Opinion: Narcissistic Parents Pressure You to Invest in Bad Opportunities

Walter Rhein

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There’s no shortage of people who think of themselves as brilliant businessmen. My narcissistic father was one of those people.

My narcissistic father loved to have meetings with bankers. I went along one time. The banker spent the whole time paying him compliments like he was on a date.

I recognized that the banker was manipulating my father. My father didn’t see it.

My narcissistic father flashed money around. He presented the image that he was wealthy. The only thing he had was a huge pile of debt.

My narcissistic father couldn’t admit when he was wrong. He denied reality. You can’t run away from debt forever.

I owned a business in my late thirties. It takes discipline to run a business. You always have to remember that the money coming in from sales must cover expenses.

A business can appear to be profitable when it’s losing money. You can’t be distracted by big numbers. You have to look at the complete picture.

My narcissistic father began to realize his business was in trouble. He didn’t ask for help. Instead, he claimed to invest was a great opportunity.

My narcissistic father didn’t ask for things. He demanded things.

When I asked to look at the numbers he became angry. “Do you think I’m trying to cheat you?” he said.

“Would you invest in something without knowing the complete financial picture?” I replied.

“I would if the offer came from family or somebody I trusted,” he said.

I realized my narcissistic father was using guilt to pressure me. The things he said did not make any sense.

I looked at the ledgers. The numbers did not add up. I told him he had to take responsibility.

My father became furious. He did not accept reality. He pressured my brother and sister to give him money.

The business went bust and they lost everything. The problem was that my narcissistic father refused to change his poor business practices.

Today, my narcissistic father blames me for the failure. He claims that his business could have succeeded if I’d provided him with the capital he needed.

Part of my narcissistic father’s identity is that he’s a great businessman. He thinks he’s a genius. He can’t accept the reality that he failed.

Failure doesn’t make you a bad businessman. Refusing to accept a mistake does make you a bad businessman.

My narcissistic father tried to pressure me to disregard math. Parents have enormous power. They will call you a bad son if you don’t do what they want.

I don’t think you’re a good son if you enable a parent to disregard reality. My narcissistic father lived in a world of fantasy. The rest of my family had to suffer to make that fantasy appear real.

The truth is a good businessman does not make investments to bail out a family member. A good businessman makes investments that make sense.

There is no place for ego in business. In both personal and professional relationships, humility leads to success.

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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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