Controlling the Story

It’s Narcissist Friday!  

 

I was one who simply hated the ending of “Lost,” one of the most popular television shows in recent years. I thought it was contrived and disingenuous and, frankly, just dumb. Many viewers felt betrayed by the ending. But I wasn’t writing the show, was I? No, the ones who controlled the story made the decision and there was little any of the rest of us could do.

One famous mystery writer is known for introducing the perpetrator of the crime late in the book, so you don’t have any reason to wonder about the other characters. The readers feel tricked by the last minute introduction. That’s just the way he writes and my only recourse is not to read his books. He controls the story.

The one who controls the story leads the reader/listener around by a hook in the nose showing only what he wants to show and twisting reality in whichever way he desires in order to accomplish his goals. Because there is no other story, we are forced to follow the path and timing the author sets. If he gives us inaccurate information, we may never know. If he doesn’t want us to know something, he simply won’t tell us. If he wants to distract us or deceive us, he has and uses the means to do so.

Now, all of this is fine when we are talking about a work of fiction, a novel or a movie or a television show. But it is something quite different when it is the narcissist telling the story of your relationship. Like Citizen Kane, or Stephen King, or Hillary Clinton (all of whom are credited with the quote), the narcissist says, “They will believe what I tell them to believe!”

I remember a man (whom I have always suspected of being a narcissist) telling me that his wife was “either sick or evil.” That had come to him as a revelation one evening, and he needed to tell me. At the time I thought he was actually trying to understand her, while ignoring his own cruel behavior. Now I understand that he was testing the story on me. He wanted to know which choice would be believed. If I agreed with either one, that would become the story. “She’s sick and that’s why she says all these things about me.” “She’s evil and is doing everything she can to hurt me and my reputation.” Of course, I did what I could to bring him back to his own actions and his own responsibility for the situation, but he never did accept his fault.

As long as the narcissist controls the story, he controls the world. That might seem over-stated, but some readers here know exactly what I mean. Controlling the story is the ultimate projecting/gaslighting/isolating tool for the narcissist.

Time after time I have read about someone who stepped outside the narcissistic relationship to talk with friends or family members only to find that the story they had been told was very different from the truth. In fact, the victim was surprised to find that there was a story at all. Yet, when he/she stepped out that door, people were already against him/her, had already made their judgments, had already heard THE STORY. What happened? The narcissist planted information with the people who mattered so that the victim had no choice but to stay in the story.

For example, a wife (Merry) finally realizes that nothing is right at home. Ted is cruel and conflicted and angry. Their marriage has been difficult for years. She has been too embarrassed to talk with anyone, but decides finally to confide in a friend she has known for a long time. When she begins to tell her story, she hears, “Oh, Ted told me you were becoming unhappy, and I should expect a call.” What? He already talked with her? Of course, he is getting the story out. Soon Merry learns that all of her friends have been prepared, even her family members have been told Ted’s version. But no one will listen to her side. She has been labeled as the “crazy one.”

Merry has only begun to venture outside the story that Ted has been telling for so many years. Eventually, she will find that he is the patient one, the one who has to endure her ranting and raving. She learns that she is the one who abuses and overspends and might be having outside relationships (or at least interests). She is the problem for poor Ted, the reason he can’t do certain things and the explanation for any of his incompetence or failure. But what a guy he is for standing by her all these years!

I wish this was purely fiction, that nothing like this had ever really happened, but I know better. I have read your stories. Siblings, parents, co-workers, and spouses—particularly those who are narcissists—tell stories that serve their purposes. You are just a character in the story. Your purpose is to make them look better than they are. You are controlled by the author of the story, and people will think of you what the author tells them to think about you.

It honestly seems almost cruel to talk about this. Yet, many have found just this to be true. The narcissist has controlled information to others long enough that they believe him. Some have found that their own parents and siblings believe the narcissist, as do the people of their church. No one has heard any other story.

In the past, when people were more isolated, the narcissist’s story would simply stand. For some, that is still the case. To get out of the relationship may mean losing everything: friends, family, finances, reputation. Some will decide that it is still worthwhile. Their own health and sanity is worth starting all over again.

