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  • Lynn Catalano

Narcissists are happy to spend time with kids, just not their own (Happy Father’s Day)

Father’s Day is always tricky if your father or your husband is a narcissist. Their expectations are high, they need to be the center of attention and feel entitled to an abundance of gifts and special treatment. I was always searching for my father’s approval and his love. I didn’t get it. No matter what I did, it was never enough.

Father’s Day Failure

One Father’s Day, after my mother had died, I made a special dinner for my husband, my father, and my father-in-law. This was the first thing I did wrong that day. You see if it wasn’t all about my father, what was the point? He desperately needed to be the center of attention, not a co-celebrant. He was silent throughout dinner. After dinner, my daughters handed out the gifts. My mother-in-law read the card out loud to my father-in-law and they were both appreciative. Then my father opened his gift. He barely read the card and then mumbled a thank you. It was apparent that he was not happy. Another Father’s Day failure.

Not long after that, my father stopped talking to me and my children. Father’s Days became a quieter, more peaceful holiday for us. I could actually focus on my husband, who deserved everything the day offered. My husband showed me how a father’s supposed to act with his children.

“He’s wonderful with my grandchildren.”

After a few years of the Silent Treatment from my father, my husband and I were at an event. This man, whom I only knew tangentially, approached me to tell me how wonderful my father was with his grandchildren. He went on to tell me that every Father’s Day, my father played in the golf tournament with him and his sons and grandchildren. He was smiling as he was sharing how wonderful my father acted towards his family. This was a breaking point for me. I was so hurt and so angry that my father chose to not have my daughters (his only grandchildren) or me in his life. Instead, he chose this random man’s family. In this situation, my father didn’t have to work at any kind of relationship. He just showed up one day a year and was wonderful and generous.

Many people grow up with narcissistic fathers

Kelly Clarkson’s lyrics talking about how differently she will treat her daughter than how her father treated her.

Piece by piece, I fell far from the tree I will never leave her like you left me And she will never have to wonder her worth Because unlike you, I'm gonna put her first and you know

Kelly Clarkson song “Piece by Piece.”

Narcissistic Parents Sabotage Their Children in Many Ways

They are skilled at cruelty and intentionally hurt their children as a matter of course.

Narcissistic parents compete with their children, they alienate their relationships and devalue their strengths among other things. They aren’t capable of truly loving their children. Everything is conditional to them.

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. Narcissistic abuse is unlike other forms of emotional abuse. Narcissistic abuse doesn’t resolve itself. Narcissistic abuse affects your mental, emotional, and physical health. If you don’t address it, it bleeds into every aspect of your life and affects the way you show up in everything.

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.

Let’s talk. Click here to book a free session with me. Don’t wait another day.

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