This week, Dr. Carter and I taped three episodes of Real Life with Laura. If you haven’t seen it yet, a new video goes live every other Friday morning. It’s fun to tape the banter we have, so we can share it with you.
One episode we taped, which airs in early November, is titled “How You Can Lose Yourself with a Narcissist.” In it, Dr. C and I review the characteristics of narcissists and how they steal your confidence, self-esteem, and identity.
About 5 minutes in, I asked if I could share my most significant blow from a narcissist. Dr. C looked at me wide-eyed and said, “Of course.” He understood what I was talking about.
Last November, two days before Thanksgiving, my father had emergency triple bypass surgery. (Thanks to all of you who sent me emails and messages! He is doing well now.) Dad was in the hospital a week, then checked himself out. (He was resolute they were going to kill him.)
My parents insisted that they had everything under control. So I flew back to Dallas while my brother planned to check on Dad the following day in Little Rock.
Around 7 AM, my brother went to assess the situation. He found the floor a hot mess where the dog had peed and pooped, and there were dirty clothes everywhere. Unfortunately, my dad insisted my mother, a narcissist, needed sleep, so he didn’t wake her at 3 AM when he and the dog both needed to go to the bathroom.
My brother called me and said, “Start looking for nursing care.” A few hours and a lot of tears and stress later, I found a home health agency that could help that day. The sweetest nurses began coming in and assisting Dad to walk on a walker and dress. They also bathed him and listened to his endless stories from his childhood.
I drove back to Arkansas for my status check a few days later. Dad seemed happy, and his pain was abating from where the surgeons opened his chest to get to his heart. When I walked in, one of the nurses reviewed his 13 medications with me and said that Dad was in “good spirits.” Angela, the nurse, said it would be a pleasure to care for him anytime. (He has a great sense of humor. Ask me about the fireworks story sometime.)
Later that evening, Dad thanked me for scheduling the nursing supervision. Mother chimed in and tersely said, “I wish I would’ve known about it. We could’ve handled it, Laura. We didn’t need them.”
I reminded her of the mess my brother found when Dad tried to go to the bathroom on his own and let the dog out. (Mistake #1: Don’t correct the narcissist. Ever.)
Mother looked at me and loudly said, “I wish you had never been born.”
Silence ensued, and when I finally gathered my emotions and my suitcase, I got in my rental car and made two phone calls: one to my brother and the other to Dr. C.
Dr. C was the only person that night I could call who would understand this dynamic. We talked for a few minutes, agreed it was the most horrible thing a parent could ever say to a child, then we made a pact: No matter what, we had to keep going. We had to tell the world about narcissism.
Narcissists damage people every day and in every country. Our mission started to help the one or two people who needed it. Now we have half a million survivors in a community called “Team Healthy.” You battle every day to heal from this abuse.
After I told my story for the episode, Dr. C looked at me with tears in his eyes. Then, he said, “Thank you for being on my team.”
Well, Dr. C, thank you for being on mine. And to you, a survivor: thank you for being YOU.
You are worthy.
You are loved.
You are enough.