Change

 

It’s Narcissist Friday!

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
– Reinhold Niebuhr

 

I used to think that New Year’s resolutions were a foolish waste of time, that one day was as good as any to make changes in my life. Then I began to understand that the New Year offered a milestone of sorts, a traditional and cultural point where change is considered and even enabled. So I decided that the turning of the year offered a great opportunity for a new beginning.

 

But change usually doesn’t happen on a certain day. I know a man who stopped drinking in a day and another who stopped smoking with one decision. I marvel at both of them. But I don’t know anyone who lost the weight they wanted in a day or became a better person in a day. To become strong, to make lasting life changes, takes time.

 

The old metaphor is that of the fork in the road. A single decision to take a certain path is lived out step by step. We look back and remember the choice that was made, but we look forward to see that choice made again and again. Every moment after is an affirmation of that choice.

 

For most of us, change is made in two ways: outside and inside. There are outside things we can change. We can move our location. We can decide not to have contact with certain people or go certain places. We can change jobs and cars and clothes and many other things in our lives. Some are harder than others, but outside change is possible in many areas of our lives.

 

It is also possible to change ourselves inside, to think and feel differently. We can change the way things affect us by changing how we view ourselves and the life around us. We don’t have to believe the lies we have been told about ourselves and we can choose our reactions and responses to the things people say or do to us.

 

You see, there are some things in life that are not possible to change. We cannot change who our parents were or what has happened to us through our days. We cannot change the actions or attitudes of the people in our lives without removing them from our lives. But we can learn to think differently about even those things we cannot change.

 

I began this blog as a way to communicate a message that is new for many people, yet as old as the gospel itself. That message changes us from the inside. Recently I received a note that chastised me for telling people to find emotional help in Christian faith. I understand this. But I have never suggested that the things of the faith are the things that save us or help us. The one thing that helps is a Person—Jesus. I believe that those who know Him and His love will find that inner strength to face circumstances with power or to change circumstances with success.

 

As most readers will know, my primary concern was legalism and the bondage so many felt because of the kind of Christian faith they were taught. I set out to bring a message of hope and love to those who were in the church but felt damaged and betrayed by Christians and the whole system. As time went on, I discovered that legalism was so often tied to narcissism and I began to write about narcissistic relationships. The same love that made a difference to those bound by legalism gave strength and hope to those in these difficult relationships.

 

So, at this beginning of the new year, let me offer some words of encouragement. Some of you are in situations that are so difficult you cannot see any choice but to make outside changes. You will end relationships or change locations or find new jobs and friends. Others will seek strength to keep going, perhaps because you believe in your heart that you should. But any change must come out of truth about yourself and the world. Believe that you are of great value and are greatly loved. Believe that you are not suffering because of your wickedness or foolishness. Believe that the narcissist or the legalist is responsible for his or her own cruelties. Believe that you have the right to stand up and be a person, no matter what anyone says. Believe that you can find peace and joy in life because peace and joy are meant to be yours.

 

Find the truth. Grab onto it and never let it go. Then begin your new path. Each step down that path is an affirmation of what you have learned. If that path leads you to make those difficult decisions, then trust that you are being led in the right way. If you are led to stay where you are, then believe that you can be victorious where you are. Find people who will support you in your decisions and your path. Find words of encouragement and believe them.

 

You are loved. I believe that there is One who calls you to His love. My prayer for all of you this new year is that you will find in Him your peace and your answers.

33 Comments

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33 responses to “Change

  1. Joy

    Grateful for this blog and the truth you preach! You have been one of many pieces The Lord has used to keep me on the healing path. God bless you!

  2. Dee

    This was a much needed post for the new year. I know there are things within myself that I need to change on the inside and how I let things affect me. It won’t happen over night but I know I am determined to change things about myself and live a better life and reclaim the joy and grace God has already given me. I can either be a victim or a victor and I’m choosing to be the victor. Thank you for this blog and this post.

  3. Christina

    I am also grateful for your words of wisdom, and am uplifted reading them. Each one has so applied to my difficult, painful & ongoing family situation. I have gained much insight and many confirmations from you. The Lord is using your ministry to bring healing to many. Keep the words of wisdom coming!!
    Christine

  4. Grace

    Thank you so much, Pastor Dave. Your words encourage me greatly.

  5. judy

    Thank you so much for this post,as my daughter has terminal brain cancer. I have been struggling to find, the strength and courage to help her in the days ahead if us. I would like to say God sent you to us on this day. We praise His Holy Name. Thank you!

