The Inevitable Meltdown in Narcissistic Behavior

Adult children of narcissists aren’t all the same, but we do have similarities. We were raised by a parent or parents whose mental illness robbed them of their ability to be an effective parent. Or a loving parent. The end result is frustration and anger and damaged sense of self. Dealing with the aftermath is a lifelong chore. Sometimes, that chore is really fucking hard.

Narc parents don’t fit the same mold. Their narcissism can manifest in a plethora of ways. While I have read about many different types of narcissist, I can only speak about the narcissistic parent I know.

My father was a thin-skinned, loud, grandiose, lying bully. That is the narcissistic behavior I know all too well.

Thin Skinned

I remember the first time I witnessed how my father’s paper thin skin. Middle sister hadn’t been born yet, and I was barely 4 years old. I sat at the table in our tiny 2 bedroom apartment and ate a snack. My dad picked up a carrot stick from my plate and took a bite out of it. I was pissed. He completely ruined my carrot stick.

I took the carrot from him, flounced over to the garbage can, and threw it away. My parents were both heavy smokers the inevitable meltdownand I remember seeing a tuft of ashes rise up from where my mom had emptied their always overflowing ashtray. My father was angry and hurt. It hurt his feelings that I suggested that his touch would ruin something. I don’t remember if he yelled at me or not, but the memory is strong enough that it is still mostly clear and cohesive. I remember how his reaction scared me.

After that, I saw examples of his thin skinned behavior hundreds of times throughout my childhood. If I dared to criticize my father or, if he even perceived a criticism, he would melt the fuck down. He took everything as an insult. If a car passed him on the highway, he took it personally. He would see put downs in the glances of strangers.

Bully 

My dad had a health issue over twenty years ago that left him slightly brain damaged. He’s frail and mostly quiet now. He didn’t meet Randy until after his health went south. Prior to Randy, though, he was bully. He enjoyed people being afraid of him. He would tell me, whenever I was in a relationship, how my boyfriend/husband was afraid of him. They weren’t. He would insist anyway. He offered anecdotal proof of their fear whenever they were nowhere around.

While he was definitely comfortable with violence, his preferred method of bullying was to find a person’s weakness and attack the weakness. He was unrelenting when grinding insecurities into the ground. My father had no qualms about waiting until I was at a low point and then stomping on whatever was left of me. When I left my first husband and a long time job to go back to school, I was at a low point. My mother talked me into bringing my son home and living with them. I was depressed, I could barely breathe. My father looked at me and said “You know what is wrong with this country? There’s no loyalty. People just bail out of jobs and bail out of marriages”.  So, that was great for me. My life sucked and I ruined America.

Grandiose

In a way, I hated this humiliating behavior the most. We knew who my dad was at home. Of course, we did, but he couldn’t resist looking for narcissistic supply from people outside the family. He would make up ridiculous tales of travel, gambling, and business conquests. We were poor. His stories obviously didn’t add up. Everyone around him was uncomfortable when he told his self serving lies, but he wouldn’t notice. Or it wouldn’t matter to him. As long as he was getting attention. He would also inflate or completely make up his children’s accomplishments. So, that was cool. You know, to find out your actual life was so unacceptable that your parent had to make shit up about you.

Serial Liar

My dad lied about everything. He lied about the money he had. He lied about vacations. He lied about stupid shit. Inconsequential shit. Like, he’d buy a blue ballpoint pen and then tell people he bought a black one. I don’t know if that last thing actually ever happened, it is really just an example. He lied so much that he couldn’t always keep them straight. I learned early on to not call him out on a lie. Back a narcissist into a corner and you will witness a meltdown of biblical proportions.

Misogynistic

Not all misogynists are narcissistic. Some are just assholes. But many male narcissists are also misogynistic. I remember watching the summer Olympics when Nadia Comaneci was the reigning darling. My dad scoffed, “This is worthless. Women can’t be athletes.” For the record, they also cannot be chefs or sing. I remember railing against these comments. Which was really stupid on my part because remember what I said about criticism? These conversations would always end with him screaming insults at me and me sobbing. I tried. Holy fuck, I tried so fucking hard to not respond to his bullshit. I would respond, though. I would every single time.

