I’ve long wondered if I would feel as I expected I would feel upon hearing the news of my father’s death. I feel as I expected I would.
My experience of the man was limited to his embodiment of his mental disorder. There was never in my lifetime anything more to him. Everything about him was a fabrication, an elaborate lie that he struggled to maintain in some manner self-consistent enough that it would not collapse under the weight of cognitive dissonance. The identity he projected for the world to see was fabricated, and his knowledge of others consisted entirely of the lies he told himself about them — people were, to him, whatever he needed them to be in order to maintain the consistency of his fantasy self image.
My role in his life, in fact for all of my “family of origin”, was to be the scapegoat. The traits my father possessed and despised, he disowned and projected upon me. Once disowned, no longer associated with his view of himself, and instead components of his view of me, he could safely express his hatred of them with no trace of self loathing to weaken his narcissistic fantasy. As a very young child I was often confused by this; I would hear his descriptions of me and find no evidence anywhere outside of the family home that I was even remotely similar to the person he described. As an older child I wasn’t so much confused as I was convinced that one of us was bat shit insane. For a time I wasn’t sure which of us it might be, because while I was unshakably convinced that I was none of the things he described me as being, my mother (also the embodiment of disorder) quite vocally agreed with him and my sister’s actions were consistent with the supposition that she believed me to be all of those things, too.
I’ve written a few times about my childhood fantasy of The Dope Fairy, a beautiful and sweet young woman I would meet at the pleasantly appointed insane asylum where I would eventually end up. It was because of my self perception being so completely at odds with who and what my family told me I was that I was convinced that if I weren’t crazy already I soon enough would be. I was really looking forward to meeting The Dope Fairy, too. She would greet me every day at my favorite place under an expansive shade tree and give me pills that would make life seem very pleasant. The other earnest professionals who worked there would somehow magically defuckerize my head and I would go on to live a happy life in which no one told me I was despicable and the world would for the first time in my life make sense.
I sometimes wish it could have worked out that way. As it stands, the world has never made all that much sense to me and it’s only getting more nonsensical with each year that passes. There are still those about who would gladly tell you that I’m a despicable bastard, too. So it goes.
I would later come to learn that it was never me, the person I am, whom my father hated. That’s an important distinction for the offspring of a pathological narcissist to make: It is not me who is hated because I am not known to the narcissist. Not known at all. I just happen to be the victim upon whom the narcissist has projected his own most hated traits, and not because I deserve to be that victim. It’s also a very dangerous distinction to make, because the fact that it is not me who is hated doesn’t matter at all if I expose myself to and so can be harmed by the narcissist. Does it matter if it’s truly you the narcissist hates if he’s conspiring in a plot to murder you? Not in the least does it matter. Your very real self will die right along with the narcissist’s disowned traits.
Yes indeed, just five and a half years ago my father was indeed conspiring with my mother to kill me, and Amethyst, too. He wouldn’t do the killing himself, but he was very much an active and willing participant in the plot and did his part to set up the conditions for it.
I never had a father. All I had was the embodiment of a mental disorder. But he was the embodiment of a mental disorder that wanted to see me destroyed and worked to bring about that end many times and in many ways over the years. He caused and participated in causing great harm to people I love in the quest to destroy me. His death was the one and only thing that could guarantee that he would never harm another again, and for that reason I am very happy to know that he is dead.
Though he did a lot of harm in his long quest to destroy me, he failed to accomplish his ultimate goal and is now on his way to a hole in the ground or an incinerator. Good riddance, old man. I’ve won.