What it’s all about

It’s Narcissist Friday!

Every year or so I get a twinge of concern that I have strayed from the path the Lord wants for me. My heart’s desire is to help people come to freedom and peace in a true relationship with Jesus. In my mind, that comes through an understanding of the message of grace. I have written a lot about grace, taught a lot of people, and have preached grace for a long time. But now, here, I write mostly about narcissistic relationships. So, I wonder about that.

Then, I realize that the heart of God is moved with love toward those who have been broken, and what can break us more than the betrayal and abuse suffered in relationships? When we open ourselves—our hearts—to others, we become vulnerable. Narcissists in all relationships seek (or create) people who are willing to become vulnerable to receive acceptance. In the process, they manipulate and break our hearts.

While the intensity and the intimacy might differ among relationships, the abuse is much the same. Those who grew up with narcissistic parents have known that abuse all their lives. Those in marriage relationships with narcissists have known it in the most intimate ways. But even those who struggle with narcissistic bosses, co-workers, pastors, and friends feel the manipulation and betrayal at the heart level. We want to trust others, to be valued, to be welcome. The narcissist only imitates the provision of these heart needs.

And what does God give to minister to broken hearts? He gives Himself, His love. That’s the message of grace. Not more church or giving or memorized Scripture. Not more trying hard to measure up. Jesus is the answer Himself. Grace is Him giving of Himself to and for us.

The balm that comforts the broken heart is the grace of God in Jesus. The truth that confronts the lies of narcissism is the grace of God in Jesus. The power and the person are in Him.

It isn’t just narcissism that breaks people. We know there are many traumas in life. Tragic loss of a loved one. Loss of ability through accident or disease. Severe trials come our way in this life, even for those who never meet narcissists. There are marriage and relationship struggles that have nothing to do with narcissism—and some of them hurt us deeply. In those times we seem to know instinctively that our greatest need is to be held and valued and loved. We want the trials to go away, but even more we want someone to be with us through them.

If I can help anyone find Jesus in the midst of their struggle, to remember His love and experience His comfort, that’s the path I want to take. I can argue theology and doctrine with some skill, but the real message is not one of the mind. It’s a message to the heart. I honestly believe that Jesus loves you. The cross, the blood, the resurrection: those are all part of the message of that love. They are all true, but the power is in the heart. The most powerful statement of faith in the Bible was from the man who told the religious leaders, “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” He didn’t know the religious answers, but he knew Jesus.

The truth is that the message of grace must always reach the broken hearts of the people God loves, or it is not the true message of His grace. To be true to the call God has given me, I have to see and believe the pain and struggle so many of you have shared. I am grateful beyond expression that you have trusted me and this group with your stories. Our discussion on narcissism has opened the door to me seeing how God’s message of grace is the most practical way for me to help.

Years ago, before I even considered writing on narcissism, I named this ministry, “Grace for the Heart.” The point, then and now, is that the message of grace is not just for the mind and from the theology books. That message, if it is real, comes out of the heart of God and goes to the hearts of those He loves. His grace is always for the heart.

That’s what it’s all about.

***

Book News

If you have read the new book, please leave a review on Amazon! Reviews are so important today. Others see a title, read the description, and wonder how the book is affecting readers. I have been getting wonderful affirmations personally, but others should hear your words.

Also, I am not sure why the paperback and e-book are not linked on Amazon. You should be able to get a discount on the e-book if you have purchased the paperback, but that isn’t happening. I continue to work on this.

Website news!!

Several years ago, Grace for the Heart was primarily a website with email newsletters. Nearly 2000 people received the newsletter regularly. Sometimes a thousand visitors a day came to the site, and we reached over 150 countries. Then we were hit with a Denial of Service attack, which overwhelmed the servers we were on and crashed the site. So much was lost. When the smoke cleared, I made the decision to focus on a blog, rather than a website and emails. That has worked so well and has rebuilt the ministry, but access to past blog posts can be tedious and there is little opportunity to share larger articles.

