I think I pinpointed the moment my father went from engulfing to ignoring.
To begin with, he never managed to be truly engulfing, just overly controlling on the outside. There never was classical enmeshment in my family. But he was always there, a cold, silent, towering dictator.
This was when I was a little doll, then a stubborn little kid, then a preteen who was involved in and successful at many activities - the piano, ballet, gymnastics, choir, acting - all of which he took me to and talked to the teachers and boasted about it all to others and proved he was an involved father of a gifted child to everyone who'd listen.
Then I dropped all these activities, one by one. I took to reading and listening to music in my room. He was upset and tried to talk me out of it. When this failed, I basically dropped off his radar. There was nothing public left for him to "do with" me - and that was all that existed before, anyway.
Really, when I think about it, he never was engulfing, it just felt that way. He wasn't capable of that. He was just around a lot, getting narcissistic supply from public figures.
And his narcissistic parents, to whom all the diplomas and awards were dutifully and ceremoniously presented for approval.
When that was gone, there was nothing left.