For those of you who think this is about one time when my father stopped speaking to me, it’s not. There were so many times. It was a pattern of behavior, his go-to punishment for me or anyone who didn’t stay on his script. There were dinners, car rides, sometimes for hours, special occasions, family gatherings, and holidays all ruined by his behavior.
The Narcissistic Abuse Cycle
The narcissist will use whatever means necessary to maintain their beloved image and reputation. The narcissistic abuse cycle is the abusive pattern of behavior where they torment their victims to get what they need. People who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder may seem to have picture-perfect lives complete with material things, extravagant vacations, and perfect family portraits. What you don’t see is the constant cycle of emotional abuse which causes their victims to develop a learned helplessness, trapping them in the relationship, unable to leave.
Our Last Thanksgiving Together
This one time, I agreed to meet him in Orlando for a couple of days before Thanksgiving. My husband and I had taken our daughters to Disney World and we would meet my father for 2 days and then drive together to my Aunt Liz’s (my mom’s sister) for Thanksgiving dinner and then fly home the next day. Well, it only took a little while for something to set him off. Thanksgiving morning, he wasn’t speaking to any of us. This includes my 2 daughters (his only grandchildren) who were 7 and 11 years old. We drove the hour and a half in silence. Then at my Aunt Liz’s, my father only spoke to her. He really didn’t like anyone else at the dinner. This included my mother’s brother, his wife and daughters, and my Aunt’s husband. Of course, my father wasn’t speaking to me or my family either. This made him sullen, and angry, basically his regular personality. I could feel the rage inside me. This wasn’t normal. Other people didn’t celebrate holidays like this.
Then my father drove the hour and a half to the airport the next day without speaking again. Until he missed the exit to get gas and then he got so angry at my husband. He decided it was his fault he’d missed the exit. Hard to advise someone when they aren’t speaking to you. My father raged. He slammed the door when he got to the gas station. Unbelievable.
He was a Narcissist and he Wore a Mask
People talk about what a nice person he was. What an incredible community servant he was. Well, trust me, you didn’t know him at all. And just because you knew him in that one-dimensional way doesn’t preclude him from emotionally abusing me for years. This is how mental illness works. This is how a personality disorder presents itself. He didn’t wake up one day different. This was a lifetime of manipulation, power, and control.
Since I’ve been coaching people 1:1, I’ve found that survivors of narcissistic abuse need to experience all 3: clarity, validation and comfort. For those of you who are looking for a quick fix to this problem, you didn’t get here overnight. You’re going to need to do the work to survive narcissistic abuse.
I’m currently in the midst of leading my first group coaching program. I launched this group program in order to help more people who weren’t able to participate in the 1:1 program. It’s a great success. As a result, I’m launching the second cohort of the group program on July 19, 2023. We will meet once a week for an hour over 3 months for a total of 12 sessions covering the concepts of narcissistic abuse and providing strategies for you. These strategies will help protect your mental and emotional health as well as navigate narcissists or any high-conflict people you may encounter. I’m keeping the cohort small so please message me right away if you’re interested. firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s talk. Click here to book a free session with me. We’ll figure out if we work well together.
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