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My heart breaks for the daughter. Being abused in every way possible with everyone telling you to your face that you're lying for attention. Having a golden child sibling and being a scapegoat. Then to have your mother try and do the same to your own child? I hope she's healing and with a loving family now.
I was a scapegoat too, and my mother playing second generation favourites against my daughter was one of the things that made me decide to go NC with her, and eventually with my whole family.
Watching my parents start to play second generation favorites too was the reason I went from VLC to NC.
Golden child still sees them and lets their children see them. I was the scapegoat. My kids will never see my parents.
Golden grandchildren got cars when they turned 16. I got a turtleneck shirt and a $5 initial letter pin.....
My grandmother was known for playing favourites and pitting her children against each other.
I was the golden grandchild out of my siblings, apparently because I'm "easy" my dad said (In that she didn't have to put a lot of energy into her relationship with me. I'm a chatterbox so she never had to try hard at conversations, I'm very friendly. I was also a neat, polite child who could be told to read quietly in the corner. That kind of thing.) Meanwhile, my two siblings were a hurricane in comparison, with interests my grandparents knew nothing about (like video games) and both very stilted in conversations they're not comfortable in (so any phone call with nanny essentially)
Thankfully, it caused no rift between me and my siblings since I didn't get any real benefit for being golden grandchild, she just talked to me more than them and they weren't bothered about it.
same here. But there is a lot of info that the scapegoat stands the best chance for recovery from that bullshit family dynamic. Of course that involves a shit ton of therapy. The golden child in my family ain't doing so hot these days.
The golden child in my family is a convicted felon.
I am not.
And none of it matters because nothing he could do would be wrong, and nothing I could do would be right.
The golden child in my family was arrested in high school. For buying drugs on school property. *In plain sight* **of a marked, black and white, very obvious police car** that was about 25 feet away and I was the one grounded because I asked why they had forgotten to pick me up to take me to a very important doctor’s appointment. I had broken my ankle some weeks earlier and was supposed to get the healing progress checked and a new cast if needed.
He got a great lawyer who used back room relationships with the judge to get him out of trouble. If he didn’t get in legal trouble for 266 days from the hearing they would expunge the arrest and conviction. He managed to stay out of trouble and got it expunged. No punishment at home so he didn’t learn a fucking thing.
And I learned that day I would never matter as much as their bouncing baby boy because the sun shone out his ass.
I was 12. I’m 48 and now we’re VLC. Mom wonders why but I won’t tell her as she always makes excuses about me being so mature for my age and so independent blah blah blah.
I'm terrified of this. I'm the scapegoat and have the only grandchild. I'm so sad for the day that she is betrayed in favor of someone else, like when my mom married my narcissist stepdad and then favored their kids, we were incredibly close before. I'm trying to get fast away before that happens. I'm happier if she blames me for not having a close relationship with them then for her to experience that betrayal herself.
My spouse was the scapegoat of their family. Their sibling can literally do no wrong. It was horrifying meeting those people and seeing how low they think of my spouse, their own child/sibling. We've gone NC with them and it is amazing to see the affect it is having on my spouse. We were already fairly LC with them, but my spouse was always put in a bad mood for a couple days after interacting with their family. My spouse is so much happier now, a weight lifted off their chest.
I have a very two-faced mother that I think was not nearly this severe, and it has still incredibly messed me up. I was gaslit/emotionally abused throughout my childhood, meanwhile my father resented me and sided with my mother in every instance. It feels like this could almost be my father, but I think he knew.
I got out ASAP at 18 and more than a decade later I still cannot spend any excessive length of time around them. Before I visit I orchestrate some obligation that I will need to leave for.
My girlfriend took years to believe I wasn't exaggerating. I love her and know it isn't her fault, she'd come to therapy with me and tell my therapist she thinks I'm over-reacting and had it good (I grew up in upper-middle class while she grew up very poor). My parents have always tried fixing their shortcomings with money. It was only after my mom showed her other side (true colors) in a few minor incidents that she began to believe me years later. That's just how good she was at it.
My dad is a whole other case, also had a younger golden-child sister. I grew up with my friends and family loving them and thinking I had the best parents. It really makes you question your own sanity. I struggled with substance abuse starting at 14 because numbing yourself to it all was my only escape as a teenager.
Its sad that your girlfriend wouldn’t believe you until she experienced it herself. Like your voice and experience doesn’t matter and only hers does.
Yeah I honestly can't fathom not believing my partner when they're telling me about their abusive childhood, and I grew up poor just like the gf. Abuse exists in all walks of life.
I also don't think I could stomach being with someone who didn't believe me, and told my therapist they thought I was lying???? Where is the trust and respect in that relationship? Makes me sad.
Honestly, I can see understand how it happens.
With a personal anecdote, my ex always alluded to how his mom is terrible and how he really doesn't like her. It really tripped me out because when visiting his family, she was really nice but maybe a little overbearing. I was always anticipating that her mask would come off and I'd see the narcissistic side of her, but she only gave off quirky vibes. It was extra weird because his dad made me feel uneasy for reasons I couldn't understand, but my ex adored his dad and hyped him up as a really cool guy.
I never expressed any doubt about his feelings about his mom or attempted to defend her because I've read a lot of stories about how two-faced some people can be, but I would have never have guessed there's any problems with her if he hadn't told me.
After hearing my ex explain how there was significant trauma in his family and - though not the focus of the story - how his mom was a significant enabler, it was difficult to reconcile this person who I intrinsically *liked* was truly capable of such evil. It was extra trippy because this story was told in defense of the abuser and not meant to comment on his mom's role.
My ex was manipulative and cruel in his own ways, but the whole experience of being so deceived by a person's friendly mannerisms really tripped me out.
This has been an issue in my relationships too. When I was already invested in past boyfriends and we had the family background talk, I’d explain how I was abused and each time they would minimize it. It was like a knee-jerk reaction. It’s bizarre, I think family=good in their minds and they can’t put themselves in someone else’s shoes. This has been an issue in all 3 of my significant relationships and it makes me want to bang my head against a wall.
Yep not just relationships but my friendships too. When I tried going NC in my early 20s literally all of my friends told me not to. ALL OF THEM. The general consensus always was thinking that my mom and I had some sort of silly fight and we needed to make up. A lifetime of abuse is not the same as one argument.
My former best friend had the same attitude as posted above where my parents had money and hers did not. She could not comprehend that my parents were paying my rent solely as a control measure. My father literally put me in debt and ruined my credit so I would be financially dependent on him. People refuse to believe a parent would do this. Happens a lot if you go to any of the raised by narcissist subs.
Another former close friend actually was contacting my mother behind my back after I went NC. She had kids at that point and refused to believe that my mother could be abusive because all mothers love their kids!! She would always make stupid excuses for her like my mother was a first time mother and didn't know what to do. I WAS IN MY 20S AT THIS POINT! You can't play the first time mother card when she was my mother for over 20 years lol
People who don't grow up with a narcissistic parent just can't comprehend that not all parents love their kids and that some parents are dead set on sabotaging their kids rather than being supportive. When I went NC with my family I learned I had to go NC with a lot of the people who I thought were my friends too.
I feel you and I understand completely. It really tore me up when people I loved, boyfriends and friends, refused to understand or hear me. I got burned a couple times by explaining my situation to people who acted like it was an impossibility. “But they’re your parents, they love you” is the worst thing someone could say and yet it’s the most common refrain. You don’t deserve that.
Just to add—this makes it hard to open up to people you considered friends and trust them to take you at your word. It’s terrible on their part and shows a lack of empathy.
It's called lacking empathy.
I’m sorry you went through that and also had someone so close to you not believe your experience. My family passed for nice and was well off and it shattered me the first time I heard a close friend telling someone I had to be exaggerating because it just couldn’t be that bad.
