It’s Narcissist Friday!
Thirty years ago I picked up a great little book by William Backus and Marie Chapian that talked about what they called “Misbelief Therapy.” The idea was that when we speak lies to ourselves, either lies we have heard from others or lies we have determined in our own hearts, we suffer needlessly. The truth will set us free, according to the Scripture. For too many, it is the lie that binds us. More recently, Joseph Prince, a very popular preacher from Singapore, has taught on the “power of right believing.” It is the evil one who lies and has built lies into our world and our lives. The truth will set us free.
These days I receive many emails with painful stories and cries for help and encouragement. Most often, the victim of the narcissist has accepted so many lies that he/she is almost overwhelmed with confusion and grief. I find the same thing with believers who have been abused by legalism. Their ideas of who they are and what they can do are greatly affected by the lies they have been told. But the truth can set us free.
So it seemed important for me to try to put some of these things together for today’s post. Read them out loud to yourself. Maybe you would add some to the list. Let the truth destroy the lies you have learned and lived with.
I will say that this is an overtly Christian blog. All are welcome and I care deeply for those of you who do not share my faith, but I cannot avoid speaking out of what I have learned to be true and according to the perspective I have lived. I encourage everyone to read through these statements and find strength and truth.
The narcissist does not define you. You might feel like you have lost yourself, that you have become another person, but this relationship does not determine who you are. It doesn’t matter if you are married to the narcissist or if you are the child of a narcissist. You are still an individual, still a person.
You do not need the narcissist. Because your identity does not come from the narcissist, you do not need that person in your life. You may choose to allow that person in your life, but you don’t need him/her. You are a real and valuable person apart from the narcissist.
You do not need to change your situation in order to become you again. Nor do you need to stay in your situation to be yourself. You can and should be who you are where you are, no matter what is happening around you. You may need to make a change in order to be safe or to protect your children, but that change will not change you.
You are not defined by what you do. Apart from what you do, you are still you. Your value is not limited to what you contribute to others. Rejection does not reflect your value, nor does criticism. Failure is a normal part of human life. Everyone fails—no one is a failure.
Narcissism is evil. It hurts others for its own purposes. You do not deserve to be hurt or used or abused. You are not the cause of the narcissism and it is not right for you to be a victim. Sometimes we are called to endure evil, but we are never called to think that evil is good. You are free, even right, to say that narcissistic abuse is wrong and should end.
You will not fix your narcissist. Even if you believe he/she can be helped, you are not the one to do it. You have been used by the narcissist and you are not in the position to help, no matter how much you have read or understand—no matter how much you still care.
You will not save the narcissist. Yes, the narcissist needs Jesus, needs forgiveness and peace, but you cannot make that happen. No actions, no words, no beliefs will force your narcissist to come to Jesus. That simply is not your job. Nor is your presence required for that to happen.
You are greatly valued and greatly loved. Nothing your narcissist says or does can change that. God knows you and loves you. He sees your struggle and He calls you to His arms. He is with you always. In the midst of your pain, there is peace—even joy—for you in His presence.
In Jesus you are already free, already victorious, already strong, already good, already forgiven, already alive. All that He has for you is found in your relationship with Him. Look to Him before you look to the narcissist, or the pain, or the rejection, or the situation. In Him you will find acceptance, love, and peace. He is the One who tells you who you are, because He is the One who made you and molded you. He is the One who sees you as valuable, precious, and good.
When the lies oppress you, tell yourself the truth. Read this list over and believe these things. No matter what your situation, you are too valuable, too precious, to be depersonalized by the narcissist. If you can’t accept these things, find someone who believes them about you and let that person tell them to you over and over. Find a good counselor or a good friend who cares.
You need the truth. There you will find freedom.