But we do have other means of getting the story out today. Let’s go back to Merry:
When Merry decides she must move forward even if Ted’s story seems to rule her time and space, she remembers family members who have been estranged because they never got along with Ted. Humbly, she attempts to reestablish those relationships. She begins to build a support structure from which she can move forward. She seeks out a shelter for abused women; and, even though she was not physically abused, they set up an appointment for her with a counselor who understands. She begins to learn techniques for controlling the emotions Ted usually brings out of her to control her. She starts to gather a little money and takes some classes that might lead to a job.

To anyone who will listen, she calmly and consistently tells a new story about the marriage. Some people don’t believe her and won’t listen. Others will at least listen. For some people, Ted was a little too good to be true, and they are not as surprised by Merry’s story as she thought they would be. The counselor has helped her set and maintain boundaries in the relationship, and Merry is not overwhelmed by fear when Ted learns that she has told a different story to some people. Eventually, Merry realizes that it is not as important that others believe her story as it is that she no longer has to live under Ted’s story.

Of course, Ted will react to all of this. He will feel out of control. His story, which was designed to support his image, will begin to crumble. He will have to find ways to discredit Merry or adjust his story to overcome hers. But if Merry patiently, calmly, and consistently tells a different story, Ted is no longer in control. He will win some battles, but he will not rule the world.

And, in the real world of today, Merry could move away and establish new friendships in another place. She could start her own blog and let her story become public. She could begin to work with others who need to escape the stories written by their narcissists. It is even possible that Merry’s story could become the story others read and Ted’s story will fall aside.

Yes, what I am writing here is idealistic. There are many battles and failures that have been omitted. But this new narrative is happening—and it can happen for you. Don’t be surprised when you learn that the narcissist’s version is out there, and don’t be intimidated into thinking that it’s all over. You can write a new story.

41 Comments

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41 responses to “Controlling the Story

  1. jo

    This is so descriptive of what I’ve gone through. Praising God for my freedom now, even though I’ve lost my ministry and all my so-called friends. Now, I’m writing my story to help other women who are oppressed the way I was, and describing the steps I went through to get free. May they have the courage to get out as well.

  2. His story: I was a crazy, abusive, depressed, bi-polar alcoholic who hated his dog and threw computers and chairs across the room. All he wanted was to love me.

    Reality: He attempted to control everything I did from when and how I should divorce my husband and co-parent to who I should and shouldn’t be friends with. He used his dog to control visits to family member’s homes during holidays. And would steal and hack into my phone and computer to spy on me. He even told me he was hired by a government contractor as a hacker in order to instill fear in me.

    Did I throw a computer and chair in his direction once? I certainly did, because he refused to give me back my phone and held it above his head. I slid his laptop off the table and picked up a chair and flung it at him in hopes he would drop my property that he stole from me. Not my best moment. Did I over indulge in alcohol? Yes. I found it easier to disconnect from the insanity by going numb. Was I depressed? Oh, heck yes!! Was I bi-polar? Absolutely not.

    The only way I could escape the insanity was by escaping him. I was numb for 15 months after leaving before I attempted to purge myself of my story. I uncovered so many half-truths and lies he had been sharing with people…even my own mother who never believed anything he tried scaring her into believing. She knew who the real monster was and prayed everyday that I would wake up and crawl out of that pit. 🙂

    • jo

      Wow, Paula. I’m so glad for you that your mother was not deceived. While mine does not oppose my decision to leave the marriage, I really think she think she is blind to my husband’s methods. That just makes another difficult thing I have to be “okay with”.

      • Jo, It took my mother about 2 years to catch on to his triangulation and manipulations of her. When she put the pieces together, she was very ashamed of herself. But she did not try to sway my decision to leave or stay. She had faith I would eventually figure it out in my own. She’s also the person who told me that I didn’t have to deal with forgiving him. That forgiveness of that magnitude must be left in God’s hands and I needed to accept what happened and get my life back without feeling guilty about any anger or shame I felt.

      • joy

        I can so relate to what you and Paula write. My parents believed me, but even now my mother can fall under his charm when he is near her…because it’s hard to believe that this is the same man who treated me so badly when no one was around.

        Merry’s story is very much like mine. We live in a small town and he still goes around planting a different story…complete with lies….to the people we know and go to church with. A few believe me. Most think he is just the nicest guy. There seem to be a few who didn’t buy into his image, even in the first place…these are often people who he snubbed because they didn’t fit his image of what his friends should look like (they should have money, or lots of education, or success in business, and at all times it is preferable if they are fit and attractive).

