So many of you have gone into No Contact mode with your narcissistic parents. You refused to have a fake relationship and opted for no relationship instead. I respect that greatly.
When I realized my father is suffering from NPD, I mostly felt relieved. You see, I was aware that our relationship had been mostly fake for a long time before that, and I'd been emotionally distant from him since I was around 7. The only difference my discovery made was assuage the guilt I'd felt over that and give me some more strategies.
I was able to draw some important boundaries and it appears that my father sees his narcissistic mother, who he was terrified of, in me, and will behave himself if confronted.
I realized that I'd been engaged in a relationship of cold, polite confrontation with him for decades. We are mostly civil to each other.
Is it fake? The peck on the cheek that my husband and I exchange with him? I guess, but there's little more beside this that even exists or is expected of me in our "relationship". Just polite distance.
Sometimes I think of him as something like a business competitor that I'm on polite terms with. Because that's the most rational way to deal with that relationship. You want to keep your business competitor close and be on polite terms with him, although you might not love him. Because that's just good sense.
I know I can never have a real relationship with a narcissist and I'm not looking for one. I'd felt there was no possibility of a relationship on some level all these years, now I just have objective knowledge to back this up. I'm not hoping to reform him or make him See his problems and mistakes. I'm not looking for an apology or acknowledgement or validation. I get my validation from you, my ACON community (+Jonsi, who married into all this :))
Why not cut all ties? First, there's no real reason to. It seemed, every time I set a boundary that he didn't like, that he was giving me a silent treatment with the potential to grow into No Contact, but, as I ignored it and pretended I didn't even notice he was freezing me out, he relented every time and then honored the boundaries. He's not really interested in me or my daughters, so we're pretty safe.
Second, my FOC would be socially isolated if I cut ties in an unprovoked, aggressive way. In this culture, the parent is always right and to be respected. We'd be isolated even from the people who love us - people who know about his NPD and understand the whole story still never fail to tell me, after I come out as an ACON: "How awful for you! And there's nothing you can do - it's not like you can stop seeing your father, is it?" My ILs think the same way. No one would be on our side.
Third, I have no idea what kind of rage would be unleashed on my FOC by my father. He's vengeful. Would he throw us out of the apartment that's still legally his? We'd then legally throw him out of the one that's mine, but we've invested so much into our home, financially and emotionally. Would he call child protective services on us, inventing the same stuff he's already invented about us being neglectful, horrible parents? I really don't want to find out.
The old saying goes: "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." I'm keeping my friends close, and my father... at a polite distance.
Is this cowardice? Lying? Weakness? Being reasonable?