So....Narcissistic FIL passed away a few days before Christmas. All things being even - that was the most peaceful part of the last year - thankfully. He had been heavily sedated for the better part of 3 days at that point.

I've asked for advice here and talked frequently about my concerns about how DH especially and SIL would feel after he passed - given the long history of abuse. If I'm being honest, it has all been very...normal.

Maybe it is fitting. I hear a lot on social media of parents complaining of being estranged from their adult children and they often say they don't know why. My FIL would say he didn't know why his grandchildren didn't talk to him, and didn't know why his kids had so many bad memories of their childhoods -according to him - he was a great father and grandfather. Maybe his narcissistic delusions just led to his dementia delusions - I don't know. He was a narcissistic, abusive father who never did anything positive for either of his children. His children took care of him out of guilt and obligation.

Outside of settling his estate - I've tried to get DH to talk about his dad. It's not that he doesn't want to talk about him. He says there's really nothing to talk about. He doesn't miss his dad. He didn't have a relationship with him. He had a situation with him. That resolved when his dad passed away. He doesn't seem sad. He seems relieved. He seems concerned about the issues with his sister and getting them moved out of the house and closing the estate. But it's like his dad was not even part of it. I'm still wondering if at some point he will feel grief over his dad. Maybe. Or maybe not.

SIL is just manic. She knows they have a short window to move out of the house, our hands are tied there. We have to settle the estate and the house is part of that. She is spinning in circles trying to do everything at one time. But even that has nothing to do with her dad. Looking at pictures we find in packing up does not bring back nostalgic feelings. She's ambivalent. She will "awww" over picks of their mom. But with their dad, it's kind of "meh"

As for me - sometimes it is relief. Sometimes it is anger that he left all of this in DH's lap to clean up. Guilt and worry over SIL and her DH's situation even though he shouldn't carry that. Stress over closing out a basic estate that is overcomplicated by a messy mind.

I think realistically we are all just ready for the next part to be settled and move on. And no one is really giving FIL much thought, as sad as that may sound. His legacy - the one he didn't bother to create for himself - is that his children have moved on to doing what they need to do to get healthy and move forward with their lives without dwelling on him too much thankfully.

This site has been such a source of support and knowledge and I'm so thankful. People often come here and think that they are being challenged and even attacked and don't realize that what they are hearing is from a place of real concern and genuine experience. Caregiving is not for the faint of heart and there is no rule book or cookie cutter experience. If in being straightforward or blunt we save one person any grief or heartache that they don't have to experience - that's a win!

Thank you all for all of your advice and encouragement!

To some degree, I almost wonder if that might be me when my mom passes. I'll miss her obviously, but the last several years of stress and few breaks will definitely help me move on and a part of me speculates that I might have one of the few dry eyes at her funeral.


Your post did not bring up pain for me .
I have no lost love for my FIL . I feel bad for him that he was suffering from his ailments . I don’t wish anyone pain . However , my in laws are self absorbed , spoiled , entitled people . My in laws also had tried to talk my DH out of marrying me ( different religions ) .
FIL also paid next to No attention to DH and to our kids once he married his second wife.
The flying monkeys were his second wife’s adult children , like us in their 50’s .
FIL prepaid and planned it all .
I think DH will be ok. He won $675 at the black Jack table in Vegas . lol.
We do have DH’s mother up at bat next in short order as she is declining . She will be the 4th ( last ) of our parents to look after . No one else is ever able to .
She is donating her body to the local medical school. Not sure if her siblings who live far away will expect any service, most likely they would though . MIL hasn’t planned anything . She won’t even fill out POA . We are not bringing her to live near us though . That’s for sure . We need the 4 hour ( drive ) buffer this time .

Way - Flying Monkeys and people who didn't really know FIL are the very reason we chose not to have a regular funeral. We opted instead for a private, immediate family only, memorial whenever all of the grands are in one place for long enough. DH and SIL didn't think they could stomach hearing people talk about what a wonderful father they had.