        One of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn is to not care so much what everyone else thinks. I know the truth, and that is what really matters. It’s hard though.

  3. MeganC

    Wow . . . I feel like you just wrote out my life story!! To the detail!

  4. Heather

    I could be Merry, Dave. Thank you so much!

  5. unofficialnarcissist

    I hope that is my story…that I also help women who are under the dark cover of a narcissist’s story. Thank God I am not any more and have patiently been holding my boundaries, calling them out on lies, and telling my own story. The more I am away from that situation, the sicker I can see it is.

  6. Melody

    This is incredibly helpful. I had a rough year last year when I found out that due to a disagreement on semantics and my attempts to have a normal conversation about it, I was accused of calling a person concerned names because I challenged their emotionally abusive put down. I was lied about to my husband and noticed family members who stopped talking to me and being distant. I learned that a different story about how events went down had been told to people I loved and trusted and not one of them contacted me to see why I would have behaved that way (even though I never did). It was one of the most hurtful things I’ve experienced in my life. It does help to know that I’m not the only one who has ever gone through this. It’s a definite pattern and there is no reasoning with it because it is unreasonableness.

    • Melody, I experienced very similar. My husband and those who choose to believe him, told lies about me until it was too late. For a season, it felt like the people in my church were being distant with me and then the next thing I knew, I was getting kicked out of my church, never to set foot on the soil again. The only people who believed me were the senior pastor and his wife, and so they eventually resigned from the church, because they were accused of taking the wrong side. The church has since crumbled. All this, because of my narcissistic, deceptive husband. Thank God, I have escaped him.

      • Melody

        I am so sorry to hear that. My husband fortunately did not believe the lies told about me, and for his attempts to communicate truth and then protect his family he was first shunned then attacked. His grandmother turned his own father against him because of a disagreement they had with me. They blamed us for holding a grudge when we decided to take a break due to the initial shunning. When my husband set boundaries all hell broke loose. They sent accusing messages asking why we weren’t calling them both over Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Since they had shunned us we thought we’d let them call at Thanksgiving if they chose. Phones work both ways. After the accusations we told all family we were having a quiet Christmas without phones this year and we’d be in touch after. Had resistance on that too. It was very painful. But we are the ones pursing counseling and relationship. They only love us when we do as they want. It’s not a relationship nor is it love. It’s control. It’s extrenely hurtful and sad to see a grandmother turn her son against her grandson simply because his wife asks to have a mutually respectful conversation and agree to disagree on an issue.

      • Melody

        I’m just so sorry to hear that that happened in a church. It happens so much! It is truly evil. What hurt the most is they had me doubting reality and I had to reread all I had communicated to see I had made mistakes but had never intended to hurt them. Making mistakes or expressing remorse is as bad to them as outright abuse. You can’t win with that. It’s so sad when people believe the lies instead of committing to truth. It tears us apart.

      • UnForsaken

        Melody, Jodi….thank you both for saying these truths. ❤

    • LoyaltoJesus

      My N husband sat and calmly watched his N Father hit me in the arm in front of our children simply for insisting that my daughter not be served a drink I knew she wouldn’t like and I asked for water instead. I now only see my in-laws if there are other family members there and refuse to stay over. The interesting thing is that the wider family don’t discuss it but I feel like there is a very different story doing the rounds of the gossip channels than the one that really happened and am very sad that in-laws who were once warm and friendly are now cold. It is just all incredibly sad

  7. Reblogged this on Faith Renewed and commented:
    This could by my story but God. God is now in control of my story and HE has rewritten it! What someone intended for evil and to harm me, God has used for so much good. (Genesis 50:20)

  8. Savedbygrace

    If he gives us inaccurate information, we may never know. If he doesn’t want us to know something, he simply won’t tell us. If he wants to distract us or deceive us, he has and uses the means to do so.

