A Narcissist Cure?

 

It’s Narcissist Friday!

I have received a couple questions recently about how a narcissist can change.  There is a surprising lack of literature on methods of treatment for narcissism.  Most books are written for family members, spouses, and others in relationships with narcissists; in other words, the victims.  In fact, most books that even mention the idea of treatment say something like this quote I found in a clinical book specifically about narcissism:  “Narcissistic disorders are prevalent and believed to be among the most difficult clinical problems to treat.”  I find the combination of “prevalent” and “most difficult” to be concerning.

Does that mean there are a lot of narcissists out there and there is nothing anyone can do about them?  It may seem that way, and that’s why most of the books are about how to deal with them, avoid them or recuperate from them.  Most family counselors, pastoral therapists, etc. have never tried to treat a narcissist and most wouldn’t know where to begin.  Fortunately, that seems to be balanced by the fact that so few narcissists believe anything is wrong with them.  Their problems are easily blamed on others.  Not many narcissists will ever come to a counselor for treatment.

The problem, in general, is that narcissism is usually a survival technique learned in early childhood through repetitive traumatic situations in which the child feels powerless, rejected, and valueless.  The particular technique used is to deny the negative feelings and the negative self-appraisal and replace the perceived reality by a more positive and personally-designed substitute.  Since the narcissist knows that the substitute is not real, he must continually reinforce it and reject any attempt to reveal the truth.

Now, if you understand the above paragraph, you see why narcissists are hard to treat and usually don’t seek treatment.  Counselors who understand narcissism often find that the most reasonable types of treatment don’t work because the narcissists will not cooperate.  They will not do homework, will reject the counselor’s assessments, or will lie to manipulate the exposure.

So what can a narcissist do if he really does want to change?  He should find a good counselor, someone who has an understanding of and experience with narcissism.  If he truly wants to change and isn’t playing a game, there are things that will help.  The counselor will want to look at what happened so long ago and why the child chose that survival technique.  The narcissist will find this process very difficult, but going through it will be the key.

Now, I have no fantasies about being able to cure a disorder the professional therapists find daunting.  As a Christian, I believe the Lord can do anything, even cure a narcissist.  I also believe that it would take a miracle from Him to accomplish forward progress and I would not hesitate to ask for one.  I think a narcissist should go to the Lord, with the counselor if possible.  In the presence of the Lord, the truth can be confronted.

Narcissists do not deal well with truth.  Many victims note how easily the narcissist lies.  These folks are the ultimate utilitarians; they use whatever it takes to accomplish their purposes.  Truth, like a person, is just a tool to use.  It has little meaning outside of its usefulness.  If a falsehood will accomplish the purpose more effectively or even easier, it can be substituted without qualms.

But for the narcissist to progress away from the disorder, the truth will have to be confronted and accepted.

In the last two “Narcissist Friday” posts, I shared a couple stories that are difficult to read.  Both of them elicit sympathy from the reader.  My purpose was to show how deeply the wounds that led to the narcissism exist in the life of the narcissist.  In order to progress, the narcissist will have to look honestly at the feelings he or she experienced during that time and find a new way to survive.

I believe that the love of Jesus Christ provides a different way of hope and life.  The narcissist does not have to hide the reality of his pain and suffering.  He can take those things to Jesus and find peace and acceptance.

Easy?  Of course not!  Who wants to go there again?  But there is hope….

What do you think?

50 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

50 responses to “A Narcissist Cure?

  1. Hope. It can be awfully difficult to believe in.

    Thank you for the beautiful post. It’s difficult, but good, to step back every once in a while and think about what made a narcissist what they are. It’s difficult to maintain empathy, and Lord knows we need it. =)

  2. Walter

    Very helpful, thank-you for posting this.

  3. Romans 7:24 :(

    Isaiah 57:10
    “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
    And do not return there without watering the earth
    And making it bear and sprout,
    And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;

    11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
    It will not return to Me empty,
    Without accomplishing what I desire,
    And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it

    Prayer and the Word help the narcissist more than anything. There are a lot of reasons why counseling is very difficult for the narcissist, even after he has accepted his condition and eagerly wants to change. The narcissist cannot help but struggle with paranoia and persecutory delusions – these woes engulf the narcissist soon as a he starts trusting or confiding in someone, like a counselor. Once that process starts, the narcissist begins to reinterpret everything that was said and discussed through the lens of his natural paranoia.

    Those who lack empathy never can objectively or subjectively grasp the love others have for them. This is part of what makes the narcissist’s prognosis so bleak. But God can give a heart of flesh to any heart of stone.

    Prayer is very very important for the narcissist. He should be praying, and the people around him should be praying for him. God knows how to deal with narcissists. Philippians 1:6 applies to narcissistic believers too.

    The narcissist’s internal world is real life horror story. You just want him to be less paranoid of you so you can keep feeding him gospel truth. The cure for the narcissist is to have the Word of Christ dwelling richly inside him.

    Only God can change a narcissist. But even if it were possible to get the narcissist to modify his behavior, it is all a waste if a) he has only learned how to avoid hurting others, while still dealing with the torment of his condition in secret or b) if it results in behavior modification only, without the narcissist ever getting saved or drawing nearer still to his creator if he is saved.

    If I am focused on the worthiest and loftiest goal, growing in Christ’s likeness, I am happy and the people around me are happy. But if my mind is set on anything short of that, NPD is too formidable a foe for even the most sincere efforts will fall apart

    • “Only God can change a narcissist. But even if it were possible to get the narcissist to modify his behavior, it is all a waste if a) he has only learned how to avoid hurting others, while still dealing with the torment of his condition in secret or b) if it results in behavior modification only, without the narcissist ever getting saved or drawing nearer still to his creator if he is saved.”

      I really appreciate your comments, but this statement presents a problem. While you are right that the narcissist is a person with need for a Savior and only the Savior can save him or her, it is certainly not “all a waste” if he learns to “avoid hurting others.” If a narcissist can learn to live without using and abusing others, he may find that those who love him will stay with him. I have communicated with many wives of narcissists and children of narcissists who sincerely want to help, but are constantly hurt and abused. They want their marriages to work and their families to be happy. They are willing to stay by, even with the pain, if there is hope of helping the narcissist.

      The narcissist believes that others will reject him if he gives them a chance. He does not believe that love is possible, especially toward him. But these things are not true and if he could stop hurting the people in his life, he may find that there is great love available.

      Again, I agree with all my heart that “behavior modification” is not enough. You are right on. But sometimes behavior modification is the first step to saving a relationship which could be a key to a real solution. I am not talking about law or standards. I am talking about not using others. This is why our culture throws the child molester in jail before trying to help him. I believe this is what Jesus calls us to do.