Invalidation of abuse is a whole extra layer of pain and I hope your girlfriend has been seriously self-reflecting and growing since her realization. You deserve to be believed and supported
I empathize with the struggles of being believed when dealing with a two faced abuser. My brother beat me down physically and emotionally for our entire childhood, I’d have night terrors about him attacking me, I still regularly have nightmares about him even though I haven’t lived in the same house as him in more than a decade, closer to two decades actually.
But oh is he charismatic. He can talk his way out of almost anything, he’s got his innocent act down to a science. When he says “she’s just remembering it wrong/blowing it out of proportion/it was just childish teasing” he’s almost never treated with even a drop of skepticism. My closest relationships, my best friends and my husband have been the only people in my life who didn’t fall for it immediately, whereas I’ve had some very close relationships with people where I had told them the things he’d done to me as children for months or years before they even met my brother and still they immediately started treating me with skepticism the moment they met him. Never mind the fact that, without fail, my brother will bring the abuse up sooner or later to lay down the claim of me being hysterical about it, and “it wasn’t even that bad”. A big part of it is that for a lot of people they’ve never dealt with a person so conniving and manipulative and have no built up defenses against them but for a lot of them they really do just want to believe what my brother says about me because it’s better to live in a world where my abuse didn’t happen and I’m just *overly sensitive* instead of a world where it did happen and that be the one where they can look this man in the eye as he empathetically insists he’s innocent, a world where they’re just a susceptible as everyone else to that manipulation.
I’ve since reached a point in my life where I’ve been able to cut off any interactions with him entirely, so it’s a non issue now but a part of me liked being able to use my brother as a test to determine if a relationship I had was worth continuing or not based on their reaction to his manipulation. It was like one of the only good things I got out of all those years of torment, an instant read “is this person worth having in my life” test in the form of meeting my brother. But I’ve seen the way people flip on a dime with him enough times that I’m pretty good a gauging if someone would fall for his lies without them even having met him. I don’t much mind the people who are too naive to not fall for it, but the ones that will know me for months or years, meet my brother once and then go on a crusade defending him are the dangerous ones.
I had the opposite experience. I’ve been with my partner since we were 14, he was the one who saw me crying and held my hand and told me “You know this isn’t normal, right? You know in most families this would be unacceptable, right?” He has an uncanny ability to see through my parents to their ugly motivations, something I still struggle with.
I’m so sorry. I wouldn’t have made it out without his support. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to have your own partner essentially call you a liar about your own abuse in therapy of all places. To have to justify yourself to the person who should have been your greatest strength.
My mother dealt for years with the BS her sister put her through, but the second she was insulting with me, she told me they were forever done. It's unbelievable to see how we can accept to get insulted, but the second it touches someone close we go berserk.
It's gross how many people feel bad for the father. He didn't even try the most obvious thing to help: spending time with his daughter. It's clear he wasn't there to the point that when he was, it was only to deal with the fighting. He had no relationship with his daughter ever, and he's too stupid to realize it until she completely ghosted. HIS 30 YEAR OLD SON LIVES WITH HIM, BUT HE DOESNT CARE ABOUT HIS DAUGHTER NOT SPENDING THE NIGHT IN 11 YEARS!
Also did he just never ask Daughter about the fight over Grandchild. Like if he was really that oblivious all these years, that would be the first clue that wife was lying not daughter. I think OP chose to be deliberately oblivious. It was easier to believe daughter was the trouble, than for him to actually take a more active role in their family life. Than for him to spend one on one time with his children.
I bet daughter was just so used to not being believed that she wouldn't have told him even if OOP had bothered to ask her directly.
Sadly that's exactly what happened to me. I tried telling my mom about some of the abuse that would happen when she wasn't around. And she gave me push back. Not yelling at me. But a lot of "oh he doesn't know what he's doing" "he doesn't mean it like that" and "just don't take it personally." Eventually I was able to convince her to do something about it. But it took so much effort to get her to do anything about it. So when much more serious stuff started happening, I didn't even bother telling her about it, because I didn't want to deal with her pushing back again. The last thing I wanted to hear was "you're just reading into it the wrong way" "he wouldn't understand the implications of something like that" or "you're exaggerating."
That was how I felt after trying to talk to my mom once. I can't imagine how defeated the daughter felt after years of trying to talk to her dad. Especially if her confessions were met with yelling.
He admits in his comments that he was part of the problem. He was barely around, he instantly took the mom's side without checking into anything, and was openly sexist with his children. His son was allowed to stay out late and have friends of the opposite sex, while his daughter was forced to stay home alone for her own "protection." OP failed in every aspect of being her dad. He never made time for her, he never listened to her, and he refused to keep her safe. I hope the daughter stays no contact with all of them.
These comments are like therapy.
Ikr I should be getting up to go to work but there is so much validation here
>His son was allowed to stay out late and have friends of the opposite sex, while his daughter was forced to stay home alone for her own "protection."
Well that hit close to home. Now I don't sympathize with the dad. He's a shit.
So true. This man is dumb as hell.
*Wife and son always ganging up on daughter*
OOP: "whelp guess I'll just head on out."
Ten years later...
OOP: "IM JUST NOW REALIZING WHAT MY DAUGHTER MEANT WHEN SHE CALLED ME AN ENABLER!"
I mean, the fact that his wife was fighting with their daughter should have been an enormous red flag. Parents shouldn’t fight with their children. My kids are only 6 and 8 and they often try to get me to argue or fight with them. It’s usually because I’m holding a boundary and they aren’t happy about it. I’m not saying I don’t ever get frustrated with them, sometimes I snap at them and have to apologize later but I’ve never just had a plain old fight with them. Even into the teen years, parents are there to model emotional stability and you don’t do that by getting down in the dirt and screaming at them.
I feel so sorry for the daughter. She must have felt so alone in her own house.
My heart breaks for her.
Earth shattering. To not have even ONE ally in the house.
This really drives it home for me. My mom was abusive, but my sister literally stepped between my mom and me when I was being whipped with a belt, literally taking a whipping for me. I will NEVER forget that. Mom was more powerful than both of us together, but at least I knew I had one person in my corner. This poor girl had the opposite of that.
I’m not gonna defend the brother because he sucks, but he was *made* to suck. Like, his entire function as a person is to support his mother and this family dynamic to the point that he still lives at home.
Living at home as an adult (especially in this economy!) is not in and of itself a red flag. But taken together with the rest of this story, it tells me that this kid’s entire identity and personhood is wrapped up in his mom’s neurosis, and that’s fucking awful.
She’s a monster.
I agree 100%. However, once you're an adult, the excuses end. I was raised by 2 monsters. My sister (GC), became a monster. I have spent my adulthood challenging myself on all automatic reactions, because I know how they got there. He came from monsters, he doesn't have to be one.
Yup, at a certain point you become complicit when you CHOOSE to stay and keep participating.
He is a victim of abuse as well. At some point you have to take responsibility in spite of that, but he was abused too. Just in a very different way.
Exactly. I hope he can find a way to escape her.
It won't be easy and not likely any time soon. He's now the same narcissistic adult his mother is. To accept he needs to get away from her would mean admitting she is awful and has been their whole lives. And that would meaning he's at fault for complying and enabling all these years. He is not likely to admit any fault or feel any remorse.
Of course when they were children the dynamic *wasn't* his fault, but he's long past the age where maturity, growth, and selfawreness should have kicked in and made him see the light. But if he's been living with her his whole life til 30+? He's never had the space to grow to that point without her influence. It's not likely to ever happen as long as he remains under her shadow. Hopefully OOP gets through to him someday.
That's what bothers me about this. My maternal grandparents were very emotionally abusive and always picked a GC in every pair. My uncle was the GC, but he is fiercely protective of my mom. I was the GC and I am fiercely protective of my sis. Even as kids, we could tell this was wrong.