And frankly - we didn't think we could trust the grands to not pop off on someone if they tried to tell them what a wonderful grandfather they had - when he was better to the cleaning ladies' kids than he was to his own grandchildren. (literally, gave them more for Christmas, checked on them more, talked to them more)

Additionally, not going to lie - FIL did talk about and actually wrote down his wishes for an ELABORATE funeral. He did NOT prepay for anything. And while he had a life insurance policy - FIL - WHO SOLD LIFE INSURANCE FOR A LIVING - only had a very small policy - enough for maybe 1/4-1/3 of what he wanted for his funeral. And given that he KNEW that BIL and SIL had NO money....that was his final jab at DH (who he KNEW had to take early retirement for his own health) and at me - the sole breadwinner in this little debacle.

Because WHO did he think was going to pay for this little circus? (including a paid soloist, piano player, organist, and hopefully a volunteer choir, the most expensive coffin I have ever seen, multiple hours of visitation before AND after the service...etc)

He wanted in death what he never got in life. He wanted a huge fanfare, with thousands of mourners, long lines of people waiting to wax poetic in his memory, and a huge processional of cars on the way to the cemetery, led by police cars, where people pulled over and waited as we drove by. (he talked about all of this). This was what he imagined.

All paid for by children who he abused for years, physically, emotionally, mentally as kids, and continued to abuse until the day he died emotionally and mentally (and would have physically had he been capable believe me). And still they just continued to take care of him. And it was never enough. He always wanted more.

But blessedly, finally - he doesn't have control now. And finally they made a choice that was right for them. The second one in recent memory directly related to their dad - the first being moving him to the SNF.

Flying Monkey aunt- who hasn't seen him in 10 years - has stopped speaking to us - because not having the funeral is the ultimate betrayal. She knows EVERYTHING, and still defends him to the grave. She thinks she has cut us out lol, but it's actually the other way around. We had only kept the lines of communication open out of respect to keep her updated on her brother and now there is no need.

I'm so sorry my post brought up pain for you!

Sissi, (((hugs))).

Go back and read your posts about your mother's impossible behavior, as far back as 2015.

I think you are grieving the mother you deserved. I'm so sorry for your loss.

@ Riverdale,
Funeral was meh . I tried to avoid certain people as much as I could . One flying monkey made comments about how unhappy FIL was in AL . She was one of 3 that fiercely fought us on placing him. I told her he was declining and needed help and he could not accept that he needed help , nor could he get over the death of his wife. I told her some very elderly never recover after losing a spouse and they get “ the dwindles”. He could not walk and was very angry about it . We were on the verge of having to place him in SNF . Catching Covid and dying spared him his worst fear which was being wheelchair bound in a nursing home . This flying monkey also had to remind us how much FIL liked her by saying “ We were buddies “. She also told DH that FIL would cry to her on the phone sometimes.
DH left for a business trip today . ( His company makes him fly out on Saturday instead of Sunday sometimes if the airfare is cheaper . The company now uses a travel agent , DH can’t book his own flights anymore ) . His solution is to keep busy . I’m glad he went , he is going to Las Vegas to present at a conference on Monday . He will keep busy going over his notes . Then he will get to sit and relax at a black jack table part of tomorrow . I don’t know how , but he has always said it’s relaxing . He usually either breaks even or wins some cash.

How did the funeral go Way? I thought you had concerns and just wanted understandably to get it over with especially with annoying relatives and their unfounded concerns which added to the general stress.