      But we must never forget that the narcissist does need a Savior and Jesus offers the only real help, the only love powerful enough, to re-create a person.

      There is much more to say. I care and I appreciate your willingness to comment.

  4. Romans 7:24 :(

    You are absolutely correct.

    • John

      Pastor & Romans 7:24, Kudos to both of you as you are both right. I am living in the chilly/tormentful/chaotic/devalued/expectant less/unsympathetic life with my wife who hits 9 out 10 narcissistic behaviors. We have been to 3 marriage counselors, 1 pastor, and I had our new pastor visit to talk with her (why did I bother, she told him she’s such a good christian she got saved and Baptized twice). In short I’ve been run out of my house numerous times, slept on sofas in hotels, slept in my van, slept in cheap motes on my birthday, slept on the side of the road, walked the streets of Vegas at 3am (on my wedding day!) all for this women. I have come to terms that this is where God found me, this is where I turned my eyes upon Jesus and repented of my sinful ways and was restored to a right standing and found the Grace of God because of this hellish tormentor of a wife. I am not asking for pity I’ve vexed my own soul on earth when I turned my back on God and walked away from the family and children God delivered to me and sought Baal (the love of the world). God never promised me a rose garden on earth; I figure if I patiently endure, if I bear up with Jesus Grace for another 20-30 years, I’ll find my solace in Glory. I am committed to this women,I’ve told her I’ve stopped running; I stand with Jesus to rescue her soul even if it takes the rest of my life. I now know for all her verbal abuse she is a 2 year scared child that God desperately wants to heal, just like me. I have no illusions that God will bring a lighting bolt down and strike her sane and saved tomorrow but on the flip side God has carefully guided me through his stern correction for my former wayward life and I’m the recipient of Joy Unspeakable that God would intervene and put me through this fire and correct my heart and mind toward Christ Jesus. So you see a sinner came home and God will overcome my wife’s tormented soul when she allows herself the chance to look up and see Jesus. Until that day “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Pray for your Brother John as I seek courage/Grace each day to patiently endure to the end either I win (die and go to heaven) or God saves my wife’s soul with definite fruits of the Spirit!

  5. How do you bring a narcissist to God? The one I know and love, never loved anyone but himself. He says that teaching faith in God is abuse.
    With all this said he is suffering tremendously. He is an adult male in his mid-forties and cries daily.
    There is no question that he used others without any shame (he used me, of course). NOTHING and nobody exists for him but himself. He does not care to contribute to the expenses of the household, he does not care to help in the household, he does not even care to get up in the morning. He gets up at 4 p.m. in the afternoon and stays up in the night to work, suffers from insomnia.
    How should we start to help him. – I keep him in my prayers.

    • Romans 7:24

      Everybody knows that God exists, Romans 1:18-22. The narcissist simply rejects this. The unsaved narcissist needs to know that God is real, and that if anything we exist in God’s imagination, not vice versa, and that he is going to hell if he does not repent of his sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. This man is an unbeliever and if he died tomorrow he would go straight to hell for eternity. He needs to hear that piece of information plain and simple. Then if he persists in his unbelief and wakes up in hell one day, you can know that he won’t be saying there was something more you could have said.

      The narcissist does need to know that God loves him. Testify to this as best you know how. But the narcissist also needs to know that God is just and God will punish sin. He needs to see that he is a sinner and that his unbelief will certainly condemn him to hell unless he repents of it. The truth about hell can cut the heart of even the most hardened narcissist. Narcissists are creatures who always act in their own self interest. He is on the brink of eternity and it is definitely in his self interest that he does not spend it in the lake of fire.

      Narcissists always see things in black and white. No Jesus = Lake of Fire. Share the gospel with him as best you know how, but definitely do not leave out the fact that he’ll end up in hell if he doesn’t believe it.

      If you only tell the narcissist about God’s love, you are leaving out the fact that God hates sin and will punish sin, you are not telling him the whole gospel, and the narcissist will simply brush it aside or view God as another source of getting what he wants. He needs to see that God is more powerful than him, and that God will NOT be manipulated into letting him into heaven, he will not be able to talk his way out of hell on judgement day, and this is a biggish realization for a narcissist

      Then the narcissist will suddenly value Christ as the one mediator between himself and God, the only Man standing between him and hell. Hopefully. The narcissist only cares about what he needs. Show him he needs the benefits of Christ’s finished work on the cross. Let God do the rest

      And don’t forget to tell him about God’s love either

    • Eva, I am just leaving on a trip and won’t be posting for a while. I may be able to respond to comments along the way, but only maybe. I just want you to know that I am praying for you and for your husband. It is obvious that he needs some quality help, but I know that’s hard for a narcissist to do and even then it only sometimes helps. Let’s pray that GOd will get to him, even though he isn’t interested in getting to God. I believe that God initiates relationships. The ride may be bumpy, but probably not worse than you have now.

      I will continue to pray for you and will write more later.

      Dave

  6. Romans 7:24

    And if he is going through difficult times, encourage him with Biblical accounts such as Job, and Joseph, and the stuff on God’s discipline in Hebrews 12 and Proverbs 3, Isaiah 57:15-21. Perhaps God is using these trials to draw him to Himself. Either way he needs the Bible and he needs to know how important it is for him to avoid the lake of fire. God will do the rest.

  7. Romans 7:24

    My comments may have been a little harsh, but consequences of unbelief are harsh too, I am actually a narcissist, and I have also witnessed to a narcissist who I am very close to, who is starting to show signs of saving faith. The need for salvation is more important than anything else, but I do want to encourage you that change is possible, although the battle with the flesh is very hard for a narcissist.

    I was probably a lot worse than your husband, but when I read John 3:3, I realized I needed to be born again, and if I was not born again I would certainly go to hell.

    I truly believe fear and shame underlie most of what the narcissist does. I needed to fear God, the fear of God is what changed my life, and that is the beginning of wisdom, genuine faith makes a person see their need for salvation, and produces a Matthew 5:3 attitude, and Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit. That is a very encouraging verse to the narcissist but he needs to come to grips with his spiritual condition.

