An interesting question came into my mind today.
Do I hate my father? Can I hate my father?
Realistically, it isn’t actually his fault that he’s a narcissist, despite the negative impact that his (always ferociously denied) problems or illnesses have had on our family – and the goddess only knows I’m not okay with the trauma and the damage he has inflicted on my own psyche because of it – but I’m not sure that justifies hatred towards him.
I think I could easily hate him if I wanted to, but the ease in which I convince myself of this is a byproduct of being raised by him in the first place. In fact, perhaps it’s an indication of my humanity that I don’t hate him; I despise his actions and I hate that I was born into such unfair circumstances, but if he can’t help that he’s a blatant narcissist I can’t genuinely hate him for such a thing, not without becoming as detached from humanity as he is.
I can try to justify myself as being the “better person” because of this, but I don’t think such a comparison is helpful or necessary. Certainly, it doesn’t do anything constructive for me as I try to come to terms with the unfortunate realisations about my past. It never really occurred to me to hate my mother for being emotionally unavailable – she’s just the type of person who responds to every confession of unhappiness with a very detached “How do I solve the problem?” mentality instead of what I’m really desperately begging for, which isn’t an answer or a cure, but just acknowledgement and empathy – validation that it’s okay to feel the way I do after all I’ve had to deal with.
The real difference, I’ve noticed, is that despite the damage both parents have managed to drill into my mind over the years, it’s so easy to see that my mother tries to care and just doesn’t know how to be a source of emotional support without jumping to “How do we fix the problem?”
(I’m reasonably convinced that she’s an unfortunate case of Aspergers/HFA going undiagnosed in a woman, especially given my own diagnoses and the history on her side of the family… Perhaps it’s this understanding that makes it so easy to see that she has never acted out of malice or with any intent to deceive me, and it’s not at all her fault that she doesn’t comprehend my own need for emotional validation or reassurance.)
With my father, however, there is no good intention to be found behind his shortcomings; he has used both my brother and myself as pawns in this game, suddenly turning him into the golden child and me into the scapegoat when it serves his image best, very clearly incapable of acknowledging or caring about the intense psychological trauma that he has inflicted upon me for as long as I can possibly remember (to the point where it’s so bad that I actually find myself doubting my own memories a bit too frequently.) He’s blind to the reality of my trauma, my struggles, my complete lack of identity or self confidence; all he sees is that these things have turned me into the perfect scapegoat.
And I hate what he did to me; I hate it with all of my being. Even after trying to go no contact, he haunts my dreams, breaking into my house leaving threatening messages telling me that I should just fucking die already.
The second I stood up for myself and tried to establish boundaries, he ruthlessly attacked me as an abusive, manipulative psychopath. And I know that, in reality, I would be justified in hating him for the years of psychological manipulation, the lies, a lifetime of being gaslighted… But it’s not his fault, at least, not in a straightforward manner.
He’s never going to get help, I know that, he’s going to desperately seek out victims to feed his narcissistic supply as much as he can and he’ll never even consider the possibility of having a mental problem, but the more I look back, the more it’s become clear to me that he really, truly does have a disorder that he didn’t necessarily choose to be ruled by.
And that’s why I don’t hate him. As easy as it would be to take the ignorant path and hate him for all that he’s done, I know that it’s not right.
I hate how much he’s damaged my self-image, my mental health in general, and I hate that he’s implanted subconscious narcissistic tendencies into my brain that I now have to constantly be hyper-aware of to be sure I fight them off, but I don’t hate him as a person.
I don’t forgive him, not in the slightest, but I don’t hate him.
I don’t think anyone chooses to have narcissistic personality disorder, and as toxic and damaging as that makes them, I can’t help but acknowledge that it wasn’t really their choice to be this way.
I never had a genuine connection with my parents (or with my fellow schoolmates for that matter) growing up, but as much as that history has fucked me up, I’ve also accepted that it’s not really anyone’s fault…
The circumstances drove me toward a very complicated relationship with addiction, drove me to a place where I don’t have any desire to overcome said addictions and I don’t see any hope in a future where I have to constantly deal with people who will never truly be considerate or sympathetic toward my trauma, and I hate that I found myself in the middle of the circumstances, I really do, but…. While I blame my parents for failing me from the moment I was born, I don’t hate them for it, because I don’t think either of them went into this with the intention of destroying me as a human being.
It’s been a difficult distinction to process and really come to terms with, but… It seems like an important one.