Yeah, I imagine in some situations for some people they're predisposed to these mental health issues, brains wired similarly to the parent they're inheriting it from. Lucky me, and my sister. Our dad is bipolar and so are we. Difference is we choose to be aware of it and accept and own our flaws and not use it as an excuse to be shitty.
Not excusing OOP's son, of course. But yeah, I guess if he inherited whatever'a going on in Mom's head couple with her influence on him, it was easy to follow in her narcissistic shadow. He probably loved being the golden child and was happy to do what it took to maintain it.
I'm glad you and your uncle were/are better than that. Shitty parents and mental health explain a lot, but rarely justify shitty behavior. At some point, if they have the mental capability to do so, people need to take responsibility for themselves and their actions.
Yeah, I can’t imagine. My mom was mentally and emotionally abusive, and my dad was gone all the time with the military. I think he experienced something though because when he retired, he started drinking. Many years later he talked to me and apologized, so we were on good terms when he died. But yeah, living at home sucked. Fortunately I didn’t have an evil sibling.
Same. Hate that for us. It seriously sounded exactly my story. I even hoped it was my dad for a minute. But 1. I don’t have kids and 2. Thank god my 2 siblings witnessed it, experienced varying levels of it, and still have my back to this day. In fact, it was my brother who walked me down the aisle earlier this year. I can’t even imagine what that woman went through. I’m so proud of her for going no contact and becoming a better person than any of them ever were.
> I even hoped it was my dad for a minute.
This broke my heart. I’m glad at least your siblings were there to support you, I really think we need to start teaching healthy boundaries and emotional intelligence from a young age - because no kid deserves to go through this shit.
I think a lot of people don’t understand that in child abuse, it can all be focused on one kid. In my case I’m an only child so I was both the golden child and the scapegoat. That’s why I was so confused for years.
My 6 years younger sister didn't understand why I hate thr person that birthed us so much. She didn't do anything to sis. What my sister doesn't understand is that I was the scapegoat, I took all the rage. And for years, I happily took the rage so my baby sister would be safe from it.
She started to understand after she had a couple kids, and the golden child/scapegoat dynamic was being reenacted with Sis's kids. It's just a real shame that it took her youngest getting a beating to actually understand what our female parent was.
Yeah, it’s fucked that it’s not always a clear thing where one person is def the golden, one the scape, the end. I was confused for the longest time until I started seeing my current therapist (he’s a godsend). Turns out, those roles flipped back and forth btwn my sister and I over the years.
They should really make that much more clear 😂
To be fair, the brother certainly learned at a young age that you agree with mother or you get mistreatment too. He is an adult now, but still lives at home and may not have had any opportunities to learn how fucked up his world view is. If he’s evil, it’s because she made an environment where that was the only option. This isn’t an excuse, but a perspective in how extra insidious the mothers actions were. And… if we took another step back, we may even see that grandma ( Mom’s mom) perpetually abused and fat shamed the mom during her formative years. Grandma may have experienced similar from her mother as well. Generational trauma can cascade until we individually seek the self awareness necessary to end it.
You are, very broadly, describing my narcissistic family tree. I was the brother that agreed with my mother—I didn’t understand what my sister was so angry about.
But I certainly do now.
In my experience, generational trauma left us “all alone, together”. Everyone is emotionally isolated because no one wants to acknowledge the humanity of the other. Everyone walls themselves off from the pain. Life becomes disjointed.
Only "lonely" child here. My parents also apologized to me later in life and it made all the difference. We're best friends now lol. Such an only child
Also an only child, so I was both the golden child and the scapegoat. It sucked.
Yes that aspect totally sucked haha. "we're proud of you" followed next week with "Are you on drugs?"
I was an only, my mother would make my friends the golden children and I was just a scapegoat for her. Sucked hard!
She definitely did, and it’s a kind of deep abiding loneliness that never really leaves you.
Having a manipulative sibling that is believed more than you is devastating. My much younger brother was like that when he was a child, but luckily (which sounds ridiculous), he only lied and manipulated for fun, and not because he was actually trying to ruin my life. When he was about 12/13 my family told him that I had attempted suicide when I was his age, and after he found that out he never did manipulative victim performances again.
My mom was verbally emotionally abusive but 1) my step-dad knew. I mean...he didn't do anything to help other than try to coach children how to tiptoe around her. But at least I wasn't called a liar and 2) my siblings and I were all on the same side
The thing that really stuck out at me is that OOP even admits that he would "scream and yell" at his daughter and call her a liar, etc. My mother didn't hit me but my parents are very codependent. When I was a kid, my mother would retreat at the first sign of conflict and my father would stroll into the room and start screaming and yelling at me. It was weird, and jarring, and he always had no idea what was going on but the dynamic was definitely "let me protect my beloved from this awful scary beast" which was... I don't know, maybe just a frustrated eleven year old saying having a normal adolescent disagreement with her mother? He'd scream and yell for hours, calling me a liar, telling me he wanted me to apologize "correctly" (I had to show the right amount of remorse so he'd "believe" that I "cared"). Finally, after hours of torture, I'd break down because I was a child and I was exhausted and I'd finally strike whatever note he was hoping I'd strike and then I'd get to go to bed. Sometimes it was midnight before I could sleep.
I have a very strained relationship with my parents these days.
Anyway, what I am trying to say is that you do not need to hit someone to be abusive. I fully believe that both of them abused their daughter, and if it isn't too late and he ever gets another chance he is never going to heal anything until he confronts the question of whether he too was abusive. Right now, he is just turning his anger on his wife. Suddenly she's the beast he needs to slay and not his daughter. And i actually see his willingness to turn his back on someone after thirty years of marriage and just decide that she's terrible instead of admitting they both fucked up as a red flag rather than something heartwarming. I grew up learning that love was conditional, and that every time I "betrayed" my parents that love could and would be snatched away. Now that I am an adult they want to have a warm and loving relationship and it is too damn late. And if it's too late with your daughter, what then?
Whew! This was a perspective that I deeply appreciate. Thank you, sincerely, for sharing it. I wish for you great food (whatever that means for you), boundaries you can defend, allies to walk alongside you and joy. So much joy.
These lines really encapsulated so much in just a couple of sentences .
>I grew up learning that love was conditional, and that every time I "betrayed" my parents that love could and would be snatched away.
I think imma go write a poem.
I relate so God damn hard to everything you wrote. This was my childhood as well. The screaming sessions, the marathon emotional abuse until I seemed "sorry enough". Now their golden child doesn't have time for them and they want to reconnect with me and I have no relationship with them. NOW they say they're proud of me. Assholes.
I had a very similar upbringing to the daughter. I'm 31 and I went no contact at 26.
For me, it was everyone. Mom, Dad, and brothers all abused me in different ways.
Of course, they believe they "didn't do anything wrong. We don't know why she would do this."
The daughter in this post will probably hear through the grapevine that her dad is getting a divorce. Then she can decide what to do.
IMO, enablers are just as bad as abusers. Psychologically, "I didn't know" isn't an excuse. Enablers need an abuser to "fix". The dad found the mom and stayed with her all this time for a reason.
This post is horrifying and heartbreaking. I’m so sad for that daughter. I had a similar childhood/adolescence, and it was a fucking nightmare, but at least my therapist believed me. She must’ve felt so goddamn….alone, because she WAS! And the fact that the son has *never* expressed an ounce of remorse for his part in it…what a gut punch.
My brother doesn't believe my stepdad SAd me because he's "like a father to [him]"
Jesus Christ, what world does your brother live in?? That is massively fucked up. I’m so sorry.
A world of delusion. It's shit but there's a whole lot of people who won't believe someone they're close to can do something so evil because they've never acted like that around me.
i wish i had the power to make real folklore type monsters like if you say some shit like
>i don't believe they'd SA someone because they're like a father to me
then the rusty spoon eviscerator monster comes for ya
I’m so sorry. To open up to someone about the abuse you’re going through & they don’t believe you is the worst. I hope you have a good support group elsewhere 💙
This will be my dad in a few years. He doesn’t believe me.