    I truly believe it is far more important for a narcissist to come to grips with his spiritual condition than it is for him to come to grips with his psychological condition. There is no one who really believes that narcissism can be cured apart from God’s direct intervention. The narcissist unbeliever is the same as any other unbeliever, unsaved and enslaved to sin, He needs to come into the victory Christ obtained for us on the cross, faith in Jesus results in changed lives

    I know 1 Peter 3:1 tells wives how to deal with their unbelieving husbands. I am definitely not qualified to say how you apply that truth to your particular situation though. I just wanted to say that change is possible, but it needs to come through a change in their spiritual condition, that is their deepest need, to be saved and regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

    • Love my reformed narcissist

      Thank you so much. My husband is a narcissist and doesn’t know it. I’ve tried everything to save my marriage. The only thing I can do now is trust God will change his heart. Your words give me hope

  8. hugh

    The narcissist is an insecure,scared, child who builds a castle of pride around their fragile egos. However, they quickly learn that attack is the best form of defense and become skilled bullies, turning their sheilds into weapons and slowly acquiring a taste for power and adulation. Before long,their lies,rants and unpleasantness becomes their true nature and they retreat further and further into their own grandiose thoughts and beliefs. Old habits die hardest and by now the narcissist has lost his way back to reality and truth and is now trapped by their own persona. What was once a safe haven is now their prison. Until the reject the drug of pride and self-love, they will remain outside of God’s will and the love of others.

  9. Annie

    I am new to this blog and have escaped a very scary situation after a short 2 yr 10 mth second marriage. I got safe through a flood at home and my adult children seeing the reality and helping me get free. That was two years ago. Last year I agreed to counselling and ended it one yr ago after I saw clearly he was again using and abusing me me for his own gain. I divorced him in Feb 2012. The sad thing for me was that this Narc, and many like him actually use the church to build their reputation, clinging to certain “reputable people” to gain his own reputation. I truly believed he was a Godly man and would be a spiritual leader in our home. How wrong I was. After a whirlwind relationship we married….. Married by his bestie who was a respected pastor …. Must be ok then? Within two months the tables turned and this “lovely” Christian man became abusive. He was like Jekyll and Hyde. The manipulation was perfect and my heart and spirit gradually became crushed. he did every form of abuse and began excluding me from friends and even church. I was shocked how this could have happened. I am a Christian, have bee all of my life and I’m also a Psychologist who has worked with victims…. Including sexual assault. My sanity has been saved by God teaching me how this can happen. That has been through websites like this and books and doing training in Domestic Violence through work. I now know that Narcs target people like me. Not because I’m dumb or weak but because a Narc targets an empath. I now value who I am and this is what he set out to control and thereby destroy. My beautiful and loyal Father would not let that happen and set me free. I now am going to use my knowledge to help others as God reveals how. This is already happening. I wanted to comment tHough that Pastors and leaders need to get real about this. I have had to leave my Church because none of the leaders will deal with this Narc and live by Grace. The senior Pastor and other leaders believed I could sit in the same small church with the Narc nearby and worship, love and forgive. It was so painful for me NOT HIM!! When my brother died his Bestie Pastor took it upon himself to inform my divorced ex. Then Narc contacted me in my vulnerability and I got sucked in with his care. Very soon I realised and sent a no contact message. I am thankful that we had no children. One day I will write my own book. I just want to warn about the use of Christianity. The Narc is an expert at manipulating the believers. I should not have had to leave my Church to survive. I did. I phoned to make an appointment with the Senior Pastor to discuss leaving. 9 weeks ago….. No appt was given. That showed me I was right to leave. I have now found anotHer place to worship but was witHout a Family for five months. These Narcs keep winning even though we leave. I hope for His healing but not for me. I truly don’t ever want to see him again. You see I found out after I left that he has used the church to get women before and I wasn’t alone in the abuse factor. Three abusive marriages, abuse of children, AVOS , gun charges, sexual, physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological. I DIDN’T KNOW. Everyone collides in the cover up, the lies, the deception. Oh he must be changed as it is ten years since he was married!! No change. Sad. Yes I believe only God can do tHis as he lied to the counsellors. Gods knows He uses the church and hHis name to do his evil work. I have no feelings for him now as he truly is IN HIS HANDS.

    • Annie

      Meant to be “colludes” not collides. Meant to say …. Only God can do any real healing.

    • Judy

      Annie, I just read your posting (glad they remain available so long). I am in the throes of a similar story, seeking God’s guidance for the immediate days ahead. I would appreciate your input. Could you email me?
      Judy

    • Megan

      Yes this is what i have been going through for the past 8yrs. I am destroyed and we have a 2.5yr old. We are both Christians and yet to him it only means being able to use it as another cover up tool. It has taken years for me to finally put all the pieces of the puzzle together and finally put a name to this. No other councelor or pastor could do it because oh he seems to sincere and knows all the right words and emotions to say and express. Yes has pple sucked in. Not every one though. My family and friends have seen him in desperate moments and well any one who spend enough time around him could pick up on it but other than that most pple are fooled. Your right, it is the victim who is left tormented and broken while the narc walks away in tact. Despite the fact that in reality he is in torment, he is able to move on to his next vice to feed his need and ego. I wanted so much to help him but as others say he is in most part denial and above help. I finally realize that just because he is my husband that does not mean that God wants my and our daughter to be abused and torn down only to serve a man who is not God. I read so many books on Christian marriage, submission and respect. I applied it and i thought i had the key to make it work. I didn’t realize back then that i was actually fueling his illness. It enabled him to indulge in his created reality. He does need Jesus whether he is already saved or not, until he surrenders to God and realizes that He is the one in control, i believe there is no hope. All i can do is protect myself and love him from a distance. Pray for him non ceasing. I love him and want him well again, to be free from this stronghold of pure evil.

  10. Angela

    Actually I thought the word “collides” worked pretty good too, that is about how it happens. It is shocking to see how easily people get sucked in. There seems to be no end to the narcs tricks and games, and no end of people willing to believe at face value and falling at their feet. We were taught to be trusting, taught to be nice, taught not to judge. Christians shouldn’t judge. Well, that sure got turned around to meaning “let it all go, accept everything and everybody.” Yet when I read the Bible, I don’t see that at all. There are countless scriptures about seeing and assessing and turning away from. Scriptures about wisdom, and judging the spirits, and fools and liars, and coming out from among them and on and on. I was taught that you can tell “these people” from a mile away. But the truth is often the opposite. The devil is a lot smarter than to have his traps look like traps, complete with neon warning signs and a list of juicy bait to watch out for.

    …a friend of mine is battling mice in her house- we talk about how to get them, have you tired this? What about that? I heard this works, and sometimes that works, someone told me about this, and I read about that. In other words, the mice WILL be eliminated. There is a way, and that way WILL be found. The option of just getting used to them is NOT an option. It struck me how similar the relentless mind of a narcissist works…and how relentless we need to be in never giving up hope.
    (I am preaching to myself here)

    These posts break my heart at the same time as they relieve that feeling of being alone in this hellish mess. May God set the captives free, free in body, free in mind, heart and spirit. May He give each of us His wisdom, and strength when we have none of our own, may His love and joy and peace surround us like a shield from the enemies of our souls.

