Why won’t they believe me?

It’s Narcissist Friday!

It breaks my heart every time someone asks why others won’t believe their story of narcissistic abuse.  I know that it hurts and adds insult to injury.  Whether it is the judge in divorce court or the pastor of the church or other family members, we want the one who listens to believe.  Those who work with abuse cases know that many people will not report abuse because they think no one will believe them.  That means they suffer alone.

So let’s think about why they don’t believe your story.  First, you are battling your narcissist at the point of his “super-power.”  This is what narcissists do best; manipulate what others think of them.  He might be incompetent at work or a terrible father, but he can get people to like him and believe him.  She might mistreat and criticize everyone, but she can get people to do what she wants.  Every part of the narcissist’s energy is devoted to this manipulation because to be seen as vulnerable or unworthy is death.

Basically, narcissists are good actors.  They know just what to present to whom and when.  The only reason you see through them is because they no longer care about you.  Your opinion doesn’t matter.  The judge, the school administration, the pastor, or the parent—that’s different.  Those people matter at specific times and the narcissist must succeed.  So people don’t believe you because they are overwhelmed by the narcissist’s personality.

Never underestimate the focus of the narcissist on his or her reputation.  I am confident that many narcissists begin setting up their victims from the beginning of the relationship.  They undermine your reputation by projecting their weaknesses and offenses on you.  They set you up to look unreliable through gaslighting or telling small lies.  Or the narcissist has arranged things so that you have little support and few resources.  So when you finally get to the place where you reach out for help, others are already thinking there is something wrong with you—and you might be so stressed that your actions and demeanor prove them right.

At the same time he is doing this to you, he may be doing it to others.  The pastor, for example, may be afraid of losing the support of the narcissist on the church council.  Others at work may have shared too much information and feel vulnerable in the presence of the narcissist.  They may believe you, but don’t feel able to give you support or acknowledgement.  Mom may have her apron strings tied around the necks of your siblings.  Yes, narcissists really do this.

Also, narcissistic abuse is difficult to prove.  What evidence can you give?  Usually narcissists are not physical abusers, so there are no marks to show.  The continual criticism and the gaslighting can be hard to show to others.  And the effect is cumulative.  Taken as individual instances, these things often seem insignificant.  It’s when it happens every day over a period of years that the effects of the abuse are felt.  People who know you realize that something is wrong, but can’t put their finger on the cause, even when they see it happening.

The sad truth is that narcissists often win in the court of public opinion.  They have lived their whole lives manipulating the perspectives of others and they are invested way beyond anything the rest of us would consider reasonable.  They are usually ruthless in their willingness to attack, even to lie.  They tie others to themselves through manipulation for support.

Yes, the narcissist might win.  Another reason for not getting into this kind of relationship.  If you are not married to the narcissist, don’t.  If you can distance yourself from the narcissist friend or family member, do it.  There is no magic formula that will guarantee a good ending to your situation, so do what you can when you can.

And, remember, even if he wins, you don’t lose.  Wipe the dust off your feet and move on to health.

Next week I will give some practical suggestions on how you might overcome the manipulative power of the narcissist.  I apologize for separating these posts, but this is too long already.  No guarantees, just some suggestions.

I would be interested in your comments on why you think the narcissists so often win.

56 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

56 responses to “Why won’t they believe me?

  1. Donna Roberts Walker

    The narcissist is consumed by hiding who they truly are… They cannot afford to have feelings because feelings would make them vulnerable to truth. The narcissist knows he must never be vulnerable lest his immoral behaviors be discovered. An example repeated multiple times in our lives has been when the N’s spouse, me, is hospitalized. It seems cold that the N can only think of using this opportunity to satisfy illicit sexual fantasy, however, to the N it is simply narcissistic logic. The N’s first addiction is to self. Satisfying and protecting SELF consumes the mind of the N. The N self has two components… 1) Projection of innocence of false self to all others 2) Satisfying the lusts of the true self while not being caught. The narcissist manipulates what people think and how they will react. The N makes it look easy to manipulate and control just by looking beautiful, charming, humble and respectable… However this life of Narcissism is deadly serious and consumes the narcissist. In the Ns game people are objects with predictable behaviors. These predictable behaviors are exploited to create opportunities in which the N can exploit the innocent. Through making the innocent into sources the N can appear innocent. The N achieves this innocence by taking the innocence of the truly innocent! This is the magic of the N… appearing innocent while living out the lusts of the flesh. No one is safe and everyone is fair game to the N… he masterfully manipulates anyone and everyone. As the spouse of a covert narcissist Ive come to understand that the years of lying, cheating and abuse perpetrated N is not intended to be personal! I am simply the spouse and I serve only one purpose and that is to believe my N’s lies. Through my innocently believing the lies, the lies thus become reality in the mind of the N. My N knows no other way of life than to manipulate people as ‘objects’. The N practices mass manipulation because he has made a life time study of human behavior. First and foremost it is imperative to the N that the spouse (significant other) believe the lies… The N feels secure as long as this significant person believes his lies. Everyone else takes much less effort to manipulate because casual acquaintances are suckers for the superficial charm manufactured through charming smiles and shallow, easy words. Ns are masterful character actors… 24/7 actors. The N’s prostitutes and flings are fodder that feed the enormous and self consumed ego. The spouse and children of the N are the primary source of false security and as long as the spouse and children support the false self he believes he can securely hide the true self. In my case our Christian home and my faith in Christ have been my N’s primary source of false security. My Ns position of deacon in the church has been a front of false security to which to hide the adultery. My N easily spends less than 1% of his mental energy upon manipulating me and the kids. Almost 100% of the N’s mental energy is spent preparing to ‘innocently’ pull off his next illicit sexual encounter without being caught. My N carefully fantasizes his grandiose imaginings so that he can continue to think that he is wiser than all others.

    • Fellow Survivor

      Donna, right on. As long as we believe the lies all is OK. But once you challenge and demand the truth then it gets ugly. My ex N would lie to me. I would challenge with proof of the lie and still she would insist she was telling the truth. Its as if they say “why don’t you believe me when I lie to you?” and really mean it. And then what can you do. They look at you like “oh, so you caught me, what difference does it make, you are not going to do anything about it”

  2. Melanie

    I think the Narcissist quite simply cannot afford to lose. Their false sense of self (the one they want us all to buy into and believe in) is at stake. The odds are not so high for us ‘normal’ folk.

    I have just concluded divorce proceedings with my ex husband of twenty years. He has just brought out of his secret closet a child who is almost one year old that he has fathered with the ex-nanny of our third child who is now fifteen. She won’t see him or speak to him. His response has been to send me an email with the precise text that I must deliver to her which is that I gave him permission to have an affair and that I therefore accept joint responsibility for the birth of the child. He goes further to say that because I did not accept his offer to have a vasectomy whilst we were married, I was almost through the menopause at this point, then in fact I must accept some responsibility for the situation.

    He is desperate for me to buy into these lies and for many years in our marriage I did such things to protect him from the judgement of others or to hide his flaws. Given that I have refused I am not sure what tactic he will try next but you can be sure there will be one.

    He must win. To not win would be literally painful for him. Somehow this situation cannot be his fault.

