NAM hated my birth mother. She never said anything good about her, or even anything neutral. She also used to tell me--whenever I did something she really didn't like, or when she was So Concerned about me--that I was acting just like Alice Jo.
"You're doing just like she did, and you're gonna turn out just like her, no matter how hard I've tried to keep it from happening. I just don't know what to do anymore."
She would tell me about the traits of my birth mother that she didn't like, such as how she dressed, or how her clothes fit her. Ridiculous things that meant nothing. I think she had to disparage and devalue my birth mother so that she would feel superior by comparison. The common theme of "tearing others down to build yourself up" was her life's mission. I think they kept the adoption open just so I would have an idea of who my birth mother was and would think she was inferior compared to my adopters, and so they could show how much better they were doing with me and my brother than she did. With a closed adoption, she would never see how big our house was or that we had a pool. A closed adoption doesn't allow a narcissist the chance to show the birth parent how much better off the child is with the adopters.
I'm trying to remember what specific "offenses" would get her up on this cross, but I'm thinking it was mainly anything to do with me not reading her mind, acting a certain way around other people, or just being a person who was separate from her.
She also loved telling me something I'd done wrong after it happened. For example, if we were somewhere around lots of others who knew us, and I was able to be myself for a bit because she was not glaring at me and watching my every move and policing my every word, she would tell me (either on the way home or the next day) how I had "showed my butt" or "made them think I was snooty and better than everyone else."
"Showed your butt"--usually meant she didn't like how I acted because someone complimented me to her, or it meant that I acted confident and less like I hated myself, and other people saw. It could also mean I acted like I was hurt by her actions, and other people saw this, or she feared I had told someone what she had done.
I look back on these things and realize how pathetic and fearful she was. If only I had known about narcissism back then, I could have been spared much heartache and self-blame.