    So true. My (now separated) husband used to withhold information and if it did come to light it would be ‘your fault because you didn’t ask’.. tho how I would know to ask that particular question is beyond me… and for all his ‘logic’ he was unswayed if I pointed this out….
    He has recently sent me an apology- long and intense..it took about 2 weeks for me to work out why I could not ‘accept’ it at face value, and found it insincere… and it is because in the midst of it he has subtly ‘rewritten history’ in such a way so that his “apology” can read… he “had no idea he had betrayed me”; “I did not anticipate the grief I caused you” etc etc..still orchestrating the truth so that he can determine the outcome..in this case get me to forgive him and trust him again.. I actually think he gets caught up in his own lies so much it becomes his reality.
    Coming to terms to my h’s real relationship with truth was a real eye opener for me… I had assumed that being truthful was a given in our marriage( as it should be in a healthy marriage) and that for all the other difficulties we had we would be able to work on them. But when my eyes were opened to his lies and manipulation and his ‘stage managing’ of truth to suit himself is when I first realised that I was dealing with abuse not ‘relationship issues’ and there was a break in the fog.. it was a shock to me and a complete paradigm shift… but it has opened my eyes and allowed me to live ‘real’ life – the true story, not his made up one.

    • UnForsaken

      Savedbygrace, I’m so glad you weren’t fooled by his twisted apology! Isn’t it strange how they make themselves sound so logical when they aren’t at all?

      I do think their lies become their reality. It is like you say, a stage production, which the N director desires to be real. They desire it so much that the light of day is unbelievable to them.

      ” She is the problem…” to the N. Yup. That’s it Exactly. And what makes it even harder is that some of us Are too isolated to do the slightly ‘idealistic’ resolution of this wonderful article. Speaking of mine, he sticks so close to the truth in his stories, it makes relationships impossible.

      I’m so grateful to God for the gift of sight, even though it took me far too long to figure out this is abuse. At first it is too shocking to take as fact, but eventually their story breaks down. The truth may seem “cruel” but it is Worth It!

  9. Amy

    I haven’t been to your blog in a while because of being too busy to spend all my time reading others’ blog posts. But today something led me here and when I got to the end of your post I just sat back in my chair in amazement of how you had written about my life.

    My abusive ex walked out 6 years ago come next week after a 20 year marriage and later I learned this was his ploy to basically start telling his ‘story’ about me to others. He would go around telling everyone how we had mutually agreed to a separation (false! he simply packed up his stuff and spat at me how he was leaving!) and I did not want to reconcile but only wanted a divorce after kicking him out.
    And even to this day, I’m still hearing all kinds of lies he told about me.

    “Some have found that their own parents and siblings believe the narcissist, as do the people of their church. No one has heard any other story.”
    This is what really spoke to me! You see, I’ve been remarried now for 3 years and my husband once said to me that no one at the church I had attended with my ex really knew what was happening because they only heard my ex’s story! And it’s true. One, I didn’t realize he was going around saying things about me (she’s the abusive one, she has the anger problem, she’s yelled at me, etc, etc, etc) and two, I chose not to get into saying much because our two sons still attended the church and I didn’t want them getting put in the middle of it.

    Today I’m dealing with a similar issue re: my oldest son who is 23. He still has a relationship with his father and he has been told so many lies about me that he’s come to believe them. We have a very strained relationship and if I even say anything remotely bad about his father he lays into me about how I need to stop bashing his dad. He refuses to allow me to say anything in my defense and only wants to continue believing what his father has told him.
    I really do not know how to handle this and just keep quiet to keep the peace. But I’m at a place where I’m sick and tired of hearing the crap his dad says and feel that if he brings up anything again i will calmly tall the truth whether he wants to hear it or not.

    This is a great post and I will be reposting on my blog today.

    Thank you!

    • joepote01

      Amy,

      When faced with a similar situation with one of my children, several years ago, I calmly told her the truth. She interrupted to tell me that she didn’t want to hear about how her mom hurt me and I needed to get over it. I responded that it was not my intent to hurt her or degrade her mother; however, she needed to think about how it was that she could not stand to even hear one time a small portion of the painful struggle I had lived with for years…and that she was the one who initiated the conversation.

      Today, my daughter and I have a wonderful relationship. Though we never discussed the subject again, I know she knows….and I think it was important for me to point out the truth.

      • Heather

        So glad that your daughter now may “see” things in a more real light, Joe. I have one who is too into herself that I have never been able to share my pain. I pray that one day her eyes will open.

      • Amy

        Thank you so much, Joe, for sharing your story with me re: your daughter. This has become like an elephant in the room with us and me always wondering what it is exactly his father has told him about me. And what is baffling to me is how my son believes what his father says when he grew up with his father abusing him too. I just don’t understand.

