Insidious

It’s Narcissist Friday!  

 

A friend is dying of cancer. I hate cancer. Cancer is sneaky. It lies in wait and pops up to ambush a person. It doesn’t care whether you are young or old, married, have children, have unfulfilled dreams, or anything. It just hides until it surprises you.

 

Oh, there are signs. A cough. A lump. An itch. A pain. A weariness. Little things that make you wonder. But it is so easy to shrug those signs off and just keep going. Sometimes people even go to the doctor, but the cancer is so small that it isn’t detected . . . yet. But it’s there, waiting. It’s insidious.

 

Insidious.   Seems to me that’s a good word for narcissism also. It means to wait, as in ambush. It comes almost directly from the Latin term. The idea, in Latin, is to sit waiting. The enemy in hiding. The enemy in our midst, not quite identifiable. You can almost feel that something is wrong, but you can’t see it or touch it. It might be right around the corner, or the next. Then, suddenly, it’s there.

 

That lady in church who welcomed you with such kindness. You notice how others seem to let her have her way. You notice that she is much better at getting others to work than she is at doing work herself. The more you get to know her, the more you realize that she speaks a little too freely about others. You begin to wonder if she speaks that freely about you. You have trusted her with private information, but now you begin to worry. Insidious.

 

The young man was so full of love and attention. He was polite and patient and thoughtful. At times it seemed like he was courting you instead of your daughter. She seemed so lucky and so happy. Just because she started wearing her hair differently and she sometimes wouldn’t tell you where they were going, you weren’t worried . . . at first. After a while, when he left his good job because “they didn’t know how to use his talents,” you began to see a different side of him. Soon he and your daughter were living in another state and she never called or emailed. That’s when you saw that you were ambushed.

 

Insidious. I could tell story after story. Husbands and wives; in-laws; co-workers; leaders; friends. People who seem great at first. Even when you begin to see the little things, they seem benign. But the cancer waits and grows.

 

Some people grow up with narcissism. It surrounds them from their earliest memories of parents, grand-parents, or siblings. What seems so obvious to outsiders just seems like regular life to these folks. Nothing is wrong, but everything is wrong.

 

Others have narcissism creep up on them. They enter into relationships with kindness and hope, never suspecting that an abuser sits waiting for an opportunity. It might be at work, where a co-worker tries to take your position or clients. It might be at church where the narcissist decides you are the one that needs their control. It might be an intimate relationship where you thought there was only love. Insidious.

 

So what do we do? Well, we do the same thing we do with cancer. We watch for the little things and pay attention. We tell others about the reality of narcissism and teach them to watch for the signs. Not every unkind act or selfish focus is an indication of narcissism, but we can watch. Patterns begin to emerge, evidence accumulates, and maybe we can act before the damage is done.

 

Sometimes aggressive treatment does work against cancer. Sometimes a change of diet or the right medicines or simple surgery can reduce or eliminate the effect of cancer. In the same way, catching certain behaviors or attitudes early in a relationship can allow us to build defenses, watch even more closely, or escape before things get bad.

 

And I have noticed an unexpected relief for some people who are diagnosed with cancer. Finally they have an explanation for being tired or for that pain that won’t go away. Finally the whole thing makes sense. Again, in the same way, those who have grown up knowing the pain of narcissism sometimes find a relief in naming the insidious enemy. They always knew something was wrong—their family was not like others—but now they know what it is. It doesn’t make it go away, but naming it brings both explanation and options.

 

Parents can talk with sons and daughters about the warning signs of a narcissist. Bosses can learn, as can pastors. Marriage counselors and therapists are beginning to see the truth. Narcissism no longer hides as easily in our society. More of us are sounding the alarm.

 

Yes, narcissists are adaptable, just like cancer. They adjust their tactics and hide differently so we have to be alert. Certain regimens will help. Clear and strong boundaries. Acceptance of ourselves and our uniqueness. Trust in the leading and love of the Lord.

 

We may never eradicate narcissism and it might still surprise us from time to time, but the battle is not the same. Narcissism may continue to be insidious, lying in wait to abuse, but we are watching for it.

 

We are no longer unaware.

 

 

 

105 Comments

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105 responses to “Insidious

  1. Looking at human history, I think the best route is to remain educated ;P

    Sadly, even that isn’t really going to prevent the average person from being ambushed. When the wolf is wearing the charming fleece of a harmless sheep, the average person won’t tug on it or check for fangs or a long bushy tail.

    If there was one thing I could help to impact, it might be to get more people to be willing to believe that some of those charmers are capable of intentional abuse.

    • Valerie

      “If there was one thing I could help to impact, it might be to get more people to be willing to believe that some of those charmers are capable of intentional abuse.”

      Yes, exactly….intentional!!!!

  2. newlyanonymous

    This is the word that has been in my head the most since I started documenting my tormentor’s behavior. Insidious. Because it’s evil and sneaky. It’s also chosen behavior. I’ve been thinking a lot about prisoners and Christians, how they rejoice in trial in Scripture or are told to. However, I have realized a difference between them and us. Would the prisoners choose to be in prison or set free? They would all choose freedom. It is our choice to stay or to leave, but sometimes we are bound to our abusers by things (or people) outside of our control (finances, children’s needs, etc.). I have also pondered how people react to their tormentors in concentration camps. Are they busy praying for their captors or do they just try to stay alive and pray for deliverance? I think it’s the latter and only when they are set free to breathe and recover can they really focus on praying for their captors. Maybe I’ll be able to pray more for my tormentor at some point. I used to, but now I’m in a protective posture as I wait for the Lord’s deliverance. (Sorry if I digressed here from the original topic.)

  3. newlyanonymous

    One of the operative words in this post for me is “pattern.” That’s when I really started to catch on. It was a pattern of repeated behaviors that eventually lead me to research passive-aggressiveness and eventually narcissism (and maybe now even anti-social personality disorder). It’s the pattern that makes it a problem. Even a few times is enough to notice that something’s not normal with respect to lack of empathy and deliberate actions and no true remorse. It all adds up. Sadly, for those without experience (thankfully for them, sadly for us), it goes like the unseen cancer and just worsens for the victim.

    • Valerie

      Newlyanonymous, it was the same for me. First I learned of PAPD and then NPD. I think God revealed these things to me in stages because when I first learned of PAPD it took awhile for that to sink in. I could not have accepted NPD at the time and would likely have dismissed it. And yes, the pattern. For years before I finally left I was at the point where I could predict almost the angle he would take or when he would give me the silent treatment.

      • newlyanonymous

        Valerie, Like you, I think God has revealed these things to me in His timing for His purposes. I’m not sure how this has yet to play out. We’re (child and I) still with the bully, but for how long is unknown.

      • Jennifer

        I remember those patterns as well. It took me 17 years to identify them as being narcissistic. Before that, I don’t know how much I thought about it. I was more or less just busy reacting to him and constantly wondering what was going on. I was often tip-toeing around on eggshells, or I was confused about why I was being treated a certain way. I always seemed to be in a bit of a fog. I knew that it wasn’t right, and I spent tons of my time and energy trying to make it right. I knew that other Christian couples didn’t seem to act like that, and I even pointed it out to him. His reaction to that was always very dismissive, short, perturbed and was often accompanied by a Bible verse (especially in the area of any comments made about his sexual proclivities or treatment of me). And as you mentioned, Valerie, there was the ever-popular “silent treatment”. I remember this pattern starting within the first months of our marriage.

        In fact, I remember actually “figuring out” that particular behavior. Inner dialogue and I became fast friends as I talked myself through these episodes, and as I cried out to God for understanding. I remember saying to myself, “Why is it always me who ends up breaking these silent spells by saying sorry? This has been going on for 17 years. I’m SURE it is always me that apologizes, and why? I KNOW it’s not always me that needs to, and in fact, I’m pretty sure that it is mostly him. But maybe I’m wrong. Surely I’m just biased towards myself. But perhaps there is a way I can test this, and I can see if he does this on purpose.” Literally. That is how this inner dialogue went. And so one day, when I knew it was definitely NOT me who needed to apologize, I refused to “break the silence” with an apology. Do you know that the silent treatment literally lasted three weeks!!! The only time I could get an answer from him was if I asked a question in front of the kids, because he didn’t want his image tarnished in front of them. And one night, he said sorry very abjectly, then wanted sex right after, and I’m pretty sure that was all he was really missing because he liked it 2 or even three times a day if he could get it. (Sorry. TMI, but it’s the truth),.

        That was the turning point where I needed to figure out what was wrong with that guy, and that is when I discovered what narcissism was. And three years later, after his behavior becoming more and more pronounced due to the stress of our lives at that point (parents’ failing health, quitting his job, building a home etc), when his truest colours started really showing through, and they weren’t pretty, I got up enough courage through all the fear and terror I was feeling to actually leave him.

        It’s been 6 years and I have absolutely NO regrets. It was the smartest, wisest and most courageous thing I have ever done.

      • newlyanonymous

        Jennifer,
        I’m glad to know it wasn’t just me who took that long to kind of catch on to things. As I’ve looked around and heard stories of abuse in marriage from people I know in real life and also here on the internet, I found myself trying to assuage my hurt feelings by telling myself, “He’s not as bad as others” or “He never hits me.” or “He doesn’t drink” or “He only explodes once a year,” etc. Yet it’s all the more insidious to have someone pretending to be nice and kind all the while hating you and contriving against you behind a smile. And the lying and manipulation and twisting of words while you (the unknowing spouse) are trying and trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and speaking in good faith.
        It took me about 14 years of marriage (and 17 years of knowing him) to figure out the passive-aggressive part and another 3 years to put together the narcissism. Maybe because he’s so covert about it all. And yes, I have the silent treatment a LOT. He’s usually gone by the time I get up, no matter what time of day – between 5:30 or 7 am, he’s gone. And often not home until dark. He doesn’t want to talk to me, unless it benefits him. If he is home and we’re alone, I’ll get harsh words or lies. And if there’s an audience, usually he’s just acting as if he cares.I’ve taken to putting earphones in if we’re alone (our child isn’t up yet) so I don’t have to hear the poison.
        I try to extend to others (church family and biological family) a measure of grace about their not understanding narcissism or how it’s all an act because it’s taken me, – the wife – this long to figure out. how could I expect others to “get it” when they’ve never had direct experience with it? Thankfully, I think the Lord has revealed all of what’s going on (or at least all that I know to this point) in His timing and for His purposes unbeknownst to me (apart from His glory at the good of His people). I have to trust Him for the rest. He’s always been faithful to me.
        I’ve stopped reading about narcissism (apart from this blog and cryingoutforjustice.com) and am starting to focus on the healing part for the victims – myself and my child – though we’re still under the roof with the narc. I am at greater peace when I’m dwelling on my real husband – Jesus – Who never lies to me and is always faithful. I’d rather focus my thoughts on Him than my abuser, whom I’ve allowed to take up far more of my time and energy than I should have. He’s the enemy of my Lord.

  4. Anonymous

    That was powerful, and so very on-point. Thank you, for listening to The Lord’s leading to create this blog. Have a blessed day.

  5. Kathy H

    Once again you’ve written a terrifically helpful review! Do you have some suggested resources for talking to children of various ages about developing a ‘narcissist detector”? Also, are there resources for parents that might help us evaluate the other people in our children’s lives–teachers, scout leaders, youth workers in Church, etc? If there is nothing that you know of—can you suggest some ‘talking points” or better yet, write something yourself? 🙂

    It is terrible to think that we need to be suspicious but I think it’s like learning the signs that someone might be a sexual predator.

    I appreciate the time and care you put into crafting these blog posts.

    Thanks,

    Kathy H.

  6. Tammy

    To mirror Jennie:

    Hi. My name is Tammy and I am a Cancer Slayer and Survivor! And Thriver!

    Wow Pastor Dave that is yet another word picture like the mold that nails the twisted narcissist! Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

    Insidious. Yes that is very much an accurate word! If they showed their true colors (their black heart or their fangs dripping in red blood), every last one of us would RUN.

    But they are amazingly adept at sensing their next host (supply). They seem to know the type of person to go after the hardest and they go after them with every trick in their nasty book. Some potential victims have been raised by a narcissist and are GROOMED and ready. Some are kind, giving and loving. Some can be described as a naïve incurable optimist. But you don’t have to be any of these. Cancer does not discriminate.

