What Growing Up With A Narcissistic Parent Taught Me

Growing up with a textbook narcissist for a parent means waiting. It means waiting to be heard, waiting to be understood, always waiting for some sort of resolution. It means that they come and go when they please. Sometimes it means that they don’t come back.

I am here to tell you: They didn’t leave because of you. They didn’t leave because of the way you talk. They do not hear. They didn’t leave because you didn’t make the team. They didn’t stay away because you dyed your hair. They left because there is something missing in them – where you see lack of love there is simply lack. Lack of thought, lack of consideration. They love you, but they don’t know you. A narcissist does not care enough to know.

Maybe he comes and goes, quick and blistering like summer itself. Maybe he is a whirlwind in a shiny black Mercedes. Or maybe she’s the kind who shows up an hour and a half late to take you to dinner. Or she’s the kind who wants you to come visit but is never there to visit in the first place. He’s your dad. She’s your mom.

Kind of.

How many hours have you spent wondering what you could have done to make them want to stay? Stop wasting those hours. You’ve spent enough time waiting for the dad who’s always late or the mom who never comes. Find the love they withhold elsewhere. In your friends. In yourself. In the one who is there for every birthday. Have a relationship on your terms, accept them for who they are and accept that it is not your fault. I have made peace with the fact that my father doesn’t know me, and probably never will. And even though sometimes it still hurts when he forgets I’m here, that I’m even speaking, I know now that it’s not because what I’m saying isn’t worth hearing.

Now I let him call me, but I don’t wait by the phone, because if there is one thing I’ve learned from waiting, it’s that I’d rather not.

Featured image via Gabe Pierce on Unsplash


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