Tag Archives: dying
Losing someone you love is incredibly painful & difficult, but when that person is your narcissistic parent, it’s also incredibly complex. Part of the complexity involves a lot of guilt. If you have lost a narcissistic parent, I’m sure you experienced it too. If you haven’t yet, you need to be prepared & know that it may happen with you, too.
The last time I spoke to my mother was May 5, 2016 when we had a huge argument. We hadn’t spoken in almost exactly 3 years when she passed away. Since she died, I’ve learned that her final years weren’t good. Apparently my mother’s health declined quickly. I noticed her handwriting became very shaky after our argument. I realized through her car’s maintenance records that she must have stopped driving in 2017 not long before my father died & found a fairly big dent in her car. Probably that was why she stopped driving – she realized she wasn’t as capable behind the wheel any longer. Clearly she also was very depressed. One friend of hers told me that my mother said that her cat was the only reason she wanted to live. Also when she died & I first started to care for the estate matters, her house was in a bad state because she was unable to clean it like she once had.
All of these things have led to me feeling a tremendous amount of guilt. Since I’m positive my situation isn’t terribly unique, I thought I would share ways I have learned to help ease that guilt.
I am truly blessed with having the most amazing best friend ever. She reminds me constantly that there is a natural order of things & people reap what they sow. My parents were abusive, which is why I went no contact. I wasn’t trying to be a jerk, contrary to what my family believes, I was only trying to protect myself. That is why every functional goes no contact, & that isn’t a bad thing. If you too went no contact with your abusive parent prior to their death, you did nothing wrong just like me. It was simply the natural order of things! If they wouldn’t have been abusive, you wouldn’t have been forced into going no contact.
What happens after no contact isn’t your responsibility, & you need to remind yourself of that constantly as do I. It’s so hard not to feel guilty in these situations when you learn your narcissistic parent suffered after you were no longer in his or her life. I feel like I should’ve been there for them & taken care of them. If only I could’ve stuck it out for another couple of years, I’ve said to myself. Guessing you feel much the same way. If so, remember, you severed those ties for very valid reasons. Probably many very valid reasons in fact. You did nothing wrong! Whatever happened after you went no contact is NOT your fault or responsibility. Besides, maybe there was a reason God wanted things to happen as they did. Me not being in my father’s life is why he turned to God at the very end of his life! How incredible is that?! Maybe that is what happened with my mother too, I’m not sure. All I know is she is in Heaven & that is a huge comfort! Anyway, ask God what the purpose was in you being no contact with your parent at the time of his or her death. He will answer that question.
Sometimes people may say cruel things about you not being there for your parent, making you feel worse. Remember that those people don’t know everything about the situation, which means they aren’t fit to judge it.
I know guilt after a narcissistic parent is very hard to handle. If & when you experience it, I hope you’ll remember this post. You have nothing to feel guilty about. You did the best you could in an impossible situation.
I thought I’d share some things that have been happening since my mother’s death in April in the hopes someone reading this can glean some useful information from it. I’m going to make this post into a YouTube video (well, probably a 2 part one) in the near future since not everyone who follows me on YouTube reads my blog (& vice versa).
It’s been such a strange, strange time to say the least. God has been blessing me big time by enabling me to take care of everything I need to do. I was able to bring my parents’ cat home without having to trap her & add to her trauma. She’s still learning that this new home is a safe & loving one. He’s given me the ability to figure out just what my parents would want done with their belongings, too. He even got me through the horrific day of my mother’s burial. As if burying her wasn’t enough to deal with that day, the cemetery made a huge mistake. Long story short, they had to exhume my father & rebury him in the plot beside where he was before they could bury my mother. On top of that, one of my cousins showed up at the burial solely for the purpose of attacking me, & refused to leave. She was the one who was the cruelest to me when my father was dying. Not a pleasant day, but I got through it & everything else surprisingly well, thanks to God carrying me.
In spite of the blessings, it’s still been hard.
The death of a narcissistic parent is bizarre. Normally when someone you love dies, you miss them terribly & it’s incredibly painful. Very hard of course, but it’s not complex. Not so with a narcissistic parent. There is the sadness of course, but not always because you miss them. It can be because you miss not having a healthy relationship with your parent, because your parent stole your childhood or because your parent went to their death never admitting any wrong doing.
There’s also the relief & freedom you suddenly feel knowing that you are finally free from your parent’s abuse. It’s such a wonderful feeling! At least it is until the guilt for feeling that way kicks in. Even when you know that your feelings are totally normal, most people still feel some degree of guilt.