My mother just passed away, in her 90’s. She displayed either narcissistic tendencies or was a narcissist. Never realized that until roughly 15 years ago, and a friend said , well duh.
We had good times, and I believe she did love me, but the dark moments, as I started calling them, got very dark.
I was the cause of her problems. I mean even if the tv or power went out.
I live about a 4 hour car drive away. I will admit that I sometimes dreaded visiting because there would always end up being an argument, no matter how hard I tried to stay silent. Doing the gray rock method just made her more furious. I would also delay visits. Friends have told me it was a form of self preservation.
Her retirement plan was for us to live together, with me being her caretaker.
She said I told her no, although I honestly don’t remember it. Her real idea or goal was for me to sell my home, quit my job, and move back to my small hometown. It just wasn’t possible financially. I did look into jobs there, but nothing close to what I was making. She didn’t understand why I couldn’t retire now; explained that retirement age for full benefits had gone up.
One sibling who was always the golden child. We lost our dad, when we were still very young, in elementary school.
My dad and I had similar likes, while mom and GC were more alike. I felt like a third wheel whenever GC was around. Gc was cuter, smarter (although I did ok in school, just wasn’t obsessed about being perfect).
GC and I haven’t had a good relationship since college years. Mom could do no wrong, and anything was my fault.
I knew this would be difficult, but I am bawling like a baby. Should I have just done what she wanted? GC thinks so and is spewing venom my way. They did everything for her! You lived5 minutes away, too. But I was to quit “your precious job”, and move back. My job isn’t precious. I do have pride in what I do and am respected. It’s not at all a dream job or even a career, so to speak. GC with all of the perfect grades has had many jobs, now working more manual labor. GC saying they wanted to move elsewhere, but wouldn’t leave mom.
So GC kind of made poor choices with mom’s care. Would she have lasted years more? No. I think some of the anger may be grief and guilt.
GC is going to speak at the services, because only they can tell the true story. I am scared that GC will go after me. Might be passive aggressive digs as they need me to sign off on anything estate wise.
I have been remembering the times where mom was very caring: running to meet me from kindergarten when I was sick and had to walk home, baking “goodies” when I came to visit (then later asking if I thought about going on a diet), trips we took that were a lot of fun.
I would lose my cool as she knew how to hit my buttons, and would hang up when she would start yelling nonstop. It would end up with our making up, then she would go into a dark period again. I am not proud of some of my actions, regretful now. I will miss her, even maybe the dark moods a tad.
GC and I will not be in contact most likely after the estate is settled. I have cousins, but for whatever reason, none are close. I have joined a local church, has many activities, including a grief support group.
I never made friends easily, partly because I didn’t know why they would want to be friends with me. Always felt, right or wrongly that I was odd, not quite deserving.
I am glad that your family has found some sort of peace.
Sorry to have written so much, but this is raw, still hurting. I didn’t think it would this much. A complicated set of relationships for sure. I do have a couple of supportive friends, not super close, and a relative who has been a great source of support, came back into my life within the past year.

As for your wondering about how/if your DH is/will grieve ……. . I think if your DH has already reconciled his non-relationship with his Dad prior to his death , perhaps he will not have post death grief hit him hard at all.

I think it can be different for all . My mother was a narcissist. Initially I was relieved when she died because she was so unhappy especially after my Dad died . Then I did become angry at my mother (and myself ) for the lifelong servitude (that I did not stop sooner ) resulting in my depression . If your husband doesn’t feel he let his Dad control him then I doubt he would be hit hard like I was .

My DH just lost his father a week ago . He was struggling before his father’s death over the fact that he was treated as the “ step child “ . My FIL became totally enmeshed with his second wife’s family . DH and his father were more like distant relatives . The past two years we were looking after FIL in AL ( his wife had died ). The relationship did not improve , FIL had dementia . Right now DH is relieved and a bit angry and sad over his father’s behavior the last 20 years towards him . Hopefully he doesn’t get depressed over it .

I get it though , watching your DH and wondering and hoping it doesn’t get worse .

I agree caregiving is not for the faint of heart and can be difficult for many reasons whether there was a good relationship or not.

Good thing I read further down. I too wondered why SIL & BIL could not just buy you out or you just give them the house. So hope u get top dollar.

I so hope that SIL and BIL will have enough money to find themselves a nice place. But they need to realize that its now all up to them. That they need to work. That you cannot bale them out. And I would make that clear to them. We should never do so much for another person, that it hinders them from doing for themselves. I loan $500 to my niece to pay her rent. I knew I may not get it back. She received her SSD and the retro money. Out of the retro she paid everyone back. So, I am willing to loan to her again. They seem to be doing pretty good now.

I’m sorry that you are going through all of this, BlueEyedGirl. Don’t assume that your husband should feel something when it may not be possible for him to feel anything.

I agree with Alva, if hubby says that he is fine, he most likely is fine.

I doubt that your husband is experiencing grief over the loss of his dad.

A person doesn’t mourn a loss of a rotten relationship. If anything, they grieve for the fact that they didn’t have a healthy relationship with their parent.

Through no fault of his own, my husband had a crappy relationship with his dad. He didn’t suffer a ‘loss’ when he died because his father wasn’t involved in our lives.

