It’s Narcissist Friday!
Perhaps one of the most grievous sins committed against the people of God comes in the suggestion that God should be found in the church. What I mean is that He should be found only or primarily in the church organization. So, when a victim of abuse needs to run to the “strong tower” of protection, she is led to the pastor or the elders or the church family. It may be the one place of safety, she thinks. They will believe her story, she thinks. They will help, she thinks. But the church is not that strong tower.
I have come to understand that a certain percentage of my love for books is actually a love for book titles. This one that I found a few days ago has become one of my favorites: “We’ll be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter” by Rachel Hanel. I know little about the book, but I love the title. There is a certain perverse irony in it.
The church often proclaims the message that it is a safe place for those who are hurting. We advertise the love and community, the acceptance and support. We want people to come to the church to find freedom and peace and love. And they should. If the church cannot provide the support the victim needs, if we cannot feed the hungry or heal the wounded, then what good are we?
Listen: if the church is unable to see the hurting from the perspective of Jesus, who loves them without judgment and condemnation, then it cannot be a place of refuge. Apart from the person of Christ, the church offers only a system of rules or standards or ideas, nothing to heal the heart of the oppressed. Jesus is the strong tower to which the abused can run to find comfort and support. If the church offers anything other than the love of Jesus, it fails.
Yet, those of us who read and listen to the stories of the abused hear over and over of the failure of the church. Victims come to pastors and elders and church families and receive judgment, blame, and neglect. If the leaders listen at all, they counsel without wisdom and without love. The victim so often returns to the same abuse, only now even more alone and weighted with shame.
That’s why I would pray that every pastor and church leader read Jeff Crippen’s book, “A Cry for Justice.” When I first started reading it, I found myself thinking that this is the book I wanted to write. Anyone who reads it should come away with a greater understanding of abuse and the church’s responsibility to help the victims. At the same time, you will come away with a sadness as you realize that the one place where the hurting should find help is often a source of more abuse.
“We’ll be the last ones to let you down.” That’s what the new church member hears. The church will be there in times of need. The church cares about you and your family. The church wants to help. But Jeff Crippen has learned, like many of us, that the church often offers its help wrapped in a message of: “It’s your own fault,” or “seven easy steps to restore your marriage,” or “don’t bother us with these personal things.”
Crippen writes about abuse in general, but says much that those who deal with narcissistic relationships will appreciate. In fact, without using the word, he describes narcissistic abuse very well. He covers many of the behaviors that we have talked about in this blog.
I especially appreciated the depth and breadth of Scripture used throughout the book. Like me, Jeff does not believe that Scripture addresses every life situation directly, but that we must reason from the foundation of Scripture to deal with our daily decisions. At the same time, you will be impressed with the careful and consistent use of Scripture throughout the book and the deep regard with which the author views the Bible.
The last half of the book got me even more excited. This is where Crippen directly confronts the church and its leadership. This is where he offers concrete suggestions for churches in providing real help for the hurting. This is what pastors should not ignore.
I know pastors. I know that they are often focused on things very far from hurting people. They are worried about church systems and church conflicts. They are concerned about reaching new people and keeping the ministry growing. They are concerned about what to say about their ministry at the next denominational meeting. These are not trivial things, but they do miss the point. Behind the scenes, the pastors cringe when they see Mrs. So-and-so in the outside office because they know they have little to offer her. They don’t have the time or the wisdom to handle such difficult problems. This is why I have counseled so many not to expect much from the church.
But Jeff Crippen would try to change that. He wants to educate pastors and church leaders. He wants to challenge their trite and formulaic answers. He wants to make them look at the victims of abuse and care. His advice is practical and potent.
With the support of and connection to Barbara Roberts, author of “Not Under Bondage,” Crippen offers an excellent perspective on the subject of divorce among believers as well. (I will be reviewing that book next.)
A Cry for Justice is more than a book, it’s a ministry. And I can see so much potential for the message of this ministry. I would encourage you to buy the book, read it carefully, and then give it to a pastor who will listen. Do I agree with every statement in the book? Probably not. That isn’t important. We will always have differences in perspective and style. But this message is important. I know of too many churches where the abuser is held in higher regard than his victim. Someone, someone of the church, needs to stand up for those who are being hurt.
So, get this book! You know that I rarely say something like that. I get nothing from the sales, not even an affiliate commission. I did receive a free copy of the book from Jeff because he saw that our hearts and ministries connected. You will have to pay for yours—but it will be worth it. In fact, whatever you pay will have twice the value if you pass the book on to a church leader with your strong encouragement to read (and heed) its message. When you get it, let me know what you think.