    • Amazing! Good for you to stand strong and refuse to promote his lie! Yes, you can be sure that he will keep trying. There is a point at which a narcissist will stop, though – when they believe that the battle is no longer worthwhile. When they get enough of what they want to consider it a win, or when they can get sympathy from the loss, or when they can feed themselves another way. None of this will be a loss in the N’s mind.

      But you win simply by holding on to your integrity and moving toward health. You are the one who is free.

      • Melanie

        Thank you David. I have found your blog an immense comfort over the last few years. It’s great to feel understood. Seeing my daughter in the thick of it however has set off many of the old triggers for me and I feel very sad that his decisions have created such an impossible family dynamic for the future. Low contact feels like the only option. Definitely not taking up the invitation to be ‘Auntie Mel’ to his new offspring! What was he thinking when he sent that email? Never ceases to amaze me with his lack of boundaries and bamboozling tactics.

    • Cecilia K

      Wow, Melanie, that definitely took a lot of gall on his part! How tragic for you, all that happened, yet I’m guessing you feel some relief with it being over.

      That part about his email is slightly similar to something my ex-boyfriend did, although, this wasn’t him trying to get me to take partial responsibility for his sin. After I shared with the pastor’s wife that I thought my (then) boyfriend could be controlling (while at church), my ex wrote up an apology that he wanted me to recite to the pastor’s wife, for having smeared his name in the presence of other church members. He also broke up with me over the incident.

      I had whispered the information to try and prevent others from hearing, but truly, I honestly had felt convicted about it even before I told the ex. Not so much that I had told her, but more for not doing it privately. Anyway, I told him I was willing to apologize, but in my own words…said I couldn’t say all that he had written. Why not? he asked. Because it’s not all true, in my opinion. It wouldn’t be coming from my heart, I wouldn’t genuinely mean it. You can imagine the reaction that got.

      He even later followed up to make sure I had apologized to the pastor’s wife, which I had – but in my own words, from MY heart. And she said I had nothing to apologize for.

      • UnForsaken

        Agreed . You felt guilty because you are conscientious, but Ns make a big deal about nothing. Also you were giving it your best and being sensative to his feelings, others around, etc. That is not a grave mistake. That is being careful. We who are careful can always look back and see we would Like to have been more careful. This plays into a perfectionistic controller’s “game”, or “options for tools”. Putting his own words in your mouth was a big try at control, and taking over your personhood. I am So proud of you for not doing it! It seems like such a small compomise, but it can be Huge. Take your personhood today, your whole life tomorrow.

      • Cecilia K

        Thank you, Unforsaken. It always felt good when I would stand up to him, despite the anger that followed. I was rather stunned when he handed me that piece of paper with the apology on it. Could not believe he was telling me what to say. And ironically, all the while, insisting that he is NOT controlling.

  3. Sunflower

    “So when you finally get to the place where you reach out for help, others are already thinking there is something wrong with you—and you might be so stressed that your actions and demeanor prove them right.’

    I think that sentence has a big clue as to why we aren’t believed. At least for me. I was so worn down and became so needy and pathetic, begging to be believed and understood, that I came across as crazy, I think. Also, everyone has been taught, in the church and books and media that if you’re nice to someone, they will be nice back, and that ‘it takes two to tangle’, when actually the truth is, ‘it takes two to tango’. A dance is not a dance when only one partner is making an effort to do it right. On the other hand, if the one making an effort keeps making the effort and trying harder and harder instead of letting go, you keep having a really bad dance. 39 years ago when my first child (I raised 10 plus foster and day-care) threw his first tantrum, I stepped over him and quietly locked myself in the bathroom until he was done. The second time I didn’t even get to the door when he gave it up. This always worked with any kind of unacceptable behaviour (unless someone was in danger of course), but somehow I wasn’t able to figure out that I needed to do that with the N. Why? Because I wanted something from him, badly. I was not whole within myself, nor was I allowing Christ to complete me as He wants.

    I find that now, I still don’t get believed all the time but it doesn’t matter as much. The closer I get to Jesus, the less it matters. Learning listening prayer has been huge for me. Jesus led me to meditate for weeks on the story of Joseph. He wasn’t believed, either, nor was Jesus himself. So? Thanking Him for everything (even for every little of big thing the N does or says), asking Jesus where it comes from and where my reaction comes from, how the N reflects me (does my obsessing on the N not reveal my own entitlement?), then switching my focus back on Christ: I sing with Him, I dress for Him, I chat with Him…….believe me, this has been a really tough journey and still is, but so worth it.

    Besides, if people believed us, they would have to admit that they were wrong, and maybe even feel that God would have them help us, and that would be, like, work? Responsibility? Much easier to blow us off and stick their head in the sand, no?

    • Donna Roberts Walker

      Your opening paragraph indeed explains the lions share of why we are not believed… Not to mention the N has been dropping subtle innuendos about our emotional instabilities for who knows how many years?

  4. SherM

    Why do the narcissists so often win? (Or seem to, anyway.) I think they are completely lacking in a moral compass, what I’ve seen referred to as ’empathy.’

    I’m just now extricating myself from a 7-year, rather creepy in retrospect, ‘friendship’ with a woman who is now, thankfully, far enough away to not be able to affect my life – although I have clues that she’s doing some serious rumor-mongering among those we used to socialize with. BUT… I am so grateful to our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, I did not have one of these toxic people attempt to latch on and suck out my life/spirit/energy until my late 40’s, and had belonged wholly to Jesus for about 20 years before that, so I think my sense of “who I am in Christ” was strong enough that she couldn’t ‘harm’ me.

    When we married 8 years ago, my husband was a member of a couple of interest-oriented social groups and we started getting to know some of the couples-without-young-kids folks as acquaintances and possible friends. She introduced herself and her husband, they joined one of the groups about a year after I did, and we found out we lived just a couple miles from each other in our large city – she’d come over for a couple hours and we’d sit and talk over coffee, or I’d go over to visit with her. She was fascinated at my being what she called “a little earth-mother” and wanted me to help her get a garden going in the back yard of the house they were renting, where someone had a garden before. So off to the horse stables for old composted manure and bedding, and we rototilled it for them and her husband planted and maintained a garden. And she was pleased that “she” grew a garden that year.

    She kept wanting me to teach her how to make soap, grow herbs, make herbal creams and ointments – but she wanted to come over and watch me do my thing, so to speak, and take notes – and then go home ‘knowing’ how to do those things. But whenever I would say “I’m going to make soap sometime in the next couple weeks, if you want to come over – what day would be good?” She was always very dismissive – “Oh, I’ve got SO much going on in my life right now, there’s another crisis with our roommate, her son, my husband, my health… I’ll have to do it some other time.” She always had a crisis going on – or just when things seemed to be going smooth, she’d have heart palpitations and everyone would rush around to get her to the E.R. – where they usually couldn’t find anything wrong. Her own husband used to say “N lives in crisis.” She decided how they all should be living and what each person should be doing, at their house, and if you disagreed or didn’t comply, she would go into a rage – I understand now what was going on behind the scenes, because they all would ‘mention’ things, almost lightheartedly, about N’s rages and how they would have to have a conference (guess who would officiate?) and ‘talk things out.’ But of course that was all behind the scenes – on the surface they were just folks.