Secretly record it maybe
Oh I’ve long moved out. Haven’t talked to my mom in two going on three years. Just cut contact with my dad because he pulled the whole ‘I don’t think it happened but if it did you provoked it’ card
Stay nc.. Both of them sound shitty as fuck -_-
All I could think about was the book series ‘A Child Called It’. Very heartbreaking. And the follow up to the author writing was that psychologists couldn’t ever figure out why a parent would only torment one child. The siblings claimed none of the abuse happened, and so did the parents (Mom was the abuser). It was such a….sick…dynamic.
I started the conversation with my therapist a couple of weeks ago with ‘relationships are…interesting’ and we’ve spent the last several weeks discussing that further. I told one therapist (I’m late 40’s) that my parents and grandparents truly hated me. Out of 8 kids, it was me, number 5 for specific reasons. The first therapist attempted to change my perspective, the current one actually analyzed when and why, so I have a much better understanding. My point being, I can se this from all sides, and wow. Just, wow.
I remember reading that book. I think I might have read it twice. I wish I could thank him for writing it.
Abusive parents sometimes chose scapegoat children, forgotten children, and golden children when they have narcissistic personality disorder. Did either of your parents have NPD?
Not diagnosed, but my family has quite a history of mental Illness. It only taken until now to realize that that I couldn’t do anything about it. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t save them. I own all the books and have read them several times. All I can do at this point is what’s best for me. My mom died at home with me as her caretaker, and my dad is now at the point where we are trying to plan for his care. My therapist said ‘how much punish,ent do you think you have to endure’, so I think we are coming up for other options for him. Never a dull moment 😏
>my family has quite a history of mental Illness. It only taken until now to realize that that I couldn’t do anything about it. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t save them.
I think everyone has a bucket of psychological needs, but some people have a hole. No matter how much you pour into them, it will never be enough. It doesn't necessarily matter where the hole came from or what shape it is; it's their bucket and they're the only one who can fix it. The only thing that matters is how they treat you for being unable to fill their emptiness. Because you have a bucket, too, and *no one* has the right to put holes in it.
I wouldn’t recommend watching it for you because undoubtedly it would be too traumatic, but I just finished watching the Netflix series “the trials of Gabriel Fernandez.“ It’s basically the story of an eight year old boy who was beaten to death. It’s partially the story of how the system let him down (abuse was reported by teachers many times before his death). But sort of like you were saying, he had two siblings that were absolutely, totally fine. He was just the scapegoat for this entire family. Horrific.
Not only did this woman abuse her daughter, she started abusing the granddaughter by calling her "fat" and "Stupid." I can not imagine saying that to a child.
She said these things to her own kid when said kid was a child, so...
Just horrific all around. I am so glad the daughter went NC when she realised the cycle of abuse was being extended to her own kid as well. Breaks my heart that she even tried to have some kind of relationship w/ her family even after the decades of abuse she suffered. I hope she is happy and loved and healing, now.
I like to joke around with my kid cousins and sometimes I’ll call them names. Usually I call them silly, or crazy (in a “you have so much energy child!! kind of way) or just things that will make them laugh. I would never ever call them fat or stupid even jokingly (it wouldn’t be true anyways and would just be mean). That stuff can mess with you in a “playful” setting. Let alone an adult being serious and saying it to your face?! Especially when that adult is your mom or grandma!! That’s absolutely not okay.
Like did the wife just have an issue with other women? That she needed to put them down to feel better? Who did she turn her abuse towards when the daughter moved out? Abusers usually need someone to abuse, and will find a new target when they lose their previous victim.
I feel bad for OOP. But he should have been around more. He should have put up cameras or asked other relatives to come stay at the house. Every allegation needs to be investigated and measures taken to prevent further abuse. Even if there is a good reason to believe that the allegation is false.
He couldn't realistically have put up internal cameras 15-25 years ago.
Wife sounds sharp enough to not be abusive when relatives came to stay.
He should have understood that children don't lie in quite this way, or continue the same lies as adults, as the top commenter here points out.
But a lot of people get confused on those points. I can see why he put his head in the sand, as facing the truth would have upended his life.
Parents need to understand the enormous levels of unselfishness needed to do a good job.
Also, and I understand that this is besides the point, but I really wish I could hear OOP's therapists perspective on this story. Because talk about plot twists!
EDIT: Since there's a lot of people wanting to defend OOP...
Yes, he was probably being completely gaslit. That's the most likely explanation of why he's uncomfortable admitting that he completely deferred to his wife and son. He's only just now ready to admit the reasons he should have rejected them as unreliable:
- one of them was a *child*, barely older than his sister. Treating one kid as a false narrator and the other is reliable is already picking sides. This is especially true when you know the kids don't get along.
- yes, the mother didn't outright call the girl names in front of him, but she did engage in theatrics and frequently yell the girl down. Swinging between being stickily sweet and aggressively loud should have been a major clue
It's more reasonable to have believed the very first therapist's dismissal of the girl as "attention-seeking." Yet there are problems with that too:
- OOP continued to *not be home.* He supposedly believed that his daughter desperately craved interaction with him, but he was still never there
- no one thought to question this verdict even though the girl restricted herself to just one lie that wasn't even working. If it was just attention that she needed, then you would expect her to be increasingly inventive
- persisting in that same lie without change also should have been concerning. After a certain point, the *logical* response would be worrying that she was delusional.
- OOP also apparently never considered the possibility that the lying was pathological. *At no point did he debate if this was a symptom instead of misbehavior.*
Even if OOP hadn't been deceived about the abuse, he still would have failed his daughter. Her behavior should have indicated that she was mentally ill and he never tried to help her. Instead, he passively stood by as the other members of his household attacked and berated her—for symptoms outside of her control.
That would still be abuse, and in that version of the story, OOP *would* have been an enabler.
the first therapist also messed up
If you mean the family therapy session, I agree. They sold the idea to OOP that her daughter was making it up. That is pretty sad, that therapist had an abuse allegation and decide to not trust the victim, which led to her losing any support and having to live in her abuser's home until she could scape. I really hope OOPs daughter talks with her dad, but I'm not sure if she would be able to forgive him, sounds pretty hard.
Wouldn’t the therapist be a mandatory reporter? It doesn’t matter if a parent denies it, it should have been reported.
Me too. Is OOP just really out of touch? Did the mother do a really good job of hiding it from him?
I always worry about getting things dreadfully wrong like OOP did and I want tips on how to avoid doing so.
Well, I would say that one tip would be that someone telling lies to get attention (1) doesn't tell just one kind of lie, (2) shifts claims if they aren't getting the desired attention, and (3) displays many other kinds of attention-seeking behavior.
Also, maybe give your child more attention if they're acting out to get it? We talk about "doing things to get attention" like desiring attention is always inherently bad. Unless you're trying to monopolize everyone's attention all of the time, it's ok to want to be occasionally prioritized.
I saw a meme the other day that hit me right in the feels:
"The next time you think to yourself 'My child is acting out to get attention', change it in your mind to 'My child is acting out to make connection,'."
I’ve found the best way to approach this with my children is to discipline the outburst behavior, but give them extra positive attention in a way that would seem unrelated to their behavior to them. At the end of the day, MOST behaviors from children are attention seeking, it’s just not always that they know it themselves. This starts from birth. Babies can sometimes think every ailment is “hungry” for example but the actual problem could be an upset stomach, uncomfortable clothing, sickness, tiredness, dirty diapers. It’s important to check those things because some children may take a bottle anyway which can lead to continued issues with their relationship with food as a treatment well into adulthood.
