The Anti-Narcissist

It’s Narcissist Friday!    

He left the comfort and glory of Heaven, which had rightfully been His for all eternity, to come to our world as a baby.  He humbled Himself, became dependent on others.  They were weak and untrustworthy and unkind.  They struggled to survive and didn’t know how to love.  But He trusted Himself into their hands.  He, who had made the worlds and sustained the Universe, made Himself weak and vulnerable. 

Even though He knew their hearts, He let them make decisions for Him.  They fed Him and cleaned Him and taught Him.  He, who was the King of kings and Lord of lords, grew among the people as one of them.  He knew that He could never trust them, but He gave Himself to them.

He walked among the people patiently and with kindness, no matter how their petty manipulations affected Him.  He listened to their concerns, valued them, and comforted them.  He taught them gently and graciously.  And when they decided they didn’t want to hear Him anymore, He yielded Himself to their will.

He loved them.  He did it all because of love.  The Master of empathy, He entered into our world and our lives.  He felt our limitations and weaknesses.  He experienced our temptations and our pain.  He set His life aside to enter ours.  Because of love.

Jesus is the anti-narcissist.  I don’t mean that He is against the narcissist, but that He is against narcissism and exhibited to us a life without narcissism.  Everything we know of Jesus is centered on His love for us.  The gift of love, given by God Himself, was a gift of understanding and empathy.

And He didn’t come just to understand, but to show us that He understands.  He didn’t come to live the perfect life in our world, but to give us that perfect life so we can live in our world and in His.  He didn’t come just to show us His love, but to let that love overcome our bondage and pain and give us victory.  He didn’t come to die, but to conquer death and set us free forever.

That’s what Christmas is all about.  The anti-narcissist.

12 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

12 responses to “The Anti-Narcissist

  1. Carolyn

    Praise God that we can look to Jesus as our example as to how we should love and treat others. He gave, gave and gave…..for our sake and not for His. A perfect example of what our N’s are unable to do. Set your eyes on the cross, and cling to Jesus on your rough days, I am living proof that He will help you through them.

  2. prodigalkatherine

    I love this. And yet- I find myself wondering how in practical terms this differs from extreme codependence if a regular person practices these behaviors. Jesus was God, and therefore incapable of being depleted (although his choice to retreat to the wilderness at various intervals makes more and more sense to me). We are not God. At a certain point we must draw boundaries with the narcissists we encounter.

    What I’d love to see explored is: how does a regular person integrate Christ’s complete selflessness with relating to a narcissist and keep from being eaten alive, metaphorically speaking.

    • UnForsaken

      Ditto, Prodigalkatherine! Perhaps he is also Our self sacrifice? He died for our sins, so maybe it isn’t too far fetched to think He is our goodness too. But, the logic here boggles me…can’t fit it all together. I’d love an article on this , Dave!!

    • Cybil

      When I look at the life of Jesus, I see a man who submitted to the will of God, not to the will of the people. Jesus allowed himself to be nailed to the cross because he had a purpose to fulfill. Earlier in his life, the crowd wanted to stone him, but he did not allow it because his time (or God’s purpose for him) was not yet come.

      Yes, Jesus came to live in the midst of truly sinful people. Yes, he forgave them over and over. As a man and even as a boy, however, he was not dependent on them, for his focus was always on bringing in God’s kingdom.

  3. Sandy

    Thank you for this, last week I have been struggling with the thoughts on the narcissist in my life and God…..he claims to be this perfect Christian and from the outside it looks like God is taking very good care of him, his life just seems to go right in all areas, but for me it is not I am struggling in every area of my life since I let this person into my life. God has always been there for me, but it is as if He has disappeared from my life since this narcissist entered my life….I have been hanging onto my faith in God and I do not want the narcissist to take that from me too. But to be honest I have started to wonder if God is not on his side, and with this article I received my answer.

  4. Maggie

    Merry Christmas to all who post here! I am grateful for the post today Dave…thank you. I had a similar response to the post as Prodigalkatherine and Unforsaken. In my life with the N I experienced contentment when I was Christ to him. It was very peaceful and fruitful for me. It was a sort of agape kind of love but it was challenged and faded in light of new information for me as I am human. Sometimes in counseling , his counselor suggests that I did not truly experience what I report here. She says I was in denial and spiritualizing my pain. She is an atheist so there is no need to explain. I am however puzzled sometimes in the same way that the above 2 responders are. I wonder could I remain in relationship that way had I not learned that in addition to the N behaviors there was active covert addiction that was gravely offensive to marriage and family life. I wonder how to imitate Christ now under the new knowledge and I can only discern thus far that I want to be Jesus in a way I was not before and that is the Jesus that states we should shake off the dust from our feet, and forgive 7 times 70 for those who repent and the Jesus that turned the tables in the temple and so on. Jesus did all of this in love and I would like to do the same. I would like to “grow up ” more in all of Jesus’s Ways. The N has brought so many good things to me as well…like this new challenge of imitating every part of Jesus ..forcing me to grow up in ways I had not previously when I remained content and peaceful in an agape kind of love. I think maybe as I mature in this aspect of Christ I may experience an even greater tolerance for the N as well. I too would love a post on some of what has been discussed. Thank you to others for speaking up.

  5. Ashley

    Dave, I really liked this article. Anything my former spouse says now just doesn’t bother me because I’ve handed him over to God. It is such a peaceful feeling.