    Well, my husband was assigned another work territory in our state and we put the house up for sale and moved into a little, damp cabin near the coast that he had for vacations – most of our belongings in storage. I worked from home and had a regular work-schedule so didn’t have a lot of free time – I did miss the social gatherings we had been part of for the past 5 years and the N-friend did drive all the way down to meet me at a restaurant where we drank coffee and talked all afternoon. Storing up brownie points, I think of it now. She gave enough of herself, rarely, to convince me she was a true friend…

    Well, we found a great place on a little land and for 3 years have been working our tails off to make it able to support us and the chickens, and by God’s grace it does, though it is just able – there is ‘enough’ water but not excess, so in late summer through fall we really have to watch usage – especially if we want the garden to produce enough squash and such to keep us fed over the winter! All the above, leads us to the Big Hit…

    For 3 years we have been working hard here – and maybe once every 6 months making the LONG drive back to the old city, to visit with some of the folks we used to ‘hang out with’ in aforementioned group. Understandably, they’ve all gone on with their lives THERE while we have been busy creating a new life HERE – and it’s a 5-hour drive, so no one has really come down here except N-friend, to spend a weekend, once, with her husband and her ‘helper,’ a girl who lives with them and does the gardening, cleaning and cooking in exchange for room-and-board. While they were here, I excused myself to water the garden and she sent her ‘helper’ out to ?keep an eye on me? while she took it on herself to scrub my stove – can’t imagine why as it was clean, just not spotless under the drip pans, unless it was sort of like a dog marking territory… strange remark, I admit, although what has happened since then was what gave me that image in retrospect. At the time I was just sort of indignant and surprised – “Why did YOU decide you needed to clean MY stove?!” Of course it was just because she wanted to do something NICE for me. Uh-huh. Right.

    A year ago, she called after not being in contact for several months (her normal pattern) to tell me she was leaving her husband after finding out he had been cheating on her, she had just spent one week at her oldest girlfriend’s house (who suggested after a week that she would obviously be happier somewhere else), had spent another week at her ‘counselor’s’ home, who also suggested she needed to find another place to stay after a panic attack required the counselor driving N-friend to the hospital (N-friend has no car now so is dependent on others when she has a ‘health crisis’), and was now going to rent a studio in the heart of the city and be a happy city-person. I tried to be encouraging and enthusiastic for her, thinking how her world must have sort of crashed in on her, after some 18 years of marriage, and good for her that she’s choosing to do something positive, make a plan and start putting her life back together in a new form…

    About 6 months ago she called, telling me how she was educating herself about herbs through “an online course” and then told me she would be in contact about when she could come down and “follow you around” taking notes on how to do a garden, distill herbs, etc. etc. – notice she didn’t offer to HELP do any of the work, just follow me around taking notes – literally. Oh, and her helper had special dietary needs, could only eat the purest of organic foods and meats and non-gluten bread. I asked why she would want to know that stuff when she didn’t have room for a distillation setup in their studio, or opportunity to forage/wildcraft in the middle of the city? She spoke of finding an opportunity to live in a guest-house on small acreage and that the man was willing to let them live there rent-free in exchange for them sharing the produce of the raised-bed garden he would build for them… but it sounded very strange to me, because the more details she added about this “opportunity” she had come across, the more it sounded like what we had at our home; other than the guest-house (we don’t have one) the details were exactly the same. Hm. Magical thinking? …like, “If I say it, it will come true.” Or maybe, “If she thinks I have the opportunity somewhere else she’ll ask me to move in THERE so as not to lose my glorious company.” Somehow she had herself convinced I WANTED her to move near to me, told me she had been looking for the above-type of opportunity near us but was having to look nearer the city to be near her doctor and hospital.

    By this time I was getting kind of creeped out – who is this woman, really, and why does she seem to be trying so hard to copy everything I am and everything I do? And looking to me for approval – why should she need to tell me the details of how she’s going to church now (pause for me to offer approval), how she’s studying herbology online (pause for me to offer approval)… what kind of ‘friendship’ is this, anyway? And I started noticing she was hinting, waiting, hinting about moving here, with us. Even knowing there isn’t a ‘spare room’ here – even knowing how tight we are on water usage a good part of the year. Didn’t matter, I guess, she just had a bad “I want that” mentality when it came to my LIFE – as I started to finally see and understand.

    The shocking moment of realization actually came in 2 parts – the first when she told me I was her “resource” – it went something like this: “Well, the reason I want to follow you around and take notes is because you’re my resource.” I said, “What do you mean, resource?” Her reply was that X was her encourager, always on her side, and Y was her counselor, helping her (in essence) justify her choices, and I was her resource for how to do stuff (she sees it as being very chic and green, I guess – I just see it as how the Lord has led me to invest my talents; in life and the living of it.) A resource. Hm. Not a friend, a resource.

    The second shock-moment was when she called the last time (a couple months ago) and said the ‘final decision’ was buying an RV and becoming caravaneers, and during the 3 months or whatever they didn’t want to travel, they would park their RV at our place. I was utterly taken aback, she was so matter-of-fact about it. Not a request; a statement of what she was going to do. I told her that wasn’t possible because we didn’t have water enough to share with another family (even if that is “only” 2 more people). She sat there on the phone crying silently. Trying to make me change my mind because I feel sorry for her? Frustrated because I told her NO?

    Now, here’s the kicker… I don’t know what she has told the “old circle” of acquaintances, but over the last couple months people we haven’t been in contact with for at least a year and a half are suddenly getting in touch and saying they are having to sell their house and are getting an RV and could they camp at our place for a week, or month, or few months during the winter season, and oh by the way we thought maybe you could store the belongings we don’t want to sell, and our meat in your freezer since we like to hunt? It’s been very weird – and it’s been happening OVER and OVER and OVER. The really strange thing is a couple of the people don’t know or have any contact with most of the “social group” of acquaintances…. they’re old acquaintances of my husband’s and not really ‘bad’ people but definitely not ‘good’ people, if you know what I mean. It’s just odd they would sort of smell blood in the water and come swimming over – after not being in any kind of contact with us/him for several years, in those cases.

    Anyhow, through what Pastor Dave has shared here regarding narcissists and what they do, and some other good blogs/websites, I am able to recognize what N-friend is and I am now comfortable and at peace with ending any contact with her – I haven’t called her for a couple years and if/when she calls again I will be unfortunately too busy to talk.

    I wonder what she’s been putting out about us back in the old group of folks, though – partly because of the sharks swimming after us over and over, and partly because we went to the old city a couple weeks ago (our last vending venture out of our own area, we’ve decided – we mostly wanted to say ‘goodbye’ to a few people and give those who have expressed especial appreciation for a couple of my herbal balms one last chance to stock up). Over and over, people would walk up and look at us in surprise and say, “You guys look really good – both of you!” …and we’d chat a little, but after the third or fourth time even my husband was raising an eyebrow at me (he’s not real big on the subtle things about people interaction, like a lot of guys, but that’s OK, he’s a great guy anyway). In a way I don’t really care because the Lord has severed most if not all the connections we had with those folks, but I sure do wonder what N-friend has been spreading around, that everyone was so surprised we were actually doing great out here on our little home-steading.