Bigoted

My dad wasn’t a bigot. Nope. I know this because he told us over and over and fucking over what a great person he was and that he didn’t care where a person was from. Because that didn’t matter. What matters is what is on the inside. Unless, a person was British. My dad hates England and all the inhabitants of England. In his defense, he has good reason.

His grandmother, who was Irish, made him promise to forever hold a black and seething hatred for England. So, he did. He was unwavering in his loathing of the Brits. He was righteous in his animosity. Never mind that he had never been to England or knew anyone from England. He just knew that they were all murderous and evil humans. Plus, hating stuff is awesome for a narcissist. They love to spew venom about groups they hate, because it’s not enough for the narcissist to be the very best, there also has to be a very worst.

Accepts zero responsibility

My father was never wrong. Not ever. He would apologize occasionally, but only in a way that made him look like the bigger person. And then he wanted to be congratulated for apologizing. He had lists of ways he got fucked over in life. He didn’t get promotions because of back stabbing coworkers or crooked bosses. He lost his paycheck playing poker because other people were cheaters and thieves. He was unhappy most of the time and it was always someone else’s fault.

Often, it was my fault. I sinned in that I was his first child and not a boy. I sinned for existing at all. He told me many times how much better his life could have been if I hadn’t been born. Sometimes, he would forget to hide his behavior from my mother. She would hear the horrible things he said and get upset. I can remember being told when this happened “Do you see what you’ve done? You’ve upset your mother.” He didn’t upset her because he never did anything wrong.

Indirect Language

When my dad told me I ruined America, I protested. It hurt to hear him say that. I was hurting for fuck’s sake, why? Why would he say the worst possible thing to me? Well, since I questioned him, he got pissed. He yelled at me that he never said it was me he was talking about. Then the conversation probably took either the “I thought the world owed me everything on a silver platter” path or the “Your mother and I took you back in and you’re an ingrate” path. My dad phrased things in such a way that he had wiggle room. He could deny everything and accuse people of misunderstanding, or twisting his words to try to make him look bad. So, he got to be a dick and then he got to blame other people for his dickish behavior.

Which brings us to today

Imagine, what it would be like for a person who was raised by this type of man and then they find themselves living a life where his behavior is literally everywhere. Not just news stories on the internet, radio, and TV, it’s in conversations at home,work, and with strangers. Grandiose, thin-skinned, misogynistic, dishonest, bullying behavior on display 24 hours a day. It would be like life had become one, long, constant trigger.

It’s enough to make a person’s anxiety melt the fuck down.

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Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. Lisa K says:

    Guess I’m washing my Klonepin down with coffee today.
    *looks longingly at whiskey*
    Wanna go to Amazion.com and develop a spending habit?
    😉

    Reply
    • Carolynne says:

      No one ever talks about the child of a narcissist incorporating the parent’s grandiose behavior as a defense mechanism for their destroyed self esteem. It is not easy to face that narcissism passes down generationally from parent to child. We have to change our self perception of victim to being a sleuth, bravely examining within ourselves the same behaviors our parents had (Do I brag? Drive myself to exhaustion always having to come in first at everything? Become angryvat any criticism, even constructive criticism?). Brave self examination, willingness to change, and choosing to ask help from God, is the only way I can become whole. It’s about self honesty, courage and integrity. We can free ourselves from the bondage of narcissistic behaviour.

      Reply
      • Michelle says:

        Yes. Those questions can be very hard to ask. It doesn’t hurt, when you think you’ve worked it all out, to ask them again. I’ve found myself slipping into undesirable behavior here and there. It’s a process. xo

        Reply
  2. colin says:

    While reading this I was wondering if we shared the same Dad. They are nasty people. They ruin your life for good while congratulating themselves for being a great parent.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      Exactly. But here’s the thing…it’s not EASY..but I do believe we can NOT allow them to ruin what is left of our lives. What already happened, happened..what happens from this moment forward is up to us. I am constantly examining my emotions and my beliefs about myself and life in general and trying to make small changes. It’s working, but it is slow and exhausting. But worth it. I wish you nothing but peace, my friend. I am sorry you had the same type of upbringing. It’s so very hard.