Here’s the link to the website:
Here’s the link to the book on Amazon:
30 responses to ““A Cry for Justice” – a resource”
I am so deeply grateful, Pastor Dave, Pastor Jeff, for being willing to stand on the front lines of this battlefield of religious doctrines of man! To take up God’s Word, which is the expression of His heart, and desire to bring It’s truths to light in a world of church systems that are fundamentally flawed.
I stayed, way too long, in an N marriage. My children bear the scars of the religion that I was held in bondage to and am still trying to free my mind from even though I am away from that teaching and that marriage!
I stayed trying to be the “wife with a gentle and quiet spirit” who will be the reason her husband truly turns to Christ. Implication resounding in my head and heart as things grew worse: “it’s all my fault! I must not be quiet or gentle or Christ-like enough………..” I was so blessed that God brought some perceptive friends into my life which led me to a church where the gracious Pastor preached the real meaning of covenant marriage not the “church” version. He counselled me and the ex for a while ( he only went to 3 sessions as he realized the pastor wasn’t fooled by his exterior presentation). He ministered God’s grace and love to me in a way that set my feet on the path to healing. I shudder to think where I would be now if I had not encountered such a pastor or such a body of believers as I did 7 years ago.
So, again, to you men and women in ministry who are standing against the status quo and willing to be the voice that we victims cannot muster up quite yet, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Gracemomentum–I could have written much of what you said.
I’m thankful you got good counsel. As paralyzed and incapacitated as abuse renders the well-meaning wife who does work so hard at being quiet and gentle and prayerful and not contentious, when it’s all for naught–she can’t free herself.
My counselor has helped me identify what was happening to me. The psychological term is “disassociation.” I was disassociating with my life and my body in preparation for death. Abuse was paralyzing me. But it was the judgment and lack of helpfulness from the church I had poured myself into, thinking we all truly loved each other, that turned the paralysis into a process of actually dying. The church was my hope, and when I had given all I had to give (or had it taken from me), there was no help there. No love. No arms to collapse into. No safety. So much speculation treated as fact and then acted on toward me. No one even asked me if I needed anything. I was just expected to keep on going and “be better” so he had no cause to harm me. I couldn’t be any better, and I had worked as hard as I could work, until there was nothing left.
I know that it means I had made the church an idol. I am sure of that. But we are supposed to be able to go to this one institution, as a sister in need, and seek help and find it. That was one part of God’s plan for the church–to be a community of lovers, one to the other.
I hope to get this book, but I’m going to wait until I am far enough along in my journey of healing that it won’t likely send me back into despair over what ought not to have been. I do hope church leaders will pay attention and start to incorporate some preparation for and response to the hurting. I never knew I could hurt as deeply as I have because of this marriage and the church’s subsequent failure to care about me as a person in it.
(I am in a better church now, but still finding my way in it; still finding some presumptuous judgment and ostracization, but it’s much smaller scale.)
Repol, your councelor perfecly defined what I went through in churches too. ” Disassociation” and paralysis are great words, esp. for those of us who felt like we died inside, then where born in a new way. My sister found a book about spiritual abuse at that time and it Really helped us. I didn’t know anything about Ns or “personality” disorders at the time, but it was a beginning and helped recognition later. ( Can’t remember the title.) I hope Crippen’s book goes far and is well read, if it can bring Any kind of understanding/caring to the hearts of believers and the abused!
Worshiping the wrong things gave me such deep grief, and I hardly knew what it was I’d lost. But God reaches down – often without any person there to show it to us – and He shows us a much greater love than we thought could be. He made me fall in love with life, and then share that love with others unconsciously. Of course, it’s one more way He chooses to remind us of His perfect sacrifice and resurrection. Humbling and amazing!
It’s wonderful to hear the healing in your posts, to know you have someone there with you to point out veiled truths on your way. I feel so blessed to have found this safe place too. Still praying for you and your girls!
I look forward to reading this book. The narcissist who hurt me for decades was a priest and (I thought) one of my dearest friends. When things finally got so damaging that I had to leave the relationship, I was afraid that members of his order would not listen and help me. Some didn’t. Some blamed me, called me obsessed, and asked why I stayed friends with a man who was slowly but surely killing my heart and soul and turning me away from God through his own selfish vanity. But one compassionate priest took an interest, listened to me and empathized, and told me that others were on to my abusive former friends tricks. He literally saved my life by acting in a Christ-like manner. God does not want His people to hurt, and I believe he cries along with us about the pain some destructive, evil people cause to others. There are still many good church leaders who follow Christ’s example and listen to and care about us. Sometimes they may be difficult to find, but, thank God, these leaders still do exist. I hope all church leaders will read the book and think about how Christ-like they are in using their ministry to help us. And I thank God for putting Fr. Bob in my path when I needed someone to listen and to care. Without him, and those to whom he’s introduced me, who also want to help, I’d hate to think how far off the path I would have gotten.