    • Kathy

      Judy, I am so very sorry for your pain ((hugs)). I wish I had some words that could ease it for you, but I don’t. Just know that I lost my husband when he was 49, and at NO TIME did God ever, ever leave my side. He is ALWAYS faithful, even when you don’t feel it. There may come days when you doubt that, but He will see you through this and beyond. (((hugs))) And please, if there are any Ns in your life, try to protect yourself as much as you can from them. Set up very strict boundaries and, if needed, get some friends to support you and help you to enforce them. I wish you a true sense of God’s presence now in your life, and also that your daughter would truly feel His never-ending love.

  6. Legalism. Oh how well I know her. Beaten on the outside and inside by my ex husband. No other time in my life did I need loving ppl and the church to support me. Instead I was an outcast. I did nothing wrong but make the decision to not be abused anymore. I suddenly became unwanted by the church. The hurt from their abandonment and judgement stung more than all the bloody noses and bruised flesh. Even more than knowing my husband committed adultery. Having a pastor who was openly getting counseling for a porn addiction to look down on me as I was nothing!!!

    But genesis 50:20 saved me. Those who so publicly proclaimed their love of Christ will one day have to answer as to why they treated me so horribly. Not one chastised my husband for his brutality or adultery. I was the one. “That your faith should NOT stand in the wisdom of men (church) but in the power of God” 1 Corinthians 2:5

    So I want to give a shout out to all the churches: Thank you for abandung me!! Your shallowness, conceit and evident need to feel better concerning your own sins by snubbing me at my weakest did nothing but make me learn to love, trust and obey God. I could not have gotten here without your legalistic hate. Pharasis all of you. Genesis 50:20 in your face!!

  7. Recovering

    Thank you Pastor Dave for your dedication to your followers on this blog and bringing light out the darkness.

  8. Sam

    With the busyness if the holidays, I was so eager for your new post–the best think about Fridays . Your encouraging words do just that– give us courage. Thank you so much. Please keep sending wise counsel and truth. We need it. God is using you in a beautiful way.
    Blessings to you and yours.

  9. Chris

    A very timely delivery of your e mail. THANK YOU!!

  10. Forrest

    I would add a word of warning. Often, it is the abusers/legalists who will seek to ‘lead’ you and ‘support’ you to remain in your situation. Separating ourselves from such is a better and a more biblically supported action.

    • Becky

      Each person must seek the will of the Holy Spirit in making the decision of how to deal with this situation. You cannot allow the opinions of others to influence what you need to do whether it ends up being separation or staying. The answer is not the same for everyone. I separated from my “N” husband for a year when I finally reached the point where I nearly lost myself with what the doctors called a “change in mental status”. About a year before this event our daughter had finally found the answer to our years of confusion and turmoil in our family life, that being a narcissistic husband and father. The year of separation was spent seeking answers as to just how I had gotten myself into this mess and what I was going to do about it. After much prayer, I was led by the Holy Spirit to return to my husband. (he had suffered a stroke in 2008 and needed a good deal of care although he could do a lot more for himself than he does). I didn’t go back because of guilt or sympathy which are the things he used to control me for forty-three years. Nor did I return because of legalism. Thank God for freeing me from all of those lies! My church and the people in our small community seemed to understand as they knew him evidently better than I did! (Interestingly, when we married his friends were taking bets that it wouldn’t last a year which confused me at the time, but now I totally understand). Anyway I have been back a year now and I have set and am still setting boundaries in our relationship.

      • Dee

        I went to church with a friend a few weeks ago I was feeling really sick before I wasn’t going to go but I got myself together and went anyway. I was brought up catholic so I’ve never seen people “catch the Holy Spirit” or have the Holy Spirit come down and talk to them through the pastor. The woman preaching that day told me God was going to turn my life around and I began to cry. Then she told me I had been sleeping with the enemy. It really surprised me and it really has been bothering me since then because I still love my ex and I still have this hope. Yet I know him behind the mask. I’m not sure if it actually was the Holy Spirit but yet I don’t know how she would know that I just me her 20 minutes before the sermon started. I’ve never encountered the Holy Spirit as a Catholic and my parents would always say that people catching the Holy Ghost were just being dramatic and the God doesn’t use people to talk to us. But before service I told God to please speak to my heart about the situation and I believe it was the devil trying to keep me from church and the message yet I’m still skeptical.