    It feels as though this home, which was a true gift from the Father, and is dedicated to being cared for to honor and eventually give back to the Lord Jesus, has come under attempted attack – or else it is we humans here that are being attacked and it would be the little bit of God’s earth here that would bear the consequences. What I do know is that the woman I’ve been calling N-friend here has been trying to MOVE IN and TAKE CONTROL of what she was given an opportunity to achieve a few years ago (an untold part of the story) but couldn’t WAIT until the place became available to her, and that her history indicates she does not have the stick-to-it-iveness to be able to do what we’ve done here, anyway. So, instead of learning and building something she can be proud of, in her own life, she would rather try to (first) have someone else open her head up and put the knowledge in her brain, or if that fails, try to just move in on what someone else has achieved and, once the work is ‘all done’ (in her mind) she can take possession and then command everyone else around her on how to do the ongoing work. While she takes the credit.

    Why do they seem to win? They seemingly have NO scruples about how to get whatever their eye or mind has fixated on as ‘gotta have that.’ And if you dare tell them “no” they will have no scruples about what they “have” to tell people to prove they were RIGHT and you were just being a big ol’ meanie not to give them what they so obviously have a right to.

    Mostly, I’m disgusted at the un-cleanness, the truly muddy waters, of all of it. And very glad to have the knowledge and the ability to just give a pass on playing those games anymore. I feel like I need my soul washed. Yuck.

    • Donna Roberts Walker

      Interesting that you use the term lacking a ‘moral compass’. I’d say you are spot on in your discernment. A few years back I was in an auto accident out of state as a result was in ICU several states away from home for over two weeks. My family and friends were confused that my N wouldn’t ‘let’ family or friends fly out to see me or him. Turns out he was having two plus week long orgy with the local prostitutes while I was confined to ICU. When this information surfaced a few years later my N he confessed that I serve as his ‘moral-compass’. However he carries on his lying to my face and has hired untold numbers of prostitutes through the years on his way to work in the early mornings. Absence of empathy or lacking a moral compass… both help explain the missing component that empowers and separates the N from other mortals.

    • These stories never fail to amaze and sadden me. Lack of empathy is one of the definitions of narcissism. I have had people tell me that their N is very empathic and I have to say that either the person is deceptive or is not a narcissist. The foundational problem of narcissism is the inability to see others as persons, partly because they cannot see themselves as persons. They see people as tools, toys, or obstacles. As you say, “resources.”

      I appreciate your last paragraph. It does feel dirty. Donna’s story shows us some of the dirt, but we all sense it in dealing with narcissism. There is a darkness that is somehow projected on us and we feel it. So take it to Jesus and ask Him to wash you. Forgive her in Him and move on. Enjoy the life and health He has given you. If she contacts you again, you will deal with her from a position of freedom and victory. She can’t manipulate you any longer.

      • Fellow Survivor

        David, Years ago my ex wife’s dad was doing something really stupid, I can’t remember just what it was, but it was hurting her badly. She cried and cried in my arms and I did everything I could do to consul her. I looked at her and told her, he has no empathy. He just doesn’t care how he hurts people. That was before she went over to the dark side with him. You say, tools, toys, or obstacles. At that time 7 years ago the way I defined this, whatever it is that we now call narcissism, is that all person either make him look good, make him feel good, or provide some particular service or function to his life. I didn’t really understand the obstacle part yet, but that is what I became. He wants direct access to my daughter to control her and I absolutely forbid it. Therefore, I became an obstacle and therefore expendable. He turned my wife’s heart against me, of that I am absolutely certain. But as my best friend reminded me, it wasn’t his fault. She, the ex, knew what kind of man he is and she knew what kind of man I am. She bought the lies knowingly and was seduced by his money to turn her heart towards him and away from me. Its so terribly pathetic. What a waste. This paragraph that I have just written is what happened to a really happy family. It was not meant to be. When a narc overpowers a person with narc tendencies, its unstoppable.

  5. Kate

    This blog calms my crazed outlook, and boy do I need it. THANK YOU. Thank you Pastor Dave for such thoughtful, timely, and fearlessly spot-on writing, and thank you to folks out there who share, listen, and understand. I am need of a Christian perspective, and I appreciate this so much.

    As to WHY narcissists are so “winning,” I think they really believe their own dazzling mythology. After all, IT’S WHO THEY ARE. Do they, deep down, know that what they present is only presentation and not themselves? Perhaps, but how frightening to live with that consciously, and how exhausting to knowingly expend so much energy on brazen lies. No, I do not see any level of self-awareness that would lead to anything more than a self-affirming, superficial inventory of their own winning — affirmation reflected back by those in whom they invest their time and energy. I even think that this spent time and energy is, to them, their display of caring.

    And after all, remember “The Secret”? That whole thing is based on believing that you already have what you want. And then you get it. The Secret comes so naturally, so effortlessly to one who already believes. And who isn’t persuaded by someone who believes in what they say? It can not be called a lie if the teller believes it to be true, can it?

    Sure, The Secret is effective in this world — scary how much so — but this is the world we live in, and The Secret and its spoils (success, accolades, fame, and the other narcissistic pursuits) are just more worldly possessions. And where does that get anybody but wanting more? Trying to win this game only keeps one in pursuit of treasure in this world — not where it truly awaits. And I think we all know the emptiness of that endless pursuit, dazzle and all.

    Remember the movie “WarGames”? (Yes, WAR indeed!)
    “The only winning move is not to play.”

    Oh, but how?

    • SherM, You’re so right… It is all a game. I’ve recently gained a few more glimpses into the workings of the mind of master game player to whom I’m married. His primary game is with God. Yes, in his arrogance he plays games with God. As a child he figured out that God doesn’t administer justice immediately and in his arrogance he thinks he is somehow above God’s justice.

      Your insight into the ‘Secret’ is intriguing. Now that you have opened the door of my mind with this Insight I’m sure I’m sure I’ll begin to understand how this ‘Secret’ comes into play in my N’s thinking.

      “The only winning move is not to play.” is oh so accurate. I didn’t play the game for years, I just ignored it all and lived life to the fullest. As a result my N carried on a full and secret life… I have lost so much while choosing to be unaware. Now, my only attempt is to be AWARE of his deceitful schemes. Surprisingly, the Holy Spirit is enabling me to see the evidence of the ‘bigger schemes’ before they are carried out. My N is concerned, maybe even ‘spooked’ because there is no way I could make these discoveries on my own. Walking and living with an awareness of the presence of Christ’s Spirit within me is proving to be very effective in exposing the deceptions. I’m purposing daily to be aware of Christ’s omnipresence within me which affords me access to his omniscience and omnipotence. I must trust the Holy Spirit to lead me, teach me and protect me and I’m finding that HE is able. The accountability powered by the Holy Spirit has narrowed my N spouse’s world considerably. I’m trusting Christ’s Spirit to lead me out of this marriage at the right time… or, maybe God will make it work?