    The cancer knows where it can dig the deepest and suck the most life out of it’s unsuspecting host. It’s insidious. It waits until you are emotionally invested. As a friend. As a lover. As a spouse. As a parent.

    Then it doesn’t care if you see how scary and nasty and insidious the truth is.

    I was 2 months pregnant with our second child, and after I went to bed exhausted on New Year’s Eve, my husband followed another married woman around the fire. Her husband was his hunting buddy, but as Pastor Dave said, CANCER doesn’t care who you are. If she moved, he moved. She would move to one side, and he would follow.

    When people tell you who they are, BELIEVE THEM. She was a bit creeped out but he persevered. He was just looking for some extra supply. Cancer has no conscience. He pursued her. Some of you have been married for 25 or 30 years. It was 14 for me and I didn’t believe in divorce. But he made a believer out of me! 😉

    So… I learned from the best and employed one of his tactics. I cried and told him that he needed to find himself and move out for a bit. Of course I waited until he had slithered out the door to tell him that it was over, or he would have NEVER left. Oh he was sugar sweet at first. When he realized that I was serious, he turned on me like a rabid DOG.

    When you think you have cancer, what do you do? You have every test done that is known to man. What if you don’t have insurance? You can get REALLY creative when faced with something so monumental. Why not do the same for narcissism??!!

    Now I am not advocating breaking any laws, but I decided it was worth it. The tape recorder and phone tapping device was worth every penny of the $50 that I spent! No I didn’t hear much with the girl because he was just still in the pursuing stage at the time, but I heard him tell his friend that my baby wasn’t his but he would take care of her anyway…

    Folks, any halfway sane person would agree. The result came back as cancer. I wanted to live! So if I had to run bleeding from the property and stay in a homeless shelter, then SO BE IT. I had enough of the cancer! The divorce was final about 3 months after my daughter was born. The cancer had caused pain, confusion, anger and resentment for 14 years. It was time for a radical evilectomy!

    I thought I was going to die. Sound familiar? You are drained. You are tired. You are hopeless. No-one understands. There is not enough money. Or energy. Or hope. Cut out the cancer and lots of good cells get scraped out with it.

    So, I started chemotherapy. (evil-therapy). I went to Divorce Care class. http://www.divorcecare.org/findagroup. I started tithing. (I could write for DAYS on what God did with my finances after this). I renovated our broken down home. I listened to Christian radio every day. I joined a local church with a Bible believing pastor that belts it out and doesn’t worry about offending anyone.

    I cleaned out the cancer. I cleaned out the mold. I let the sunshine in. The light revealed that the cancer had permeated every part of my life. I had been ambushed long ago and didn’t even realize to what extent.

    Although I had accepted Jesus as my savior when I was young, the recovery found me in a deeper relationship with Jesus than I had ever known. Jesus is sometimes referred to as the great physician. And he healed me. It wasn’t overnight, but it happened. And I am eternally grateful.

    It’s funny. I’m not the person the cancer said I was. I’m not the person I became when I was with him. And you aren’t either!

    When you leave with your Narcissist, they will morph back into the beautiful/handsome image that attracted you initially… They are so good at it. They will do it because you are their supply and they want you back. They will charm you and be amazing and sweet. You want to believe them.

    Don’t.

    • Jennifer

      Yay!!! I’m sitting here with a huge smile on my face and cheering you on in your cause. I love the term radical evil-ectomy! It is so very fitting. And yes, after the -ectomies are done, you are left lying bleeding, tried, drained and exhausted with a long healing period ahead of you. But it’s worth it just to know at the end you are in remission and can restart life again.

      And morph….holy doodle bugs….these people can morph and remorph! They are born liars in both word and action. Mine morphed into all the things he damn well knew that I had wanted him to be. Suddenly, out of no where, within weeks of leaving, he was attending men’s meetings and Bible studies; he became a poet, leaving me little poems around the house when I went back to get my things (I was so angry about all the schlock he was serving up because I recognized the hypocrisy which accompanied it. He had always ridiculed my love of history, literature and the arts as being beyond useless); he was suddenly in counselling (never would he have agreed to that when we were married) and lo, and behold, he found out that his behavior was all his parents’ fault (how very convenient for him); he suddenly showed up at the door on a motorcycle when our youngest was visiting her friend, and she was so terrified by this totally-unlike-her-father display, she hid in the bathroom and cried until the friend’s mom, worried beyond belief, had to phone me at the shelter to come and get my daughter. And surprise of surprises, he suddenly knew how to spend money without complaint on his kids. Oh, and this man who never went anywhere, or had any friends outside of me, suddenly was out almost every night, playing volleyball, skiing with friends, taking guitar lessons and language lessons.

      To this day, almost 7 years later, he does stuff like this and his adult children say to me, “What the frig? That’s not dad. Why is he doing all this stuff?” And my answer is, “Because he wants you to believe that he isn’t as bad as we remember, and he will persist in making you think you are crazy until the cows come to their proverbial homes”.

      He has a new girlfriend now to peddle his wares on. I feel sorry for her, but thank God he has someone to take his mind off us.

      • Tammy

        Holy doodle bugs! Our ex’s are SO much alike! He did the same thing. All of a sudden he was social, went to the beach, went to church, etc… But not for 7 years! You are so fortunate that your now adult children share their feelings with you. That is such a good thing.

        He ridiculed your interests to… keep you off balance… because he is insecure… to break you down… to control you… It is so uncanny how their behavior is SO similar! My ex ridiculed my interest in the arts too. Now I am a full time artist and my wonderful husband of 10 years and I go to the symphony from time to time!

        Just like yours, he figured out what was important to me and then did the OPPOSITE. He talked to me all the time while we were dating and wrote me notes. That dried up when we got married. Now I know why.

        It made me mad too at first that he waited until we were split up to do things he full well knew that I wanted. But that was a fleeting emotion and I got over it quick. Of course it was an act and he stopped doing those things quickly.

        Jennifer you’ll understand this psycho manipulation… The gal I caught him with moved in before the birth of our baby. He told her he’d marry her when Valentine’s Day fell on a Saturday… What What? Yes he did. That finally happened 5 years later and they finally got married. He has had multiple affairs on her, 2 were married, one of them was rubbed in her face in a sick and twisted sociopath way…

        There is a lot more to the story but that’s enough for today. Yay for healing and moving on!

      • Valerie

        Mine did that too! Ugghh. I truly believe he has done these things to hurt me further. During the marriage when he knew what I wanted he would purposely withhold it. Now that I am gone he is doing some of the very things he knows I wanted him to do before but refused to. Only goes to show once again that their behavior is purposeful, calculated and able to be turned on and off.

      • Jennifer

        Valerie, just ignore him. They purposely do that to sow doubt and confusion in our minds. “Maybe he isn’t that bad; maybe he has changed…blah blah blah”. What amazes me is that he had obviously stored up all that information I was feeding him over those years. (He was some of those things when I met and agreed to marry him which is WHY I married him. It all disappeared like a mirage within months). He knew my complaints against those changes I saw in him after we married. HE KNEW THEM ALL ALONG FOR 17 YEARS. But it was not loved that caused him to take up my concerns seriously. They were taken up as a manipulation tactic; a gaslighting technique; to cast aspersion on my complaints of him; to prove his innocence to his family and friends. In a word, they are all lies. And now he has caught another woman in those lies. And round and round and round it goes.

  7. The “cancer” I feel is with a covert narcissist who wanted an annulment within hours of our marriage. Who is this man I married? He didn’t parade his grandiosity; he protected his identity by dangerously disguising his real self. He portrayed himself as a godly man, honest, altruistic, selfless, and I believed we were equally yoked. He had me fooled for the 3 1/2 years that we dated off and on, he would ask me to marry him so many times and then would renege saying he had “commitment issues”. Having been abused and neglected as a child, he told me that he was afraid that I would abandon him if he made a mistake. Me being the compassionate codependent couldn’t let go because I believed he just needed to know how much I loved him. Unknowingly I was feeding the beast all the admiration, adulation and adoration he could suck out of me.
    Unfortunately in Feb2014 he finally came thru on his 3 1/2 year promise to marry me and we did get married but he wanted out within hours of the ceremony. After a few months into the legal battle I learned that there were other women that he had promised to marry during the same four years that we were together, at least 9 others that I have their names. So no telling how many there really are through his lifetime, innocent women that he has selfishly harmed. He traveled for extended periods so the absences made sense enough.
    I’ve prayed for that man every day all these years and I do believe in miracles and I know that nothing is impossible for God. God did lead me to understand that his real diagnosis is narcissism; he has lied to counselors all these years as well so they are not able to diagnose narcissism. He is a very successful businessman, same job over 30 years, one of the highest positions in the company. His facade was as a calm, caring, kind, and patient person, he was very charming, he never cursed or raised his voice, he “seemed” to be a very devoted father to his children from a prior marriage. I was totally confused at his demand to annul our marriage; so one evening I plopped desperately in front of the computer and cried “God, give me something”. I typed the word codependent in google search, that’s when a YouTube video was the first thing to come up, re the dance of the codependent / narcissist relationship.
    That 7 minute video accurately described what I had been through with him and I also understood that I NEVER really knew him. He doesn’t even know who he is anymore, he is so deep into years and years of lying and getting away with manipulating people that he doesn’t even care who he hurts. I wish I had known what I was dealing with before this legal battle got so costly for me. I was defending what I believed was a marriage that God wanted and my husband just needed to know how much I loved him and that I was never going to abandon him. Very expensive way to find out that the last 4 years of believing he was truly in love with me, was sadly, just me deeply loving a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
    His narcissism has caused this living hell I’m in emotionally, financially, socially, and physically. There’s no area of my life not affected by this trauma – there’s no area of my life not guarded by the love of Jesus, the ONLY power that gives me strength to face each day. I am recovering, I have no doubt that after this court battle is over he will be out of my life for good.
    It truly will take a miracle to heal the covert narcissist I married. God did allow our paths to cross so I still pray for his healing, for him to repent and for Divine Truth to dwell in him and be expressed through him. It would be to God’s glory if he would surrender his egocentric kingdom and direct his God-given intelligence, skills, and abilities in the service of the Kingdom of God.
    This blog is helpful for emotional support, I do hate to hear that there are so many narcissists undiagnosed, and causing so much harm to good people. Also encouraging hearing there are others seeking serious help and taking responsibility and humbly turning it over to HIS HANDS which is the only way. Yes, insidious is an appropriate description.

    • UnForsaken

      Bless you, defendant! God is directing each of us in such special ways. I also was lead here in a moment of need after reading about Ns on Wikipedia. Praying for you!

  8. Valerie

    Another great post once again! Yes, insidious is an apt description.

    I was raised in a home that not only did not value discernment but I was strongly encouraged not to have any. Just do what you’re told. Any time I had a nagging thought about someone it was quickly followed by guilt. How could I think anything negative about anyone? That’s “not nice”. So over the years I learned to stuff those nagging thoughts.

    I think trusting our intuition is a skill we must master again after having a relationship with a narcissist. The N only exacerbates the problem by telling us we are too judgmental or that our instincts are wrong. But there’s a reason we experience something ranging from a nagging feeling to all out dread of someone. Anytime we feel anxious around someone its a good idea to evaluate.

    You hit the nail on the head by reminding us that now we are AWARE. We know this cancer does exist and can learn a list of symptoms a person experiences from being subjected to one. (Or should I say subjugated under one?) There is also a cure for this cancer- removing yourself from the source!

    • newlyanonymous

      Valerie, have you read “Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt?” by Christi Paul. I’m at the end of it now, and it’s pretty good. Theologically I’d disagree with her on one or two points, but her story is very encouraging. My narc differs from hers in that mine is more… insidious. Your comments re: how you were raised reminded me of that book. Christi does a bit of introspection toward the end of the book and encourages those of us in these abusive relationships to do the same and gives suggestions of ways to start. I’m not at that stage yet because I’m still being tormented and it’s hard to start self-examining under those conditions. That needs to be done in a safe and stable place – and in ways that build up and not tear down.