Now, all of that is changing. The blog will continue just as it is, but the website http://www.gracefortheheart.org will be up later today. I think you will like the layout. The goal is to organize articles, posts, and more in a way that is accessible to visitors and easy to advertise.

We are still tweaking it, and a lot of content will be added over the next few months, but it will be a great help to getting this word out. Be sure to drop in regularly as the site grows!

www.gracefortheheart.org

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Taking it back

It’s Narcissist Friday!

I just saw a television show where a man had given his girlfriend his precious teddy bear. When they broke up because she wanted someone else, she kept the bear. It had been his for a long time, and he wanted it back. She refused. He acknowledged that he had given it freely, but he had expected the relationship to last. He had not expected to be thrown over for someone else. And he missed his bear.

For the most part, narcissists choose people who give freely. We have been taught that love gives. That extra time, that money, that hard work: they all come from the idea that love gives. Even the praise and admiration, the special attention and care, all come from love. And they all cost us something. Giving to others always costs something. We may consider the cost small, especially when we love, but we give something of ourselves.

We expect a relationship to be reciprocal. Love given and love received. Not every relationship, of course. And not always in kind. Often what we receive is satisfaction or the joy of seeing a smile. But in most relationships, we give and we get. It’s an imperfect, but necessary balance.

Narcissistic relationships are not like that. Oh, in the beginning , we appreciated the fact that the narcissist even noticed us. A pat on the head or a word of welcome was enough. But narcissistic relationships prove to be surprisingly one-sided. We give and the narcissist takes. It isn’t long before the narcissist demands.

If you have been in such a relationship, let me assure you that the feeling of being drained is normal. The victims of narcissists often report feeling used up, empty, and confused. The sense that something is missing is common. The nature of the narcissistic relationship consumes anything the spouse, employee, friend, church member, or family member has to offer.

So, how do you get it back?

Well, you don’t, right? What you gave has been consumed. Used up. Maybe wasted. It’s gone. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but what you gave was not like a teddy bear that can be returned. Nor would the narcissist even consider paying you back. You might get some money or property in court, but most victims find they can’t even get that.

Instead, you have to replace what you gave. The love, the time, the commitment, the loyalty, the forgiveness. Those things can be hard to rebuild, especially when you have given away your trust. Another relationship might seem impossible, at least undesirable. How can you replace these things if you are afraid to open yourself to another relationship?

Other things, like money or property or support systems, can be rebuilt as you become healthy. Through determination and purpose, you can value yourself enough to build again. But your value was something the narcissist tried to take from you to add to his/her own. How do you get that back?

There is a Source of love that never changes, never goes away. That Love the narcissist could not touch. The love you need today, love that you can feel, love that pours warm comfort for your heart—that Love is yours from the Lord who loves you. It’s real, and it’s free. The narcissist might have succeeded in making you forget, but he/she could never take it away. You have a supply that can never be exhausted, and it is deeper and stronger than anything the narcissist has ever known.

From that Love, you draw your health. Through it you find your way back to what God made you to be. In that Love, you can rest and rebuild. Trust in the Lord, the Scripture says, and He will renew your strength. All that the narcissist has taken will come to you again.

The narcissist betrayed your love. He/she took from you with no intention of giving or even truly appreciating your sacrifice. But you are not forgotten. The Lord knows your pain. He is patient, forgiving, gracious, because He loves you.

There is a wonderful word in the Old Testament book of Joel about the Lord rebuilding His people after a time of discipline. The whole chapter is a blessing to read, but these words stand out for me:

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust. Joel 2:25

Perhaps we have a new word for the narcissists in our lives (wink), but whatever they have consumed the Lord can and will restore. The Lord did not discipline you, don’t get that from my use of this passage. Evil used you. You were hurt by uncaring and unkind people. But the Lord loves you. If He rebuilds those He disciplines, how much more will He rebuild you when you were the victim of cruelty?

The way to health is through love. Love is found in Jesus. Seek His love and find restoration.

