Those of us who grew up with overtly narcissistic mothers often grew up thinking our fathers were great guys. After all, compared to Mom, they really were great. They didn’t berate & control us constantly. Since we also had a skewed view of love, we believe they loved us.
The sad truth though is many of us have fathers who weren’t the great guys we thought they were. Many men married to overtly narcissistic women are covert narcissists.
Covertly narcissistic fathers often come across as hard workers (working long hours &/or traveling for work), soft spoken & naive. They need to be taken care of because they don’t always know what to do. They may be clingy with their daughters, confiding in her about problems in their marriage. When told about how abusive their children’s mother is, they claim they had no idea it was that bad, & there is nothing they can do to stop it. They may even turn it around, claiming it’s so hard on them, knowing how cruel their wives are to their children. Many are quite sneaky too, telling their wives one thing & their children another, to stir up strife between the mother & her children. Some men, if their wife is angry, will somehow find a way to bring up their children to refocus her anger onto her children. They will not hesitate to throw their children (of any age) under the bus with their wife in order to protect themselves from her anger.
Does this sound familiar to you? If so, I really understand! It’s my father in a nutshell. And, I also understand that Father’s Day is a painful & frustrating day for you because of this! It is for me too.
Remember my post about the recent argument with my parents? I’m still dealing with it. My mother is still not speaking to me, which works just fine for me. She won’t hear my side of it, I don’t understand hers, so there is no working things out with her. My father, however, is obviously still angry at me, but refuses to talk about it. He insists on looking like the good guy no matter what, so rather than come out & say he’s angry with me, he goes into passive/aggressive mode. He constantly brings up how he upset my dog by coming by one day when I wasn’t here, & hints that he doesn’t believe I wasn’t here. He knows it bothers me he upset her & that he doesn’t believe me when I say I wasn’t here that day. About a week ago, I didn’t answer when he called as I was busy (& frankly not in the mood to deal with him), so the next time we spoke, he told me he was so worried when I didn’t answer my phone. According to him, since I didn’t answer the phone, he was forced to call one of my cousins who lives 450 miles away to try to get in touch with me. All of this drama is about control- letting me know I am wrong for being upset with him & for not taking his call.
Normally I’m not thrilled with Father’s Day anyway, but this year? UGH. Much worse than normal.
I figured out to deal with it this year, I would still get my father a card, but it’s quite different than any other card I’ve given him. I usually opt for a nice, Christian themed card that basically says “God bless you, have a nice day”. Simple but nice while not saying he was a great father, since he wasn’t. This year? I opted for something funny. My father will be glad he got a card, so there won’t be any repercussions for me. I wasn’t even feeling like sending him a nice card, so the funny one worked for me. It was a good compromise. On the actual day, I won’t be calling my father or seeing him. I’ll focus on my husband, who is a good dad to our furkids instead. Plus, this is hubby’s first Father’s Day since his mother died. She often had big family parties on Father’s Day, & since this is his first year without that, I want to be available for him in case he wants to talk or needs some support.
I’m choosing to focus on what is the most important to me, & there is nothing wrong with that!
Father’s Day is a lovely idea. If you have a great dad, then by all means, let him know he is a great dad! Celebrate him on Father’s Day & any other day you feel the urge to do so. However, if you too have a covertly narcissistic father, you don’t need to celebrate him on Father’s Day. It’s OK! There is nothing wrong with you! You aren’t failing to honor your father! It’s not un-Christian not to celebrate it. It’s not commanded in the Bible to celebrate Father’s Day. You are allowed to do whatever you feel you need to do. Get him a card or don’t, give him a gift or don’t- there are no rules. You need to do what feels right to you.