  11. Becky

    The Holy Spirit is very real and even though I am not giving credence to nor discounting the message the woman pastor gave you that day, I want to tell you that don’t have to depend on others to tell you what the Holy Spirit has for you to know. If you seek Him, you will find Him, ask and you will receive, knock and He will open the door. Jesus tells us in His Word that he will send the Comforter (aka the Holy Spirit) to live within us to guide us and direct our paths (John 14:26). We receive that direction by allowing Him to enter our lives, remaining in communion with Him, and surrendering more and more of ourselves to Him thus allowing Him to live in us. (Believe me, this all takes time and doesn’t happen overnight!) I am still working on this, but I am surrendering more and more each day. Perhaps this encounter with the woman was for no other reason than to lead you to discover the power of His Holy Spirit for yourself.

    On another note, there are many times when I feel I am “sleeping with the enemy”, as the woman you mentioned put it, since the attitudes, behavior, etc., of a narcissist are so “anti-Christ”. However, as I said in my post I feel that I am to stay and “rise above” with the help of the Holy Spirit. I am getting stronger day-by-day, though, of course, I still have my moments. Unlike you, I no longer feel any marriage “love” for my “n”. I had to come to the realization, after tying for forty-three years to do it all by myself, that a marriage takes two people. He has destroyed any “love” I had for him by his subtle cruelty and lack of feelings for me, but even more so, by his lack of love for our daughter. I asked him on two different occasions that if he truly loved me how could he not love the “product” of our love (our daughter). I received no response whatsoever from him either time. Needless to say, I have had to give up on ever thinking that there ever was or ever could be any true “love” relationship between us. I do understand why he is like he is, but understanding does not change the facts. I had a very wise aunt who once told me, “the way it is, is the way it is” and finally, I have accepted that.

    All of us with a narcissist in our lives are in the same but unique situations. Each of us has to find our own way, but I want to be sure that the path I take I am walking with the Holy Spirit as my guide. Who knows, there may be some point in this journey when He does tell me it is time to leave, but whatever the future holds, I know He loves me and only wants the best for me. I just take one day at a time and trust in that little song I learned as a child, “Yes, Jesus Love Me”!

    I will keep you in my prayers!
    Becky

    • Dee

      In the moment I felt a sense of relief at church but in the days after and even now I’m still questioning the entire encounter. My ex wants nothing to do with me and is involved with someone else but my gut just doesn’t believe it. I don’t really believe much of anything my trust for people is so thin because of the lies and abuse that I don’t trust anything anyone says. And I think I have to many opinions and people in my ear telling me one thing and although I have hidden my true feelings from people in my life something inside of me has like this weird hope for a miracle. I do ask God for guidance and wisdom and I feel like he’s silent to me. I’m just kind of confused and it’s putting me in this weird like stress feeling like I feel just so blah about the entire thing and just don’t even want to deal or talk about it because I have no clue where God is taking me so I usually just tell him do what he wants to do and I will follow. I hope that all makes sense.

      • Megan

        Yes Dee i feel the same way about my situation. The confusion kind of takes over with all the opinions and advice and of course mixed feelings inside and then i become kind of numb as i opt out of trying to figure anything out and just keep praying for God to show me what to do next. I guess this is a lesson in trusting God and not others. Waiting on Him with patience. I also have no clue how this will all play out and so just taking one day at a time. Will pray for you and for clarity in your situation.

    • Megan

      Hi Becky, I have been with my N husband for just over 8yrs but separated over 1 yr now. I am not sure where God is leading me as I don’t feel it is divorce although it is what i sometimes want to do. I am sort of in limbo as to what to do as I am waiting to be lead by the holy spirit. So many opinions from people but I don’t want to base this decision on other people, the N, or my own feelings. I am struggling to know or hear from God in this issue. Would be interested to hear more about your journey either on here or by private email? Of course only if you were comfortable. Not sure if it is okay to ask on here on not?

