My Narcissistic Father Has Been Waging War on my Mother for 20 Years

Walter Rhein

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Battles with narcissists can get ugly. There is never any chance of compromise and they will fight to the death.

For the last twenty years, my narcissistic dad has waged war against my mother. The instruments of his attack are mainly my brother and my sister.

My father is one of those people who knows how to present himself as rich and powerful. Those of us who have figured out the truth know that he is neither of those things. He knows what to say to bankers to get them to lend him money. I suspect that when he dies there will be nothing leftover but a mountain of debt.

I’m content to work for a living, so his tactics aren’t effective with me. Also, I was old enough to remember his behavior in the years following the divorce.

My dad skated away from all of his responsibilities. That left my mom and me to try and keep the household together. It was a hard time and we made mistakes, but we got through it.

To make matters worse, every time we started treading water, dad showed up to whisk away my brother and sister and tell them not to listen to us.

At the time, my brother was having regular run-ins with the police. He received a few disorderly conducts. When this happened, mom and I would sit him down and tell him that he had to shape up or he was going to ruin his life.

We had just started getting through to him when dad showed up and told my brother that the cops were out of line and that he was perfect.

Who is a young kid going to believe? Are they going to listen to the adults who are lecturing about responsibility? Or are they going to listen to the authority figure that tells them exactly what they want to hear?

We didn’t have a chance.

Mom and I kept resetting our objectives. We got my brother and my sister through high school and college. But they were never happy people and they never learned how to forge healthy relationships.

Today, my brother and my sister are both miserable. Dad has swooped in again to convince them that my mother is the source of their misery. They claim she was never a good example and that she was a neglectful parent.

They’re saying a lot of hurtful things that are quite simply not true. When either of them got sick, it was mom, not dad, that took them to the hospital and tended them at their bedside. Mom was the one who prepared their meals, cleaned their clothing, and helped them with their homework.

Dad was never there except to show up and undermine everything that mom did.

Raising children is difficult under the best of circumstances. When one of the parents is out to sabotage the effort, it’s virtually impossible.

We all go into relationships hoping for the best and it’s tough to see a person who tried so hard be made to suffer. There comes a point where you can’t convince people that they are wrong. Instead, you have to wait for thirty years and see who is happy and who is miserable.

My brother and my sister are miserable.

They’re completely fixated on my father and the vast estate he pretends to have. When he passes away and they realize they’ve inherited nothing, it will be too late for them to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. They’ll probably come running to mom.

I hope she tells them to go and sleep on the street.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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