      • Valerie

        Newly, no I haven’t read that one. I had passed over it since her abuse seemed to be more overt. What I was taught in childhood is what made me vulnerable to my manipulative husband when I met him and what kept me there for so many years. I know now, however, that God teaches us to have discernment and I want to wake the church to this awareness and help others out of their abusive situations.

        You are so right that self awareness is very difficult when you are in constant contact with the abuser. I was constantly in awe at how much I had suppressed and was finally able to surface and be released after I moved out of the home. Truly it is impossible IMHO to see how bad it is until you remove yourself. Much like the story about the frog in the boiling pot.

        Thanks for the recommendation!

      • newlyanonymous

        Valerie, Yeah, I hear ya about the difference between Christi Paul’s abuser and yours (and mine). My abuser is very covert – also not an alcoholic or physically abusive, as was Christi’s, BUT, what I got out of her book was a real optimistic resilience and very honest faith-driven hope. That’s what attracted me to the story – her hope. And she got out. Her circumstances that allowed that are different from my own, but she also has some practical counsel at the end for self-introspection (why did we end up with these guys?) and at some point, I may do that. Sometimes I think, however, that there’s nothing necessarily that caused people to not see the signs. After all, look at how many are duped by them even while knowing them for years – and how many of us still didn’t get it until years into the marriage. As for me, I’m trying to seek out books that will encourage and strengthen me at this point. I got tired of reading about his issues (passive-aggression and narcissism after so many books) and now I’m focused on survival and deliverance.

      • UnForsaken

        Valerie, you make a Very good point here about ‘our’ kind of cancer – the covert N. When any tiny question is seen as a challenge, or to quote mine ” pushing back”, you know there really is a problem. There are so many unspoken rules they make about what is ‘not nice’. Nobody could please them. In my case, nobody in the family will ever be submissive enough ( Thanks Dave for a new understanding of that ill-defined word!) , but everyone outside the family will be treated like jems by the N. I believe the amount of praise he gets is worth the sacrifice. The other day he was helping a widow, and I listened very carefully. I decided she is an expert at praise and he could have soaked up twice as much. She has known him for at least thirty years, but as I listened to him ooz out a prayer as we left, I knew she would never figure it out. Looking at the negative has helped me heal, making me strangely glad! Truth constantly amazes…… 🙂

        Newly, thanks for the book recommendation!

      • newlyanonymous

        UnForsaken, Another thought about that book recommendation. Christi Paul at the end reviews how her experiencing abuse benefitted her. Not that we want abuse (or any trial), but she is grateful for what God has wrought in her life through it. It got me thinking – as I enter this new stage of living with my abuser – how I am getting stronger in my Christian walk – learning about what Biblical forgiveness really is (and how it is linked with repentance) and what it isn’t, how the church can be naive to the point of danger, how some Christians truly do want to know what God means in Scripture (and some don’t), how I can protect myself and my children and still be honoring God, how I can support those who divorce and not misunderstand God’s Word about it, etc etc etc. I think it’s a good exercise in thankfulness that Christi brings out as I learn how to take this lemon (what man meant for harm) and make lemonade (how God can use it for good).

  9. PATTERNS, for me, this was the word that brought everything into focus with narc-abuser husband. It took me 20 years, thanks to people like Lundy Bancroft (author of “Why Does He Do That) and groups like this one to, to help me realize what was being done to me.

  10. Annie

    Another excellent post. I went into a relationship thinking that it was love but it wasn’t. I knew my marriage was not how a marriage should be but I just couldn’t explain why. It wasn’t until 2 years ago that I was introduced to the word narcissist and I was finally able to put a word to my marriage. I always knew something was wrong but I just couldn’t explain it. Now I can and that does help but it doesn’t make it go away. I still have to deal with my narcissistic ex. The difference it that I am aware of his behavior and actions and although they still effect me, I am also growing stronger with each interaction or email from him. My therapist had a poem on her wall that has stuck with me the past two years and has helped me when I have to deal with my ex. It is called “There’s A Hole in My Sidewalk” it goes like this:
    I walk down the street.
    There is a deep hole in my sidewalk.
    I fall in.
    I am lost….I am helpless.
    It isn’t my fault
    It takes forever to find a way out.

    I walk down the street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I pretend that I don’t see it.
    I fall in again.
    I can’t believe I am in the same place.
    But, it isn’t my fault.
    It still takes a long time to get out.

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I see it there.
    I still fall in….it is a habit…but, my eyes are open.
    I know where I am.
    It is my fault.
    I get out immediately.

    I walk down the street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
    I walk around it.

    For years I dealt with my ex like the first stanzas. I knew the way he treated me was not right but I didn’t know what to do about it. I just starting closing in and giving up on life. He wore me out. I felt helpless. As I became more aware of his narcissistic ways I still fell into my old ways of communicating with him at times. (trying to reason, getting emotional etc). I realized more and more that he didn’t care how I felt or even cares how his kids feel. You can’t reason with a narcissist because everything in their mind is right and what you say doesn’t matter. I see the deep hole and I am walking around it more and more. I am aware of his behavior and his words and actions don’t hurt as much just because I see him for what he is now. Yes I have my bad days but being aware has given me some relief. I can’t stop him from using his hurtful words with me but I can control how I let them affect me. Being aware makes you more in control. Thanks for sharing this post, Pastor Dave! May God give you all strength as you continue your battles with the narcissists in your lives.

  11. Sunflower

    Then I walk down a different street.

  12. UnForsaken

    All of you have shared very special thoughts on this article, both deep and encouraging! ( Annie, great quote!)

    Insidious seems like such a dark word, but I believe it applies well to the watchful and sometimes worried feel we get just looking, waiting for the next changable decision they make. It’s being kept off balance, one of their best tools. I’m one of those raised with Narcissism as normal, but I do believe that children see the huge dichotomy and can seek true security in Christ. It really is cancerous, esp. if you have to start from square one to discover what healthy looks like because N has always been there, modifiying everything.

    Dave’s description of waiting for a diagnoses is perfect for “Insidious”. It takes a lot of determination to focus our attentions on something else during a time of waiting. It’s so much easier to worry. Although even after giving it to God the insidiousness remains, like watching a storm approach, we can still have peace that it is in His control. I’ve struggles a lot with this lately, as my health had it’s own ups and downs this year, and effects my N relationship. Thankfully my situation is mild ( health and N ), but it is hard realize progress is stalled by no diagnoses, because of no tests, because of no money. But knowledge is power, and it gives stability to know for Sure that God is pointing me in the right direction anyway. It has helped my spirit to know that this is Narcissism and to have a name for it. It doesn’t tell me what to do next, but it does relieve pressure, and so give more mind space and healing. 🙂

    Recently my N was gone for a while, and I took a break from everything, including reading here. Then came re-entry. I hadn’t expected to be upset about it, but I was. I did expect it to be a little ‘yick’, and it was. But without these things, I wouldn’t have had a clearer view of myself and better yet, seen two miracles in the two days after his return! God turned ‘disaster’ into blessing and showed me how He had specifically cared for me in the past week. What a beautiful reminder to give it all to Him once again, as He provides for our need at the Moment we need them! His good provision is an intangible we are rarely, but sometimes aloud, a very special view.

  13. trying to cope

    Wow, trying to process this. Sometimes these posts are so enlightening it is difficult to take in the accuracy and depth of it all. I doubt myself and my diagnosis of said Narcissist often. Why, because as far as I know it has only been me that he discarded. Only me that he rages at, Only me he gaslights, only me. Everyone else he charms, showers with kindness and generosity. They think he is a saint. I want to scream he is the single most cruel person I have ever met. My friend say’s “He is just the nicest guy ever”. Ugh. I bight my tongue. Why. Because no one would believe me. He is covert. The smallest kindness to another is a knife in my heart every time. Why…Because there is no reason he should not be kind to me too. He knows my weakness and he strikes. He loves to make me feel worthless. No matter who I am talking to he will come up and hug that person or bump into them or in some way make connection with them, all the while acting as if I don’t exist. Who cares you say. He knows it bothers me that he just discarded me. It is very intentional and yet oh so covert. Were the clues there, yes. Things that seemed odd, yes. But how can someone be so charming and not have any friends. I told myself I would be his friend and welcomed him into my family. But odd little insidious things surface…and if I question him on anything then I am informed that I am mistaken. I got it all wrong. I must be confused.

    But then I fall into denial. I get tired of being the outcast. How could someone just single me out and discard me. What’s wrong with me? Maybe I should apologize? But wait I have tried. That’s how I learned I was confused. This is a bad cancer that keeps recurring. He takes joy in making sure that he rubs it in a little every day that he is not my friend. And for some crazy reason I care. You all say run the other way. Walk around that hole.

    I believe god put this person in my life for a reason. He was there when I needed someone to be there. And for some reason I won’t/can’t let that go. I want that kind, decent person back. Clearly I still need that someone in my life and I don’t know how to get him back. Remember I’m in Denial. I know it and it doesn’t help. This person is in my universe to stay, so I try to learn coping skills here to stay strong. I want to know how you become undiscarded. Sometimes I get sassy and say it’s a game I wish to win…And I have heard loud and clear. It’s no game. This person is the devil in disguise. He has charmed everyone around him including my husband. He uses others for personal gain. If he is nice it is because he see’s reward. What did I supply. I am not sure. Maybe it is because I was not a good supply and so I’m the discarded one, Could be I was the most vulnerable one. He knows it and Very deliberately takes joy in my pain. I have spent a lot of time learning that I am strong, liked, talented and capable. And he lies in wait every day to ambush me. Who does that? Ahh the incidious N. Hi My name is …. and I’m trying to cope.

    • You said: “I believe god put this person in my life for a reason. He was there when I needed someone to be there. And for some reason I won’t/can’t let that go. I want that kind, decent person back. Clearly I still need that someone in my life and I don’t know how to get him back.”

      You said: “He has charmed everyone around him including my husband.”

      I’m trying to understand why this one person in a world of people is so important to you, especially since you are married. Is your husband a jerk or something that this once upon a time nice guy was there for you and you are secretly in love with him or something?

      • Trying to cope

        Celestebella, you ask the most important question. Why is this 1 single person so important? That is what I would like to know. But every day I go to work and I have this person right there reminding me I’m not good enough. We are a close company and for him to just throw me out with the bath water permeates every part of my life.

        I do not have to be in love with a narcissist to care. That is the part that makes it hard. If it were a woman doing this to me then no one would have to cast this doubt on me. But since it’s a man then I’m secretly in love. Not true, it took me a year to even let any one know the. Kind of abuse this person was doling out. He is emotionally abusing me and in an effort to fight back I’m trying to fight back. I come here for strength, understanding and support. And just when I think I got the cat by the tail he blindsides me. Could be crazy making. He’ll be the normal kind nice friend, who brought real value to my life and put a smile on my face every day. I’m sorry. I miss that. Am I in love with him, no. Was I in love with the friend he was, yes. He brought to my life just what I needed.

        Pastor Dave says an N comes in many forms…He says “Others have narcissism creep up on them. They enter into relationships with kindness and hope, never suspecting that an abuser sits waiting for an opportunity. It might be at work, where a co-worker tries to take your position or clients. It might be at church where the narcissist decides you are the one that needs their control. It might be an intimate relationship where you thought there was only love. Insidious.”…so Celestebella you shine light on the problem. But Pastor Dave points out it is not just love interests that cause this pain. Why do I care when it is not a love interest? I care about how another treats me, in light of how all others are treated. He is emotionally abusing me. He knows what he is doing. He is incidious. He likes to take jabs at me, belittle me, cut me down and let me know that he generally hates me. And I think if I was that bad why did you come hang out with me for a year and a half. Every day hang out visit, swap stories…generally be a friend when I needed a friend. Then one day I was no longer good enough. No reason, no explanation. I was discarded. He found a new supply. For me I lost a friend that day. At the time I was blindsided. I had no idea what an N even was. I was just heartbroken that someone that had been such a good friend could just all of a sudden pretend I was invisible. Shunning is a whole new form of bullying…but this bullying is being done by a Narcissist. And its not that easy, because I see him every day. So going No Contact is impossible, I have to learn to cope. I refuse to quit my job for some phsycho narcissist. So I try to cope. I try to fight back. Try to understand why I care. And heaven forbid I talk about it because then I must be in love. So I get left isolated because I know if I say anything out loud others will question my loyalty. If my best girlfriend did this I would be heart broken. There are people on this sight who discuss issues…about family, friends,lovers and spouses, pastors and neighbors. I am certain that they are not secretly all in love. So celestebella, i take insult and yet I understand where your coming from and that is why i suffer because no one gets what it’s like to walk in my shoes and what this guy is doing to me.