      • Becky

        Hi Megan,
        I will be glad to share my journey with you. I married my “N” at the age of nineteen. He was ten years older (1st red flag). He “rushed” the relationship (2nd red flag) as we only began dating in October, were engaged in January, and married in June. My personality is (I should now say “was”) a perfect fit for a narcissist. I was a “pleaser” and an empathizer to the point where I would sacrifice myself if I thought I could help someone else. He “swept me off my feet ” with his care and concern for me (all an act to get what he wanted, of course as the true narcissist cares about no one especially him(her)self). This was red flag number three. I was so naïve that I didn’t see any of these as reasons for concern. However, two weeks before the wedding, I began feeling strong doubts about what I was doing. I tried to break it off with him, but he became so emotional and upset that I backed down and went through with the wedding. Long story short, I spent 42 years playing the game, being the dutiful, caring wife and making myself believe it was all good. We had one beautiful daughter (proof that our loving Heavenly Father will many times “bless our mess”). Life in our home was difficult for her, of course. Her father never attempted to develop a relationship with her and she never was able to please him. He treated her friends with much more care and kindness than he ever did her. So, needless to say, there was a lot of confusion in our home. Finally, when she was in a psychology class in nursing school, she discovered the personality disorder called “NPD”. It fit his behavior to a “t”. It was quite a relief to put a name to what we were living with! I continued for several months to go on with life with my “N” as usual. Our daughter, I am relieved to say, had found a wonderful man to share her life with and now has three wonderful sons (another blessing for me!) Anyway, after a very stressful period of dealing with the antics of my husband, the subtle verbal jabs, etc. that are a part of life when living with a narcissist, I had what the doctors called a “change in metal status. I completely “lost” a full day and came to myself in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. I still remember nothing about that day. Being me, I returned home planning to go on as usual. By January, after a very stressful Christmas because of his behavior, I knew I had to do something. I separated from him and spent a year “finding myself”. I had almost totally become lost and felt like a ghost of the person I once was. (That song “If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lightfoot described how I felt perfectly). I thought about so many things during that year, I came to understand why I am “fodder” for a narcissist and I now refuse to succumb to that anymore. I analyzed why he is an “N”, and if I told you the story of his childhood you would have no problem understanding. But I also came to the conclusion that his choices played a large part in his becoming what he is today-as with all of us. Many people suffer through a terrible childhood, much worse than his and come out whole. So I no longer allow myself to excuse his behavior on that account. Anyway, after a year of much prayer and meditation, a few visits to a wonderful psychologist, and much soul-searching, I returned home. As I said he had suffered a stroke several years ago and needed a great deal of assistance which I made sure he had while I was gone. Today, life is still not a picnic with him as, of course, his narcissist behavior has not changed, and I have stopped believing it ever will, but I have changed in how I react to it and how I allow it to affect me. I have set firm boundaries and am learning to maintain them. I rely upon the Holy Spirit to get me through, for sure, without Him this would not be possible. To tell you the truth, if “N” had not had the stroke, I would probably still be separated from him, but the situation is what it is and this is where I need to be for now. I am learning so much from the trials!

        My advice to you is to just be “very” sure if you decide to return, and make sure it is your own decision not influenced by what anyone else thinks. Remember, his behavior is not really going to change even though he may be able to fool you for a while. I will be happy to share any of my experiences and If you have any questions at all about my journey, don’t hesitate to ask! God bless you with His peace and comfort in the days ahead!

  12. Kitkat

    Thank you Pastor Dave, once again your encouragement has been most helpful. I don’t know if this will help anyone, but I thought about this the other day. I left the church I loved because of the problems the N was causing for both me and other people in the church. She was causing people to choose sides. And I remembered an old saying that helped reassure me that I made the right decision, and that saying is this, “What if somebody started a war and nobody came?” The N in my life started a war and I decided not to attend. Since I have not been around her, the tension has ceased, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. And while I am not at the church I love, I have no doubt that I will find another church to embrace. This time I will be much wiser and careful of the friends I make. And at the first sign of trouble I hope I will be ready to change course.

  13. Carrie

    Thank you. I needed this today. Divorcing a narcissist is a challenge in itself.
    I was raised in the church. My father was a pastor. I never understood why I had felt completely inadequate my whole life.
    Going through this mess, I can see that I have dealt with the same issues from both my parents and my husband. I completely see the connection you make between narcissism and legalism. It has been my entire life experience.

  14. savedbygrace

    Happy New Year Dave
    Thankyou for your reflections on change, I was especially challenged by :

    The old metaphor is that of the fork in the road. A single decision to take a certain path is lived out step by step. We look back and remember the choice that was made, but we look forward to see that choice made again and again. Every moment after is an affirmation of that choice.

