Jezebel

It’s Narcissist Friday!   

 

From time to time someone challenges me that I don’t use enough Scripture on Narcissist Fridays.  So the next couple of posts ought to help with that.

Are there narcissists in the Bible?  Not just bad people, but people who actually exhibit the characteristics of narcissism?  We might be tempted to think that anyone who stood against the Lord was narcissistic, but some were just misguided or compromised.  A man like Judas, for example, might have been narcissistic, but we are told only that he was a zealot, someone with political ideas contrary to the mission of Jesus.

Of course, the Bible shows us legalists who care little about the Lord and lots about the Law.  But legalism and narcissism are not the same.  What I have said in the past is that legalism creates a haven, a pleasant work environment, for narcissists.  Certainly some of the Pharisees exhibited narcissistic characteristics and so did the Judaizers later in the New Testament.  Yet finding a narcissist in the Bible is not so easy.

I think I have found a couple.  The first one I want to look at is the woman named Jezebel, from the kingdom of Israel during the time of Elijah.  You find her story beginning in 1 Kings 18.  One nasty lady!

Jezebel is an example of a narcissist who has no way to her own power so she overtakes and overwhelms someone who has power.  She was the daughter of a minor king who was married to Ahab of Israel, almost certainly a political marriage.  Ahab was not the sharpest tack on the board, if you know what I mean.  He was powerful and wealthy and could be manipulated.  Jezebel had everything she wanted.

Ahab followed her gods and moved the people to follow her gods.  So much was she in charge that we are told that 950 of the false prophets of her gods “ate at her table,” and that was a time of famine.  She appears to be almost completely in charge of the decisions of Ahab, her husband.  The Bible says that Ahab was particularly wicked because Jezebel “stirred him up,”

In one story, Ahab wants to buy a vineyard from someone so he could have more room for a vegetable garden.  Well, vineyards take many years to grow strong and were passed through family generations.  The man didn’t want to sell.  So Ahab pouted.  When Jezebel heard the story, she scolded Ahab and ordered people to lie about the owner of the vineyard so he could be killed.  After his death, she presented the property to Ahab.  She was ruthless, willing to lie without hesitation, and saw the rights and value of others as things that got in her way.

This evil woman continued her influence after her husband’s death through her children.  Her son Ahaziah became king when Ahab died and, we are told, he walked in the ways of his father and his mother.  Rarely is the mother’s influence mentioned in Scripture, but Jezebel’s influence was not normal.  When Ahaziah died, his brother Jehoram became king.  We know little about these people except that they continued to do what Jezebel told them.

Even the daughter of Jezebel got into the act.  She married Joram, the king of Judah, and led Judah to walk in the ways of her mother.  Talk about a dysfunctional family!  And behind all of it was Jezebel.  Even after she died, Jezebel continued to have influence through another young man named Ahaziah, her son-in-law.  In fact, Scripture refers to the considerable wicked influence of the “house of Ahab,” meaning that Ahab was held accountable, but Jezebel was behind the evil.

Finally, a man named Jehu was appointed by God to kill the house of Ahab in both kingdoms.  Jezebel defied him to the last minute.  Her particular fate was to become a meal for the dogs.  Nothing was left of her except her hands and feet.  And the Bible says that this happened so that Jezebel wouldn’t have a monument in her memory.  What narcissist could bear such a fate?  Not even a monument!

But forever after, the name Jezebel is a name that speaks of betrayal, cruelty, and the deepest evil.

Looks like narcissism to me.

51 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

51 responses to “Jezebel

  1. Singing Eagle

    We sometimes wonder why God allows such people to exist and do so much harm to others? Would you consider the Pharoah of Eygpt a narcissist? When the Lord said to love your enemies, how does it include evil, unloving people like Jezebel? I can hear some of you saying, “I live with one! or “I know somebody exactly like Jezebel!” The Word says God will get the glory in everything. When I get to heaven, that might be one of my questions to Him, “What’s up with that?!”

    • prodigalkatherine

      I think that “loving” your enemies doesn’t mean experiencing positive emotions about them. Rather, it means to set aside your own agenda (perhaps an emotional need for revenge, validation, attention) in your interactions with that person so that your misdeeds do not interfere with God’s plans for that person.

      Sometimes the best way to love is to simply remain silent and not return evil for evil.

      • Leslie

        I agree great point I have been so frustrated in dealing with an x who was abusive to me and my oldest I so believe he has a NPD it can only explain
        The chronic blaming, lack of empathy and how he washed his hands so quickly of our 18 yr marriage and family he claims to be a Christian, the thing I had to learn is to do just as you said let God do his work no matter how much it hurts me to let go and stop trying to fix him I can’t every time I would speak truth it would backfire into lies and manipulation a to me and people he knew. Bottom line is the hardest and easiest answer is let God deal with their hearts on a human level you can’t I’m convinced this is definitely spiritual warfare. The other ? Is by labeling them are we judging? Of course I think an alcoholic is an alcoholic people are defined by their patterns of behaviors

      • UnForsaken

        Lovely. “Letting go” is a part of real love I know Ns do not understand. Because they hang on does not mean we have to hang on too. True loyalty is giving God more room to work in their lives, not giving them room to destroy ours. I oftern remind myself to be what God wants my love to be by saying ” I love the N… but I don’t have to like him!”

      • PGH

        Quite true, the way to live in peace and not be affected by others (especially N’s) is to be 100 percent focused on walking the proper path in accordance with spiritual values that align with God. If one is fully walking a righteous path, the N will not want to be near such a person. And if one is manipulated by the N, it’s important to note here that this means one is, at the risk of offending many, likely to have had deviated from the path of God. If one can be humble for a moment and consider that manipulation from an N is a result of — unbeknownst to oneself — allowing oneself to give one’s own power to the N instead of to God (at the moment of manipulation, even if one is 99% obedient, but allowed 1% of oneself to be manipulated by an N), that little bit of gap between oneself and God is the space where those possessing demonic qualities such as an N will find ample wiggle room to uproot one’s house like a hurricane if one’s house is constructed on straws instead of bricks. That 1% of disobedience can also be regarded as one’s own shortcomings (areas in need of improvement) in the eyes of God. Leaving no gap between God and oneself is the key. This require deep, purposeful determination and will to walk the proper path, focusing on God instead of on the N’s.