      Reply
  3. Beth W says:

    Your father and mine must have been twins separated at birth.

    Reply
  4. Kelley says:

    Oh my….we are long lost sisters….same parents, same stories. And now dealing with a dead dad & a mom trying to REWRITE our history. Meltdown much??? All day, everyday. Thanks for writing this…..now at least I know I’m crazy BUT not alone.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      You are NOT alone and I also don’t believe you’re crazy. I mean, I don’t know you, but I suspect you are much harder on yourself than necessary. It’s what we do. I absolutely have mental illness issues in that I battle anxiety daily and depression quite often. But I have also come to learn that I’m not a bad person. In fact, I am the opposite. I am working toward being more kind to myself. It’s not easy, not when my inner voice constantly tells me the opposite. That voice IS getting weaker, though. I wish you peace. And again..you are not alone. XOXOXOX

      Reply
      • Bess says:

        Michelle – you have the bad person part, too? OMG! My mother once asked me if I thought I was a good person. It’s only after I had a kid of my own that I realized this was such a mean thing to do. (Incidentally, I answered her that I thought I was not actually a good person, but that I was trying very hard to act like one. She did not disabuse me of this notion. GEEZ.)

        Reply
    • Bess says:

      Your mom does that, too? I always called it “selective memory”! I figured it was just me. And yep – I’m crazy as shit but it’s so good to know this has happened to other people.

      (Incidentally, both of my parents were – and are still – narcs. My kid is 4 and is only allowed to be alone with them for a few hours at a time. I’d go NC but they’ve still got too strong a hold on me… and my daughter thinks my mom is AWESOME. Right.

      Sending hugs. ALL THE HUGS.

      Reply
      • Michelle says:

        I am lucky because my dad is brain damaged and he’s mostly quiet now. I KNOW he’s still in there, because I get glimpses, but it’s more annoying than anything else. XOXOX

        Reply
  5. Liv says:

    I know you didn’t mean to – but this terrifies me.

    My children live part time with one.

    And fuck. You’re right about the trigger. I always thought that of my ex – how can other people not see it?? HOW?
    Liv recently posted…It’s Been a Lovely Extended VacationMy Profile

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I really am sorry, sweetness. Your children have YOU and they will be okay. You know what you’re up against. My mother didn’t. Her father was just like my dad and she only did the best she could. You are armed with awareness. Life isn’t easy for anyone, it just isn’t. Some of us have more obstacles than others.

      I’ve been doing so much better, but since this election, I’ve backslid. I can’t take the bombardment of narcissistic behavior. I am constantly sick to my stomach. I just want it over with.

      Reply
  6. Eleanor says:

    Lately, it must have been a different column you wrote, I keep thinking about getting the silent treatment. Quiet seething, with a side of “You know what you did.” Always fun.

    Reply
  7. Denise says:

    My 16-year-old stepson has been in counseling for three years after growing up with his borderline personality disordered mother. A lot of the same things, wrapped in a package of the loving mom. He’s finally able to talk about and be angry about the things she says and does.

    Two nights ago he was complaining about how she twists his words and tags him in FB posts that make her look like a saint and my husband like the “evil ex” she frequently refers to him as. Then all of her current “friends”, the people she has most recently snowed and who haven’t been on the receiving end of her lies and vitriol, post replies of support and concern, giving her exactly the attention she needs.

    Next week, stepson is having a small medical procedure and will be hospitalized 1 – 2 days. He has told her repeatedly that he doesn’t want her to come (we live two states away and have full custody). I’m amazed he’s been able to tell her this, but of course, she won’t listen. She needs the attention and the absolute bonanza of attention this will get her. It’s not about him at all.

