This post is about both the death of a narcissist, and a narcissist’s reaction to death. The former was my father. The latter is my mother. You see, I was blessed with two very sick people as parents…which left me completely alone to raise myself and figure out how the world and relationships were supposed to work.
My dad was a lifelong alcoholic with very severe problems, but he wasn’t brave enough to face them in therapy. He just self-medicated, closed off, and hardened himself. My mother is far more narcissistic. She is a covert narc, a pathological liar and a master manipulator. I guess you can tell I had far more empathy for my dad! I don’t think my dad was a narcissist as in having Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I think he was narcissistic due to extremely low self-esteem and pent up childhood trauma. He just shut up and shut off, and drank a lot instead of admitting his feelings. Sometimes, he would get brave and reach out in brief moments of honesty, and he truly did attempt to make amends for his errors. My mother will never change. She has the full disorder, and she’s lovin’ it. She enjoys hurting people too much. She too has severe problems, but she uses others to stroke her ego and give her excitement in her life.
My mother left my father in 1984 after years of emotionally abusing him and making him the scapegoat for her manipulation. She taught her family to do the same. Even to this day, her family uses him as a scapegoat to distract from all of her–and their–sick behavior. Before I cut contact with her for good, I would attempt to set boundaries, and she would start deflecting from her behavior with stories of things my dad did in the 70’s. I always preferred my dad, because he was capable of love and regret, and she wasn’t. She tried her best to destroy my thoughts about him. Her stories of things he supposedly did became more and more exaggerated and disgusting over the years. Even if they were true, she should have never told me.
Even when I was a grown adult and mother, and in my thirties with a home and a professional job, she would still demand that I stay under her control. If I didn’t obey her plans for my life, she would, I kid you not, go unannounced to my father’s house to tattle on me. Once she even called his wife at her place of employment, which is incredibly inappropriate. My dad remarried in 1986, and my mom had zero business consistently invading his privacy. But, she is a narcissist. That is what she does. In 2014, she triangulated a huge fight between my dad and me on her phone. Even though my dad had long acknowledged she was nuts, he got so irritated, that he started verbally attacking me too. My mom put her phone on speaker phone in a public location and smirked as my dad told me off–based on her insane lies and attempts to create drama. That day, I finally accepted that she was one sick person, and he was a dummy for buying her crap. I cut them both out of my life.
The difference is, my mom has continued to stalk me. She even befriended one of my neighbors with a mask of sweetness and concern, and calls my neighbor to get updates on my comings and goings. I don’t feel safe in my own home. I want her out of my business for good! On the other hand, I have long worried about my dad and wished that she hadn’t severed my only half-decent parent.
A couple months ago, I got the call that my dad was dying and wanted to see my children and me. He had felt guilty and missed us the whole time. He regretted what my mother had done. I dropped everything immediately, and went to see him. I saw him four times before he got too sick to know. Then I was there nightly while he was dying in Hospice. I got closure, and I know he heard my goodbyes to him. I feel peace about that situation.
However, I feel disgust at my mother’s behavior. Remember, this woman left him in 1984 and has trashed him over and over and over in the 32 years since. But, she is a narcissist, and she LOVES drama and bad news. Death gets her excited. In fact, when I was 12 years old, she dragged me to a funeral for the step-father of a woman she knew from work. Frankly, I think she had no business invading their family’s private time, but she knows no boundaries. Instead, she gleefully looked around at the dead man’s family, and whispered to me about how ugly they were, and how lucky we were to come from a beautiful family. (Too bad I look just like my dad’s family and not hers!)
So of course, my dad’s impending death drew her out. That’s how it goes with these disordered people. She started contacting everyone she could think of and having them send me sympathy cards. She tried to use the situation to get me to contact her. She repeatedly texted my oldest childhood friend, and she tried to control the information so that I would have to call her to get news about my dad. She tried guilt tripping, by saying that she too was near death, and that her heart problems were getting worse because she was literally broken hearted from my cutting contact. Even my dad’s imminent death was about her! When he passed, she sent flowers to the funeral home with her name hand written boldly on the card. Stunning for someone who had trashed the man and worked so hard to destroy my relationship with him for years! My mom has a very severe gossip problem, and like I said, she LOVES bad news, so I have no doubt she kept calling everyone over and over to talk about my dad like he was still her husband. How shameful that she would use his death for her social advantage. His wife even had to tell her to stay away, and she asked that people stop giving my mom information. That bad.
I can say one thing for sure, if I ever get the call the my mom is dying…I will not go. I will only be relieved.