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Q: Any advice on how to deal with an emotionally demanding, narcissistic and at times abusive father?
A: Hey thanks for your question… and honestly what I’m about to say I truly hope it helps in some way or form. Also, as I’m starting to discover most of my answers have several layers to them and this one will be no different. Here goes…
So, firstly I have to acknowledge how hard this situation must be on you, and for this I am sorry. In an ideal context a father should support, nurture and mentor, et cetera, no one should have to put up with this. Some people just never grow up – and by that I’m meaning your father.
Anyways, I guess this is your father’s journey and you have to accept it to an extent. Or to put it another way, you can’t change or help someone unless they want it, which I’m sure like everyone else you’ve heard a thousand times. But gees this is truth. So again to say something shitty, you have to honour your dad’s poor take on life.
However, and now this is where things get a bit more complicated, your power (especially if you want to change things, deal or cope better) lies in taking responsibility for your response. Or in other words, be honest with him if you can. Tell him how you feel, say your piece – but do it coming from a place of love. Do not attack him as this will only make things worse.
Then, well look honestly his response here could go either way, but in my opinion you have to be the bigger person here and love him no matter what. And by love that doesn’t mean to let him get away with everything, much rather it means to love his soul and not his actions (neediness). And let him know that. Own your truth, it’s important.
Set boundaries. Know your boundaries.
Still, in owning your truth, no doubt this is still a fragile and fluid situation. Like consciously decide how far you want to take this beforehand – example how important is this to you as this could completely erupt???
But whatever you choose to do I think it’ll be good to keep in mind that your father is obviously hurt and hurting. He will have his own inadequacies and pains – these behaviours don’t come out of nowhere. Plus, these pains will probably be very deep-seeded.
Nevertheless, two last things: your father’s actions sound like a cry for help, victimhood, and are probably in desperation or to affirm control; and what’s being asked of you is to rise above.
I wish you luck.