      • Whisper

        Kate & Donna or anyone else: I am new to this whole topic of N and recently discovered that I have been married to one for 13 years. Could someone explain more about the topic of “the secret”?

  6. I don’t think narcissists ever really “win”. It may take awhile but sooner or later their lies, manipulations and selfishness, etc come to roost. For example, my N spouse whose laziness, irresponsibility, and arrogance have lead to ruined credit, very limited occupational and financial options, and poor reputation with family and friends. Or my N father whose irresponsibility, selfishness and arrogance have resulted in no contact with anyone in his family including his children (except me). He moved hundreds of miles away from everyone (I think he thought every friend and family member would move closer to him) and now he is financially destitute (he can work, just can’t seem to find a job that will pay him commensurate with his many talents), and alone. Or my N sister who has had way too many brushes with the law and ruined credit because she decided money and things that belonged to someone else should be hers and that she didn’t need to pay her bills. It may take awhile but they have sowed those seeds. The tricky thing is making sure you don’t lose. This blog has helped me a lot to minimize the hurt and damage that these folks can cause to the people around them. Just to echo what I’ve read here – make sure you are caring for yourself, staying in Christ and keeping good boundaries. Narcissists are miserable, joyless and tortured- they will never find peace, joy, love (“win”) through their image but that is all they know how to do. It’s like drinking sand to quench your thirst.

  7. Carolyn

    I think that N’s so often “win” because they have no rules…and will stoop to just about anything in order to win. They will lie without giving it a second thought. You and I…we were chosen by our N’s because we have what they do not…morals, values and ethics. There are lines that we will not cross. Jesus Christ is our role-model.

    The thing is…I know that my ex is a very troubled and haunted human being. He wants to win? Let him. In the end, it gives him no satisfaction. I need to be true to God. Let the chips fall where they may. At the end if the day, I like who I am. I am sure he does not. Please… let’s all keep praying for them. If even a few N’s would give their heart to Christ, it would be wonderful!

    • Donna Roberts Walker

      Spot on! No rules, anything goes. We were chosen for our morals, values and ethics.

      • SherM

        Donna, I find it very interesting that you say we were CHOSEN for our morals, values and ethics…

        It is as though my N-friend, having no framework or overarching set of values/morals/ethics by which to live, copycatted what they SAW of my values/morals/ethics – I am not sure it was deliberate, but at the beginning of the relationship definitely fit into the “wow, we have a lot in common, must be soulmates” pattern I’ve read about.

        And yet, it never really rings true, does it? Like a pretty good re-make of a really great song, the words are the same, every note of the music is the same… but after a bit it becomes obvious the spirit is missing. Oh, it’s not a bad re-do at all, but having heard the original with all its passion and the way it reached into the soul of you and stirred the depths of your emotions – the remake seems hollow and empty, because the artist or group performing it did not have the emotions, empathy, LIFE invested in that song the way the original artist did.

        Same with the N – they copy the seeming of a values-system but the reality of living according to clear principles just isn’t there; a veneer of moral values (the ‘social face’?) that is easily discardable should the perceived “need” of the N at the moment demand it.

        Is it that they need us to provide a model of how real, 3D human beings act so they can imitate it – without having any idea that there are emotions, value-based reasons, and rock-solid base principles underlying the actions?

        Just some thoughts regarding my particular ex-N-relationship; still ‘processing’ and trying to grow in understanding, here. 🙂 Thank you for your post, the way it opened another door of thinking, learning and hopefully understanding, here.

        And thank You, Lord, for this place of sharing and growing for all of us. And thank you, Pastor Dave, for making this little refuge for everyone!

  8. Tonya Scarborough

    I think that many counselors view themselves as being objective because they’re on the outside. It’s a comfortable position to be in. They don’t want to step down and admit that they too are being played, and in some ways, powerless. And they wish to be helpful and effective. Most of the time this is accomplished by looking at both peoples’ problems in a relationship. But without understanding how pervasive and insidious the narcissist’s lies are, the counselor becomes an unwitting accomplice to the narcissist’s abuse. And I haven’t met a person who really understood the extent of narcissistic abuse if they haven’t been a victim themself. It’s not merely hurtful that things are this way. It can be psychologically damaging and a huge setback to a victim who is seeking help and trying to figure out what exactly is going on and to determine just how much they are responsible for. My advice would be to never go to joint counseling with a narcissist. But, by all means, seek counseling for yourself, alone.

    • Sunflower

      Could it also be that many Ns become counselors and pastors because of the position of power it gives them? And so, as stated in one of the blogs from another Friday, the N finds another N and they seem to form their own little clique, and we are, again, the scape goat. I have just had to stop going to a church where we’d been for 8 years because the pastor wanted so badly to counsel us and ended up being an N too. When I asked him why he didn’t believe me, he said in an email that everyone lies, and he couldn’t take sides, then proceeded to rip me to shreds. I laid the email before the Lord and He showed me that here was another one, and to not even answer the email, just cut all ties. The other people in the church are shocked that we left but I don’t know what to say. In a small town, that can be great food for gossip. Oh well, another test, but thankful to see the true colours come out before going any further.

      • Tonya Scarborough

        It could be. I’ve had the same exact thing said to me by my husband’s “mentor” from his church, that everyone lies and is imperfect. True, everyone is imperfect, but not everyone is a habitual liar. I think it’s sad that some people believe that. I don’t think I would be able to trust anyone or even myself if I believed that. He also challenged me with the notion that I wasn’t allowing my husband to progress if I didn’t take his words at face value, because then I wasn’t giving him a chance to build trust. I completely disagree, I think that it’s up to the liar to earn back a good reputation before people start to believe them again. I refuse to talk any of his mentors after that. The common thread seems to be that no matter what the N does, the victim is supposed to take the punishment for it.

  9. Whisper

    My N husband of 13 years professes his faith in Jesus and attends church regularly. He comes across as a trusted 71 year old gentleman. He continually seeks attention & admiration from the people in church. During the service he’s always checking out the other people. I didn’t understand why he was doing this until I learned that the N is always looking for his next victim. It’s been very painful to watch because he often picks out the young beautiful women in the church. He finds a way to “be nice” by turning on his charm & charisma. He needs them to connect with him. It is very evident to me that he is deliberate and purposeful in getting his needs met. We’ve had numerous arguments over the hurt I feel when he does this. He says I am unreasonable. This same behavior persists in other settings. It’s very painful for me. I’ve tried to talk to people, but they just don’t understand. He has deceived, charmed, tricked and manipulated lots of people. I’m so glad that I found this site to share my story & to know that other people understand how difficult it is to be married to a N.

    • Victoria

      Janice, wow- 71 and still a Narc? Thank you God for saving me!

      I too experienced the same in church with my ex financee Narc .of 5 years ( never lived together). We were in praise band, volunteered for homeless shelter, etc. He made me feel as if I was inadequate when he flirted or turn on his charms in different settings. He was clever, in that he would hold my hand at the same time he flirted… The mixed messages made me crazy .

      If he flirted a lot, and I would get sad, he would buy me a gift ( I have many).

