The Super-power

 It’s Narcissist Friday!   

 

I remember some sci-fi show where the person wearing a certain amulet had the power to make others like him; like him so much that they would do almost anything for him, without regard to his cruel ways. Once the amulet was taken from him, they saw the truth and got their revenge.

Do narcissists have a secret amulet or some kind of special ability that allows them to get what they want? It certainly seems so at times. I have often called this the narcissist’s super-power. They have an amazing ability to manipulate what others think and believe about them.

I get comments and emails saying that a victim’s parents still love the narcissist. Friends, bosses, family members and others can’t seem to see the lies and manipulations of the narcissist. They just see a wonderful person. It’s like some kind of covering is over their eyes distorting reality.

I have watched narcissists get promoted in spite of the fact that they were basically incompetent in their jobs. I have seen narcissists trusted in spite of their almost obvious duplicity. I have seen people go to narcissists for counsel in spite of the fact that the narcissists betray confidences and really don’t care. It is all very hard to understand.

Perhaps there are several factors at work here, I think.

  1. They want us to trust them – Narcissists have needs and they are highly motivated to fulfill those needs. Just like a salesman or a counselor or someone else whose success hinges on trust, the narcissist will go to extra lengths to gain that trust. This is why they seem to be extra loving or attentive or even trustworthy in the beginning. They need your trust more.
  2. They have learned the system – There are words and actions that communicate trust. Narcissists will look people in the eye, give a firm handshake, and refer to the person as “friend.” They will take the extra assignment or do the special favor that gains influence (even if they have to find someone else to do the work). Narcissists are observant and careful listeners and generous and respectful—when they want to gain trust. They know how the trust system works.
  3. They know we want to trust – Narcissists take advantage of a basic human need, the need to relate to trustworthy people. They know that most of us will look past faults, even to form images of a person according to our own desires. Most of us don’t assume that others lie or manipulate. We find it hard to believe that someone could be so mercenary and cold. So they use our desire to trust against us.

I know a narcissist who holds a high organizational position. He is barely competent as a leader and untrustworthy as a friend. Behind him lie the broken lives and vocations of the people he has used. But in front of him are many others with open arms and smiles and generous hearts who see nothing wrong. He has held his position for a long time and has used it to gain both financially and socially. He knows how to play the game.

Basically, that’s the key. The narcissist knows how to play the game. But you have to add to that the fact that they are ruthless in playing. They have nothing to lose and they play to win. And, sadly, they usually do.

So, if you try to fight your narcissist, you may lose. The wife who leaves may find herself with little or nothing. The friend who gets away may find himself to be a pariah among the mutual friends. The narcissist’s super-power works. Those who should be able to see the truth are blinded by the spin, the image, the lies. Those of us who try to come alongside the victims have ideas that should work, but often fail because the narcissists simply have something no one should have—the ability to move the hearts and minds of others in their own favor.

Now, there are some of us who are almost immune to their power. We see the truth, at least about the narcissists we have known. But it is especially frustrating when we realize that even that immunity has come because the narcissist no longer cares. Too many have found themselves vulnerable when the narcissist comes around again.

Yes, it is a super-power, at least in comparison to anything the rest of us have. Yes, it is scary when you see it that way. But it is better to see the truth than to be caught off guard. The only defense we have is to remember the truth we have learned about narcissism, ourselves, and the person who has caused our pain. We may need each other to remind us sometimes.

Remember that victory may simply lie in getting out. The threats of the narcissist cannot overcome the support and strength you have. Find that support and use that strength. Trust the Lord and His love for you. He is the One you can trust.

29 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

29 responses to “The Super-power

  1. Denise

    Yes, spiritually it is a seductive spirit. Jezebel !!! Dealing with spiritual forces. Need discernment to battle this host from hell. Need more spiritual insight.

  2. I just blogged last night about my own super-power that used to be “love’- is now “discernment”. It’s really interesting when you look at it that way.. that the empathetic people have their own super-power. I guess we all need to be careful with our respective gifts…

  3. Came alongside

    I highly recommend reading Steve Sampson’s excellent book Confronting Jezebel, which can easily be found at amazon.com.