  11. JCD

    Dave, you are right that narcissists are very black and white thinkers. That certainly applies to my husband. He was/is a very radical person. We have been married for 15 years and he’d become progressively more emotionally abusive over time. Last fall I created some boundaries, which forced him into treatment. There they agreed with my suggestion of narcissism but focused on the labels of alcoholic, rage-oholic and control-oholic with an intimacy disorder. He was treated for 6 weeks (they recommended 12 but we couldn’t afford that). They focused on helping him go back to deal with the rejection and shame he had experienced as a child and worked to help him really feel his feelings. Then, the idea is that if he can come to grips with his own shame, guilt, hurt, sadness and anger then he could potentially become aware of those feelings in others. I think if anything is going to work for these people, it is this type of therapy. He has been attending AA since returning 3 months ago. He isn’t living at home with me and our four children but does visit regularly. I still see glimpses of the “old person” coming through in his reactions to things I say and do but I have to admit that it does appear that he may be changing. His awareness has increased. Time will have to tell. And I’ve seen his “changes” before so I’m not holding my breath. I also don’t know that his changing would be enough to save our marriage. I still am so hurt and angry that I don’t think I could ever trust him enough to have a healthy, intimate marriage relationship. But I am trying to trust God and the process and see where it leads. At the very least, I hope that he might have improved relationships in his life (children, other family members, friends, coworkers). It’s scary though, going through all the turmoil of the abuse and drama and feeling trapped and then having him actually go through treatment and then feeling trapped again in a sense because I fear that he will change just enough so that a divorce is no longer Biblically justified. I am just trying to take things one day at a time, focusing on my own growth and change and relationship with the Lord, as well as my children’s wellbeing.

    • JCD,

      If you have read some of my later blog posts, you will see that I think Ns can adapt their behavior. That means to me that they can learn to be kind and giving and attentive to others. It has to be a priority for them and it may be artificial at first, but I really think there are some who decide they don’t want to lose what they have and are willing to adapt.

      That doesn’t mean they have really changed, I suppose. The old scars will still betray them. They will still react in the old ways, especially if they haven’t gone back to deal with their pain and fear. It sounds like the counseling might have gotten a little too close and the money was a helpful excuse. That would be very common. Almost all counselors who deal with narcissists will have them for a very short time. Just look under that one rock and they run. Exposure is what they fear the most.

      I hope you are getting some counseling to restore your health. If he is ever to come back, you will need to be in good emotional and spiritual health (and physical!) You will have to set and maintain boundaries. If he breaks one, sirens and flashing lights should go off to call attention to it. Otherwise he will naturally assume his old ways and you will slip away again. A good counselor can help you establish those boundaries.

      Of course, I don’t know what he did. You may never want him back. I know that several of my regular readers would think you should stay far away. Once you have escaped, you don’t want to go back, they would say. That might be good advice and you should think and pray a lot. In the meantime, don’t compromise. Hold him to any agreements. Set boundaries for his visits or any connection with you or the kids. He is responsible for anything he suffers.

      You are welcome to communicate with me privately through the contact page link. I will be praying for you.

  12. JCD

    Hi Dave,

    I have read all your Friday posts. : ) It does seem that they can adapt their behavior, especially when they really don’t want to lose what they have. Of course, I’d much rather have actual, from the heart empathy than a regurgitation of something someone else is coaching them to say (as is the case in our couples’ counseling sessions).

    Perhaps there was some avoidance on his part of deeper/longer therapy. I do have to say that before going to the treatment center he had to ask friends for the $22,000 to pay for it. Lots of people seem to think that that suggests that he is really committed to the prospect of getting well. Or it may just mean that he’s really good at squeezing people for things and jumping through the necessary hoops to look like he’s doing the right thing.

    I am definitely receiving individual counseling. That is what started me on the road to greater strength and personal growth. It is the thing that helped me to form those early boundaries that forced him into counseling. I am grateful for it. I am also working my own program of recovery which is allowing me to do deeper work and to see my own areas that need addressing and healing.

    Even if there is legitimate change, I don’t know that it will be enough. It may be “too little too late”. Right now it feels as though I could never trust my heart to him. I have to trust that feeling. I’ve spent too many years not trusting my feelings and I’m relearning how to do that.

    I know that there are many who would think me foolish for even giving him the time of day. Believe me, there is enough pain and anger there for me to not want him at all. But I’m also not in a position to make a quick decision. The situation is complicated and there is no simple solution. I am working toward some goals and the relative peace that I am experiencing with him not here is giving me the opportunity to have some clarity and make some progress.

    Thank you for your thoughtful response and for your prayers.

    • If you have learned anything from all of this, it is that you must stay true to yourself. If you are not ready to be done with him, then just do what you need to do. It is easy for someone from the outside to tell you what you should do, but you have to live with your decisions. Trust that the Lord will lead you. Just know that you can do what you want and what you need. I am glad that you are getting good counseling. Become healthy, whatever it takes. I am praying for you.

      • JCD

        Yes, I am determined to grow and achieve greater emotional health. That was definitely something I used to minimize in importance. Never again! Grace and peace to you.

    • Megan

      JCD you are where i currently am. I receive personal counseling and learning to stop doubting my gut instincts and basically i get told to leave leave leave him! We have been separated for 9mths now. Not the first separation but definitely the longest. I was just about to give him another chance but after praying about trusting him i found out some very hurtful facts and more secrets. I came to this blog and also read narcissist revisited. Broke me and i felt there was no hope for him. Yes he has been to counseling as a means to get me back etc but when he was sent to a really good psychologist which is was ordered to see by DOCS he ran. The guy could see right through him. Money and work hours became the reason he could no longer go. He is now seeing an inexperienced trainee female counselor whom he chose and according to her treatment is going really well and she believes we should work things out. Oh also does not believe he a narcissist just may have a couple of tendencies like most people! I felt angered. I wasn’t in the sessions with him but i was annoyed that she was even encouraging him to have hope. It is so unfair for us, the victims. I feel as you do JCD that i could never believe that anything is really the truth and in my heart i would always doubt. It’s the worst feeling. He also visits regularly to see us and i see the old him come through despite his cover ups. I feel i have wasted all those years trying to be the good wife, blaming myself etc. I did pull him up on his behaviors but as you know there is an answer and reason for everything and it’s rather pointless trying to invoke true feelings of repentance in them. We can’t do that, only God can. That brings me to another point, it scares me how someone can use God to get what they want with no fear or concern. My husband really does think he is above God. Well the persona does anyway. I don’t know what to do. Regret ever meeting this man and although i want to have hope, i could never trust him again. What would be the point unless we were going to have a superficial relationship. Thank you for posting because it does help me to know that i am not alone in what i have experienced. It is hard to find someone who can understand the hell we live with these people.

