8 comments on “His Dying Breath

  1. Pingback: This Boy | The Narcissist's Son

  2. Hi Stephen,

    In reading the other posts today, this was one I hadn’t seen. You were such a good & perfect son by all standards. Stand proud for giving even a heartless father your acceptance of his damaged self, by refraining from giving it to him as he most definitely deserved. Not everyone would make the decision to care for the abuser in his time of need in the first place, but you did.

    He is hopefully, on the other side, free from his earthly Narcissism that damaged relations with you. My belief is that he’s watching over you and loving you as he never did from a perspective inherent when we return home. If I were you I would speak to him now or write him a letter, because I think he’s listening. And then let it go. You may feel a lot better and find that you can love him now… finally.

    I can only imagine how badly that hurts and I hope you expressed your pain at the time or later on, with someone, because that’s a harsh memory to carry around in your life. A total disappointment to remember your father didn’t have one last fleeting urge to tell you he, in fact, always loves you and how proud he is of you. In his life, he probably never felt love for you.

    I guess the weaker he became, he felt an increasing urge to knock you down for being yourself, very successful & accomplished, giving & caring, loving and loyal, and sacrificing for your family. In short, better than he EVER was.

    I think your shared story is valuable insight to the rest of us too, who have the same type of insufferable N-parent. My husband’s step-dad (since the age of 5) is this depreciating too. Unfortunately & inevitably, I have a feeling when he dies, he will leave saying something to hurt my husband further. I know he’ll also leave his money and possessions with everyone else and leave us out of any inheritance, but will be generous to my husband’s sister, who is admired as his Golden step-child and to his biological children and grandchildren who he visits once a year in Florida.

    It seems to be true that many narcissists become worse as they grow old and lose grip of their power, their youthfulness, manhood or beauty, & life-long friends and supply, especially as their physical health declines and they have surgeries. I can tell you that my husband is verbally degraded for anything he can think of in the presence of others (now more than ever after knee replacement surgery and prostate surgery), including the color of shirt he wears and for any perceived shortcoming with our house or yard. Whatever it takes to embarrass and humiliate him, he will do.

    Thanks for telling what happened with you and your dad, the last time.

    * Cindy

  3. Thank you Cindy.

    I truly did make a huge effort to be supportive of my father and my mother when my father became ill and died. You know what? You are the first person in my life to ever acknowledge the effort I made. Thank you.

    You are right, it was very hard to do. It was very hard to be supportive of the same people that had never shown any support for me. I soldiered on as best I could. My father’s comment really did cut through me like a knife. Even if he had told me something as simple as “I love you, son” or similar, it would have left a much more positive taste in my mouth. Him telling me I’m a failure with his final words was truly a very difficult thing to accept for a lot of reasons. First, it’s obviously very sad for me that he never learned to appreciate me, but furthermore, it’s truly sad for him that he never learned to know the real me and went to his grave not truly understanding who I was. I believe you’re right, he never did feel love for me. That can be said for my entire family. Even when they would utter the word ‘love’, they still never really felt love for me. As I have mentioned elsewhere, they loved me like one loves a lost puppy.

    I’m not sure I will ever write my deceased father a letter. What’s done is done. He had plenty of chances to be supportive of me and yet he never took advantage of any of those chances. Since he passed away in 1996, I have visited his grave 3 times. The first time was because they needed to move his casket to his permanent grave site. My mother didn’t want to go, but she wanted someone to make sure they moved the right casket, so I volunteered to observe the move and make sure they moved the right casket to the right place. One of the other times was when they interned my deceased brother’s ashes. My deceased brother was interned in the same mausoleum where my father was interned.

    I’m glad you found this post helpful, and I hope your husband does, too.

    I agree, as narcissists get older, they tend to get worse. I agree that it is because they have less ‘organic’ sources of narcissistic supply like good looks or athletic prowess and are forced to try and harvest supplies through more intense manipulation and control of others. It’s why many narcissists have no friends and no contact with family when they leave this earth.

    Stephen Bach

  4. Hi Stephen,

    It’s really, really good to have written about your father’s death. You can’t carry on with all these wounds throughout your life, without reprogramming the impact that this moment had on you. So, I would like to tell you just how wonderful you were. Stephen, all of your help and personal sacrifices that you made were so greatly valued and deeply appreciated by the entire family and will be remembered always – Thank you for being the one to show us UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, that was so foreign to us to give , or receive. You truly are our pride and joy in life!!! Let me be the one to tell you this on behalf of your family members.

    I’d like to quote Dr. Phil McGraw by saying that it sounds like it would be a ” pivotal moment “, one moment in time that shaped or changed you in some way. You can say that all this stuff, these people, your family you were born into, have been just a total waste and hardship in your own life. However, what if, this was all put into place in order for you to grow and learn and inspire others? This is only my belief, but what if you chose all of these obstacles for yourself to experience this time around (this lifetime) in order to get you to where you could grow as a person by overcoming and adapting through harsh conditions. Maybe to acquire patience or some other takeaway.

    Your ability to bring attention to what needs to change and still show these people a certain level of love is a strong personal growth you can be proud of! I just think that if all of this had been predetermined before your life (by you), then you are exactly where you are supposed to be at this moment and there is nothing missing for your journey. With this belief, I think this life your dad had and how he was, only pertained to this life cycle and being done with it now, he can witness your growth and love from an advanced level after death. That’s why I felt you could tell him and heal yourself now. He’s not the same person he was here.