In some cases, like mine, your narcissistic parent dies alone because you are no contact. I hadn’t spoken with my mother for almost 3 years to the day when she died. The theory is my mother died on her birthday & 3 days later is when the police performed the wellness check & found her. I can’t describe the guilt I feel for this. Yet, I know beyond a doubt I couldn’t have maintained the relationship any longer with her or my father for that matter. I also know it was for the best for my parents that I wasn’t in their lives. That is what finally got my father to turn to God for the first time. It may have worked for my mother that way, too, but I’m not sure yet. Even knowing such things, there is still guilt. My mother died alone in a filthy house with very little food because she had only limited help. How can I not feel some guilt for this? Anyone with any compassion would.
Even knowing such things, the guilt is powerful. If you end up in a similar situation, Dear Reader, please be forewarned of this. Understand that feeling guilt is very normal & understandable, but that doesn’t mean it is right.
There is also the matter of going through my parents’ home. I had to find financial information such as bills, bank accounts & investments. I also have been trying to sort out things to send to various relatives. While it’s just stuff, it’s stuff that can bring back a lot of memories, good & bad. Being inundated with memories is so hard!
It’s also strange going through my folks’ home. My parents were no different than other narcissistic parents in that they kept secrets. I’m discovering some of those secrets, which makes an already challenging task even more challenging. I’m learning more about my parents than I felt prepared to.
I think what I’m learning from this entire experience is this…
Like I said when my father died, you simply can’t be fully prepared for the death of a narcissistic parent. You can learn all you can & pray, but still, you won’t be fully prepared. What you learn & your prayers can help you a lot, but don’t expect to be 100% prepared. Your emotions are going to be all over the place. You’ll experience hurt, anger, disappointment, relief, grief & more. Or, you may be numb. Or, you may bounce back & forth between overly emotional & numb. In any case, you’re going to be very surprised by all that you experience, & there isn’t any amount of preparation that can stop that from happening.
If you’re the one chosen to be the personal representative or at least to clean out your parents’ home, it’s going to be brutally hard on you. Seeing their possessions will trigger lots of memories, probably good as well as bad. When you have PTSD or C-PTSD, this is especially difficult to deal with since it also can trigger flashbacks or intrusive thoughts.
Going through anyone’s personal belongings also shows you a great deal about who that person is. Much more than you can learn by being in a relationship with them or even living with them. I learned that my parents wrote down a lot, including things like how miserable they were with each other. That was not new to me but seeing their most intimate thoughts in writing about such a topic is pretty difficult to say the least. Since it’s too much for me to handle, when I find anything in my parents’ handwriting, I glance at it to see what it’s about. If it’s one of those “I’m miserable with you” papers, I put it aside without reading further. You are going to learn things you wish you’d never learned about your parents like I have. While you can’t be prepared for what you learn, you can be prepared in the sense you know you will learn painful things. You also have the right to protect your mental health like I’m doing. Put things aside until you feel equipped to deal with them. Or, have someone safe that you can trust to go through such things for you.
If you are the one responsible for writing the obituary, you can always ask the funeral director to do that if you aren’t up to it. The one who took care of my mother did her obituary & it turned out wonderfully. Not overly gushy, just simple & nice. Some folks in such situations write honest obituaries, detailing some of the abuse their parent inflicted on them. It seems to be quite therapeutic for them. That may be another option for you.
Whether or not your parent had a will, chances are excellent that it’ll take quite a bit of time to get their estate settled. While that can be a challenge, having this situation hanging over your head for what feels like forever, it’s also a good thing in a way. This means there is no rush to sort through their things. Take your time. Take frequent breaks too. You’ll need those breaks for the sake of your mental health.
You’ll also find out most people have no idea what to say or how to deal with you after the death of your narcissistic parent. If you had a good relationship with your parents, they would send sympathy cards & say the usual, “sorry for your loss” type comments. Since you didn’t, many people won’t know what to say or do. This may make some folks avoid you. If they don’t avoid you, they may avoid talking about your parent in any context or they say things that hurt you even though they don’t mean to. It will hurt & disappoint you, even when you know that wasn’t their intention. After someone close to you dies, no matter the relationship, many people are rather emotionally raw for a while. This means you’ll be oversensitive, & hurt much easier than you normally would be, which is why their comments hurt you.
Most importantly, lean on God as much as humanly possible! You are going to need His love, strength & support more than you ever expected to. He will carry you through this!
I’m really exhausted as I write this post, so I’ll just apologize in advance if it’s a bit hard to follow.
