Sacrifice

It’s Narcissist Friday!  

 

Over the years that I have been talking with people about narcissism, I have heard many different accounts of the same story.  Yes, the details are different, but there are so many similarities.  This is why we are able to discern common practices among narcissists and other controllers.  There are certain techniques, certain behaviors, that almost come naturally to these users.

One such common theme is the idea of sacrifice.  Nearly everyone who has been in a relationship with a narcissist has been expected to sacrifice for the relationship.  Sacrifice a job.  Sacrifice college goals.  Sacrifice a savings account.  Sacrifice close relationships with family and friends.  Sacrifice the place you live.  Sacrifice your belongings.  Sacrifice your time.

This says nothing about the more destructive sacrifices.  Sacrifice your privacy.  Sacrifice your security.  Sacrifice your worth as a person.  Sacrifice your opinions.  Sacrifice your virginity.  Sacrifice your dreams.  Sacrifice your support structure.  Sacrifice your love for others.  Sacrifice your self-respect.

And what do you get for these sacrifices?  You get to be with the narcissist!  In other words, you get nothing except more expectations.  Although your hopes grew with each sacrifice, your reality didn’t change much.  You thought the narcissist would be more loving, pay more attention, or be more kind.  Instead, you got more ridicule, more lies, and more pain.  The more you sacrificed, the more you were used.

Your sacrifice is a measure of the narcissist’s worth.  In other words, the more you are willing to sacrifice, the more important the narcissist feels.  Since one of the goals of the narcissist is to feel important, pushing you to make more sacrifices may be a regular thing.  When you value the narcissist over your treasure, he/she is affirmed.

But that’s not the only reason you are pushed to make sacrifices.  Sometimes this is necessary for the narcissist to be in control.  Tearing away the support structure of a victim is an important part of narcissistic abuse.  Without the relationships or the belongings that make you feel secure or valued, you are much easier to manipulate.  So the narcissist sets you up to choose between that support and him.  In fact, the more you indicate that something or someone is important to you, the more pressure you may feel to offer that as a sacrifice to the narcissistic relationship.

And sometimes it is simply that what is important to you doesn’t matter.  Since the narcissist does not see the real value of others, except to serve himself, he also does not see the value of the things that are important to others.  Living near an invalid parent, for example, may be very important to you but not even on the radar of what is important to the narcissist.  Giving up your job is not a big deal because your job was never a big deal to the narcissist.  Unless it is important to the narcissist at the moment, it isn’t important at all.  A sacrifice to a narcissist will not be received with the emotion in which it was given.

So how are you supposed to deal with this?  If you are new to a narcissistic relationship and have begun to see this need for sacrifice, maybe it’s time to get out.  But most of those who read this realize that too many sacrifices have already been made and there is little to show for them.  I want to simply say that it is time to stop.  At the same time, I realize that’s a lot easier to say than to do and especially easy for someone not living your life.

Yet, sometimes health begins at the point you first say, “No!”  When you are able to look at yourself and understand that it is right for you to keep something that’s important to you, you might be at the beginning of the process of rebuilding your life.  Don’t sacrifice that friendship or that relationship with family.  Don’t leave your job.  Don’t give in.

You will pay a price for not making the sacrifice.  Your love will be attacked.  You will be called selfish and uncaring and uncooperative.  You will be blamed for the relationship problems.  The narcissist will become the martyr and will remember none of your former sacrifices.   But hold your ground.  None of the other sacrifices have satisfied this false god.  This one will do no better.

And that leads me to something else.  I am posting this on Good Friday.  I am very aware that not all who read here share my faith in Jesus, but I want to point out the reason we acknowledge this day.  On this day, according to Christian history, Jesus suffered on the cross and died as a sacrifice for us.  He died because He loved us.  He gave the sacrifice, instead of asking for one from us.  The contrast between the love of Jesus—real love—and the abuse of the narcissist could not be stronger than what we see on this day.

12 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

12 responses to “Sacrifice

  1. Pam Gable

    I read all of your blogs on narcissism and this one spoke louder and stronger to me than any other. It was an ‘ah ha’ moment. Thank you. This one is a keeper.

  2. Fellow Survivor

    Sacrifice!!! I can’t even begin to list all the ways that I sacrificed my time, money, integrity, self respect, and on and on and on the be a good husband and try to get my ex everything she wanted. In the end it meant nothing to her, which just blows my mind. In the end the “Well” was dry and there just was nothing left to give. In retrospect I remember during counseling mostly trying to point out the “sacrifices” that I made for her and trying to point out the value in those sacrifices. But the only sacrifice that the N values is the next one you have to make for them. It is a bankrupt value system that just crushes the spirit of the victim as we all know.

