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.