My version.

He passed away mid December. Having already grieved some 30 years ago for the parents I never had, I felt only relief.

I didn’t have a funeral or memorial because I didn’t want to pretend to be comforted by all the stories of “what a good man he was.” After more than 50 years of “keeping up appearances,” I was afraid too many truths would leak out.

And much to my surprise they did. But they didn’t come from me. They came from neighbors, friends, aunts, and uncles who realized I was “not treated right.” Cleaning out his house was as cathartic as cleaning out the untruths of my mind as people stopped by, all of them sharing that “there wasn’t a certain wrong, but things were not right.” I have to admit the tiniest, evilest part of me reveled in the fact that people saw through his act. Sweet validation.

In one month, I emptied the house of possessions, selected very few mementos for myself, and sold the house. (The neighborhood enjoys the reputation of only 1 out of every 5 homes making it to a realtor. Tell a neighbor; sold!) I hugged my tree, said goodbye to my room, figure-eighted around the basement poles, and I was free.

And now, I am relearning that I am not on a strict time line, I don’t have to cringe when the phone rings, I can sit down and enjoy feline paralysis. I am making progress - I’m setting my own pace for the first time in my life. I merely wince when the phone rings. I’m weighted down by a kitty on low purr as I write this.

I am enjoying things. I have so much more energy. I *have* energy! I have ideas, goals, ambitions. Per my spouse, I even have “better posture.”

I know without therapy, without this board (where I often lurked more than participated), I would not have made it emotionally, mentally, or physically. So thank you all!

I’ve always been a voracious reader, ever willing to escape into a book, and though I may feel differently later, Anne Rice perfectly sums up how I feel:

“A great burden has been lifted from her, the burden of a chronically melancholy and unloving (man) who was at his best a wounded (elder) always in need of comfort and allowances... (S)he was happier now...filled with quiet courage for what lay ahead...”
from Ramses the Damned, The Passion of Cleopatra

I can feel the shine of silver lining. I am not yet there but I am taking my own time, enjoying myself, digging through the fluffy bits.

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Good for you! You've got your life back. Enjoy it to the fullest. It's amazing what small things can make us happy.

My mother "was" narcissistic all my life. It has "gone away" in the last couple of years as she progresses on with Alzheimer's.
The "You're too fat" or "Can't you do something with your hair?" have turned into compliments-"You look so pretty today." OMG is that coming out of HER mouth? I've waited 61 years to hear that. Even though it's a product of brain disease, I'll take it.
Better late than never.
Helpful Answer (17)

Congratulations 001 on moving forward and enjoying your life. My mom was a totally dysfunctional narc. She died last May. I'm sorry that she died, but I don't miss the drama and upheaval. I regret the years of my life that I missed taking care of her.
Helpful Answer (15)

001....Wow...What a moving and honest story. Moving on, no guilt, having a life, cat in the lap. I think all caregivers have some level of guilt about wanting it to just be over. But it’s really an honest feeling. Your story made me feel better. Thanks.
Helpful Answer (14)

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad that you are feeling freer and finally able to have some peace. That must feel so good.

I get what you mean about how you didn't want to hear about how great the parent was, because, you knew differently. I do relate to that.

How did you manage? I mean, besides this site. It's helped me, that's for sure.

Good luck with your goals, ideals, and ambitions.
Helpful Answer (9)

I'm sorry for your loss so many years ago. You write beautifully and you should tell your many stories through writing as a way to get at your truths. I also have a narcissistic parent who has late-stage dementia. Her unfiltered outbursts are read as the disease by her patient care-takers, but for me, her eruptions are nothing new and only exacerbated by the disease. She was this way at 40, 50, 60, etc. I will do my best by her in these her last years, but it's difficult to see her as others do -- a pathetic victim of brain disease -- and not as the mother I have always had. Blessings your way!
Helpful Answer (9)

Sunny, this site was a tremendous help. Also, a kind nurse from the Veteran’s Administration where my father (at age 93) was diagnosed, called me to discuss narcissism, and at my request recommended an excellent therapist (not VA affiliated) who supplied me with tools for surviving dysfunction.

As I already recognized his dysfunction, I mainly need validation that his actions were not normal, he was not wanting the best for me, his words were not golden. I needed a frame of reference, so to speak, and a platform for his warped ideas just to simply bounce off me.

I spoke my mind more, all the while biting my tongue and chanting “this too shall pass.” I chose to ignore battles and win more wars.

I had a huge turning point when I found an old letter I had written to him 25 years earlier that chronicled almost everything I was still experiencing, I realized gaslighting had been a major part of my upbringing. And I was tired of it. I had to make a change.
Helpful Answer (8)

only001: There is a book I recommend and bought it for myself. My own late mother never defended me on the abuse inflicted to me by an uncle. She kept writing him letters and cards until his death in 2009! Here it is... can be bought through Amazon and hope it helps you. Feline paralysis IS pure BLISS!

Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
Helpful Answer (8)

Embrace life. Be kind to yourself. Great things will follow. ❤
Helpful Answer (7)

Thanks for sharing your story and your beautiful writing. Same thing with my mother, who is still alive. I haven't had contact with her for over 10 years and wonder now why I tried so hard for 50+ years to have a healthy relationship with her. God bless.
Helpful Answer (7)

Enjoy yourself! You did a great "job!" Now you have the rest of your life and I am happy for you! Love the feline paralysis part, I'm the same way. I have stacks of books that I will read someday.
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