        I just want my life back where I don’t have to tip toe around hoping I don’t run into him because everytime I do he gets a punch in and I am not strong enough to take much more. I am trying to rebuild my life and i need to be surrounded by love. And I am dumbfounded why one single solitary person in the world would matter this much. So every day when you go to work, know someone will slap you in the face. Why? Because they hate you. You are not a good enough supply. That’s all, they walk on, they walk around you you are nobody to them. Except first they need to slap you. That’s all have a good day. Now how do you feel? Are you going to go sit down, this person doesn’t matter I will just work, they are no one to me. But you know they will slap you tomorrow too.

  14. healingInHim

    keep me updated … another good post and insightful comments – have had some very rough days

  15. 38 years and counting...

    Great analogy and summary of narcissism. I’m encouraged. The following paragraph you wrote sums up my life with narcissism.

    “And I have noticed an unexpected relief for some people who are diagnosed with cancer. Finally they have an explanation for being tired or for that pain that won’t go away. Finally the whole thing makes sense. Again, in the same way, those who have grown up knowing the pain of narcissism sometimes find a relief in naming the insidious enemy. They always knew something was wrong—their family was not like others—but now they know what it is. It doesn’t make it go away, but naming it brings both explanation and options.”

    I’m considering my options for the first time in my life. I’ve come so close to walking away. However, I’m stuck because 38 years of my life have been consumed by the narcissist, thirty-eight years of ‘me’ gone into the waste land of narcissism. The narcissist has been exposed as the life long sex addict, wife abuser and self lover. Exposure and naming has only driven the narcissist into a more clandestine, covert mode. I am his supply. I am in a 38 year survival mode. I am not fully isolated, but very close. I don’t want these friends to feel the burden of how vital they are to my life. Estranged from my children and grandchildren at the hands of the narcissist. I’m living alert and aware. The cancer is permanently embedded. Knowing the cancer is there is a relief. Knowing is a relief. Though, who can really know the covert workings of cancer.

    My faith in God’s love is intact, but, the narcissist is insidious still and draws his ‘cloak’ of faith from my walk with Christ. The most recent abuse almost cracked me. My goal is learning to live the Romans 12 life in the face of the deceiver, abuser, liar and life-taker.

    Thank you for writing and encouraging the ‘victims’ of narcissism. I’m realizing the abuse is permanent, no matter the option chosen. I wish I had chosen to leave six months into the relationship when the first blatant and mind twisting abuse burst upon me. Thirty-eight years later I fight against being consumed by the narcissist’s reality. So many I have known and loved have been consumed. I’m in a support group. I cling to Christ Jesus and his reality with every thing that is within me. I ache for our five children. I ache for our grandchildren. I ache from the constant, covert, and mind twisting morphing. PTSD sometimes re-immerses me into the worst of past abuse. During these episodes fear overwhelms my thoughts, passions, desires and actions. At these times I am on the edge of self-destruct. There is a difference now that wasn’t there in the past. I know now. The overwhelming confusion is no longer clouding my mind. I stay and I fight warrior-like for the reality of this truth. I refuse to die because I know the enemy and speak truth into the lives that supply the narcissist. The resulting emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse now has meaning. By God’s grace I’ll persevere in speaking truth by overcoming evil with good… A warrior woman sustained by God’s grace in Christ alone.

    Thank you again, for knowing, sharing, exposing and encouraging. Thank you for the life-line of truth… Lest, the narcissist’s reality twist and control God’s reality.

    • healingInHim

      Dear 38 years & counting … — I too have been in the relationship ’38 years plus…’ (married 36) He insisted we cohabitate …Long-story- made-short; there was passive control from the very beginning. I was vulnerable and felt I couldn’t question his decision making. He didn’t have to yell; he would just wait me out until I conceded. Made sure banking, etc from the very beginning was joint.
      Even he agreed several years ago that ‘we are married on paper’; much of the relationship revolved around his sexual pleasure and keeping the finances balanced. I feel like a concubine and babysitter. The adult children have turned against me because now together with my husband they have made a decision to not profess the Christian faith.
      I feel I am rambling but your story seems much like mine. He doesn’t even have to belittle me now … no, it’s just a cold indifference, now that I’m a used up old rag. I’m emotionally and physically tired and yet feel I must take on a small job in case I need the finances. I have commenced proceedings for a legal separation but oh, it’s exhausting enumerating the assets and coming up with a monthly budget because the lawyer feels that I have alimony rights … it’s difficult and my health has suffered.
      The Lord is my refuge and I want only to please Him with my decisions. I am allowed to live a as room mate unless we decide to sell. Living under the same roof is very difficult as we rarely talk and when we do it is strained.
      I do not have a local church for support, however, in the last year after being more honest with others concerning the marital breakdown, I have made some friends. My own blood relatives are not to be depended on as they have also caused much tension in my life.
      So, do I stay or go? Many say I should leave for my emotional health but that is not easy when you have no job, no transportation and your health is weak… and winter is almost upon us. I covet the prayers of many.

      • newlyanonymous

        healinginHim, And your story sounds like mine. My narcisisst husband and I cohabited for three years off and on until I said I was going to move because he wasn’t committing to marriage. Boom – he wanted to get married. Now we’re 20+ years married and co-habiting. Likewise passive – very passive – control from the beginning. Wouldn’t make commitments to have dinner with me (too much work outside, couldn’t keep a watch in his pocket – would jiggle on the tractor, etc). Wouldn’t remember the same day of the week and time I had physical therapy after we were in a motorcycle accident. Would always be asking me, “What day is it you have therapy?” (Now I wonder if it was just to provoke me.) So many things he’d “forget.” In fact, the first time he ever blew up in anger at me (turning the car around while following my mom and her husband in a vehicle to meet them for lunch) was because I asked him to write himself a note re: something he said he’d do. I know now why I was walking on eggshells all the time. I look back and think, maybe that’s why I woke up with headaches and had other health issues. I don’t right now, but we (like you) are still under the same roof. “Cold indifference” is a superb way to describe how we live. He is not the same man in private as he represents himself to be at church, where I (like you) have started to talk about this. I resolved that if need be, if I didn’t get support from my church, I would leave it with my/our daughter and leave the abuser with the church. So far that hasn’t been necessary, but I am braced for anything. You are among friends here and much loved. We know your worth in Christ, even if in our homes that worth isn’t cherished or valued. We know our worth because we know our Lord. ((((hugs))))

  16. trying to cope,
    Here is another post of Pastor Dave’s that might help you:
    “The End of the Narcissistic Friendship”
    https://graceformyheart.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/the-end-of-the-narcissistic-friendship/#comments

    • Trying to cope

      Celestebella, Yes this is the thing. You asked prior why does this one person matter. They mattered. Without going on about why lets just go with that and your link hits it right on the head and this bond of friendship is different that a bond of love or marriage. Just because I’m not in love or in marriage does not mean that I’m not being hurt and abused. When in love or marriage you sometimes circumstances for you to turn to others for support, strength. That is where my situation lies and then I was betrayed.

      What I have learned is that although the N was important to me, I on the other-hand was very forgettable. I have learned that here…an N will have a hard time remembering things and events surrounding your relationship. Shocking but true. If you have read all of these posts than you are familiar with this phenomenon. And it hurts to know that you vested your time and energy in another and they forget significant details, possibly all details. Why. Well unless it involved them, who cares.

      When I get a minute I will reread the friend post, comments and refresh my memory as to how I can be strong in the face of this incidious monster.

      • trying to cope,

        He was so nice to you for so long that he led you to believe it was the real him. But it wasn’t and isn’t. If it was, none of what you are experiencing would be going on. It’s what we all struggle with, that the relationship was a lie. Painful because we invested the best of ourselves and wound up with nothing.

        Trying to fight against a narcissist is like a dog chasing its own tail. We have to learn to refocus our energies on our own well being and in the relationships where there is *mutual* respect and love.

        Instead of looking to him and hoping for him to treat you properly, (mentally envision yourself putting on a lab coat), stand back, and observe him for the narcissist he is while he talks or walks by, or whatever it is he is doing. It’s a way to disengage and keep yourself from getting caught up in his garbage. He *wants* to get a REACTION out of you, preferably where you get upset, cry, or become undone. They love for you to become withdrawn, distance yourself, or become distrusting others. That’s how they isolate you. Whoever he is using to putting his arm around or playing nicey nice to, be sure to maintain the same friendly relationship you had with them before he started in with all this. He wants you to see them as the problem and not him. It’s called “triangulation”. He wants to be at the top of the triangle observing the 2 bottom corners going after each other–all his doing. He wants you to play the “pick me dance”.

  17. Valerie

    Celestebella, funny you mention the lab coat strategy- that is exactly what I have learned to do and have encouraged other targets of abuse to do. It takes the emotion out of it more so you can just stand back and observe. At times I even will assign the psychological terms to what he is doing in an effort to remain distant from the abuse: Hmmm, that was an example of justifying. That sentence there, that was projection. It really has helped me a lot to do that when I have to interact with him (including texts and email messages).

  18. Penny

    Sometimes there is no cure. That’s why it’s called ‘malignant narcissism”, because it is lethal. It will kill you. The only “treatment” is to leave, to go “no contact”, to get out & never go back. Otherwise, you will get “re-infected” with the dread disease. Sorry, but it’s the truth. Run. Don’t look back; don’t go back. Run.

  19. sorry for my typos and bad punctuation, but I am currently evading a narc attack. See? See what happens? See what it does?? There is no reason to do anything but flee the monster. Run……

    • Trying to cope

      Yes I too apologize for typos. It is a battle that only I fight. No one would understand and I often take council here when I am in a hurry. Therefore no time for spell checking.

      Celestebella, Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Your statement…”Trying to fight against a narcissist is like a dog chasing its own tail. We have to learn to refocus our energies on our own well being and in the relationships where there is *mutual* respect and love”….This is where I am at. I am hurt, offended, confused. Why me? And I know I have to move on. Many of you have given me excellent coping skills to fight this daily battle. I bounce between giving him a taste of his own medicine to smiling kindly and just treating him as I treat all. In the midst of it all I just try to be better. Hopefully the gift in this is pushing myself to be a better me.

      It is a weird game and I too can actually put on a lab coat and recognize some of the behaviors. The triangulation is new to me and I will need to learn more. And every day I just pray that he will leave me alone. But the confusing part is on the other days I pray to be treated normal again. That is scary because that would put me back in the web and being set up for another fall I am guessing. What is weird is no amount of knowledge seems to lessen the pain of being discarded. I treat others with kindness, even if they are not my favorite people, I am not mean or cruel. Sigh. This relationship has changed me forever and I long for the innocent person I must have been before. This wolf in sheeps clothing has done irreparable damage.

      Thank You all for words of wisdom on surviving another day with this incidious cancer!! I pray for wisdom and to others, many of whom are in far worse situations than I, I give you strength.

      • Trying to cope,

        I have felt this way myself, “I bounce between giving him a taste of his own medicine to smiling kindly and just treating him as I treat all.” “Treating my abuser as I treat all” only works for me if I am totally accepting of: 1. he will strike again and 2. there will be no reciprocating on his part and the small chance he does it is with ulterior motives. Because of that most of the time I keep my distance, including my smiles, away from him. Just tired of going around that mountain again.