  2. Finallyfree

    I often identify with David as a N victim and Saul as a man who eventually revealed himself to be a N. Like so many of us, David was surprised and hurt when someone like a father figure was jealous of his success rather than rejoicing for the gifts God gave him. How often I have felt hunted by the N, like an animal!

  3. Onward

    While the sin nature in all of us casts reflections of Satan, narcissism epitomizes Lucifer who wanted to be like the Most High God (Isa 14:14).
    The veil of deception is so great that the N can’t or won’t recognize let alone acknowledge that the issue or wrong thinking is theirs to correct. As has often been said, you can’t fix what you don’t first acknowledge. The N disorder seems therefore perplexing and a travesty that only our Great Physician can heal. And while we may not like to demonize others, it would seem that the N’s soul has been bewitched by Satan himself.

  4. Sunflower

    Thank you, PGH and Onward. There is a sermon somewhere on the web about the Jezebel and Ahab spirits. A Jezebel cannot function without an Ahab. So as much as it’s a hard pill to swallow, the Ahabs have as much of a need to repent as the Jezebels. Rev. 2:20 – 22 We have given away our pearls and then wonder why we are torn up and trampled underfoot.

    • prodigalkatherine

      I don’t fully agree with this if what you are implying is that narcissistic victims are guilty if they have given their power away. It’s a big leap to go from complying with a dominating personality to a complete abdication of personal integrity. To imply that all N targets are at fault somehow feels like victim blaming. And Jezebels are not the classic narcissist in the sense the the power they wield is more covert.

      But I may’ve misunderstood. If what you meant is that Narcissists are fueled by enablers, that is true. When you stop providing narcissistic supply to prop up a sick false self, a crisis that can lead to healing happens. But what is interesting is that Ahab was not overtly dominated by Jezebel. It seems like there was far more give and take in this marriage than in most long term relationships with an “N”

      • UnForsaken

        Prodigalkatherine…Thanks. A sigh of relief for the truth you brought out. To live with an N can look very different then to be smashed by one, so I can see why some would think manipulation is my fault. But I can’t swallow that. Perfectionism never brought me closer to Christ, and I might add my N is also a perfectionist, so giving it all to our Lord and just living has given me peace and a closer walk with Him. That could never stop the manipulation . The circumstances are what are made by manipulation and I cannot change them, only my heart. And a perfect heart still couldn’t stop the N.
        PGH – thanks for your input. Although I can remember a day when I believed what ( I think) you are saying, I can also remember a need to talk about it. It’s made a good conversation. Hug!

    • PGH

      Sunflower, you’re quite welcome. The idea of “giving away pearls” appears on point. Pearls are traditionally viewed as valuable objects, and this can be a metaphor for representing one’s spiritual heart (the single most valuable part of a person). No one can take your spiritual heart away from you, unless you consciously “give” it to them, by willfully placing deep feelings of trust towards that other person.

      One clear sign of danger is when one finds oneself mesmerized or enchanted by someone else and is thinking about that person to the point of gradually becoming unhealthy (mentally, physically, or both). This is a clear sign because the “weight” (importance) of God in one’s heart has been diminished and replaced by the weight of a mere mortal. One can determine the weight by being totally honestly in asking oneself how often God comes across one’s mind as opposed to that other person. When mesmerized by another person to the extent of becoming shaky (not firmly grounded) on one’s moral and spiritual values, one is essentially serving two masters (God and the other person). I think we can agree that this will only lead to catastrophic results.

      The way out of this mess is to avoid entangling oneself with others until one is sure about the other person’s heart. That is, don’t blindly allow oneself to become mesmerized or enchanted by others. We have all been granted free will by God, and to allow others to get close to us (emotionally) and mess around with our hearts is our personal decision for which we must accept individual responsibility for the outcome (calamity). Again, at the risk of offending many readers here, may I suggest that very few can truly be called “victims”, because the heart is sacred territory, and to recklessly give the most sacred part of ourselves (the heart) to someone else without first doing a thorough “background check” is to invite disaster into our lives.

      This is in no way, shape, or form blaming the one who trusted the N, but rather, if the reader can look deeply into this message, is the way out of the N’s psychological grip. For so long as one views oneself as a “victim”, the N’s grip will not be released. But as soon as one can understand that one was actively involved in the process of entanglement (“it takes two to tango”), one can instantly understand that one can also disentangle. This mindset is actually empowering on a spiritual level and far more powerful than any N’s grip, because the heart is yours and yours alone, granted by God.

      When viewing one’s life from a purely spiritual perspective, all experiences — good or bad — can catapult one onto a higher level of spiritual existence. If one has not gained anything spiritual from an experience with an N, perhaps all the time, energy, and commitment towards the N will have been indeed wasted. That would be tragic. Instead, insist on squeezing as much spiritual learning out of this experience as you possibly, possibly can. Having stared at deception in its face (the N, those with demonic traits), if one can totally release oneself from the psychological grip of the N, one will have steered away from death and embarked on a journey towards life. And this is not being philosophical. One will feel the spiritual joy (not physical, bodily joy) once your “boat” is sailing in the proper direction. Short of that, one will continue to experience some sort of spiritual misery (through thoughts about that N), and this is God’s way of teaching each of us that we are sailing in the wrong direction.

      • prodigalkatherine

        I agree that that to remain a passive victim of a narcissist is not to remain blameless. But for conservative Christian women who have been taught all their lives to “Submit to your husband as to the Lord”, there’s a very different dynamic than Jezebel/Ahab.