The time since my mother was found dead on April 19th has been pretty bizarre to say the least. I still feel like I’m functioning in a state of shock, but it’s dissipating some anyway. God’s enabling me to get through it all & do what I need to do, which is a miracle in itself.
Today (I’m writing this on Saturday), has been a tough day. I found a note from one of my mother’s relatives from about a year ago. Apparently my mother wanted advice & this person wrote back about how she felt about the situation & what she thought should happen. Ugh..the narcissism! This shouldn’t be surprising since she also called me when my father was dying & let my phone ring for 10 minutes straight one evening, which is why I blocked her number as soon as my phone stopped ringing. Anyway apparently my mother had asked this person for advice & that was her purpose of writing the letter to my mother. In it, she mentioned something about how she needed to get a lawyer because “you know Cyndi won’t help you.” As I read it, I somehow could feel the hate for me coming off the page. Not a nice feeling to say the least. Truly what this person thinks of me means nothing to me but it did get me thinking about something that made me mad.
My father stopped speaking to his father a year or two before he died. It was over some changes Granddad made to his will. My father didn’t even attend his funeral. Not one single person said a peep about this. Not. One. Yet, I stopped speaking to my parents & relatives lost their minds, like the one who showed up at my mother’s burial to give me grief. Why?! How does any of this make any sense?! My father & his had a difference of opinion & no contact was fine. My parents were detrimental to my physical & mental health yet I’m supposedly wrong for protecting myself from that. UGH!
I’ve also been going through paperwork trying to find the information I need to take to my mother’s attorney soon. I have found a LOT of stuff, & not just what I need.
My mother wrote out pretty much everything. To do lists, notes about broken things that she had repaired & more. I found some letters she wrote to my father, telling him how miserable she was. (I have yet to read them other than enough to let me know what the paper was. It feels too personal & not my business.) She wrote out her feelings when she was 40 years old about how awful her life was & how she had no idea what to do about it. Heartbreaking! After finding that, I found a list of things she wrote that she had to do after her mother died. In it, she mentioned how she “had to give me money from her inheritance.” She didn’t sound amused. Well, the reason she had to do this was because I’d found evidence that she stole my inheritance. I threatened to go to the police unless I got my money. I also found out she made a rather significant investment without my father’s knowledge several years ago. Today, I found a text on one of her old cell phones from someone I don’t know who told my mother to stop calling her as they had nothing to talk about.
Things like this have been such an emotional roller coaster! I feel sorry for my mother, then get mad at her, feel confused because I apparently knew little about her. Often I feel these things within the span of only a few minutes.
Aside from venting, I do have a point in sharing this.
Dealing with the death of a narcissistic parent is incredibly difficult. It’s challenging, confusing & complicated. But, if you are in the position that I am of having to settle that parents’ estate, it gets even more challenging, & I don’t just mean the legal & financial aspects of it.
Whatever your relationship with your narcissistic parent, when that parent dies, I would guess you’ll find out you didn’t really know your parent at all, as I have. That can set off confusing & conflicting emotions. I keep feeling angry. It seems my mother had good qualities, but I wasn’t fortunate enough to see them. Why?? That makes me angry because it’s utterly unfair.
I also realized apparently my parents were proud of me to some degree. I truly had no idea. If this happens to you, I’d bet you’ll feel the way I have about it. I wonder why they didn’t tell me & it hurt me that they didn’t.
The death of a narcissistic parent also shows you who your friends really are & aren’t. I am blessed with wonderful friends who understand how awkward & painful the situation is. But, there are also others who think I’m the scourge of the earth for not having a relationship with my parents, such as the awful relative who showed up unexpectedly at my mother’s burial solely to harass me. The bad ones aren’t entirely unavoidable, unfortunately, so you most likely will have to deal with at least one or two at some point. Remember to avoid these people. Walk away, hang up the phone, block their phone number & email. Heartless people like this thoroughly enjoy kicking a person while they’re down, & you do NOT need their abuse on top of everything else.
And lastly, Dear Reader, remember that no matter what, you can’t be fully prepared to deal with the death of your narcissistic parent. You can try your best to be & learn all you can, but even so, there are going to be surprises along the way. When things get hard, remember to turn to God. Let Him strengthen you & comfort you. He will get you through this as He is doing for me! xoxo
Since so many of you who follow my work are also animal lovers, I thought I would take one of my periodic rides off the topic of narcissism to talk about animals.