  20. healingInHim

    RE: newlyanonymous September 22, 2014 at 1:59 pm replied to me after I had replied to 38 years and counting… September 21, 2014 at 9:54 am
    Thank you for your very encouraging and comforting words and I pray that all commenters know how much “we are a community of believers” desiring to glorify the Lord … He sees our struggles but I must admit I begin to doubt myself as I have had the finger pointed at me for ‘arguing’ with my husband.
    It hurts to see my husband claiming to not be a Christian and yet others feel he is; he doen’t even have to go to church and others think well of him because he keeps such a neat yard and has been a faithful financial provider until retiring.
    What many don’t want to believe is that he did all of this because it still benefited his lifestyle. He worked because he wanted the money and invested much in my name as a ‘tax break’ … he has discovered some of the websites concerning abuse and is now echoing that I have actually been abusive towards him for not leaving him alone; always wanting to discuss issues. I discuss issues because the root of sin is still causing much destruction. He has now adamantly said that ‘this root’ will not change and I must make the decision whether I can live with the circumstances?
    ‘THANK YOU LORD … that I know in my heart, vengeance belongs to YOU but oh, I don’t have anger but I grieve; a deep inner groaning at the silent, snake-like grip his evil has on so many”
    … and sadly my daughters now walk the same path. They have become very deceptive, etc. I feel guilty but at times I don’t miss them because they have been very emotionally abusive to me as well.
    As I complete this comment, it just dawned on me that perhaps the Lord has allowed my adult children, spouses and other family members to live quite far away for my protection. “OH LORD, once again, Thank you and Praise Your most Holy Name.”

    • newlyanonymous

      Praying for you right now, healingInHim. Lord, please bless my sweet sister here who has suffered so much. You hold her tears in your bottle and will one day wipe every tear from her eyes. Please bring her daughters to repentance. Please comfort healingInHim with a supernatural peace and comfort that no man or woman can bring upon her. Let her know how much she is loved and cherished by You. Protect her, dear Lord, and thank you for keeping her to this point. Guide her every step this day forward in your wisdom and discernment. Shield her from the darts of the evil one, and grant her a supernatural calm when she is met by your enemy. Remind her daily of Your love and how you are her first love and true husband. Give her wisdom and make her paths straight. Remind her of Job’s suffering and how after praying and even lamenting to You, he was given far more than he had in the beginning. Comfort and shield her, Lord. Thank you. ❤

      • healingInHim

        newlyanonymous – Thank you and bless you for such a comforting prayer; especially for the protection against the enemy of our souls. I often think of Job and most importantly during the darkest of times I am thankful for having felt this pain … because, you see, I can’t help but think of how our precious Lord experienced ‘being forsaken’. Yes, He knows and it does cause me to reflect and worship Him and be thankful that He chose me to be His child.
        Prayers lifted up for all who need His comfort.

      • newlyanonymous

        healingInHim, I too have thought the same thing with respect to our Lord – how He suffered and we are sharing in that suffering. Philippians 3:10 leaps to mind: “My aim is to know Him, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.” Also Jesus’ words, “Judas, must you betray me with a kiss?” have far greater meaning to me now.

      • healingInHim

        Amen to your reply with Philippians 3:10 🙂

  21. At the point of my darkest confusion over this person, I did the research and I found this NPD description and it perfectly matched the man that had so charmed me and had been so sorry each time and knew exactly what to say to get me to believe him and hang on to his every word. He was so calculating and so intentional, he knew what he was doing and he knew it was wrong, and he did not care! that hurts the most!
    I hope this helps those of you still looking for a way to describe what you’ve been through:
    • They watch you and learn everything that makes you tick, they study that and have a file cabinet in their mind so they can pull that out and know how to manipulate, control, or punish you – and they are so good at this because they know what we want
    • They feel like it’s not their problem, everybody else is to blame for their issues
    • They hate the thought that you see them as anything less than they portray themselves to be, they jump on it right away and will do anything to protect their elevated status
    • They don’t feel sorry when they hurt you
    • They don’t hurt with you, they have no remorse, they act like they do, but they really don’t feel it, they’re just imitating other behaviors they’ve seen
    • They say they’re sorry so they can stay connected to you so they get their supply source, so they get your admiration
    • They are predictable
    • Narcissists are imitators – very good at imitating people, they can penetrate you psychologically – they can get in your head – they know what makes you tick and they know we believe in their projection
    • They tend to be fake about empathy, they know how to imitate caring and being concerned, they imitate emotions in general and behaviors – they fake compassion and empathy and other deeper feelings
    • Narcissist is like a tape recorder in their mind, they record everything you do and say, everything you do – every consequence that happens when you say and do things
    • They watch you very carefully, they are people studiers, very observant – they know if they say something a certain way how you will react. They memorize you and calibrate your reactions and responses so they can manipulate and control you
    • They have selective memory so when you say remember when we….. they say you misunderstand what happened and they try to make you come into their recreated world of what happened and try to make you remember their way because it’s all about what they want – what they create – they make up their own version of reality and you’re suppose to go along with it – they twist things against you
    • The false self is all about being the protector of the true self, they will do anything to keep from taking responsibility, admitting they were wrong, they’ll say they’re sorry – but its and imitation, they don’t feel sorrow
    • They see people as something they can throw away – they can replace you with someone else and not think a thing about it – they also think people are rechargeable, pick up where you left off; recreate reality, start as new again, mentally treat you as new again, defense mechanism so they don’t have to embrace blame and the fact they really hurt you, so now they pretend nothing ever happened
    • They feel very entitled, very superior to everybody, the law does not apply to them, the rules of marriage do not apply to them
    • False self is very charming, feels like nobody can resist them, creates object constancy with the narcissistic victim, they woo you
    • Very manipulative because they’re not done with you yet, they haven’t secured all the supply source that they can, all the adulation and adoration, they want you to adore and admire them

    God bless each of you in your circumstances, trust the Holy Spirit to lead you, and as His Word tells us, never lean on your own understanding.

    • healingInHim

      “”God bless each of you in your circumstances, trust the Holy Spirit to lead you, and as His Word tells us, never lean on your own understanding.””
      THANK YOU FOR PRAYING.

    • Trying to cope

      It is always almost sickening to read this and realize that I made friends with a living, kicking, breathing specimen. Yes I have my lab coat on. These behaviors, he has done them, All of them. But then there are weird things that make me distrust my diagnosis. How on earth has he managed to stay married to the same person for quite some time? How is it that nobody else seems to be on to him but me? He treats everyone with such kindness, they just adore him. I can see that his is using them. He mimicks me. Especially my actions. He will wait and 2 months later he will copy something I did…it is bizarre and scary. When I called him out on the fact that he was always cutting people down, that was it I was discarded instantly. It took me a long time to figure out what I did, but in reading this post I think that, that had to be the moment when i was no longer a supply. I suppose if I acted like he was really something special maybe he would treat me better. For some reason I can’t quite do that. I see him using people as a supply and i have the strange feeling I am watching a snake. It’s creepy. Thank You defendent for the gentle reminder of what these people are made of. It makes trying to cope just a little easier.

      Every day I try to get over someone treating me so terribly. This helps

      • Tryingtocope: Yes, when you outed him you triggered a narcissistic injury, he discarded you because he knows you’re on to him and he will no longer receive your admiration. He is so adept at hiding who he really is that now he has a plan to get back at you, to defend himself and take away your credibility. Don’t distrust your diagnosis – it is just him trying to control you by using manipulative strategies and psychological techniques to make you believe you are wrong in your judgment and that you should apologize for your negative feedback – covert narcissists are that tricky.
        Several of us have expressed how no one understands our plight, and that’s because the Ns are so able and adept at fooling people. I know people that are so impressed with my N and listen to him in amazement… gag – if they only knew the truth! An expert wrote: The only way to really know he is a covert narcissist is to know that person from a personal angle, to be in a personal relationship.
        But here in this blog, we listen to each other, we understand, and we are validated.

      • newlyanonymous

        Trying to cope, I have noticed the “mimicking” behavior for a long time, trying to figure out what’s going on. I have to say, the thoughts of something demonic have niggled at me for ages too, because I wonder why my husband couldn’t come up with something original or real in my behavior or words to come at me about. For example, in the past few months, I told him I wasn’t going to bicker anymore. (I think I finally woke up to the fact that talking with him never results in anything and often goes ’round and ’round in circles.) So when I did that, one day, while sharing some piece of knowledge on a need-to-know basis, whatever trivial it was that I told him (like, “the faucet is dripping and needs a new washer” or something like that), he replied, “I’m not going to bicker with you anymore.” I kind of shook my head and said (stupid me – engaging him), “I find it interesting that you often repeat what I say,” to which he replied, “Why not? It works for you!” That really stuck in my head. I kept thinking, “Works for me.” I could have replied to that, but knew better. But it stayed with me that he thinks of me as “working” something, when I’m not. ‘Tis he who “works” it, and yet I think he sees the whole world this way – as if people “work” each other somehow. I don’t know. I just know that this was his response and I find many things like that – particularly the mimicry to be telling. I think these narcs often tell us who they really are but in ways we’re not always or yet adept to see. God has me on a huge growth curve these days.

      • trying to cope

        Valerie, I just got to your post in response on the 26th. It feels good to be understood. I feel crazy, so I want to spill my story to people to find truth only no one understands and i fear it actually will make me look crazy. My husband gets a lot of the same behaviors from this guy, however my husband is of different DNA makeup and it really doesn’t seem to affect him as much. He is good with forgive and forget. I would forgive if he asked. I know you are laughing now….because with this site I have learned that is not happening. So pastor dave’s post today talks about the futility in confrontation. So do we just forgive. No accountability. Just over and over I put myself out there to be walked on, stomped on, and plowed over. And I must forgive. There is no, no contact. I can’t confront, I must coexist.

        So I have this crazy notion I want to drive him nuts like he’s trying to do to me. i forgive, i don’t judge, i don’t speak ill of him to others. I follow the high road. Sigh…and it hurts.

      • newlyanonymous

        trying to cope, I was thinking about you this weekend and the thought came to me that perhaps you are still adjusting to or not yet realizing that he does not think as you do. He is not compassionate or caring. The narc never is – and rarely if ever changes. You are still hoping or desiring him to care, when he doesn’t. He won’t. He doesn’t share the same worldview that you and others here have. His world is only about him. It never changes from that. To him, you really don’t matter. I’m sorry to say that, but it’s true. And that takes a long, long time to sink in. I know we all here can empathize with you because we’re living it or have lived it too. And it takes awhile to “catch on.” Hang in there; You’re in good company here. We care, even if he never will. (hugs)

    • newlyanonymous

      defendant, you nailed it, sister! What a great description of the narcissist. I see the word “narcissism” bandied about in contemporary usage as if synonymous with “egocentricity,” yet as we here know they are two different animals. Well done!

      • Trying to cope

        Defendent and newly anonymous. Thank you for sharing. It is so interesting to lay my troubles out there and have someone repeat it back in Narcissistic language to translate what just happened there. I feel like years of my life have been taken away. The friendship disappeared a long time ago but the pain and the games go on. Some days I feel like I am being a paranoid lunatic and then I come here and am reminded of the kind of monster I’m dealing with. it is so isolating and he is the cancer. He is insidious. He is tenacious, he gets whatever he wants.

        My biggest goal is I want to be able to walk in a room and have him treat me like a normal human being, not a piece of dirt to be ignored. I do not like being the discarded one. I am slowly but surely getting stronger, and smarter. In the end I am most certain I will thank this man for forcing me to be more than i was before. I am starting to feel like maybe I was discarded because I was a nobody. So I’m working on being somebody. I know once I earn his respect, I won’t want it anymore. But at least I won’t have to carry the burden of being the discarded one. Is this possible to just change an N’s mind about you?

      • Jennifer

        Trying to Cope, you said:

        “My biggest goal is I want to be able to walk in a room and have him treat me like a normal human being, not a piece of dirt to be ignored.”

        In that very sentence contains a sure seed of failure on your part. I think I’ve said it before, but I will repeat it. If your biggest goal is for anyone other than yourself, you are on the wrong track and your focus is still on him. Your biggest goal needs to be for yourself NOT HIM. If your biggest goal is for him, don’t you see, that your life and emotions are still revolving around him? He is still renting space in your heart and mind! No. No. NO!

        What is your biggest goal for YOU? Trying to change his behavior is NOT about you. It is about him. You cannot have goals about him! What is your goal for you in that office? What is your goal for you in your life right now. You are allowing yourself to be eaten alive if all you can think about are goals to change his behavior, because he KNOWS exactly what you are thinking, and he is feeding off this as surely as I’m living and breathing.