As one abused within the church by a Narcissist this speakers volumes to my wounded heart. I went to the church repeatedly asking for help and was further wounded by the church. Still trying to heal.
I purchased the book today on amazon for my Kindle and am eager to start reading it. I daresay, however, that I don’t expect the church – pastors or deacons or even congregants – to understand what it’s like to live with a narcissist spouse. In fact, I’m somewhat thankful that they don’t – for that would mean they have experience with same, and I’m grateful that the Lord has spared them that, although they are of course beset with their own trials.
I write that because although I have tried in various ways throughout the years to express to a trusted few what I was living with, even before I myself understood what is narcissism, there was no way I could expect them to understand what I myself was grappling to understand. (I have a covert narcissist husband; it’s a most insidious form of behavior with lies and manipulation always in the underbrush.) I tried explaining the lies, manipulation, and the passive-aggressive behavior. When I did, I was met with Scriptural answers regarding love and such, but also one person suggested that it sounded a lot to her like Alzheimers (in the forgetfulness – such as when he agrees to do something and doesn’t, or doesn’t agree then does something counter to what was understood, or agrees but does the exact opposite of what he said he’d do – always twisting).
So I’ve come to realize that in large part the church will hear the wife but not really understand what’s going on because the presentation on the part of the husband is always stellar (particularly if a narc; image is everything). So why should the church believe one party over another without proof?
Yes, my pastor and others have seen me teary-eyed on a Sunday morning or shattered without words and heartbroken or breaking down – but by and large I have tried to “manage” it so it’s not burdening the church with a he-said-she-said situation.
I will say, in defense of the position of this book and post, that when I briefly mentioned something about a rather egregious lie that my husband said to me and when I alluded to it to our pastor in confidence, the pastor remarked to me, “The Bible says all men are liars so why would I believe one spouse over another?”
My pastor isn’t the one in whom I would confide or trust with anyway, but I don’t know that burdening congregation members is any better. I have shared one detail or another when I’ve been absolutely dumbfounded by my husband’s odd behavior or outright lies at home, but I realize that the audience to whom I’m speaking can’t relate. They don’t get it. Unless one really has experience with narcissism, it’s hard to understand the deviousness of the behavior.
I’m saddened that the church is the last place I would go for understanding on this issue, but I also understand why. The church is about the business of God’s Word and the salvation of souls and yes, sharing burdens, but they’re only human at church, and within the realm of their corporate experience, there are very few who would understand the narc. So I find solace mostly in on-line Christian communities and books. Where people have lived it, know it, recognize it for what it is, and support those who live with such wretchedness.
Thank you for the book review. I’m eager to read it because I do believe that we in God’s Kingdom who know these burdens intimately can help shoulder them with others. I may share the book at church depending on the degree of receptivity I sense, although our current church isn’t likely to be one sensitive to these kinds of issues. Sadly. (I know the post is encouraging that kind of sensitivity, but really, it took me more than a decade to figure out the passive-aggressive behavior and another few to hone in on the narcissistic personality disorder; I can’t expect people who’ve never encountered it – to their awareness – to understand. Especially when the presentation from the narc is so skillful. So adept at reading people and telling them what they want to hear. It’s truly insidious and evil, as I see it.)
Susan, this sounds like my N except worse. No, it wouldn’t be good, maybe even dangerous, for me to share at my church either. I take comfort in seeing “the church” as described in the Bible as All believers – not congregations, systems, or groups. Yes, We are the church, as are fellow believers in China, India, ETC. ! Many people in our local congregations may not be believers or people we should trust. Many are part of “the church” as believers, but see the building and the group as a shallow security blanket or club that somehow gives them extra grace or status. We can’t share with them, but we can all grow and share in healthy places like this. It constantly humbles me to look back and see myself in them and forgive again. Forgive them, And ME!
I really appreciate what you said here. As for convincing people, it just seems so unwise. My N has known and convinced all the people I’ve known all my life. If these people have known him for over half of his life, why should they believe me? He has a believable demeanor, engaging manner, can usually cover his slip ups – or put them on others , a wife who is always like the person she has been talking to lately ( usually him ) and unconsciously says everything he might want spread, and gullible listeners with similar personalities to his!Whoo! I might add it doesn’t help if you are Any kind of personallity, and we all have one.