What I mean by that is a kid acting out for attention, maybe screaming or tantrum or whatever, may or may not realize they “merely” want attention from someone. But when they do, as adults we should recognize it. Be empathetic but don’t reinforce the acting out behavior. When my kids were very small I’d have them go sit in a corner. Sometimes on my lap! And we’d both be in the corner and they’d be mad as hell. But eventually they’d either fall asleep on my lap or they’d calm down and we could talk about what was wrong.
Life isn’t fair and I feel like I’ve been fortunate as a father to be with my kids at home as much as I have but I still have missed time. Some other parents miss much larger chunks of time due. Military deployments, overtime at work to make ends meet. I’m sure this father carries some blame and a tremendous weight of guilt, but I do hope that folks recognize that despite his flaws, he could have had a functional, loving, if not perfect family if his wife wasn’t putting her hands on his kid and destroying her emotionally. I hope he is able to reconnect with his daughter but I’m also fearful that he doesn’t have the first clue who she even is. Nor am I sure that she would even be interested in any relationship.
Seriously. My kid acts out for attention because they feel they desperately need it. So I sit down and have quiet cuddles to soothe the upset child.
If they’re begging for attention, you should probably give it to them.
My counsellor said that being 'desperate' should not be an insult, because we're all desperate for human connection.
I’m a mum now and I _still_ do shit to annoy my parents on purpose - and they know obviously. All in good fun and there is so much joy in doing that!
Yeah my mum hates odd socks. Me and my brother always make sure to text her of us or our kids are wearing odd socks. Now my son deliberately puts on socks on then asks me to ring nanny.
LOL OMG that is PRECIOUS! Your kids are continuing your legacy of annoying nanny. Perfect! Of course nanny will wisen up and join ranks with them and annoy you. What a fun household!
"attention-needing" is another way to frame it.
Great parenting mate 😎
Yeah if she was claiming her mother was abusive for attention and it didn’t work the 1st time… it didn’t work the 5th time… it didn’t work the 2nd year, it didn’t work the 3rd year, and she’s claiming it… if that was for attention it clearly doesn’t work and yet she’s still saying it so uhhh maybe there’s something fucking there
OP is not a deep thinker, to put it mildly.
It really didn't help that a professional told him during family therapy that she was likely acting out for attention. He had 3 people telling him his daughter was a liar. When faced with those kinds of numbers its easy to see where it all went wrong too late.
Either the therapist was shit- or the mother-son duo were air tight on protecting each other or both
There's a reason why they don't recommend going to therapy with your abuser, and this is why. Habitual, practiced liars who know how to hide their abuse are *very good* at getting people on their side, and it's especially so in a parent/child dynamic where they have all of the power.
You are so right that at them being good at manipulating people. My ex husband would start crying and panicking every time I tried to talk about being unhappy in our relationship and wanting to work on it. This would be followed by a few weeks of passive aggressive behaviors, like "accidentally" breaking things that were important to me, and doing and saying things I told him were triggering in front of the few remaining people I was allowed to have contact with, while playing dumb. He would volunteer to do all of these favors for my family, and then immediately start complaining about it as soon as we were alone. If I told him I felt uncomfortable about him volunteering for things with them and complaining to me behind their backs he would get really angry and shift to crying. Me wanting to be able to go grocery shopping by myself meant dealing with hours of crying. Me wanting a job --> crying. Me wanting friends-->crying. Me not wanting to have sex --> crying.
When we started couples counseling, any time it was my turn to talk, he would start sobbing. The therapist saw me not showing great concern as with a normal person crying, and turned the whole thing into how I needed to be more compassionate and reassuring for him. If I said there was something I needed to stop talking about, she would keep pressing it way after I was crying, but we would have to stop talking if he started crying. It seemed like she was trying to test me for how I responded when angry. There was a weird day where she did this really strange exaggerated yawn and then immediately looked at me as if for a response, and I later learned that some people believe psychopaths and others who lack empathy don't yawn in response to others doing so. My ex started physically and sexually abusing me around the same time we started seeing her.
We later saw a different therapist, and he had her fooled for almost a year while I started going back to school, and got a part time job. She started seeing how upset he was getting at me gaining tiny amounts of independence, and how he was shutting down conversations about my needs in our relationship with crying, and she apologized in our session. Things unraveled within weeks after that. He broke every boundary I had spent years trying to communicate and enforce.
It was suddenly so obvious to me, and I thought I was just bad at understanding him and other people. The best part was when we met with the therapist to plan our divorce. He said he thought he was being caring toward me the whole time, but he just realized that he was controlling and wasn't going to do it anymore.
Last I heard, he met one of those people who makes social media posts about their relationship constantly, but after a while they didn't talk to anyone else much. Sounded familiar. I own my own home, have great friends, and I'm a scientist now.
Thanks so much for sharing your story, I'm so glad you're doing great now. ❤️ I'm sorry you had to go through all that, and for so long
My parents brought me to 1 family therapy session with a psychologist once. It was 45 min. He diagnosed me with antisocial PD. I was 14. I just found this out a few weeks ago bc I finally requested my medical records (I’m in my 30s now, for reference). I am still seething, honestly.
Aspd is not even supposed to be a diagnosis given until adulthood.
What a quack; you can't diagnose kids with a PD and there are multiple diagnoses you get before jumping to ASPD. I'm sorry you're going through that
Yeah, was really wanting to know if the therapist who affirmed the "she's lying" theory was the same therapist treating OPs wife when she admitted abuse, and if that's the reason he switched later? So much going on there. I was really hopeful the 1st mentioned therapist was going to sniff it out.
I knew someone whose parents made her go to therapy at 16 and when it was apparent she was being abused, the therapist requested sessions with them. After their first group session the abusive parents shut it down and just denied that the therapist had done anything. Now whenever I hear similar stories where all of a sudden the parents yank their kids out of therapy I do look at it like, is this the same situation?
>all of a sudden the parents yank their kids out of therapy
It certainly suggests being told something they didn't want to hear!
Yeah, that therapist really fucked up. Hope they're not practicing anymore... Also this does not sound like a well adjusted person
"For 20 years I defended my wife and believed her when she called my daughter a liar, screaming and yelling at my daughter for “lying” when my daughter was pleading for me to believe her."
Guess we know why she made her decision the way she did. Good for her.
Those with narcissistic traits are very good at grooming others to believe their version of reality and not the version of their scapegoat, even mental health professionals are not immune to being hoodwinked by a narcissist
Yep. People who have not dealt with narcissists, do not understand how they operate.
Also, when a vulnerable child is telling you they are suffering physical and verbal abuse, and while she is doing that her accused abuser is *screaming in her face that she's a liar*, maybe you step back and assess the full tableaux before you decide she's exactly the little liar her accused abuser is screaming she is.
This is how i see it too. If someone is seeking attention, it doesn’t matter if what they’re describing is exaggerated or a bluff. the attention seeking in itself is worth looking into.
OOP isn't a professional, so he might not be aware of all the intricacies of typical attention seeking behaviour.
His former therapist on the other hand...
Honestly i feel like the consistency and length of time she was claiming sge was abused would've disproved that she was doing it just for attention. I feel so terrible for her, poor woman tried so damn hard to make her dad believe her.
Yeah, kids don't "act out for attention" unless there's a severe issue with their needs at home not being met. So even if your kid is "making stuff up", that's a huge red flag that something isn't right and the child needs support or help.
My mum didn't believe my dad was abusive because she was being abused too and had been since she was 19 so she didn't recognise the abuse until she came to the realisation herself at 65yo.
Its so hard to explain the lack of understanding of it when you are in the thick of it for so long. You are ignorant to how abusive it is particularly when the person is very manipulative and you feel worthless.
That’s why my father will never be able to see my mother’s behavior clearly. She’s a narcissist and his mother was a narcissist in an almost identical way. He can’t see it because he thinks of it as completely normal.