On this day in 2007, my first cat, Magic, died, & this post is my way to honor him. He died quietly in my arms after living with heart problems for 3 years. I wondered sometimes after he died if his death was going to kill me. He was my furry soulmate & best friend. I went through life on auto pilot for quite some time after his death. Yes, I was glad Magic was healthy again & with God, but even that didn’t console me. I wanted my special guy back & knowing that wasn’t going to happen was incredibly painful & hard to accept.
My feelings & experiences aren’t unique. Many animal lovers suffer greatly when their beloved pet dies. I have some suggestions to help you get through that awful time.
Accept that you never will “get over” losing your baby. Instead, you need to adapt to a new life without your loved one. There is no easy way to do this. Take it one step at a time.
Grief takes time, so don’t rush yourself or berate yourself for not “being over” it yet. The more you try to rush the grief process, the longer it will end up taking.
Cry. Admittedly, that sounds like common sense, but often a reminder is necessary. You just lost someone you love dearly, & need to cry. There is absolutely no shame in this!
When reminders of your lost one happen, feel your grief at that time rather than ignore it. Yes, it’s hard when it suddenly hits you that this is the usual time you gave your baby his medicine & now you don’t have to do it, but ignoring that sadness only hurts you more. Feeling the pain enables you to process it.
Be careful who you talk to about your experiences & pain. Not everyone feels the same way you do about animals. This means that whether intentional or not, some people can say insensitive & invalidating comments. They will hurt worse when you’re already hurting, so use wisdom on who you talk to.
Don’t rush out & adopt a new pet immediately. Adopting another pet may be just what you need to help you get through your grief. Or, it may be a painful reminder that your loved one is no longer with you. Some people adopt another pet who resembles the one who recently passed, unconsciously expecting the new pet to act like the old one, then are disappointed when that doesn’t happen. If you wish to honor your departed one by adopting another pet, seriously think about it first. Then only adopt another if you feel strongly in your heart it is a good move for you at the time.
If you don’t journal, now may be the perfect time to start. Write out your feelings. Write about your memories of good times shared with your pet. It will help you to write these things out.
Create some type of memorial to your pet. Make a small garden at your pet’s grave. Or, start a scrapbook of pictures of your pet, preferably including plenty of you two together. If you make jewelry, you can make an item that reminds you of your pet. You can include a picture, a tuft of fur or some of your pet’s cremated ashes in a tiny urn.
Most importantly, talk to God. I have asked Him for comfort, to help me accept my loss & even to tell my departed loved ones that I love & miss them. Not once has He said no or I shouldn’t do this, so I assume that means it’s ok. And, many times after asking that, I have had dreams about my loved ones. I don’t believe that the dead can technically enter our dreams, but I do believe that God gives us dreams about them when we need them. Maybe they ask Him to make that happen, I’m unsure, but in any case, those dreams can be very comforting & wonderful.
Although it may not seem like it right after losing your beloved pet, you will survive. In time, you will smile instead of cry once again when you think of your loved one. xoxo
One year ago today my father passed away. It’s been quite a year to say the least. It’s also been a real learning experience.
When my narcissistic grandmother died in 2001, I gained a pretty good idea of what it’d be like to lose a narcissistic parent. When she died, I felt such a relief that the abuse was finally truly over, & the normal guilt that comes with that feeling. I went through a lot of anger & sadness things were as they were with her. I was prepared for that when my father died. I was NOT prepared for other things.
I was woefully unprepared for the constant inundation of attacks from flying monkeys who thought I should go see him & the incredibly cruel & stupid things they had to say in an attempt to force me to do their will. I also was unprepared for their dogged determination to get around all the blocks I had in place (on social media, blocking emails, phone numbers, etc). When they continued their harassment, I was stunned & frustrated that I couldn’t seem to get rid of these monsters no matter what I did.
I also didn’t expect to end up in a state of shock that lasted for months because of the flying monkeys, or that the shock would prevent me from experiencing any grief over losing my father.
I was also unprepared for the incredibly strong & constant need to pray for my father’s salvation at that time. I’d been praying for him for some time, but his final few weeks, I felt I had to pray often & hard about it & ask friends to pray with me. Thankfully, God answered those prayers, & I shared that story here: Some Recent Miracles That I Believe Will Encourage You
I also didn’t realize the lack of support that I would have. Truthfully, I’m only very close to a few people, but I do have a larger group of friends who I’m simply not as close to. In theory, I should’ve been surrounded by support at that time, but I really wasn’t. Those closest to me checked on me often, but those who aren’t as close to me didn’t. Only a couple even offered any sympathy when my father died. Yet, when my father in-law died last June, many of those same people offered their condolences to my husband, even ones who don’t know or barely know him. When this happened, it made me mad. I felt hurt. Why was his father’s death worthy of sympathy but not mine?! I finally realized.. it’s because they didn’t know what to say or do. They weren’t being hateful, it wasn’t that they didn’t care. They simply didn’t know what to say. Most people will avoid a situation rather than admit they don’t know what to say.
