to enjoy life with my family and think about nothing else right now.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I sent my father some beautiful pictures.

My main motivation is purely scientific curiosity. It enables me to conduct an experiment. I wonder if my aunt - and all the others he keeps in touch with more frequently than he does with me - will be forwarded these pictures and in what manner. I want to know how he uses pictures and other information he gets from us. My aunt is as curious as I am.

Secondly, he has made a much better attempt at communication today. He sent me an email personally, in which he forwarded all the birthday photos he'd received from my aunt, followed by just a little polite and sugary chit-chat. This is an improvement. It felt kind of normal and sane to send some photos to him in response. Like something members of a functional family would do too.

I feel like I'm rambling. I haven't slept in 40 hours. I couldn't fall asleep at all last night, I kept imagining we were being thrown out of our apartment (we're just about to begin a phase of acute and costly redecorations, which will truly make it the perfect home for our family).

If my father indeed has a network of acquaintances in front of whom he badly wishes to appear as a doting father and grandfather, and for which purpose he asks me for information about and photos of my family, this is actually good news. Throwing us out of our home would not sound good to them.

I don't know why I feel like the weak one here. We have an agreement according to which I use his apartment, and he uses mine. They have the same market worth. My weakness, I guess, lies in the fact that this apartment means something to me and my family and that we've invested something in it, financially and emotionally. And I know that narcissists will sometimes take away something they can just because they can and because you want it.

No more rambling. Off to sleep. The big apartment project starts with its realization first thing in the morning!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Boring Me

I've heard it too often to count. My father doesn't want to "bore" me with long or frequent phone calls. When he calls, he asks how we are and what we're doing and then says "I don't want to bore you any more" and hangs up abruptly.

And I used to believe him, only too well. I even went so far as to completely internalize that insanity - I FELT GUILTY about being so obviously BORED with my father's phone calls that he apparently felt he had to make them ludicrously short.

I was even defensive about it. After a phone conversation that took all of 10 (ten!) seconds, my husband asked "What kind of a phone conversation was that?" And I was sure he was BLAMING ME for being such a cold and cruel daughter that my own father felt he had to hang up after 10 seconds, so I actually snapped at him and tried to defend myself! It was only recently that I asked him "You actually meant him? He was the one you thought was not communicating in a normal way?" He replied "Of course. What did you think?" I thought it had to be my fault. I thought I was so obviously selfish and self-absorbed that people just didn't really want to talk to me for long for fear that they were boring me. And I was sure I must be boring the socks off them, too.

Wow. I'm only now realizing some of the effects. I don't call people to just talk to them. It doesn't feel right. There has to be a practical reason for every conversation. If I miss someone, I'll call them only if I can invite them over for a meal or coffee, at a very specific date. Or (Dear God!) if I need a favor. Because that's something concrete and practical. I actually lost a friend once because I never called her on the phone. 

But neither am I cold, cruel, and easily bored nor am I boring and difficult to talk to. I'm only boring to my narcissistic father because he's narcissistic and I've never really been a good audience (too many opinions of my own, not enough silent worship, not easily hurt by his criticism, and, perhaps most importantly of late, noticeably happily enjoying life in my family of choice with no drama at all). He doesn't want to talk to me. And it's not my fault. And I can talk to other people. I can actually pick up the phone and call my aunt, my cousins, my friends, and just... talk. Wow.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Another Flying Monkey Air Raid

I just got a very disgusting message from my father's girlfriend.

First I'll quote it in its entirety and then I'll shred it to pieces.

"Pronoia, how are you and what are you doing? How are the children? When are you going on holidays? I haven't been working too much. Only two or three days a week. The two of us are getting along quite well. It would be nice if you'd send us pictures from the birthday party. Greetings to all."

My comments are green:

"Pronoia, how are you and what are you doing? How are the children? When are you going on holidays?

This is my father's voice here. The "polite", impersonal string of random questions that mean little and that could have been directed at any acquaintance and that show no interest in the answer.

I haven't been working too much. Only two or three days a week. The two of us are getting along quite well.

Red alert. Among the small talk, I see what's going on here. Before they went away, she'd complained to me about the horrible abuse he'd been subjecting her to. I listened and validated her and told her, when he wasn't listening, that she could write to me any time for support if she had problems because I understood. She must have told him about this and he must have seen that we were getting too close for his taste. So, obviously, he turned his charm back on with her, and is once more the good, gentlemanly boyfriend to her, which makes it possible to enlist her as a flying monkey in his battle against me. I'm flattered. I must be a worthy opponent. He's being nice to her AND he wants me to know that.

Actually, I'm lying. All this is hurtful and painful for me. But I'm not a wimp, remember? I'm a warrior, etc. I'm hurt both by his behavior (expected) and hers (not so expected; but should have been; after all, she's with him despite knowing she's being abused: why would she think the role of a flying monkey would be beneath her if she lets him get away with far worse?)

It would be nice if you'd send us pictures from the birthday party.

And there we are. Right at the end. The only reason for this message (she never writes to me; there's no need to; I barely correspond with him; she communicates with me only in her Flying Monkey role). He wants the photos of the birthday party of the birthday girl whose birthday he never congratulated us on because he was sulking. It's beneath him to ask. He probably thinks they are his due, and is offended I hadn't sent them myself. It would be nice if I sent them - and it's not nice that I haven't sent them. This is not even a request. A request is: "Would/Could you please send us pictures?" What (s)he wrote here is a thinly veiled reproach: You haven't sent your father the pictures from your daughter's birthday and that's not nice! 

These are his words, written in his style. I don't even want to necessarily accuse her of participating in this, before I ask her. It wouldn't surprise me if he was the one writing these messages. She might have just let him. Or not even that.  

Greetings to all."

Again, I don't know what to do. As soon as he gets his hands on the pictures, he'll send them to all his "friends" to prove how he cares about his daughter and his granddaughter. I don't mind that too much, as he's not on FB or anything, these are just private emails, and the only unpleasant aspect of that is that it was difficult for two persons of mutual acquaintance to believe me at first when I "came out". They were sure my father loved me so much. But it didn't take long even for them to See.

I don't feel he deserves the pictures from the parents of the birthday girl to whom he didn't have the decency to congratulate the birthday in the first place. I was going to keep quiet about that, because I didn't want to acknowledge that I was hurt or even noticed this. But he knows what audacity it is to be asking for the pictures now. Which is why she's the one asking. My husband says "Just send the photos to her". Which might be just the appropriate response.

What do you think?