  13. I am married to a narcassist been with him for 13 yrs the first 8 were beautiful as far as im concerned. And the traits have worsened and we are on very rocky ground right now.. And i do not want to divorce him at all. Tho hes gone now i want him back very much. I am still so deeply in love with him and tho the gerbal mental and emoyional abuse hurts me badly i have a few of my own disorders. I dont want to throw any of it away. Tho he can be very cruel like shockingly cruel.. I dont always react properly but i give him a taste of his own medicine n i get punished and at times its unbearable.. But i would like to remind everyone of something very important from another perspective cuz id like your imput but this is what i believe should be.. Again this is only my opinion and what and how i feel about all these letters about peoples narcassistic husbands.. I really cant stand them for a couple of reasons.. Most say get away get out nothing can halp a narcassist they cant love you and its all negative talk and yes we are all full of negativity fed to us by our husbands. I believe there is hope. First. Of all do you a see what youre calling these men? You are calling them your husbands.! Number one.. In the mariage vows i took well we did it in the presence of THE LORD.. Do you realize what a vow is? Its a promise to GOD and each other. The vows also state that we will honor and obey love cherish in SICKNESS and in health for richer or poorer FOR BETTER FOR WORSE ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR LIFE.. Well THE BIBLE I READ said that GOD hates divorce but its allowed.. We promised before GOD and everybody and becuz there isnt an awareness of narcassism people dont know they have the disorder or just not schooled in it!! I go thru some major torment and torture from my husband but tho i dont react in an effective way all the time.. For some reason… I can feel his feelings his deep hidden ones becuz where he lacks in empathy i make up for with empathy. I have the ability to rreally feel how people must feel. I mean its not completely but i can pretty much litterally stand in other peoples shoes n feel their true hurt… And its sad.. For me cuz i hate that kinda pain loss greif sadness etc.. I dont want people to feel it either.. And these narcassists have feelings and what do you thing they feel like when they read that theres no hope for someone of their kind.. Thats a terrible thing to read about urself. .. Are we forgetting that narcassists are people too?? And God says love one another as u love urself doesnt He? Or did He. Say love everybody except the narcassist?? And u know my husband traits are even worse now hes gone i cant talk to him i miss him terribly and love him dearly.. And i fell in love with him becuz he has shown true love in his heart and emotion.. Its there. Somewhere. For the first 8 years then we had some huge problems in our marriage and when we got back together it was then that i knew for sure he loves me.. Very much. But i believe some of his narcassism is that of his alter ego his name fred and i call him ugly fred cuz he is a flat jerk i really dont care for him burbugly fred is who carries out his narcassistic traits in the worst way.. I ge seen emotion and love come out of him. I felt his love even.. Tho i feel the effects of his disorders daily we had this short period of time that we were bonding rebuilding and we spent alot of time with pillow talk and just re establishing our love and for about three months he was the most perfect husband in the world.. We didnt answer our phone for quite a while cuz we were focused on each other. He even wrote me the most beautiful to me love letter im sure hes not done that before and it was hard cuz hes not good with reading and writing but every time he abandons me i read that letter when hes really on one ive read it out loud so he could hear his own words and he gets mad but he wrote it i only remind him but he mentions his wrong doing wow and even apologized when i felt i shoud be the one and we even got closer than before. N im not sure what i did to cause this but he got angry at me cuz he became volunerable to me.. He said he didnt like that i was able to do that cuz he said nobody had.. It was the most beautiful time feeling relief comfort everything good and i hope i can chip away and pull him out of this so fred isnt running his life.. But my husband is very bad too but he also does well too.. Im very bad in some ways just different… So i would hope if you love .. Then one last but most important point. Y is everyone limiting GODSability no wonder theyre not getting curedbor whatever. U cant doubt GODS abilities cuz the Bible i read from MY GOD CAN DO ALL THINGS CUZ HE IS THE ALMIGHTY AND POWERFUL GOD AND THERES NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN. So i would lime to say to you .. I dont wanna offer u false hope and from what i knowGODS HOPE ISNT FALSE!! Read the love chapter in corinth 13 it says all things all things all thing !so i think maybe if u could have the faith of a mustard seed and belive GOD is answering ur pray already with no doubting allowed im thinkin GOD IS THE ONE to fix those whom we took with God in our presence!! Try that see what happens .. Do u believe GOD makes miracles happen well then y not for u and ur husband??

    • Megan

      Yes Jacqueline I know what you are saying and i have been going by that for the past 8yrs. I believed the real love coming through and how we would talk for hours on end about the issues. He opened up to me many times and i saw the dark demons. He abused me over the years in every way possible and i also took responsibility for my bad reactions and responses to him. I kept the hope because i believed for better or worse sickness and in health i would stay. Despite the fact he nearly took my life and for the fact that our 2yr old bites her hands and pulls her hair when he is around too often. I finally realized that God did not die on the cross that horrible death for my daughter and i so that we could be put in an evil destructive situation. That is not freedom in Christ. We are told to stay far from evil. It is not helping the narcissist to allow them to continue destroying another person’s life and wellbeing. That is never God’s will for us. I am wanting to stick with him despite finding out about a secret woman and everything, but honestly he has transgressed the marriage vows in many ways. Yes my husband is quick to tell me divorce is against God but he has no respect for the covenant and what marriage means. So what do you do? Risk your sanity and the emotional wellbeing of the children in hopes he will change?

  14. Jolee Blackburn

    I just filed for divorce on my N husband last week. This was not what I wanted, but after much prayer, it is a necessity. He devalued and discarded me and our other two children when I was eight months pregnant. It was all for another woman. I have prayed for him everyday for seven years, knowing he needed Christ. I still have hope for him, knowing God can rearrange circumstances to get his attention. God revealed to my heart that my husband will have to be stripped of absolutely everything, money, friends, family, marriage and his children, before he will ever submit to a higher power. I have reconciled myself to the fact that this may take years, but so be it, because even if we don’t ever get back together, he still needs to be healed of this evil disorder. Narcissism leaves a path of destruction that is not easily cleaned up, but with God, all things are possible. Thank you for your post.

  15. chris

    I am a 45year old husband, with a loving wife and ,5 beautiful young kids. I come from a very disfunctional family where there was no love, and no real relationships. I have 4 sisters, all younger than me.
    I realised on the 3rd of February this year, after reading some articles my wife showed me, that my mother is an extreme narcissist.
    It was quite a shock to find out at the age of 45 that your mother is a narcissist, and that this was the main reason for the unhappy family situation.
    I was devestated to realise this, and it suddenly occurred to me how much of my own bahaviour could directly be linked to the narcissistic traits that my mother instilled in me.
    I made a lot of mistakes during my 45 years living with the influance of a narcissistic mother.
    I have always suffered from low self confidence and low self esteem.
    I have since repented many mistakes (sins) before God and my wife, since I did many wrong things against her. I also became aware of how broken and dark my soul has become from the narcissistic influance and the years of living it without realizing the effect on my own life, and the people around me.
    I made really BAD mistakes, that only really occured to me once I realised the impact of narcissim on my life.
    I do not know how close to a narcissist I am myself, but the way I lived up to 3rd of Feb showed many traits if narcissistic behaviuor. I have gone through do many emotions since I found out the truth.
    On the 5th if Feb I prayed to God through Jesus and gave my life, as well as my problems to Him. I realise that I can not recover through my own strenght, and that I need God to take over through the Holy Spirit. I am strugling with a few things around God. 1.

