A: Toxic parents /Narcissistic Personality. Normal people — those who think in a healthy manner — have tremendous difficulty with Personality Disorders because they don’t think, behave and feel like the rest of society. They live their lives through selfishness, deception, lies, excuses, manipulations, cons, and blaming others. They never accept responsibility for their bad and abusive behavior and consistently blame others. It will always be your fault that this person treats you poorly.
You make the classic mistake of taking their excuses seriously — when they’re just excuses. Let’s look at this objectively. Your father doesn’t see you the most of your life, treats you very poorly, is disrespectful, manipulates you and other women in his life, and his explanation is (fill in the blanks). The general guideline: You can’t understand the behavior of a Personality Disorder by thinking normally! You have a toxic relationship because your father is toxic — not you. Dealing with your father is actually about dealing with Personality Disorders.
Recognize that this person behaves in a totally selfish manner because he’s totally selfish. It has nothing to do with you. It has nothing to do with you, being female, being third born, etc. While he has provided a variety of explanations and excuses over the years, bulls produce that same product after a big meal. There is no connection between his excuses, you, and his behavior. You want an explanation — a Personality Disorder will provide one. Don’t torment yourself or become upset by his excuses and comments.
While it may seem like a “normal” solution to discuss your feelings with him, it’s actually of little help. You’ll only get another excuse or verbal abuse. Sadly, he actually doesn’t care how you feel or think, even about him. As time passes, you’ll also find that he doesn’t care about your children as well. He uses the comments about your parenting to emotionally batter you and keep you from confronting him. Don’t discuss your feelings with him — he doesn’t care, and he’ll only attack you. Rather, fix those feelings. Talk to a therapist or counselor.
What do we do with a toxic father? We protect ourselves first, reducing information provided to him to a grocery-store level, the kind of conversation you have with a neighbor in the bread section. We don’t look for answers — he doesn’t have any. We live with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get expectation that you can expect selfish, rude, insulting and mean-spirited behavior from him. You didn’t cause his personality, and you can’t fix it. We keep him at an emotional distance and use a business approach to all contacts and interactions. Just facts and details — no emotions or feelings.
Your father has damaged your ability to relate to men in your life, and this is very common in these situations. Remember that 15% of the population has a Personality Disorder — not all men. Your struggle with your toxic father has created thousands of bad memories that might be triggered by the comments of people, especially men, around you. Those memory triggers cause you to put down men “in a heartbeat” as you impulsively react to the triggered memory.
You can’t get rid of him but you can minimize his influence and involvement in your life. Create a new family with friends and loved ones, and continue your life. You can check on your father at any time in the future…and he’ll still be operating the same way…and it will still be your fault.
We cure the effects of a toxic substance by neutralizing it. You can do the same with your toxic father by neutralizing his influence on your life and self-esteem.