        FOCUS ON YOU, NOT HIM.

      • newlyanonymous

        Trying to cope,
        You wrote: “Is this possible to just change an N’s mind about you?”
        No.
        The real question is:
        “Is it possible for you to change your mind and heart about the N?”
        Yes.
        And that’s the question and answer on which you need to dwell.

      • Jennifer

        Another good question TTC is this, “Can you change your mind about yourself and see yourself through your own eyes rather than the N’s?” You received a lot of your self-esteem from him it seems, and now that he has withdrawn it, you are left hanging. How do YOU feel about yourself? Can YOU change your understanding of you? Can YOU accept yourself? Because if you can do all these things, you won’t fall as easily for an N’s game in the future and that is the whole point of this exercise. You need to see yourself through the lenses of Christ and you so that no N will fool you into his game ever again. (((hugs)))

      • Valerie

        Trying to cope, Jennifer speaks wisdom. A narcissist does not change and does not suffer from a lack of introspection. He repels introspection and has no desire to concede. For you to be treated as an equal is to fail in his eyes. He must win by putting himself over you.

        An alternative goal would be to strengthen yourself to the point you no longer need or even desire his approval. To walk into a room and for youto know you are equally as important as anyone else in that room.

        I used to hold those same desires you describe. He had trained me to desire his approval. I was able to let go of those desire when I finally accepted that this was an exercise in futility. Spinning your wheels in mud. In an attempt to get out you only go deeper and it just gets messier.

        The only way to win with a narcissist is to walk away.

      • Trying to Cope

        Defendent, Jennifer, Valerie. Yes the N is sucking me down in the mud and I fight to keep my head above the muck. I guess it is this vulnerability that attracted him to start with. Yes Jennifer you have given me many wise words. Some I even printed and I sobbed the day you sent a prayer my way. And the battle goes on and I get weak again. I will go find your prayer and print it right now. Clearly I need a reboot.

        If I am here it is because I have just been “slapped”.

        This world of N is so different than anything I have known before. It is confusing. I do want and need approval. That is my weakness for sure. I put up with this abuse for a long time before I even came forth and many days I wish I had kept it to myself because I feel on some level at least I would not have opened up my soul for others to see how vulnerable I am. I have not met anyone that understands. Except here. I have only talked to 3 people and they just really, truly can not give me anything more than “get over it”. That is not the salve I need for these wounds.

        I am trying to get over it. I just fall into this why me, and I will be the first to admit it is now an abnormal obsession. I can’t get away so I want to fix it. I hear you Valerie, there is no fix. But I am traumatized by why this man feels the need to belittle me. Make me inferior.

        I have prayed for strength, wisdom and anything else that would get me through.

        Defendent, You say make the decision to change, I guess that is where denial comes in. I just don’t get how someone could be so nice and kind every day, then just bam, five me silent treatment with no eye contact…if there is eye contact the bright, shining, smile is now dead and lifeless stare. My mind just rejects it. I’m sorry. I feel I’m the one that needs help. I just can’t grasp it…why because it’s only me. With an N I just feel others should have guessed by now. Was it only me he showed his true colors to? Thank you for your support and words of wisdom. The battle goes on and I get ready for tomorrows slap in the face. Or maybe he will go crazy making on me just to jazz it up :-/

      • Valerie

        Trying to cope, it is normal to feel confused. I read a quote to that end recently that holds a lot of truth “To react abnormally to an abnormal situation is normal”. So to feel a bit crazy IS normal because the situation IS crazy! You feel crazy/off balance not due to your mental state but in reaction to HIS mental state. Second hand smoke if you will. You’re not a smoker so you’re coughing and sputtering and feel that you might have some kind of disease to be reacting this way but the truth is that you would feel a whole lot better if you left the room where the smoker is. Its HIS smoke that is making you feel sick. The narcissist gives off toxic fumes.

        One of the things I had to wrap my head around is this truth: the narcissist/abuser does NOT think like a normal person and has very different goals that you do. This isn’t a character difference, it is a character disorder. We tend to relate to them the way we see the world- so to us, yes, it makes no sense because we don’t think the way they do. My healing started to come when I realized and accepted that his goal was NOT for us to be in harmony. From the day he met me his goal was not to be close to me or to care for me. All the craziness comes into play when they keep saying this is what they want but their actions are anything but. They act confused but they aren’t.

        I think you are too hard on yourself dear sister in Christ. He is taking away your food, stimulating your hunger pangs by cooking in the next room and you walk away feeling less than because you’re hungry. The narcissist strategically and methodically orchestrates his interactions with you so that you will need him. He needs his target weakened because in their average sense of awareness they will be on to him and he can’t have that. The realization…make that HORROR…of this truth took me awhile to process too.

        I have every confidence that once you are able to distance yourself from his abuse the fog will be lifted and you will feel much more empowered. The narcissist is not our source of strength, God is! 🙂

  22. newlyanonymous, your comment “Christi Paul at the end reviews how her experiencing abuse benefitted her. Not that we want abuse (or any trial), but she is grateful for what God has wrought in her life through it.” I have kept so many journals in the last 4 years and I reflect on the journey as “My Precious Pain” – nothing in all my life has brought me closer to my Creator as this painful journey did, it is truly the eye opener to how much God loves me. I have thanked Him for the pain that brought me so low there was no where else to go but completely surrendered to HIM. Before this I honestly didn’t think God wanted me to be happy because I had been such a sinner – silly me…. I do laugh at how I used to think pre-the narcissist…

    • newlyanonymous

      defendant, I started journaling only in the past month. In the past, I used to write down some of the crazy-making behavior that my narcissist husband would say or do, but then I would chide myself thinking, “Love keeps no record of wrongs. I need to trust God,” and I’d throw away what I’d written. I would rue the day I threw those away if I didn’t still trust that God has never left me to myself, and He has brought me thus far with the wisdom that He alone provided. So no matter what I have or haven’t journaled, I am journaling now – initially to document everything I can remember (triggered by some recent events that required documentation) and add dates (even if just the year) to what I can – but also to bring glory to God for what He’s doing in this trial. I have noticed that I am much stronger and sure about what I can do as Christian and still be a Christian – such as voice what’s happening to a small group of people whom I trust even if they don’t witness the abuse, stand up to my abuser and not engage him (I put headsets in if we’re alone because I’m tired of his poison and don’t trust him) unless there’s a witness present. I can leave my church if they don’t defend me. (I am more impressed with Martin Luther’s boldness standing up to the church – but we may have to do the same if our church chooses to embrace the abuser.) All this and more. I’m amazed at what God is doing and how He is changing me all while still in the same situation. I praise His holy Name and I hope someday to help other victims of this same horrendous insidious evil. I have taken to posting links to articles such as this blog post or others on Facebook – and I am not ashamed to speak up about this abuse while still living in it. If Christian friends are afraid to read about the ugliness dwelling in their churches, then they need to repent and seek the Lord more in His Word and how He says to help the beggar they see on the road crying out for justice. Will they choose to walk by and let another good Samaritan help the victim, or will they serve their Lord by serving the victim?

      • healingInHim

        newlyanonymous – yes, many are not wanting to deal with the abuse within churches. As I recently became a FB subscriber I noticed that most would comment on the “nice stories” … I’ve posted some concerning domestic abuse …domestic abuse within the church!! And lo, and behold – no comments or “Likes”!

      • newlyanonymous

        healing…. “Nice stories”??? ACK! My FB posts about domestic abuse and narcissism have only two people who “like” them – and they’re two Christian women I know only on-line via a Christian church teaching ministry on FB, one of whom introduced me to this blog. Both have or had relationships with narcs. No one else really wants to know. I can’t help being reminded of the parable of the good Samaritan – where the priest and Levite passed by the suffering victim lying in the road. They didn’t want to know either.

      • newly – think of your journals as open conversation with God, then you can be honest with Him and tell Him that you feel you have been wronged, and you want to be obedient and faithful and keep no record of wrongs. You are forgiven. Leave your page blank sometime and just ask God what He wants to tell you, and then write it down. Yes journals are a way to reflect on our answered prayer and how far we have grown toward becoming more like Christ, and they also remind us we are not perfect… until we see Jesus face to face.

    • healingInHim

      defendant – reflecting and your comment is my life>>> “….nothing in all my life has brought me closer to my Creator as this painful journey did,… completely surrendered to HIM.”
      Yes, I am thankful for the pain that has brought me closer to Him, however, I sometimes fear that I am not a good witness. I have been going through a ‘dry spell’ and it shows. I’ve had to admit to others that I am weak and afraid. For some this doesn’t portray a secure Christian. They are the ones that feel we should always have a smile on our face … Whatever happened to: ‘we also must weep with those who weep.’?

      • we are weak – we are only strong in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. You are witnessing right now through your writing – other Christians need to be witnessed to for encouragement. Unbelievers will see a change in you, you plant a seed in them, its up to God to make it grow… Start every day by seeking His Presence – “live out everyday life with a foundation of faith that is so strong and active that fear has no place to rest” (don’t remember where I got that from) but we will have fear when we take our eyes off of Jesus – surrender that fear day by day, sometimes hour by hour and often moment by moment. Practice Jesus’ instruction to take every thought captive and give it to Him – this works for me, at first thought leading me down that old path, immediately give it to Him and then recite a favorite Scripture of something positive…

      • healingInHim

        AMEN!! 2 CORINTHIANS 10: 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but [b]divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

      • newlyanonymous

        healingInHIm, I think it is okay – even brave – to admit that you are weak and afraid. In your weakness, He is strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9). Personally, I can relate to your admission. Right now I am real wobbly in emotions. I feel in the thick of the things and I don’t know how they’re going to play out. I feel stuck and yet moving at the same time and am weepy more than I thought I would be by now. I am afraid and then feel like a bad Christian for being afraid, but I know that Christ is strong and won’t let me go. He won’t forsake me, so in Him I can breathe. But don’t feel bad about feeling bad. I think I can relate more to you that way, in fact. If abuse victims didn’t “feel,” well, we’d be like our abusers.

      • healingInHim

        newlyanonymous – 2 Corinthians 12:9 http://wallpaper4god.com/wallpapers/2-corinthians-129_5378_1024x768.jpg
        I think I’ll change my computer wallpaper … I do this weekly:-)
        Thank you for your transparency. That is what I appreciate so much about the blogs that reach out to victims of abuse. We have nothing to hide; many have been stripped naked of any dignity by the abuser(s) in our lives, so what have we to hide?
        I will be praying for you and others … Your last statement is something I have told my husband sooo many times, “I don’t ever want to become like you. Cold, and indifferent. I want to have feelings and have empathy for others. It means I’m alive!” Note: he always accepted my empathy when I would feel sorry for the times he experienced what he considered to be hurtful circumstances that affected him.
        Several years ago I said, “I feel more like your mother than your wife and I find it disgusting to be sleeping with a son.” He thought I was being dramatic but after years of catering to his physical needs he feels I am the abusive one. Earlier this year, I was finally successful in having him leave the bed. We are now room mates but I am not sure if I can cope with the ‘legal separation’ I am pursuing. I am just too weak to move out and although I would be entitled to live here because the property is ‘joint’; it is difficult as we don’t communicate much … and he is not at all concerned about me because the adult children who live far away have chosen to favour him since they all do not want to “bow the knee.”
        I must admit in my weakness I am praying for God to answer my prayers by literally having someone come in and physically moving me out.
        Others have prayed for my children’s eyes to be opened. Amen and thank you. I was told 33 yrs ago that I may never be able to have children. I now have three daughters; 32, 30 and 27 yrs of age and a precious little 18 month granddaughter whom I only get to see via email photos (they do not allow me access).
        Before the births I should have died in a single vehicle rollover in 1980 … instead the Lord chose to save me by grace. Then, my third pregnancy ended with the little one being taken away early into the Lord’s domain. My husband never really wanted three children but that is history. When the third pregnancy ended with an emergency DNC one of my nursing friends told me the next day that ‘they almost lost me.’ I appeared stunned and have often pondered “why oh, Lord have you chosen to keep me here?” I know He has worked mightily and so I often wonder why I am so tired? Am I not resting in HIM and attempting to do too much? And yet, Biblical and secular counsel has told me that I must also take action and do things to ‘move on’. So many voices … I want only to hear the Lord’s voice; that is my sincere prayer.