These ironies do make me laugh these days, but it can be hard if I stop and think about it. This blog came as a direct answer to prayer, wanting to find somewhere people didn’t seem crazy! Yes, we Are sane and intelligent. I feel so Blessed “knowing” people like You, Susan!
I hesitate to share my own personal dealings about this topic and the husband I had BEFORE I met the most wonderful man in the world, whom God took way too soon 😦 . I’ve been stalked on the internet by my husband’s family. Really pathetic. And they twist everything.
But one thing I did observe — everyone here is or has been married to an N or was married to the scapegoat of N parents.
So many church leaders don’t get it. They have narrow little glasses on — but if you read enough scripture, manipulation and control and selfish behavior IS THERE — but maybe not under the title of “marriage” or “parents.” Nonetheless, it’s there.
And God has rescued each of us. Yes, it hurts and it can hurt A LOT — but WE see it, not the “bad deeds” — the consistency of the bad deeds, the pattern of bad deeds. And God sees is — and revealed it to everyone here.
Please, when you think God is far away or doesn’t hear you, remember there are those who are still living in your N’s fantasy world where he or she is Ruler. They are the enablers. They are the sanctimonious ones.
They are the un-rescued. They don’t believe they need rescuing.
We knew better.
And God was right there and opened our eyes.
Keep pressing on. If your pastor is unsympathetic and tries to pull the “submissive wife” b.s. on you, RUN!!! Even my sister-in-law (husband’s brother’s wife), told me that because SHE has to be submissive, I MUST understand that her husband couldn’t speak to me the day after my husband died because HE never lost anyone so close before!! She told me he never even knew his grandparents. 😦
Yeah. Well, I knew my husband and my daughters knew their daddy — but who cares? SHE has to be submissive and, ergo, ipso fatso, I must be submissive to her husband’s grief!
Still believing they can control me.
We got away, People!!! And if not yet — we KNOW that we will!!
I can’t thank you all enough for all the testimonies, stories, transparency, encouragement, etc. that I find here. I’m a regular reader of A Cry For Justice blog as well, so am familiar with the work of Pastor Jeff and Barbara as well. I really just wanted to say that I think there has been an “A-HA” moment today as I’ve been experiencing some health issues lately. Has anyone ever had the experience of your N coming down with an ailment that either matches or exceeds your own situation? I know that they cannot stand to be “upstaged,” but never really put that all together with my own experience until today. (Slow, slow, slow….!) Each time there has been a serious condition to deal with in the N’s family (including myself), they have mysteriously come down with incredible ailments, including “nerve damage”, severe esophogeal reflux (diagnosed after an emergency heart cath!), the ever-present allergies, regularly scheduled migraines, even a full-on heart attack requiring a week’s hospitalization after the death of an “enemy” relative. I am presently scheduled for a biopsy on Monday to ascertain the cause of some abnormal bleeding, and voila! Shingles have made their appearance on the N’s back. Is this coincidence? Stress over conditions beyond their control? Am I reading too much into it? It just seems to have been a pattern for as long as I can remember, only I just TODAY put it all together. I use the term “they” because I finally realized it’s not just my mother–can people actually WILL themselves into illness?
Our baby daughter was 10 months old when he had to one-up her–his baby daughter! She had been sickly in various ways since she was just a few weeks old. She had surgery at two months, failed to thrive, had numerous symptoms of a serious genetic disorder, and then, a heart murmur suggesting a defect. (BTW, she is healthy today, for the most part. Her pituitary doesn’t function right, but there is medicine for that.)
By 10 months, he was sick of her getting all the attention. On the day I came home from the pediatrician with her, and I was so very weary with concern for her and just fatigue from trying to care for a toddler, nurse the baby and make sure she was getting enough to grow, and always going to the doctor, never sure if she was going to have the same or a new, more terrifying diagnosis–on that very day that her heart murmur was discovered and tests were schedule at the hospital the next morning, he had had enough.
When I told him about the baby needing the heart tests the next day, he stood up, pinned me against the wall, and slammed his fist into the wall not more than 2 inches from my head, over and over. He hit a wall stud and broke it. It punched through into the room on the other side, he hit it so hard. He broke his hand doing it. Then he made me get him ice and bandages and painkillers.
I took the baby to the hospital for all her tests all by myself the next day while he went to see a specialist about his hand. Then everyone in the community forgot about the baby. They just saw that poor man with his pins and wires coming out of his hand and his cast on over all that hardware. Oh the poor man! Now he can’t work to take care of his family! He will need so much help to do normal daily activities! For weeks and weeks he had all that stuff to draw attention to himself, and then for months there was occupational therapy he could tell about, and then for years, he could complain about pain in his hand from overwork or changes in weather.
All because his baby was sick and getting too much attention.