        But my younger son who is 20 and broke off his relationship with his father almost 2 years ago because of something my ex did, says to me that for years all he (my son) wanted was a relationship with his dad and he would do and believe anything to have it. He feels certain that his brother knows the truth and in time he will come around.

        I wish the last time my son he had opened the door for a conversation like you had I’d taken it, because I don’t feel I should just sit him down and start talking, kwim? And my husband and everyone around me tells me not to do that either.

        Anyway, I really appreciate you sharing.

      • joepote01

        Heather and Amy –

        It’s a hard place to be…and certainly no guarantee that any child will mature to see things more realistically.

        My relationship, today, with each of my four grown children, is good. The level of closeness varies with each individual child…as I expect it would even without the abusive marriage and subsequent divorce. However, each of them knows I love them and they are each quick to express their love for me…more importantly, they each profess a love for Jesus. And sometimes, the one who seems the most distant will call out of the blue to ask for my input on an important life decision.

        One thing I’ve realized over time is how very difficult it can be for a child to come to grips with truths no child should have to face. Even for an adult in an abusive relationship, it is difficult to fully grasp that this person you have sworn to love, honor and cherish is actually an evil abuser who goes out of their way to cause you pain. For most children, that is an even more difficult reality to face in regard to a parent.

        It is far less traumatic to accept the version of truth presented by the abuser…that Mom is a little nuts and impossible to get along with…than to accept the real truth…that Dad is a fundamentally evil person bent on controlling and harming them and their mother.

        Love, prayer and patience do make a difference over time…

        Praying for you both, as well as your children!

        Joe

      • Still Reforming

        joepote1,

        As the mother of tween, I appreciate your comment very much. I’m grateful and encouraged to know it can work out in time that the children find a place of their own to understand the abuse and even seek the counsel of the non-abuser. That is encouraging.

  10. Gladheart

    Wow! You’ve written my story. This is a wonderful encouragement to not be weighed down by his story. But rather take confidence in my own. It is so painful to lose those past relationships because of his lies but I would have to look as crazy as him if I were to attempt to refute it. God provides new relationships based on truth.

  11. joepote01

    Good post!

    I am so glad God knows the difference between truth and narcicist fiction…

  12. Anne

    Thank you for this! I am a Christian wife who has tried for 25 years to be patient and loving with a man who appears to many people to be a great guy. It has been difficult to believe that someone who professes to be a committed Christian can behave so badly to me in private and I began to suspect over the years that he has some kind of mental condition (he does admit to anxiety). In fact, having completed several quizzes on the subject, I now believe he scores very highly as a narcissist. I am currently living apart from him and I am contemplating whether or not I should try to be reconciled; I confess that I would always be fearful for my life if I did, since he seems to be able to justify anything he wishes to do (he is a sexual sadist: classic quote from the early years of our marriage ‘I wish you wouldn’t cry when I hurt you. It sometimes makes it difficult for me to torture you.’) Currently he is a pastor in a church; the elders think he is great and that i am a disobedient wife and should go back.
    The truth is he lied to gain this position and i am afraid. I am afraid because I know the truth and i am a threat to his position. I am afraid because he has told them that I am depressed and it would be easy to make my ‘accidental’ death look like suicide. I fear that if I return to collect my personal possessions there will be a lot of pressure from the elders and their wives to stay. If he knows I am going to leave permanently he may try to get me committed as mentally ill: he is a pastor in a church and his stroy has bee well worked. All this may sound like paranoia on my part but anyone who knows how a narcissist operates will, I hope, recognise the apprehension a highly intelligent, manipulative character can generate in his victim. My brother and sister-in-law, both Christians very active in their own church, have told me I must not think of going back to the house alone, and that I am well out of a damaging relationship.
    BUT I am still a Christian wife and my 2 adult children have, i recently found, been told HIS story and think I am n the wrong for leaving… What should i do? Thank you for reading this!

    • Anne- what he is doing to you is evil. You have no obligation to continue submitting to an individual who has turned their back on righteousness. Sometimes the only loving option is to courageously and gently hold a mirror up to their behavior by saying : NO.

      It will be spun as you being the evil one. That’s what they do. But your choice to take a stand and bear whatever consequences come is the best witness you can offer your husband. If you stay and enable he learns his exploitation is OK.