    He’s less than two years away from going no contact with her, just like his older brother. If she exercises every visitation she’s allowed, he’ll have to visit her seven more times, plus, of course, next week.

    Blech . . .
    Denise recently posted…Sunday Afternoon 08/07/16My Profile

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I am so glad he had you and your husband. In my opinion (and I am NOT a professional) no contact is often the best way to go. I hope his procedure goes well and his stupid mother doesn’t cause too much damage. I am sending your family all my peaceful thoughts.

      Reply
    • Bess says:

      I was in a very serious car accident in February of 2015 and My Sainted Mother told me she’d be coming for a week to take care of me as I recovered. I had to tell her NO LESS THAN 10 TIMES not to come. Please tell your stepson I know how hard it is (and I’m 43!), but that he has to stay with it and not cave just because he’s tired of dealing with her. He can do this. He sounds so strong and brave.

      Reply
      • Denise says:

        Thanks Bess! Yes, he has grown up and matured so much. At first, he wouldn’t even talk about her AT ALL. He acted like he was scared she would know. Now, he’ll just pop downstairs and say “you know what bugs me about my mom?”. It’s like night and day. You can see and hear the relief. He really looks up to his older brother, so I think (hope!) he’ll follow suit with no contact. The scariest thing is that they have a younger half sister who is a chip off the old mom block. I hope they don’t get bogged down by her as she gets older – it’s not looking pretty and she’s only 11.
        Denise recently posted…Sunday Afternoon 08/07/16My Profile

        Reply
  8. Cecilia says:

    It’s been just a few scant weeks that I discovered that my mom had something that has a name, with common symptoms and identifiable behaviors. So I’m still kind of reeling and going through grief, even though I’m so relieved and astounded that MY condition is now something that can be healed. I just thought there was something horribly wrong with me all my life.

    Thank you so much for your very entertaining and healing blog.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I have ALL THE FEELS for you. I remember that surreal feeling of putting a name to my entire childhood. It was stunning and hard and I went through so many different emotions. I can tell you, that while you are in the shit of it right now, it gets better. And you will be stronger. Just hang on, sister. Hang on and it will get better. Please feel free to contact me if you need to vent. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Susan says:

    Thank you for this post, makes me think about a lot of emotional baggage I’m trying to get rid of. Triggers oh boy

    Reply
  10. Troll says:

    My parents sucked.

    Reply
  11. Suz says:

    Did I ever tell you about my dad, as an editor of a magazine, using my brothers as models on two of the covers? When I asked him why he never used me he said because the never did a story on obesity. I was about the age of 20 and weighed an awful 125 or 130.

    Reply
  12. Shandra says:

    Hi,

    Been a silent reader of your blog for a long time. Thanks for posting this, it helped me understand my childhood a bit more (and my ex husband, not that I care to understand him more).

    Just wanted to say hi and thanks.

    Shandra

    Reply
  13. I shared this post to Facebook. Some of the most creative people I know had the shittiest childhoods. I hate that for all of you. But, like them, you’ve pulled it out and gotten a complete stranger to open your post in my inbox first, because I know it’s going to be brilliant and make me think or laugh or both. When I’ve had enough Trump, I have fallback channels. On the car radio, it’s KJZZ (K-Jazz – my son’s favorite). On TV, I watch benign shows like “Fixer Upper” or “Pen and Teller’s Fool Us.” I’m normally a political junkie, but some days, even I need a fucking break!
    Deborah Sale-Butler recently posted…Mom ResetMy Profile

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      Oh thank you so much, for your kind words and for sharing! I have taken a break of all things Trump. I was obsessed with reading EVERYTHING and it was making me just spiral. I can’t help but see headlines or hear people talk, but I am done immersing myself in it. For a while at least.

      Reply
  14. MJ says:

    Hang in there, Michelle. I hear the anguish in your blog today and even though I don’t know you, I am sending a biiiiig hug. Open your chesr, breathe and look up, up, up to the sun. Everything is going to be all right.