    Sometimes looking into a New year can seem to me too unknown and too big… and being overwhelmed can lead to me to not making any decisions… but I like how you’ve broken it down to ‘step by step’.. each little choice does make a difference in the big scheme of things and affirms my initial choice. This will empower me as I embrace change in the coming year, so thankyou:)
    You also talked about finding and affirming truth- I have been greatly helped by daily meditations I receive in my In box from National Association of Christian Recovery- NACR Daily Meditation
    They have been a lifeline when I have been very low. Others may find them helpful too..
    Praying for you and your family

  15. Happy New Year and God’s blessings to you and your family! Keep writing —- God is using you to greatly encourage those of us who need it.

  16. Megan

    Thanks so much Becky for replying to me and sharing your situation as well as your advice. I really appreciate it. Wow you have endured a long time with your N husband. Being so young when you met him and then getting married so quickly would make it hard for you to assess things properly but even so you still felt things were not right before getting married. I also had that feeling before getting married but i actually felt i was in too deep to back out and had the ultimatum ‘marry me or we are over’ and after 3yrs I couldn’t bare to be without him. I was also like you, trusting, empathetic, compassionate, forgiving and all those qualities that make it so easy for a Narcissist. However i saw his true colors many times and still chose to marry him. I was a new Christian and the change in me was like night and day so i didn’t think someone could fake belonging to Jesus. Now i realize that there was no fruit or evidence of a relationship with Christ and that he only thought of and worshiped himself. I feel deceived but then God had shown me many things back then that i had questioned and so it is what it is. During the past year of our separation i asked God if i could trust him, that he was getting help etc. Things had improved compared to earlier in our relationship as there were boundaries on my part but of course they don’t truly change they just modify behaviors. After praying about trust God almost immediately revealed secrets he had kept regarding other woman which shocked me. I asked God to help me know what all this is and who he is and he lead me to a book on Narcissism which totally devastated me but also made sense of this crazy relationship. All the behaviors and symptoms finally added up and as you say, i could put a name to it. There was a time of denial but I realize that this is the truth. Just like your husband my husband has had an abusive childhood by an N mother. He cannot acknowledge it was abuse but it clearly was. Still there is no excuse as you also say. We have a beautiful 3yr old daughter and i do fear how this will affect her if i chose to go back. There are many questions i would like to ask and sorry for the long post of my background!
    What kind of boundaries have you made for yourself? How did he react when you left? How did God lead you back to him? Also do you think it was your denial that lead you to have a change in mental status? I had a while of denial which lead me to one day out of the blue starting panic attacks and what ended up being diagnosed as PTSD. I’m currently seeing a Psyc again. Where you actually happy in your marriage or in complete denial? Sorry to ask all this but you sound so similar to me with your personality type that i also feel i could spend another 40+ years with my N but am afraid of the consequences. Thankyou for reading!

    • Becky

      Dear Megan,
      If I don’t answer all your questions here, I will answer them in another post. Answering your questions makes me think about my situation and helps to give me clarity of thought which is very helpful. Living with a narcissist, one needs to keep their thoughts clear at all times as I am sure you are aware.

      I will begin with the question of whether I was actually happy in my marriage. No, only confused. I tried to love him, and I tried to show him love, but how can one be happy when it is never truly reciprocated. He pretended to love me, and in his twisted way I am sure he still thinks he loves me, but, sadly, the warped mind of a narcissist can never really know what love truly is. We must know the source of love in order to truly know love. In my devotions today I read in His Word that we must “speak the truth in our hearts”. Narcissists are incapable of this, but they are able to speak the words they know you want to hear and fool you into believing it is the truth from their heart. Beware! All research will tell you it is nearly impossible for a narcissist to change. (Of course, with God, all things are possible, but if that miracle happens, you won’t have to wonder if it is real!) I went through the motions of a marriage, trying to make myself believe all was well. I was busy with my teaching profession, teaching and training and loving our daughter with my church activities, etc. (As a side note which I will tell you about later if you are interested, the family dynamics set up a relationship between my daughter and me that we needed at the time, but we had to work out a lot of things when we finally understood what was happening) , So I just flowed through the days, months, years keeping busy so I didn’t have to think about it. As I said, I had no idea I was dealing with a narcissist until a couple of years ago. One of the things I had to deal with in our year of separation was acceptance of and anger that I would never know the joy of a truly loving marriage. How truly blessed are those who find true love!

