I think all adult children of narcissists do is we expect perfection from ourselves, especially where our narcissistic mothers are concerned.
Once we learn about NPD, we become more aware of our narcissistic mother’s tactics. We seem to think once we are more aware, we should never fall for her tactics again, we shouldn’t slip up or go along with her games. Now, we know better & that will not happen ever again!
While that sounds good in theory, there are going to be times we slip up. We’re only human after all, & we’ll make mistakes.
I’m not immune to this either. I wish I was.
The last time my parents visited, I tried to distract my mother from some nastiness by showing her a tote I just crocheted. I created the pattern myself & thought it turned out pretty. So have others who have seen it. Plus, she loves crocheting- she’d just mentioned it a moment before, which is why I thought of my bag. All she could say when she saw it was to ask what it’s for. I said for shopping. Then she said “I’ve seen women using purses that size- they’re going to regret it when their backs hurt later in life!” I mentally kicked myself at this point. How could I be so stupid?! I designed it & it turned out well- of course she would have something nasty to say & to distract from my project! I don’t think she’s ever created a pattern, I’ve created several- it’s natural for her as a narcissist to trash what I’ve done.
This happens all too often, & also too often, I beat myself up for failing. I write about narcissism- I should know better! People want to read what my experiences are & how I handle things, & it’s embarrassing to admit how often I screw up. People expect better out of me because of what I write about. How can they look to me for answers when I make so many mistakes??
I realized a few things though, & I pray sharing them with you will help you to stop beating yourself up like it is helping me.
Learning about narcissism is a fantastic thing. It really can help you to become aware of what is truly abusive behavior & even ways to avoid it. The fact is though, that learning about it isn’t a cure all. If you still have a relationship with your narcissistic mother, there still will be times she hurts you or manipulates or controls you. Thankfully those times will be less, but they still will happen occasionally. When they do, you need to NOT beat yourself up over it!
Dealing with a narcissist is never an easy thing. They are masters of gaslighting. They are also masters of reading people & abuse. If they realize one abusive tactic isn’t working, they’ll simply pull another out of their bottomless bag of evil tricks. There is no end to the evil things they can do. How can you expect to handle them perfectly when many times, they surprise you with their outrageous & hurtful actions? Besides, your narcissistic mother has had your entire life to train you to behave as she wants. You’ve only known about NPD a comparatively short while. How can your brief time of knowledge compete with a lifetime of training?
You are NOT perfect! If you were, you wouldn’t need Jesus. Accept the fact you are going to make mistakes sometimes, even where your mother is concerned. It’s ok! If you’re having trouble with this, ask God to help you. He will help you to stop being so hard on yourself.