Narcissism in the Church

Many of our best friends are in the churches we attend. Yet, church friendships often end abruptly when one leaves the church. The flavor of the friendship can seriously change when one person disagrees with how a church situation is handled. We get the impression that church friendships exist only as long as we are acceptable to the church. What kind of friendship is that?

This new book explains how a church can create a narcissistic culture where relationships exist to serve the image of the superior organization. It explores how a church can become a narcissistic organization, using people to serve an image of superior spirituality.

Paperback

1793872805

Paragraph

E-book

Narcissism in the Church: A Heart of Stone in Christian Relationships by [Orrison, David]

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Why They Take

It’s Narcissist Friday!

Last week I wrote that the narcissist wants your heart. Everything you have he/she wants and not only wants but expects to get. You are to joyfully spend your money, time, and energy on the narcissist. Total dedication and joyful self-sacrifice. Nothing less is enough.

But why? We know that the narcissist has little of his own. He has no empathy, so he connects with an empathic person. He has no sincerity, so he marries a sincere person. He has no compassion, no heart, so he wants yours.

The narcissist wants to be seen as a competent, caring, superior person. That’s the image he has created. He wants others to believe that of him. But he sees himself as incompetent and inferior. That’s the self-image he grew up with. So whatever he needs to make himself (the image) look good, he has to get from others.

Is the narcissist really the best salesman in the company, or does he just take credit for the work of others? Is she really a generous person, or does she just get others to do kind things with her name on them? Is he really so smart, or is he taking advantage of another’s gullibility? What does the narcissist have that hasn’t been taken from others?

You see, the narcissist is usually not competent or smart or caring, but wants others to think he is. Those skills and attributes have to come from others. So he/she will take what is needed.

No matter how good the narcissist appears, the good is not his own. He/she lives only on what can be taken from others through manipulation or theft. Taking from others is justified because the narcissist is superior and not appreciated. The narcissist believes that he has worked harder, sacrificed more, and accomplished more. But he has to make others see that. Any weakness is the fault of others. So, he takes because he deserves more.

He takes your money because you have more than you deserve, and he needs it for himself.

He takes your energy because there are so many forces working against him, and he needs more than he has.

He takes your time because he has more important things to do than you.

He takes your admiration, your kindness, your patience, your loyalty because he deserves it.

The narcissist sees himself (the image) as superior and deserving. Everyone else should be joyfully giving what they have to him. If he has to cheat and lie to take it, that’s only because others are too stupid or stubborn to give it freely.

Remember always that the narcissist doesn’t see others as persons with value. They are tools or toys for him to use. In his struggle to make everyone see his superiority, he doesn’t care how they suffer. No carpenter has compassion for his hammer or saw. Why should the narcissist have compassion for the people he uses?

You are less than the narcissist. You are not as smart. You are inferior and subservient. You should recognize this and spend yourself for him or her. The male-superior message makes this clear in marriage and in the office. Where that doesn’t work, the narcissist may have to work a little harder to keep you down. There are no equals to the narcissist and certainly no superiors. There are only those who compete and are in the way.

The narcissist takes because he/she doesn’t have. It takes a lot of energy for the narcissist to defend and support the superior image, so you will have to work harder. It takes money for the narcissist to look as good or feel as good as he wants, so you have to contribute. Hold your questions, swallow your pride, push down your self-esteem, withdraw from your support—because the narcissist needs you.

If you resist, or if you are used up, the narcissist will have to move on to someone else. Draining you will not be enough, the fire still burns and still requires more. The narcissist will always need another log for the fire. (And he will always think they should walk over and jump in on their own!)

**********************

Narcissism in the Church

Why is it that so many of the narcissists we meet are connected with the church? Of course, for those of us whose relationships are mostly church-related, the answer is obvious. But from politicians to bosses to parents to friends, narcissists seem to belong to churches. Shouldn’t people in the church be known for their kindness and grace, rather than their manipulation and comparisons?

