Dad and Stepmom are the only people in the world I am fully myself with, and they are coming to visit. They will arrive on Tuesday (the day after tomorrow) and are staying until Friday. I’m very excited.
To say I love them and enjoy their company is a dramatic understatement. When I am with them, all my masks fall off. My anxieties disappear. I am confident and comfortable being me. It is a version of myself I usually only see brief glimpses of. With them, it’s consistent.
They’ve only flown out here from Massachusetts one other time. It was not ideal. It was while the Narcissist and I were together, living in the house we had bought together.
I was so excited about that visit. I couldn’t wait to show Dad and Stepmom the life I have built here in the Pacific Northwest.
The visit was horribly uncomfortable. The reason? The Narcissist.
The Narcissist wasn’t usually mean to me in a way others might hear. Around my dad and Stepmom, the Narcissist didn’t feel a need to be secretive. He was open in his constant need to be right and his outright claims of superiority. He put down all my thoughts and actions in ways my dad and Stepmom would be certain to hear.
I believe the Narcissist thought his behavior was the norm for how men treat women. It’s possible he thought my father was going to join him in mocking and dismissing me. Perhaps, he expected a chuckle of agreement, or even approval, from my dad.
The Narcissist was wrong. Dad and Stepmom did not like seeing me treated in such a way and were very uncomfortable.
And me? I felt shame in recognizing I was in a relationship with someone who mistreated me. This was not something I had wanted to acknowledge, either to myself or others. Without warning, I was being forced to. And I was so ashamed.
After the breakup, Dad and Stepmom and I had many conversations about that visit. They had been furious at the Narcissist. They saw the inexcusable patterns that I didn’t at the time. They saw exactly what was going on in that relationship and didn’t know how to talk to me about it. Dad and Stepmom didn’t have to wait long before the situation resolved itself. Within two months, I had broken up with the Narcissist.
A week or so after the visit, I made plans to grab drinks with a couple of girlfriends. I didn’t particularly want the Narcissist to join, but he announced that he was coming without asking if it was okay. I understand now his desire to come was because he wanted to control the narrative. Dad and Stepmom were awkward and uncomfortable houseguests, according to him. The visit was weird, and it was their fault. It was a relief it was over.
The tides had turned, though. Dad and Stepmom’s visit was the beginning of my wake up call. It was when I started being more aware that the Narcissist’s treatment of me was unacceptable.
Thus, when the Narcissist started disparaging my dad and Stepmom, I said, “We don’t need to talk shit about my dad and Stepmom. That’s unnecessary.”
It wasn’t a conscious change in demeanor. In fact, it surprised me. And, it was only the beginning. I didn’t have the terminology for it at the time, but I started setting boundaries around how he treated me. I observed how he chafed and tried to bulldoze every one. I recognized how it didn’t matter what the boundary was or how I expressed it. His need to dominate was indiscriminate.
The tension built. Boundary-busting and dominating behavior became increasingly evident. I broke up with him. (My Story)
It all started with Dad and Stepmom coming to visit. It was something I had begged them to do for over a decade. I had looked forward to it so much, and it wound up being so disappointing.
Now, four years later, Dad and Stepmom are coming again. I see it as a do-over. We’ll have the cozy, relaxed, laughter-filled good time we three usually do when we spend time together. It will be delightful.
I can’t wait.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go finish cleaning my house. I have houseguests coming in two days. 🙂