The reason I’m telling you these things, Dear Reader, is that if you’re facing the death of your narcissistic parent, you may experience similar things to me. The experiences I mentioned are very common among adult children of narcissistic parents. You need to be prepared for these things as best you can be.
I wrote a book about my experiences entitled, “When A Narcissistic Parent Dies”. If you’re interested, it’s available on my website at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com
I have just published my newest book, “When A Narcissistic Parent Dies.” As the title suggests, the book is about when a narcissistic parent dies- what the adult child can expect to experience & feel, ways to cope, flying monkey attacks, & things to think about such as should you be involved in caregiving, should you say good bye or attend the funeral.
It’s available in print & ebook form at the following link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Books-For-Sale.php
I’ll warn you up front- this post may sound rather strange to you & will be long. That being said, I want to share my story to encourage & help people understand just how much God truly loves His children!
As I mentioned previously, my father died on Monday, October 23. That day was strange as were the following days.
Early that Monday afternoon, a neighbor of ours came by to visit as he frequently does. He could tell I’d been crying & asked what was going on. I told him that my father was being taken off life support that day, & I was sick of people attacking me for not being there. He gave me some good advice that I want to share with you in case you’re going through a similar situation. (Pardon the bad language in advance- this is just how he talks. He’s not one to sugarcoat things, obviously, but he has a good heart.) He said, “”Girl, you gotta protect your heart. Don’t let that s**t get inside you. Crazy a*s people need to mind their own f*****g business. They don’t know s**t about your situation. You do what you need to & f**k them!” My neighbor was absolutely right. In these situations, people do need to mind their own business (not that they usually do unfortunately)! You also have to protect your heart & not let their hatefulness get inside you.
A little later that same afternoon, before I knew my father was gone, a good friend of mine got a word from God. He told her that He left my father on life support for so long to try to get him saved. My father talked to God about many things but mostly why I wouldn’t see him. He even argued with God & even said he was a good father. God showed him otherwise. My father also didn’t want to die with unfinished business- he wanted to see me, & God told him that wasn’t going to happen. He showed him Heaven & Hell & told him to choose. He eventually repented & chose Heaven. About one hour later, my father was dead, passing quietly once life support was removed.
While my friend got this word, I was outside with my husband & our neighbor. I saw a monarch butterfly & it felt odd somehow. Usually butterflies are something my grandfather & I shared, but this didn’t feel that way. Also, for some time, I’d had an odd sensing off & on of my father fighting with God & I felt it again when I saw the monarch. I came inside my house a bit later, & saw my friend’s message. She said yes, my father was indeed fighting in the spiritual realm for quite some time. God told her to tell me my father will see me again one day & he’s very sorry. Also it’s because of all the prayers he finally got saved, & I am to continue praying for my mother. (Never give up praying for someone, Dear Reader!! God truly hears those prayers!!)
Later on Monday, I took a shower. When I was about to get into the tub, I suddenly remembered something important. Not long after my father went into the hospital, I’d asked God to give me a sign if my father was with Him after he died. That was the monarch butterfly! And, God spoke to me saying that me not having any contact with my father for his final few months served an important purpose- not only to protect myself, but also to get my father to reach out to God.
I messaged my friend with this new information once I got out of the shower. She agreed that I have my sign, the monarch, that my father is with God, & also to never give up praying for my mother. God also told her those who judged & harassed me had better stop He’ll intervene. Thankfully she also prayed a hedge of protection around me.
My friend also said she asked God, “Why do they wait until the last minute!?” The Lord told her, “Because they allowed the devil to take them captive to do his will,” (2 Timothy 2:25-26 “in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26) and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (NKJV) )
And, she saw this verse come up on biblegateway.com (great site, by the way!!) “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”. Galatians 6:2 (NKJV) This is what she did for me- bore my burden on a day I needed help bearing it.
These Scriptures also came to her attention:
Matthew 19:23-30 “With God All Things Are Possible 23) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24) And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25) When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26) But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27) Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” 28) So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29) And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[a] or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30) But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (NKJV)
My friend also said my father didn’t want to die, especially without seeing me. He thought he was dying too soon & didn’t realize his eternity was depending on his choice at that time. Thankfully, he did realize the truth though!
She also researched the symbolism of monarch butterflies. Monarchs are royalty – that is why God sent me the monarch butterfly as my sign, to say that my father is now a member of God’s royal family!