      The good news is that I have been NC for 8 months, and I feel better without him. I no longer feel anxious or on edge. Church and other places are happy places for me now:). Yes, sometimes, I’m sad, loney, and have flashbacks, yet, it does not compare to the agony and pain I have endured the last 5 years caught in the web of deception .

  10. Mary

    I think they win because the lies they tell are so big ; the manipulation so extreme, the healthy mind first responds by concluding ” This can’t be real, I’m making this up, no one would do that, would they?” I think they win because they’re not only good actors- they are masters at creating confusion and human beings can’t stay confused for long- we hate that. So we end the confusion by coming to a conclusion that may be false, but it calms the storm the Narc. creates in our brain. It happens so fast- we forget what we see and know and even how much mental gymnastics we had to perform to find peace again. They win because like Hitler, they know the bigger the lie- the more likely people will believe it.
    The other side of that coin is this : (In my opinion-especially in church life and not as ‘nice’ an answer) sometimes they win because letting them win is easier than being honest in our communities.

    • Whisper

      My story is unbelievable and I wonder how I got myself into this mess. I married my second husband (the N) who seemed spiritual, kind and caring. He worked his charm to convince me that his second wife had left him penniless & heartbroken. I knew that he didn’t have any money so I began paying all of our expenses: house payment, electricity, Internet, garbage, lawn care & food. We’ve had this arrangement for 13 years while he continued to work his business to pay off old debts & credit cards. He convinced me that he didn’t have any money to put into the household expenses. He makes my life miserable when I bring up the topic of money. Last week I added up all my payments & presented them to him. I told him I’ve been a good sport and it’s time for him to start paying some of the expenses. He has agreed to pay $300 a month. This is only 18% of our living expenses. I’m expecting him to manufacture a master plan to get out of paying. No one would know this is going on because he has a business in town with his named displayed in “large letters:” The business appears successful and he struts around town like a king. He’s worked hard to create a grand image of himself. I’m stuck financially because he’s still broke, has no retirement and is 71 years old. I can’t afford to divorce him and retire on half my income. I’m making the best of a bad situation.

      Very few people in town would believe my story because he has done such an outstanding job of creating the image that he is a successful business man. Wow!

      It’s only through my faith in Jesus Christ that I’m able to bear this mess.

  11. Missy

    My N manipulated me for years of marriage until I had to question the safety of myself and my two young children. When I made the decision to dust my feet off he made the decision to take his life. Prior to that he spent countless hours manipulating my family and friends to the point no one wanted to take me in. Moreover, he had spent years as my husband and was a major part of both our families so when I finally came forward with truth no one believed me. He made me out to be suicidal and a completely unfit to be a parent and partner when in reality he was describing himself. Just as you said, I was stressed to the point my desperate actions played perfectly into his hands. He was such a master manipulator that his perfect reputation, even now, is fully intact. Seemingly that of Saint hood. His family chose to hold onto the memory of what they thought he was and abandon my children and myself. The Lord softened the hearts of my family and they now believe some of what I said to be the truth. However, they still have glowing and spotless memory of him which proves to me they cannot grasp what he put us through.

    • Donna Roberts Walker

      Missy, Your description of your N is a perfect description of my N… almost to a tee. However, I do not believe my N is capable of suicide for two reasons: 1)He is superior to all others. 2) He is a coward. Sometimes I wish my N would take that way out because I know that as long as he lives our children and myself will be violated by him.

      • Missy

        Donna, I’m terribly sorry you’re experiencing that… First of all {hugs} and second, while he did free us we are still prisoners to his memory. Also the pain of my children losing their father like that and my resounding PTSD make the way he left this earth indescribably painful. I know the feeling you’re having right now. The “if he were only gone, we could be free”. I urge you to fight that thought with all you have. Suicide leaves such a wide swath of destruction you can never be prepared. I lived my life with him “prepared” for his death, for he always threatened me with it. He did this to further manipulate me. I thought I would still have my job, my house, my vehicle, my best friend.. so on and so forth. I had to give up my job because I was cornered at work by every single one of my co-workers in the conference room where they point blank told me all the ways it was my fault he took his life. One of the women in on this burning at the stake was my best friend. Our home; we lived on a ranch together with his father. When he took his life, his father refused to see me. Kicked me and my children out of the house 3 days later. I was forced to sell everything, we had to repay an operating note at the bank that was well over $150k. On top of all of that my credit was ruined. Thankfully my parents took us in. I moved us (my children were 3 and 4 at the time) back to my home town. A very small town where everyone knew within hours what had happened. In this place I was targeted every way possible. Luckily my children were not. Apparently and thankfully even the hardest of hearts take pity on the young.
        I found my new life a state away but the issues still remain. Getting my new family and friends to understand what we’ve been through without tainting my current marriage is a skill that is beyond me. Thankfully our Heavenly Father is in charge of that.
        My sweet fellow victim, I pray you can avoid such a tragedy. And I urge you to contact your local Crisis team. They are skilled caring personnel. They WILL believe you. Some Crisis programs are set up to take you in. Even in the middle of the night they will rescue you and your precious children. They will get you in contact with a lawyer who is well versed in your particular situation and most can help financially.
        My final bit of advise for you; don’t sit and wait for him to decide what happens with the rest of your life. Your life is destined to be beautiful. Grasp tightly to the Lord. In Him you will find your strength. (I wish I knew that 5 years ago)
        Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
        If you would like to chat more personally you can contact me via email. mshy24@yahoo.com

    • Donna Roberts Walker

      Missy, My insensitivity to your loss leaves me ashamed. Please forgive me for not thinking through what is said before I said it. God bless you as you and yours as you move onward and upward leaving the past behind.

      • Missy

        Donna, I didn’t mean to imply you were being insensitive. That’s not how I took it at all. Trust me there is no forgiveness required here. I only hoped to encourage you with my experiences.

  12. AK

    He wins because he has backed me in to a corner, isolated me and I have become the anxious, depressed, needy flake that can’t hold a job or keep friendships because they don’t serve him. No one believes me because I live up to the crazy image that has been portrayed of me. If it’s all about his image then my image must be the foil. He is the good guy, the victim of his crazy wife. I wouldn’t believe me either. He wins because when I sought counseling and was in a strong place I asked for a separation but he used finances, my mental health (depression and anxiety) and my children to keep me from leaving. He knows I can’t bear to hurt the kids. He uses my faith which is hanging on by a thread. The pastor and church don’t believe me and won’t help me because he wields too much money and power. The pastor told me I MUST CHANGE, I must make the choice to make this marriage work, but I’ve turned myself inside out until I no longer recognize myself and it’s still not enough. We got back together four years ago because I couldn’t break up my kids home. He made it VERY clear to them that I was the one that wanted out- he wanted to stay together. My kids lost a lot of respect for me because we always taught them “you don’t give up on a marriage” I pray continuously for God to help me to be the wife that this man needs and godly mother to our kids but I am so tired. He is completely uninterested in me now and doesn’t really bother to speak with me unless he has something he needs me to know about him or a need he needs met or something I need to do differently. when I stand up to him he blocks the door and won’t let me leave the room until I back down or agree with him. He will say one thing and then in the next breath deny it and argue with me and tell me I’m being crazy or dramatic or he will just say “whatever. i’m sorry” in a way that is very condescending and patronizing. I am the crazy, unreasonable one. I am his possession and that is that… So he wins. When we got back together I made a promise to God that I would not leave again. I pray that God will somehow be glorified in this mess. Otherwise, my life has been a waste.

