Many of my listeners grew up in broken homes. They have wondered for many years what went wrong. They don't feel like their childhoods were happy, but they can't quite put their fingers on what caused the discontent. On the surface their parents tried to make it look like everything was picture perfect. Other people outside of the family might even have believed it. The children often grow up blaming themselves for everything that went wrong at home. However, this is far from the truth.
Once people start to dig into their childhoods, they may begin to realize that at least one parent wasn't quite what he or she seemed. It was hard to differentiate which parent caused the discontent at home. A person's mother could seem chronically unhappy, depressed, and anxious. She might behave as though she is jealous, ungrateful, unappreciative, or critical. The truth isn't always what it seems. Sometimes the father is the actual culprit in a happy marriage, but he is content to attribute the problems in the family to the disobedient children or nagging wife.
Many people find out much later that it was really a narcissistic father at the root of all of the family's problems. The narcissistic father often causes the mother's steep mental decline by using gaslighting to break down her self-esteem. He isolates her from her friends and family and often reacts in angry and jealous ways to her attempts to interact with coworkers or school personnel. He often doesn't support the mother or the children emotionally.
The narcissistic father might triangulate the mother or pit others against her to make her react in jealous ways or to destroy her self-confidence. He might be competing against the mother, always holding the family assets just out of arm's reach for her. She constantly has to fight him or beg him in order to provide things that the children need.