Friday, March 23, 2012

I shouted at him

He managed to piss me off. I usually control my emotional reactions to him, as I try not to give him any supply at all, negative supply included, but I was relaxed and alone at home and his saccharine but controlling phone call just did it... and I'm ashamed because if anyone was to read the transcript, they'd say I was the evil one, and he was just being nice:

NF: I've heard from your MIL (my 5yo daughter is on a trip with my MIL) and I don't know if you've heard from them, but your daughter is having a great time, is eating well, and doesn't miss her parents much! I just thought I should report this to you.

Me: Yes, I know all that, naturally. (I say this in an already irritated tone of voice - of course I talk to my daughter and her grandma and don't need a virtual stranger to them both informing me of this!)

NF: All right. How are you? How is your younger daughter?

Me: We're great, thanks.

NF: No, how are you really? (We have a cold. We're both fine, especially if he asks. He suggested, repeatedly and aggressively, that we take Toddler to the doctor because she has a cold.)

Me: We're really fine. Getting over the little cold.

NF: I'm sure you got the cold because your hair was wet that one time I came to visit and you wouldn't blow-dry it. (I have almost never done this to my hair since I was 13 or so. I let my hair dry naturally, several times a week, in all seasons and temperatures, and only get a cold once every two years or so!)

Me: (This is where I lose it and significantly raise my voice): I wash my hair without blow-drying it several times a week and have done so since I was a teen.

NF: OK, OK, don't be mad at me. Goodbye, dear.

Me: (Still irritably) Good. Bye.

Is it any wonder that no one believes me, including, sometimes, myself? He's Always Civilized, Never Rages, always seems The Perfect Father in front of everyone, including myself. And I'm The Bitch. The Ingrate. That much is clear to almost anyone who sees us together - I'm the one that treats him without his due love and respect, he's the saccharine, civilized one, who always looks like he's unsuccessfully sucking up to me. It seems like that to me too - how wouldn't it?

And then I yell at the phone, after I hang up - things I shouldn't. Angry words. Curses. Things that have no reason for them - after all, hasn't he just been very nice and civilized? How is my rage then justified?

How can anything ever be justified when he almost never slips up and presents the perfect image to everyone, including myself?


  1. Ugh, your dad reminds me of my dad = Gross.

  2. No, he wasn't nice and civilized. He told you that your daughter isn't missing you, which is just a mean and needling thing to say to a parent. He pestered you after you told him you were fine. He told you that it's your own fault that you got a cold (a cold, for goodness' sake, everybody gets colds sometimes) and gave a stupid, micromanaging, busybody reason why you're at fault. He failed to backpedal when you were clearly irritated.

    None of those things are "civilized". A nice person with two drops of empathy in their soul would realize this. His reaction is a little like the kid who teases and teases and teases another kid, then gets pissy when the teased kid yells at him to QUIT IT. If you bug somebody, they're going to get annoyed with you and maybe raise their voice.

    And you're completely justified for getting irritated at a person who does irritating things. It's ok to raise your voice sometimes. Your lungs and vocal chords and emotional range allow you to have all kinds of intonations and volumes, and it's absolutely OK to use them. You don't have to be some kind of one-level, always-calm, Stepford-Wife person! It's ok to be annoyed. Really!

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  4. Reminds me of my mother. They sound so reasonable but I noticed cut after cut in what he said. Cutting remarks said in a pleasant voice are still cutting remarks. I believe you handled yourself very well and much more polite than he deserved. Hugs to you. You are not the only one that sees the saccharine sweet nastiness.

  5. Right. Let's face it; he was horrible. This was verbal abuse at its worst.


    He speaks to YOUR mother in law. Boundary crossed there. Then by saying,'I don't know whether you've spoken to her or not,' he clearly implies that if you haven't you should have, and if you have, it wasn't important enough to be mentioned by MIL in this conversation. Distancing you, putting you OUT of the picture, and putting HIM in it, in the place of parenting, with your MIL.(devaluing, discarding)

    Now he's done the groundwork, he comes at you with the comment that she 'isn't missing you'. So, he makes you feel that not only are you distant from your child, you are also unmissed by her. What probably actually happened is that MIL has said something like, 'Don't worry she's been ok, we are keeping her occupied SO THAT she doesn't miss her mum AS MUCH.' Or something similar. He's then clearly puts his own spin on this. Gaslighting.

    So you're already pretty pissed off by now.
    Under the seeming niceness of asking after you and youngest child, what he actually does is invalidate you further. (Blame and shame)

    You should have taken her to the doctor(your call not his)

    Your error caused you both to end up with a cold.

    HELLLLOOOO! Germs float through the air! We can't see them!
    He thus makes sure you are not permitted the usual sympathy that being ill elicits. Or should elicit. No no no!Your fault your fault your fault!
    My advice is to first, just stop caring about all the crap that comes of his mouth. They all do this. The have a disorder and will never see reason. head-brick wall.
    Then, use these assertiveness techniques;

    'I can see why you might think that, so but I've been leaving my hair to dry for years, so I will continue to do that.'