      • newlyanonymous

        healingInHim, I feel the same way. Sometimes I lament that I’m not good enough as a Christian because of my feelings – as if they reflect some kind of doubt or unbelief in God, even though I know He has me, I know He has a plan, I know this is all for His glory and for the good of His people. So why am I so despondent and unhappy and weepy? I think it’s because I still have empathy (thank you, Jesus), I do care, I don’t want a deceiver as a husband and father, I want my child to know “normalcy” (whatever that is – at least not an environment of distrust and deception), and all the rest. So I guess our pain and suffering reflects instead what the Father has graciously given us – a heart of flesh and not of stone. A soul that weeps when we all weep – for ourselves and the countless others out there who are suffering this same plight right now. I hope when we are finally on the other side of Glory that we can all sit at the same table and raise our cups to Him and be thankful together praising Him and knowing that all this misery is behind us. I wish I could come where you are right now and help you move out. I’d help you move to a place where you’re safe and comfy and could prop your feet up with a magazine and a cup of tea and just look out the window, with curtains open and breeze blowing in and just sigh, looking out upon the setting sun of a beautiful day that the Lord has made. I pray that for both of us the rising sun tomorrow may offer new hope. For His mercies are new each day. I’m praying for us both. ((hugs))

      • healingInHim

        newlyanonymous – You certainly speak my language and stated everything so well. We continue to pray for one another(s) like in the book of Acts … caring and looking out for each other BECAUSE we love.
        I admire the way you stated, “I hope when we are finally on the other side of Glory that we can all sit at the same table and raise our cups to Him and be thankful together praising Him and knowing that all this misery is behind us.”
        AMEN!! I must admit that the miseries of this world cause me to desire to be with my Lord and Saviour even more so. I don’t think our little minds have been able to realize just how glorious it will be; to be with God, the Almighty!

      • newlyanonymous

        ((((((hugs))))))) I prayed just this morning that if I come out on the other side of this while still on this side of Glory, that maybe the Lord will use me for you and women like you and me and their kids. Like Harriet Tubman did after the Civil War and like Corrie Ten Boom did after WWII. Maybe there can be a home for healing for abused women and kids. More than a shelter to flee in emergencies, but a home for people like us, who aren’t fully understood by those who haven’t lived it – but where we can receive hope and support and love and ministry. ((hugs)) Holding you in prayer still…

  23. and let me add, I have suffered great depression through this battle, so there is no happy Christian in that – but I have joy knowing that God is with me and I still praise Him in my weakness and that’s a witness to others and that is noticed that even though I am weak, I am human, I still suffer, I still praise God and give Him the glory. I don’t stay in the depression, but I have bad days and still trust Him. I am here for His glory, not mine, so if this is in His will and His plan for me then so be it. That’s how you witness…

    • healingInHim

      YES, There are bad days … I appreciate believers who are honest enough to admit that the ‘race is hard’, however we press on to finish well:-) … and that’s why I seek out true believers so we can be ‘honest’ with prayer requests and also to encourage and uphold one another. The enemy of our souls wants us isolated from each others ‘strength in the Lord’.

      • I thought I would share real honest downcast spirit, even as a maturing Christian – this is an excerpt in pieces from my journal two years ago this week (9/21/12), but please realize this is before I ever knew anything about a narcissist and that I was loving one. This is how his “come here, go away” game affected me: “I’m really wrestling with me not being content – not leaning on God – just so dang hurt over __ (my N) – I just wish I could see him, missing him so bad, I cannot accept that it’s over. I feel we are one and the pain I feel is him not here, I feel I’m physically dangling from my insides being pulled out – there is only ½ of me – I’m only ½ of who I could be. …. Job 12:10 ‘In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind… 13) To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His… 16) to Him belong strength and victory; both deceived and deceiver are His.’ …Spending quiet time with God this morning, working on learning to wait on Him, trusting Him, He has not forsaken me. I’ll keep repeating what I read in the PDL devotional “remain free of regret and bitterness by trusting that God is actively working on my behalf, even though it now appears I’m in the worst of circumstances”…… I want and am diligently working on trusting God so completely regarding ___(N) – I am letting go, I will quit trying to control and predict the outcome, I let go I let go I let go – I cannot control it, I will live fully in the present, I will be all there, wherever it is that I am, I will trust and depend on God each moment, I will keep my mind stayed on God, and He will give me His constant and perfect peace (Is 26:3)”…… 2 days later: “I am still making the effort to get out of my depression – and it is an effort – the will to obey must get greater than the emotional trauma I suffer day after day, self-control is really having the desire for something greater than that base earthly thing I want. I must desire to obey God and please Him more than I desire to control – grasp – whatever it is that keeps this inconsolable longing racking my brain, clawing my inner being, grasping the past – the memories and causing this constant craving for what “I think I feel” is my one and only chance at love in human relationship. I hate that I want it, I hate that I feel ½ of a person, insignificant without someone to love and cherish me, I hate that I don’t see God as enough to fill that longing. My days are meaningless, one day after another, yet I know that’s not what God wants for me – and He has already given me all that I need to fulfill His purposes for me – but I can’t summon it up, it’s just not there, not answering, not feeling it.””
        So, you see this is a good example of journaling, for me to look back and embrace how far I’ve come in 2 years, even though I still have so far to go, I’m not who I use to be! and now I am AWARE and no longer a target for Narcs!

      • healingInHim

        Near the end you said, “My days are meaningless, one day after another, yet I know that’s not what God wants for me – and He has already given me all that I need to fulfill His purposes for me – but I can’t summon it up, it’s just not there, not answering, not feeling it.””

        I reached that point and at times still sense a loss of direction. I feel I have been knocked down, however because I have never ever questioned God but have remained faithful In Christ, I just am wanting ever so badly to make sure I am totally obedient to His infallible Word and that everything I do points to Him and not me.
        Thank you for sharing part of your “journey” … I have been counselled that it is good to journal and then reflect back.

  24. healing – also remember the adversary’s only weapon is deception, unless you believe his lies, then you have given him more power to pound on you.. So don’t believe the lie that you are not a good witness, he doesn’t want you to witness about Jesus who has overcome the world – so of course he is trying to deceive you into believing you aren’t effective telling others about salvation – recognize where that lie comes from and go within to the power of the Holy Spirit and believe what God wants for you. God does not wish for us to suffer, but He does know what it takes for each of us to be on the path He set before us – He knew it would take a narcissist to turn my world upside down so that God could show me how much He loved me and that He is enough for me. Praise Him!

    • healingInHim

      Yep, there can be much believing of lies. Yes, I’ve been pounded but I shall keep looking up and run the race. Bless you and others for encouragement. This blog amongst others have allowed me to connect with others of like mind. As I live in a semi-remote community … Praise the Lord for providing me with internet access amidst the storm:-)

      • healingInHim – 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” Do not isolate yourself, stay connected with people that encourage you. I buy several spiral notebooks at the beginning of the school year when they are on sale, sometimes for 25 cents a piece, I fill them up fast, I keep a separate one as a prayer journal. I can’t explain it, but I believe you will find peace in writing your thoughts, getting them out of your head, just be sure to keep them safe where your N cannot get to them, he will surely use it against you. Something I repeat when I question my next move is “Thy will be done” – I go within to the Spirit, its a practice, taken years to get here, but I find the peace of Christ and I say “Thy will be done” – and usually discernment is already there just waiting on me to respond. It also helps me to give up SELF, its not about me, when we give up our own desires (I don’t want to be me) and let Christ be our response to everything and we see through His eyes, then we can see the one provoking us as someone that needs to know Christ and His love, and so we don’t want to mess up that opportunity for that person to look at us and really see Jesus in the way He would respond to them, and how He would handle that situation. It’s a practice, we must practice His Presence continually, and it will give you peace and your days will not be meaningless. You are healing, and it really starts with your thoughts so practice keeping them on the magnitude of God and not on your problems. God bless…

  25. Trying to Cope – Jennifer is so right – do not focus on him. No, he is not going to change. HE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU, I know this hurts to hear. You are entertaining him by letting him continue his abuse against you, it is a sport to him. I know when you are in this pain the words “forget him” are just words. If you really really want to stop this pain and stop having to try to cope, then please make the decision to do it. I am praying for you. I have some more information that I believe will be helpful to your healing, I hope to get time today to give you some helpful remedies to try, they worked for me. Take care of yourself, breathe deep, relax, and trust in the love of your husband and others that God has given you. God gives and He takes away, and He has taken away this co-worker and that’s a blessing for you, rest in that blessing.

    • Trying to cope

      Defendent, thank you I am open to any remedies for the healing process. Most days I’m just shocked that someone would do this to me. I fight the urge daily to want to go try and talk it out. Only he is not an N that apologizes, that was not the nature of our relationship, I am just an easily discardable person. I have never been that person before. It hurts, it’s weird, uncomfortable, awkward, I feel like I’m not good enough to hang out in the same space any more, and I want to scream, what is your problem? But I have already received typical n responses to this behavior.
      So frustrating.

      • TTC – whatever you liked about him was fake – you are holding onto and missing something that never was, there is nothing real about the things that made you feel like you were special to him, it wasn’t there… you miss only what he pretended to be, you miss how the so-called friendship made you feel, but it was fake, it was all an act to get your admiration, to build him up, there were strings attached to the so-called friendship and you cut those ties when you called him out – you’re done, he cares nothing for you, he only cares about himself, and he has moved on to the next victim that will give him the recognition that he so deeply wants for himself. You played a role in his drive to keep up his false self, your only role now is someone he needs to get back at for not bowing down to him. He will never listen to you, don’t waste your time trying to talk it over.
        I’m not being mean to you, I’m being honest, this is the same talk I gave myself regarding the selfish, self-centered bully that works to destroy me. Be thankful you were discarded, you don’t need friends like that. Give yourself time, admit what you’re going through, don’t deny it, process what you hear from others that have experience with narcissistic personality disorder. You are going to get through this, you know the sun is up, you are just waiting on it to shine… keep watch for it.

      • sorry a few days late but defendent that is the slap in the face I do need. Whatever I liked was fake. I’m holding on to something that never was, and there is nothing real about any of it.

        Some how this I cannot deny. It sounds very true. I know you are all like, snap out of it girl and damn I am trying.

        I go through these peaks and valleys and like to think I pop out the other end wiser. i feel like this is a mountain to conquer and I thank you all for taking the time to help me through. It means the world.

        Prayers to all tonight.

  26. Cynthia

    I stumbled upon this site a few days ago after years of researching narcissism in an attempt to understand a 25 year relationship that left me bewildered and confused. As a Christian, I believe it is the absolute BEST sanctuary for those trying to heal from narcissistic abuse! My story is too long and contorted to bore you with. Bottom line is that after all those years, raising kids, putting him through B school and law school…I was left homeless and severely in debt. Being an attorney, in addition with the narcissism, allowed for the perfect storm. Unfortunately, the Family Court System tends to reward the narcissist in the divorce process. Sad, but true. My message to all of you currently married to someone afflicted with this disorder…is to get out. A 20 year old narc will, in turn, one day become a 50 year old narc. You can be a better and stronger version of yourself, through Christ, if you remove yourself from the toxic environment that you’re currently in. Staying, for me at least, only retarded my growth as a Christian. I couldn’t thrive while simply attempting to survive. On a brighter note, I am now more joyful and optimistic than I have ever been in my life as I strive to follow the will of Christ. You can do it! Leave and have faith that what is ahead is a life without confusion, blaming, shame, projection, gaslighting, lies, deception, dupicity……….depression, fear, anxiety, hopelessness……God bless you!

    • Jennifer

      Hear, hear! Amen. 🙂

    • Cynthia – God bless you too! It is healing to be able to get these thoughts out in the light and to hear other’s are right there with us.