  13. Donna Roberts Walker

    AK, I feel you pain. I am praying for you.

    Your position is not tenable. In reality you are hostage to a mind that controls every aspect of your life. I especially understand the pain you feel concerning your precious children. Giving all you have of yourself to your children and watching your narcissistic husband manipulate them into being wary of you and that you are in some way flawed is excruciating beyond words.

    The toxic reality of the N sucks the life out of every thought, every breath, every hope and the absence of hope is pure torture.

    Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for AK and for her honest and transparent testimony of life under the control of her N husband. Please Comfort AK as only you can comfort. Be AK’s friend who will carry the burden. Help her to turn lose of the burden and give it to you, moment by moment. Give AK health and peace of mind. Jesus, you are real and you are aware of the sinful power the N holds over AK. You, Lord Jesus, are greater than this puny narcissistic sinner husband. You are also a just God and will one day set all the scales right. You have made a way of escape for AK… Lead her to it and give her the courage to escape. Make her aware of Your presence and remind her constantly that you hold all power and all knowledge and that you love her! Lord, you know how the N sucks everything good from us. We are not allowed any feelings of love or hope… yet, Your love cannot be taken away from us! Teach and lead AK to draw from your omniscience and omnipotence. Teach us both how to be fully satisfied in you, Christ Jesus. Reassure us that the controlling forces of the N are not able to stop You from fulfilling your plan for our lives. Your grace is sufficient and your mercies are new every morning. Teach us, show us, lead us to be free! Disentangling ourselves from the N is not possible without breaking through the false walls of emotional, financial, social, spiritual constraint the N has put in place. Show us Your way of escape. Teach us how to abide in your reality, NOT the false reality of the N. We desperately need your protection as do our children. We trust you to supply the courage to take Your way of escape. Thank you for your Word and lead us to draw and meditate upon it daily. In the sweet and powerful name of Jesus we pray.

  14. Melanie

    I found that the only way to leave safely was to let him believe he was ‘winning’. I let him abuse me emotionally, taking comfort in the knowledge that ‘losing’ would be worth it. Someone else is wearing those shoes now. I pray for her regularly.

    • Melanie, this is the kind of thing I was thinking as I wrote today’s post and suggested that playing the game can work to your advantage. Because the N must win, he/she is vulnerable. Letting them win while playing a different game of your own can be a good strategy. The point, I think, is to find what works and use it. Survivors are winners.

      • Joy

        My ex is winning because everything he does is part of his game. I can loo back and see how he was manipulating the kids, the counselor and our friends….preparing them to have seen things and heard things that would make them sympathetic to him and disbelieving of me. I still don’t know if he does it instinctually or if it is something he actually thinks about in his conscience mind…I tend to think the former, because if it were the latter he’d have to give up this idea of himself as the best person ever. He has won over people in our church and community, and even our children, who greatly resented me because it looked like he was “trying to change” and I was rejecting him. Their own mother who, under normal circumstances, believes that divorce is not an option, asked for a divorce. That right there should have made them think there were very good reasons, but instead they were wooed into pitying their Dad who was so sad and saying he still wanted to reconcile.

        Now he still is keeping that front up, while also dating other women. He tells me often enough that he’d like us to get back together…so he can still be the person who is trying to reconcile. In the meantime, he has done NOTHING I asked him to do that might show some change in is controlling, manipulative ways. Not counseling, not stopping playing mind games with our grown kids and me. Nothing is about fixing things with me, just about LOOKING like he’d like to fix things with me. My feelings and opinions don’t matter..just the impression everyone else has of him, that’s what matters to him.

        I’ve greatly reduced my contact with him, and when necessary to encounter him, I have decided to play the game enough to let him not be too wary of me. I don’t want him to get to the point where he will tell lies about me…lies that I know will be believed…because he is that good. He used to always be able to say or do something (unseen by others) that would reduce me to tears or make me look bad. Now I have this constant face I present to him: friendly, but non emotional. I won’t let him feed off my emotions anymore. If I need to I cry later, but never around him. And while I don’t tell everyone I meet the story (as we know, people won’t believe it), I have told my children details that helped them understand why I left and what he was doing to me by constantly undermining my confidence, sense of desirability, and making every problem my fault. They now are starting to spot his manipulating ways themselves.

        I’ve decided I probably can’t “win” in the game of public relations he is playing in our church, community, and family. But if my closest friends and our children can understand, then that’s going to have be enough. It’s tough to watch the people at church get sucked into his web, but It’s not a battle I can fight in any way other than living my life with integrity. God knows what happened. I know. And now my kids know. I’m not protecting him with my silence anymore, but I’m also not so loud that he will view me as a threat he has to squash. That’s the hope anyway…

  15. Pingback: More support for keeping diaries and saving letters/e-mails: to defend against gaslighting from abusers and narcissists | Nyssa's Hobbit Hole

  16. Anonymous

    This person was making perverse Sexual demoralizing statements towards my ill son, who had just survived a medical crisis) also put his hands on him in a perverse manner. Finally I asked this person to please stop, saying it was inappropriate.
    My son and I then endured extreme covert abuse, silent treatment. It was intentionalandvery cruel.. Purposely involving my son’s very close sibling which drove my son to depression, isolation and to attempt suicide.
    What is sick is this person is still giving the silent treatment yet still is causing division in my family. It’s been years. He never apologized in fact I begged this persons forgiveness. Now that I see this lifelong generational abusive system for what it is (evil) I’m not taking it lying down as their doormat any longer. But not a clue how to address this now… It is still affecting my son’s relationship with his one very close sibling and in fact all my children and grandchildren are being negatively affected. What do we do, that is not perpetuating this cycle – it is hurting him this pretense that their is nothing wrong that none of that happened. I’m sick of a ignoring the elephants in all the living rooms. That’s what the abusers have done all my life and now it’s wanting to go on in the next generation.. Please help.

  17. I think what feeds people’s incredulity that narcissists could be dangerous and/or powerful is the word ‘narcissist’ itself. The narcissus flower is so lovely (including the cheery daffodil) and the word so pretty. Even Narcissus, whose hallmark is his self-love, seems harmlessly so, in an idyllic mythical setting and so forth. The word evokes a mystical fascination around this character, not insight into insidious abusive behavior. Without examining such a flowery, mythical namesake, no one can really take seriously that such a person could be a malevolent force in the lives of others.

    I find this to be one of the endless, brilliant PR strategies that, deliberate or not, works in favor of the narcissist.

  18. Flower

    My narcissist is my mother. And it is really difficult because no one believes a teenager and so if I tell someone they talk to my mother and all the sudden they hate me. I can’t get out. The court won’t listen, anyone I try to talk to don’t believe me and I don’t know what I can do. How is it that someone can be so hurtful, but no one sees it?