This new book explains why narcissists are drawn to churches and how they use church systems to accomplish their purposes. It even exposes how a church can become a narcissistic organization, using people to serve an image of superior spirituality.

Paperback

1793872805

E-book

Narcissism in the Church: A Heart of Stone in Christian Relationships by [Orrison, David]



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What they take

It’s Narcissist Friday!

We have talked about narcissists as predators or users. The literature refers to “narcissistic supply” as what the narcissists consume from their victims. Sometimes, that just means attention, praise, obedience, etc. Whatever makes the narcissist feel good about himself. But there must be something more they take.

Most victims of narcissistic relationships experience the drained weariness, the empty feeling that suggests something has been taken away. Some find themselves confused, lost, almost hollow when the narcissist leaves. The idea of being used up and thrown away is often expressed at the end of a narcissistic relationship.

Of course, there is a practical side to this. Most victim spouses are left with little money or opportunity. Victim friends are often left with few positive relationships. The narcissist may have taken money, time, energy, and more. The feeling of loss might be the result of an accurate post-relationship assessment.

But there’s something more, isn’t there? Narcissists take something that makes it hard to rebuild, to find health again. Some core asset has been taken away. Something from deep inside.

This will be the first of three posts about what narcissists take from the rest of us. I will ask three questions: What do they take? Why do they take it? How do we get it back?

Have you noticed that the narcissist is not satisfied, no matter how much attention or obedience they get? Life with the narcissist seems like a continual battle; it is never good enough. If the narcissist stands in front of everyone receiving awards and accolades, he will still complain about the people who didn’t clap enthusiastically enough. He will think of them as phony or insincere.

Have you noticed that the narcissist is never satisfied with service or compassion or even love, no matter how much you give? You could set aside all your other responsibilities, ignore all other relationships, but the narcissist would still want more. You could focus your day on making the narcissist feel good—all day, every day. But it wouldn’t be enough.

That constant pull for more drains the victim. Too often the purpose is disguised, the goal reset ever farther away. Like Sisyphus, pushing the great boulder up the hill only to have it roll back just when it reaches the top, day after day through eternity; the narcissist’s victims feel hopeless and worthless.

What do narcissists want?!? What will be enough? What do you have to do to satisfy them? Not only do you have to be ready to fulfill unreasonable demands, you are supposed to enjoy doing those things. The narcissist wants you to be sincere, to desire to please him or her. Not only are you to praise him, you are to think of him as better than others. Not only are you to obey, you are to be happy to serve. Not only are you to give her attention, you are not to desire anything else.

Then, if you seem to be happy and sincere, the narcissist will test you with cruel expectations and judgments. You will be criticized, doubted, even condemned—until you prove that you have joyfully given the narcissist everything. He/she will only believe you when you completely yield.

And, when you have given all, when the narcissist thinks he has drained you completely, it will be time for him to move on. You have nothing left to give.

What does the narcissist take? Your heart. Your life. Your personhood. Perhaps no word is big enough. That which make you separate and special and alive. The energy and identity that is you.

In my book, I make the distinction between the overt and covert narcissist. I write:

The overt narcissist may make you think of murder, but the covert narcissist makes you think of suicide.

The overt narcissist is in more of a hurry. He/she will take as much as possible as quickly as possible, then move on. You know you are losing something, and you know the narcissist is taking it, but you still have enough to be angry when he leaves. The covert narcissist moves more slowly, willing to drain completely. Those who have been used by the covert often feel as though nothing is left. They have no energy, no motivation, no ability to move forward with life.

Your heart. That’s what the narcissist wants to take. Loyalty, joy, initiative, personality, energy, and so much more.

Why? Well, that’s next week’s post. But I want to assure you that the narcissist can never win. Tucked away, there is a spark in you that has not been taken. You are still alive and still you. Talk to the Lord about it. Let Him restore you. Begin to walk back to health. Many have found that life after the narcissist can be good again. It might take time, but don’t lose hope. There is a way back to you.

*************************

Book News!