      Now to the question as to whether my “change in mental status” was due to the years of denial. Many things contributed to this event, but never denial. Once I became aware of narcissism, I knew without a doubt that this had been the problem all along. No denial there. Mostly, over the years I had become a ghost of myself. His personality and control which I was giving over to him in an effort to keep peace and to be a “good wife were causing me to “lose” myself and be absorbed into his personality. I had become co-dependent. I really believe that the “change in mental status” where I totally lost a day was a wake-up call given to me by my Heavenly Father. Now that I knew the truth, if I didn’t make changes, I was going to fade away to the point of no return. I chose to take back my life. Of course, this didn’t set well with my husband who saw his control slipping away. (He wouldn’t even be able to tell you this is what was happening he is so steeped in NPD). His verbal abuse became constant and intolerable, never physical (whether that is because he is better than that or he knew his head would have a swift collision with an iron skillet, I can’t say) and I would not go back to the way things were before, so I left. I lived from pillar to post as they say seeking refuge with family here and there for almost four months before moving into a mobile home. That year was a year of much communion with the Holy Spirit through prayer and Bible study and a year of much reflection which eventually lead me out of anger, despair, and confusion into joy, peace and renewed hope. Of course, living with him, I still have my moments of frustration, but with each step back followed by prayer and communion, I feel I am moving two steps forward.

      I will try to answer some more of your questions another time! I wish you joy and happiness, but remember healing is a process. I am certainly not there yet, and I know that complete healing may never come on this side of the veil, but I am continuing to take a day at a time and trust in His guidance for my life. Joy and peace come from that!

  17. Rina

    I love your blog, even though I do not believe in any God. I’ve learned a lot from what you say and your blog is one of the resources I look at regularly. People are people and have human faults and failures, whatever guise they put on, religious, philosophical, political or otherwise. Even though I’m not a believer, I’m glad that you’re there to help people who are and must be very torn and confused because the tenets of their faith are misused by narcissists who abuse them.

  18. Megan

    Becky, Thank you for your replies and helping me by sharing your experiences. “I will begin with the question of whether I was actually happy in my marriage. No, only confused. I tried to love him, and I tried to show him love, but how can one be happy when it is never truly reciprocated. He pretended to love me, and in his twisted way I am sure he still thinks he loves me, but, sadly, the warped mind of a narcissist can never really know what love truly is.”
    This Becky, word for word is my husband and I. Sometimes i really do believe he thinks he loves me too but i know it’s not real just as you said. This is what makes it so hard. A lot of the time during the marriage i felt loved but i also felt it was conditional love, that is before i found out about Narcissism. It all made sense. Yes I have gone through a range of emotions, anger, sadness and regret. I feel quite hopeless knowing that there isn’t much hope of the Narcissist changing and so i know that if i am to be with him again it would be with acceptance of who and what he is, just with more boundaries. However i don’t know if it is God’s will and so I wait. In regards to your mental status, thank God you got a wake up call and were able to take charge of the situation. I can imagine he was not happy. Losing control is the worst for them. Yes i would like to hear more about your relationship with your daughter and the dynamic between you both. Thank you for your well wishes, i know i have a long road ahead with healing as i feel quite traumatized from the past at times. I’m so glad you are deep in relationship with the Lord which is what we really need to know what to do next and be in His will. I’m working on this! Thanks again for your time.

    • Becky

      To answer your question about how he reacted when I left, his first reaction, naturally, was one of anger. He accused my daughter and me of trying to get everything he had. He insinuated that he couldn’t live this way anymore and might take action along that line which was a tactic I didn’t take very seriously, but, to be on the safe side, I had already removed all of the guns from the house due to the depression he suffered immediately after the stroke which medication now has under control. Keep in mind that due to the stroke he was very dependent on me as his primary caregiver so he was also very fearful as to what would happen to him without my assistance when I left. I assured him that his physical needs would be cared for and I did this by hiring someone to help and by going over to the house at least once, usually twice a week, myself and by taking him to all medical appointments. It was difficult to be exposed so often to his narcissistic antics when I was in the process of trying to separate myself from him and find my way, but, I felt it was necessary, so I did it by God’s grace. My daughter wasn’t very happy about this situation. She really wanted me to leave for good and for permanent. She would tell you that at that point she was motivated by her anger, but she, too, has come a long way since then by the grace of our loving God. (Praise the Lord, she has placed herself in His care as well! ~another huge blessing in my life!) When anger didn’t work for him, he went to second tactic which he had used on me all our married lives – guilt (how can you do this to poor, poor, pitiful me? attitude). With the help of the Holy Spirit and His provision of a wonderful psychologist, I slowly worked my way through that issue finally really coming to believe that I am not responsible for his happiness. Even if I want to, I cannot make him a truly joyful, happy person. That realization was a real “biggy” for me!

