Let’s just say her name is M. She told me a story, a true story, in which her mother’s behavior really puzzled her. She was a teenager at the time, going on a vacation with her parents. Due to the holiday bookings or other inexplicable reasons, her parents ended up living in one part of the hotel and she ended up living in another part. During the night, she found that she didn’t bring enough underwear or outfit with her. So the following morning, she got up early and did her laundry, which the hotel guests could do for free. As she was finishing the laundry and taking the clothes out of the dryer, her mother came. Looking at her and her laundry, her mother was visibly angry but didn’t say anything. She asked her mother “what’s wrong”, but she would not give her an answer.
Now looking back, I can’t help analyzing the incident. Well, I watched a dozen videos about psychology and narcissists, and I want to be an amateur psychologist. I guess that M’s mother was probably not happy that M did the laundry herself. The mother probably wanted to gather all the laundry together and do one load to satisfy the need of all. However, there’s no reason she should not explain her feeling to M in a playful or a serious way. She could have said, “you think you are all growing up and independent?” “Why don’t you wait for us?” “Hi, you have two teammates here who also need to do laundry. Shouldn’t we do it together?”
I think her mother really has her interest in her heart and wishes the best for her. She’s a good mother who always wants to do the appropriate thing. However even she sometimes would do things that bear resemblance to what a narcissist will do. If something happens that is not to the narcissist’s liking, no matter how trifle, he or she doesn’t explain the reason or communicate as a normal person would. He or she would stonewall or give you silent treatment. Or he or she will throw abusive comments. Or he or she will start a smear campaign or recruit several flying monkeys to plague the victim.
I met M’s mother a couple of times and I really couldn’t say I like her. She has a rule book in her head. And anything that didn’t fit her rule book would be ridiculed by her. I was afraid to eat food when she was around since I was afraid of being accused of having no table manners. I was afraid of describe movies I liked, since she expressed her dislike of several classical movies I used to watch. M and I were housemate at the time in a university. Her mother came to my room and commented on the austerity of my room. Then she insisted that I should take possession of a sofa in the common area. I resisted, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. It ended up that we pushed a sofa into my room. I knew she was trying to show her kindness, but … well… I enjoyed my austerity and my minimalist environment. It matters to me very much that I should reduce the load of my chores and minimize the surface that I needed to dust. I could spend my time in much better ways. An extra sofa is an extra item to be taken care of.
I don’t think M’s mother is a narcissist even though the incident has a little tinge of narcissism to it.
I am fascinated by these videos on narcissism since they explain my family so accurately. So accurate that it’s like a math formula. Psychology is a science after all. However that doesn’t mean psychologists are all experts since it is said some psychologists can be very incompetent.