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A story of forgiveness
Old 04-12-2016, 09:58 PM   #1
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A story of forgiveness

For this story, I will write in the 1st person. You may assume it is my story or someone I know closely. To protect the identity of innocents, I will modify a few minor details. If you have patience to read this until the end, I hope you get something out of the story. I surely did.

My father turned 78 years old two days ago. He was a nasty man for most of his life, a person with severe case of narcissistic personality disorder who (ab)used others to get what he wants. He drank every other day on average, and when he got drunk, he took out his anger and frustration to his family members and relatives. Next to my mom, I took the blunt of his anger the most until I left for college.

To illustrate the above point without writing a book about it, I will give one example. I worked since I was 14 years old until I went to college. He took all my earning, without so much giving me a dime of it. Culturally (we immigrated into the US from then a 3rd world country), that wasn't so unusual and I didn't mind. What I minded was the mental & physical abuses and I was determined to get away from by enrolling in a college far away from home. I figured out how to get As from inner city public school system. Luck has it that I was accepted by the only college I applied for - UC Berkeley. If I wasn't accepted, I was going to join the army. Anyhow ...

The day that I told him I was accepted by a college away from home, I was expecting an adverse reaction from him. My going away represented a stoppage of a small source of his income. He isn't going to easily accept that. Sure enough, that night, he got drunk, beat me, and kicked me out of the house in middle of the night. I slept in a family car, and went to school the next day. Afterward, I worked & crawled back home. I had no place to go and needed to stay home until I start my life in college. I.e, I needed to take his abuse for a few more month. Not so easy. 2nd night, he got drunk, beat me, and kicked me out of the house. I hoped that'd be the end of his anger about my going to college. I was wrong. I was kicked out again on the 3rd night. Things were getting really bleak for me, and I was thinking to do really bad things. Then on the 4th night, my mom asked my uncles for help. She told them that her husband is killing (not literally, an common expression to emphasize the situation) his son. When I crawled back home that night, my uncles had convinced him to lay off of me. They plead to his ego (his being narcissistic) by telling him what a fine school I am going. He can boast about his son's academic success to others. This appeased him and I was able to sleep that night at home. But until I left for school for good, I'd be kicked out of the house a few more times.

I thought that would have been the end of a chapter in my life. But, no. Without my being at home, he increased his abuse to my mom and siblings. By trial and error, I found that by sending him what little money I can while putting myself through college, I can appease him enough to reduce his angry outbursts against the remaining family members. That's how 40 years of sending him money started.

How did it go on that long? My younger siblings stayed at home for years after I went to college. My mom stayed with him even longer (she eventually divorced him 15 years ago). To ensure that my dad's abuse was somewhat controlled, I kept sending him money. It was a form of extortion now that I think of it.

Even after my mom left him, I kept sending him money. By then, I think it became a habit. Besides, I was climbing up a corporate ladder and had money to spare. The man had no saving, and was living on minimum SS amount. He could not make his ends meet if I didn't help. He also could not hurt me anymore, and was losing his nasty disposition slowly but surely.

Fast forward the story to two days ago. I drove 400 miles to organize a birthday celebration luncheon for him. Not all relatives, family members showed up - some still hold their grudge. As I was dropping him off to his apartment, he invites me in. He said he has something to give it to me.

In his apartment, he apologizes how he didn't even give me a college graduation gift. He then lays out two sealed envelops in front of me. The envelops look oft used with creases, pencil marks. He says it is $6000 and he'd like to give it to me. What? Why? To make a long story short, it was an apology and his way of thanking me for standing by him for all these years. After a few protests, I accept it, and left his apartment bewildered.

As I was driving back to my home, I had a lot of time to think about what just happened. Then, it hit me what he really did. To me, $6000 is nothing. Heck, my investment asset increases and decreased by more than that every day. But to my dad, it is EVERYTHING (I'd guess) he had. For someone whom money was more important than his kid going to a college, this gesture must have been a life changing event. For an instant, I worried about his mental health. Perhaps, he is giving everything away b/c he wants to kill himself. But that wasn't the case based on my two subsequent phone calls with him.