I'm WAITING, not very patiently, for this to be OUR situation. MIL is planning to live to 99-1/2 and she's just stubborn enough to do it.

DH is pre-grieving, not her death, but the lack of ever having a healthy, truly loving relationship with his mother. And she's waaay too far gone, mentally to have meaningful conversations now.

So he's sad, depressed, feeling hopeless and not having the energy to do anything to change that. I have encouraged him to see a therapist that my pdoc recommended, but DH won't reach out to her. I wish he would begin the process NOW--so that when MIL dies, he can have some sense of closure. Mostly, I know him, and know he will stuff all his feelings deep down inside. Where they simmer for a while before he blows up over something completely unrelated--and usually at me.

If your DH is at peace, just be grateful. When DH's dad passed, he didn't shed a tear. He was so flatlined, emotionally, it broke my heart. He still says to this day "If dad hadn't had leukemia he'd still be alive"--which is a true statement, but a ridiculous one. I pointed out to him that dad would be 100 this year and probably wouldn't be real happy to still be chugging along.

I get the need and desire to sell the house and move along. We moved very fast after FIL died--I flipped his condo and we got top dollar for it-selling it the day it listed. Never even had a sale sign on it! I am proud of that--it was a TON of work, and I was not paid to do it--but it bought me some brownie points with the 'kids'.

Most people cannot afford to keep a house sitting empty, even if there are no liens against it, an empty property seems to deteriorate. And your BIL and SIL need a place of their own.

Yeah, the markets kind of lousy right now, but if you can balance the need to sell with a reasonable expectation of what you'll get from it--not waiting months on end for someone to meet your every 'want'--(we have 2 homes for sale in our PUD development and they're lovely--but overpriced by a good $200K.)

I am sorry for your DH to have lost a parent who didn't meet the standard of being a good parent. I know that in my case, both mom and dad were ready to go and I was on good terms. I did not over-mourn either of them. I was mostly grateful that they were now out of pain and out of this awful world.

When MIL goes. I already know that 4/5 of my kids are asking if they 'have to' go to Grandma's funeral. My Dh feels terrible that they feel this way. But they have no warm fuzzy memories of her--and knew how horribly she treated me--we'll see what happens.

Deep sighs of relief are in order. I wish you peace and a clear head as you navigate the EOL stuff that has to be done.

The person who commented that it usually takes a year to completely close out an estate is right on. DH was his dad's executor and he did a great job. But it was almost a year before we could stop getting forms notarized and chasing down random bits of info. I was able to help DH with this, and I will with his mother's estate too.

I wouldn't worry too much about your DH's seeming lack of emotion. It's really common...not that it doesn't make it harder on us, who see them suffering and they won't talk about it.


I agree with wanting the house sold so the estate can get processed and closed out ASAP. As it is it will probably take a year simply because the house will have to be sold and that may take a while. Plus getting the house cleaned out before the sale too.

I believe the taxes and maintenance are not affordable for SIL to pay and the estate has an obligation to get the ball rolling in settling everything in a timely fashion. The housing market is what it is and I don't expect it will get any better anytime soon.

Plus i think the longer this takes the longer it takes for DH to move on from abusive father and reclaim his life. SIL sounds like no amount of time will be enough for her to prepare to move out.

I believe FIL was in a facility for almost a year so there was no reason for SIL not to start thinking and making arrangements for the future.

Why the rush to have your SIL and BIL move out of the house? The housing market is extremely unstable right now. Where are they going to go? Where can they afford to go? Do they have a new place lined up? Rather than worry about your husband and SIL mourning a man who didn't give them reasons to grieve his loss, I would encourage you to help your husband and SIL figure out what's best for them as siblings and inheriting the proceeds from the sale of the house is part of that, just not the most important part in my opinion.

BG, I know it sounds like we are trying to rush them out. And I guess technically we are in a rush. Unfortunately, the house is entangled in the estate debt. And we don't have a long runway to clear.

The other reality is that none of this should be a shock to BIL and SIL. They have known for 3 years that at least a portion of the debt was entangled in the house and it would have to be sold to pay the debt.

For 15+ years my MIL, and then my FIL after her death, have been paying their bills. At no point during that time has my SIL had a job. At some points BIL has not worked.