      As far as the boundaries I have set. Actually, I guess they are mostly boundaries for myself as I have learned that you cannot control the behavior of the truly narcissistic person. I refuse to allow myself to react to anything hurtful or mean that he does or says, even when it is directed at our daughter or oldest grandson. I have come to realize that most of what he thinks or believes is poisoned by his disorder and there is no reasoning with him. He is incapable of recognizing the truth so I have made myself quit trying. The effort is totally futile and only ends in upsetting me so what is the point. I am also very clear with him that our traditional “marriage” is over. It was never a real marriage of two hearts in the first place, but now I am through pretending that it is or ever was. By God’s grace I will love him with His agape love. I will take care of his medical needs. I will be his caregiver. I will be positive with and faithful to him as I vowed to do, but I will not be caught up in his illness ever again. I will protect my body, soul, and spirit because they belong to my Heavenly Father.

      Please keep in mind that my situation is very unique in the fact that he is so very dependent on me. His narcissism left him in the developmental stage of a three-year-old, and now, with the advent of the stoke, he is very frightened of being alone and so afraid of abandonment. (This goes back to the fact that he was emotionally abandoned by so many of his family). He even gets very upset if I am not permitted to go with him when he is having a simple non-invasive testing procedure. Besides the emotional dependency, he is also physically dependent in many ways. This all gets very tiring for me, but I truly believe that this is where I am supposed to be for now. Therefore, I get through with much prayer! I honestly believe that had he not had the stoke, it would have been impossible for me to have returned home. We would probably still be separated, and sometimes, I think how freeing that would be. But I deal with reality and it is, what it is. I am just so grateful for His strength and provision in my life!

      I will talk more about how all of this affected the relationship between my daughter and me in another post as this is probably “information overload’!

      God bless you and your daughter, Megan. You both are in my prayers as you struggle to find your way.
      Becky

      • Megan

        Thankyou Becky. It is definitely a hard road whether staying with a Narcissist or leaving one. I appreciate hearing about your story and journey and just think it is so great that you have gotten to the point where you know you are where you are meant to be and that you are walking in God’s will. Hearing the tactics they use, it seems to be all the same. Anger then guilt trips, then you don’t exist, then nice guy and around it goes. Well that is how it goes for me and when i read how your husband reacted it is all too familiar. Going through this separation he uses all these tactics to try to gain back control and get things back how they were. It’s so frustrating dealing with then. I’m glad your daughter is in a good place and hasn’t held onto anger. I do worry alot about how my daughter will turn out with having him in our life and that is another major reason i am trying to figure out God’s will for our situation. As God has revealed this to me at this point in my life i now wonder what do i do now. I understand how you feel with the no reasoning and incapable of recognizing the truth which is where the frustration come in which i am trying to let go of as it serves no purpose. My situation is a bit opposite to yours in that i have been suffering from an injury/condition for the past year in which my N husband has been helping me with and being supportive. Of course i know it is another tactic and way to get close to me and pull me in so i am cautious and aware of everything he does whereas before i would doubt myself and think he is really a nice guy maybe i was wrong about him! I don’t want to be dependent on him which is what he wants. I am also done pretending that this is a normal marriage with two people who love eachother and although it hurts it is the truth. He continues to deny this of course and believes all he has done is love me. It is all about needs being met though. I like how you said that you will protect your body, soul and spirit because they belong to your Heavenly Father. So true but so easy to forget when with a Narcissist. I will re-read your post as yes there is a lot to take in but it is very helpful and insightful. Thank you for your prayers and you are certainly in mine:)
        Megan

  19. Becky

    I am so sorry to hear about your injury. Hope you are on the road to rapid recovery.