Ugh! Horrible!!! So glad that’s in the distant past, Repol. Hugs to you.
Wow, Repol, you have maybe the scariest stories on here (not that it’s a competition)! I am very glad that he did not hit You, although, I’m sure that was intentional – as has been stated before, these folks know just how far they can go without crossing the legal line. I’m curious, though – what did he tell everyone was the cause of his hand injury?
To All who cared and thought enough to share your story, I say thank you for giving me the validation that I’m not crazy. Each of you is expressing a little bit of some of my life with my “N” spouse. Going to church leadership did little for me as the “N” is so skilled at the art of disguise and deception. Even the counselor I tried for a while privately, became transformed the moment my spouse came and caused the counselor to completely turn on me to the point that I could not contact him again. …. and as far as getting attention, through the years I have suffered varying illnesses due to the stress of living with an “N” yet I get verbally condemned with “what’s wrong with you” when I’m in pain or try to explain things. Then when I tried to finally leave him to rescue what little sanity I had left from a nervous breakdown, I was seen as the bad guy when he decided to tell his family he had prostate cancer. Though he had it for years with no growth or immediate danger, the timing made me look like I was the cruel one. When I was forced to return due to finances, a few years later he had a stroke. I am now caring for someone who takes every opportunity to have others pamper and serve him including the visiting nurses for therapy who fell for his “charm” accept one who happened to see through him. Though his physical life changed, it’s sad that his heart did not! I pray continually to ask God to make my heart right before him because the temptation to blame, self-pity, seek fulfillment in wrong places or just plain give up is always knocking at the door. This site is the only place where I can hear the truth and say I have found those who “co-labor” with me in this painful journey. As the word says in 2 Corinthians 1:4, ….. we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
I’ll confess to being an ex-Christian or post-Christian up front so you can see my comment through that lens if you like. I applaud you for calling out systemic, non-Christ-like behavior in the church. Many non-believers lament the church not seeking to live a life consistent with the teachings of the gospels. What I see when I hear about things like this reinforces my belief that there a deeper spiritual reality beyond any single sectarian or proprietary religious tradition. Clearly the Christian church does not have an exclusive grip on compassion and loving-kindness or on Christ-likeness for that matter. My hope here is not to engage in any argument. If following Jesus increases your love and compassion for yourself and others, please follow. But I do hope that when compassionate Christians see some kindred spirits outside of the church, they will open to the love that pervades all of creation rather than circling the wagons and becoming even more insular.
Oh my!! I hope that if you have had a relationship with a narcissist (or are in one) that Christians have not been unkind to you. But please know that even true Christians with wonderful, compassionate hearts don’t understand what it’s like to deal with narcissism. It can truly be ignorance, not a hardened or cold heart.
Narcissism and its damage is so very hard to articulate to those who have never been in a relationship with someone who suffers from that disorder (well, maybe THEY don’t suffer, but their victims sure do!!).
I really hope that if you need some support that is up close and personal, not just words someone else is typing in a blog, you find that support, secular or otherwise.
I know my bible doesn’t say “love thy fellow Christian only.”
Reading the book now Pastor Dave! Wow! Spot on…would love to give a copy to my sisters, (yes, 2 of them!) who still fellowship with the ex-narc and his wife, because of course they all go to church together, ya know..”it’s a church family”…blah blah blah.. Any thoughts?? jackie
I am posting today to ask for some prayer. I have a “counseling” session with my sons. This is the final court ordered session, my ex-N had two sessions sandwiched in between these. I had hoped, prayed that this counselor would see through the veil of his persona to what is lurking beneath, destroying my younger two boys daily. After a few things my 12 year old said about the session with Dad (i didn’t solicit any info from him ) I get the feeling that Mr. over the top sweet, goey kind, “Oh God Bless YOU!” N succeeded at doing his thing again.
Oct.11, 2012, two years after the divorce I shared joint custody but was primary caregiver to my boys. I continued to deal with his venomous emails and texts, letters he sent to my family, boss, pastor etc…….I had recently (May 26 2012) remarried an amazing, loving man. Guess you know the N couldn’t stand for this! On that day in Oct he had me served at the school where I teach and my boys attend, papers for an emergency hearing the very next day for custody. I was served at 1:45 on that Mon. court was at 2:30 the following day. I could not find an attorney nor did we have the money if I had found one on such short notice; true to N fashion, he had taken small shards of truth and twisted them famously! The counselor the boys had been seeing for 1 year post marriage was very angry. He was willing to come and testify on my behalf but there was an issue. He had counseled with me and the boys, met with the boys father and had a session with them and dad as well. Since we were seen as a “family” even though we weren’t one, his testimony wouldn’t be valid because the N would have to sign a waiver for the counselor to share confidential info……ANd I guess you know that wasn’t happening then.