    • newlyanonymous

      Cynthia
      Thank you for this encouragement. As I ponder staying or leaving (now 20+ years in to the marriage), and the impact of either on our child, I always am reminded of how I’ve withered not in faith but in some growth as a Christian. It was so … different early on. Even in the tough times, I was holding on and growing, but lately, as the heat has intensified and the attacks become more … insidious (?) – I don’t know the word, but strange, unpredictable, weird, it takes one’s energy just to keep the drama at bay. To keep the fires quenched. To seek out resources. To find out whom to call. Whom to trust. Etc. So this is encouraging what you wrote. I keep wondering if I’m doing the right thing by even opening the door to this path (calling professionals about this option, as advised – believe it or not – by my pastor, thankfully). But I still wonder. It feels like “I’m” destroying the home, when I know I’m not, but you know…. all that projection.

      • Cynthia

        Newlyanonymous, I have been where you are. In fact, I should add that my desire to keep my family “together” resulted in me remarrying my ex. (I sooooo didn’t believe in divorce!) So, in effect, I got a second helping of his abuse, which was even worse. Looking back, I can say that this was a very poor decision, even though I had the best of intentions. You are NOT destroying your family. You are removing yourself from an abusive relationship. You are not going to “fix” him. As well, you are not going to be the best version of yourself while continuing to live in survival mode. It’s hard to be God-centered when your day-to-day has a narcissist at center stage. I will pray for strength and clarity for you. For peace in your heart. I have been “free” for about 18 months, now, and no longer live with the fear and anxiety that once defined every waking day. Pray your way through this and know that your Heavenly Father will walk you through the days ahead. You’re not alone in this.

      • newlyanonymous

        Cynthia, Thank you. Oh boy, do I understand that tendency to go right back to where we’ve been (like your writing in caps while speaking of him). Recently I have tried to tell him things out of earshot of our child – for her sake – but he then has that wiggle room to not live up to his words (as he may or may not do – I’ve learned that while he may not always do wrong, he can do so at any time – total unpredictability, the hallmark of the narc – or one of their hallmarks). Anyway, I appreciate that those prayers. The Lord has blessed me with prayers of many this weekend as I have enjoyed supernatural peace and even some joy while waiting to hear from the state on Monday with what the next steps will be, if any. I am on pins and needles, because I am praying for deliverance, safety, and even vindication, and I will accept and be grateful for how the Lord directs our steps next. Even though in my head – and heart – I know it is not me ripping our home apart, I know that impression will be out there anyway and that it really doesn’t matter, but you know – that burden is out there. The Lord is growing me – come what may. I am grateful to him. Thank you for the reminder that I and my daughter are not alone. He is with us. I yearn for the day to be where you are – looking behind at the days and nights of tension, anxiety, and fear.

  27. Trying to cope: I do understand the co-worker issue and I thank you for your post because it showed me what really happened in a similar situation I had with a boss 15 years ago – I never understood his actions until I read your post and now I know why he treated me the way he did…so thank you.
    But more importantly, you said “I just don’t get how someone could be so nice and kind every day, then just bam” PLEASE pay close attention to what you are hearing from others on this blog – start YOUR healing through the power of the Holy Spirit… Again, I feel your pain, my N was so romantic, he always said exactly what I wanted to hear, he made me feel like I was THE most important thing in his life, and then BAM!! it was over. That was so confusing and painful, until I found out about narcissism, and then I realized that he was always lying and that he never cared about me, it was all emotional manipulation and he would say anything to get what he wanted and to suck me into his selfish need for admiration. He furtively hid his real motive and identity – same for your co-worker, he is not who you thought he was, please try and see that he is not someone that deserves your time or interest.
    When you say you “fall into this why me” – I am reminded of the tool I used to battle the same question, which is what the Bible tells us – to deny yourself and to take on the mindset of Christ. Matt 10:39; Mark 16:24-25; Luke 9:24; John 12:25; Mark 8:34; Luke 17:33; Gal 2:20; Gal 6:14-15; Phil 3:7-9. We hear so much of modern psychology saying it’s all about you, promoting your self-esteem and your rights. Scripture is opposite – it tells us to die to self, we have Christ-esteem, not self-esteem, we have no rights. So when we ask “why me” we need to understand that God is the Potter, we are the clay, we carry our cross, and do what God calls us to do, even if we get criticized. He has a plan bigger than ours, you will come out of this so much stronger and wiser, God is shaping you for a bigger purpose. I didn’t see it either at the onset, I want you to know I am still deep in the battle, it’s far from over, I am still married and in legal battle. It’s a tough battle, he is wealthy and has many ruthless attorneys, I am struggling to pay for one atty. But I am over the N, he no longer has the power to control me, I am set free!!! I am free because I know the Truth and the Truth set me free. (John 8:32). I am praying the same for you – to know the Truth and to be set free, where there is peace. You are on the right path to seek help. God bless, take care, breathe deep, and rest in the promises of your Father God.

  28. newly: you have a beautiful heart, I yearn to love like that, love like you gave to healingInHim when you said: “I wish I could come where you are right now and help you move out.” to want to just drop everything and go to the rescue of a sister in need. I get so tired of praying for myself…
    you also said “Sometimes I lament that I’m not good enough as a Christian because of my feelings” I hope this is not boring you with my journal but I want to be transparent as well to you and healingInHim on that subject. I wrote 7 weeks ago “I have prayed and hoped and trusted that I would be in a better place by now but I’m in a worse place than I ever imagined, of course things could be worse, and I do count my blessings. I feel like I can’t get it right, or I just don’t have a clue how to go about it, even though I think I’m on the right path, being obedient, and repenting when I’m not; staying in the Word; worshipping; praying; being faithful and trusting God and who He is. But things keep getting worse, I’m getting beat up emotionally and I’m so afraid that others will never be led to Christ when they see me, it should appear that God’s children are blessed, but my life appears cursed, and I struggle really hard to keep peace and I’m hardly ever to show joy in my suffering. I guess you would say I appear calm, because depression is a quiet countenance, but inside my head is a hurricane, tsunami, erupting volcano of gargantuan proportion, and it won’t stop coming, there are no brakes on this roller coaster. How can the unbelievers sign up for that?”
    We all seem to have the same fears and questions…. Praise God that joy comes in the morning and we do not dwell in our fear! We tell God He’s the only One with the answer, we admit we don’t know what He’s doing but because we trust Him we know He’s going to take us 100% on this journey. I don’t want to spend my time on this journey thinking this is all there is – I pray to be able to keep an eternal perspective! I heard this recently “hope means hoping when things are hopeless” – so good to share with each other. Thank you.

    • healingInHim

      defendant – Thank you also for your loving transparent heart. I too, feel like others will never come to Christ because of my messed up life. But then remember 2 Corinthians 12:9 … my weakness – His strength … My sincere prayer has been, “Lord, I don’t know how you will do it but show Your glory in these circumstances.”
      Yes, ‘Joy comes in the morning’ … “Lord, thank you for allowing us to meet via the internet…. I consider these to be precious sisters; together we desire to worship you in spirit and in truth.”

    • newlyanonymous

      defendant, Like your statement on hope, I have read that courage isn’t the lack of fear, but standing up and doing what you know is right when you are afraid. Acting even when afraid. That’s where we all are, I think. Even just by speaking to one another here. Perhaps you know how hard it is to speak up about this. That’s how I feel. For so long to have learned to be silent about it – trying to obey God to the best of my understanding (love keeps no record of wrongs, respect your husband, etc), but I’ve learned that in these kinds of abusive situations, these things don’t mean exactly what we think they do. Respect can be just making sure his needs are met (food, washed clothing, etc). It doesn’t mean letting him abuse his God-given authority to care for the wife as he should. I think our transparency with each other with respect to our feelings is right and is healing. I think it’s healthy that we all still “feel” and aren’t numbed by the abuse. I also think that it’s okay to dwell on ourselves during this period of abuse, even though I have in the past chastized myself for so doing – however it is not us but our abusers who are at fault for drawing our attention away from our Lord and putting it on the drama they create in these homes, which should be our havens for peace. They have done this to us, not us. The fault is on their shoulders – not on ours. We know we’re not perfect and we know we sin, but we (I) do not accept the responsibility or blame for what he has done. I’m grateful for the stories and transparency I have read here on this blog – and I’m extremely grateful to Pastor Dave for his faithfulness to the Lord serving Him by giving us this voice and opportunity to help comfort and share with one another. Praying for you, defendant. It would be nice if we could all meet in person some day – this side of Glory or the other – and continue the healing.

      • Newly, I agree, we have a common union here, we understand and feel safe talking about it. Narcs are so good at fooling people and when others don’t know them on a personal level they just don’t understand that they can be anything like we are saying they are. Others are still impressed with their false portrayal of themselves. Then we have the guilt of thinking these things about another human. It’s been 7 months for me since being with the N, but the battle still rages so I have to continually surrender this guilt and fear to the Lord. My bad days get further and further apart, and really haven’t been a “day” lately, but moments of fear that put me in a spot where I have to make a choice – surrender them or dwell on them. I am only able to surrender when I get out of the way and let the power of the Holy Spirit work through me. I say this short prayer “I don’t want to be me so Lord make me what You want me to be so You can use me for Your purpose” – I always make a mess of it when I don’t call on Him and trust His power in me to rise above it even when my circumstance is still a very real burden, causing stress, financial loss, family issues, there are so many others involved. I must be a witness and be prepared to give the reason for my hope and to praise the Almighty in the midst of it all. God bless you, and all the others here experiencing this fellowship together through Christ.

      • Newly, from Princess Diaries: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.”

  29. Trying To Understand

    Thanks for this post. This really spoke to me:

    “Again, in the same way, those who have grown up knowing the pain of narcissism sometimes find a relief in naming the insidious enemy. They always knew something was wrong—their family was not like others—but now they know what it is. It doesn’t make it go away, but naming it brings both explanation and options.”

    I’m not sure what my options are but I feel (almost) grateful to the last narc man I was involved with for providing me with the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Narcissism has a hugely detrimental effect on a life even if, from the outside, no one can tell. It is impossible to explain to those who have not experienced it. Given that it takes us – people who have first-hand knowledge of it – so long to figure it out, that’s no surprise.

    I have missed out on marriage and children because of this blight. I can’t even bring myself to blame the narcissists in question because they’re just doing what comes naturally to them, much like the scorpion in The Frog and The Scorpion. The best they can do is heroically restrain themselves to limit the abuse they inflict.

    • to Trying to Understand – it might come naturally due to a lifetime of using the false self they created to protect the hurt and pain they feel, but they are in full possession of their thoughts, they know right from wrong, yet they choose to stay secretly selfish, calculating, controlling, angry and vindictive – they are only concerned about their own needs. They have no remorse when they hurt others. We can only hope they will restrain themselves, but I don’t see that ever happening short of a miracle.

  30. TTC – good to hear from you, I’ve been thinking about you. Girl, I would never tell you to snap out of it, we only hear that from people who do not understand living the pain of being abused and taken advantage of. It took me years to learn to quit feeding my negative thoughts and dwelling in them. I would say that you have a lot of help here and to be wise in your time of healing and it will be shortened.
    He does need to be held accountable but sometimes that’s not our job. I would not have fought the annulment except that I was asked to sign a legal document that was full of horrendous lies and I couldn’t do it, I want him to be held accountable. Yes, we must forgive, I compare my case to an underprivileged teenager that has been raised without a father, whose mother is a drug addict, he has been abused and neglected, and he has had to fend for himself all his life, he gets in a gang to get his fix for love and family, he steals and harms others and eventually murders someone. He must be forgiven but he is still is to blame, he must be held accountable. The same with my N, he was intentional, malicious, and it was premeditated. I did not snap out of it but I have changed the way I handle those negative and hurtful thoughts so that now I can snap out of them more quickly before they take root and grow. Those thoughts only hurt me, they are no where in his universe, he DOES NOT CARE that he hurt me, he has NO remorse. (See I still haven’t snapped out of it, he still makes me write in caps when I speak of him).
    The sooner you get started changing the way you process your thoughts about the situation, the sooner you will begin your healing and be stronger and at peace. That is something that is up to you, I pray for you to decide that you will not let him control your emotions any longer, and that you will begin to redirect those thoughts. There is no snapping to it, be prepared to have to work at it for a time, but you must decide how long you will let it take.

    • TTC

      Thank you for your prayers. If not for hear I would never have the strength or understanding. I pray for the wisdom to do and say the right things, so as not to make this any more worse than I already have.

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