  19. Melissa C Cundiff

    My mom still believes it never happened she says my ex is her grandkids dad so she still treats him very well to me they never know they have done wrong if people coddle them, my mom is very friendly with him it makes me look non credible!!

  20. Sharon

    Fooled & Trapped – written 2012
    Words cannot describe
    The hell that I lived through
    Looking back, I can hardly believe it
    So how could I expect for you to?

    He had his faults and demons
    Plenty of them, that’s for sure
    He hid them from the world
    And an unsuspecting girl he lured

    Fooled by his deception
    I became his wife too soon
    Trapped with three little kids
    Leaving him was not opportune

    I started planning my escape
    Saved emails and squirreled away money
    Years later, I demanded a divorce
    Ignoring his last “I’m sorry, honey”

    But he would not relinquish control
    Court orders did not keep him at bay
    Whether through our kids or others
    He always found a way

    Our kids were confused by his stories
    And a handful of others fell for his lies
    But how could I blame them?
    I, too, was once deceived by his disguise

    Insecurity, weakness, and selfishness
    All masked by his clever charade
    A confident and tough, but caring man
    Was the persona he displayed

    With “Domestic Abuse by Proxy”
    He continued to torment me
    Even months after divorce, I wondered
    Will I EVER be free?

    When I relayed my fear to a friend
    He very strongly disagreed
    Quoting “Whom the son sets free
    Shall be free indeed”*

    I have since forgiven my abuser
    My mind and spirit are now free
    But I pray for wisdom for his next victim
    Whoever she may be

  21. Michelle Barnes

    I feel quite strongly that the law, and/or lawyers don’t know enough about this kind of abuse. But neither do they seem incliined to entertain the idea. I’m currently going through the most awful divorce and I feel like my lawyer thinks I’m making it up.

  22. Leif johansen

    I think there has to be a willingness to believe them for various reasons, so getting awareness out there is very important but also difficult.
    Also the Narcissist are avoiding or viciously attacking anyone that questions their behavior.
    They are capable of getting away with this because they live in a world that only theirs and believe it so strong that ” it must be true”
    There was a time a large part of the western world thought the world was flat because they where told so. Kinda similar.

  23. Dee

    Wipe the dust of your feet and move on to health…a beautiful line..thanks

  24. Anonymous

    They succeed – like you mentioned- because a good number of us are genuine, kind and reasonable people. who are naive to the motivations of the narcissist. Manipulating people is not where I want to spend my time or energy, but that is what a narcissist will do to feel safe. They often have difficult childhoods, but do not readily acknowledge the need for therapy…

  25. I left my narc after 22 years 3 years later I sometimes act just like him please help me

    • Postbellum

      Kelly, do not despair. He did not treat you well, but you have got to treat yourself well. Allow time to heal and give yourself some grace. This is not to say if you recognize wrong behavior in yourself that you ignore it. Be prayerful and live in truth.
      Consider this, you lived with this person for 22 years, anyone we spend time with rubs off on us. There may be some learned behavior patterns you picked up, probably to survive in that environment. Identify them, present them to your loving God, ask for help. I agree with the other comment that if you are concerned , you are probably not a narc. The good news is you can change your behavior patterns, you have taken the first step! Replace unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones, a bit at a time. Maybe a qualified counselor can help you, a trustworthy friend can provide accountability and support. I too was married to a sadistic, covert narcissist for 22 years, I left last year, he is still victimizing me and my 4 children. Daily, I contend with paralyzing fear of his next attempt to destroy me. Although my abuser has strength and malicious motives, I do not have to give him power over my mind. Decide that you won’t allow the influence of this person to rob you of your future peace. You are brave and conscientious, be encouraged!

    • Sharon

      I remember feeling this way. Postbellum hit the nail on the head tho. So I won’t repeat all that, but she is absolutely right in so many ways.
      Sometimes when I look back, I am disgusted by who I was becoming (who I HAD become) in those last few years I was married to the narc. There is a saying tho – “hurting people hurt people.” The narcs hurt others because they are hurting inside (no, I am not making excuses for him). After experiencing so much hurt myself, I began (unintentionally) hurting others because I had grown so cold and bitter at the whole situation. In the immediate years after the divorce, there were times when I wondered if *I* was a narc too! But I am not. I was just alone and hurting, and distrusting of anyone and everyone in the world. With time, God healed my heart and showed me The MAJORITY of people in this world are very kind and helpful (narcs are in the minority!). It took me reaching the lowest of lows for God to show me that. And I am so thankful for those lows now – for they showed me just how kind and generous most people are. I can’t pay everyone back for what they did for me in my desperate time of need. But I am determined to pay it forward many times over. It’s been 7 years. God is still working on me. There is (always) still progress to be made, but I can tell you with certainty that I am a much better person NOW than I was 7 years ago. Don’t lose hope…and do NOT let the devil convince you that you are just like him.
      *hugs and prayers*

  26. Savedbygrace

    HI Kelly- the fact that you are sensitive to your behaviour and concerned about it would indicate to me that you would not be a narc… maybe just try to isolate one of the behaviours that bothers you and try to take a good look at it eg write about it or talk with a friend or counsellor. We all have behaviours we don’t like , but we can choose to act differently.. happy to talk more if you want.. all the best x

  27. My name

    This is my mom. My older brother was here bezt friend and my younger brother was her golden child. I couldnt do something but they could cause i was a girl. I walked in eggshells my whole childhood for fear if my mom snapping. She was never happy. I never did anything right and im the crazy one. My little brother even calls me crazy. My older brother moved away. I talk to my mom as little as possible. She told me she doesnt like me as a person. She got along with all my guy friends i brought over. She hated all my girl friends. There was something wrong with all of them. She told me to marry a man for money. A month ago i told her i want to marry my bf. She said you can be alone you know. My dad put me down last week. Said my glasses are ugly my hair is ugly my dog is stupid. So my bf said tough guy making fun of tour daughter. My dad was drunk no surprise. But my mom says why did he txt that? Dont you think your bf is a little off lately. Then my dad says i was going to call and say sorry but not after that txt. I had the worst child hood. My mom was so fake infront of others. She would scream at my father to handle me. That meant the belt or his hand. If i said ok im talking back. If i disagreed im in trouble. If i had a thought of my own im in trouble. I ran away alot. No one believed me. My mom was that good. She out a chins on me and we landed in court. I had to take care of my little brother losing friends because i wasnt allowed to leave him. No one wanted to come over. They oaid me and in the end after saving all that money my mom said ok buy school clothes. I hated her and still do. I dont think she ever said she loved me. When i got my own place it was disgusting. Even though i cleaned for days knowing she was coming. I could go on and on about my mom. But I believe you. A few yrs ago my hs friend said i thought u were lying and crazy. But he finally saw my moms true colors. Theres no way to prove it to other ppl. I noticed she cant keep friends. If they get to close or ask questions they end up in a fight and never speak again.

  28. Lea Anna Curtis

    No name,
    I am so sorry you have had such hard life. No one should have to live like that, but I know it happens. However, I am thankful that you realize God’s ways are not like that. God is love. He carea and understands and wants to heal your heart. I will pray for you. God can help you heal and then maybe He will use you to help many others.

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