After finding out my father had Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and I suffer from narcissistic abuse (CPTSD), I’ve been working on healing.
Therapy is a beautiful thing.
Anyway, while working on healing I realized I’ve been doing things that aren’t healthy. One of them involved my brother. I needed to tell him goodbye. He passed away over ten years ago and although I know he’s gone, I’m still holding on. My brother and I were extremely close. His death was a shock. I remember receiving the call from the hospital. I remember trying to hold it together because I had to tell my mother he passed away. I remember her reaction.
Or her non-reaction. Literally, her reaction was, “Oh? Well, I thought the last time we saw him would be the last time. I didn’t think I’d see him again.”
I fell apart. I felt a huge gaping void like a piece of me was missing. I could feel he was gone. Although he lived in another state, we used to talk daily, sometimes multiple times a day. On the day he died, I spoke to him before he left for a date with his girlfriend. He was going to call when it was over. When I heard the phone ring, I wondered why he was back so soon – because he was the only one that would call at that time of night. When I saw the hospital name on the caller ID, I prayed it was a wrong number. It wasn’t.
Anyway, back to healing, I realized I was holding on to my brother when I was looking through a drawer and found his old phone. I kept it because, at the time, it had his voice on it from his voicemail service. My intent was to try to retrieve or copy it so I’d always have a sample of his voice.
Sign #1 I was holding on, which isn’t healthy, but whatever…
I never retrieved it so the phone sat in my drawer yet, I would not throw it away. If I came across it, which was rare, I’d think, “I really need to retrieve this” but honestly, if I didn’t do it I obviously didn’t need it, did I? Did I dispose of it? No. Did I try to retrieve his voice? Nope.
Fast forward to 2019. I’ve been saying, “I want the truth!” working on my family tree, and I do. Part of that truth was finding out my father had NPD. It’s painful but the disorder explains him perfectly and I feel like I’m starting to understand him for the first time. All the times no one would believe me, when I tried to explain the things he did, the therapist can explain why he did what he did, from his point of view – of a person that has no empathy. She believes it because she’s encountered hundreds of people who have done the exact same things he used to do. She’s also encountered hundreds of people like me suffering from the mental abuse of someone with NPD.
Why am I mentioning my father in a post about saying goodbye to my brother? Good question! Because I found out why my brother moved away when he got married years ago.
When my mother died, I eventually found journals she wrote dating back years. I never read them. Talking to the therapist, I mentioned I had them and did not read them. While I refused to read them, I had no problem letting the therapist read them, so I let the therapist read them. Why didn’t I read them? It was the way I was raised. Mom said she wasn’t going to hide anything. If it wasn’t mine, don’t touch it. That is what I told myself. So I never read them, even after she died.
The therapist, looking them over, was able to properly diagnose my father as having NPD, my mother suffering from mental abuse from my father, and a lot of history which journals tend to record. So imagine my surprise when the therapist wanted to talk about my brother moving away when I was little. She asked me to tell her what I remembered, which seemed to match things my mother said in her journal, except for one thing.
The part when my mother wrote my brother moved away because the stress of withholding I had a sibling, as close as we were, would have been too much for him. My brother and his long-time girlfriend broke up, he jumped into a relationship with my sister-in-law, my sister was born, six months later he was engaged, less than a year after my sister was born he was married and relocated. I thought it was weird at the time, why move to place with no family? Her parents relocated there too. I was young but I remember my mother and grandmother talking about it. I also remember my mother telling my brother to think about his decision thoroughly because, if they need something, his support system wasn’t there locally.
And that was the point. He was trying to get away from the drama, lies and deceit.
I was shocked that he knew because he didn’t tell me he did when I told him I found about about my sibling (I thought I had another brother). My mother and brother believed me but they did not admit they knew the whole time.
They Had a Plan
For the first time, I became angry. I was angry because they knew and didn’t tell me but I was also angry because all this time, I thought they believed me on faith. They “believed” me because they had facts I didn’t have. Facts they didn’t share…one huge fact actually.
My father had sickle cell anemia and he was diagnosed not to live long. My father made it very clear (he told me, my mother (which she wrote in her journal), my maternal grandmother, etc.) he was going to do what he wanted to do, then die, leaving everyone else to clean up the mess (his words not mine – he had a lot of secrets). He lived recklessly. I’m honestly surprised he didn’t have a mountain of DUIs. Anyway, with that thought in mind, everyone around him had to live with this reality – it’s not like people didn’t try to stop him. Many people figured, just like my father thought, he’d die young (as the doctor said) and the secrets could be told after he died.
My father lived decades longer than anyone thought he would. They didn’t have a Plan B.
My brother died before my father. By the time my father died, my mother was dealing with cancer, which eventually traveled to her brain. Many of the people my father left “gotchas” for passed away or are senior citizens now. My father did not care about the aftermath he was leaving behind. Actually, he once said he’d find amusement in watching (from above) the justice people will receive. The therapist said this was common behavior for people with NPD.
You Can’t Cure NPD
After I became angry I felt guilty. The therapist said when lies are allowing people to suffer there is no excuse for the abuse. The main reason why people lie is because they don’t want to take responsibility for their actions. A mentally healthy adult would not want to see the people they love suffer. That was a sign he had NPD – he had no empathy. My mother’s journals showed how she tried to reason with my father to no avail.
The therapist made it very clear: when someone feels they don’t need to apologize or take responsibility for their actions they have no empathy. That is a huge sign you’re dealing with someone who has NPD, which is not curable and rarely does treatment work.
From my mother’s journals, it is clear she was suffering from narcissistic abuse and from my brother’s action of moving he was too. Moving didn’t help. He never dealt with the trauma, he married a person who had mental issues and ended up suffering more than if he had stayed here.
The therapist made a point I did not think of: people who want to get away with something don’t leave evidence. If my mother wanted the secrets and lies to stay hidden, she would have destroyed her journals. Her journals don’t have all the answers but they describe my father’s behavior. She wanted me to know the truth…eventually.
The therapist made it clear there is no excuse for anyone holding on to the lies now other than not wanting to accept responsibility. Being old isn’t an excuse. People with NPD always have signs. I am being taught how not to ignore them.
It’s time to stop mourning you. The moment you died, I heard you saying, “It wasn’t meant to be this way…”. I thought something went wrong with your date, until I got the phone call. It was odd how I heard your voice.
While it might be hard to accept, things end up being the way they were meant to be. I wish you lived longer. I wish we had more time to experience things together. I wish drama hadn’t separated us. I wish you had told me the truth so we could have healed together.
I mean all of the truth. I wish you went to the doctor. The man that performed your autopsy told me you couldn’t have been feeling well. You knew things weren’t right medically but you hated going to the doctor, especially after all the drama you dived into moving. You lived at the doctor’s office and that pressure, for so many years, was traumatizing to you when you were already dealing with trauma.
I hope you found peace. I’m promise I will find mine…while I am living.
I love you. Infinity.