It’s Narcissist Friday!
Abusers come in many shapes and forms. I am reading a very good book about abusers in the church. There are “Christian” abusers and abusers of many other faiths. There are men and women who abuse. There are young people and old people who abuse. Some seem to abuse others almost from birth and others become abusers after accidents or old age.
When we consider narcissism, we find the same thing. There are narcissistic parents and children, bosses and employees, pastors and church members, husbands and wives. Some seem to develop narcissistic characteristics, while others seem to be born that way. There may not be a narcissist under every rock, but there are more of them than we ever realized.
So writing about narcissism as behavior or sin encompasses many stories. If you take the time to read through the posts and the comments here, you will find a variety of stories—more, I think, than you may have expected. Some have struggled with narcissistic friends; other with narcissistic parents; and still others with co-workers or bosses. Not every victim is married to one of them.
With all of this variety, there is one constant: the abuse. The pain is different for each person, but every story reveals abuse. And a common theme in a community like this is that the abuse has not been understood or acknowledged by the outside world. Our culture is finally beginning to see sexual and physical abuse. Yes, it still hides and still hurts, but we have some safety systems and justice options in place. Not so much for narcissistic abuse.
Narcissistic abuse is hidden in different ways. While the sexual abuser threatens and the physical abuser lies and covers, the narcissistic abuser seems to use accepted means to continue his cruelty. He is well-respected even when the narcissism is revealed. She has friends who seem to accept her exploitation of them. The boss and co-worker are successful in their work, even though they use others. No one wants to hear about narcissistic abuse and some would not call it abuse at all.
As hard as it is to face reality, victims of narcissistic abuse really can’t expect to find ready help from the world around them, whether it is family or church or community. I am very grateful for the help our little community can offer. I see such caring and wisdom in the comments. Many here pray for those who ask for help.
At the same time, we have to fall back on the two things we can do for ourselves. Set and maintain boundaries and speak up. Even if others don’t want to listen, they can hear that you are hurting and that a certain person is the cause. Even if the narcissist refuses to stop the abuse, he or she can hear that it is no longer acceptable. And the victims can grow in power. Read through the posts here and study narcissism. You will find that there are things you can do to expose and stop the abuse. And there are ways to freedom and health.
We are praying for you.