About a month or so ago I received a letter from my dad, unexpectedly. His opening paragraph had me chuckling – chuckling in amazement that, once again, he proves my point about his narcissism. Oh, on the surface of it, it seems harmless and as though he truly wants to restore a relationship with me and my family. But read closely. Can you spot the problems? (Please keep in mind that I’ve had no other communication with my parents since their last email, which addressed my 12 page letter to them. And this letter was hand written.)
“Chris and Alexa,
Wow! Can you believe it’s been over twenty years since you two were married. We’ve experienced a lot of life during that time and seen a lot of ups and downs. Stuff like raising kids, financial valleys (for us including shutting down two companies and bankruptcy), moving, building house, marriage of kids and grand babies, spiritual awakenings, and lots of emotions. Life doesn’t slow down and yet we’re always facing forward and choosing to Rejoice in The Lord through it all.
I seem to have fallen very short in keeping up with communication and for that I apologize. I know that I have no excuses for my lack of concern for your well being. Could you help me? I don’t do well using a computer or modern gadgets. I’ve just recently learned how to text. I read emails about once per month. I think that I don’t want to take the needed time. Anyway, I’m sure I can communicate better if I have one on one in person time. What do you think?
In regard to honesty, I’ve been amazed with my responses. To explain: I don’t think I’ve been transparent enough with you two cause of the content of your twelve page letter. I am concerned that we clear up any misunderstandings as soon as possible. This will prevent any bad feelings and eliminate the opportunity for maligning to take place. Would you two consider getting together to discuss any issues that keep us from unity and supporting of each other? I’ve not set out to ever hurt you nor misdirect you. Can you help me gain better understanding so that our fellowship may be restored?
Please don’t misconstrue my hearts wishes. I’m just hoping to better communicate and establish honest open lines between just us two couples.
Oct. 20, 2016”
In the meantime, one of my brothers had a motorcycle accident when he hit a deer at 50 miles per hour, and my mom’s mom went into ICU. I wasn’t told a thing. I heard it through my daughter’s mother-in-law! So much for being a family member! I’ve decided I have to get rid of all expectations on my family. That way I won’t feel hurt and left out every time I AM left out and treated like I’m no-one. I was so fed up with the lack of communication that I emailed my siblings asking them, if someone in the family died, would they let me know?
Back to my dad’s letter. I suppose the first paragraph was trying to establish rapport. I don’t think we need rapport – we need honesty. In my “twelve page” letter I asked several questions that they haven’t answered or addressed in any way, other than to say that, like all parents, they’ve made mistakes.
In the second paragraph, I’m being thrown a sop to his conscience with the “I’ve fallen very short in keeping up with communication”, and “I have no excuses for my lack of concern for your well being”. This is very vague and I guess it was meant to sound like an apology and to cover all past wrongdoing. He then goes on to give excuses for why I need to “help him”. I also don’t think of his mental hounding of me day and night for as far back as I can remember as a “lack of concern for your well being”.
The third paragraph starts out weird, but that’s my dad – he talks strangely. I guess he thinks he sounds more spiritual and mature. I’m to infer that my “twelve page” letter told him that he wasn’t being transparent with me? Transparent about what? He goes on and sounds very concerned for our relationship and eager to clear up misunderstandings asap. But goes on to let me know that if I don’t get together then I’m perpetuating bad feelings and opportunities for maligning. Furthermore, I’ve never been in “unity” with them or had much support from them over my lifetime, and we’ve not had “fellowship” that can be restored. Unless you count my being under their control. Is he saying he wants to restore that?
All I see in this letter is a classic narcissist’s spinning of words to try to make me feel guilty and responsible for our strained, non-existent relationship. It’s sad that he’s never known me for who I am, only who he thinks I am, should be, and wants me to be.
I sent a short response via email, then I texted him to check his email. 😉 My response:
I received your letter. At this time I am not interested in meeting with you and mom. My letter was specific about why I won’t meet in person with you and my past concerns and hurts. I hope the best for you and mom.
Evidently, one of my brothers says I’m a piece of shit and stupid for not getting together with them. He thinks I’m either lying, delusional, or maybe telling the truth. But he “was never told any of my past” (what I wrote, at least) by my parents, so… Also, according to him I might have a side, but there’s always two sides to every coin. Whatever.
I’m tired. I’m done. I no longer have the expectation that any of them will act like normal family members do: call each other to chat, share their ups and downs, get together, stick up for each other, etc. It’s been made clear that I’m not their sister and I lost the desire to make things right with my parents a long, long time ago.
Now I have to quit being disappointed every time I hear about what’s happening in their lives from non-family members. Oh well. I wish them well and whomever of my siblings wants to get to know me (and I think I know who they are), they have my number and I have theirs. I will foster and encourage my kids to treat each other with love and respect their whole lives – we will not repeat the cycle!
I hope that you’ve learned a little more of how a narcissist operates, and I hope you will do what I’m doing – stay away from them! For your sanity’s sake and the sanity of the loved ones around you (who aren’t narcissists).