Monday, September 22, 2008

My Dad

My dad has Destructive Narcissistic Personality. I didn't always know that - heck none of us did until a few years ago. One of the symptoms is that it gets worse with age. That is true. I have also since learned that they typically have one child they favor, usually the oldest. When this first child appears the narcissist sees their reflection in this child and therefore sees them as an extension of themselves. Since they are madly in love with themselves then they become madly in love with this new extension. Besides, let's face it, most first borns are more compliant and easier to deal with for any parent, but that is an advantage to a parent consumed with their own needs being met. This first born was my sister.

No matter how many children come along there is usually a scape goat child. Well, you got it - there were only two of us anyway, so I got the job. I must admit that even to my more adept parent, my mom, I was a handful. I guess I came out rebelling and still fight that tendency today. BUT - I should have been loved and accepted by my father regardless, just cuz all little girls deserve that. I grew up thinking I was flawed. I now know he was flawed and I just was at the wrong place at the wrong time, as they say. I have and am still overcoming so much of that deep feeling that there is something inherently wrong with me or I would be more acceptable to people. I have come so far though and am very proud of me!!

I want to share a story about when I was about 10 years old. It was a Sunday and I was baptized that morning in church. Being raised Southern Baptist (we can talk about THAT another day!) I had been immersed during the Sunday morning worship service. It was now lunch time, we were all home. Mom had cooked some fabulous celebratory meal - my mom is a great cook! Sundays were always the best, she pulled out all the stops. I can still remember scooting around the kitchen in my bare feet just feeling on top of the world. My dad could never really stand that, my being happy - cuz remember due to his mental illness I was the bad one. I was bad and deserved bad things apparently. Also, I was probably stealing his attention - mom had probably cooked my favorite dishes - not his.

The table was set, we all sat down, said the prayer and the plates started to fill. I was still grinning from all the excitement of the morning. That grin gave him his cue, "I am sure people did not feel you took your baptism seriously this morning", were the words out of his mouth. I can still remembering feeling confused. Surely I had misunderstood. "What" I asked. "Well, baptisms are a serious time and you smiled the whole time you were out there. I am sure everyone thought it was a joke to you." I was crushed. Embarrassment then started in the pit of my stomach and traveled through out my entire body. I had done it wrong again, and something as serious as my salvation! I don't think even my favorite foods tasted good after that. I am sure I just sat there saying little, knowing once again deep inside I was a bad girl.

I can remember it took years before I felt comfortable around my pastor again. I just knew that even though he was smiling and being kind on the outside that he must have remembered me as that poor silly girl that did not take her baptism seriously. He was also a man, and all men were a bit scary due to my experiences with two alcoholic grandfathers and my unpredictable dad.

I now know that I was filled with joy at my baptism - that was not a bad thing - it was a joyous occasion. I do not have to excuse my dad's behaviour, or even try to understand it. I just have to know I was a good girl and that day my heavenly Father smiled with me, and then must have shed tears of sadness with me as I later lay alone in my room crying my little eyes out. I am so glad that I now know so many things I did not know then. Most importantly that my heavenly Father loves and accepts me just as I am, and that is more than enough.


Friar Tuck said...

This makes me very sad.

Shellmo said...

I teared up at this Michele. I think it was so wonderful how you were full of excitement and smiling at your baptism because for sure god was smiling upon you - you recognized the joy!
I can relate to you on another level - but what's funny is I'm the oldest in my family. The youngest was revered by my father - and he was definitely quite a tough character to deal with. I empathize with you completely.

citizen of the world said...

Catching up - congrats on leading the training.

But about this post - what your father did was shame you, which is far more damaging than just emnarrassing you. He was criticizing not just an act but who you were as a person. That's reprehensible. My father is a narcissist, too, so I well understand the trauma they inflict, although mine favors his youngest child. (And, incidentlly, the actual diagnosis in Narcisstic Personality Disorder, which captures the pervasive, characterological nature of it.)

Jen said...

My sister diagnosed our father with this as well. But I don't know too much about it or what his problem was, but it was obvious there was one; as I have many similar storis.
Strange thing....he had no favorites...only himself.
Thanks for sharing this; it's hard to do.

reliv4life said...

Friar - me too - but it is OK now, really.

Shell - It is never easy to be shunned by a parent in favor of another child - no matter your birth order or your age I suppose.

Citizen - yes, shame for sure. thanks for the techinical things and I am sorry about your dad - it is a sad thing to deal with

Jen - interesting. Yes, they do love themselves the most for sure!

Cassie said...

I was the middle kid and would have been invisible if not for the fact that I was born with a huge brown, hairy birthmark on my left cheek that required years of plastic surgery (from 6 months til 7th grade). The funny thing is (I found this out in my old age)that both my older sister and younger brother were jealous of me since I "got to spend so much time in the hospital"!! I took time away from them! Wow. I was in shock when I heard this, as my brother was so obviously Daddy's favorite and my sis was always touted (sp?) as "the pretty one" and "the talented one". Strange.I was known as the "bubble head" and the one who "talked to hear herself". Hmmmmm.I think I might dedicate one of my blogs to this some time. Thank you for sharing, Michele.

reliv4life said...

cassie - I will look forward to reading it!