I am here to tell you, children of the United States: Your narcissistic father does not love you.
This is not your fault. You can rail against his antics and scream “no fair”. You can work your ass off to gain his approval. Nothing you do can change anything.
He can’t love you.
He won’t approve of you.
You will be happier when you accept this. Maybe, you won’t be happy, but acceptance helps.
We have expectations when it comes to a president. Like not being a white nationalist, not praising Nazis, and having a solid knowledge of how our government works.
There are other things as well.
We need comfort when we are sad. We need reassurance when we are scared. We need protection when we are in peril. We need guidance when we are lost.
We look to our leader, much the same as we looked to our parents, for comfort, reassurance, protection and guidance.
We get none of this from the president. We will never receive comfort from our president.
This is not news to adult children of narcissists.
My father is a malignant narcissist. He is elderly and brain-damaged now, but when I was young, he was a thin-skinned, paranoid, grandiose bully who compulsively lied.
My father’s lies were grandiose stories about gambling, fighting, or being a hero. They weren’t all over the top lies. He lied just to lie. For example, he’d buy a black ball tip pen and insist the ink was blue.
Rules did not apply to my father. He felt no remorse in stealing from his children. He could take what he wanted, we owed him. He could take his frustrations out on us, we were nothing more than an extension of him anyway. He had no capacity for empathy. He was cruel, arbitrary, and unstable.
My father is broken. Sometimes, broken things can’t be repaired.
Kintsugi is the art of repairing broken things with gold. When the broken pieces are put back together, the threads of gold winding through the broken places make the whole more beautiful than before it broke.
Some things break beyond repair. A malignant narcissist doesn’t want their pieces repaired with gold. They want to be gold. They not only don’t want to see their broken pieces reassembled and repaired with gold, they don’t want their broken pieces at all. To be broken admits flaws and they have none.
Malignant narcissists don’t understand that our broken pieces make us accessible. They don’t understand that our flaws make us human. Malignant narcissist only see gold when they look at themselves because they cannot tolerate anything less.
A malignant narcissist protects the belief that they are the gold. They protect this belief with every weapon at their disposal. I was lucky. My father didn’t command the United States Armed Forces.
My father was Donald Trump without the power, money, or fame, although he did have better hair. Another big difference between my father and the president, is my father has never been cornered in a way Trump is being cornered. He is being cornered from so many directions and on the grandest of stage.
When a narcissist gets cornered, nothing else matters other than protecting their lies.
Protecting the belief they are beyond reproach; they are perfect. Flawless. If cornered, a narcissist strikes back with a vengeance, no remorse, no morals, and no concern for casualties. When they feel the line between the fantasy they project and their flawed self has been breached, the fallout is spectacular. Their line can be breached with an innocent comment or a sideways glance. Then, the battle begins. I never tried to cross that line with my father, but the line was small, delicate, and always moving. So often, I landed on the wrong side of that line.
I still feel the scars from every one of those injuries. My brain cradles them and insists they get their due. I have learned to be hyper aware of people around me. I gauge their mood without ever questioning why. I try to move mountains to make sure everyone in my space feels content. Other people’s anger is the most hard to process. I feel compelled both to soothe other people’s anger and to run from it.
Now, we have president Trump. We are smothered in a blanket of twisted paranoia, aggression, and anger. Nothing can be done to soothe this anger. Our only remaining choice is to provoke his anger.
The president doesn’t just get the occasional questionable comment and side eye. He gets bombarded through social media telling him what a moronic lunatic he is. He gets adulation as well, which will always soothe the narcissistic beast, but that won’t make them forget how they are wronged. They will remember every slight and address every single one of them.
The meltdown will be both great and terrible.
Adult children of narcissists see the coming storm. We don’t feel outraged by the president’s behavior, we feel terrified. We are sickened by the outbursts. We know no amount of reason can change his behavior.
We have been shouting for over a year. We are hoarse, tired, and disheartened.
It’s too late, now. The meltdown is inevitable. Too many cats are out of too many bags. Trump will continue to be confronted with ridicule, scorn, and the truth. He will melt down. We have no way to sidestep this.
We tried to warn everyone.
Poking the bear can bring about the melt down sooner rather than later. I’m not talking about dirty pool or being cruel. We need do nothing more than to continue to point out the lies. A malignant narcissist has no bigger fear than being found out.
I am of the opinion the bear must be poked. We have to bring the storm so we can be free of Trump. We will never be able to fix our current situation. We need Trump to self destruct so we can put him behind us. The best course of action when dealing with a narcissist is to go “no contact”. No contact is not an option for the citizens of the US. Not as long as Trump is president.
I don’t look forward to the inevitable meltdown. Every trigger I have will be flipped and I fear how the meltdown will affect my mental health. My mental health makes no difference, though. My fear controls nothing. We have to stop allowing his fear to control us.
I know this: Adult children of narcissists have strength that people who weren’t raised by a narcissist don’t have. We have been through this storm. Maybe, not one quite so big as the one about to rain down on us, but we do know these storms.
We know how to get through the storms.
We know how to gain strength from them.
Adult children of narcissists know the deep, raw and lonely pain one feels when a parent doesn’t love them.
I can tell you this, finding love for yourself can help fill the hole left by the lack of parental love. Finding love for oneself helps ward off some of the fear.
Fred Rogers found comfort in his mother’s words when he found life uncertain and scary. “My mother would say to me, look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
This is where we can find wells and wells of self-love. Helping each other. We need to help each other now more than ever and the thing is, we can start small. Throw away a piece of trash you find on the ground. Wish someone a peaceful day when they cut you off in traffic. Hold a door for a stranger or maybe just smile at one. Start small and then grow. Become a helper.
The more we connect with each other, the more we want to protect each other. Life is going to be uncertain for a while. So many people are going to be finding out that their father does not love them and we will all feel the affects.
We can prop each other up. We can make an effort to reach out instead of lash out.
We can be the helpers.
Sometimes, our fathers do not love us. This is something we cannot change. But this is also something we can survive.
To any of you affected by Harvey, I am so sorry this is happening. I am so sad for all of you and afraid for you. I hope this finds you safe and dry.
If you would like to help our brothers and sisters affected by this hurricane, here are a few links:
If anyone has links to organizations we can donate to, please put them in comments. Sometimes, links cause comments to go my spam folder, which I don’t normally check, but I will check it for the next few days just in case.
Photo courtesy of Jakob Madsen