Thursday, January 19, 2017

Daddy's Narcissistic Denial

Eighteen days into the new year and I'm on blog post three. Jesus Christ, I hope this isn't a sign of what's to come in 2017. I had a moment today that I really want to vent about, but I can't take this one to Facebook, so here I am. I was set to meet with my dad today. My father, who received his masters and his doctoral degrees from Clark Atlanta University has expressed interest in joining the faculty in a few open positions in my department. My plan was to meet with him to show him the places online to submit his resume.

Before I move further, I should talk a bit about the old man. To get to the punch, he's a narcissist. A tried and true, died in the wool NARCISSIST. Social work has lead to me acquiring a greater understanding of people and how the brain's development at various stages of social learning determine or explain how people think. Essentially with narcissists, at some point in their lives (childhood) they deal with a trauma or several traumas, and the brain's way of protecting itself is to not accept responsibility for anything. So rather than feel guilt, they'll find a way to deflect responsibility. Donald trump (I did that purposely) is a classic narcissist. When you have a great understanding of narcissism and narcissists (especially when one is a parent) it gives you a greater understanding of people overall. My Buddhists leanings have also given me a greater understanding of meeting and accepting people where and how they are.

I've seen my father throughout the years walk dead smack into some bullshit and pull people in with his charm (narcissists are also exceptionally charming, which explains why people that meet with trump tend to walk away from him and claim that he's a really nice guy). That's the thing, narcissists have a tendency to pull you in, by making you feel like the center of the world, but subsequently dropping you once you no longer serve their purpose of ego building and self-fulfillment. I had a child with a narcissist and my ex David was also one. So was Ted. A big part of personal healing for me has been accepting who and what narcissists are and learning not to blame myself for being taken in by them. They prey on the weak, but the moment you expose their weaknesses, they dismiss you. Narcissists love you as long as you idolize them, but the moment they no longer get the attention and admiration they crave, they belittle and reject you as invalid, stupid and below their standards. For someone that has grown to accept and believe in the charisma and magic of a narcissistic individual, rejection can be brutal. Its a real head fuck to get sucked into.

Anyway, while trying to match our schedules, Pops casually mentioned that my elder sibling, Trisha, moved to South Carolina and asked if I'd known that. I don't have a relationship with Trisha and I have every intention of keeping it that way. She's been exceptionally abusive throughout my lifetime and I have no desire to reenter that. So she can do well in life, but do it far away from me. I told him that I don't know where or how she is although people do sometime update me on her whereabouts (even though I don't really care).

So anyway, Pops mentions that she's there and said that she wants to see him as evidenced by her continuing to call him. Then he says to me "well, I just don't want to deal with her arguing and carrying on." Pause. To give a bit of history here, Trisha and I have different biological fathers, but my father adopted and raised her up until my parents' separation. So once my parents split, so did my dad, on her. Now with me and my younger sibling, he continued to come through. He took us out, went shopping, we spent weekends with him. For the younger sib and I, he was the patron saint of the "fun weekend dad." And only once I got older, did I realize how much it must have stung for Trish to watch her younger siblings go out and enjoy a relationship with the only father she'd ever known. The same father that no longer acknowledged her.

Trish ended up with lots of anger issues and also got pregnant at the age of 16. Not only did her "dad" abandon her, she also had to watch him be a loving and doting father to her own siblings. It must be hard not to internalize and personalize why your dad doesn't want you. So in her mind, her biological daddy didn't stick around, nor did the motherfucker that later adopted her. Heavy shit right? The fact is that most of the negative relationship issues I have with my mother and both siblings I grew up with, in many ways stem directly from my father's tendency to favor me.

Many people try to play stupid about being a favorite child, but yeah, I'm honest. I'm my dad's favorite. I'm his first born, I look like him, he named me, plus I'm getting my master's degree in the same thing he got it in (social work) from the same school. I'd read somewhere years ago that parents tend to pick their favorite child based on narcissistic tendencies of the child reminding them of themselves. Definitely my case here. Again, I'm a realist.

So back to my dad and Trisha. As he balked about not wanting to see her for fear that she'd show her ass, I reminded him that the fact is that he and she have never had an actual falling out. Despite her penchant for violence and cursing at people, she's never been that to him. So my response was along the lines of "Look man, the issue here isn't her, its you. You feel guilty. She hasn't done shit to you and you feel guilty for being a shitty father because you abandoned her." So he follows that with "I've always treated all of my kids the same." Yeah, I wasn't going to give him that. Truthfully, I've made peace with the fact that I'll probably never see Trisha again. Like real talk, one of us is going to bury the other, with no reconnection. Dead ass. But I wasn't going to let Pops put his faulty behavior off on her. "Nah dude, you left her. You continued to have a great relationship with me and my younger sister. I've even heard you say you had 2 kids and not 3. That's not on her, that's on you." I honestly think he came at me with this topic because he expected that due to my horrible relationship with Trisha, I'd immediately agree with him. Nope, in this moment, one has nothing to do with the other.

Pops was clearly uncomfortable with this conversation. He responded with "that's not my fault. Where is her bio father?! That's not on me!" Yeah, like I said, I wasn't letting his ass skate. "Bullshit dude. Her dad may be a dick, but that's got nothing to do with you and your actions. He chose not to be around, but that has nothing to do with what you and I are talking about. In this moment in time, we are discussing YOU and YOUR ACTIONS. Stop putting this off on other people." Real shit, my father, Mr. Professional Social Worker Therapist Guy, genuinely could not wrap his mind around being the idea of being a fucked up person. Like his brain could not compute and refused to accept anything I said. he lied about having a client to immediately get off the phone with me. Narcissism is fascinating to watch, once you know what it is you're looking at. Its also painful to be victimized by. Pops ain't changing. I wish Trisha knew that.

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