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I know I am not the only one here whose childhood was made hard by narcissistic parents. Years of therapy and strong boundaries have helped me learn to thrive without parental love.

The last time I saw Dad, he told me he knew by the time I was 2 that I was defective and if he had had his way I would have been placed in an institution and forgotten about. Yup, he is a ...choose your expletive...

Dad's best friend had a child before I was born that had severe birth defects and that child was placed in an institution. My flaw? Red hair and a temper.

Dad is also a hoarder and I have spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours clearing a small portion of his hoard. It will easily cost $20,000 to remove the rest of it.

So Dad is now 93, and has symptoms the doctors cannot diagnose, perhaps related to his heart, or nerve damage, who knows. He spent Tuesday in the hospital.

I got word from my sister in law today that he had a very bad night, severe pain, that prescription pain medication barely touched. I do not know if my brother will be taking him back to the hospital today.

So it has been tough, knowing that it is unlikely I will ever see him again and knowing that there is no chance of ever having a father's love. I have known that for years, but the little girl inside me, has held out hope.

But I am shedding tears, because my old man dog is getting closer to the end of his life and I cannot bear the thought of being without him. He is the best dog ever, loves everyone and everything. He is also so ugly he turns the corner to cute. His eyes are cloudy, hearing poor, he sleeps most the day, but he is happy, pain free and is still living his best life. But I know he has months, not years left and I am devastated.

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We grieve the loss of those who love us in return.
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Labs4me Mar 2, 2022
You said it all in those few words.
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Tothill, on December 26th I woke up to find my precious girl had passed away. She was only ten, never had any real issues other then she had a rough start in life. We were devastated. Less then 48 hours later my dad died in the hospital, alone with Covid. Transferred from rehab overnight.

I felt like a terrible human for shedding more tears for my dog then my dad.

The truth is my girl never gave me anything but love, devotion, loyalty and comfort. She was my service dog, so she was my constant companion. She lived her life for me, as all dogs do for their person.

My dad on the other hand had made his feelings amply clear for decades. His choices were always based on him. Many years of no contact and nothing but critism when there was.

I was sad that he was gone and any chance of things changing were gone but, he wasn't an integral part of my life like my girl was. He didn't love me unconditionally like my girl did, so I think it is only normal to grieve what touches us the most and our dogs do that on an hourly basis, if not more.

I pray you find the peace with this situation that I have.

PS: my new girl is training up great and she is such a blessing to our lives. She is super silly and brings much laughter into our home. That has helped dry the tears.
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Tothill, I am so sorry to hear how poorly your dog is doing. Unconditional love is hard to come by and it what dogs do best.

I would say that your dad's issues go beyond narcissism. That sounds like some heavy duty poor reality testing to "throw away" a child on the basis of hair color and temperament.

(((((Hugs)))))
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To be frank, when you have a dreadful parent that you have had to seperate yourself from for your own survival, the illness of a beloved pet who gets you through each day with undying and non judgemental love is the larger loss in my book. We all live and we all die. That your Dad may be dying will yes, mean that no miracle is going to happen. You know, there are 100s of seniors, lovely gentle people with no living relatives, with no children, who have lost beloved children, or who are seperated from children. Go visit them. Give love forward; you can do nothing about the past.
I am devastated for you about the pup. To tell the truth, I have lost my last elder dogs, and at 80 do not want to burden my children on death for having to care for any I might leave behind. I comfort myself that my tenant has two, a big old lab and a little ugly-bordering on cute. What a joy our pets are.
My very best out to you. You aren't judging your Dad; if indeed there is a "maker" of ours on the other side, that is for that entity. You were wise to protect yourself. I understand your pain and my heart goes out to you.
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imavent41 Mar 2, 2022
I especially like "pay it forward." It's a wonderful way to stop the cycle and the bitterness.
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Tothill I think it's only natural for you to be feeling devastated. Your dog, unlike your father has loved you unconditionally. He doesn't care if you have red hair and a temper. Of course you feel this way.

Try to enjoy your remaining time with your beloved dog and don't feel guilty at all for anything. You have done nothing wrong.
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Tothill, one of the worst things I ever did to myself as an adult was to hope for a relationship with my dad that wasn't based on history and reality. The little girl inside wanted a nice daddy but that's not what I got. I'm glad you sought therapy and found healing for yourself. (((((Hugs)))))

Old man dog sounds like an amazing buddy. I hope you can make some more happy memories with him before it's his time to leave you. So sorry for your heartache. 💜
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One often cries over the one that left the greatest positive impact, that is human nature.
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I don't think you have to reconcile anything, frankly. Like GSA said, we grieve the loss of those who give us love, not those who think we're damaged goods. Dogs love us unconditionally, and that's the amazing gift they give us and part of why it's so hard to lose them.

It seems to me that a parent is someone who cares for us and about us, from birth through adulthood; not someone who is a sperm donor, Tothill. It's sad that your father has been unable to recognize your unique & unduplicated redhaired & feisty beauty; that is his loss, truly.

Wishing you all the best at this difficult time in your life.
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Tothill, hugs. My mom passed just five months before my dog, Macy.

No tears for narcissistic mom, but I grieved her every day that I cared for her. My dog was more sudden and my closest companion through the toughest of times caring for mom. It took me weeks when I lost Macy. I still get tears most of the time when I think of that darn dog!

It sounds like you are trying to justify your no grieving for dad by his past behaviors and personality. You don't need to do.that, it is ok.
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I am appreciative of your question because I am currently experiencing the same thing. I was abused by a stepmonster and hidden from my real mother for 8 years. After running away, I found my mom again and we became super close for the rest of her life. I truly believe she understood my weirdness more than anyone else ever has. She was my best friend. Later in life I adopted my oldest daughter’s Pomeranian when she (daughter) lost interest in her (dog). Mom passed this past July and my Looly passed last week, at 18 years old. I too feel like a horrible person because I have cried and grieved so much more about my Looly than I have about Mom. Of course I miss Mom, but I only had a few years of 24/7 caregiving to my best friend that was Mom, while my 18 year old dog was my 24/7/365 companion. So, are we terrible people? Both my daughters have told me they considered Looly to be my 3rd child. I don’t think we’re terrible but I’ve only come to that conclusion as I’ve typed this. My mom was not a narcissist like your dad but I think she would be the first to tell you: “It’s not you, it’s him, he sounds perfectly awful and your dog gives you unconditional love and respect. Of course you’re grieving more for your dog. You’re a good person.”
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