  16. Chris

    I am a 45 year old husband, with a loving wife and ,5 beautiful young kids. I come from a very dis-functional family where there was no love, and no real relationships. I have 4 sisters, all younger than me.
    I realized on the 3rd of February this year, after reading some articles my wife showed me, that my mother is an extreme narcissist.
    It was quite a shock to find out at the age of 45 that your mother is a narcissist, and that this was the main reason for the unhappy family situation.
    I was devastated to realize this, and it suddenly occurred to me how much of my own behavioral could directly be linked to the narcissistic traits that my mother instilled in me.
    I made a lot of mistakes during my 45 years living with the influence of a narcissistic mother.
    I have always suffered from low self confidence and low self esteem. I have treated my wife extremely badly from time to time, and I have made disastrous financial decisions due to narcissistic traits that I realized after reading the articles. I have also not make good career decisions, partly due to the low self confidence and other issues with Adult Children of Narcissist parents.
    I have discovered how dark my soul is, and how my spirit for life was dampened from a young age due to the narcissistic traits instilled into me by my mother.
    I have since repented many mistakes (sins) before God and my wife, since I did many wrong things against her. I also became aware of how broken and dark my soul has become from the narcissistic influence and the years of living it without realizing the effect on my own life, and the people around me.
    I made really BAD mistakes, that only really occurred to me once I realized the impact of narcissism on my life.
    I do not know how close to a narcissist I am myself, but the way I lived up to 3rd of Feb showed many traits if narcissistic behavior. I have gone through so many emotions since I found out the truth.
    On the 5th if Feb I prayed to God through Jesus and gave my life, as well as my problems to Him. I realize that I can not recover through my own strength, and that I need God to take over through the Holy Spirit. I am struggling with a few things around God and my possible narcissism:
    1. I pray a lot for healing from narcissism, but I am not always sure that my prayer is from my heart. I feel so broken, and I am sometimes wondering if I am truly seeking healing, or if I am just praying out of desperation.My soul sometimes feel so “lifeless” when I pray, and I sometimes tell God that I am just praying to share the way I feel, and I am not sure if He listens to me.
    2. I have really big financial problems due to wrong decisions made during my reckless life.I am in a way desperate to get these problems resolved, and I have put them at the feet of Jesus. I can however not see a way out of the problems, and find it very hard to trust God and to be patient to address these issues.
    3. I am so scared that I am a narcissist myself and that is not possible for me to be healed. I really want to see the light, and get freed from the darkness in my soul.that this narcissistic Beauvoir has brought onto me. It is SO difficult to just hand this over to God and rely on Him to bring around a change.
    4. I really feel there is no way forward, and even prayer and asking the Holy Spirit into my hart. I have asked God for a dramatic step of change into my spirit and soul, but it seems that God does not listen.

    I have seen a Christian Psychologist about 6 times, but at 45 years of age it seems so difficult, or even impossible, to really change.

    I really want to change, and see the light to experience the fullness of life that God has meant for us. I also realize that I can not do this on my own, and that God really need to step in in a drastic way to free my soul and spirit from the scars of narcissism that was left over a period of 45 years!

    Thanks for your article – it is really supportive. I really hope and trust that God will free me from the damage caused over the years.

  17. prodigalkatherine

    for Chris:
    Ezekial 36:26

    “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

    All things are possible with Christ. You may not “feel” as you think you should but breaking lifelong patterns is hard work. Instead, commit your will towards active obedience in the moment. Many Christians talk about a stage of “kenosis” (roughly translated to emptiness). First you must allow yourself to be in that place (which it sounds like you are doing) by owning the consequences of your past actions without resorting to rage or intimidation of those who you have hurt. When you stop silencing people you learn a lot.
    The Holy Spirit is a mystery, but a very real force. When you give God’s spirit an invitation to change you and you stop directing your will towards ego gratification, you become God’s man.

    Your family is truly blessed by your humility. I am praying for the seven of you.

  18. Penny

    I understand, Dave, what you are saying about trauma & survival & coping strategies. But in my experience, none of those things factored in…none. Is it possible that some people are just wired this way? That some people are just inherently narcissistic and (dare I say it) evil? In fact, the Ns in my life had wonderful parents and wonderful childhoods and wonderful experiences and yet were predisposed to narcissism and allowed it to consume them and percolate and grow; people who chose to cope thru selfish and self-centered means, and were so skilled at manipulating that others did not know what hit them. Is it possible that for some people it is just (dare I say it?) unrepentant sin? That some people prefer to be “on the throne” and have loyal subjects to command? That some people have always been more in touch with fantasy than reality? My own reality was that I actually had a terrible childhood with terrifying experiences, yet I did not choose fantasy, nor to be narcissistic; I actually look back on my childhood with fondness and remember being happy and enjoying life even tho it was painful and difficult. I always knew my Savior, and I clung fiercely to God’s sovereignty, and rested in knowing “there is a God in Heaven and I am not Him”. Perhaps the N is so consumed with “being God” that there is no time to rest in Him.

    • Suzanne

      Very well spoken. Few people realize that some narcissists just are. Original sin on steroids, however you want to think about it. Your experiences in life sound just like my own. The question i wake up with every morning is the same, Do i stay or do I get out?

  19. My husband does go with me to church and is seeking God. I have set up boundaries. I just don’t totally trust him. I do believe God is doing a work in him and us;. Sometimes the Lord Jesus heals instantly sometimes its a process.

  20. There is so much here that it is hard to respond, so please realize that I am not making light by a short response. I did want to say that a very good book to read about loving people the way Jesus would is called “Bold Love” by Dan Allender. If Jesus loved the way much of the world thinks of love he’d have lived to be a ripe old age. Sometimes love has to be in your face because love always wants the best for the other person and sometimes the best thing is to get in their face. To a lesser degree, my wife does this for me. I have told her many times that I am the “chief of sinners” and that part of getting better of necessity means I need people who will “get in my face” a little when I sin big. We all need that. And I have asked her to be that for me. It can be done in a gentle way and still be theraputic and helpful. Anyway, the book I mentioned was very helpful to me in loving the unlovely especially the unlovely that don’t want to change.