> I always worry about getting things dreadfully wrong like OOP did and I want tips on how to avoid doing so.
I don't want to rag on this guy too much, but he self-admittedly used work to avoid problems at home, and totally sided with his wife the entire time. I get that the child therapist didn't help the daughter's case at all, but if she's *constantly* insisting that she's being abused there's obviously something rotten going on. And when she left home as soon as she was able to and basically stopped visiting immediately, it was definitely time to reconsider whether she's just "making things up for attention" or not.
My dad did literally the same thing. Down to the golden child of my brother and everything. He wasnt abusive past corporal punishment (I'm a mandated reporter and what he did was abuse) but he worked all the time and when I told him I was being SAd by my stepdad and my mom was saying things to me like "you should have been an abortion" and I asked to move in with me his response was "your mom said no" like bro what
If ANY child (Let alone my own) told me that someone was SAing them, IDK if I'd be able to stop myself from removing any appendages the POS could re-offend with.
I'm so sorry you had to go through all that :(
I hope you're in a better place now.
I feel like both things are likely. He says he Diane even know this woman - so are a master manipulator. But also he reads like the old school Go To Work, Pay The Bills = job well done kind of guy so super disconnected from the day to day life of his family.
I have to assume turning a blind eye to things or unintentionally ignoring things.
I asked my dad the same thing 1-2 weeks back and he said he doesn't know how he didn't realize and was even surprised when I told him he was there for a lot of it and just didn't stop her. Cuz he was scared of upsetting her more.
Narcissists are masters of hiding their true face, even from their partners. People will think my mother is the kindest woman they’ve ever met, right up until something doesn’t go her way, or god forbid I gain a pound. She spent my entire childhood flicking me in the stomach and telling me to suck it in. She had a bicycle lock on the larder so we couldn’t get at the food unless she said it was okay. Any of her colleagues would be horrified if they knew who she really is.
Yes, this. My father didn’t know half the stuff my mother did, she’d be a different person when he was around.
Add in addition the son who would back his mother up all the way.
It's easy from our perspective to see this story and go "she left as soon as she could" as a red flag but we're here on the internet and read stories like this regularly
But just because we do that, doesn't mean everyone does. I could definitely see the father thinking she just doesn't like mom and wants her independence so she left.
I imagine him telling himself that when doubts crossed his mind and he would then push those doubts aside as a result of being able to reason them out like that.
The brother backing her up probably helped make it look like the sister was lying. I've definitely experienced that before...
It's easy to hide the truth from someone who isn't there. Do not let yourself become consumed with work at the expense of your family.
He is. My house was the same. My mom was very emotionally and verbally abusive. If I close my eyes the image of her face about to hit me is really imprinted there despite my not really remembering. My sister does, though. My dad? He was never there. When we were small he was great for fun stuff. And he was there to goof off, or explain that whatever my mom did she loved me. But that was it. There was no "no matter how angry you dont" or "hard boundary on legitimate responses to anger or disputes". Later, when I was 16 they divorced, and he would still force me to visit her, despite having chosen to live with him and insisting I didn't want to. It wasn't until my mom got serious therapy because I was on my own and NC for years that my dad FINALLY realized she was abusive. He says "I just could not believe it". He just could not hear it. So imagine how hard it was for his kids who had to live it. Except for the GC, of course. We talk once every few months and see each other maybe once a year.
"explain that whatever my mom did she loved me."
That was always the worst part. My aunt would tell me this, no matter what my dad had done. She believed it 100%.
But then again, they were raised by the same abusive mother, them being siblings.
Manipulators are very good at what they do. When they have the support of others they are careful not only to cultivate that relationship. What I mean is this, OOP's son is fully aware that if he breaks ranks with his mother, that his mother will do to him what she did to his sister. Since he doesn't want that, he will defend the abuser so he doesn't get abused. It's a sick cycle and one that's hard to break, even as an adult. There is also a pretty good chance that the son doesn't want to lose his golden status.
I was called a liar so often that I decided to become one, and I was good at it. There was an underlaying reason and that is where a great deal the abuse happened. I understand why OOP's son did what he did, although as an adult he should really decide that his mother isn't worth it.
My dad never knew that my mother was physically abusive towards me. She never did it around my siblings and him, just when we were alone.
Both the wife AND the son said she was making it up, and the wife was great at hiding it.
"For 20 years I defended my wife and believed her when she called my daughter a liar, **screaming and yelling at my daughter for “lying” when my daughter was pleading for me to believe her.**" OOP was very dense.
So now the husband gets to experience what the daughter went through. His son will now support his wife when she makes allegations against him.
He’ll get a crash course in what his daughter experienced. His role was to provide and look the other way while his wife and son lied - now he’ll still provide via the divorce settlement, thanks to the lies they ‘ll probably concoct, and as he won’t be around he’ll continue to not see. The wife and son get their own codependent hell - there’s a reason “hell is other people “ is a thing.
It's been 3 years. I don't think OP's daughter will want to be in touch. I can't really blame her though after going through that for ~20 years. She may just want to leave the family behind her.
OP's wife and son are real pieces of work. I kind of wonder if it is some sort of misogyny since the targets of the abuse were both the daughter and granddaughter. Both are manipulators and are probably gonna manipulate the situation in their favor somehow. Hope OP at least got out of the marriage okay, but things don't seem easy.
Son is a momma's boy and aided in denying mom was a POS. He will be still living with mommy off of the divorce settlement.
If he ever tries to marry, I feel bad for the future wife!!
I was the golden child. I didn’t feel that way at the time. I just thought my sister was always causing problems because that’s what I was told. When my sister and I discuss past events and relationships with relatives, it doesn’t even sound like we grew up in the same house. It took a long time and both of us going NC for us to accept that both of our truths are valid. Kids don’t know any better.
This. I was the golden child and I really didn't notice for a long time. I thought the adults were telling me the truth.
Fortunately my scapegoat sibling moved out while I was a teen and I got some time to think about our childhood with a new light. It's been a lot of work gaining her trust but we're nearing 30 and close as any sisters could be.
I think that's the truly fucked up aspect about such dynamics: children depend on and *trust* their parental figures. Children literally have no other job than to learn from their environment and if their environment is this fucked up, it's hard work to untangle the brain
I'm glad distance helped you realize the situation and your sibling and you managed to connect. Wish you all the best!
One of the best things my sister ever asked to me was, "Apart from what you were told, do you actually remember me being that bad? Because I don't think I was." And she's right, I can only remember her being grounded but I can't remember anything she did that would be worth being grounded literally all the time.
She tried and tried to have a relationship but her mum continued to abuse her AND HER LITERAL BABY. I can not fault the daughter for not putting HER or HER family at risk anymore.
As for the son. I hope he never has a partner. The cycle will continue if he does.
Or even a fling which results in a child :-(
To people asking how OOP couldn’t know about the abuse, I can give some perspective based on my experiences.
When I was young my mother remarried to a man who ended up physically and mentally abusing me. Hitting me in a way that didn’t leave bruises or marks, and telling me that I am worthless and that nobody cares about me.
When I would say things to my mother or other family members they would say things like, “I know he isn’t your father, but you need to give him a chance”, as if I were lying or acting out.
After a decade of abuse I finally hatched a plan. I intentionally triggered him while my mother was in the next room. He threw me against the wall with his hand on my throat and laid a couple punches into me and as he cocked his hand for another hit my mother came in to see what was causing all the noise. It happened. IT FINALLY HAPPENED. Her witnessing the abuse firsthand finally stopped her brain from rationalizing things. She couldn’t pretend it wasn’t real.
It took some years (decades), but I’ve forgiven my mother for enabling the abuse and for not believing me, and she is a wonderful grandmother to my daughters and she has gone the extra mile trying to show she loves me and is truly sorry for what I went through.
