Daughter: OK, you can tell me. So you had an affair and I am not Dad’s daughter then. That’s OK. I can take that. I guess Dad doesn’t know since he really treats me as his own daughter.
Mother: No. Your Dad is your Dad. The man I have been talking about was my first husband. I love your Dad and your Dad loves me. Your Dad is my second husband.
Daughter: You’ve never told me about this. And who’s this first husband of yours?
Mother: I think you can guess…
Daughter: Oh, my goodness, are you saying Uncle J was your first husband? Poor Uncle J, who’s so nice, fun loving, and gift giving and everything. Could he be this heartless man you showered your unrequited love to? And by the way, I like poor Uncle J. I feel sorry for him somehow. Why did you have to insist on chasing after him and scheming to marry him? Why? Why couldn’t you find somebody else who would love you?
Mother: Well…you know I was brought up in a narcissistic family. My parents, who are your grandparents of course, are both narcissistic. I have tried so hard to shield you from their poison all these years. Anyway, they brought me up and treated me very badly. I didn’t mean physical abuse but there was constant verbal abuse on my look, my sulkiness, my awkwardness, and my inability to meet their expectations. In order to meet their expectation, I tried hard, but still they considered me a disappointment. For a boyfriend, I also wanted to try hard to get the cleverest guy in my college. And your Uncle J was this guy that I knew my parents would approve. I had this blind urge to chase after him. As a child brought up in a narcissistic household, I had a defective brain and I couldn’t do otherwise.
Daughter: Then what happened?
Mother: I knew my relationship with him wouldn’t work out, but I just couldn’t stop myself from chasing after him. It’s like global warming. You know people know fossil fuel is bad for the environment, but people just can’t stop using it. After I married your Uncle J, we came back to our island and built a biotech company. With the patent he got from the professor, we were selling very well in the Southeast Asia region. Finally I made enough money that I could afford to go to see a psychiatrist. I hired an American psychiatrist who skype with me once a week and I also hired an Asian psychiatrist who shares my cultural background. I took sessions with them weekly to finally get my mind mended. This is essential since you know most of the damaged persons would repeat their mistake again and again–they can’t love the people who love them back, and they end up chasing after people who are unsuitable for them. I wanted to get out of this bad cycle and psychotherapy was the only way…
Daughter: Then what? How did you meet Dad?
Mother: Your Dad was a junior manager we hired. I tested him extensively before I revealed everything to him. He is a man with business acumen and he is not as conventional as other men, which explains why he always has brilliant business ideas. He could always think outside of the box while most people cannot. I think he also has an instinct for people. He understands and connects with people, knowing their ability and aspiration. What your Dad understands your Uncle J will never understand. Your Dad had not done well professionally before I met him because he came from a rural background, with an accent and a scar on his face caused by a nasty fall. He’s a good manager and a good businessman, but no company wanted to hire him due to his background, accent, and scar. I hired him and eventually married him. With the help from two psychiatrists, I was able to get out of my funk and find a man who not only loves me but also helps me in my business.
Daughter: Poor Uncle J. How could he run the company with you after you divorced him?
Mother: Oh, sweetheart, remember he didn’t really love me. Also he had his beautiful nurses…
Daughter: Oh, my goodness. Don’t tell me you supply him with…? Mother, you are so scheming. Do you have to do this? I wish I will not be like you. I wish I can live with a clear conscience. Wait, I am going to write a letter to Uncle J to warn him. He is so generous and nice. He always brings me presents.
Mother: I can’t believe you like Uncle J so much.
A week later, a letter reaches Uncle J, who’s taking a vacation in a popular tropical resort.
Uncle J: What is this letter from? Oh, from my business partner’s daughter. Can you open it and read it to me?
Nurse: OK, I will do that.
The beautiful nurse opens the letter, but when she reads it, she skips the part that says, “be wary of my mother and beautiful nurses.”