Note from Tina: There are many faces to this battle and I am currently featuring a total of six different people who are all affected by narcissism. Some are divorcing a narcissist, some share custody with a narcissist, one is a man who is affected by his ex-wife’s personality disorder and one is an amazing young woman who is away at college but still feeling the effects of her father’s narcissism. While we are all different, we share the same story—the same trials and tribulations. There are many faces to this battle and I am happy to share them with you. -Tina
“Olivia” ~ Blog 3
The Signs: The first time I really noticed that something was different with my dad was my freshman year of high school. My dad only made brief appearances at my medical appointments, games, and other events. He always stayed just enough time for other parents, coaches and doctors to see him– but he never stayed the whole time. It was an absolute miracle if he was on time. He never made the extra effort to come to events that were far away or unimportant in his eyes– even if it was important to me. Ironically, he would get upset when I did not make the extra effort to please him.
Nothing that I did pleased my dad- it didn’t matter what grade I got, how I dressed, or how well I did athletically. It was never was good enough for him. I was never good enough for him. I never worshiped him enough to meet his standards. He would often quote other people and to sum up the quotes: everyone thought he was great; everyone thought I was doing wrong. No one that I knew seemed to think that I was as horrible as he suggested I was. He expected so much out of me, but I was not allowed to expect anything out of him. I knew that something was wrong- I just did not feel like this was how someone should show love for their child.
Thanksgiving break that year sticks out in my mind. The trip from start to finish was stressful. Admittedly, I am not an easy person to have as a travel companion. I am extremely crazy about being early to airports, listening to safety instructions, and taking the window seat. My dad prefers everything the exact opposite. My dad seems to think no matter what time he shows up at the airport, that they will hold the plane at the gate. He believes that we can just skip security lines. It drives me nuts. Both ways, our planes were delayed so that added even more stress.
When we finally got to my aunt’s house, the craziness increased. My aunt has emotional issues which stem from her childhood—most likely the same dysfunction that caused my dad to be a narcissist. My cousins, brother, and I made a point to only be in the house when they could not bother us. One night at the dinner table, I got into huge trouble because I corrected my dad about where someone went to college. My dad took me aside and yelled at me; he told me to go to my cousin’s room. Then he came up and yelled at me for not helping with the dishes. The rest of the week went on the same way. When I was in the house, I could not please my dad. When I was out of the house, he got mad because I was not spending time with him. I could never figure out what to do. By the end of the vacation, I was relieved to head back home to my mom.
That year is when the red flags became obvious. That year was the start of his downward spiral.
My cousin and I have secretly bonded over the fact that our family has issues. I am lucky that I have found people within my family who understand what I am experiencing. ###
To see the rest of the posts from “Olivia,” click here.
Click the link to purchase Tina’s new book, “Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle.” You will find insight, red flag reflections and strategies on how to survive (and thrive!) while divorcing of co-parenting with a narcissist. Tired of panicking at the site of a new email from the narcissist in your inbox? Learn how to de-code the emails and see them for what they are. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.