For now, the two envelopes are tucked away under my mattress (so to speak). I am not going to touch it. It is worth far more to me than its content. If my dad needs any of it back, I will gladly give it back. If not, I will use it to take care of his funeral.

If you read this post until now, I hope this story amused you, or even inspired you. As for me, I feel blessed. It is going to change me for better.
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Old 04-12-2016, 10:16 PM   #2
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Luckily you survived that and thrived !
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Old 04-12-2016, 10:20 PM   #3
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Wow. What a story.

I feel for you (or whoever is the protagonist) and your family for having had to deal with your NPD Dad all these years. I totally was not expecting that last part where your Dad at age 78 gave you basically all he has.

It shows that perhaps NPDs can change, although that's not what typically happens per the literature.

Kudos to you. I'm not sure many others would have maintained that relationship as long as you have.

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Old 04-12-2016, 10:43 PM   #4
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I have to say you are a better person than me. I would likely have wrote off the relationship many years prior and never looked back. I am not vengeful, but also do not easily forgive. It is hard for me to be compassionate to people that do self-induced actions that are destructive to themselves or others. You stuck it out and showed that good can overcome bad. I can admire that, even though I may never be able to do the same.

We all overcome some difficulties and diversity. Yours was larger than most.
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Old 04-12-2016, 11:19 PM   #5
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Is there no punishment for bad behavior in this world?

If he were my old man I'd have beaten him to death

How did good overcome bad? Bad , as usual, got rewarded and got off scott free. Good merely survived
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Old 04-12-2016, 11:40 PM   #6
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I totally understand his story. It mirrors my childhood with my mother who suffered the same diagnoses and was also an alcoholic. I continued to help support her from the day I got my first job until today. She is 96 now.

I can't say I understand myself and why I did what I did. But now in my old age, I can say that I couldn't and wouldn't have done it any other way. Only difference in my case, she didn't give me money, but when she was 94, she apologized to me and told me she knew how horrible she was and asked me to please forgive her. That meant a lot to me, and reinforced my decision to keep helping her through all those years.

So, I understand your choice to not abandon him. I think you are better for it.
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Old 04-13-2016, 12:03 AM   #7
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You are a good man, Rob. I think family has a special bond for immigrants, which is why it's hard for us who were lucky enough to be born here don't understand your patience.


As a fellow alumni, Go Cal!
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Old 04-13-2016, 12:12 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by razztazz View Post
If he were my old man I'd have beaten him to death
That thought occurred to me many times. But I persevered and am glad I did.

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Only difference in my case, she didn't give me money, but when she was 94, she apologized to me ...
The money saving & giving was the amazing part. It showed how far he came from being what he was.

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I think family has a special bond for immigrants, which is why it's hard for us who were lucky enough to be born here don't understand your patience.
As a fellow alumni, Go Cal!
I think one of the main reasons why my mom could not leave him despite our begging her to divorce him was that she was uncertain how to be a single mom in a foreign land. The other reasons were cultural in nature. Divorce was a major stigma and she could not allow us to be raised by a divorced woman.
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Old 04-13-2016, 12:28 AM   #9
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YOu are a wonderful person and I am glad everything had a good outcome. So sorry your entire family had to suffer so much.
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:45 AM   #10
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Sorry that this may have been your life. My girlfriend had similar situation growing up. She slept at a neighbors house a lot. She too, sent money home after college. She is also the only one left from family that calls and checks on him. She just started therapy from the abuse. She is still trying to get his approval. She thinks it's her fault that he treated her that way.
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A story of forgiveness
Old 04-13-2016, 05:52 AM   #11
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A story of forgiveness

When my father died I hadn't spoken to him in years. I was the reluctant go between ... My mother's stress over the continually late alimony check made for a difficult few years. When I was home I worked and paid rent. I was in community college when She had a heart attack and there was other unpleasantness .. He wasted an ocean of money. In many ways he wasn't a nice man but he too had a story.