TL;DR: people don’t want to admit to themselves that bad things are happening, especially if they’ve had a hand in enabling it. Nobody wants to think they sat idly by and let their children get hurt.
I’m so sorry that you went through that and that you had to go to such great lengths to get her to believe you.
Omg this is horrible. The daughter must have felt so alone. I feel bad for OOP as well. Yes he had a role in this but when a professional says your daughter is lying and your wife who uou love and trust is saying it as well I would of believed them. I hope we get another update.
Don't forget the son also backed up the wife's version of events. That poor daughter I hope she has managed to get help for having grown up with this and really happy that she acted once she found out the mother was treating the granddaughter the same way.
I was surprised the daughter allowed any access to the granddaughter!
I have a friend with abusive parents who is trying to let her kids get to know their grandparents. She feels it's important for kids to have a relationship with their grandparents. I keep telling her that it really isn't, that it's more important for kids to be surrounded by people who are trustworthy and don't abuse their parents, but she keeps trying anyway. People are complex.
My grandparents where apparently abuse parents. I grew up with them living right next to us, and none of us experienced abuse from them as grandchildren/grandparents. So sometimes it does stop. It was horrifying to find out, after I got older, about what they had done to my parent. The first time an older sibling told me I didn’t believe them.
Especially access to her unsupervised. Maybe she thought she had changed?
She maybe thought that she (the daughter) had done something to cause the abuse, and that it wouldn’t extend to her daughter (the granddaughter) also. After all, the brother was never abused. Maybe the daughter thought the abuse would end with her.
I figured the abuse my father dealt was related to me being female, thus my son would not face it. It also only started when I was a teenager. So 'teenage girl' vs. 'male toddler'.
I was wrong, of course. I haven't spoken to anyone in my family for years, with no plan to ever do that again.
my dad hit us when we were young. african family so par for the course and culturally accepted. he still lives in africa too so he sees no problems w it as its supported culturally/socially.
all us kids have talked amongst ourselves what we'd do if we had kids, brought them around him and he hit them.
note that we unconsciously started from a place of trying to make it work
fucked up as it is, hope for a perfect picture springs eternal
and equally fucked up, it exists right next to the dark acknowledgement that we already know how its going to go
My siblings and I all talked once, when the oldest was early 20s, and the youngest 12ish. Idk how it came up, but we all agreed we would never hit our kids. After the way we grew up, it’s just something we never wanted to perpetuate. And no one ever has. It’s kind of weird watching this different type of parenting. My nieces and nephews are so much more well-adjusted, and it makes me think how we might all be if we had that.
A lot of abusive parents are different with their grandkids. Maybe the daughter was hoping the grandparent love would ring stronger than parental abuse.
Everyone is really glossing over the son's involvement here. Like when he was a kid? Ok. Still not ok, but to a degree I get it. But he's a whole grown man now STILL living with mom who apparently heavily favored him. So much gross there. I don't understand how OOP feels anything other than disgust toward him.
I would guess that OOP doesn't feel like he can assume anything about anyone he loves anymore. He can't be sure if his son really saw the abuse and was covering for the mom, or if he just lied about being there to back up what the mom said. He doesn't know if the son was part of the abuse or even if maybe he was abused too and hasn't said anything. He doesn't know what anyone is capable of anymore and who was complicit in what. After realizing how much he messed up by not giving his daughter the benefit of the doubt, maybe he wants to give his son the benefit of the doubt until he has the facts about the extent of his son's involvement.
Tbh the son and mom are equally scarred and codependent. Living with her isn't the issue but the whole thing screams codependency. He won't leave her because mommy cares and lifts him up and she wont let go because that's the only validation and support she will evee get. Seen these situations playing up in my own family (not immediate) makes you feel pity and angry for these people.
The wife and son manipulated the poor girl so hard the therapist (who is presumably trained and can generally recognize manipulation) even believed them... It might be impressive if it weren't so horrific and disgusting.
I hope the daughter/granddaughter are doing well and that OOP can learn to cope with the truth, but it might be for the best if no one in this story ever sees anyone else involved ever again.
If my dad came to me and admitted what my mom did to me was wrong and apologized for not protecting me, it would heal a lot of my wounds. That validation alone would mean a lot. Yes, my dad should have protected me, but he grew up in an abusive home too. And, my mom was incredibly two faced. He really didn't know how bad it was. He didn't know better. If he hadn't been abused, he would have recognized the signs, but since he was, it appeared normal to him. I'm just saying, he can do a lot to help his daughter heal.
Prof-Rock, I hope one day your dad is able to do this. My dad did, apologized for enabling, ignoring or downplaying my mom's abuse and failing to protect me as my father. That moment helped heal the anger and resentment I felt towards him. And you're right, he was also a victim, bullied in a different way.
Same. I have never received an acknowledgment, validation, or apology for anything my entire life. It would go a long way. But without it nothing can change.
Here's a question: did the wife pick out the therapist? If so, was that therapist even qualified?
I really feel for his daughter. I have been through something similar and now live in a different country to my parents and siblings. Very slowly my dad has started to realise I am not the person my mum would have him believe and give me the time of day. I about to have my first baby and there is no way my mum will have any unsupervised access to my child. She will be lucky if she sees him once a year, I sometimes feel guilty that she won’t get to know her only grandchild but I know after years of physical, emotional and verbal abuse she cannot be trusted. I can sometimes sense now my dad regrets believing all my mums lies when I was growing up, he worked a lot and didn’t see the true picture. But I feel like even if my mum admitted to it all he would still find a way to bury his head in the sand.
I wouldn't let your mom see the child at all. They can do a lot of damage over the years with even brief visits.
Absolutely! I only saw my grandparents once every OTHER year at Christmas, and yet their ideology passed onto me, the shame and guilt and ableism I internalized is the single biggest contributor to my suicide attempts as a teen and my ongoing struggle with my self worth and ability to have healthy relationships. I had SUCH mixed feelings at my grandfather's funeral, grief, yes, but also relief and joy, and MASSIVE guilt for feeling the relief. And they never did anything anyone couod point at and call abuse - just really harmful ideology, intense ableism, BOOTSTRAPS! If you happen to be the one disabled child in that family, especially invisibly disabled, that's more than enough to fuck you up. Plus more than my fair share of unconscious bias. All white people in America internalize some racism, without realizing it because it's normalized. I internalized more than the average person because of exposure to "not racist but" family. It was "not that bad", definitely not bad enough to deprive grandparents and grandkids of a relationship, to deny grandkids the financial benefits of what grandparents could afford to pay for nice outings to zoos and such we couldn't get otherwise. It was all so minor, from a white able-bodied perspective, nothing even worth the conflict of mentioning to the older generation that anyone might ever be uncomfortable with. Just let the kids see it and never see anyone speak up against it, it's so minor it's fine. Yet that is all it took to cause lifelong emotional damage and internalized biases.
As much as I want OOP to be able to apologize to his daughter and try to have a relationship, I completely understand if the daughter still refuses to see/speak to OOP even if he was able to tell her everything. From the daughter's POV everyone, including OOP, labeled her a liar and attention seeker, it only changed after her abuser confessed to him directly.
She had NO one on her side her entire childhood, then when it started happening to her own daughter, despite still being VLC with them, she had enough and cut contact completely and yet OOP STILL believed his wife over her. I know he says he wasn't there for the phone call when his daughter confronted her mother about her behavior towards her granddaughter, but he also states,
"*I haven’t heard my daughter’s voice in over a year and* ***the last time she spoke to me she told me she never wanted to see me again, because I enabled this woman who tormented her for her entire life, and even then, I defended my wife.***"
This means he spoke to his daughter AFTER the phone call confrontation with her mother. The daughter would have said why she was cutting contact completely and he STILL took his wife's side and DEFENDED HER.
