Of Many Colors

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.

17 Comments

Filed under Narcissism, Uncategorized

17 responses to “Of Many Colors

  1. Joy

    Amen! The faces of narcissism and sociopathy look and sound appealing to so many- those close to them know the truth behind the mask- the chaos and craziness. Naming the emotional abuse for what it is has been huge for me. In my case it was also spiritual abuse. Full character assassination within our church and gossip/slander when I spoke up and spoke truth to the narc. Freedom is beautiful – freedom from the relationship, freedom in Christ, freedom from the chaos. To God be the glory!

  2. Jerry Huber

    Hi What’s the name of the book you are reading?

    Also, your family vacation sounds awesome!!

    Jerry

    ************************ Jerry Huber 314.220.4044 cell

  3. EDITH RODRIGUEZ

    Wow. This is so true. My counselor is a Pastor and I am been 3 years counseling with her and I can see her blaming me for my ex husband abuse.

  4. Helena

    I have been reading your posts for a while now and am compelled to comment. I have been experiencing the very things you have described in your articles within my church environment. I have been maligned for standing my ground , I have been accused of working against the narcissist, and have been accused of being negative, critical, and a relationship wrecker. I have worked very hard to maintain my individual identity and yet I am drowning mentally and emotionally because I just can’t get anyone in church oversight to really acknowledge a problem and my emotions are shot. At this point I am most likely guilty of carrying bitterness in my heart. My very being is at risk because of the hurt, pain, betrayals, and confusion that surround this situation. Over the past 18 years I have beat myself up for not being forgiving, being a bad Christian, and many other things. I hesitate to leave my church because of the strong doctrinal and gospel truths that they hold to. Please pray for me. I am really trying to practically apply the words in Matthew 11:28 “All Ye who are weary and heavy laden, come unto me, and I will give you rest.” Therein lies my only hope of surviving.

  5. Maggie

    When I read this after work today I felt sadness. I felt aware of the fact that many will consider me to be the one with the problem because my spouse is so “talented” at impression management and i am so fatigued by all that. I felt sad that so many have already fallen to his lies and all along he was using me and my “problems” as justification for his betrayal and abuse. I felt a bit defeated with the renewed awareness that so much of the world does not understand the depths of this sickness. I felt sad about how in all my days of being a mother and loving every second of my vocation and keeping a true and authentic relationship with my children as they aged that they too perhaps have been forced to consider maybe it is Mom or maybe Mom has something to do with all of this. Certainly they will encounter that sort of ignorance to the disease somewhere in their adult lives.I take great comfort in knowing my behaviors speak louder than his words about me and one day the children, if they doubt at all, will be brought into the truth. I am very sad they have to face any of this at all. I tried very hard to protect them and create a solid family life. I could not control it!!!

  6. Great post. I’d also like to know the book you are reading. Thanks for this.

  7. Living it alone was so very hard. But now I know the truth. It took me a long time to accept that the truth really is what would set me free–even when truth offends so many people who just wanted me to keep pretending things were better than they were; pretending the N I was being abused by was the great guy they experienced him to be (most of the time). I am still mostly alone, in the day to day sense of community. I don’t see people in real life. I take my kids to their events. I work from home and interact through electronics with my coworkers. No one asks me to get together and be a part of their lives. I’m messy, and I feel that even the few who would say they support me are surrounded by people who look at me with suspicion and condemnation, and so it’s best to keep some distance. My kids and I don’t get asked to dinner at anyone’s home, or over for family fun nights. And that does hurt, if I think about it. But I’m free of the abuse now, for the most part. I’m not living with it all the time at least. There are still effects of it, some weighing heavily right now and I’m the one who has to manage it to keep moving the family forward and taking care of us. But God is with me. He will not abandon me and the kids. He drew me out of my unthinkably damaging relationship, even when the majority of voices who bothered to speak into my situation wanted me to stay, take more and more, and pretend to be stable, mature, righteous, right. It was anything but.
    It’s hard, but I’m alive. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully heal. It went on so long. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a close friend of my own. I hope the children will grow up and out of this community to have their own places in this world where they do feel welcomed and useful and liked. But that may just never be meant for me. I’m alive, but I’m also still so worn down from it all that I’m not always that enthusiastic about being alive. I am so tired. I told my counselor last week that I wished I had known the kids would really be OK when we separated. I held on so long in part because I had been told and told that divorce would ruin their lives, that “they’re better off with him than without him,” no matter how awful it was or what he was doing to me, their mother, their responsible, involved, present parent. If I had gotten out earlier, I told my counselor, then maybe *I* would have gotten out alive. I’m not sure I did. I’m out, but who in the world am I? Not the person I used to be, that’s for sure. And trying to sort it and find grounding and safety and growth and expression is awfully lonely, if not impossible to do alone.

    • Helena

      I completely understand all of what you have described as I am currently living it. I will be praying for your complete healing.

    • Sharon

      Repol: I have never responded to a post, ever, on any site. But your story compels me to do so. Just this morning I stumbled onto to this site and though I am not a religious person, I feel what’s taking place here and I am moved to tears. Your story is real and you are not alone. I cry now as I write because I feel your sadness, your loneliness. I am divorcing my husband, a N, and my four beautiful children are in his clutches, for today. You and I must write Maya Angelou’s words on every mirror, every surface, every area of our lives, . . . and hearts. “When you knew better, Repol, you did better. When you knew better, Sharon, you did better.” This simple sentence reflects the power and grace we’ve always carried inside us. Let it support us, hold us up and shine over us. Let’s rest safely in it’s truth.