    If he comes back at you for another go, you repeat the same sentence and keep repeating it('broken record'). Keep repeating it. You can use the same sentence structure for any invalidating comment. The first part of it keeps you in the land of the polite, not because he deserves it but because it does not allow the answer to ever be taken as angry or indignant. It's a calm statement, not a response to being poked with a sharp stick. An angry response validates the power of the sharp stick. He likes that. They all do.

    I would say to his comment on whether you had rung MIL or not, just don't give him any information. I don't think you did anyhow. The less they get, the less they can twist it. And they twist it ALL. You do not have to prove anything to him. His opinion is not relevant to your life at all.

    I really know it's hard, but if you can get past the angry stage to the indifferent stage, it's like being in paradise. I used to dread my dad's phone calls because it would be all this sort of thing. I nearly bought myself a speakerphone so that I could tell him he was on to the whole room and then he wouldn't be able to do what he did to me on a one to one basis. By being assertive,and laying boundaries down I've achieved a way I can talk to him. It's pretty superficial, but I have to accept that the best I'm gonna get from a narc. dad.. I'm through the pain barrier now and it's so wonderful. Comments from Nsis Ndad and Nsis are now either like water off a duck's back or are just funny. I keep low contact, so they have now very little info to work with. They still try, but I can tell I'm I'm not half as entertaining for them as I used to be! xx

  6. Good GRACIOUS ! Where have these N' blogs been my whole life!
    Why didn't I know that my F%^$@#! parents were N's!
    Thank you for this entry. EXACTLY what you said, these conversations with N parents where it seems like they are caring but in fact it is just F'ing control!!!!!!
    They are just POKING POKING at you. The thing is also, if you are to take that conversation isolated it may seem o.k. but the reality is that you have a history of their verbal and/or physical abuse and it paints a tapestry that only an N can create.
    The repetative conversation with repetitive undervalue-ing is my 'favourite!' or the let slip one thing to the Narc. parent and they will NOT LET IT GO for fucking YEARS! UGH
    The prodding, the 'washing hair thing' I am a FUCKING ADULT- I know about hair dryers ------ THANK YOU!
    (My parents say the SAME THING, oOver and Oooooover and over, and did you do this, and that , and this, ) I can't talk about anything because inevitably I am at fault for everything......
    I started saying a couple of years ago ' REAllY? Is this ALL you can tell me for wise words? ' Is this the last fucking thing your going to ask me in case you kick the bucket tomorrow, not 'I love you' or 'let's get together and spend some meaningful time together?' ...... no.... Sorry, but you are TOTALLY right about your feelings.

  7. Wow, thank you, guys! I'm not crazy for feeling this way and you're right!

    I try my hardest never to react emotionally to anything he says, because he thrives on that - my husband completely ignores him and my father is terrified of him!

    Damn straight, every single little thing he says is calculated to sting me, and if I react appropriately, I'm the weak, uncivilized one. There's no winning this game.

    What really got to me is calling my MIL as soon as my daughter is not under my roof. He is never allowed any unsupervised time with my kids at all - the only time he babysat ended with a fiasco that led me to discover NPD - but as soon as she's out of my control he'll prove to me he can get to her. My MIL KNOWS about his personality disorder, but in my culture good relations with one's ILs is very important, and she'd probably only compromise this if he went at my kids with a butcher knife or something.

  8. First, his insinuations are all over the place. He sounds like an ass. And a sneaky SOB.

    Second, there is nothing wrong with yelling at the phone or other inanimate objects after getting off a frustrating and gas lighting phone call. It's called letting off steam, and it's far better to acknowledge your anger than it is to stuff it and tell yourself you aren't allowed.

    Isn't it funny how narcissists are terrified of people who see through their games? My mother avoids my husband like the plague. He's actually quite civil to her, but she has no control over him at all and that scares the crap out of her.

  9. Hi, Pronoia. I have been only lurking so far, but now have decided to actively comment and start a blog also.

    I have had a nasty cold for weeks (along with all of my colleagues, so no wonder I have caught it). Since then, my NM constantly tells me that I have
    - not eaten enough
    - not slept enough
    - spent too much time with my "hobbies" (she says this "hobbies" word as if it was disemboweling newborn goats on some altar instead of playing a classical instrument)
    - spent too much time with inappropriate people (a.k.a the office I work at, with a respectable job I get paid for)
    - not eating the appropriate vitamins, which she is eager to suggest
    - not visited her often enough so that she couldn't offer me healthy food (she is all about eating fat and empty carbohydrates, and despises my fondness of organic food)

    And when I become irritated, she switches to the sweetest and saddest tone ever, stating that she only wants to genuinely help me, and I am so ungrateful, irritable, and starts sobbing while asking why I am constantly hurting her.


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