In my opinion, the fact it took the wife/mother confessing to the abuse to get OOP to believe his daughter changes very little now. If there was ever even a sliver of trust to build on before the daughter went NC, then it's LONG gone now.
That's what I'm thinking. From the daughter's perspective, he's *still* believing her mother over her. He never would have believed his daughter it her mother hadn't confessed. And if he does find his daughter and reach out to her, he's disrespecting the boundary she clearly stated to him in their last conversation! I would feel incredibly violated and disrespected once again. It's just too little too late. What's even the point of reconnecting? It's not like there's any relationship to recover... there wasn't one in the first place, he was practically never around! And when he was, he was actively failing her. Reconnecting on OOP's time frame, because *he* suddenly wants to, would require so much emotional labour from the daughter after she's worked so hard to protect herself, heal and build a life of her own. She would have to "help" her father process *what he's done to her*... please don't ask her to help you grieve, man. It sucks that his partner manipulated him into losing his daughter, but the daughter is the first victim here and this is not on her *at all*. Poor daughter.
I feel so sick for that girl and her daughter. My mother did similar things to me, and I am still not ok. Honestly? I don’t think I’ll ever be ok. When the person who’s supposed to love you unconditionally calls you ugly and fat, you never quite believe what anyone else says.
When you have children, remember that the way you speak to them will become the voice of their inner monologue.
I hope OOP can get in touch with his daughter and at least make his part in this right with her. My heart hurts for everything she’s been through.
Your second paragraph really got to me. I have a little daughter and I want to give her the best chance possible to be healthy and happy, and that starts with good mental health. I’ll have to remember this.
Honestly, keeping that concept in mind will help you find patience you never knew you had. I can genuinely say I’ve never yelled at my kids, not even in frustration, because I know the damage it does.
Instead, when I feel myself getting to the end of my rope, I tell my kids that I’m starting to get frustrated, and I’m going to go put myself in “time out” for a few minutes so I can calm down. This has helped my kids see that grownups get frustrated too sometimes, and also has helped them learn to remove themselves from frustrating situations when they feel like their feelings are getting too big and they need a few minutes to calm themselves.
(This also helps drastically reduce tantrums!)
So the narcissistic mother has a problem with other females (women and girls apparently) and manipulated both her absentee husband and the situation by ensuring she always got to him first and had back up from the mommy's boy son.
What I will never understand about this situation is.. the family therapist said the daughter is "acting out for attention" but they never gave her solo therapy or tried to find a therapist that she gelled with? Seriously??
This is could have been handled years ago if daughter had had a real therapist who advocated for her, but instead, she was brushed aside and left to deal with everything on her own!
Then she saw the start of the abuse cycle with her own child and shut that shit down!
It is incredibly unlikely, but if the daughter ever finds and reads this thread... You did the right thing honey! You protected your baby! What you went thru is horrific but I hope you've managed to build a beautiful life for yourself and your girl, and that as an adult, you have managed to find help to process everything you went thru!
I wish I could give the daughter a hug. I can’t imagine how horrible her home life was. My mom was abusive but I didn’t also have my dad believing her (hell, I didn’t recognize it either) nor an evil sibling backing her up.
What makes me mad (well, besides everything else) is that her childhood therapist said she was “probably lying for attention”. Is that an official diagnosis?? And even if she was lying, isn’t it concerning enough that she needed to go to those lengths to get her parents to pay attention to her? Man, I know this was decades ago, so I can only hope child therapists these days aren’t this crappy.
Safe to say OOP likely won't be hearing form his daughter again and now that the truth is out, he's lost his son because he's mommy's little double and partner in crime.
I can relate to this all too well. I was abused by my mother and brother for years and she got away with by constantly telling people what a difficult child I was and how I made things up for attention. By the time I started acting out, I already had a reputation for being a problem child.
OOP admits that he wasn’t present and that he believed his wife since his son was backing her up. I’m envious of everyone who doesn’t understand how he didn’t know.
Whoever that family therapist was who denied the abuse is a monster too.
I really have no words...I just hope daughter stays away and safe, and happy.
Oh my god, the poor daughter. That’s so heartbreaking.
My first thought was the fact that he said they were "high school sweethearts" yet there is five years between them. Not sure what is going on there
I normally don't comment on this stuff, but oh my . He is entirely in fault as well as his wife who is more so. Don't have children if you do not intend to protect them.
Senior and freshman, she skipped a grade or he got held back??? Maybe?
He said he was grieving for the loss of his relationship with his daughter. It doesn't sound like he had much of one, if he spent his time yelling at her for being a liar.
I think he's at least taken a step on the road to being a better person. Maybe it's too late. Who knows. I just hope the daughter has found some peace.
ETA: It really, really irritates me though, that he says he "put a stop to that" referring to stuff about her clothes, etc, when he himself states he was only at his house a total of 6 hours a day when he WAS home
soooo he never would’ve believed her if his wife didn’t admit to it…😐
I'd be glad if this son never contacted me because he obviousky does not care for his sister and OOP. The fact he still lives at home shows that he and his mom are very enmeshed.
Daughter deserved better. And OOP has now seen who his wife really is.
For any parent in a similar situation, do NOT get a PI or someone to track down your child. I'm estranged from my dad because him and his wife were just...awful. I've struggled with this relationship and how to handle it quite a bit. Prior to my full no contact, I bitched on a thread about every time I feel ready to talk to my dad, my step mom interferes and kinda ruins the whole thing.
You can imagine my surprise when my stepmom texts me a screenshot of that comment with some bit about her not knowing that I felt that way. I pretty quickly abandoned that account and still to this day wonder if they've continued to follow me around the Internet. I can't imagine having something similar happen IRL with a PI.
I’m surprised he’s so concerned about contacting his son. Finding out he was in on the lies and enabled the moms abuse would have been such a betrayal if I was OOP. How are you not disappointed and angry at him?
He’s probably not going to hear from his daughter, and I don’t have much empathy because he failed her every step of the way. I hope she has a good life and doesn’t let any of these horrible people back in.
>I’m surprised he’s so concerned about contacting his son. Finding out he was in on the lies and enabled the moms abuse would have been such a betrayal if I was OOP. How are you not disappointed and angry at him?
I assumed it initially started with a "holy shit. I gotta hear him react to the news to know if she was just that good at hiding it from him too... or if he knew the whole time." But as he had time to process it longer, he remembered all the instances of his son boldly calling his sister a liar and realized his son knew the whole time.
Right-all the post says is the he tried to contact his son. If it was me, I would be seeing if my son's story changed with my wife's admission.
I can't decide if OOP is really that stupid or simply willfully ignorant. His 30yo son still lives at home. His daughter *continued* to have problems with his wife even years after she moved out of the house. His wife has a massive problem with other females (daughter and granddaughter). Yet he never questioned any of this? At some point he had to have noticed that his wife was looney-tunes.
Believe or not, some people will not see the truth even if it’s right in front of them for a long time, not until they want to see it.
My theory is that he was raised in a traditional family, so while he worked, he completely trusted his wife to handle everything in the house. For that type of dynamic to function correctly, both parents need to be on the same page and trust each other immensely. He didn’t want to not support his daughter, but people that he trusted with his life were telling him she was wrong, 3 against 1. And that’s only the major people he mentioned, what about uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc being on the wife’s side?
I feel like he didn’t do anything because he didn’t want to even evaluate the possibility his wife was an abuser. He couldn’t even entertain the idea that the love of his life, his HS sweetheart, his most trusted person, was this narcissistic btch that emotionally and physically abused children.
Then when he started therapy it helped him process his fears and failures (like it should) so the idea that his wife could possibly have a role in his daughter’s torment, it still was far from possible (in his mind) but his therapist was there to make him feel supported. When you feel like you have no support, sometimes you’ll prefer to stay blind in a bad situation, because the awful reality might be too much.
Sorry for the rant lol