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The thing that broke us - Signs of Narcissistic Parents



“Why would you choose Lynn when I’m available?”


Observers or people who knew me might ask why I tolerated my father’s behavior for so long. Well, for years it was a million little things. Somehow intensified after my mother’s death. My father wasn’t able to tamp down his tendencies any longer. I excused all of it. I swallowed the humiliation, the hurt, and the cruelty just to keep the status quo.


But then, he did something I couldn’t get past. I look at it as the thing that broke us for good.

Something good happened to me. It wasn’t even my achievement or accomplishment. I was asked to serve on a Board of Directors. Who cares? Well, my father did. He was beyond jealous. He was so jealous, he took matters in his own hands. He approached the CEO of the hospital, by the way not who asked me to serve, and said to him, “Why would you choose Lynn when I’m available?”


The CEO was shocked. He found me at a social event and told me what had happened. He just couldn’t believe a father would do this to his only child.


After sleepless nights, miserable days, conversations with Joseph and my closest friends, I decided to confront him. I had to know if it was true, although the CEO had no reason to lie.

My father never took responsibility for his actions. He never apologized. He never even recognized what he did. He deflected, he denied and he outright lied. It was just easier for him to walk away. And blame me. We never came back from it.


What parent competes with their child? A narcissistic parent does. My father was the most important person in his world. His child and his grandchildren were just props to make him look better.


Looking back, it’s how I define the rest of our relationship: what happened before shock and awe and what happened after.


My father put an appointment to a board of directors ahead of his only child. I can’t even imagine. If you asked me to choose between a relationship with one of my daughters or an appointment to a board – duh, no choice. Who cares about a board of directors?


Narcissistic parents do things differently. What are some signs?



1. Marginalization – will tease, mock or gaslight

2. They use their children as validation & love is conditional

3. They always put their own needs first – all attention on them

4. They hate boundaries and won’t respect yours

5. They always shift the blame onto their children – no accountability

6. Superiority – must always be in control

7. Their own superficial image

9. Jealousy – can’t, I repeat can’t have the child achieve more, ever.

10. Neglect – no care or concern for anyone else


I wrote about this in my book “Wrecking Ball Relationships: How to Identify, Live With or Leave the Narcissist in Your Life.”


“There was always competition but never like this. In my mind, it seemed almost Shakespearean, biblical, but probably more like Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. I was angry, hurt, and shocked. I felt betrayed by someone who I thought was my champion when he was a competitor. This wasn’t normal behavior. Parents are supposed to be proud of their children. Parents aren’t supposed to be jealous of their children. My father did something I never dreamed possible, but I refused to let it destroy me and my peace of mind anymore.

When it came to finding my inner peace and eliminating ongoing feelings of rage, therapy and exercise helped, but they didn’t change anything for me. I needed more. I needed to understand my own mindset and how to process everything.

My relationship with my father, however, was never the same again. Breaking trust is like crumpling a fresh piece of paper. You can smooth it out, but it’ll never be the same again. I found a way to achieve a level of peaceful disinterest or indifference which has allowed me to have a relationship with my father with minimal contact. Similar to the coping mechanisms I recommend with other types of narcissists, little or no contact seems to work best.”


If you are the child of a narcissistic parent, you’ve suffered. You’ve felt their cruelty, their dismissiveness, their competitiveness. This type of emotional abuse takes a toll on your health. It’s also more difficult for others to understand.


You see, I didn’t get here by accident. I didn't set out to become a narcissistic abuse recovery coach. But after I’d suffered this kind of abuse, I realized that my story and my experience could help so many people who’ve suffered similarly. It makes matters worse when you have family who normalizes your narcissistic parent’s behavior. I had family who said that’s just how he is, get over it. They wanted to continue to sweep everything under the rug.


Often, we stay in these cycles of abuse because we don’t believe we deserve something better. I kept trying to make our relationship work, but he didn’t want me in his life. It took me a long time to understand that I deserved better.


You deserve better, too.


I have a brand new program starting soon. Deep discounts available for a short time: https://www.lynncatalano.com/wrecking-ball-warriors


I can help you.


Click here to book a free session with me.


You can find my book “Wrecking Ball Relationships” on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.




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