If I would put half as much effort into being perfect as my mother does in seeming perfect, I would get pretty close. You know, other than the fact that perfection is impossible, haha!
The idea that they are perceived by the world as perfect (not their family, just by strangers) is a driving force of the narcissist’s behavior. It always baffles me, because there is an enormous amount of energy expended to uphold this illusion.
The number of time I was commanded to do something because “what would people think” or “how will that make me look”. Like when I was dragging my feet going to church one Sunday and my mother grabbed me by the wrist and got right close to my face saying: you have my reputation to uphold!
That reputation is like gold. The devout Christian, the committed community leader, the beloved teacher, the magical hostess, even the loving mother. Remember, I said she only wants to SEEM all these things, she does not want to BE any of them.
When my mother retired, she made a video presentation of the wonderful memories her pupils had of her. She went around to former pupils and interviewed them about how they had loved her as a teacher, and how she had affected their lives. Yes, you read that correctly, SHE did the interviews and made the video. It was shown at her retirement do at the school, as well as the party that followed at the house.
Yep, if she had only worked so hard to actually have that profound effect on her students, rather than just appear to be such a great teacher. Maybe then some of her former students would have been moved to share and create such a tribute to my mother’s influence on their lives, without her doing the interviews herself…