Tuesday, the following day, my husband took off work. We went out & when we were coming out of one building, I saw another monarch butterfly! What makes that especially interesting is that earlier in the morning, thinking about everything, I asked God if it was real & if so, give me a sign. Honestly, it was hard to believe & quite overwhelming. So God sent me another monarch! Then at a traffic light, I saw a little yellow butterfly & heard my Granddad’s voice say “Good job, Kid!” I immediately knew what he meant- good job keeping up the prayers in spite of everything. Hearing his voice again wasn’t something that I ever expected to happen until I got to Heaven with him.. it was a beautiful gift.
Wednesday, after quite a bit of prayer, I wanted to visit the cemetery where my father was to be buried. I had my father’s Bible for many years, because he’d asked me to put it in the casket with him when he died. I opened the Bible & found many cards, paperwork, etc. I cleaned out the things that didn’t look sentimental & found a sheet of notes my father wrote documenting some of the abusive things my mother had done to me. I put it aside because I knew I couldn’t cope with it at that time. Then, my husband & I went to the cemetery. The cemetery staff kindly directed me to the proper funeral home that would take care of that, & a very lovely lady helped me make this possible. She even stated that it would be placed in the coffin where it couldn’t be seen, & no one would know it was there. And, she gave me some memory cards. I learned that my mother & worst of the flying monkeys were due to visit the cemetery that day but God spared me from running into her!
Then on Friday, the day my father was buried, I looked out the kitchen window & saw yet another monarch on the marigolds in my back yard. I grabbed the camera & couldn’t see him when I got back to the window. I saw some movement in the flowers so I went outside with the camera. Finally as I got close, the butterfly flew out of the middle of the flowers directly towards me, then off over the house.
An interesting fact- monarch butterflies aren’t overly common in my area, let alone in October. They migrate south from September-November, but here, usually by October, I don’t see any.
Anyway, when I came back into my house after seeing that monarch, I asked my Amazon Echo Dot to play music by Wham! I thought some fun ’80’s music might be good for me. Instead, it played Waylon Jennings’ song, “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line.” I don’t know this song, which is truly strange since my father loves Waylon Jennings & I thought I’d heard every one of his songs. This song is about a guy with a vicious, hateful wife & he stays with her in spite of it all. I remembered my father saying once my mother told him if he left her, he’d never see me again. I knew God & my father wanted me to know that he felt trapped & unable to protect me from my mother.
Later that afternoon I decided to get out the papers I’d found in my father’s Bible. I only found one page of notes my father kept about conversations with my mother, even though it looks like there were others (there was a part of a sentence at the top of the page). Reading his words hurt a lot, but I think I see more about why my father didn’t protect me or even really himself from my mother. In fact, as I was writing this post & considering those notes, God spoke to my heart & said, “Your father didn’t have your inner strength.”
All of these bizarre occurrences have been extremely helpful. It’s such a relief knowing my father is in Heaven. I really didn’t think he’d make it. It also showed me how kind & merciful God is. I’d been praying for my father for quite some time. I’d prayed for his salvation, I also asked God to take him before the Alzheimer’s got too bad, not to let him suffer when his time did come yet not to take him before getting saved. Those prayers were all answered. Every single one of them!! God even gave me signs that they were answered- my intuition, the monarch butterflies & mostly the word from God to my friend. And, although it was very hard for me to stay away from my father when he was dying, I know it was for an important purpose! I’m sure many people won’t believe that since they thought I should obey them & go to him no matter what. I know the truth though, & that is God wanted me to stay away as a way to reach my father! God is truly amazing!
At of the time I’m writing this, my father is in the ICU on life support, dying from leukemia. As a result, now I am having to put into practice the things I’ve written about before.
When I went no contact with my father earlier this year (prior to his diagnosis), I knew this scenario was very likely to happen. My father has had a myriad of health problems for years, & is, well, no spring chicken anymore. So, I prepared- I prayed & thought a lot about what would I do if this happened? Should I resume the relationship with my parents at the end of their lives, even knowing they won’t improve their behavior or will get worse? Could my physical & mental health tolerate that? Should I stay away no matter what? If I did stay away, could I handle the guilt? How would I handle the pressure from outsiders telling me to go when I knew I couldn’t do it?
Aside from the pain of losing my father, I’ve had many people come out of the woodwork to tell me to go to the hospital to see him. I should “put my feelings aside so he can die in peace,” “I only have one set of parents” & more. One even anonymously emailed me (as if I wouldn’t know who it was?!) information about NPD that she copied from the Mayo Clinic’s site, insinuating that I’m a narcissist for not going.
