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approaching end of life crisis

Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:32 am
by islandlife
My husband and I have been in business with his parents for many years - me for 35 and him for 40 years. My mother-in-law has Alzheimers dementia and no longer has capacity to do business, my father-in-law has the NPD and at 86 is now seemingly going into meltdown at his loss of control. It is only in the last 4 years that we have found a 'diagnosis' I guess for the many years of dysfunction that has been the norm in our relationship with the F-I-L. We have been through so much stress for so many years trying to find ways to work with him, however from the day we bought into the business (20 years ago) he has had nothing but suspicion and mistrust for us both - I was the scapegoat for many years and now it is my husband's turn, and our son, who also works for us. He is accusing my husband of bullying now as well which is very hard & wrong & slander really. He also has the support of just about all the other extended family - they are not in business with him and have never lived with him as we have done. Our business requires us to all live together (in separate apartments) but still right next to each other. We have been through hell with him and now at 86, he is making veiled threats to fire my husband, which he can do as Principal of the Family Trust. We have sought medical advice, and just recently, legal advice, but it's the damage to our mental health that also concerns me.
My husband has 2 sisters as well that have never been involved in the family business. One of those sisters is putting pressure on him as well now.
An incident of incest occurred with my FIL and this sister about a year ago that both my husband and myself witnessed. We talked to the sister about it in the morning to try and warn her that it was a method of testing his control over her. She initially denied it but then admitted to the incident. She agreed to tell her father that it was not to happen again, however she said it in this way " Michael says he saw you touching me inappropriately last night and that it's not to happen again". So instead of accepting responsibility for dealing with her father for the actions between them, she put the responsibility back onto my husband. That caused a huge drama, and my FIL basically barricaded up his house, put padlocks on all his gates and boarded up any open areas where he thought my husband had been "spying" on him. He also wrote on his door "NO SPIES! NO BULLIES!" and the date. This was in the accommodation that is within our business premises and anyone walking past could see this. It was very devastating for my husband to again become the scapegoat. After that My FIL told everyone that he would not speak to his son (my husband) again, and my husband also could not speak to his father. He went 'no contact' I guess. That was nearly a year ago now, and now my FIL is accusing him of treating him as an outcast in his own home because he doesn't speak to him and so the cycle of abuse continues. He has changed his POA, and is threatening more changes in the future.
We are both suffering mentally, however do not see a way forward that has a happy ending. We must stay involved in our business - we are the ones managing and running it, and the FIL refuses to leave us to do our jobs. He just seems to want revenge now against my husband - without sounding paranoid, he really just seems to be focussed on that. And his NPD is spiralling upwards - every time there is an event of NPD blowout when he hasn't gotten his own way, it is worse and bigger than the time before.
And because my husband has been no verbal contact (although they see each other every day), it has also been eating away at my FIL that he now doesn't have that emotional control over his son any more. As a result of that, he is finding ways to attack our son, who has always tried to 'help' his grandfather and maintain good relations with him. It is such an insidious sickness and we don't know where to turn. As we have been the only scapegoats he has targeted for the last 25 years, there is no-one else that fully understands what we have been through. And as he is ageing and losing more and more power with each passing year, his condition worsens constantly. We are very anxious for our future with so much uncertainty and the black cloud of his very existence hanging over us.
I have managed to still communicate with him and to not react to his verbal attacks - I am helping them with their care needs - doing online shopping orders and assisting with the co-ordination of carers that come to help look after them. It has been extremely difficult to get my head around it but I am still trying to be compassionate and assist them in any way I can without being a hands on person in their daily lives. I will pay the bills and deal with paperwork etc, but can't bring myself to spend more time with them than is absolutely necessary. I know it would blow up to a full on"war" if I didn't maintain contact and assistance, plus we are tied up in this business together.
Any advice would be so much appreciated. I have read many books and online articles about this condition over the past few years, as I feel that understanding it at least gives us some idea of what to expect, but it is quite terrifying to be in the company of someone who is really quite unhinged, and not have any real clue as to how to communicate with them effectively, as well as try and work together to ensure we stay emotionally stable as well as securing the future of our business.
thank you for hearing me out - it is such a tough place to be in. We try and maintain happiness in our lives - have a great family of our own and a new grandson that brings such joy into our lives. We also do everything we can to stay positive and not allow the fear to take hold. There is just this menacing and burgeoning black cloud that is always there and that we feel completely powerless to change.
We have not done anything wrong. This is so unjust and unfair but understand there is no rationality or reasoning involved in his abuse.
Sigh!!! thanks for your ear :)

Re: approaching end of life crisis

Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:27 am
by Beth McHugh
Hi Islandlife,
Thanks for sharing your story on the forum -- it is quite a harrowing one. It's quite likely your FIL has more than one disorder -- in some cases co-morbidities occur with cases of personalty disorders. Plus as you are witnessing, the problem escalates as the power base of the narcissist narrows with aging and the symptoms worsen. Going no contact is not an option for you due to your work commitments, and the incest occurring shows that your FIL is more then just a low grade narcissist, and the latter alone can be very difficult to deal with. Because of the complexity of the situation, I can't offer suggestions on a public forum but if you think that counseling would help, please contact me at

There are many articles on narcissists on my main website if you haven't already read them. Learning about narcissists is the first step in recovering from one. It's important to realise that the narcissist has no real power, but if you have been brought up by one, this statement seems almost unbelievable. However, narcissists only have the ability to control where control is given up. So, for the adult child of a narcissist, this has to be learned and practised. The story of the sister is horrific, at least your husband is doing the best he can. However, learning to set boundaries is an important part of interactions with narcissist, and this too is a learned skill.

Please contact if you need help.

Best wishes,

Re: approaching end of life crisis

Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:14 pm
by Prickett
As someone who is just learning about all this, I feel like you're spot on. It's so important to set boundaries and clearly see through all the illusion of power.

Re: approaching end of life crisis

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:18 pm
by IsaacRickie
Nearly 80 percent of those aged 25-to-33 have felt under pressure to succeed in relationships, career, or finances before hitting 30.