DH and I do not have the additional funds to pay the bills on FIL's house or the debt on the house to keep it running(nor should we be expected to). The estate does not have the funds to pay the bills on the house and the debt. They do not currently even have the money to pay their own bills. Much less the funds to pay for the house bills or the debt. Quite literally the only way to help THEM is to sell the house quickly to settle the debt and to give them funds to pay their own bills and find somewhere to live. If we lose the house - they will have NOTHING.

So that is the reasoning behind the urgency to sell the house.

Your hubby tells you he is fine.
Don't make him talk about someone he just got RID of. He's probably trying to avoid telling you "good riddance to bad rubbish", because he doesn't want to seem so mean.
Your hubby probably LONG ago dealt with what he had as a dad.
He shouldn't have to deal with it again IMHO.

My own 37 year partner had a mom who wasn't much of a mom. I hate the label "narcissist" that we seem to toss on anyone we don't much like, but she was one. She spent his youth threatening suicide, not defending him from a religious zealot of a dad. After he was grown he spent as little time with her as he could. At the end he visited her briefly once a year in AZ. and assisted her setting up reverse mortgage, and with her in home caregivers. He called her every Sunday morning. Sundays were precious to him during his working career, and he tried to get "Vivie" out of the way quick so he could have his coffee and New York Times in peace.

When she died he heaved a sign of relief, cleaned up the last of everything (only child) and didn't for a second mourn her.

It is sad to say, but the passing of some leaves few mourners. In all truth, when my own MARVELOUS parents passed in their mid 90s I felt mostly relief that they were gone to the rest they were more than ready for. That I didn't have to fear for them. That I didn't have to stand witness to further losses for those fine folks.
Be guided by your hubby. If he wants to talk let him. If he doesn't, GREAT. And on you go. He may have feelings as he cleans things up. But he doesn't need a shrink to spend a decade working Woody-Allen-style through all this (and you SEE what good it did old Woody!).

Best out to you. You are a wonderful loving support to all involved. Just don't make them go places they no longer have to be. Celebrate the good life and love you have. Allow yourselves to laugh.IMHO.

BEG, I am sorry that your family is faced with this task. It is a challenge to process our emotions when we had a parent such as your FIL.

May The Lord lead, guide and direct all of you through this process. May HE help your husband and SIL get through the tough emotions that can come from the loss of an abusive parent.

First of all in most states people get up to a year after a person passes to settle an estate and file the Will in the probate court. Your FIL died a couple weeks ago. It may not be legally necessary to throw your BIL and SIL out of the house immediately to get paid quicker. Give them a little time for God's sake.

I have to say your description about your husband having a situation with his father and not a relationship is spot on. If he doesn't have grief over it, he doesn't have to. I didn't really have much grief when my father passed a few years ago and neither did my sibs. None of us were all that important to him and really we didn't have much of a relationship to speak of. I was his POA and did right by him by making sure the nursing home wasn't ripping him off and making sure he was receiving decent care.
This was more out of legal obligation. I'd do the same for anyone I was responsible for. I sure didn't do it for free though.

With parents and even spouses sometimes it is what it is and there isn't the type of grief we expect to see when they pass. Your husband could be grieving in a different way. Like grieving the relationship he never had with his father. That happens too.
If he wants to talk, he will. If he doesn't then just let him be.

I'm relieved for your DH and his sister (and you). I would wait to broach the topic with your DH. My experience was with my DH and a very nasty divorce his parents went through when he was a pre-teen (and a lot of crap in between that went on into our early married years with young kids). It was very messy and painful (too much to write about here).

He always insisted he was "over it" but his pain and resentment leaked out here and there. Eventually, when our oldest son was a young child and reached a certain age, my DH couldn't contain those emotional injuries any more and finally attempted to work through it using support and also talking to his Father. My DH is a Gold Medal passive-aggressive conflict-avoider so it amazed me that he did this. All this to say that a lot of time had to pass and he had to be mentally and emotionally in a certain spot to begin to deal with it. Maybe the same for your DH. He has just learned to bury the pain and that's why he seems ambivalent.

I'm so pleased that you found this forum helpful and encouraging. Yes, it's always shocking when people post here and then get angry when they read advice they don't want to read.

May your 2024 and beyond be filled with peace!

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