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Ask TherapistJen Your Own Question
TherapistJen
TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2816
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
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I believe that my father is a narcissist control freak. I

Customer Question

I believe that my father is a narcissist control freak. I have put up with walking on egg shells throughout my whole life (I'm 45). How can I ever get him to see me in a positive light? I'm sick of the constant criticism, put-downs and "you've always been the same" comments.

Everything good that I achieve personally or in my career has been totally ignored but anything - however small - that he can criticise apparently is all that my life amounts to. I've had enough. I've ended up not doing what / or living where I would really thrive. I could make this jump, but financially it may not be possible whilst my teenage kids are still at school.

Is there any means of communicating with him to get him to see my point of view and how decent a person I am and always have been? In fact, had I been the selfish, etc, person that he seems to believe I am, I wouldn't still be living in the same town as him. I wish I had been more selfish and done what was right for me - he couldn't be any less emotionally abuse to me than he has been.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 4 years ago.

CoachJenK :

Hi. Welcome. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working with individuals and families on a variety of issues.

CoachJenK :

I am sorry to hear of this life long struggle with him. you ask some great questions...how can you get him to see you in a more positive light?

CoachJenK :

Most likely this will be very difficult as this has been his way of relating to you all of your life.

CoachJenK :

He doesn't feel a need to change so it is unlikely that he will.

CoachJenK :

you have done many of the right things by distancing yourself and protecting yourself when you can by not being around him when he is abusive.

CoachJenK :

There is a wonderful book on adult children of narcissists. You can find it here. http://www.amazon.com/Trapped-Mirror-Children-Narcissists-Struggle/dp/0688140718/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349189783&sr=8-1&keywords=father+is+a+narcissist

CoachJenK :

The goal now is to care for you and make your choices on what works for you...that does not make you selfish...you are someone who is taking care of your own needs and that is all okay. The label selfish is used by him because anything that does not feed him will be labeled as selfish.

CoachJenK :

i will wait for you to come online so we can chat further.

CoachJenK :

I am here when you need.

CoachJenK :

hi

CoachJenK :

are you here with me? Would you like to chat?

CoachJenK :

Let me know how i can support you.

Customer :

Hi, I just replied, but I'm not sure if you received it?

Anyway, thank you for your comments, particularly about the 'selfish' bit. That makes sense as it's the last thing that I am.

What I do need advice on is how to not let his negative, angry comments about me, affect my confidence. He won't listen to anything I say as he says that I'm arguing with him - which I'm not, rather just defending and explaining my view point. I've never criticised him, so why does he do it to me? He has no idea of the reality of the costs in bringing up 2 kids as a single parent, but just tells me that I don't manage my life or my money. I think he's a chauvinist pig deep at heart who doesn't approve of single, independent women.

I feel very disappointed and let down by him all my life, never being supported in achieving my goals - graduation ("you're not clever enough to go to college - just get a little office job") - family ("you won't be a good mother") - career ("that's ridiculous that you're earning that". It's ok for my brother to earn more than me) - divorce costs (he didn't want to know and just presumed that I'd be selling the house and moving back with him - er, no, despite my high childcare costs).

All I want is his verbal support that I'll get there in the end for my new goal.

How should I handle this and not feel as rubbish about myself as I feel after having a conversation with him?

Thank you!

CoachJenK :

I am reading it now. sometimes the site is slow.

CoachJenK :

I feel for you and i hear you loud and clear that all you want is his support and sadly I dont believe it will be coming. He sees nothing wrong with how he is and only feels like criticizing

you

CoachJenK :

narcissists are unable to look at their behavior and have empathy for another. usually in order to get along with one you have to bend, contort and continually feed them.

CoachJenK :

very painful and hard to do. i think if you get the book above you will have some deeper insight into it all and maybe with that insight comes the ability to not let his words affect you any longer. They are rubbish and no need that you give him that power.

CoachJenK :

here is a good article as well. http://www.focusonthefamily.com/topicinfo/Responding_to_Narcissism.pdf

CoachJenK :

he calls you selfish but that is his own projection of his selfishness.

CoachJenK :

it comes down to knowing all you can about his traits and seeing that your behavior unless you are constantly stroking him will always be vilified. Even if you are constantly stroking him, there is no guarantee that he will be any kinder to you.

CoachJenK :

he is not willing to look at himself and even if he did and got into therapy it could take a long time.

CoachJenK :

so the focus is on you and developing some selective hearing and setting a boundary.

CoachJenK :

when he goes down the nasty road you leave the situation or hang up the phone.

CoachJenK :

whatever works for you best. the clearer the boundary for yourself the better. this is for you and not for him.

CoachJenK :

thoughts?

CoachJenK :

I hope you are not having any technical issues. Sometimes there could be some issues in the chat. I am here.

CoachJenK :

i am going to switch out of chat and into Q and A mode as there might be some tech issues. we can still go back and forth and you will receive an email notification when I respond back to you.

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