    • Lori Marie

      I do have that book, I’ve read it a few times, it’s great, I think I need to go back and read it again. I read it a while ago, way before I ever heard of Narcissim. Now that I’m dealing with one at work, maybe it will help. Dan Allender also wrote “The Wounded Heart Hope For Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse.” I’m sure there’s some insight there too. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  21. Well this blog has been very informative. I am the narcissist that everyone is talking about. The amazing lesson is I attracted a narcissist in my life, and fell in love. The up and down roller coaster I have been on with this person has shown me a lot about myself. My ex-husband has suffered the most though. As I read more about this disorder I see that I have hurt a lot of people in my life. The one I regret most is the man that has been the most loving to me in my life. I pulled this article up because I wanna get help. I had no idea what the heck I have been doing most of my life. We married very early in life in my 20’s and I have never been faithful and separated from him several times to go start other relationships and do the same to them. I have been in business for the last 10 years as well, and now understand that what I thought to be charisma is simply a ploy to get what I want. Now I heart broken because I have met my match another fellow narcissist that really turned the tables on me. Talk about getting what you give. This man and I basically have tortured each other to no end. He has been in such pain as well because well he met his match too.

    I think that this is a gift and a punishment. It hurts like hell, I feel a little lost and very confused about what I have done to others. The more I read about it the more I see that I not only was a narcissist but hid under the pretensions of actually caring about others. Now I am not sure about anything I have every done at this point. I am looking for therapy, I no longer want to hurt others. Most of all I don’t want miss the real love that is available to me. I want to be able to help people and not use people. Thank you for having this up. Today is the actually day I realized that I have this disorder. I am off to recovery when I can afford it. Right now I will go to God as suggested and pray for forgiveness and then healing.

    #wantogetitright

    • prodigalkatherine

      Shauna, I am really impressed with your courage. To have the guts to face the legacy you’ve left behind after hurting so many men must be very humbling.
      Dave’s message today feels like it was meant for you- the idea that narcissism is confusion about identity rings very true. You got a lot of mileage out of “charisma”- it was what enabled you to keep “hooking” men who would provide you with reassurance that you were valuable. To let go of that power must feel really scary.

      Yet- if you do let go and ask God to fill you with His Spirit instead, you will be given a new identity. I don’t know how to explain the process other than to share my own experience of this. You begin to hear “a still small voice” that speaks comfort into your pain. Perhaps that voice was there all along, but the incredible effort of manufacturing “charisma” kept you from hearing it.

      The first thing I heard when I lay on a bathroom floor sobbing for God to help me change my life were the words, “Tell the truth, and you will get to the other side.”

      Shauna, no doubt this truth telling will be painful. But you must understand that you are no longer alone. It will not always hurt so much. There is a really cool book by a woman named Anne Lamott called “Help, Thanks, Wow” that is really helpful in showing me how to access the still small voice when I have let other things overshadow my faith (because believe me, I am not perfect). It is so reassuring to understand that I can run back to the arms of One who has forgiven me, and One who is so strong that my worst sin could never break Him. In that strength I find the courage to confess the darkness within myself, and the hope that I can can fight the darkness and win.

      I am praying for you, sister. May you feel God’s loving acceptance today and may it strengthen you to face your past. God has a plan for you.

      With love,
      Katie

    • Portia Gray

      Wow. U woke up and admit it.go girl! It turned back on u – mirror to mirror. U need Jesus to repeat and let past mistakes be done. U must learn to say sorry . Hugs n peace to you

  22. Penny

    The first thing you need to do is repent. Before forgiveness, before wanting to help people, before pretending to care about others, before recovery. You need to repent. The first word Jesus said when He began His earthly ministry was “repent”. That means to turn around, to turn away from your self, to turn away from your reflection in the mirror, to turn away from the reflection of yourself in others, to turn around, and turn toward Jesus and the cross. It means to admit that you are a wretched narcissist and that you need Jesus and that you will get off your throne and bow before HIm as the only One worthy of worship. Stop worshipping at the altar of self. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it is the truth and it is reality and you need to face it. It is the only way. HE is the only way. Everything else is smoke and mirrors and deceit and lust and craving. Jesus is the only way. Turn around. Repent and be forgiven.

  23. Portia Gray

    my ex bf narcarssist learned from me bout Jesus and i took Him to church. He was learning. I realized knowing which is truth and lies coming from him. I see the narc ways is about hiding truth and survival skills away from Pain.
    I really believe he was molested ( claims he was beaten up by family member and says he’s not gay). he had problems hurting women prior to me. All his ex women were weak or not strong as I am. Anytime, he acted up with bad mouthing and insults, I kicked him out of my house many times. He returns to me and acts better. final straw, I kicked him out and cut off off contact for 9 months. He know Jesus exist. Evil had taken hold of him and he’s running around with other women- feeding his ego and attention. He trust me with his deepest bout him. Always will love him but he has to get help. Silent treatment kills him.

  24. Chris

    I’m a Narcissist. This gave me some hope that I can beat this thanks.. u hit it all on the nail on who we are and how we got to be how we are.. I made a shell to protect myself but never realized that I was stuck in that shell with no way out and I made it unbreakable :(

    • Christine

      You have just taken the first big step by admitting you are. That is an incredible start. I am sure, you can if you keep close to Jesus and use the whole armor of God to keep the devil out you will stay free and unstuck. <3

  25. UnForsaken

    Chris, if you are willing to admit you might be a Narcissist, you probably just have narcisstic behavior….something which Can be overcome. Look up to Jesus for your help and the shell Will be breakable. You have got to be willing to give Him everything to see and recieve the peace He gives.

  26. Christine

    It took me years to figure out what was wrong with my mother. I am now 50 and my mother 80. Plain and simple; yes God can do anything, but he gave us a conscience and a choice. I can pray until I have no more breath, it is, in the end up to my mother in how she will behave. We can pray for her conviction of her conscience and forgive them because this really is a mental illness. A stigma does exists for this type of illness, but sadly, rarely gets any treatment. Early intervention psychosis would help if it is caught in a persons life who are just beginning symptoms such as this and nip it in the bud ASAP.

  27. prodigalkatherine

    an ah-hah moment for me-

    When the narcissist pulls us into his/her orbit we here “no one has ever treated me so well, ext. Our compassion is engaged. We are encouraged to give to the point of exhaustion and then are rewarded for it. We are filled with purpose because we see our goodwill as a force to be reckoned with. Our new “N” friend has a new and improved life because of our efforts.

    For all caregiving types- feeling that our kindness matters has been an agent of positive change is like a drug to us. Except- all the thank yous and affirmations disappear once they feel we are “hooked”. The narcissist gets used to that extra goodwill and feel bouyed by the narcissistic supply it provides. You think your kindness is “healing” a wounded soul. Not so much. It’s simply being repurposed for narcissistic supply- as in “if she does all this stuff for me, she must totally worship me!”

