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.