        Children who are born into narcissistic family systems are much more vulnerable to emotional predators because their boundaries were never validated. Abusers know this and actively seek dominance over personalities they believe they can control. When a woman’s faith (through shaming/guilt/being told her husband won’t hit if she prays more) is used against any fledgling efforts on her part to achieve spiritual autonomy, it is more like a master/slave relationship than a partnership of equals. Ironically, my work with abused women has demonstrated that the partner of an N has far more interest in making the marriage healthier but the N fights against any potentially spiritually positive changes in a dependent partner because they don’t want to give up control.

        Often, churches participate in the shaming of the victim. This is incredibly demoralizing. Jezebel and Ahab seemed to have a partnership, in every sense of the word- not a master slave relationship.

        Sunflower, I agree that victims are never completely blameless, but I worry that assigning 50/50 responsibility here will pile more guilt and shame on the partners of narcissists who are at the end of their ropes. I have seen it happen in Christian circles more than secular circles and it seems counter to Christ’s desire that we have have life and have it to the fullest to further trample on an already crushed spirit.

      • Fellow Survivor

        PGH,

        First, Narcs are the best actors. And they can keep up the act as long as it takes to reel you in. If you wear cowboy boots, so do they. If you like sports, so do they. If you like sushi, so do they. A wolf never walks right up next to you with his teeth snarled at your throat. We all had our radars on when we were dating out Ns, but they did too. They are predators and really good at what they do.

        And when you say if we think about our Ns more than God himself then there is something wrong with that. If your N was supposed to be home at 10 and they don’t show up is it wrong not to be thinking of them. If you have a friend in the hospital and you are worried sick about them, and think about them all day, does that somehow dishonor God. Are we, as believers who value our marriages, and focus all of our energies on trying to save what God has said he holds in high value, somehow wrong?

        And then you reference some “Higher Level of Spiritual Existence” What the heck is that all about? Sounds like what they taught you in Yoga class this morning. Personally, I question everything you say.
        I love this one:
        “When mesmerized by another person to the extent of becoming shaky (not firmly grounded) on one’s moral and spiritual values,”

        If you want me to be grounded on MY moral and spiritual values, I am toast. We should be and seek to be grounded in Jesus, and only Jesus.

        This is priceless:
        “When viewing one’s life from a purely spiritual perspective, all experiences — good or bad — can catapult one onto a higher level of spiritual existence.” LOL. I want to say more, but this is a family friendly forum. I don’t want to be catapulted onto a higher level of spiritual existence, I want to grow closer to Jesus and seek his righteousness.

        Do you believe in this statement?

        Jesus is the way and the truth and the life, NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH THE SON.

        Is there any other way that a man/woman can stand blameless before God other than through Jesus?3
        .
        Reveal yourself PGH

      • PGH

        Some people choose to misinterpret and twist the meaning of another’s words. That is their prerogative. Coming close to Jesus requires genuine humility. To believe that one did not commit any sin (albeit unknowingly) in connecting with a covert, surreptitious narc is self-delusional. But make no mistake, the price of living in a mental state of delusion is continued misery.

      • Kate

        PGH, your comments are challenging, and I appreciate it. My response is in light of my own experience and no one else’s, and I recognize truth in your words — for me. The narcissists I became close to got under my skin. How?? My brother, whose approval I longed for; my “best friend,” to whom I thought I was special — indeed, my own ego and self-worth were hinged on these loved ones’ responses to me, eclipsing my relationship with God. My best friend was fun and appealed to me through flattery and good times, the same way I watch her now with others. Only I did not see it as anything wrong when it was with me. It felt good to be with her, to be special, to be needed. Who wouldn’t want those things? My love for them is real, but the appeal — and my obsession — was maligned, and so then was my weakness for them. It’s true. My own narcissism comes into play here, and it’s one of the most difficult aspects of healing that I have to face and overcome.

  5. Onward

    ‘Anyone’ has the potential to be victimized by an N who crosses their life path as a family member, love interest, or a circumstantial associate in life. Those who have the capacity to offer genuine love, compassion, and forgiveness (as God would have us to) might be more susceptible as they are likely attractive to a prowling N. There are many things in life that we do not and cannot control which is why we need a Savior and a Sovereign Father. However, He does not leave us ignorant as we are admonished in Proverbs 4 to get wisdom and understanding (v.5, 7). Also in Proverbs 4, we are warned of the evil one who does not sleep unless he causes one to fall (v.14-16) and then further we are told to guard our hearts (v.23) which suggests we should be mindful of our response to trials. A mentor once imparted to me that half the battle is to recognize what you are dealing with and the other half is deciding how you will deal with it. Pastor Dave, you hear it repeatedly but thanks again for this forum as its value in education and support is immense. Dealing with an N is like many of other life’s trials that cause us to draw closer to God, which is a sheer blessing born of necessity. Whether we stay or go from the N in our life, when we rely on God, we gain knowledge, strength, depth and insight that help us to avoid future situations; establish boundaries; and position us to help others who might encounter what we unfortunately know. There will always be victims and potential victims as the N will remain on the prowl in search of supply. The ‘how’ to deal with the N is found in Eph 6:10 – 6:17. SEEK to understand and remember the weapons of our warfare.

