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?


  1. I replied to her message "We're all great and enjoying ourselves. We don't know about holidays yet. I'm glad that you two are getting along. Greetings."

    The pictures are mentioned in the last sentence of her message, as if by the way. So I omitted them altogether. I'll see if I send them to her or not. I've got time to think about it now without stretching the veneer of politeness too much.

  2. Sounds like a great reply. You may want to choose just one picture or you may choose to send pictures. My suggestion is if you send the pictures let it be about you being kind, not him winning or losing. I am learning in counseling to choose my own good behavior regardless of my parents behavior. I like doing that. Then my choices are about me and my values.

  3. My two cents - he's made it a control issue so leave it at that. If it's really about the photos and his love for his granddaughter (and not just an attempt to manipulate you and regain control) then he'll ask for them himself.

  4. Good advice, Ruth. Thank you.

    The thing is, I used to think I was doing exactly this all my life. And I sort of ignored what was between the lines and chose to hear only the "politeness" at the same time. And now that I understand that there's such a power thing going on behind the scenes, where him "winning" means he'll want more control in the future (always more and more), I feel like at war, in a battle to protect myself and my family. And then it becomes tricky. Like a game of chess. With high stakes.

  5. Anon, right now I think that's what will happen. I don't even have the girlfriend's address, I really don't want to send the photos to my father, and, anyway, we haven't even uploaded them to the computer yet. My DH said, when I pointed this out: "Just drop it. He hasn't even asked"

  6. You don't have to send those photos. This is not just a power play on a random subject. He may want recent family photos to show to people to advertise his closeness to your family. From that point of view he's asking you to cooperate in a lie.

    - GKA

  7. Who the hell is he to behave like that? In my fantasy world, I'd love to tell him that he can have the pictures once he congratulates you on DD's birthday. In the real world, I'd indeed "Just drop it".


  8. GKA, I haven't really thought of it that way. If I look at it like that, I've been cooperating in lies since I was a kid smiling for the camera. But that is exactly why he wants them. He's been doing this for years - having just barely enough contact with us to be able to pretend in front of others that we have an actual relationship. I'm not sure that's the worst option when dealing with a narcissistic parent - it would be worse if he, say, wanted to persuade himself of that too, in which case he might ask real questions about my life, call a lot, expect me to listen to his problems, stuff like that. Something to think about, definitely. Would sending the photos at this point compromise my integrity? In that case, I'm not sending them.

    Funny thing - I might just have a couple uninteresting shots. My ILs have the good pics. We were too busy holding the birthday girl. And, well, I spent a portion of the party talking to my aunt about very interesting stuff indeed - like the possibility that my father isn't really that.

  9. NLR, I've had the same thought. But I will just drop it unless/until he asks himself.

  10. Hope I don't have to say this, but you're the expert on your situation. You get to do what you think is best.

    - GKA

  11. GKA: Sad, but true, it needed to be said. But I'm an "expert" who's been conditioned to always give everyone what they want and who feels it's impolite and bad not to oblige. I even feel vaguely guilty that we don't have better pictures. So I can't trust myself.

  12. You've gotta wonder about pleasant messages sent from relations/friends of the narc. A month or two ago, I got a short, nice little "how are you doing" message from a close friend of my narcs. This was *after* I dropped her from my Facebook as not to be trusted, after an attack from the narcs--because they found my blog through one of her blog's now-removed pages. I never saw her in my blog stats when I wrote about the narcs, but I've since wondered if she's the one who tipped off my narcs. I gave her a short, nice reply back, asked a couple questions, but haven't heard from her since. I couldn't help wondering if she was doing this on her own, or if she was a flying monkey. :P I have caught the narcs red-handed using a flying monkey, so it is possible.....


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