For the 4 years that my narc was wreaking havoc on my life, my family knew little to nothing about the situation. After my mother’s reaction to my last break-up 4.5 years ago (“Oh that’s too bad he broke up with you. Regardless of how he treated you, I was excited I’d finally have a son-in-law I liked.”), I decided to opt out of including her in anything personal in my life again.
However, I decided towards the end of last year to have everyone meet my narc. I don’t actually care about my family – they’ve let me down far too many times for me to allow them any significant role in my life anymore – but I thought it would be interesting to watch how everyone interacts. I also had already begun to realize how much like my dad my narc was, so it was a bit of an experiment to put them in the same space to see what happens. Two people who both think they’re so charming, both always need to be right – this should be good. And it was. Dad adored narc, at one point gleefully exclaiming “I can see that you, (narc), are one of those rare people – you are a very intelligent man!” Eyeroll. Gag. Suspicions confirmed.
So, now that the relationship is over, it’s interesting to see how my family has responded.
Mother: “So now tell me what happened with (narc)?”
Me: “He was a jerk, he’s not a good guy.”
Mother: “Ah, I knew it! When I met him, I liked him at first but then I noticed it was always about him and by the end I didn’t like him anymore. That’s why I asked. I wanted to know I was right.” <end of conversation>
Oh good, I’m glad you were right. For a second I thought you might be asking because you actually cared about me and how I’m doing, but that was a crazy thought. Silly me. Please carry on about how right you were. I wouldn’t want to spoil this delightful victorious moment for you.
Father: “I wonder if you could indicate to me where to look for a good description and definition of that disorder. Does it affect both genders or is it characteristic for males only?”
I send him a couple of links.
Feather: “When I finish the reading I shall tell you why I have been asking.”
Anyone want to bet that he’s not asking because he wants to better understand what I’ve been through so he can support me? Either he’s diagnosing his parents or, more likely, my mother.
In the meantime, father’s wife (with whom I have had no direct contact about this breakup) sends me an email:
Stepmom: ” I don’t think your dad is narcissistic, he is more of the opposite. Often he loses temper out of frustration and some sort of inferiority complex.”
Um yeah, stepmom, he’s a narc. That’s not even up for debate, but thanks.
OK so let’s stop harping on the parents. In anticipation of visiting my sister and brother-in-law who just had a new baby, my brother-in-law asked if I’ll be bringing my narc with me.
Me: “I broke up with (narc) a few weeks ago so I definitely won’t be bringing him.”
Brother-in-law: “We liked him!”
Me: “Ugh don’t tell me that. He was an abusive asshole alcoholic. He hid it well though.”
Brother-in-law: “But he was good with (our daughter) and that is about as far down our noses as (your sister) and I see. I trust that he didn’t hurt you…..”
Me: “Oodles of emotional abuse but never laid a hand on me. Anyway, I’d be quite happy if his name didn’t come up on the weekend.” <no response>
That weekend, in front of my son and mother and niece, one of the first questions out of my sister’s mouth:
Sister: “So what happened with (narc)?”
Me: “I don’t want to talk about it.”
If only I had clearly stated my wishes that I didn’t want it to come up at the family event. Oh wait, I did.
There is one last family member – my brother who lives across the country. He was actually the first person I told about the relationship ending – I guess it felt safer because he is the farthest away. I’ve always felt that he’s a lot like my mother, though, so I guess this exchange shouldn’t have surprised me:
Brother: “Mom said you have a new sweetie.”
Me: “I broke up with him 2.5 weeks ago. It was that alcoholic I told you about. It’s been a brutal 4 year rollercoaster with him. She knows nothing about it.”
Brother (5 days later): “More snow… I’m going to die of it this year.”
That’s a wrap folks. Final family empathy score: zero. Moving on.