Hi friends, I have spent a life time under a "traditional" family. Whatever my dad wanted, he got. Period. Was he 100% terrible? No, nobody is. But I didn't have a voice, none of us did. So I rebelled. I ran away from home, I didn't go to class, I attempted suicide multiple time (the real kind, not the call for help, spent a month in a hospital and physical rehab). So, speed up to now. I'm middle-aged. My dad had a stroke but still gets around. My mom 100% enables him, per usual AKA doesn't insist he wear his life alert or stop driving as his doctors have told he must. Be mad at the sickness, not the person. How can you tell when you have had a bully for a dad for a lifetime which is which? I'm utterly lost. I'm trying to draw boundaries but he will still come in to my room and close the window, without asking if I'm hot or cold. All that matters is HE is cold. All that matter is him. I'm babbling a bit because I don't know if I can do this. I'm trying so hard to support my mother, whom I adore. I'm receiving therapy now but, in the meantime, my rage is just growing. One last example. Few nights ago, my brother came home for the first time in a decade. My dad was delighted because it's his only son and, in his world, the favorite despite everything that is being done to help him is literally by the women in his family. My mom was sitting in a chair and, since the stroke, my dad can't speak. He walked over to where my mom was sitting and, after confusion, she got up so he could sit down. I was so enraged, I got up and left. If you have any suggestions on how to deal with a narcissistic elderly parent, again, one who has lived his life that way, please do help me. I want to move right back out but I can't leave my mom. She is becoming weaker from the stress of following his every order and whim. And, honestly, I want to help my dad. What a wasted life. Narcissism is a sickness. To not know the joy of giving back....that's a lonely life, actually. I switch from feeling rage at his continuing bullying (he's 82) to sadness at his fading away and a life of no self-awareness. Makes me literally a bit sick to think about. Now I need to draw boundaries and take care of me. But HOW. I'm lost. Thank you in advance for any idea's. So much.

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Thanks, Jeanne, for amplifying and more fully explaining what I meant!
Helpful Answer (2)

Oh, I love what BarbBrooklyn has said! Take that seriously.

I know people with various mental health issues. I am truly compassionate when considering mental illness. You father did not ask to be narcissistic. He is not merely a nasty man -- he is a sick man. I am sorry for him.

BUT even if his behavior is "not his fault" it it certainly unfair for you to be subjected to it. Move out. As soon as possible, and while continuing your therapy. This is not an act against your mother or even against your father. It is an act of self-preservation. It is for you.

Perhaps you could live a reasonable distance away and still come by to help your mother sometimes. But living there is just not a sane option.

I have a young friend who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. She writes about it on Facebook. She says that knowing the diagnosis, taking it seriously, and working on her behavior has been extremely valuable to her. I suspect your father has never been diagnosed, let alone accepted the diagnosis. My friend also distinguishes from the feelings she cannot help, and the behaviors she can and should control. She has friends that accept her and support her.

Your mother chose to marry your father. She could have, presumably, ended that marriage at any point his behavior became unacceptable to her. She chose to stay with him. But her choices do NOT obligate you. You are free to make your own decisions about your father's mental illness. If you stay there, keep in mind that it is YOUR choice. And you can change that choice at any time.

Probably the best thing you can do, if you are up to it, is as BarbBrooklyn suggests, help your parents one step removed. Do not offer hands-on help while living with them. Instead help them find resources. Arrange or help them arrange for other kinds of help.

Save your own sanity! You are every bit as important as your father or your mother, and you deserve your own pursuit of happiness. His way or the highway? Please, choose the highway!
Helpful Answer (6)

Start by finding out what your parents' resources are.

You need to arrange for their care, if they will allow you to, NOT provide hands on care for them yourself.

Living with a narcissistic parent as an adult is a recipe for disaster. Arrange to move out asap. No threats, no "I'll move out unless you..." Just move.

Your mother has chosen to live with your dad. You don't have to make the same bad choice that she has.
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