This is the kind of stuff that happens when a narcissistic parent is dying, & you, Dear Reader, need to be prepared for it since it can happen to you as well.
To start with, pray. Ask God to show you what you should do if & when your narcissistic parent becomes terminally ill, & ignore advice from everyone when the time comes. God knows best what you should do- no human being knows what He knows. Let Him guide you. Also ask Him to give you whatever it is you will need when that time comes- wisdom, courage, strength, etc. You’ll especially need those things if you opt to see your parent or become involved in a caregiver role.
Stay close to God. Talk with Him often. Let Him strengthen & comfort you, because you’re going to need those things more than you ever have in your life.
Ignore the pressure from everyone. You do what you believe God wants you to do & ignore everyone else. They haven’t been in your situation, so they don’t understand it. That doesn’t prevent them from judging it, however. Ignore them. You have to answer to God, not people, so obey Him. You’ll never please people anyway. Even if you became your parent’s full time caregiver, people would still criticize you, especially the ones who aren’t involved with helping. (Interesting how that seems to work- the ones who do nothing usually are the fastest to judge & criticize those who do it all.)
Don’t hesitate to block people’s phone numbers, emails or social media. Yes, it just sucks. It hurts cutting your own family or friends out of your life, but, you have to protect yourself. Blocking them will hurt less than allowing them to fill your phone or inbox with hurtful, manipulative, guilt/shame laden messages. Also, be aware that they may find other ways to access you that you hadn’t thought of. One of my cousins that I’d blocked used her dead mother’s Facebook to contact me. That was a shocking moment, seeing a message from my aunt who’s been dead since 2014! I’ve learned there is no way to protect myself completely- I have to continue blocking various avenues as people try to contact me. You will find the same thing is true for you.
Cling onto what you know is right, no matter what. I know, it is awful when your parent is dying & you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you can’t say goodbye. It’s painful for you & makes you feel like a terrible person. You aren’t though! Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (KJV) In cases like mine, this is exactly what is happening. They are reaping the awful harvest that they have sown after abusing me for my entire life. God has been reminding me of this Scripture repeatedly lately.
Don’t let people tell you how to feel. Even well meaning people may do this with comments like, “You shouldn’t be mad at the flying monkeys for coming after you right now- you have more important things to worry about.” You feel what you feel, acknowledge those feelings, & deal with them however you feel is appropriate.
Have realistic expectations. If you do decide to say goodbye to your dying narcissistic parent, don’t expect a happy ending. I haven’t once heard of any narcissist having an epiphany & apologizing for their behavior, even on their death bed. In fact, quite the opposite. I’ve heard stories of how cruel they can be to their children until their dying breath. If you are willing to see your parent so that parent can die in peace, or because it will help you somehow to say goodbye, then do it while leaning on God to help you stay strong even when the abuse continues. And, if at all possible, go when no one else is there. Avoid the ones who harassed & shamed you.
Think about the funeral. Do you plan to go? If so, it can get ugly. Even funerals aren’t off limits to some flying monkeys. Can you handle any confrontations with grace & dignity? Can you handle being shunned? It may be just too much, in the light of losing your parent. Visiting the cemetery after everyone has gone home may be a much better option for you.
Lastly, don’t expect anything normal about grieving your parent’s death. The death of a narcissist adds a lot of complexity to the already difficult grief process. Not only are you losing a parent, you’re losing the last shred of hope that things might be better one day. You’re losing the chance of ever having closure. You’ll grieve that your relationship was so toxic. You also are going to feel relief because the abuse is finished, & guilt because you feel relieved. You can’t fully prepare for all the things you’re going to feel, & it’s going to hit you hard. Try not to judge how you feel. Just accept that you feel as you do, & you’re OK. Speak only with supportive & understanding friends or relatives only about your feelings. Others will judge you harshly & not understand. Journal about your feelings. Read others’ stories about how they got through it. Don’t rush the grief- take whatever time you need to get through it all. Most of all, talk to God. Lots! He is there for you & wants to help. Let Him!
Also, you may need to grieve other things such as the loss of friends or family you thought would be supportive of you & turned out not to be. I learned last year that sometimes it’s possible for people to steal your grief. What I mean is when you should be grieving the loss of your parent, you’ll also have to deal with other things, such as people attacking you for not “doing the right thing” by your narcissistic parent. You may find it helpful to mentally put them in a box for a while as you grieve your parent, then deal with them later. I wrote about this topic in more detail in this post: Stealing Your Grief There’s also a follow up at this link: Update On “Stealing Grief” Post
You’ll get through this painful time, Dear Reader. It won’t be easy, but it is possible. xoxo
Good afternoon, Dear Readers!