    • Pat

      Anne, you are not alone in your feelings of fearing your narcissist husband would have you committed. My N was trying to do just that! I had to move out one day when he was at work. If I had told him I was leaving, he would have had me committed. In fact, I know that is what he was trying to do. He was successful three years earlier at gaslighting me into more than one psychiatric hospital stay so it would have been very easy for him to say I was acting like I did before and that I needed to go to the hosptial. Also, I have feared (in the past, not now) that he would try to kill me and make it look like an accident. You ask what you should do? My advice is to stay away from him, do not go back to that house, and divorce him. You are not alone. This stuff is real, is serious, and you need to be safe!

    • Savedbygrace

      Dear Anne I am so sorry you have had to endure this.. it is natural to want to be understood and have your story validated and indeed you suffering acknowledged, but going back to him is not going to achieve any of these things, sadly not by him or your church family..it is a great loss, and I know there is fear of being rejected by you children BUT you need first and foremost to stay safe, what you are dealing with is not a relationship issue it is abuse- it is anti Christian and greatly dishonours God… you are being godly to remove yourself from it.. not everyone will understand- that’s OK, but I found ( in similar circumstances- my husb is a minister too…) that with distance comes perspective and the ability to think more clearly… some things that helped me:
      *go “no contact” , as you know Ns are manipulative and he will play on your Christian values to ‘guilt’ you into returning.
      *document everything, and use civil authorities if needed to protect yourself
      * find a counsellor for you to go for yourself, who understands Domestic violence.
      *your husband is responsible to get his own act together, repent, get help whatever he needs -you need to step back from ‘helping’ him with that
      * this is your opportunity to heal, time is your friend- there is no hurry to ‘reconcile’
      *my counsellor rightly told me I was not the only victim, my children were too and that me taking a stand and separating from my h will help them, and it has, yes the reality is difficult but at least that story is real and can become a platform for real healing
      * I have also stopped ‘protecting’ my husband’s reputation with our adult children, as it simply adds weight to ‘his story’ I have gradually shared aspects of my story so that they can realise that the truth is more complex and perhaps different to what they are being told
      * read Lundy Bancroft’s book Why does he do that?- this will equip you to spot abuse and manipulative tactics and help you make sense of what you have been through.
      *It sounds like you have wise support from your brother and sister in law, listen to them, let them help you, gather friends and perhaps a new church family to be a support network for you.
      *God will be your refuge and strength
      Hope I haven’t said too much, please be strong and take care,
      God bless and keep you Xx

      • joy

        I stopped “protecting” my ex as well with our adult children. He’d already spun the story so that I was the bad guy for leaving. He’d told them how hard HE was trying to keep up together..which was the opposite of the truth.

        Eventually I had to tell them some of what actually happened between their dad and i…things you don’t really want to tell your kids. Over time they have learned how he twists things, because they have caught him doing it (regarding me, and also with dealings with them). For over a year they were VERY resentful of me, because of things their dad led them to believe about me. Now that the know some actual happenings…they are more careful about what they believe, and our relationship is finally back to being close.

    • Ann

      How he behaves toward you where no one sees is the real him. If you want to collect your personal items call the police and explain you are afraid of your husband and that you’ve been separated. Ask if they’ll accompany you to the house and go inside with you. If they will don’t tell your husband you’re going to do this. If the police won’t, then don’t go to the house and never meet your husband anywhere alone.

  13. Still Reforming

    God bless you, Pastor Dave, for this encouraging post. I am keeping a running journal for just such an idea – eventual self-published testimony or blog. Being in the midst of the “dissolution of marriage” now, it’s not the time. Also, the story, as you well know with abusers, continues to play out – not for the sake of the children, but for the sake of using the children to control the target of abuse. And on it goes….

    With respect to controlling the story, I was amazed after our abuser left us (wife and child) without a word, to see that one month later – on our large farm property where my mother had a trailer for occasional visits to watch our child grow up – that one day my mom’s trailer was just gone I hadn’t told her that my abuser left because she’s 85 years old and I didn’t want to burden her. But I had to call her when the trailer was missing! So I did. She said that he had called her and due to a court order was not allowed to go home and how ironic it all is because he’s still paying the bills. I straightened all that out telling her the truth: He left us, he withdrew his paycheck from the joint checking account, and he stands far off when he sees our child and me, waving to her and crying, “I love you, (her name)!” He would enter the marital home only when we were out, which he knew because we were always predictably out on Sundays and Wednesdays at church. He would come in and secret items out of the home. The day after he left us it was with the aid of his employer (who is our neighbor). My mother is now angry with him and understands his ruse. She wants the trailer back where it was (he’s living there rent-free on the employer’s property). He told our daughter when she asked on the one visit they had (with me present, per her request) that he had no choice in leaving and he couldn’t return because he was afraid I’d shoot him.