    When you get tired because the narcissist doesn’t reciprocate, their lack of understanding that they are doing better because of your kindness is completely lost on them. They don’t grasp that you were giving to them out of compassion- they think you were giving to them to kiss up to their awesomeness. However temporary the interruption of narcissistic supply may be, it is liable to produce rage because the narcissist feels it is “owed”.

    If the narcissist is not immediately soothed and the supply replaced, then this is the point that devaluation begins. Typically, as soon as the narcissistic victim “gets back on the horse’ to provide more supply, it is too late. You are no longer an angel, you are a delinquent bill payer.

    So you redouble your efforts and give beyond reason until you inevitably disappoint the narcissist again. At this point, you are personally depleted and lower than low. If the narcissist were to admit they had sucked you dry, then they would have to admit that they were desperately addicted to the narcissistic supply you were providing. Instead- it’s far easier to get angry at you for no longer carrying the energy demands of propping up a false self.

    The reason it takes so long to recover from the subsequent discard is that the victim’s sense of agency has been destroyed. When you give beyond reason and become completely selfless, there is no greater sense of failure when your efforts are maligned and ultimately discarded.

    Healing is helped by the understanding that it was not the failure of goodwill on your part that caused the relationship to fail. It was the bottomless pit of need for narcissistic supply. Your goodwill was a beautiful gift that happened to get thrown down a well. But that can not negate the fact it was still a beautiful gift.

    Don’t let the narcissists lack of ability to understand that gift render your best efforts meaningless. Your love matters and God can use it. You just have to stop throwing it down the well.

  28. I divorced my narcissist over 2 years ago. We have 4 kids whom I was very close too. Ages -13, 14, 16, 19. My husband has managed to convince my oldest 3 that the entire divorce is my fault and iam evil. My youngest has aspergers and struggle with the lies at first but now remains with me. During my visitation with the kids they continuely beg and plead with me to give them up. I have fought this since 7 months after the divorce. I have grown close with Jesus in this painful time.. and have recently found some peace about letting them go. But I love and miss my children so much.. im still scared. I don’t know if I’m trusting in him or just giving up. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    • prodigalkatherine

      I am a mother of four two and your story gives me chills. My ex husband and his family wanted to have me declared unfit and to seek full custody of our kids. He met a woman, had her quit her job, and started talking about how they would be better off in a completed family. What changed his mind was the practical realities of caring for 4 young children between the ages of 3 and 9- both the new woman and he decided it was in their self interest to keep me around as a “nanny on demand”.

      That being said, the smear campaign my husband and his family perpetrated outside our home was also spread to the children who were constantly told that I was incompetent and crazy. My oldest daughter in particular “bought it” until she had a nervous breakdown requiring hospitalization once she realized that her dad and girlfriend were spending less and less time with them and wanted to have a child of their own. I think the wound was related to the idea- “If mom is so awful, then why do you leave us with her to be with your girlfriend?” She was devastated when her half sister was conceived and said “now that he has a child with the good woman why would he want us at all anymore?”

      I can’t begin to describe how painful it was to simultaneously play the role of scapegoat and do all the grunt work of parenting. I didn’t understand that so much of the difficulty was my ex actively alienating my kids from me. The fact that your kids have been “turned against you” suggests that a similar dynamic is at work. The fact that he only wants your “normal kids” further reinforces that.

      I can’t tell you when your kids will come to understand the truth, but I can reassure you that if you do not return his evil and put the kids at the center of the conflict, you will be vindicated. Why? Because once the kids become inconvenient and he’s no longer trying to prove to the world that he’s super dad, he’ll stop the “perfect dad who is rescuing you from evil mom” act. Kids are a lot of work and narcissists are all talk and no action.

      Recognizing that my daughter was being put in the position of having to choose sides with her father to retain his love and approval (otherwise he’s tell her- you’re just like your mother)- I swallowed my pain and said “It’s ok if you hate me right now. I just want you to be ok. I love you and if you decide to return you are always welcome.” I did this to preserve her psychological health. We had about 5 rough years. I never lost custody but the alienation remained.

      Interestingly, my kids have come to understand the limitations of their fathers love and I now find myself doing my best to cast his actions in the most positive light possible to help them as their own hearts break as they now grasp the callousness with which he treats people. My relationship with all 4 kids is incredibly solid. What it took was prayerfully “letting go” of the need to defend myself. I thought a lot about Solomon and the story of the 2 concubines and his proposition that the child be cut in half. The real mother was willing to give the child up before seeing it harmed.

      Your 3 children who are with your ex husband have been temporarily brainwashed because they believe that their survival depends on him. When they are older they will see things more clearly. Their father is a selfish man and the patterns of his life will be evident once the “crisis” in which he has cast himself as “rescuer” has passed. They will hunger for you because while your ex believes that caregivers are interchangeable, your children know that you are their mother and only you can fufill the longing for “mom”. When his nastiness starts to manifest, your gentle replies and consistent message of sacrificial love will be remembered.

      In the meantime, you have been given the privilege of being able to focus your child who needs you the most, because he has likely served as scapegoat as well. Love him with every bit of your broken heart and that bond will go a long way in healing you both. Without you, he truly has nothing because he has been rejected by his father. But he has you, and (for now) your singular focus. I have a son who is on the autistic spectrum as well and know all too well how labor intensive parenting him can be.

      Take the deep grief you feel at being temporarily (and I promise you- it will be temporary) denied your children and lovingly tell them. “I want what is best for you. If this is best, then I support you. But even though you walk away I will always be here with open arms to welcome you home.”

      My world fell apart in 2006. In 2008 I thought I would lose my children and that my life was no longer worth living. In 2014, my relationship with all four children has been restored and they are thriving. I have remained cordial with my ex and now find that I am offering support to the new wife (who stopped after 1 child because he makes her do all the work) in the sense I always stick up for her. We now get together regularly when my ex husband travels so my kids can see their half sister. I am in a relationship with a kind man who treats me very differently. He respects my need to put the kids first and is willing to “take things slow”. God truly provided a way through the pain.

      My advice to you is: Be patient. You are living in the middle of a powerful story of God’s love. You are like Job after everything had been stripped away. Follow Job’s example and don’t let your heart grow bitter. Everything will be restored in due time. Love the child you still have with you with every ounce of your being.

      A wonderful devotion book that sustained me during my darkest days Is “Streams in the Desert” by L.B. Cowman. The writings of Kristin Armstrong (Lance Armstrong’s ex) are also really helpful.

      I will pray for you.

  29. Prodigalkatherine, do you have a blog?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s