    Reply
  15. Stef says:

    Ah girl.

    I see my dad in a lot of this. I see myself.
    I see a lot of the jerks I run into everywhere in the world today. More and more often…

    You hang in there my dear. You are amazing, and strong and funny, and his opinion means less than effing nothing. Someday both our dads will be gone, and we can breathe a deep breath and say NO ONE MISSES YOU ASSHOLE.

    Because no one will.

    I’m tempted to put the truth on his headstone: “Here lies my dad. Narcissistic asshole. Cheating husband. Ungrateful son. Selfish brother. Lying seducing snake friend. Advantage-seeking neighbor. Violent pet owner. Intolerant parent. Self-serving employee. Greedy business partner. Lazy head of household. Life-long alcoholic lying cheat who never accomplished one single good thing and ended up a weepy old drunk in a homeless shelter”. Except I wouldn’t spend a dime on him…even for that.

    But yeah…what is it with Extreme Dick Behavior at Defcon Red these days? What the actual fuck, people? Chill.

    Love you – I’m here if you need me

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      You know what? I KNOW you are there for me and that means a lot, it really does. It means so much when people “get” it. The frustration and anger that goes along with dealing with these people. Thank you for always being so fucking awesome. XO

      Reply
  16. Terri Lee says:

    Holy cow, Batman, are you SURE we didn’t have the same dad? My brother in law is also like this, with only a few differences. He was “helping” me again recently, until he went into meltdown number two last week, where he told me that “Paul didn’t matter”, he insulted me, he insulted my home and I told him to get the fuck out. He had his second chance to be a human being and again, epic FAIL. If you disagree with him or don’t allow him to call all the shots, the verbal and mental abuse comes spewing forth. He is the ONLY one who’s right and even if you try to be calm and polite when explaining to him why he isn’t, he still perceives that you are “chewing him out”. Oh. And the FIRST time I had kicked him to the curb? He claimed he had given ME a “90 day break”. HAHAHA!!!!!!! Try giving me a permanent break now, douche bag! And my sister, the other narcissist? Totally oblivious, doesn’t care. Either that or he handed her some bullshit story about what happened, making it somehow al MY fault. Who the fuck NEEDS that shit? Like you say, the scariest part of all is that they fit perfectly into today’s society. All about putting on an act.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I wish SO BAD I could make that be different for you. My heart truly goes out to you. I am sending you my peaceful thoughts, sister. xoxoxox

      Reply
      • Terri Lee says:

        Trust me, you DO help! Knowing that someone else understands what it’s like dealing with these types of people helps. I won’t lie. I miss having Paul as my team mate and buffer. He’d sit back, watching and listening to the family dynamics and when we’d get home, he’d call them “The Phonies Out West”. HAHA!!! God, I miss him. xoxoxoxo

        Reply
  17. Lari says:

    Well. I see my son in your descriptions. And it does scare me. I always figured that once he became an adult, he would change, but I now think that won’t happen.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I am so sorry. I wish I had advice for you, but I just don’t. I only have my experiences and I not an expert. Do you have access to counseling? Because I think that is probably the best thing you can do for yourself.

      Reply
  18. I too had a dad like that. Thank the good lord my momma was there for us kids. She hid alot of things from him so us kids didn’t get into trouble. I survived but I have alot of internal scars. Then I went from him to a wife beater for 15 long years but I got out alive and with all my kids. I am now married to a man who would just about do anything for me.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I adore my mother as well. Thank the stars for her. I am sorry you lived with that, but am so happy you are good now. It took me a few tries..haha..but I am with someone who adores me and encourages me and believes in me..21 years and we’re still all starry eyed. Well, mostly. Hahahaha.