    A person who is/has been the target of a malignant abusive narcissist or the one that is/has walked alongside the target will find that this book opens their eyes to what is really going on in the spiritual realm. Be prepared to mark up this book with underlines, stars, and exclamation points! Share the book with your pastor and church leadership, too.

    If I had the clout I would recommend that every denominational headquarters should send out a package of a minimum of 3 books to every pastor under their denominational banner. Those 3 books would be Barbara Robert’s book Not Under Bondage, Jeff Crippen’s book A Cry for Justice and Steve Sampson’s book Confronting Jezebel. I know there are other books that address these subjects but these three would seem to me to form the backbone of what church leadership needs to know to start them on the road to caring effectively for the victims.

    I so appreciate Pastor Orrison’s comments and articles. Thank you, Pastor.

  4. It does feel really good to finally feel free. But this is a good reminder that my feeling free may have everything to do with no longer having this individual in my life… it is a good reminder to recognize that these personalities can draw you back in.

  5. Kate

    Yes, yes, yes — so true! It’s immensely frustrating. A passage that brings me out of the hopeless feeling when overcome by this “super power” is Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

    The narcissist’s super power is strong and seemingly all-consuming, but it still is only of this world and not based on truth. I have to remind myself that other people’s opinions are also just of this world. This has become clear to me as I have watched those mutual friendships get hijacked by my narcissist. Those who believe the lies do not give me the benefit of the doubt, nor do they even seek the truth for themselves. When I think, then, of where people seek their treasure, it helps me detach if they are complacent once they receive the worldly adoration, adulation, approval, and good times offered deceitfully by the narcissist. Once I recognized my own seeking others’ approval, etc., as worldly, which took some time, I have since just seen it as more food for the worms. Rejection still hurts, but this passage leads me through and beyond the pain — pain that is also of this world.

    It also helps me focus attention on truly loving relationships. Thank you for this post and everyone’s supportive words.

    • Patty

      That is freeing.

    • Amanda

      Kate,
      wow, what a great scripture to remember. What you said is so exactly whats been done to me.… “I have watched those mutual friendships get hijacked”, oh how I know about that! My soon to be ex”husband” hideously violated my privacy rights by secretly recording me, editing those recordings, and then sending them to literally every single person we know, and even people he works with and in his army unit that I DONT know, and who don’t know me from adam! Of course, you can imagine the kind of damage it did. I now have no family, no friends, he turned ALL of my neighbors against me, and even has one of them “watching” me for him, probably no doubt texting or calling my ex letting him know my comings and goings. ‘ “When I think, then, of where people seek their treasure, it helps me detach if they are complacent once they receive the worldly adoration, adulation, approval, and good times offered deceitfully by the narcissist.” ‘ . Exactly! Thank you so much for writing this, as I also need to remind myself of exactly what it is they are doing by “accepting” my narc.ex’s adoration, approval and “good times” offered to them by my ex narc-spouse. He completely won over my sister against me, which wasn’t hard to do. So now, she’s not talking to me either. It seems he’s been sending something by email also, becuz now my entire family will not do emails with me, and/or deleted their email address.
      I already know about them getting the recordings for literally years now.
      My family started getting them literally within the first year we were together! He is an extremely jealous and vindictive vengeance-seeking narcissist the likes of which I have never seen or even heard of! His goal is to completely destroy me and cause me to not be able to work anywhere, which he already did years ago, so that I will eventually end up homeless, losing everything. That is when he will see it as him “winning” and me “losing”. I am going to have to change my name, and move away, but somehow I know he will probably find me and continue to do his onslaught attack of slander/character defamation. He’s the kind of person who does this as long as his victim lives. I pray every single day, sometimes all day, nighttime too, that God will deliver me from this hideous wickedness, and protect me. I am “banking” on His protection as His Word says. I would appreciate any and all prayers for me for protection, and also , that God will change ME inside with His Holy Spirit to what He wants me to be to glorify Him! I want Him to enable me to see this whole thing differently as God would want me to do. I have to give a warning, I believe that my ex has also watched me on computer online, and even went onto blogs posing as me, making me look bad, trying to get me kicked off. So if the pastor sees anything coming after this that looks like its me, but sounds like something I might not say, and makes me look bad, please let me know asap.! thank you brethren in the Lord, and to Pastor Dave for such an awesome truthful article!! Wow!