I understand that some people don’t do business with Amazon.  With that in mind, I can purchase and sell the books on my own.  If anyone is interested in purchasing the Narcissism book with free shipping, send me an email.  The price will be $16, and you can pay through the Paypal link.  (If you round up as a donation, be sure to let me know you want the book.)  Yes, that is a penny more than Amazon, but rounding it will help with the math.  Those who use Amazon Prime will get the book for the same (minus one cent) and will get it faster, but those who don’t use Prime or Amazon can get it here.  Obviously, I can’t give free postage outside the US, but I would work with you to find the best deal on shipping.  I also will not be able to handle returns. 

I can offer the same kind of deal with the Walk with Me book, but the price would be an even $20.  Free shipping. 

Processing and shipping will take longer.  I will ship Book Rate and pack it myself.  If I have books on hand, I can send them fairly quickly.  If I have to order more, it will take a couple weeks.  Factor that in. 

********************

Narcissism in the Church

Of all groups, the church should be the place without narcissism.  We embrace Christian relationships, join Christian organizations, and submit to Christian leadership expecting to be valued and loved.  Instead, too many find the church to be a place where their voice is stifled and their needs are ignored. 

Why?  Sadly, the narcissistic message has infected the church.  Too many churches categorize people according to their usefulness.  Individuals are not valued except as they serve the organization or the leadership.  That message has tainted both personal and organizational relationships.

The book, Narcissism in the Church: A Heart of Stone in Christian Relationships, explains that message and exposes its effect.  It is available as a Kindle e-book or in paperback using the links below. 

Paperback

1793872805

E-book

Narcissism in the Church: A Heart of Stone in Christian Relationships by [Orrison, David]



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Idolatry

It’s Narcissist Friday!

I haven’t written about the image worship of the narcissist for a while.  I know, it’s hard enough to learn how to dodge their bullets without trying to understand their motivations.  But sometimes understanding them is helpful in dealing with them.

When the narcissist was a child, he learned that he was not good enough as he was.  He was in the way, too noisy, too much bother, or needed hovering parents to make sure he didn’t fail.  He learned he was inadequate and unacceptable.  So, he developed a false self, an image of himself.  He would be better, stronger, smarter, and more desirable than others.  He would claim that the false self was him, even though he was not better and never felt like he was better. 

Let me set it up this way.  Little Billy went through all this rejection as a child.  Because he wanted so badly to be superior, he set himself up for ridicule and failure.  Mom and/or Dad either ignored him or hovered over him.  (Both sent the same message, that Billy was not adequate.) That rejection created an intolerable situation for Billy.  So, Billy became William.  William was better than everyone else.  William was smarter.  William was better at games.  William looked down on lesser children. 

Most people still called him Billy.  They still remembered the awkward little boy who cried when he didn’t get his way.  But Billy worked hard to make sure that William was superior.  He told stories about William, stories where William was faster and stronger and smarter.  William made others laugh at people’s mistakes.  William used other people to make himself look good.  He didn’t want to look like Billy.

At first, William existed only in Billy’s mind.  But William became more real to Billy with every story and every cruel action.  William deserved to be treated with respect and deference.  Whenever Billy felt bad about how others treated him, William mistreated others.  Whenever Billy was sad, William laughed.  Whenever Billy failed, William gained another story of amazing success.  In Billy’s mind, William was truly superior.

So, when Billy got out of school, he moved out of the community that knew him.  He became William.  If anyone dares to call him Billy, they are met with rage.  At work, in his marriage, in his church, he has become William.  And William is better than others.

Now, I use this “name change” illustration because some people actually do this.  They take their formal name or even their middle name as a way of separating themselves from their past.  Some don’t do this, but still develop the image for others to respect and admire.  And, of course, not everyone who changes names or tries to separate from their past is a narcissist.  But this idea of building an image to present to others is classic narcissism.

But, what is it called when someone worships an image, something they built themselves to represent strength and wisdom?  The Bible calls it “idolatry.”  Because the narcissist sets up the image expecting others to worship it, we have to consider it an idol.  The narcissist formed it, presented it, supports it, and praises it.  That’s idolatry.