    Initially, I was stunned that he would tell my mother a story that obviously would be found out eventually, but then I remembered the definition of abuse at A Cry for Justice; It’s a mentality. A mindset. And I saw how that fit. It’s hubris. Had he wings of wax, he’d still believe he can fly close to the sun
    without those wings melting. It’s his sense of entitlement, so truth is irrelevant to him. He can always rewrite the story.

    Fast forward to today – four months later – with court approaching next week – all of a sudden, I have to get them together on his terms, because according to him, he shouldn’t have to jump through any hoops to get to see his child, and I’ve had her for four months 24/7, blah blah blah… No one else seems to mind the fact that by now, he’s frightened her so much she doesn’t really want time with him. He’s popped up at windows and doors in the dark (which I’ve caught on digital tape), he’s left strange notes to her in the house (before I put an alarm system in with my attorney’s approval), etc.

    I’m thankful to God that we as His children do have the opportunity to wait and tell our testimonies. I began to realize shortly after he left us that time is an ally. Eventually the truth comes out. Many may not believe, but that’s their choice. They choose to believe him, fine. I have a life; My life is no longer spinning around his. To a large extent time-wise it is these difficult days and nights, but as the fog clears, I am regaining ever so slowly that sense of wanting to enjoy the things I used to and make new friendships that won’t hinge on the relationship with our abuser.

    Thank you, Pastor Dave. This post is much encouraging and edifying. May God continue to richly bless you.

  14. SweetJane72

    I love Narcissist Friday!! 🙂 What a great blog. Thank you for writing it.

  15. My abusive ex got his best friend believing I was the one behaving badly. This friend then proceeded to lecture to me about how I needed to turn my behavior around. My ex also made up a lie that maligned my parents, and spread that around. An ex before that, also spread lies about me. It seemed I spent much of my time in college, dealing with the effects of their lies. 😛

  16. I wish i knew how to put this on my blog!! (eahillmyblandlifeuk.blogspot.com,)…Yes i am one of those survivors who blog to try to help other who arent as far down the road as me!!, i have been “Narcisist free” for 15 years now! (although he is still trying to control the story,still is in contact with some old friends of mine, who he uses to send me messages, that he has forgiven me!!..he has been in my daughters life,not his child, planting lies that he is her father,and so i am not in her life). He has been a stalker, and it took some very expensive letters from Solicitors to make him stop.A few weeks ago he was at my friends house, and they said i was coming round so he made a big point of leaving so he would “not cause any trouble”, the self sacrificing act,!!!writing the story again his way!!, but the truth is if he had been there he would have been arrested….its frustrating that my friends believe him, its too late thought as he got in first with his story….So as the Lord has told me not to discuss the situation with one of my more vulnerable friends, who has Bi-polar,which is where these lies have been said it is frustrating, but i am so glad that i am free, that these minor irritations really dont matter, he can say what he wants, i know the truth, and those who really do care about me,know the truth too,and most of all the Lord knows, so these are just minor “bugs” used by the Enemy to try to separate us from God! Praise Him that He gives us the victory over the Enemy and his fleshly servants !

  17. Also Pastor forgot to say how wonderful this post is, and how much it has meant to me, God bless you,elisa

  18. Reblogged this on PARENTS HEALING FROM ESTRANGEMENT and commented:
    I had to laugh when I read this – how true. You discover how shallow your old friends have been to believe the stories they have been told “As long as the narcissist controls the story, he controls the world. That might seem over-stated, but some readers here know exactly what I mean. Controlling the story is the ultimate projecting/gaslighting/isolating tool for the narcissist.

    In the past, when people were more isolated, the narcissist’s story would simply stand. For some, that is still the case. To get out of the relationship may mean losing everything: friends, family, finances, reputation. Some will decide that it is still worthwhile. Their own health and sanity is worth starting all over again.” I left in time to save my own sanity!!!! But what about the sanity of the children or adult children?