  6. rockybullwinkleandme

    Your blog has inspired and comforted me beyond words – you are a man of God so I don’t need you quoting scriptures throughout your writing to prove to me you have Godly wisdom. Please know – I love your blog exactly as it is – amen and bless your life in abundance

  7. Wow.
    Some of these posts are really hard to read and process this time.
    I was never, never taught anything at all about how to root out narcissistic qualities in a man. I look back on the dating days and as a young 20-something, I have no idea how I was supposed to have seen through the excellent acting to know it was false. I’m to blame myself for being naive? For believing that the common moral foundation of practically everyone else in the entire community I’d ever known was shared by a man who verbally expressed those same morals, but didn’t mean it in his soul as far as relating to his wife? As Christians, we’re to believe the best about people unless they give us reason not to. He had been evaluated for church membership by a session of educated, mature, spiritual men. If they couldn’t discern that something was wrong with him, which is a part of the membership process, how could I, a just-out-of-college young woman?
    I think it is unfair to blame the victim for choosing badly when they are masters of deceit. If we’re supposed to somehow know how to uncover that deceit, then someone, somewhere needs to be talking openly about it to girls before they reach dating age, and I never heard a word about it. I never heard the term “narcissist” as a real personality disorder until I found out first that I had PTSD and that he fit the abuser profile.
    I spent two full years crucifying myself over the fact that I didn’t have a crystal ball and psychic powers to have avoided this mess. But then, 17 years later, when it all came out into the open, only two people were not shocked by the revelation. Only two: one was a woman who had been abused by her husband for 25+ years, and another was a man who had abused his own wife and saw the signs of himself and his ex in us, and both had held their tongues in silence for the entire duration of our marriage up to that point. So even those who do have the skills to discern wouldn’t even make themselves available to me, and I got so much blame from people in that church, saying I brought it on myself, and it was my fault, and he would have been happier if I had been better at everything–when they had no idea the effort I had been putting in. NOTHING made him happy. NOTHING. And his attacks would come out of the blue. He is sick, and I am not a psychiatrist. I am not trained in any of that.
    When I met him, he was polite. He presented himself as hardworking and fun and friendly and interested in me. When we came down from the altar, it all changed.
    There is no possible way I could have known, and I have just now begun to forgive myself for the false guilt of not being omniscient. Sometimes terrible stuff just happens and there is no way we can avoid it. I reject the false guilt. I didn’t make him and I couldn’t discern before meeting the real person face to face any more than anyone else could. No matter what. He kept that undercover until he could claim to have God’s marriage law on his side to bind me, and there are plenty of people in power in the church who still say that there is nothing that makes a marriage soluble, not even life-threatening violence. I have to take that decision before God myself and stand before him in my own conscience, even if it opposes what some in the church say. That’s enough pressure for me.

    I am sorry if this comes across as harsh, but the “victims choose to be victimized” thing is not entirely true. It is true that NOW, with the clarity of vision, I can choose to stand up for myself and the children and others in the community he still sometimes slanders. I can choose not to be victimized now. But before he made his real self known, there is just no way I can accept responsibility for that, as a finite creature.

    • Leslie

      Wow sounds exactly like what I went through! It’s frustrating when there’s no strong support backing your decision up I believe most of these narcs are master deceivers. I too married young and no abuse happened until I hit the altar. Stay strong.

      • Fellow Survivor

        Leslie, I have read your story and I am so pissed off about what you have had to deal with. I am ashamed of how “men, me included” have treated you and you deserve better. No, not better, a whole lot better.

        I am with you sister.

      • Joy

        That was me too. I married young, and had a fairly healthy upbringing, with caring people around. My ex was so sweet and charming and respectful when we were dating. Then we got married. Nothing in my upbringing prepared me for him to gradually show himself to be an act….nothing prepared me to know how to handle someone who says one thing and does another in regard to his personal dealings in our relationship. I wanted to trust the man I married, and he continually said I could, and then continually refused to show any affection or respect of me. I was supposed to now feel so lucky that he was with me. The mixed messages are so confusing, and add to this that I had no experience with other men…so I was probably easily fooled.

        I’ve always tried to be honest with him and treat him as a partner. I had no idea that that would be met with lip service of him doing the same, but in actuality I would be dismissed, and yet kept close in order to boost him up, and maintain the illusion necessary for his image. Even now, he is most mad that I left and that might make some people wonder about him…he’s not really upset about losing me…just upset about his image.

    • Penny

      Hi, Repol–Penny here. I am so very sorry about the silence from those who “knew”. I too have been betrayed by silence, by another sister who refused to defend me b/c “it wasn’t her fight”, she didn’t want to “take sides”. But silence IS taking a side. “Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the oppressed. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented”……Elie Weisel, Holocaust survivor. In trying to be neutral, my own sister defended our evil, God-mocking brother because she didn’t want to “take sides.” If Christians had taken sides, perhaps the Holocaust (and even WWII) could have been avoided! I realize those are strong assertions, but I make them by design: Christians need to recognize evil when they see it, and to oppose it for the cause of Christ. I am getting fed up with the “love is patient”, “always forgive”, “Mother Theresa” out-of-context-Christian-counsel that is incongruent with Christ Himself. A.W.Tozer wrote that if “God is [literally] love, and love is [literally] God, then we should worship love and not God”–but that is not so! God Almighty is more than just love. Obviously, love describes God, but does not completely define Him; God is also just, holy, omniscient, eternal, omnipresent, immutable, merciful, faithful, gracious, & sovereign. Are these not the very attributes the N wants for himself? The N wants to be worshipped, and on the throne reserved for God alone. Where in God’s word are we told to allow abuse for the pleasure of the abuser rather than for God’s glory? We aren’t. In fact, in Matthew 10:23, Jesus tells the disciples to “flee persecution” in order to deprive those who are disposed to do evil of the opportunities of doing so. (Clark’s commentary). I think Jesus took His whip to the temple precisely b/c it was filled with con-men who diluted and devalued God Himself, and then deceived those who were created in His image, not theirs. God does not hold us accountable for what we do not know, which is why Christians MUST not remain silent. We MUST know what His truth says and what it means and speak that truth. Silence in the face of abuse makes us a party to it, and that is anathema. Bless you, my sister, for seeking the Truth.

