kkano : NPD, agreed. We’re not psychiatrists and can’t diagnose disorders but it’s helpful to educate yourself on symptoms associated with NPD, because well, those are a bunch of them…
Mightbeebiased, your parents sound a lot like mine, and yes, my dad’s role in all this has always perplexed me. It’s like both parents are in denial. Your mom is clearly emotionally (and at times, physically) abusive. Your dad has also been a victim of this emotional abuse for his entire marriage, probably, and he’s learned to accept this treatment and enable your mother. With my dad, all of this is because staying married is the “right” and “Christian” thing to do. However, you can’t control your dad’s decision to stay with your mom and you can’t control your mom’s behavior.
I actually did end up having a conversation with my dad about my mom’s abusive behavior. I think it was helpful for our relationship. Deep down, he does see all this, but he chooses to go on living the way he does. If you tell your dad how you feel, however, you’re setting a limit and letting him know that while you love him and want him in your life, you can’t have a relationship with your mother (it doesn’t sound like you can, but that’s your decision to make). If you have children, will you ever leave them at your parents’ house without you? Will your mom try to sabotage your marriage? These are important things to consider now.
And please, DON’T let yourself give in to feelings of guilt! A narcissistic parent’s gaslighting makes us constantly question our own perceptions of the situation and think that we have to cater to our parent. You never have to accept unacceptable behavior, from anyone, family or not.
In this case, if it were me, I would elope. Your close friends will completely understand why without your saying anything. Or if you want to have a traditional wedding reception, maybe send out the invitations with the venue name but explain to the vender that your mother has no say at all in wedding preparations and that they should not respond to any of her orders/demands if/when she calls them up. They may have had similar requests from brides before.
This certainly doesn’t solve the whole problem, but stay strong. I hope your future husband is supportive and can help you out with these issues.