    Deep, right? I know we all have our own beliefs about life and after but I thought I would share this view with you and hopefully shift your pain away to the bigger picture and how you might be able to feel a peace in yourself. You’ll probably always remember the scarring moments, who wouldn’t, someday when you’re reunited in death, this same father will probably hug you and tell you “You made it!”- “I’m sorry for the crummy father I was to you”. “My path to learning was scarred and I became a narcissist and I’d love to know you now.”

    There are many people, myself included, that support you and want to show you you’re very much not alone, so please feel the hugs and keep talking about whatever you keep inside – let it out.

    You’re very welcome, it makes me happy to see who you are & give you the words you should have heard for your many efforts.

    – Cindy

  5. The optimistic part of me itches to interpret his last words in a more positive light. As in how he sees now how you taking care of him and living a good, successful life shows him how you had potential all along and he is just now realising it. But I’m pretty sure that is me making excuses for an enabler. I thought I’d still post it on the off chance that you might find some solace in this alternative interpretation.

    Your fathers lack of paternal instinct aside: yes you were making tremendous effort. His golden children were not there for him, you were. And you had zero reason to do so and every right to be absent. After all your wife and studies do take energy and time. You owe it to yourself to do well there and be happy. But you still showed the tremendous strength to go out of your way to help a dying miserable man for no reward whatsoever other than knowing it might be the right thing. That he was not proud of you shows what a truly sorry excuse of a person he was. :/

    • Hi Stranger!

      One of the ways I look at this situation is to think how I might have handled the situation from my father’s shoes. I’m not him, obviously, but I highly doubt I would ever utter such words in a similar circumstance if I was the one that was about to pass and my daughter was at my side. I have yet to be confronted with my own demise in such a fashion, but I firmly believe that I would hold her hand and tell her through tearful eyes how much I love her and how much she means to me; how much I miss her and how much I’ll miss watching her continue to grow; how proud I am of her for being such a wonderful daughter and a wonderful person. I can’t fathom condemning her in any fashion whatsoever. All I would want to do is hug her one last time. I’m literally crying as I type this. The thought of leaving her behind is an extremely difficult thing to swallow.

      Yes, my wife and I made major sacrifices to be there for my father and my mother as my father prepared to leave this earth. It was very taxing. I was in school at the time and had a 4.0 GPA for my first two semesters. Because of the amount of school I missed, I ended up not getting a 4.0 for the second semester. I just couldn’t get caught up on all the work I had to do. My instructors were very understanding, but there’s only so much they can do.

      Thank you for your kind thoughts. I certainly appreciate them, and it means a lot to me.

      Stephen

      • Its really scary how hard wired we are to absolve abusers for not knowing any better, isn’t it? It’s always about how terrible of a life they had and that somehow excuses everything and yet we are not excused anything at all, on the contrary, the standards we are measured against are usually much more strict and demanding. Despite us having been to rather similar experiences than the ones being absolved. I really wonder what drives bystanders to absolve the one but not the other (to me it looks rather arbitrary).

        I also wonder how some of us chose to express our emotions and learn to be a better person despite these experiences and how some become their hated abusers/neglectors mini me in every sense, perpetuating the cycle of abuse. I mean in the end we all get taught everything is our fault and nothing we can do will change the chaotic environment we live in. Some of us take from this that they are never accountable and apply their hated life lesson teachers methods, completely forgetting how much they hated to learn these lessons themselves and others do become accountable and work on reducing toxic habits and thought patterns.

        It must be difficult to confront oneself with those they leave behind. Atm there is no one like that in my life (I am imagining my funeral with the welfare worker and my GP… Id love to forbid my family from showing up… Maybe by then most of them are buried somewhere and can’t attend because of this. A morbidly hopeful thought.) But having seen parents carry the urns of their children to the childrens graves I also can’t forget how this leaving children behind is how things are supposed to be and how this seems to be much better than if roles were reversed.

        Its so hard not to internalise their messages isn’t it? They keep on insisting in all their self righteous glory that they and they alone can define the truth and their confidence destroys us. I guess it’s an instinct to want to follow someone who does all the thinking for us and well the neurological bond to the ones who raised us is a strong one. It takes away all common sense and better judgement. What a dangerous combination that can be in the hands of the wrong parents. Just today I realised again how many financial decisions my parents made for me after my majority, with my money and without even consulting me. Not particularly negative decisions but again it’s not like I’m an actual “person” who has the right to have an opinion and preferences, right?

        I really wrestle with internalisation too these days. It’s so much fun when you dutifully do what they raised you to do: never say no, never have an opinion, always follow, never question and you end up with this melting pot of abusers in your life (where did they all come from???) and they all seem to cooperate so well in convincing you that yes, you are not enough and yes, it’s all you… By now I roughly have the same number of people telling me this to actual supportive people, I want to have in my life. (it takes a while to weed out all the ways abusers can contact you, especially when each uses a different channel of communication. I will take legal action against the most entiteled and closest: my flat”mate” soon, only waiting for feedback from a local helpful organisation on how to go about it.)
        But still it’s so much easier to believe the idiots over those who are kind, because kindness is such a foreign concept… 😦

  6. Hi Stephen, I am new to your posts and just finished reading “His Dying Breath”…I am so sad for you have carried the burden of those words all of these years. BUT…can I just share a thought with you? When your father said “you had so much potential”, you said he never said anything after that. Is just possible that maybe…just maybe… the rest of that thought could have been…and I never told you? Maybe I try to see good where it is not but, you were alone with him (your mothers presence was not there to deter him) , he knew he was dying and would never get another chance, maybe he tried to say he was sorry. Either way, stop beating yourself up over this, it is sad, but it does not define you.

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