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I am the daughter of a Narcissicistic father.

From my earliest memories, I recall a lot of fighting between my parents. It was very violent, and oftentimes, I would curl into a ball and put a pillow over my ears to drown out the noise. When I was about eight years old, I swore that I would become educated, so that I would never be trapped like my mother was.

We lived out in the country and had only one car, which my father used for work. My father had a hair-trigger temper, especially when criticized. I recall him asking my opinion once, and I gave him my honest answer. He became enraged and flew off the handle. While he never punched me, I got thrown around a lot, pinned to the ground and wall quite often. I was deathly afraid all the time.

As I grew, his rage turned away from my mother and focused on me. In a way, I was glad because I adored my mother and wanted to protect her. I also knew instinctively that I was much stronger than she was. So …I was the Scapegoat.

I was criticized and picked on every day of my life. I could not go unnoticed; he even yelled about my sitting posture, my clothes, or the way I held my head. It was constant. I tried hard not to cause trouble, became an A student, but he still was not happy with me.

He was uber sensitive about his personal appearance and also very nosy. He’d ask anyone he met how much they made, what kind of car they had, or what church they went to. Although he was a blue-ciollar worker, he passed himself off as an executive, and people believed him. He had an air of authority and superiority.

My mother was co-dependent; whenever he and I had a row, she would come to my room and say, ” Your dad really loves you. He doesn’t show it, but that’s how he is. He would never hurt you.” Total BS.

I left the home as soon as I turned 18 and lived with friends to finish high school. He’d already made it clear that I should not get educated, as women were meant to stay home and care for their husbands in a submissive role. I attended a community college for two years and then transferred to a university, not getting my degree until I was 25. I worked two jobs, had an apartment and car. No matter what, I was always criticized, and he would not butt out of my life.

I went on to earn a Masters Degree at one of the nation’s best universities and got a great job that I loved. I met the man if my dreams, who is the complete opposite of my father, and we had four fabulous children, who are now all grown. I never once behaved as my father. I took great care to be a loving mother, and with the help of my husband, was very successful in that.

My father criticized our parenting, interfered with our marriage and exploited our children. For this, we decided to cut off all ties. We have been estranged for seven years now, and it was the best decision of my life. I still love them, pray for them and want the best for them. I am powerless to change my father, whose temper has lessened, but his criticisms and overall negativity have grown much worse. He is in his 80’s now, so he probably doesn’t have long to live.

I did have psychotherapy years ago, and that’s when I learned the name for his problem: Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Happily, I did not repeat or inherit this. But I do have one sibling who has some characteristics, despite being the Golden Child. I accept that I will never be 100% healed, but I do my very best each day and my father’s voice no longer sounds in my head. I’m free!