I went into the court room alone, they wouldn’t even allow my husband in there with me. God’s presence was so strongly with me I am NOT a confrontational person and still deal with effects of PTSD thanks to the N’s years of cruelty, so only by the Spirit was I able to represent myself with strength and truth. The end analysis: they awarded him temporary sole custody of the boys; funny, the judge kept apologizing to me and advising me to get an attorney. He said, “I want a guardian at litem appointed ASAP and I want this case resolved as quickly as possible to get these kids back where they belong………….” HELLO? did I miss something? If your gut tells you they belong with me, then why are you awarding them to him?? He apologized again to me, but the “evidence” was disconcerting to him and he had to rule in this way.. I was only allowed to see my boys every other weekend for 8 hours on Sat and 8 hours on Sunday for 7 months this went on.
Our attorney was a joke. We used every bit of our savings and my father in law helped us out with expenses. I provided 21 affadavits on my behalf including one from the boys, then counselor, teachers, doctor. It was a nightmare. The GAL admitted that he believed the man was controlling and manipulative and that he probably was emotionally abusive to the younger boys, definitely emotionally abusive to my older sons, one 16 at that time who was ordered to go live with the man as well. My 16 year old had no contact with his dad, blocked his cell number and refused to visit him at all for the 2 years we had been divorced,and then had to live with him for 7 months. But the GAL’s exact words were, “if he left marks on them, or was running a meth lab out of his house or having prostitutes in and out all the time, we could call him a bad parent. BUt the bar for parenting in our country is really really low.” By the courts expectations he is a good dad……….”
In the end, I had to make a deal with the devil that has us with split custody with the younger boys, week to week. I asked the GAL: “Split custody requires good co-parenting to be successful for kids, right?” He nodded. I then asked, “Since you’re the professional here, would you tell me how I can best co-parent my boys with this man?” His response, “You can’t.” So after much emotional abuse and manipulation of my younger boys the “best” the GAL could do was to have 5 (yep 5) counseling sessions court ordered for us to attend. He assured me that he felt this woman would see through the N’s issues and then she would have the power to get this decision changed about the split custody. Yet I sit here today with the familiar foreboding in my heart that this has been such a waste of time and money.
My hope was that this woman would continue to counsel with the boys so they would have a place the felt safe to talk about things. They have a frightened loyalty to their “dad”, and have been programmed to take care of this poor, sickly, guy who just loved their Mom so much and she broke his heart. They, well my 11 year old who had a heart of gold, rubs his dad’s back every night to help poor dad sleep. And, I might add, sleeps in the same bed with the man almost all the time, but that’s okay because , well you know, Dad isn’t running a meth lab out of his house or anything like that………. I am watching my younger boys have bits and pieces of their souls eaten away by this man. I was barely a recognizable shell of my true self by the time I left him. My oldest, now 20 ,actually bears physical scars from the unseen wounds on his heart for the 14 years we lived with the man. He was a “cutter” and struggles with addiction terribly and is living, co-dependently with dad right now. It’s heart breaking. My 17 year old, who has no contact with dad since coming back to live with us full time, is probably the most emotionally healthy of all of us. His struggle is with forgiveness which we pray that he grows into being able to do.
Sorry for the mini-novel! I am just asking for prayer for this session today. The counselor told the N, in front of my 12 year old, that she didn’t feel the boys needed any continued counseling after the court order was fulfilled. Funny how she agreed with my husband and myself that it would be good for the boys to develop some healthy coping skills and continue counseling with her if we so chose. I feel that old familiar fear, the trepidation with which I walked for so many years, welling up within me; that desperate person inside crying out for someone to see what is really going on and to help. please! I feel helpless and hopelessness creeping back into my being. Feelings that I fought for years to rid myself of and am not at all happy to be dealing with them again on this scale. Those feelings sucked the life out of me for 14 years.
So, I guess I am asking for prayer that I will be the strong and capable woman God has created me to be and that wisdom and discernment will reign in and through me during this session. That God’s light will shine brighter than those old fears welling up inside of me. I know He turns things for good, ultimately. Sometimes His timing just feels really slow! Thanks for listening, and mostly for understanding all of these emotions. It helps to have others who have walked this walk and who truly get it when it comes to dealing with the damage and pain caused by living with an N personality! And thank you for your prayers today, as well!
Be assured of prayers.
I am praying.
Just read this, and am praying. Crying, but praying. Where I come from we say “it’s jus’ wrong”.