  19. I remember the pang in my heart when I first heard his “story” from a friend. It was like a dagger, a sort of betrayal I never imagined I would feel one day, not from someone I trusted and loved so deeply that I was willing to stick it thru trying to make him see the “real and true story” behind the dysfunctional and slowly dying marriage we had. I guess like most of us who thought their love was the exception, I didn’t heed the advice of never confronting the N. I desperately wanted him to heal and I was prepared to dedicate all my time and resources to see him awaken to the world of real emotions, trust and though I understood he did not love me , I had faith and believed that when he did awaken, he would with all his heart for the journey I held his hand through… and then we can start living the fairytale we wanted us to be but never were. It was his “stories” that did it. I was the one who needed to wake up and ironically after a workshop called “the awakening” I began to open my eyes to the truth of my own unhealed wounds that made me give my soul to someone who only wanted to tear it to shreds. I struggled like I never struggled before with caught between my heart and my mind on one hand and everything I knew about good and evil on the other. I began rediscovering who I am as a woman, wife, mother, friend and a unique person with dignity and purpose. All this was in response to the “stories” he kept telling me and others about who I am and what I am about. I was crawling in horror and despair as he carelessly hacked away bits of my soul while I almost lost my mind crying and retreating and shrinking to hide with what is left. When there was not much left, when there was nothing worse or more terrifying I could think of that he could do to me, he surprised me with unthinkable words, actions, reactions and “stories” about myself that my heart couldn’t bear anymore and my mind just gave up reducing me into an animal clinging on to dear life in fight or fight just for him to come up with more stories more blame more accusations and more things to use against me. Things that no man could say or do to his woman or anyone he wanted a future with and that is when my heart and mind found the truth. It is amazing what it can do to you seeing conversations with your own eyes.. the way he spoke to family and friends about me, the cold vindictive, utterly disgusted, bored and fedup tone with a little bit of how ungrateful I am not appreciating his “concern” for me soliciting advice and support that he takes seriously regardless of who gives it then projects that need on me later on… it all hit me how it was all planned from the start while I was planning for babies and honeymoons sighhh, he was busy making his “story” out of irrelevant and stupid things to prove whatever using half truths, pathological lying, triangulation and divide and conquer mechanisms.. As if not inhuman enough, he would launch this degrade and devalue smear campaigns at exactly the same time he hoover and starts his flowers and false apologies which freaked me out.. like who does that!!!?!?! Well a narc does, they have no self so they don’t feel wrong living out opposite contradicting realities because they have no reality.. everything is illusion, staged, played, reinterpreted and rearranged to suit his agenda.. don’t let me even get into double standards … it often leaves me amazed and mesmerized at this human being… I eventually couldn’t accept that humans are capable of such deceit and aversion to the truth and total no care about their soul’s damnation and began to think of this whole experience as part of the age old good vs evil battle where I am being tested and called upon to defend and protect one side in the trial and test of my life!

    • Still Reforming

      Narcwife,
      I’m sorry for the rude awakening, and yet it’s better to live in truth than a lie. Having been with a narc husband for 20+ years, I can relate (and continue to relate) to what you wrote. Why continue to relate, even though we are divorcing? Because I bought “the marital home” and large property (farm) in a very small agricultural community, where his lies about me are believed. The most painful, however, are not the lies that he spins to my neighbors or his employer or our attorneys or anyone I don’t know. It’s to the church, who basically just let me go. That hurts the most. I served willingly, diligently, and frequently through programs and in classes – adult, youth, children, any – participated in Bible studies, did whatever was asked and not asked. He didn’t. He’s unsaved (although baptized by the preacher without ever going through any kind of meeting or questioning with the pastor). But…. he disappeared one day from church (and from our home), and upon sudden reappearance one day out of the blue, they all welcomed him back as if a prodigal son, and I in my discomfort near him left. No one has called. One young girl contacts me every other month to check in. But it’s the church’s ability to swallow the lies and not seek truth that really hurts. They are the family God gave me (or I thought they were). It was hard enough going through the shattering of the life I thought I had (or knew I didn’t, but tolerated anyway). Add to that the alienation of the family God gave me, and, well…. will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where comes my help. My help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

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