      • Penny–I have missed you! Thank you for your comments. I am so sorry you’ve been caught in your own additional N turmoil for so long. I wonder about what has happened with your sister. You’ve been in my prayers.
        Thank you for your encouragement. I recognized today that I have some obsessive thoughts, which run along four themes. Most of the time, one of those themes is just churning in my head: The primary one is trying to understand HOW I hold on to the knowledge of God’s perfect love, peace, and presence when I was so completely in love with him–I could literally feel his love on me like warmth on my skin–and then I was blindsided by marrying a violent, controlling, manipulating, overpowering, demi-god of a man and I cried out to God to help me in every way imaginable for more than 15 years. I tried to change me. I tried to make very strong suggestions to others (including an outright expression of all but the gun incident to our pastor 12 years ago). I prayed for him, for me, for goodness, for security, for safety, for every righteous way to approach it. I begged him to erase from me every trace of contentiousness, with which I was always charged by anyone who caught drift that I was struggling with being unhappy. And God didn’t make it stop until I had broken down so badly that I’ll never be the same, and until all of our daughters show some signs of damage in their personalities, and until all our savings was gone and debt was over our heads, until I had no affection left for him–no shred to fan back into flame. So that first obssessive thought is “Where were you, God? I’m your daughter, and I have to realize that though I can’t ‘unbelieve’ you, I have huge trust issues. I have doubts I didn’t have before. I NEED grace to be true. I will die if it isn’t, because I did all the “doing” in obedience that I could do. It isn’t karma. One isn’t rewarded for one’s actions like that, and somehow, all that turmoil and pain and fear and breaking was his purpose. Somehow. That’s where I struggle so much: How? How is this to build my faith in him instead of tear it down? I’m holding the hem of his garment by a thread, every day.
        The second obsessive thought is about the physical and love relationship with my husband–how deeply it hurt and scarred me. I had never even seen pornography when we married, and apparently he was steeped in it and thought it was what normal relationships were supposed to be like. He made me watch instructional videos for activities I could never do or have done to me, and I fought it off, always being made to feel like I was “frigid” for not wanting those kinds of things. I had to pay for my social activities with favors. There was no love in it. And yet, if the reconciliation of Christian love and grace is what it says it is–if God can love ME for all my rebellion against him–then somehow, I am supposed to be able to forgive him and return affection and return physical love too. And right now, I just can’t. If I talk to the wrong person, though, then I am an unsubmissive wife who is worthy of excommunication for reaching a point at which I can no longer give my body. I will die if I do. My soul will separate from me the rest of the way. Where is the teaching of a husband to be sacrificial–to give himself up for the wife? It isn’t there so much. Just the blame for the wife “manipulating” by withholding her body in the face of a need a man “has to fulfill.”
        Third is the friend who has N tendencies and who kind of came in right at the time to keep me from dying completely, and without whom the physical violence would never have stopped, and who has his own brokenness too, but seems to have no consistent personality of his own. So, more shifting sand. Who did I think I knew? Where did that person go? How could someone be such a firm and supportive and genuine friend, and then just evaporate? And if both that friend and my husband couldn’t love me for more than the very short few months each did, then what is wrong with me? It must be true that I am just unlovable–and both are just reflecting God to me, the God who wouldn’t come, who wouldn’t hear, who wouldn’t help until it was too late for me.
        And the final obsessive thought theme is about the church I left, the one that had so much blame and condemnation for me, the who that believed I must be a harlot for befriending the young man that no one else would befriend, when he himself was near suicide from trying to deal alone with the denial and false face and image management and “no grace for the sexually impure” attitudes there. They thought I deserved what I had received and told me so. And though they did instruct my husband that he couldn’t harm me again, there was no support whatsoever for me to have grounds to separate to protect myself, or to heal, no accountability to him. Some leaders even suggested that he didn’t need to leave the office he held in the church–in direct opposition to the qualifications of the Bible itself! Talk about being silent–that directly undercut my complaint and invalidated it.

        So I come hear to breathe again. I come here to be reminded that grace is real and maybe it’s there for me too, and to be told that it’s not Karma and there is hope for love. I come here to get a break from those obsessive thoughts about the depth of hurt I never thought I could bear up under, and still, many days, wonder if I will make it through.

      • Leslie

        Regardless of church, court systems or world views women continue to be treated as under a man. We have come a long ways but we are still in a mans world. I’m sure many of us have been hurt by so called ” Christians” I have shared my story in my time of refuge in a few churches I joined a church in town attended cell group and moved away no one ever called me. Let’s face it not all people in a church act as Christians sadly I have found very very few compassionate people dedicated to be there for an abused woman seems people run from that either they don’t understand or can’t handle the complexities that go with that. I once heard on Christian radio a great word ” churches should start focusing more on taking care of the people in them instead of running to support missions, the pastor made a point of too many women are left alone to care for themselves and their children. The Bible talks about caring for the widows. I have been there it is so painful to be so hurt by a narc then find churches Christs body refuse to assist the wounded it’s a double edged sword. I understand what your saying. Gods word does say he’s a God of justice he will judge these evil narcs but it might not come till the next life.

      • Leslie–I don’t see a reply button under any of your posts in my view, but this is especially to you. It sounds like our stories have a lot of similarities. I’m glad you’re here. It is true that the idea of “widows” is taken very, very literally in our churches–as if that’s the only case in which God cares about the struggling woman–if he himself took her husband out of the scene. But yes, an abused woman and a divorced woman need the support of the church. Two different women (both now divorced) told me they asked to join the church (same one I left) when their personal lives were in turmoil and they needed a sanctuary. Both were told they could not join unless their husbands did as well (at least, this is what the women told me). Is that not abandoning the “widows”? Though their husbands lived and breathed, they were clearly in a state of abandonment to the marriages to some degree, and refusal to submit to any church in a very obvious degree. So where are those women to run, if not to the church? I’m sure that breaks God’s heart. I hope it does. I want to believe it does.