Precious Holy Father, we humbly come before You, giving praise for who You are and thanking You for all You’ve done for us through Your Son Jesus Christ. Father, we ask that You would look with mercy and lovingkindness on our sister here as we intercede with prayer. We ask that You would be her strength and shield in her behalf where she is weak and volnerable. Show her the open doors to walk through to make this painful journey fruitful and bring healing and restoration to her and her children. We declare the enemy doubt, fear, hopelessness, despair and rejection is powerless under the blood and Name of the Lamb of God, Yeshua. Father God, take all the evil that has been done and turn it into something good. Send your ministering, warring and protective angels to do battle for her in the heavenlies. Grant that your Holy Spirit of peace will mount guard over her heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Lord, send those who would be advocates for her and her children, letting them know they are not only being heard but that someone is really listening. Be in the midst of her situation and give her wisdom, strategies and divine direction in the way You want her to go. Father God, we ask that you would expose the evil being done here without hurting her or her children. May your hand of favor be with her and give her a safe place of refuge under the shadow of your wings to be refreshed, restored and renewed in her spirit, soul and body. Help them to be able to receive love and to love again. We thank you Father for what you are going to do and thanking you, in Jesus Holy name, Amen!
You will be in my every prayer. Please Lord help this hurting woman and her children.Shine Your light of truth on this situation. Amen!
I don’t even think I have the words to express what is in my heart as I read your prayers, knowing that I have a family here who understands and took time to uphold my boys and myself before the Throne of Grace in our time of need! Thank you all! You all are truly what the body of Christ is about, how He meant and desires for us to operate as one!
Thank you for your prayers. I wasn’t able to come back to this site before our appointment, but I knew God had led me here to ask for prayer. I can tell you that the Spirit of God moved mightily in my heart and gave me such peace and strength! The peace of mind and heart I experienced on the drive and at the visit just blew me away! Before we went I knew that no matter what she had to say, or how he may have snowed her with his facade, the boys and I were going to be just fine! When I got home and checked this site and saw your prayers I knew that was the difference! God bless you all!! You just don’t know the difference you have made, not only for that moment, but the deep refreshment that it has brought to my soul knowing that I am part of such a family as this!!
It was a good visit. It appears that she sees through their father’s facade, but there isn’t anything that she is able to know that the courts would see as a reason to return full custody to myself and my husband right now. She gave me some good, practical ways to assist them in wading through some of the emotions they don’t really understand right now. And she left it open ended, that anytime the boys may want to talk with her about something they are feeling or don’t understand to just have me call. She also told them that Mom might see some things that I feel need to be addressed with her help and that I, as a Mom, have the right to set up some sessions even if they dont particularly feel like they need to talk.
She used a great analogy with my 12 year old about splinters in our hearts and how when we get a splinter in our finger and it hurts really badly, we can easily see the splinter and know the cause of the pain in our finger. That we understand we have to get the splinter out, and that may be a painful process but we do it because we know the splinter in our finger can cause an infection. She then painted a picture for him, with her words, that talked about getting splinters in our hearts, but we can’t see them. We know something hurts but instead of locating the heart splinter and doing the work to dig it out, we just let it bury itself and fester and then what we get are some behaviors that are driven by that infection. Behaviors like bullying or anger or anxiety. I could really see her analogy clicking in his head!
Again, I just cannot thank you all enough! God heard your cries, my cries and He answered them in such an amazing way! Although what I wanted, to be able to have the boys back full time, wasn’t the outcome (at least not right now) God healed a part of my heart and gave me such a sense of His presence through your prayers! I am thanking Him for each of you and praying abundance of His blessings upon you!
You have someone(neutral party) to take your concerns to,to get help from and that is awesome in itself.You have some defense and protection for your children. The splinter explanation is a wonderful way to get something across to a child-a good one for me too. 🙂 Continuing to pray for you. May His Peace be with you!
Thankful with you, Gracemomentum, that the counselor is helping now. I’ve been reading, and I’m praying for you. I too read your words with fear and trepidation and feel my own anxiety building because I have to walk a similar path now, and my sweet-talking N husband who claims to everyone right and left that all he wants now is to sacrifice for us, isn’t at all that way when we meet face to face to talk about housing and support and custody. Jekyll and Hyde.
I’m thankful for your peace. Pain with peace is so much easier to cope with than pain with fear and anxiety and turmoil.
gracemomentum, yes, God Does answer prayer. I had peace praying for you and believe that He will make a way for you and your sons, at least in your hearts. It is relieving to me to know God takes care of All His own: the “fatherless”, “widows” , those who call on Him, Etc. It still seems a miracle that All includes me!