    • Jennifer

      Repol,
      Your story is mine. It’s like reading about my own life. My struggles. My pain. I recently filed for divorce against godly counsel. 16 years of this craziness though. 5 children later. I’m so weary. It takes so much emotional fortitude here at the “end” after I’m SO depleted. Jesus! Help.
      The day after I filed (he didn’t know yet) I dreamt of the phone ringing and I answered and it was him: “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” but it was just a dream. Then I fell back to sleep and I saw a sign and on it was written: NO REPOL. Written just like that, lacking an L. I tried to make sense of it. Do not take another poll? I wondered. Don’t second guess my decision? Then a day or two later I was reading comments on this site that echoed my sentiments EXACTLY. I was shocked to see who’d written them.

  8. HDG

    Repol: Give yourself prayer and time. I cannot begin to compare our situations.My(ex) boyfriend is N. Confronting him about abuse by phone (for safety)after 5 relapses was the best thing I could have done. I ended the “relationship” (is there ever a true relationship with N’s or merely being property of an N?)and went NO CONTACT. N’s FEAR the TRUTH. Not easy,I miss our(?) friends(?) and his wonderful (FAKE)public image. Please look forward to better days,they will come. Enjoy finding “yourself” and extra time with your kids. Leaving is painful but freeing. No second guessing every decision fearing it will set them off. No ‘walking on eggshells’. You’ve shown your children that they should not tolerate being treated “less than.”Don’t beat yourself up for staying,it’s what we’re taught as children.To quote the late Maya Angelou: “When you knew better you did better.” As I told my N “I will not be abused I am a child of God.” I hope I don’t sound like a know-it-all. I’m just another “survivor”(no longer a victim) living and learning.Jesus will take what is meant to harm and turn it into good-just open your mind and heart to it—-this is the lesson I learned. Hope this helps. Hugs,prayers and support……

    • Thanks, HDG. You’re right. When I knew better, I did better.
      But the loneliness hurts. I’m starting to do more by myself, though. People are noticing for real. I wonder how it’s going to work out. Will they turn away as they find out? Or embrace the “widow and orphans”?

  9. SingingEagle

    When I stumbled across this site, it was an answer to prayer; a cup of water in the middle of a desert situation. I wanted… no … I needed questions answered about narcissism but there weren’t many places I found that were biblically sound in their reasoning and advise they gave people.
    I’ve been through so many journey’s to seek out why and how and what to do about this issue that I’ve lived with for almost 40 yrs. Like many here on this site, who have been beat up by the church and told to submit more, pray more, read your bible more, look to see what’s wrong with you first and maybe things will change (because they don’t see him as the problem).
    Believe me, I did a variety of things, physically and spiritually in hopes that my spouse would suddenly grow a “heart of flesh” but nothing worked. It even got to a place where even my kids asked when I was going to leave him. When I did, I was in such a physical and emotional unhealthy state that I did things I regretted but understand it was out of a disparate need for love and all the years I was emotionally starved. I returned shortly after but that’s another long interesting story. The church seems to forget that a whole person needs all 3 aspects fed and nurtured; not just the spirit, but soul and body as well. And especially in this case, the soul and spirit is not the same thing that many try to make it.
    However, now because of a safe place like this site that exposes the truth (in love) about narcissism and the churches inability to understand and minister to victims, we can come and get validated, affirmed, given a true sense that we are not alone.
    When I went to a local secular group meeting for women of domestic violence, majority of women there were born-again Christian women who had no other place to go get help of some kind. Thankfully, the facilitator allowed us to share in biblical discussions.
    On this site, we can share our heart freely with others without condemnation or judgment and be given biblical insight to make sound choices for our individual situations which include asking for prayer. Like so many here, because others can’t see past the award winning performance of the “N” in our life, we have had to suffer years of varying degrees of deep, painful woundedness that only God can heal. This site I feel is one of His helping hands for us who step out in faith to “seek and ye shall find”!
    Thanks, David!

    • UnForsaken

      Amen!

      SingingEagle, it is wonderful to talk to people like yourself who have also struggled with legalistic teachings and prejudice, and who kept seeking and seeking ’til they found! The places/things I have been encouraged by that are supposedly secular have been gifts from God . Yes, only He can heal, but He does it in the most Amazing ways!

  10. Shoshanna

    Yes, ‘gifts from God’ indeed re: secular support, Unforsaken. ‘Even the pagans know how to do good…’

    & I know that I know, God will go through a thousand people (if that is what it takes) to help us.To rescue us. He is our Healer, our Vindicator.

    I love this site. Rarely ever commented, but know that The Father has in Pastor Dave, a ‘captive’ to Him. One of a ‘thousand’ who knows the Truth that sets us free , in particular, from the insiduous nature of narcisstic abuse.

    Although, as a Christian myself here in the UK, I have worked for many years in secular Domestic Violence/Sexual Abuse support services, it never ever ceased to cause outrage within my soul that woman of faith who came for assistance told me, consisistently, they could never seek help from within their Churches…that they wouldn’t b believed their husband beats them, molests their children, starves them, psychologicaly tortures them, rapes them…

    Lord have mercy.

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