      • Leslie

        Yes we had a semi revival of men with
        Promise keepers we need about ten x that NOW in the church and out of it.
        I’m beyond appalled at the stories I’ve
        Heard of men who abuse and abandon
        Their families we are truly in the end times this goes along with churches
        Not supporting the hurting women who leave for the safety of them and the children and double shame on any church or men who refuse to confront
        The narc or abuser who mistreats the family they vowed to love and cherish,
        I pray for strong leaders to start preaching truth in a day of darkness for repentance to fathers who abandon their wives and children after destroying their lives my x is one if those men, my
        Son in serving satan partly due to his abuse and hypocracy. He ran off after I filed with another woman he has never
        Admitted wrongdoing much less his sewing into my sons soul. He could
        Care less he’s more worried about the women who can feed his ego – narc.

      • Fellow Survivor

        Penny, I am so sorry for the BS you have gone through. You deserve better. Sometimes you just have to stand up to evil and many will not do it. They will have to account for their inaction themselves. I really hope your are in a safe place right now. I am one of those that always stands up to injustice and it always gets me in trouble. Our standard or benchmark is what Jesus would want us to do and the world does not recognize this standard so we pay, because the world does not recognize what Jesus wants us to do. No one does, and it drives us crazy. He warned us.

        “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

        And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.

        So Penny, Jesus was talking to those that will listen. He told us what was going to happen 2000 year ago, and by golly he was right.

      • FS, thank you for your kindness.
        What a powerful thing it is. 🙂

      • Fellow Survivor

        Repol, I love you sister.

  8. Sunflower

    I’m really sorry that I apparently came across wrong in my posts here. Our internet here has been cut back and so I haven’t been able to respond until now. I totally agree with the last few posts. I am in the same boat……twice deceived, grew up not knowing better, and yes, twice a victim of the same. I think I have posted about all that before. However, once I learned about all this, I ended up in victim mode far too long. After a while I wanted to be a survivor. OK, but recently it came to me, no, I want to be an overcomer. And once I learned about how I was feeding and enabling the situation, and that as long as I kept thinking about being a victim, I was really giving the N the atIttention he wanted, that is when I began to be truly free……even though I am still with him. It has been an intense battle for the mind, hundreds of times a day forcing myself to Praise God in and for every big and little thing, crying out to Him, setting my mind on what is right and good, learning how to respond from a place of strength instead of fear and compliance, setting boundaries and giving consequences, etc. It took some time, but suddenly it became easier and I have been freer and freer.

    I have absolutely no intentions of piling on guilt and shame, believe me I’ve had more than my share of all that. Yet just because one didn’t know one was sinning doesn’t mean one doesn’t have to repent of it once it is pointed out. Living in guilt and shame means I haven’t dealt with something, be it false guilt or real guilt or trying to please everyone or whatever.

    If someone were raised in a home filled with promiscuity and followed suit, it is not their fault, they were badly deceived, but when they find out how wrong it is, it is time to repent and move one. They don’t need to wallow in guilt and shame, that’s what Jesus died to take care of. Yet neither do they need to keep feeding the problem.

    • Thank you for your clarification, Sunflower.
      We need each other to help us remember not to become victims over and over, and not to enable. Because that kind of support is rare, and outsiders looking in with no knowledge of how Ns works so often insist on applying formulas that only make the situation worse. Just submit more. Just be quiet in spirit. Never say a negative or contradictory thing. It just feeds the power. The advice Peter was giving to wives must not have been intended for the wives of Ns, but for the “normal” troubles in marriages. Am I wrong about that? I was taught to heed Peter’s advice, and that turned out, in my situation, to be pure and simple enabling, and allowing him to not only stay in but feel justified in his sin.
      My current pastor says no. My job as a WIFE is to hold him accountable, even if it means sending him to jail. The kind of help he needs from his helper is not to feed his out of control ego, his rage, his unrealistic view of himself, or his insecurity. But I do not feel cut out for that job most of the time. If I had known what my role as his appropriate helper was going to be, I would have opted out–except for the fact that then I would not have the children I do have. So there is no sense in even saying “if.” It is what it is.

      • Leslie

        Interesting you mention insecurity I watched Christian programming once and a Christian man reported he had a dream in which he saw a tree with deep roots and all the braches were many sins the twol large roots keeping that tree fed was insecurity and inferiority. I know those two things drove my x narc and they still do

      • Fellow Survivor

        Repol, I don’t know what to say except you deserve someone that absolutely adores you. You are an absolutely adorable person and I am sorry you are caught up in the situation you are in. You deserve to love and to be loved. Penny and Katherine the same thing applies to you both.

        I miss loving and being loved, but this experience has driven me back to Jesus. Love you all.

  9. Angela

    This is a teaching to church leaders on the Jezebel spirit in the church.
    I have found it to be enlightening and healing.

    This has become such a hot topic here, and has shown how wounded people are. I am not going to add my thoughts, but I will add my prayers- for peace, for healing, for strength, courage, wisdom and unity in Christ Jesus- for all of us no matter what stage of healing we are in. May the Holy Spirit wrap His loving arms around all our hearts.

  10. Just got back from very cold Minnesota, where we spent two weeks hoping the car would start in the morning. At -40 that is not something you take for granted! Yes, it actually got to 40 degrees below zero on the thermometer!