    It sounds as if you have accepted the fact that he will ever change is highly unlikely. That is a difficult realization to accept, but so very necessary. I would suggest that after you have sorted through your relationship (or should I say “lack thereof”) that you need to spend as much time as it takes to analyze his relationship with your daughter before you make your decision about returning or not because you are making that decision for her as well. How does he react to her? Is he indifferent except when she can be controlled by him in how she thinks or acts, or when she is doing, saying or being “something” that bolsters his ego (and, yes, “something” is the appropriate word here because, never forget, if he is a true narcissist, that is how he views her)? Is he controlling and unaccepting of her for who she truly is? I did not have to consider those things when making my decision because by the time I became aware that I was married to a narcissist, our daughter was married with a family of her own. I often wonder if I had only understood our family dynamics earlier when she was a child, would she have been better off if we had separated. His lack of acceptance for her for who she is became very detrimental to her self-image and, in no small way, affected her ability to relate to others, and has, as a result, hindered her ability to prosper well in a work environment. But, praise be to God, she is working through all that. It is certainly a process, peeling back a layer at a time. Then again, there is always the problem that some narcissists will use their children to get back at their spouse which is another scenario that must be considered.

    I am lifting you up in prayer for wisdom.
    Becky

    • Megan

      Thanks Becky. The injury is very challenging and frustrating as it does prevent me from physically changing my situation at the moment, as in work, changing home etc, but i remind myself that this is where I am meant to be right now. (I am not living with my husband but this is our family home). I would prefer to move as he has a hold over me by me still living here. I’m sure you know where I’m coming from.

      Yes it is fundamental but very hard to accept that they don’t change. Well not truly. I really do get that now and am able to see why he can’t and won’t change. Of course it is possible with God, but we all know that Narcissists aren’t able to easily surrender their will. In regards to our daughter and their relationship, well it is hard to tell at this stage. He isn’t indifferent to her and is quite active in her life whenever he is around and was living with us. However his tolerance level is not good as of course babies and toddlers are not able to adapt their behaviors to Narcissists as we are. At 3 she does understand more and although she loves her dad she is also not really trusting of him already. Even as a 2yr old i remember her being protective of me as she is now if she thinks he is upsetting me. I don’t want her to grow up seeing me this way. Of course when things were good with us, she was happy and secure also. I had always reminded him that he was not realistic with his expectations of her as a baby and even now. My midwife had also told him he was not being realistic with me or having a baby so it is quite obvious. I do actually regret not leaving him when she was a newborn as i wanted to desperately at that time and she would have not known him. However i would have left with guilt of taking her away from him. I don’t know what is better for her as in a ‘normal’ marriage a child would be better off with both parents in their life but reading on here i see that the children aren’t really better off having a Narc in their life. It sounds like your daughter has been through alot but you cannot blame yourself as you were not even aware of what was truly going on with your husband. God reveals things in His timing. I am quite sure if I don’t reconcile with him that he will no doubt use our daughter as a tool against me so that does play on my mind also. Even now he is using her as a reason to spend time with me and come over, play emotional games etc. I still feel quite controlled and guilt-tripped so i don’t feel free from his abuse at this time.
      Yes Praise God He is working in your daughter’s life and rebuilding her up. Makes me sad to hear the impact they have on everyone around them. Thankfully she has had your support and I am sure she has been yours.
      Megan

    • Megan

      Hi Becky,
      Just wanted to say hi, hope your new year is starting well, really hope its going better than mine. You have been on my mind as i go through so many things and i think of you caring for your N husband. Hope you are staying strong and focusing on the Lord. Your in my thoughts and prayers.

      Megan

      • Becky

        Dear Megan,
        So sorry I haven’t replied to your post sooner. I am sure it is a struggle for you as you make the decisions not only for yourself but for your little one. I guess I was blessed by not realizing I was in a “marriage” with a full-fledged narcissist as I raised our daughter. And I am praising Him that she understands the dynamics of our family now, and God, in His goodness, has helped her accept and deal with it. She turns forty-one today, by the way, and what a blessing she is! I will pray that you are able to shield your daughter as much as possible from the damage a narcissistic parent can do. I am so very sorry that you both have to go through this, but know that you are in my prayers for wisdom and comfort.

        I am doing well by God’s wonderful Grace. I just have to remember some basic truths as I go along from day-to-day caring for my husband: 1) he is incapable of loving anyone including himself, 2) my boundaries must be set in stone, 3) I cannot “fix” him, 4) he has nothing to give me. He has truly lived such a sad life never maturing emotionally much past the age of three, and I am sure a psychologist would have no problem diagnosing his disorder based upon his childhood. But, as I have said before, I do not lose sight of the fact that his decisions along the way have played a major role in what he has become.

        I hope that your injury is healing. Keep in touch and let me know how things are going for you and your daughter. God’s love is great and good. Trust in Him!
        Becky

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