Some of you long time readers will remember this story..
In May, 2016, I had a huge argument with my parents. My mother in-law had just died, & since they read the obituaries in the weekly paper, I knew they would see hers. I also knew that they wouldn’t acknowledge what I had told them about her that caused me to go no contact with her 14 years prior, but instead would talk about what a great lady she was. I was mentally prepared for that, so when I saw their number on my caller ID the day after her funeral when the paper came out, I wasn’t surprised. I asked God to help me get through the call & guide my words. I thought it was going to be a mostly typical conversation, & I was wrong.
I was NOT prepared for my parents being angry with me for not telling them about her death so they could attend the funeral. I also was ill prepared for the intense feeling of betrayal or the rage that I felt. I ended up yelling at, crying & cussing out my parents. Not my normal behavior by any means! When I hung up the phone my first step was to pray. I told God I was so sorry! I never should’ve behaved that way. Somehow I must have missed His guidance & messed up everything. God spoke to me extremely clearly at that time, & said, “I wanted this to happen. Your parents needed to see their normally calm & reasonable daughter extremely upset thanks to their behavior.”
That argument was the last time I spoke to my mother before she died just under three years later. It was also one of the last times I spoke to my father who died about eighteen months after. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I think that argument was a catalyst for no contact for me, which in turn motivated my parents to turn to God at the end of their lives. It really did have a purpose!
At that time & for quite a while after, however, in spite of knowing my parents needed to see my reaction, I still felt terrible. The guilt was intense!
I think this is normal for most children of narcissistic parents. Our parents train us early in life to please them at all costs, & to feel intense guilt or even shame when we fail. Even when we are adults, when we do something that we perceive as wrong, we automatically feel that guilt because it’s a reflex built into us by our parents.
The thing is though that sometimes doing something other people think is wrong is a good thing. Naturally narcissists would disagree with that, but it’s true. What one person sees as wrong can be right for someone else.
While the guilt may make you feel as if you’re doing something bad, it may be inappropriate to the situation. God may be working through you, & sometimes He works through people in rather unusual ways. Just look at the argument I had with my parents. It felt awful at the time, but it turned out to be very beneficial for all three of us.
The next time you automatically feel guilt about something, then please, take a moment to ask God if that guilt is justified or if He is working through you somehow. You may be very pleasantly surprised to find out He is working through you, & there is no valid reason for you to feel any guilt!