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Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Narcissistic father - how to deal with or prevent estrangement


Hi there, Sam!

My 61-year-old father raised me on his own. I'm a woman, now in my late 20s, and I was raised as an only child (my half-siblings through my mother live elsewhere). I am so grateful for all he did for me, growing up: took me to Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and Italy when I was younger, took me out to dinner every Friday night, helped pay for my college when my student loan/grants didn't come through one year. I don't have any of my own, but I fully recognize that it isn't easy to raise children, and especially alone.

Despite his generosity, he's always been a ticking time bomb. He ruins every Christmas vacation for the entire family, he's given me a fat lip and left a light bruise on my face, has called me awful names (he called me a bitch when I visited him for his birthday last year), called me an ingrate, etc. Really, I wasn't a bad kid. I was am Honor Roll student, very involved academically, and am social now with healthy friendships. But he would berate me weekly. Since I moved out (I now live about 80 miles away from him and see him every few months), our relationship has grown worse.

He has NPD, without a doubt. I don't even need to ask, "Do you think he has it?" because he meets the majority of the criteria that I've read about. The reason I'm writing is because he had a heart attack three weeks ago. I rearranged my work schedule so I could visit him, brought him a healthy dinner from a restaurant he loves, and sat and listened to him talk about himself for an hour. When he didn't ask how I was doing, I waited for a quiet moment and said, "Well... I'm liking my new job a lot!" And he rolled his eyes and asked, "Oh, do you want me to ask how you're doing?" I said, "I dunno, it'd be nice." and I smiled. So he asked, sarcastically. After 90 seconds, the conversation was focused on him again.

When I asked about his heart attack, he shrugged it off and said he was fine and that it had actually been a "minor" heart attack, not a major one (not that it matters much, but he didn't correct anyone on Facebook who called it a major one, and a lot of people mistakenly thought it WAS major). Now, though, he's playing it up. When I called him on the phone last night to say hi and see how he's feeling, I was courteous and kind. I even tried to laugh off his rude remarks (for example, I said "I love you," and he responded sarcastically with: "Yeah it really shows. I don't even know who you ARE anymore. I just had a heart attack, and you couldn't help me cater the special event I needed you for [I was scheduled to work elsewhere by the time he asked me, and I tried to find coverage but couldn't]" I rolled my eyes and said, "Ok. I don't know what to say to that, but I AM the one who called you, not the other way around." It ended with him telling me to shut the **** up, and me losing my cool and telling him how much of a ****ing narcisistic father he is. I told him I had put up with his self-absorbed **** for years, and I was sick of it. He hung up on me. A part of me felt liberated, even cathartic, after I hung up. I wasn't crying; I felt expansive and light. It felt so good to finally tell him how I felt.

Of course, now, I don't know that I did the right thing. I just told the man who raised me, the man who just experienced a life-altering event, that he's a terrible person. whether it's true or not, I understand that he's a very insecure, lonely and miserable person, and I feel like I just bullied him.

I know you're only hearing my side, but please trust that his parents, his best friend, my high school friends, as well as my current boyfriend and past boyfriends ALL think he's a... jerk (and other names).

My question is: Is there any possible way of correcting this relationship? It feels like estrangement is slowly happening, and it's excruciating. Remember that he's the one who raised me. My mother, bless her heart, did meth for years in the 80s and is really nutty in the brain (which is why Dad raised me), so she and I don't really click, though I think she's a sweet person.

Thanks for your help, Sam.

Dear Lisa,

These may be of help - click on the links:

Narcissistic and psychopathic parents and their children - click on the links:

How to Cope with Narcissistic and Psychopathic Abusers

Strategies for Coping with Abusers (General)

Working with the System and with Professionals

How to Cope with Stalkers and Paranoids

Participate in discussions about Abusive Relationships - click on these links:

The Narcissistic Abuse Study List

The Toxic Relationships Study List

Abusive Relationships Newsletter

Take care.


Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.


Personality disorders. I have collaborated with Israeli psychologists and criminologists in the study of personality disorders and am the author of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" (available from Barnes and Noble and as an e-book from my publisher). My expertise is: the Narcissistic Personality Disorder and pathological narcissism.


I am the author of Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited. (number 1 bestseller in its category in Barnes and Noble). The Web site "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" was, for many years, an Open Directory Cool Site and a Psych-UK recommended Site. I am not a mental health professional though I am certified in psychological counseling techniques by Brainbench. I served as the editor of Mental Health Disorders categories in the Open Directory Project and on I have my own websites about the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and about relationships with abusive narcissists here and in HealthyPlace. You can read my work on many other Web sites: Mental Health Matters, Mental Health Sanctuary, Mental Health Today, Kathi's Mental Health Review and others. I also served as the author of the Personality Disorders topic, Narcissistic Personality Disorder topic, the Verbal and Emotional Abuse topic, and the Spousal Abuse and Domestic Violence topic, all four on Suite101, as well as the moderator of the Narcissistic Abuse Study List , the Toxic Relationships Study List, and other mailing lists (c. 7000 members). I wrote a column for Bellaonline on Narcissism and Abusive Relationships.

"Managing Investment Portfolios in States of Uncertainty", Limon Publishers, Tel-Aviv, 1988 "The Gambling Industry", Limon Publishers, Tel-Aviv, 1990 "Requesting My Loved One: Short Stories", Miskal-Yedioth Aharonot, Tel-Aviv, 1997 "The Suffering of Being Kafka” (electronic book of Hebrew and English Short Fiction), Prague, 1998-2004 "The Macedonian Economy at a Crossroads – On the Way to a Healthier Economy" (dialogues with Nikola Gruevski), Skopje, 1998 "The Exporter’s Pocketbook" Ministry of Trade, Republic of Macedonia, Skopje, 1999 "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited", Narcissus Publications, Prague, 1999-2007 (Read excerpts - click here) The Narcissism, Psychopathy, and Abuse in Relationships Series (E-books regarding relationships with abusive narcissists and psychopaths), Prague, 1999-2010 Personality Disorders Revisited (e-book about personality disorders), Prague, 2007 "After the Rain – How the West Lost the East", Narcissus Publications in association with Central Europe Review/CEENMI, Prague and Skopje, 2000 More than 30 e-books about psychology, international affairs, business and economics, philosophy, short fiction, and reference (free download here) Winner of numerous awards, among them Israel's Council of Culture and Art Prize for Maiden Prose (1997), The Rotary Club Award for Social Studies (1976), and the Bilateral Relations Studies Award of the American Embassy in Israel (1978). Hundreds of professional articles in all fields of finance and economics, and numerous articles dealing with geopolitical and political economic issues published in both print and Web periodicals in many countries. Many appearances in the electronic and print media on subjects in psychology, philosophy, and the sciences, and concerning economic matters.

1970-1978: Completed nine semesters in the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa. 1982-3: Ph.D. in Philosophy (dissertation: "Time Asymmetry Revisited") – California Miramar University (formerly: Pacific Western University), California, USA. 1982-5: Graduate of numerous courses in Finance Theory and International Trading in the UK and USA. Certified E-Commerce Concepts Analyst by Brainbench. Certified in Psychological Counselling Techniques by Brainbench. Certified Financial Analyst by Brainbench. Full proficiency in Hebrew and in English.

Awards and Honors
Winner of numerous awards, among them Israel's Council of Culture and Art Prize for Maiden Prose (1997), The Rotary Club Award for Social Studies (1976), and the Bilateral Relations Studies Award of the American Embassy in Israel (1978).

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