    It has been 10 months since the divorce and almost 16 months since the separating and I am still trying to make since out of all this. I am at a stage where I don’t think I can ever love again and really don’t think I want to. Hopefully this will pass.

    I had to sit with the X at a school presentation for our daughter this week and it was very distressing. I just ignored her like she did not exist. Her evil best friend divorce lawyer friend was there too and she literally did not exist in my eyes. I better stop ranting now but it was a hard week.

  3. Jan

    Dave,
    Such a concise and well-stated piece! Thank you for helping us to understand that our value and worth do not depend on anyone’s perspective but God’s! In my situation (opinion and conviction), there is no other option but to stay in this relationship, and to work on healing and growing into the person I am learning to be by God’s amazing grace!

  4. Onward

    Hear, hear Dave! …this is so on point and as you point out – appropriately timed. The N’s sense of entitlement has been discussed but the expectation that you are to sacrifice anything and everything for their benefit is a whole other level. It is really time to get out when you put your foot down to stop the misuse and your stance is then met with rage and abuse. I recognized my N is a blood sucker who would literally kill me by sucking the life out of me if I allowed. After awhile, I also recognized that no matter what I did, there would always be the next episode. God has a purpose and a plan for each of us and with His help, we can withstand demons in hell and on earth that attempt to kill, steal and destroy our lives.

  5. John

    Fellow Survivor – you said it correctly, the only sacrifice that matters is the next one. For me the biggest sacrifice I had to make in the six years with a narcissist wife was my children. Her contempt for them (her step-children) poisoned the relationship and I see now she purposefully made me repeatedly choose her or them til I was so worn down that I was beginning to get neither. Fortunately, after the nasty split with her, I was able to repair relations with them. You need to work on letting go so that in the presence of your ex or any of her narc harem and hangers on, you can act with dignity, ignoring her if you choose, but doing it in such a way that it does not stir you to hate inside (easier said than done). Recovery from a narc relationship takes years, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You are probably correct that you are unable to love right now, it messes deeply with both self-worth and trust. Find other ways to seek meaning outside a one on one romantic relationship, at least for now, it can be done.

  6. I just discovered your blog. It’s rather rare, but hopeful, to find a pastor that uses straight talk regarding narcissism.
    You might be interested in Pastor Jeff Crippen’s ministry to those who have been abused, but more or less silenced by the Church. http://www.cryingoutforjustice.com

    Blessings,
    WritesinPJ’s

  7. HDG

    Thank you so much for this post pastor Dave. It took me so long to see the truth-the more I gave in to his demands the more demands he made. If I spoke to “banned” family members,friends(very quick to pronounce his version of scripture based judgment on them) I was met with “you’re choosing them over me “then the ever present anger when I’d “disobeyed.” He wanted to isolate me from everyone but his friends who only know his public image, leave my church for his where he keeps his false image front and center. My heart was broken and my trust stolen. I pray others read this blog so they don’t waste precious time on trying to be in a TRUE relationship with a FALSE partner.

  8. Virginia

    Pastor Dave – Thank you for sharing your perspective and for your words of wisdom in today’s blog post. Your thoughts were very insightful, challenging and a blessing to me today. Words of confirmation that I very much needed to hear – it is time to stop and it is time to say “no” realizing that keeping rather than sacrificing something important to me may be the first step in rebuilding my life. And, Lord knows, I need to do some rebuilding and He has already started that process in some significant ways. It is so hard to face the truth, but there are so many blessings when we do!

  9. Stephanie

    Amen! Amen! Amen!
    12 years… 2 babies… lots of therapy. Took me five years but I finally made it to the attorney today.
    Your words mean more than you will ever know.

  10. Cindy

    You’re words are very helpful. It’s been 3 weeks of no contact. My story is awful, I won’t get into it. Lost my religion, my dignity and almost my children and best friend and it still wasnt enough. I didn’t give him enough time – ever. Then, just like that moved on but wanted me to cheat on her with him. Getting it all back now – these blogs are so helpful

  11. Pingback: Reasons Not to Die When the Narcissist Looks Happy with New Supply | embracingsantarita

  12. Susan

    Oh Dave, thank you. 22 years with my partner and he discarded me by text. He is also my boss so some contact is required…but he just left to go on a romantic Valentine’s weekend trip out of town with another woman. I thought I was doing okay but I’m a wreck today.

    Your words have been a tonic to my beleaguered soul. Thank you.

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