I too fled to State University 5 hours away and I avoided going home unless I had too... The stress had its impact on my siblings perhaps if I had stayed home

Understandably my unarticulated life goals was to never get divorced, stress over money and be the master of my destiny. Solution: Live Simply, LBYM, save, work hard and shop for a level headed gal..

I feel blessed to have changed my life. I guess there's no denying our early experiences shape how we live and feel about things.


Great story thanks for sharing..

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Old 04-13-2016, 07:46 AM   #12
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Thanks for sharing your story. The only important thing is that you are able to make the most of it to ensure your own happiness.
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Old 04-13-2016, 08:17 AM   #13
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I have to say you are a better person than me. I would likely have wrote off the relationship many years prior and never looked back. ...
+1 but I am happy for you that the old man seems to have turned a page and that it makes you happier with your relationship with him. I miss my Dad almost every day.
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Forgiveness
Old 04-13-2016, 08:30 AM   #14
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Forgiveness

Thanks for sharing your story. Forgiveness is a hard thing to do. But it is very liberating. What was it that sparked your desire to give him the birthday party?
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Old 04-13-2016, 08:32 AM   #15
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I have to say you are a better person than me. I would likely have wrote off the relationship many years prior and never looked back. I am not vengeful, but also do not easily forgive. It is hard for me to be compassionate to people that do self-induced actions that are destructive to themselves or others. You stuck it out and showed that good can overcome bad. I can admire that, even though I may never be able to do the same.

We all overcome some difficulties and diversity. Yours was larger than most.
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+1 but I am happy for you that the old man seems to have turned a page and that it makes you happier with your relationship with him. I miss my Dad almost every day.
Both sum up my feelings as well. Glad you have found some peace in all this.
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Old 04-13-2016, 08:58 AM   #16
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Thank you for sharing this; there are so many messages to be found in your story. No one would blame you if you had walked away long ago, but you played it differently. Not many people get resolution like you did. I wonder if your father saved or at least recorded the amount of money you earned before you were 18 so he could return it to you one day.
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:07 AM   #17
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Thanks for sharing your story. Forgiveness is a very powerful choice. I had to forgive my DF after he had passed. Wish I could have done what you chose to.
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:42 AM   #18
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Thanks for sharing your story. Forgiveness is a hard thing to do. But it is very liberating. What was it that sparked your desire to give him the birthday party?
I have recently retired and have more time to do such things. I have not thrown a b-party for him for many years before that.

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Thank you for sharing this; there are so many messages to be found in your story. No one would blame you if you had walked away long ago, but you played it differently. Not many people get resolution like you did. I wonder if your father saved or at least recorded the amount of money you earned before you were 18 so he could return it to you one day.
I've saved every checkbook transaction books since my first ever one from BoA some 37 years ago. One day, I scanned through all of them for ones I wrote to him. It amounts to far more than what I earned for him before my college years. Nevertheless, that $6000 he gave me cannot be measured in dollar terms.

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Understandably my unarticulated life goals was to never get divorced, stress over money and be the master of my destiny. Solution: Live Simply, LBYM, save, work hard and shop for a level headed gal..

I feel blessed to have changed my life. I guess there's no denying our early experiences shape how we live and feel about things.

I must admit that my dad's behavior was the main reason for me to pursue the American dream so determinedly.




For those who replied with other similar stories, thanks for sharing them. One thing I learned over the years is that there is always someone who had it worse than you. There is no reason to self pity yourself if you look at it that way.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:57 AM   #19
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Touching story. I hope things get better between you in the time you have left.

I hesitate to suggest this due to the rawness of your story but one thought is if there is money after the funeral expenses, maybe a donation to a battered family charity might help others.


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Old 04-13-2016, 11:10 AM   #20
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That warmed the cockles of my heart and along with my coffee was the perfect way to start another day.

Thanks!
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