      • Leslie

        So ….. I’m not the only one to have walked this path? Ur experience is so much like my own. But guess what. God has sustained me t/o all of it. He will carry you too. I will pray for you. Whoever you are and where ever you are.

    • Db

      Interestingly the narcissistic church leaders would not recognize themselves and use the books to label others and push them out of their way.

  6. Onward

    Pastor Dave, thank you for once again for your words which pierce through the shroud of confusion and deception that Ns bring and use to feed on our life source. I agree with Denise that it is absolutely a seductive spirit. And your weekly blog is an excellent and necessary reminder that helps to shine the Light on what we are actually dealing with lest we fall back into the clutches of Lucifer/Satan/that serpent of old, oh sorry I meant to say the N.
    2 Cor 10:4 and Eph 6:11 – 17.

  7. My husband’s Super Power would be his utter complete confidence in himself. He (seemingly) has no doubt whatsoever that his beliefs and actions are RIGHT. Probably that is what attracted me to him in the beginning–since I am one who always looks to see all sides of an issue, I’m often unable to make decisions for fear of being wrong or causing harm. So what a relief (I thought) to be with someone who knew all the answers. Of course, placing trust in an N always turns out to be a big mistake.

  8. Rox

    “Victory is in getting out” is a great mantra when you wonder what you will have gained by leaving your N. I ponder this every day, after having parted last year with my N, one of my closes friends for 20 years. I think about the years lost, the time and devotion I wasted, the love I thought my friend would one day realize and reciprocate. In the end, it often feels like he won and I lost. I have to keep reminding myself that other people are onto his act. He will have to tap dance forever to stay one step ahead of his angry targets. But my victory is in being able to live in peace, knowing that God is never fooled by the N’s machinations.

    • TTC

      I believe that if someone just knew the N was an N like I know I would feel vindicated. I read these stories and it’s like yes, yes…this is the person I know. He uses people, backstabs, sees supply all around him. But me, he took the supply he needed and discarded. No one knows but me. If I reveal him, who’s crazy? Me. My guess is if anyone knows, like me, they wouldn’t say a word. So we suffer in silence, except here. Here we are free to express our sorrow, our misunderstanding, our understanding. We have voice here, we have victory here. I am so tired of feeling like the underdog. The N I know likes to make sure to remind me every day that I am the discarded one. It is some sick emotional torture he likes to inflict. He has the super-power and loves to use it at will. And over and over, year after year I say why me. Some of you say well quit, leave. I will not let him take my life from me!! Rox, I am glad you could break free. I wish I could. Instead I have to learn to co-exist without losing myself in self doubt and pity party.

  9. Thank you so much for the truth in this article. There isn’t a pretty ending to most abusive relationships. I don’t think of my husband as a narc, but he was raised by a diagnosed narc, and is at least narcissistically driven. My husband is extremely passive aggressive.

    In over three decades, I’ve only known one person not to instantly like my husband, and he was the head of a twelve step program. Everyone else likes, loves, and enjoys his company. He’s extremely witty and funny, has a handsome boyish grin, and at times a very childlike manner. The childish aspects seem to be mostly saved for my direction, and every now and then, one of our kids.

    To be married to someone who has this ability is to live with cognitive dissonance in a huge way. He uses less and less charm and persuasion with me lately as I become more intolerant of his wrong behaviors. His typical pattern of withdrawing and standing aloof if I’m hurting is increasing.

    He reads his Bible almost daily, and speaks as a Christian, as does his abusive narc pastor father.

    • Amanda

      I’ve heard some really good things about the 12 step program for anyone struggling in the control of any type of addiction. Would this program be something good for people with emotional/psychological addictive behaviors also?
      Just wondering.

      • The 12 step program I referenced is called Celebrate Recovery. It encompasses all addictions, believing that any addiction is a bad solution to a root problem that requires God to recover, heal, and grow.