If you do even a brief study of idolatry in the Bible, you should realize that people make these images to serve themselves.  They built a tall idol and feel taller.  They build a strong idol and feel stronger.  After all, the idol/false god works for them.  When Israel formed a calf or bull and worshiped it, they worshiped its strength.  There are few animals as strong as a young bull.  That strength made them feel like they were strong.

They made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped the molded image. Thus they changed their glory into the image of an ox that eats grass. They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt. Psalm 106:19-21

Notice the phrase, “they changed their glory into the image.”  I don’t have time to go into this, but God has created each person with a special glory.  We are unique, with individual gifts and potential.  We are created to have an individual relationship with God, and we have value in that relationship.  But the narcissist rejects the truth about himself.  He hates the way God made him.  (And, by the way, the narcissist hates that glory in you.  He/she will do a lot to strip it from you.)

Our identity is not found in the eyes of others.  Our identity is in our relationship with the Lord.  He knows how He has made us.  He has special plans and purposes for our lives.  It does hurt when others reject or mock us, especially when they seem to pick on the way we were made.  But one of the things we are to learn is that the only One who really sees us and our true value is the Lord Himself.  Our glory is in our relationship with Him.  In fact, He is our glory.

The narcissist has exchanged his glory, given it to the image he has created.  Instead of finding his own place and value in relationship with the Lord, the narcissist tries to create and maintain his own glory.  He creates an idol for his worship and expects others to worship it as well. 

The narcissist is an idolater.

********************

Book news!

I understand that some people don’t do business with Amazon.  With that in mind, I can purchase and sell the books on my own.  If anyone is interested in purchasing the Narcissism book with free shipping, send me an email.  The price will be $16, and you can pay through the Paypal link.  (If you round up as a donation, be sure to let me know you want the book.)  Yes, that is a penny more than Amazon, but rounding it will help with the math.  Those who use Amazon Prime will get the book for the same (minus one cent) and will get it faster, but those who don’t use Prime or Amazon can get it here.  Obviously, I can’t give free postage outside the US, but I would work with you to find the best deal on shipping.  I also will not be able to handle returns. 

I can offer the same kind of deal with the Walk with Me book, but the price would be an even $20.  Free shipping. 

Processing and shipping will take longer.  I will ship Book Rate and pack it myself.  If I have books on hand, I can send them fairly quickly.  If I have to order more, it will take a couple weeks.  Factor that in. 

********************

Narcissism in the Church

Of all groups, the church should be the place without narcissism.  We embrace Christian relationships, join Christian organizations, and submit to Christian leadership expecting to be valued and loved.  Instead, too many find the church to be a place where their voice is stifled and their needs are ignored. 

Why?  Sadly, the narcissistic message has infected the church.  Too many churches categorize people according to their usefulness.  Individuals are not valued except as they serve the organization or the leadership.  That message has tainted both personal and organizational relationships.

The book, Narcissism in the Church: A Heart of Stone in Christian Relationships, explains that message and exposes its effect.  It is available as a Kindle e-book or in paperback using the link below. 

Paperback

1793872805

E-book

Narcissism in the Church: A Heart of Stone in Christian Relationships by [Orrison, David]

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The Paperback is Available!

The book, Narcissism in the Church: A Heart of Stone in Christian Relationships, is available on Amazon!

Here’s the link:

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Turning the Attack

It’s Narcissist Friday!

A few weeks ago an item came through the news about a young mother who had chosen an unusual name for her unborn baby. The name, first name, was “Squire Sebastian Senator.” She did not disclose the middle name, and the article withheld her last name. Apparently, her family and friends reacted negatively to the strange name, so she went to Facebook and canceled the upcoming baby shower. As she did so, she ripped on her family, calling them names and using profanity to shame them.