Also praying for you Repol! 🙂
Repol, My precious Soul Sister: fear and trepidation become secondary reflexes to those of us abused by Narcissists! The beautiful thing is this (and I’m preaching to the choir here) Christ died to make all things new! The survival mechanisms that we developed so that we could live, protect our children and ourselves, can take a while to unlearn and to undo! Praise be to our Abba Father who is making each of us new, into the new that He has envisioned for us, for you, my dear soul sister!
The Holy Spirit really impressed upon me a certain practice to begin a new way of thinking that became not a survival mechanism but a THRIVE-al mechanism! And it is His desire that we are more than survivors, that we become Thrivers! This is His plan, His heart’s desire for you, Repol!
The daily practice was this (and one I need to begin again): I realized that after living with this man and letting my soul slowly die I lived in the “what if” realm. All of my thinking was, “What if he’s in a bad mood today?” What if Mr. Hyde is here just long enough for us to begin to have a happy Christmas morning only for Dr. Jekyll to emerge and crush my boys once again?” And after I had the courage to leave him, every contact or potential contact from him or with him led me down the “what if” road. I was constantly full of fear and trepidation! I woke up in the morning, free at last from his presence, yet still with a current of fear buzzing through my entire body. I jumped back onto the “What if” road yesterday when I asked for prayer and you all delivered mightily! And I was reminded that I was not created to live in the what if!
One morning four years ago the Holy Spirit said, “Girl stop living in the ‘what if” and start living in the WHAT IS! So this is WHAT IS: MY dear sister it IS that, He loves you with an everlasting LOVE; It IS that HIS love NEVER fails! IT IS that He rejoices over YOU; It IS that there is NO FEAR in HIS love for it is perfect love for YOU! It IS that you are HIS Beloved; IT IS that HE made YOU to soar on wings as eagles. And I could go on and on!
I am praying for you! I am praying that as you begin to ask God to show you how to live in HIS “What IS” that you will find a consistent center of peace and of strength! As you allow Him to make your thinking processes new, may the reality of WHAT IS yours IN CHRIST bring you to a new level of hope, peace and joy! My prayers for you will continue as I know this journey to wholeness and freedom is indeed an arduous one. But you are not alone!!!
Wonderful words of encouragement and truth.
OK, everyone. I am dying here. I am undone & grieving & despairing.
I just finished reading the book on my Kindle. (I went ahead and ordered the print book b/c the kindle version has the footnotes running thru the narrative, so it is a little confusing at times). The book is powerful, insightful, well researched, even inspired. It leans heavily on spousal abuse, and/or spiritual abuse to/from both pastors &/or parishioners.
i found that I had to translate many of these scenarios to apply to my own experience, in that my abuser is an elderly woman in the church, whose public face is that of the “sweet little old lady”, a kind of charming “Betty White Christian”. She is no lady. She is not charming. She is not sweet. She is poison to my heart and soul. The book clearly states how verbal abuse is murder to the soul. I found affirmation in many of my observations of her behavior as being not of God, of being in darkness rather than the light, of shedding tears for herself rather than for others, of shifting blame rather than showing contrition, demanding forgiveness while dismissing repentance, dumping shame, causing division, misusing scripture for her own selfish purposes but never for God’s divine glory. After 2 years of “pastoral counseling”, the church has caved in and will not even respond to her abuse anymore. They clearly are not going to be “guilty” of disciplining a sweet little old lady, even tho scripture never says that “evil” has an age limit. Evil is evil is evil….but they do nothing. NOTHING. In fact, they often embrace her, join her for lunch, coddle her. I have clearly asked them why: WHY is she allowed to continue to fellowship there when she is so clearly abusive? The patterns of abuse are clear, they are consistent and they are ongoing. They have not answered that question….other than to say “it is so sad”. But they will not act to remove the evil from their midst.
However…..my husband is also having trouble seeing this clearly. I have communicated to him as bluntly as I can about how evil her actions are, yet he is still having trouble “getting it”. After all, it is his mother. He is the golden child. I get that. I grieve for him. Yet I want him to grieve for me, too. Is that too much to expect? I will not let her near our disabled son b/c she would destroy him (and has clearly stated her plans to alienate him from me) so why does she keep getting to attack me? Why is that ok? She thinks nothing of destroying me, or our marriage, or our family (and in fact has been intentionally doing so), but he cannot sever that cord. He keeps trying to find a way to compromise; I answer back that there is no compromise with an abuser, that we are called to expose evil and flee it, otherwise we share in her evil deeds. I am feeling hopeless.
My question for Pastor Dave: can this be Stockholm Syndrome?
Please help me. Please pray for me. It is intolerable. Evil knows no age.