  10. Butterfly

    This post was just what I needed today. I agreed to help a “friend” from my former church when she told me that she was diagnosed with cancer. I agreed to do a couple of specific things for her, but then she began pressuring me and trying to force me into the role of her caretaker, and I am not in a position to take on another dependent. She tried to make me feel like a bad friend/human being/Christian if I did not do everything she wanted. I felt like I was being bullied.

    About a month ago, she told me that she found a friend who agreed to move in with her for a while. I had not heard from her since. The “nice” part of me would like to know how she is doing, but the “smart” part of me knows that contacting her would put me back in the line of fire if her current friend/caretaker does not work out. When I got home today, she had left a message on my answering machine. It was ” I have not heard from you for a while, so I wanted to see how you are doing and if you are OK”.

    Your post stated that “Too many have found themselves vulnerable when the narcissist comes around again”. My first impulse was to call her back immediately, but I decided to pray about it for a while. In the past, I have only heard from her when she wanted something.
    I have empathy for her situation, I am willing to help her, but I do not want to get back into an abusive relationship

    • Gabrielle

      If you know she’s a narcissist, she’s definitely fishing for narc supply and will turn it against you. If you don’t help her, she might just “innocently” talk about you behind your back, in reality to discredit you and make others think you’re an awful person.. It’s hard to say NO to “friends” but if you can hang tough it’s for the best so she knows you’re not in her power anymore.

    • Penny

      Butterfly–she is “hoovering”, which is a narc term for trying to suck you back in, like a hoover vacumn cleaner. Narcs often do this when their current supply-line has been sucked dry. Don’t fall for it!! My best guess is that she has already worn out the friend (who moved in with her) and is looking for someone else to step in. Your don’t even know if she really has cancer or not. Narcs know exactly how to bait the line & reel you in. This is classic narc behavior and my advice is to run. Run and never look back. She will suck you dry. Run!!

    • Kathy

      Butterfly,
      You’re in such a tough spot. You’re in a situation where an N can cause you much internal strife, an internal civil war.
      I don’t believe an N can ever change their personality disorder — but their bodies are still made of the same material ours are. They will get old. They can get cancer, go blind, have arthritis, diabetes…..on and on.
      But everybody else can go through that too.
      They NEED attention — no, ADORATION. If you call her and get roped in, it’s because, in your spirit, you believe you are a good Christian and, after, all, she may be dying. And you will put up with her abuse.
      If you don’t call her, she now has the ability to smear you BIG TIME. YOU call yourself a Christian — how can you abandon her??? YOU say Jesus is Lord, how can you not visit the sick.
      This will cause you great internal strife because you may be saying the same things to yourself.

      There are many, many sick people in this world. There are many who, while being sick, can take your offers of help without believing they are entitled to your adoration. You can minister to people without ministering to an N.

      When you’re confused as to what to do, or have that internal civil war, pray about it and then go do something else. Do not analyze yourself to death.
      It’s easier said than done, I know. I’ve been contacted by N’s proxy, telling me how N is having such a hard time as N ages and has had losses, and won’t I please end the estrangement? It’s hard.

      Don’t remember the little isolated incidents of abuse — remember the PATTERN of abuse. Hang in there.

      • Butterfly

        Thank you ladies for your encouragement.

      • UnForsaken

        Butterfly, this person sounds like they are using a ‘bad boyfriend’ technique. When breaking up we know that person needs someone……but it’s Not us. They will find someone else, no problem. It’s us who need to look at our own needs, because they are looking out for theirs. This is so hard when we are practiced at putting others first. Remember, even in friendship and reaching out, sometimes you are just not the right one. God organizes their lives as much as ours, and He takes care of His world. 🙂

  11. Amanda

    I would like to ask other believers if you can please pray for my ex-narc. to be delivered from the evil “spirit of jezebel”,etc, and all that it has caused and created within himself. I too need prayer for continued protection from God, and deliverance and healing by God. Thank you very much!

