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Mon May 11, 2020, 07:53 AM

I am a survivor.

A survivor of a vindictive, malignant narcissist.

Unfortunately, I'm talking about my father. My mother (degrees from Barnard and Wellesley) observed and was still cautious about running interference. My father was downright cruel to me.

I went to therapy for 3-1/2 years, mostly twice a week, commuting from NJ to NYC (90+ minutes each way), to reveal to at least one person what I was going through. My therapist didn't see me as a victim. She listened fully and with sympathy. She advised me that she couldn't tell me what to do, but offered to show me "tools" that I could learn to use and one day, those tools would help me when I had left her counsel.

Ironically, my father paid for this therapy. I often wondered why as the counseling would make me stronger, more independent, less afraid of him, more autonomous. Dad revealed himself shortly after I finished therapy. He stated that the therapy "returned (me) to how (I) used to be." In other words, under this thumb without complaint.

In a way, therapy made it harder to swim upstream metaphorically. Dad hadn't changed, but I had. But I wasn't wallowing in self-pity or self-doubt. And Dad continued his campaign to punish me, even if it meant harm to me.

Don't get me wrong. He was like this with my brother and sister. He was an authoritarian and his word was God's Law so to speak.

Today would have been his 97th birthday.

He didn't set me up to destroy myself. I'm older and wiser. I wish I didn't go through my sojourn, but I did and if I could do it, so can any of you. Choose to survive and not assume the mantle of victimhood.

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply I am a survivor. (Original post)
no_hypocrisy May 11 OP
3Hotdogs May 11 #1
no_hypocrisy May 11 #2
3Hotdogs May 11 #3
CaptYossarian May 11 #4
no_hypocrisy May 11 #6
CaptYossarian May 13 #7
littlemissmartypants May 11 #5

Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Mon May 11, 2020, 08:10 AM

1. I went to a therapist, Rosanne, who gave me simple tools. They were from a school of therapy, the

name of which I don't recall.

I repressed emotions and acted upon them without realizing why. She broke down feeling; mad, sad, or glad. I could stop and "Am I feeling ...? From there, I could explore which one and pursue or stop my direction of response.

Simple, but for me, effective.



Were your tools as simple?

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Reply #1)

Mon May 11, 2020, 08:18 AM

2. Different, maybe more nuanced.

I'd give an anecdote. We'd discuss it. She'd ask me if I got what I was trying to accomplish. I'd answer that I didn't. And she'd sagely advise, "Your way didn't work. You can either try another response or accept that there is no correct response."

Love her for that. She was like an Earth Mother, so loving and accepting.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #2)

Mon May 11, 2020, 08:23 AM

3. Thanks.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Mon May 11, 2020, 10:16 AM

4. Your dad may have paid for your treatments because it was easier to help you.

His issue was impossible to fix.

My mother was like that. Her problem started when her grandfather and her father "took turns" on her at age 9. She spent the rest of her life lashing out at anyone and everyone--especially people who weren't even born yet when her problem began. This is called transferrance, when the rage and revenge is misdirected at others.

I suspect that something equally traumatic happened to your dad (and someone else we usually discuss here on DU) and there's a degree of extreme arrested development involved. That's why our usual topic here acts so childish.

You may want to ask older relatives if there was some trauma early in your dad's life. Understanding his mindset will help you realize that the bullying truly wasn't your fault and your recovery will be made easier.

Good luck. You're not alone.

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Response to CaptYossarian (Reply #4)

Mon May 11, 2020, 04:51 PM

6. I think I found "Rosebud."

Researching on www.newspapers.com, I discovered that my father's father was engaged to a woman in 1904 for 3-1/2 years. (Yes, 3-1/2 years) and then jilted her to suddenly marry my grandmother, who didn't want to marry him. (Resulting in a breach of promise lawsuit to the tune of $10,000.)

I can't prove it, but it wouldn't surprise me if my father was conceived from a hate f*ck.

So at least I'm pretty sure my problems with my father weren't caused by me.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #6)

Wed May 13, 2020, 09:57 AM

7. Good people with kind hearts always feel guilty or carry the blame

for the actions of others.

They end up wondering what they did wrong, when they did nothing wrong.

You'll end up alright. Seeking help is better than going it alone.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Mon May 11, 2020, 04:32 PM

5. Stay strong, no_hypocrisy. You're an inspiration. ❤

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