    My internet was spotty in MN so I didn’t get to interact, but I have been watching this discussion. I suspect the real struggle comes from PGH’s suggestion that we are expected to walk in 100% accordance with the will of God and that any deviation from that path is both dangerous and our own fault. Here’s why I don’t agree with this:

    1. We are not expected to walk in 100% accordance with the will of God, either before or after salvation. That’s why we needed a Savior who not only washed the sins of our past away but also the sins of our future. Our life is from Him and we will never, in this life, live in a way that would allow us not to need that intimate and permanent connection with Him.
    2. We are invited to walk in 100% accordance with His will. He is with us and will lead us and give us whatever we need to walk safely through life. Such a life is possible and we should expect progress and growth as we depend on Him more. All of us suffer from weak areas that we should take to His strength. Those weak areas make us vulnerable to the abuse of narcissists and others. But Christian growth is about turning more and more of these areas over to the Lord and finding His peace and strength.
    3. Those who are burdened with the expectation of perfect behavior and thinking have no choice but to live in despair or deception. Either I will never measure up when I am supposed to, and am therefore always a disappointment to the Lord; or I have to come up with a system that makes me feel successful when I am not, perhaps a system of measuring myself against others who also do wrong things. Neither is what the Lord wants for us.
    4. We are never responsible for the sins of others. No narcissist can blame their actions on us. Well, they can try, but it won’t be true.
    5. Part of healing is the ability to look at ourselves objectively and admit the part we played in what we suffered. For some, there is nothing we could have done to stop it. Children of narcissists, for example, are not responsible for what their parents did. It would be wrong to suggest otherwise. And a key part of narcissism is deception. Narcissists lie and manipulate, they are experts in deception. It is hard to blame someone for being deceived, for trusting a lie. At the same time, we should ask these questions. We want to protect ourselves in the future. Are there openings we give? Is there some need in my heart I have not taken to Jesus? It isn’t about sin as much as it is about growing and healing.

    So, to summarize: Are you responsible for what your narc did to you? No! Might there be weaknesses in your life, openings in your heart, that allowed the narcissist to spot you as a potential victim and then abuse you? Of course! Should you be looking for those weaknesses so you can take them to the strength of the Lord? Of course! But you shouldn’t beat yourself up or lose sight of the evil that belongs to the narcissist. One of the most effective tricks of the narcissist and other abusers is to get the victims to blame themselves. You not only don’t need that, you don’t deserve it.

    As long as sin is viewed as the great black enemy through which even believers are condemned, then assigning these weaknesses to sin is unfair. If, on the other hand, we view sin as our continued attempts to live our lives on our own, something that God understands and has already forgiven but would love to spare us, then these weaknesses fall into the simple and normal walk we all live. I am neither ashamed nor unwilling to admit that my weaknesses gave the narcs of my life the power to twist my heart and I hold them (the narcs) responsible for their abuse.

    I realize that my mention of Ahab’s wickedness opened the door to some of this discussion; but, unless you are the king of a nation and have yielded that leadership to someone evil instead of God, I don’t think anyone reading this post needs to feel the same judgment Ahab deserved.

    • UnForsaken

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This reply addresses each of us in our individual and unique situations, focusing directly back to our Father!

    • I am so, so thankful for you, Pastor Dave.

      Grace and understanding of God’s acceptance and favor and his knowledge of our limitations, even when something in our hearts really does want to follow him–it just resounds from your posts. Thank you.

  11. Penny

    Hello, all. I’ve been gone far too long, due to a terrible, sustained narc-attack, and a brutal betrayal of silent bystanders, so I am in no mood for mayhem. Thank you, Dave, and everyone, and especially FS & PK who I believe exposed an interloper. “Some people choose to misinterpret and twist the meaning of another’s words” is classic narc-speak and I am having none of it. Your words were in black & white, no one misinterpreted them, but Ns will contradict themselves in the same breath or sentence, while denying they did so. No one misinterpreted or twisted your words. No one here is in a “mental state of delusion”. That kind of passive-aggresive accusation exposes who YOU are, and I am sick to death of being falsely accused for the sins of another. I humbly suggest you sell this nonsense somewhere else b/c no one here is buying it. (My apologies to Pastor Dave for my outburst, but this blog has been a safe haven, not a place to get narc-sniped).

  12. prodigalkatherine

    In M. Scott Peck’s book “People of the Lie”, he was one of the first to locate the “human evil” of the malignant narcissist. Well before the current pop culture obsession with narcissism, this psychiatrist who became a Christian in later years identified a certain personality type that can only be described as evil.
    PGH’s comments actually made me think of an interesting chapter on how human evil presents itself. It described a sort of sick system where one partner was dominant and the second partner was “in thrall”. There was a symbiotic relationship. The evil may’ve been actively perpetrated by the dominant party, but it was the relationship of the parties that gave the dominant power the strength to do its work. In real life, this sort of dynamic is played out by couples like the ones who kidnapped and abused Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard.
    To stay in a “one flesh” relationship with a narcissist who has actively given their soul over to evil puts you in grave danger on a spiritual level of being “in thrall” to evil. Having been in a position of “do I stay or go?” is very scary- I know, I have been there. But if we do not overcome our fears of a malignant narcissist to the point where we refuse to be a victim any longer then we run the risk of “normalizing” the evil in our own heads to the point where we begin participating in it.

    I think it’s important that PGH doesn’t unilaterally feel shut down by this forum. We are all in process here, and the admonitions to avoid passively participating in the narcissists evil by willfully inhabiting the role of victim make sense. Perhaps they were stated more forcefully than necessary but I know that when I am coming to terms with a particular spiritual failing in my own life I tend to overcorrect for a while until I have incorporated that truth into how I operate. Leaving the role of victim behind is a good thing to do, and it’s possible PGH may simply be overcorrecting to avoid continuing to be a victim.
    That being said, this forum has been a place of mercy for many of us. It is hard to feel judged inside a place that avoids blaming the victim. My hope is that PGH will feel free to continue interacting with the rest of this online community in a non shaming manner, and that the same courtesy will be extended to PGH.

    • Fellow Survivor

      Katherine and Penny and Repol. i have been there done that with the eastern spiritual nonsense. When I was a teenager for whatever reason, oh who knows, it had already been revealed to me that Jesus is the only way. My brother and all his friends were all seeking answers too, but they found the answers in the eastern religions. I would argue and try to convince them of the mistake they were making but they just didn’t listen. They all thought Jesus was a great prophet yada yada yada.. Then my x got all into the Yoga eastern phiosophy BS and it really changed her, and not for the better.