      Reply
  19. MariaP says:

    It’s a testament to your strength, and how you always listened to that little voice inside, that you have managed to come out of this with some self-esteem and to help others and not drown in the BS around you

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      This is fairly recent for me. Like the last 4 years(ish). I wasn’t even aware that parental narcissism was a thing until then and so many things fell into place. I work on the self-esteem thing on a daily basis. It’s hard, but I am making progress. Slow, plodding progress..but still..PROGRESS! XO

      Reply
  20. Phew. Wow. Dare I say I recognize many if not all of these. Ya made it. Now, can America? Or better, can we avoid it?
    Lisa Thomson recently posted…Does Your Ex Have Anything In Common With Donald?My Profile

    Reply
  21. CM says:

    I was married to one and your description is spot on.

    Reply
  22. “My life sucked and I ruined America.”
    Your sense of humor is one of your most admirable qualities. It may be your most admirable quality, although it’s not the only one.
    It’s fantastic that you’re in a much better place now and surrounded by people who appreciate you but you still need to hear compliments like that, even from complete strangers.
    Anyway you may not have been able to joke about it at the time but it’s not hard to see how your sense of humor developed out of your experience. It’s a defense mechanism.
    And just to be clear that doesn’t make it any less admirable. It makes it even more admirable that you found humor as a way to survive.
    Christopher recently posted…Sea, Sick.My Profile

    Reply
  23. Laura says:

    So, so sorry this happened to you. You deserved to be cherished as a perfect child , as all little children are, and supported no matter what as you grew. Except if you, you know spray painted fuck the machine on the elementary school. Then maybe your parents should have had a word.but you didnt. You sound like a regular little kid with a regular little kid ways, and the usual struggles growing up.

    In fact, that the flip flop that you did talk back to him, because it meant you had a sense of worth inside that knew that he was fuck ed up. I actually believed my parents, both narcissistic assholes.

    Anyway, if you ever want to go shopping for red dresses to wear to my parents funerals, and your in northern ca, lemme know

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I would totally go with you wearing red if I were there. And I DID believe a lot of what he said. I was in horrible relationships for years until I met Randy. I still struggle with it, but I do see an ever widening light. 🙂 Thank you for this.

      Reply
  24. I swear you were writing about my mother. My mom hasn’t ever been physically violent towards my sister and I, however she loves to threaten violence. She likes to make herself sound bigger and badder than she really is. She has incredibly angry outbursts all the time and she tried super hard to break up my fiance and I. Recently I just had a baby and I’ve really struggled with my relationship with my mother. I DO NOT want my daughter to experience the things I did growing up. But, at the same time I can’t just cut her out of my life. Ugh. It’s so hard sometimes.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      Can you get counseling? Because from what I understand, limited contact or no contact is the way to go. I’m lucky because my dad is brain damaged now and not hard (mostly) to be around. But if he were still the same, I would have cut all contact with him. At least I hope I would have. I was working toward that when he got ill when I was 32 years old.

      Reply
  25. Doug in Oakland says:

    I have to agree that the lies and insanity (not mental illness, insanity. There’s a difference.) factor has been off the charts lately.
    Let me just say again how much I admire the humanity you display in the face of all of the ugliness that gets thrown your way.
    So let me share with you something that has made my week a little better. I found it Friday on Paul Krugman’s blog, of all places. I find it somewhat topical for this post, and hope you find some enjoyment in it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAHCNaZ5h9k

    Reply
  26. Fiona says:

    I am so proud and grateful that you kept arguing back, particularly about the misogyny. It might not be the best way to deal with a narcissist, but I do feel it’s important not to give in – if we don’t speak out we’re colluding. You are strong and inspiring.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I didn’t feel strong then, I felt defeated and terrified all the time. It took years for me to be able to open my mouth again. But once I did..WOOOOOOOOO there is no stopping it now. hahaha.