  12. Kathy

    Their super-power is using us against ourselves. They have no empathy, no compassion cannot be attentive to another. They desire all attention. They desire all compassion. They desire all empathy, sympathy, and understanding, support.
    So they use these same qualities we have to get it focused on themselves. They know we have compassion and empathy and sympathy — they know who they are victimizing.
    And we are blindsided because we cannot predict their bizarre, upside-down, completely inappropriate behavior. Our minds cannot comprehend what they are doing and saying — and they know that. So if you accuse them, they will say “What did I do?” and you are forced to search yourself, put yourself on trial.
    And should you realize that the problem is THEM, not YOU, and you remove yourself from the abuse, they are incensed! How DARE you NOT give them attention, sympathy, empathy?
    And they smear you.
    They have used what is human in us to take from us. And it is deliberate. But oh so subtle.
    Disarm a narcissist? Sometimes I’d like to disarm a narcissist — and dis-leg him and dis-head him. Can’t dis-heart him. There’s no heart there.

  13. ” Remember that victory may simply lie in getting out. ”
    Hanging onto that thought today.

  14. sunangel

    I always said the worst thing i could do to him would be to simply walk away, out of his life. And i did. After over 7 years, after quitting my job to coown a business with him, he thought he had me where he wanted me. But at that point i did not care. I was ready to live in a cardboard box or in a ditch over that life. I lost some material things (house where me and my children lived for 12 years). I really struggled with that and prayed intensely. God was clear and that house sold in a day for asking price. I sold most of my belongings on craigslist. Crammed what was left in my car, and drove 1000 miles away to where my family was. Best thing i ever did. We got our life back, our right to exist. And two years later he is still writhing over the fact i left and will not return or as he put it “you should be begging me”. Who begs to be treated like less than crap? Like its an honor in his mind to be treated at all.

  15. I love this place. Finally someone (and all those who post) who can put into words what I have been experiencing for over 30 years. Each and every sentence of every article and post I can relate to. You are right pastor, most ppl are totally wooed why these ppl and though you are the good one you wind up being hated by everyone.

    This place keeps me sane. Wish you and your words where here so many years ago.

  16. 38 years and counting...

    My narcissist of our 38 year marriage is now three years in recovery for ‘sex addiction’. Nov. will be three years since I and our children have learned who he really is… Lived a double life. We are shattered… our past is a lie… no memory is what we thought it was… our future is disconnected… we are broken souls with a new reality that is best described in terms of betrayed, used, abused, lie fodder, etc. He has managed to estrange us from each other and from family and friends by innuendo, projections and by proxy… Mother and daughter giving voice to his poor victimized projections. Self pity born of ‘feeling’ justifies every sinful pleasure and punitive action… The immaturity that motivates his deeds is as neon, now. While pretending to be a respectable husband, father, deacon, elder, ect. he was in fact a successful sex addict since age 13 with the power to see everywoman in church and everywhere naked and in sexual fantasies while pretending to snooze in church. Daily stalked women to and from work, hiring prostitutes for binge orgies… These orgies were opportunistic; Carried out when he or I were out of town or I was in hospital, etc. His lack of conscience is born of his ability to erase memory at will. He is a preacher’s son and he is his, ‘Mama’s boy who can do no wrong.’ His parents reject who he really is and only acknowledge the good boy ‘pretender’ he projects. He is now living a highly accountable life and reading the Bible daily. He knows he’ll step back off into narcissistic fantasy land without the accountability. He looks back and doesn’t want to be the slave of the sex addiction again, however, he remains the pathological liar and self loving, spoiled child he has always been. He used me and our children up and now that he ‘owns’ what he is, no one wants to hear. Who can blame them? To have been so deceived shakes you to your very core. Having been used-up successfully by such a ‘good boy’ pretender while living the fantasies of a truly evil heart is the thing of nightmares. A living nightmare. The reality is that over time he could pull it all off again, if he so chooses. He takes the innocence of others and projects it as his own and then somehow, projects his own evil heart onto the innocent. Christ Jesus is our only hope. He says he hated me through the years for my faith in Christ. Only time will tell if he is vainly using Christ and me, yet, again. The last fifteen years have been particularly abusive and hellish. I hope this compassion is born of Christ in me and not my own warped need and naivety.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s