I’m sorry for being missing in action. It’s been a crazy week, but I think all is settling down now & I can get back to writing. At least I sure hope so!
My husband & I were out this past Saturday, & at the last minute decided to stop by a local cemetery. His brother is buried there, as are a former classmate of mine & my mother’s mother. We visited his brother first. It was a painful few minutes- my husband was close to his brother, & his death from AIDS was a painful thing to witness. Then we visited my former classmate, Scott, who died only 4 years after graduation in a car accident. Scott & I weren’t close, but even so, his death was very sad. He was a good person, & died so young. Then we went over to my grandmother’s grave. I felt nothing as I stood there, looking at her bare gravestone- a basic metal plaque with only her name & dates on it. She had no flowers on her grave, nor did I have any desire to put any on there, although I did wish I’d taken some to my late brother in-law & classmate.
I got to thinking after we left. Hubby’s brother has a basic marker- his parents are the very no frills type, so this makes sense. Yet even so, it says “beloved son” on the marker along with his name & dates, & flowers were put on his grave recently. Scott’s family went above & beyond- they got him a huge marble plaque that covers his grave. A lovely poem is on it, Scripture & a picture taken not long before his death along with his name & dates. There are always flowers on his grave, even though he’s been gone since 1993. I even thought about my paternal grandparents. Grandmom died in 1996, Granddad in 2003, yet there is always evidence of someone having been at their graves. They also have a lovely, ornate joint headstone.
And then, there is my mother’s mother.
A basic plaque with only name & dates on it marks my grandmother’s grave. No “beloved mother” or any Scriptures. She didn’t even have flowers in the vase. It made me a bit sad thinking that no one showed love for my grandmother, including me, which made me feel rather guilty. Then I got to thinking about some of the things she did to me. My grandmother was a narcissist, which is obviously where my mother learned her narcissistic ways. She was an evil, cruel woman who cared nothing for anyone, not even her own family, other than what they could do for her. I also remembered how she once saw one of my cousins crying, saying how much our grandmother hurt he, & she turned away from my cousin, indifferent to her suffering. Countless times, I saw my grandmother hurt my mother with her cruel words & try to start trouble between my mother & father. When my grandmother died, I was upset, but not because I missed her. It was because our relationship was such a waste- she hated me & didn’t mind letting me know that. I was actually relieved when she died, not sad. She had stopped speaking to me a year before, never telling me why. I always waited thinking she would suddenly call, acting like nothing happened, & wanting something from me. When she died, I felt relief knowing that couldn’t happen.
Thinking about all of those things, it makes sense that there is no love shown to my grandmother by putting pretty flowers on her grave. It also looked as if no one has been to her grave in a while as the grass around her grave marker was somewhat overgrown. I didn’t go to her funeral, but from what I heard, there weren’t a lot of people there, nor was there a get together after.
How very sad that few people can be affected by someone’s death. What a legacy to leave! It also reminded me of the Scripture in the Bible that says, “what a man sows, that also shall he reap.” My grandmother sowed a life of discord & heartache, & she is still reaping a harvest of indifference.
I decided to write this out for those of you whose narcissistic mothers have already passed on, are elderly, or if you are thinking about what may happen when your narcissistic mother passes away. My prayer is when that time comes, you don’t feel guilty for not wanting to take flowers to their grave weekly or even for being relieved they are gone. You reap what you sow in life. No one is immune to that law, including narcissistic mothers. After years of abuse at her hand, do you really think you will feel sad for losing her? It is truly a sad legacy, leaving behind a child or grandchild that is glad you’re gone, but it is also a natural occurrence in abuse cases such as with narcissistic mothers.
Also remember when that time comes, you aren’t alone. I dare say most adult children of narcissists feel the same way, but are afraid to admit it to anyone for fear of being judged. If you have someone safe to talk to, then by all means, please talk to them about how you feel. If not, then write it out. I wrote my grandmother a letter after she died, & left it under her grave marker. No one knew I did it at the time. It helped me tremendously, getting out my feelings, even though I knew she obviously never would read it.
Pray about what you’re experiencing too. God can handle hearing it, & knows what you’re feeling & thinking anyway. You can’t shock Him. And, He will comfort you & heal your pain. ❤
New information on my website. It’s about what may happen when your abusive mother dies. I realize the topic is morbid, but it also isn’t discussed. You need to be aware of what to expect.