      Reply
  27. Barbara says:

    Both my parents are narcissists. They divorced when I was 2 and I had very little contact with my dad after that. I didn’t realize my dad was as bad or worse than my mother until after I had both of my kids. His daughter from his 2nd marriage found me and sent a letter, which I responded to. Then my dad called and invited me to visit him in FL with the kids.
    I went and discovered he had singlehandedly built every skyscraper in southern FL! And, all the while with a very bad back! He wanted me to go horseback riding and I declined because I don’t like horses that much. He was so disappointed! Then he wanted to take me out on his boat, only to find out I had a fear of water and can’t swim. He was losing all respect for me almost as fast as I was for him.
    I felt sorry for his wife and my half sister. Neither were aware of what they were living with and made tons of excuses for him.
    The kicker came many years later when my husband was in the hospital with lymphoma. He was in an induced coma for a couple of months and miraculously survived. My dad had called me about something while this was going on and wanted me to visit them again. When I explained what was happening in our neck of the woods he acted like he didn’t ‘get it’. Then shortly after my husband came home, still in recovery mode, dad’s wife called to tell me he was upset that I refused his invitation. I don’t recall what I said in my tirade but, when I got off the phone I told Dave, “She never asked if you lived or died!”
    It’s pathetic, really.
    b
    Barbara recently posted…A Weekend to Celebrate Summer!My Profile

    Reply
  28. Monique says:

    You gave a lot of people power today. Thanks so very much. I know now that the war in Vietnam was not my mistake, as I was told for many years. Funny detail: I’m Dutch and was never in the USA or Vietnam.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      Okay, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terribly curious over how the FUCK the vietnam war was your fault. And thank you. 🙂

      Reply
      • Monique says:

        It was very simple.
        It was THE line that ended all the conversations and it went like this:
        Everything bad in the world is your fault, even the war in Vietnam! if you hear that long enough, you sometimes believe in it…..

        Reply
        • Michelle says:

          oh man…that is terrible. And yes, we hear things and they become true. Gaslighting. Which the cheeto headed fuckhead running for president is attempting to do to the world.

          Reply
  29. Monique says:

    Now here’s one genuine motherfucking strump of a bitch, such a relieve to say that, hahahaha!

    Reply
  30. Me says:

    I cannot even begin to imagine living like this. More power to you for moving on from it like you have – if I was me I reckon I would be curled up in the fetal position rocking on a bed in an institution !!
    Good on you for getting out from under his clutched and taking back your power !!
    xox

    Reply
  31. Joy says:

    I loved the twist, the clincher in the end! Brilliant! And I’m sorry it’s all around you these days. It’s giving most of us a meltdown really. It has certainly helped when I started unfollowing certain people on social media.
    Joy recently posted…What Lies Beyond the ImpatienceMy Profile

    Reply
  32. Arionis says:

    Wow, that is powerful stuff. I was lucky I had mostly great parents even though I didn’t believe that when I was a child. I can’t imagine what it must have been like. Only parental thing I am dealing with now is an alcoholic mother.

    I do know what you mean about the triggers though. I can’t be on Twitter more than ten minutes these days before I get wound up. I’ve had to drastically cut it back. Hang in there and always know you are not alone!

    Reply
  33. Jill says:

    It does make your anxiety jump up a few notches when surrounded by narcissism! Although my experience is with the female version, which is a little bit different, I feel ya. Always remember that you’ve been blessed to be able to distinguish between proper and improper behavior, and that you have the gut to stand up against the latter. Xoxo
    Jill recently posted…Cleaning up my act.My Profile

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    • Michelle says:

      Thank you. Yeah, I did stand up to it, but it really only made it worse. The last few years before he got sick, I just avoided him as much as humanly possible. Now? I can tolerate him. He’s mostly quiet.

      Reply
  34. My ex-husband. He’s the narc I lived with for half of my life. Now I know why my anxiety has been through the roof the last few months.

    I’m always astonished that people don’t see it. My kids always recognize a narcissist when they see one.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I’m glad you got away from him. I so much am. And yes, I can spot a narc in no time and they make my skin crawl. I worked with one at my old job. Same type. Thin skinned know it all bully asshole. I am so glad to be away from that place.

