My father also has no friends. He doesn't stay in touch with what little family we've got left. He intermittently sees people here and there, and complains about me to them. His problem is, they then tell me all about it and are quite bewildered by what he said. Narcissists have their own world, but the people around them share more or less the same world.
I just saw the problem I had with my dad for 2 years in light of his narcissism and it's a relief to know I wasn't just being ungrateful and unreasonable.
See, my dad and I legally own 2 apartments - he owns the one he inherited from his parents, and I own the one I inherited from my mother, the one they used to live in. For years, he was living with his girlfriend in her house, renting one of the apartments for extra money, and using the other one as a 'base' in case she left him. And I let him, thinking he had the right to that.
But when I got a job in the city and needed to live there with my family, the only solution he allowed was to keep renting out the apartment he's less attached to and take the money from that, and to let us live in his 'base' - but he reserved the right to drop by any time, using his key, telling us which lamps need to be lit at all times and to wind the cuckoo clock that drove us crazy.
I wanted the other apartment, because it's a better place for the kids, the good schools are near, the park is near, and with a little creative architecture we can turn the dining room into a room for the kids.
He kept putting it off. He said it would happen, but in a few years. Meanwhile, we were to live in the place where we weren't allowed to move anything and where he felt free to barge in on us at any moment, once while we were having sex!
And he kept wanting to be seen as a victim, because I was trying to rob him of his extra income, when he was perfectly able all the time to rent out the other apartment for the same amount!
In my culture, parents very often, even if they can't really afford it, BUILD or BUY houses or apartments for their adult kids, and that's considered normal. Instead of young people being burdened with credit from the onset of their lives, the older people who've already raised kids are thought to be more able to buy real estate. I never expected this. Just to be allowed to use one of the apartments the two of us owned!
And I used to think of him as only too generous a father, because that was the image he projected when I was a child. He offered to buy me toys and clothes and gadgets, but I usually refused. Now I remember why - I didn't want to have to be so grateful all the time. Everybody thought I was such a modest child. Nope.
Only now do I realize it was all about control. A narcissist will only give when the gift serves to perpetuate the control. Anything that liberates the source of narcissistic supply will be put at the end of a long stick.
Well, I prayed about it and a solution came to us - the tenants wanted to move to the other apartment for the same price!
So now we're redecorating the 50+ year old apartment with its 50+ year old furniture that's falling apart. And we get the same criticism, over and over again, for every little piece of rotten squeaky wood we throw out. And our neighbors get his complaining. And my ILs. And my mom's sister.
And I asked him, repeatedly, if there was anything in the apartment he was attached to, anything dear to him, anything he'd like to take. Nope. Nothing.
And then, a year of 'You threw away the old big gray phone!' 'They threw away the old big gray phone!'
And we didn't evem throw it away. And I told him we didn't. But he prefers being the victim of us throwing away the big old gray phone and complaining about it to anyone with ears (didn't want to say anyone who'll listen, because people won't, but they have to).
And when I try to tell him to stop any of that, he sulks and gives me the silent treatment, his favorite punishment when I was a child. Only it doesn't work any more, because it's actually a relief to not get the daily dose of 'You threw away the big old gray phone' over the phone.
So he makes the first contact. Or I sometimes do, with a casual sms that shows I don't think there's been any problem in our communication at all. And he's all saccharine sweetness then.
I feel bad for him. I can see he's somehow suffering, but I can't take the blame for it any more. He's suffering because he wants to. I'm not hurting him, he's feeling hurt. I can pray for him and welcome him into our lives on our terms, but I can't play the sick narcissistic game with him.