Q: My mother married a narcissist 33 years ago, I was 4 years old. He has been the only “dad” I’ve known. My mom tried to leave him, and she filed for divorce when I was 12. She felt bad and he made her feel like she was the problem, so she went back to him. My mom was in a car accident when I was 16, she then developed some mental issues. He made everyone think it was all because of her accident, he convinced her too. She became very depressed, was suicidal, had 2 major nervous breakdowns. She could no longer work, she had always been the breadwinner and he was always jealous of her career. When I was 28, we started a family business, this is when things started to get really bad, and I realized he was the problem.
He and I are the business owners 50/50 and my mom has worked for us. He held the purse strings for the business. He could spend any amount of money, as he saw fit, for business or personal expenses. I had to justify each month how much I needed for living expenses in order to get a paycheck. I’m a single mom with 3 kids, no help from ex. He loved being able to control my life by controlling my personal finances. My mom finally had enough 6 months ago and she realized that she was not crazy and she realized how bad things were. She decided to leave again and not look back, she filed for divorce and left him. The problem is that I wanted out of the business partnership with him as well. He got angry that she left and that I wanted to buy out his portion of our business, so he filed a lawsuit on me. I have had no choice but to file a counter suit because……
I’ve now learned that while he was holding the purse strings he embezzled a few hundred thousand dollars and did not handle taxes properly for several years. I have sued him for theft and fraud. My mom and I are both afraid of him. He acts big and tough, but once we get to court each time he backs down and wants to negotiate. He doesn’t trust anyone, and is very paranoid. We are now at a point in litigation where he has begged to have weekly meetings to negotiate a settlement of the business, but he didn’t want a mediator or attorneys present. He wanted my mom and I to meet him alone in a public place. Our attorneys think this is a great idea, even though we’ve tried to explain his issues. Our first meeting was terrible. He accused us of stuff, was threatening, and we couldn’t seem to stay on task of negotiating a settlement. He kept trying to twist things around and tried to make us think that he has never done anything wrong. He’s always been good at twisting things around until we see his point of view. After our first meeting, he thought he could start calling us on the phone. When we wouldn’t answer, he got mad. I finally answered and he started threatening me. I managed to record most of our conversation because outsiders don’t believe us. I told him that all our meetings and conversations in the future would be recorded. He canceled our 2nd meeting at the last minute because he was mad about being recorded. The third week, he decided to meet me again, however he didn’t want my mom present nor did he want to be recorded. I think he feels like I’m weak and he can manipulate me.
At our last meeting he tried to convince me that my mom left him because she’s sick and needs mental help. He tried to convince me we need to put our emotions aside and get her help so we can still work together. He doesn’t see a need to split or dissolve the business. He’s delusional and living in a fantasy world. I’ve never seen my mom so happy, it’s a beautiful thing. I am so stressed out right now trying to figure out how to handle this guy though. He’s dragging things out as long as he can, we aren’t getting anywhere. We take one step forward, 2 steps back. I’ve spent $20,000 on attorneys in 6 months dealing with this guys shenanigans and I’ve gotten nowhere. Sometimes I feel like if I bully him and threaten him I see him start to crumble and give in, but he turns it on us and blows up. He’s so unpredictable. I don’t know how far I can push him, I don’t know what he’s capable of. I read conflicting advice about how to deal with a narcissist. He tells everyone that even though my name is on the business, he actually owns the business because he funded it, funny thing is that my mom funded it with money from her auto accident settlement.
Settlements are not community property in Texas, so she actually owns our business. But he has always enjoyed boasting about our great business that “HE” owns. We’ve recently busted his bubble and we are trying to take his fantasy away from him. He’s mad. He’s losing his wife of 33+ years, his “daughter”, his successful business, this seems to be the ultimate nightmare for a narcissist. He’s convinced my brother that my mom is ill and we are both making bad decisions, he’s told him I’m pushing him out of the business with no explanation or compensation. I have made sure he’s receiving the same pay each month as my mom and I, even though he’s not working or contributing to the business. He has only shown up to work 7 days in 7 months. He’s convinced my brother to testify against my mom and I if we go to court. Any suggestions on how to get the bully to cave in and go away. He feels like he’s entitled to so much, and he doesn’t have as much as what he’s always thought he had.
A: I’m sorry for such a short answer to a long letter, but your question of how to get him to cave and go away is…you can’t. He won’t cave- he is paranoid and delusional; if he is NPD he most definitely feels entitled and probably would rather spend all the money from the business on attorneys rather than let you have it. Please don’t meet with him alone- why your attorney would ever allow that makes me highly suspect of that attorney’s competence. As for going away- he will go away when he no longer gets Supply from you. You are giving him all kinds of emotional reactions and attention (Narcissistic Supply even when it is negative). You and your mother need to go NO CONTACT—start communicating only through the attorneys. Do not let your brother run interference for him- let your brother know you will not discuss your father with him (saying it nicely-such as “I don’t want to put you in the middle so…”). Read the article on NO CONTACT and follow it strictly.