      Reply
  35. Beth says:

    Michelle I received the cd and I want to thank you. I really appreciate it and I enjoy the music. However I can’t seem to get on the website for the Madisons to comment/review it . Could you send a link?
    I enjoy your blog, sometimes it is like you are telling my story!
    Thanks,
    Beth Runkel

    Reply
  36. Nancy H. says:

    Michelle, I am a long-time reader of your blog but this is my first time commenting. Let me just say – you ROCK and reading your blog is always the highlight of my day. My mom was a narcissist and could check off everything on your list. Us kids always knew she was horrible, but never had a word for it. Some of my siblings like to call it a mental illness, but I refuse to, because to me that absolves her of responsibility. You are absolutely correct that no contact is the only way. I was the last holdout and finally did it after I was married and had a baby – I could not expose my son and stepkids to that. In the end, she died alone.

    Keep on doing what you do – you are making the world a better place.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I am so glad you are here!! Yay! And thank you so much for your kind words. As one child of a narcissist to another, we can use all the kind words we can get..even when they make us feel uncomfortable. 🙂 (I suck at getting compliments)

      Good on your for going no contact and protecting yourself and your family. I can have compassion for a narcissist because they are humans walking on this earth..but I don’t want to be around them. Ever.

      Reply
  37. Heather C says:

    So many hugs, M

    I am so livid with my people who are on the Trump bandwagon I have been calling out their hate and bigotry and othering non-stop for the past few weeks. It’s exhausting and so so disheartening. And of course, not making any impact. Which I should be used to as an ACON.

    So many people I love are being increasingly targeted because the public rhetoric about how Great ‘Murica used to be is emboldening every asshole in the country. It’s unnacceptable. I have to remember to laugh at it or I will sink.

    <3
    Heather C recently posted…More Word Vomit from an ACONMy Profile

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  38. Dawn says:

    I think I married you Dad but I also divorced him. It’s taken me a while to realize he is a narcissist and even longer to recover. Thank you for writing and for using the word asshole!

    Reply
  39. Jerry says:

    Dear Michelle

    Found your article on HuffPost and came here through it. I wanted to thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing these stories with the world. Recognising my father, my self and my childhood in every line you wrote was gospel to me. It took me 40 terrible years to realise what went wrong with my life, tens of thousands of hours I beat myself up about being wrong, wrong, and wrong.
    If my dad wasn’t a single child, I’d say he and your dad must certainly be twins, same accounts for our paternal grandmothers.
    What hurt me most when reading about narcissist parents was that they only get a child to have someone in the world they can exploit for their own sick needs. My mum never wanted a child, but my dad insisted and she gave in. This is the part that knocks a hole in my chest, to be put in the world merely to satisfy some sick mental need of a terrible person, not to be a loved and esteemed child. It makes me fee very lonely, but I guess there’s nothing else to do than to learn to live with it.

    However, thank you so much for reaching out. You changed someone’s world doing that 🙂

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      Hi Jerry!

      First of all, thank you so much for being here and for telling me your story. I am so very sorry that you suffered through that, but I am glad you are here and you are not alone. I am humbled to read your words and thrilled that my stories resonated with you. I am sending you peace and love and light. XOXOXOX

      Reply
  40. Brickhouse says:

    So sorry you have to relive this nightmare over and over again! Praying that he’s taken down, way down!!!

    Reply
  41. Raised by one (my stepmother) though she was a lightweight on the spectrum, then spent ten years married to one. I feel your pain, and recently wrote about this same topic from a slightly different perspective. Well done.
    Nancy Lowell recently posted…Dear MelaniaMy Profile

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  42. Your story gives a clear picture of a narcissistic behavior. It is a toxic behavior. Narcissism is a poison of relationships. Sorry that the narcissist was your father.
    You are courageous in paying attention to your emotions and beliefs and working on healing the wounds of your childhood, as you upgrade your emotions and beliefs. It is a journey of self-awareness that reveals your power.
    Jen @raisefrequency recently posted…What qualities ideal partners have? – Are ideal relationships real? – Poisons of relationshipsMy Profile

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