From Lebanon: Growing up I thought what my dad used to do was completely normal and I had accepted the bad behavior. But by the time I grew up I realized that having someone mentally abuse us with harsh words and sometimes physical aggressiveness, it was too late. Recently he loses his mind, he spies on us all leaving devices hidden in our cars. He and my mother have been seeing other people openly, they can’t get a divorce because he’s gonna make my mom’s life hell if she leaves (has happened). He wouldn’t stop calling and showing up everywhere and threatening to hurt her. And if she stays it’s all the same, it’s horrible. He’s even dating her only best friend to make matters worse. And he keeps pointing fingers and saying that mom ruined his life while all along he was the one who was always losing his temper and threatening us and making our lives hell. He’s pretty much normally a very caring generous person, but he’s lost that bit because there’s like a little devil in his head sparking up a thing to get overly mad about … this is not even scratching the surface of what I have to say but I’ve tried taking him to therapy. He just won’t go and we can’t afford a good therapist. I need help because I’m on the verge of breaking down. 24 years of my life have gone by with horrific waves of madness. I just need to help him. I don’t know where to begin.
Since you are 55, I’m guessing that your father is in his 70s. I suggest you give up on dad. You are not going to change him at this stage of his life. He sees no reason to engage in treatment. He isn’t likely to give up his controlling and abusive ways.
Instead, focus on supporting your mother and yourself. Your mother probably needs both legal and psychological help. I don’t know enough about resources in Lebanon to offer direct advice. I hope there is a way to extricate your mother from the situation that prevents your father from tracking her and making her life miserable. She deserves to have some peace in her senior years if she wants it.
As for you: I’m sorry that your father has been able to dominate your life for so long. You’ve done what you can for your father. Can you now just turn your attention to yourself? It is pointless to wait for him to show you the love and support that ideally a son should get from his father. From what you shared in your letter, the generous times don’t compensate for the abusive ones. His idea of a relationship is one of control, not love.
It’s sad but true that not everyone gets the parents they deserve. Cultivate friendships with other men you respect and admire to fill that place in your heart. You may live another 40 or so years. You can choose whether the next decades are filled with more madness or peace. If you need support, do try to find a therapist or join an online blog. PsychCentral communities offer good advice and emotional support to their members.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
I Think My Father Is a Narcissist
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I Think My Father Is a Narcissist. Psych Central.
Retrieved on September 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/07/16/i-think-my-father-is-a-narcissist/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.