      I had my 17 year old daughter read PGH’s post last night and without any prompting said ” this isn’t true, its a lie” I know these people and he or she has still not answered my question.

      If he or she wants to come on this site and share his experiences and incite on N attacks I am all for that. He or she does have some very good points, but he also can lead astray the weak in spirit.

      We were warned that there would be false prophets and they will speak wonderful words that sooth the soul but they will mislead the people.

      I am still waiting on an answer to my question. Its not hard. Yes or no.

    • Sunflower

      I have learned that as long as I kept thinking about being a victim, I stayed a victim. Why do you think I fell for it a second time? I didn’t realize that my co-dependence caused me to try to manipulate the Ns, by things like not detaching, granting compassion (of my own, not first asking God), giving advice, lecturing, crying, acting helpless, dragging him to counselors, guilting, anger, fixing, explaining, spying, interrupting God’s work in others’ lives……… God never makes us do anything, He grants complete freedom for us to live as well or wickedly as we choose. So why do we keep trying to manipulate others? We need to totally let go. When my h doesn’t want to let me know where he is and when he is coming home, I refuse to worry. I detach and do something else. I am my own person. My attention is reserved for my Lord and anyone who loves me in deed and in truth. The N wants me to be obsessed with him, and as long as I am, he will not turn to the Lord.
      I also thank the Lord for him, for the situation, that He is using every detail of what has happened for His glory and for my good, as He did with Joseph. I went through the CFTH counseling sessions, where I allowed Jesus to heal my heart, then let it go and looked forward. Not that I don’t remember, but it doesn’t hurt anymore. Sure there are flashbacks, it is still an ongoing battle day to day, but there is a freedom I never knew possible. He prepares a table ‘in the presence of my enemies’.
      I also am very careful not to make my children my confidante or pseudo spouse, or to use them to ‘get back’ at the N in any way. Vengeance is not mine in any shape or form, that too can stay God’s hand from doing what He needs to do.

      • Sunflower

        I have also learned that one sure way to spot an N is that he/she will switch from sweet to nasty and back at a moment’s notice. When someone does not agree with them, they cannot reply in a respectful, kind manner, sticking to the topic, but seem to have a need to attack the person’s character, using sarcasm and spite…….it’s called playground mentality.

      • prodigalkatherine

        Sunflower- well said.

        No matter how much a victim may “love” their narcissist- that “love” will not bring the narcissist closer to God. It will simply prop up the sick false self that is incapable of repentance.

        To truly love the narcissist that previously victimized us, we must “let go and let God”.

    • Penny

      PK~Funny, b/c in recent days I pulled out my own copy of “People of the Lie” to help me understand a few things, and re-read the section on being in-thrall. In Peck’s own experience of learning to identify patterns and behavior in “people of the lie”, he said he would begin with his own confusion: “I know now that one of the characteristics of evil is its desire to confuse”, and that in the beginning he assumed he was confused b/c of his own stupidity (sic), but never “entertained the notion…that possibly I was confused b/c she wanted to confuse me”. (How many of us here have said how “stupid” we felt, how stupid we still feel, and yet as Pastor Dave has said, the N is first and foremost deceptive.) Peck learned to “test” that idea sooner rather than later, and it proved helpful to avoid being deceived, seduced and/or scapegoated by the N. The confusion was deliberate, and he began to recognize it as such. Those of us who have been gaslighted, scapegoated, & [deliberately] deceived by Ns are certainly, painfully aware now of the confusion that accompanies it, and so in our healing, being confused raises red flags and alarms. I agree with your comments and observations above, yet at the same time want to caution all of us to recognize confusion when we see it, and to “name” it for what it is.

      • Leslie

        I’m beginning to wonder if some
        Narcs are bordering on psychopathy
        My x went to the DA of the county
        We lived in trying to convince him with deception and lies that I sent my son after him to stab him with nails and screws he forgot to tell the truth that he pushed, punched, screamed and cornered my son prior to being stabbed they are always playing the victim when they cause the mahem. Praise God he protected me never was I questioned about anything but hey don’t forget my x is a Christian lol

      • prodigalkatherine

        @ Leslie- I think you are onto something. Not all narcissists are psychopaths, but all psychopaths are narcissistic. Unfortunately, experts estimate that between 1 and 4% of the population meet the criteria for antisocial personality disorder. (which is the official diagnostic title for psychopath)
        People think as psychopaths as serial killers which is somewhat misleading. Many psychopaths do not get caught and convicted of murder. Most figure out away how to “do away” with inconvenient people without getting their hands dirty. So they do things like destroy that person’s reputation, destabilize their mental health, etcetera. They wreak invisible havoc and then walk away looking innocent.

    • UnForsaken

      Amen, Prodigalkatherine! Again, your words speak grace to My heart!

  13. Note to all:

    Please be on your guard even here. The internet is a wonderful gathering-place for people who share situations and stories, but it is also an opportunity for predators to find and entice victims. I try to watch what is happening, but I can’t see much more than you. When someone uses an alias, you really don’t know the truth about their story or their motivation. You don’t even know if anything they say is true. Please be very careful.

    If someone tries to connect with you off this blog, be especially careful. It is easy, when you are hurting, to open your heart to someone who seems caring and loving. Yet, that’s how so many got into relationships with N’s in the first place. Keep your guard up, even here. And, please, if you see something that is suspicious or inappropriate, feel free to contact me. I can’t do much, but I can restrict access and delete comments, among other things.

    Dave

  14. SM

    @ PK The problem with the expert analysis of the population being 1-4% psychopath/socio/narcs is that is only a representation of the one who have been clinically diagnosed. In order to become clinically diagnosed one needs to seek professional treatment and the vast majority of these predators never do. The do not have a problem in their minds. The problem holder is you supported by their gaslighting, projection and blame in an effort to distort and confuse and let themselves walk scott free with zero remorse or accountability. The true numbers are much much higher and rising everyday.

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