Now, I do understand this. This young mother wanted to do something unique, something that made her feel like she and her baby were among the elite. The book Freakonomics (by Levitt and Dubber) has a chapter that discusses the reason some people choose strange names for their children. It has to do with wanting to feel special, different from others. The authors suggest that this accounts for many of the unusual spellings and names we see today.

So, I am not condemning the woman for her name choice, even though I agree that it is odd. She, like the rest of us, gets to choose the name of her baby (within reason). However, her reaction to the negative assessment of her family is interesting.

On her Facebook page, according to the article I have linked here, she accuses her family of judging her unborn child. She says, “How can you judge an unborn child?? What is wrong with you?? I never knew my family could be so judgmental. They’ve spread rumors and lies about my child.” The question in my mind is whether anyone actually judged the child, or if they judged her. In other words, I doubt anyone has anything against the baby. It isn’t even born yet! Nor is it the baby who is choosing the name. There are a lot of children out there who have rejected the name their parents gave them. It wasn’t their fault.

But this is such classic narcissism that I just had to bring it up here. I don’t know this young lady, so I have to give my standard caveat. I can’t and don’t diagnose her as being a narcissist. All I can comment on is her defense tactic.

I would call what she has done “transference” or “deflection.” She knows full well that her family members are criticizing her, but she accuses them of judging the baby. Not only does that deflect the negative from her, but it puts them in the meanest position she could find. How cruel are these baby-haters anyway? This is not an uncommon tactic for embarrassed unwed women to take with family, by the way. This is just the first centered on the name in my experience. But I have heard this kind of accusation against parents or other family who dare to criticize. “How can they reject an innocent baby?” But all they are doing is speaking concern about the choices of a daughter or sister.

Imagine that someone is shooting arrows at you. Somehow, you are fast enough to intercept the arrows and point them at someone else. When the arrows hit them or come close to hitting them, you can accuse the shooter of trying to hurt those innocent people. Not only did you deflect the arrows away from you, but you transferred the attack to someone else.

This is a classic political strategy, of course. It seems like any opposition to a tax increase is an attack on children or the poor. But usually, the increase has no direct link to children or poor people. (I have often suggested that politics is a narcissistic game.)

Of course, the tactic works. The ones who criticize are now in a defensive position. They are the ones accused. If the narcissist is successful, the discussion will end, and no one will dare to offer further criticism. Nothing is really resolved, but the narcissist is off the hook for a foolish or selfish decision.

Another example: You need a better car. The one you use to take the kids to school is less and less dependable. So you go to your husband/wife and say that you really need something better. In response, you hear: “So you don’t care about your son?” What? “We were going to get braces for him, but you don’t want to do that.” You didn’t say anything about your son or his braces. Why does it have to be either a car or braces for Billy? How about that new boat the narcissist is getting? How about the vacation the narcissist expects? But you are the bad guy, attacking poor Billy. Now you have to defend yourself. Now you have to explain that you want both Billy’s braces and a better car. Now you have to convince anyone who has heard the discussion (probably Billy) that you are not an evil person. And you will probably think twice before bring up the car problem again.

Deflecting criticism is a common narcissistic tactic. The boss who makes a foolish decision comes to the defense of the team that is being attacked. The teacher who doesn’t teach well defends her students against the cruel judgment.

Narcissists cannot face their mistakes. They must either blame someone else or transfer the criticism to another. If they can’t overwhelm you with their reasoning, they may back you into a corner with their accusations. If the narcissist feels attacked or mistreated, prepare yourself for a counter attack beyond any reasonable proportion. Anything or anyone can be used to defend the narcissist or get revenge on you.

Frankly, I already feel sorry for the baby with the strange name. And not because of the name.

*****

The paperback is being processed! It might even be available as you read this. I can’t express how much I appreciate all your input on the title. You can see that I listened! I wish I had several books to match the great suggestions. This has been a learning experience. If the paperback is not available today, check again tomorrow. Also, if you buy the paperback, you can get the ebook for 2.99 (I hope!) And please feel free to leave reviews!

Narcissism in the Church: A Heart of Stone in Christian Relationships

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