  6. Singing Eagle

    First of all, I want to say WOW, Dave! When I first read the article, I felt like I was hit between the eyes with God revealing to me a deeper level of truth about Jesus purpose on earth where I probably was not previously able to grasp it but also in a bit of a “deer in headlights” mode as I pondered what was said. After reading this, it continued to echo in my mind for days until I felt I had to respond in writing. For me personally, I feel like this article challenged me to recognize if I am truly being a disciple of Christ and to surrender to another level of dying to self. Knowing Jesus as my Savior is one thing but GIVING Him Lordship over my life is another. The biggest test is when you’re doing all you can to be obedient and demonstrate Godly character in a spirit of love while you’re living with an N whose behavior is very anti-Christ and it appears they still have Gods protection and blessing. It certainly may look like God has turned His back on you and they are “getting away with murder”… I admit I’ve felt that way many times in my pleading with God to rescue me. But the testing here is also a training ground to see Jesus as our demonstration to become (at the risk of sounding cliché), more Christ-like. For me, this article exposed the depth of Christ’s surrender to His Holy Fathers will and His focus on the purpose and calling in life. Yes, He could have had ALL that this world could offer Him (Satan tried that in the desert/ temptation but Jesus didn’t take the bait) and He chose to live a humble life void of much of the comforts of that day. Yes, if He had lived, He would have demonstrated the perfect spouse/ husband (oh Lord YES!), father, brother or the perfect neighbor, friend, rabbi, businessman, counselor, etc. The world could have used a perfect example of all these in our community but He chose to live a life of simplicity. Of course, we certainly don’t want to give the impression that those who have been blessed in many of the worldly advantages are any less of a Christian or blessed of God.
    Anyway, after telling God that I felt He was withholding from me, (yes, I know . “He withholds no good thing…”) this article helped me see a higher calling to living Christ-like in the middle of what is certainly called an abusive situation. While we don’t literally become someone’s doormat, it can certainly look that way if we choose to respond in a Godly manner. In the natural, Jesus looked like He was helpless and under the control of the Roman Emperor and Pharisees, but God used the situation to complete His perfect plan. I must say that being married to an N caused me to grow and mature in a way I never would have but I would still prefer an easier, loving spouse & life (DUH!). Though it may look like my spouse is in control in the natural, I see the Lord using him (unknown to him) to do for me in many ways to my advantage. And the kindness and agape love lacking for me there God provided in many other areas. (Living with an N is not for everybody and if you feel God is calling you to remain, I suggest constantly seek God & wise godly counsel to maintain a healthy focus.)
    When I see my spouse being blessed of God (anyway), it now tells me of the great abundance of His mercy not only toward him but to me as well. It has also helped me to recognize Gods goodness is not based on whether we’re good or not. God is good all by Himself regardless!! Yes, He’s THAT GOOD to us but we will eventually reap what we sow. It has helped a great deal when I understand that this is NOT our home but we are passing through into eternity. When I feel like life is not fair, I’m reminded that the best is still yet to come, my hope in glory. And when God commands me to love the unlovable, I can rest in the fact that I can admit I can’t or even don’t have the desire to love someone who appears to be incapable of love or can care less that he’s hurting me (non-physical) but God can demonstrate love through me if I am a willing vessel or instrument like Jesus. It requires an abiding relationship with the Lord (do a study on abiding with the Lord) and no superficial, shallow partnership where I tell God what He can or cannot control in my life. It’s either all or nothing. This is admittedly hard especially if you’ve experienced abuse most of your life. God is so incredibly patient not only with those of us who have been so deeply hurt (A bruised reed he will not break… Isa. 42:3a) but also patient with those who inflict pain. He is waiting to create a loving heart of tenderness if they are willing to surrender. The bottom line, (cliché again) is to still keep our eyes & heart focused on the Lord (seek first the kingdom of God…) allowing His Spirit to really give us joy in the midst of pain, wisdom when strategies are needed for days of battle, hope in God’s word when all seems hopeless (yes we will get discouraged … it’s normal but don’t stay there) and fighting the good fight of faith (the enemy wants to steal any faith we have in God doing all He says) that God’s plan for us (in spite of the N in our lives) has an eternal purpose. I’m reminded to stay connected in the 3 most important areas of our live; love the Lord (goes without saying), love others (in this we need loving, biblical support) and love ourselves (some of us need some serious work in this area).
    When Jesus was dying on the cross, the apostles were discouraged and couldn’t see the greater calling at the time. So we too, may not see the greater calling at this time but are encouraged by the Lord that all this will eventually turn out for our good and to His Glory!

    • UnForsaken

      Singing Eagle, your heart is full of beautiful things, and I want to thank you for sharing it! There have been many times I’ve been “hit between the eyes” and I can’t help thinking it has to be the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. It always seems to be about something I really knew already, but Wack, it has a new and deeper meaning that is a part of you now. I often find I could have explained it before, but this is a true Understanding.
      I’m going to have to read your repy again, several times. It’s that good!

  7. Struggling

    I have written here before that my husband grew up as the scapegoat son of a narcissistic mother. She died recently, and the funeral was very difficult. Last week his enabler father, who has dementia, was moved into a care facility. The house has to be emptied soon in order for his brother to put the property up for rent.

    The brother (golden child) has now shown himself to be even more of a narcissist than their mother was. We will be driving several hours to pick up a few things from the house that our grown kids can use and have struggled with the emotions of having to interact with the brother again.

    The good news is that this article was instrumental in bringing a change of attitude for us both. My husband especially has wanted revenge, but after reading this, he said, “Who do I want to be like, Jesus or my brother?” It is much clearer to us now that the decisions we make will reveal which path we have chosen to follow. Our prayer is that we choose Christ.

    Thank you for writing this!

  8. Kathleen Hansen

    25 years I spent with a loud obnoxious husband. He recently discarded me, took all monies that I was aware of, and I am now a mess. Living that way for that long has destroyed my normal thinking. I Look to the One JESUS, who paid the price for my healing.

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