Don’t they ever die?

It’s Narcissist Friday!   

Don’t they ever die?

There I said it. I said it so you don’t have to. It seems like such a terrible thing to think, so hard to admit. So unloving, so unkind, so uncaring. But the thought comes anyway. And the narcissist just keeps going.

I would normally ignore statements like this when I hear them because I understand how people struggle against these feelings. But I have heard this one several times, particularly from people whose aging parent is a malignant narcissist. I have heard it from people stuck giving care to invalid or dying narcissists. In those special situations, where it is so difficult to walk away, people have to deal with their own negative emotions.

Please hear me: You are not a terrible person for thinking this or even for wishing it would happen. Anyone who carries a burden will wish for it to be lifted, and you carry a heavy burden. You get tired. It takes over your life. It is constantly negative. You are discouraged and depressed and worn out. The thoughts come even when you don’t want them.

I think it is normal for any caregiver or sufferer to wish that the burden was lifted. Even if the one you care for is not a narcissist, but a kind and grateful person. Part of the struggle after the death of someone you have cared for is the mixture of emotions. On one hand you are grieved that they have passed; on the other, you are relieved. As you heal, you will find that you are able to look forward in life again. The guilt that comes then is natural, but unnecessary. Being thankful that the burden is gone is a normal, but usually unspoken, part of grief.

Obviously, it is a whole different thing to take action that leads to a person’s death. I know I don’t have to say that here; and, yet, perhaps I do. Wishing a person would die and helping them die is not the same. Trust God for the timing, but allow yourself the dignity of real feelings in the struggle. The person of integrity accepts the negative thought and does what is right anyway.

So here’s the question: “Do narcissists live longer than others?” I suppose I should add, “or does it just seem longer?” Well, I have never heard of any study on that topic, nor do I expect one. I have heard of many narcissists who have lived into their nineties. I have known of narcissists who live well past the expectations of their doctors. Perhaps there is a longevity aspect to orneriness.

I do know that narcissists are particularly tenacious. They seem to be able to hang onto attitudes and situations longer than others. What they lack in commitment to relationships, they seem to have in commitment to goals and grudges. They tend to remember everything, at least everything they want to remember. They can put up with a great deal of negative to accomplish a plan. Perhaps they are also able to hang onto life longer than others.

There are corollaries to the “Don’t they ever die” question. The adulterous spouses who criticize and complain about the marriage: “Don’t they ever leave?” The co-worker or boss who hates the job and the rest of the employees and can’t seem to actually do the work: “Don’t they ever move on?” The church members or leaders who only criticize and undercut plans and projects or who never seem to get enough attention: “Don’t they ever find another church?” We long for the day when these folks choose to get out of our lives. I suspect that those situations that are about relationships are just that much easier for the narcissists to leave than those that are about the image.

And the more we long for that day, the longer it seems to take. Narcissists I thought would move through leadership positions quickly have often stayed much longer than I expected. But maybe it seemed longer because I was watching and waiting. If you dread going to work every morning and long for the day the narcissist retires or finds a new job, you will probably feel like you wait a long time. If you hate for the phone to ring with another word of criticism or complaint or expectation, then it will seem like the phone rings way too often. We set ourselves up for the negative feelings by focusing on the pain.

Now, I am not saying that you should just ignore the struggle and be happy. What I am saying is that you must not allow your life to revolve around the negative relationship or circumstances. The more you wish your parent would die, the longer he/she will live. That’s not true, of course, but it will seem that way. So acknowledge the feelings and move forward with your life. Focus on the things that make you happy. If you are a caregiver, carve out some time for yourself. The only price you will pay is more complaining, but you will get that anyway. Just tell yourself that you are worth it.

Negative thoughts are part of life. Embrace them and move toward the positive. When you find yourself wishing the narcissist would just die, understand that you are struggling under a burden and it is natural for you to want out. Then just do the next right thing—which might be to take a break, or a walk, or a bath. Pray for yourself, but don’t be ashamed of your feelings. Just use them to know yourself and your needs a little better.

I have found that God does not usually take troubling people out of my life. No matter how much I blamed them for my problems and my pain, God seemed to leave them in place. No amount of good reasoning (and I had some great arguments) was enough to get Him to remove them. And, every time, I have grown from the struggle. I have learned more of how to find good in a situation or to look past what I saw as an obstacle. I have found a great deal of peace even when the situation hasn’t changed. Little by little, I am learning to trust Him. But listen: He doesn’t scold me or shame me for asking. He understands my pain and desire. He just knows better than I do what is good for me.

As always, we understand that situations are different. Sometimes you can move on, distance yourself from the narcissist and the pain. Sometimes you can’t. When you can’t, you have to find ways to affirm and care for yourself. Let your negative feelings, especially the strong ones, tell you that you need a break. To put it bluntly: when you find yourself wishing grandma would just die, call a friend and go out for a cup of coffee or find a hiding place and read a good book for a while. Give yourself something special. Don’t beat yourself up. You probably just need a break.

A BONUS TIP:

I want to say something about the telephone. I have needed to take a lesson from my kids on this. My kids might be odd in this world, but they can sit right next to a ringing phone without answering it. That’s not the way I was raised. We would run across the yard to get to the house before the phone stopped ringing. But today we have caller ID and answering systems. If the call comes at an inconvenient time, we can know who called and what they wanted. Then we can call them back at our convenience.

Here’s what I have told many people: Let the phone ring! If it is your narcissist on the other end, you don’t have to jump or scramble. Turn on the television and find the remote, get a cup of coffee, sit down in your most relaxing chair, and then call the narcissist back when you are ready. One more thing: When you are finished, hang up. If you need to make up an excuse, have it ready before you call. Put a loud teapot on the stove. Have someone call you. Walk over and push the doorbell. You don’t have to lie, just say that you have to go.

Someone is thinking: But what if it is an emergency? Has it ever been a real emergency? Every situation is an emergency in the mind of the narcissist. Every situation demands that you (not they) jump to action. Think it through. Most of the time you know what they are calling about. Besides, you can listen to the message as they leave it.

Neither the telephone nor the narcissist is in charge of your life.

53 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

53 responses to “Don’t they ever die?

  1. Lene

    My ex-N is still young. I don’t find myself wishing him dead, but there is still so much here that can apply to anyone in a relationship with a narcissist. I love the part about the phone–the narcissist always comes first! Whatever he wanted done, it was always an emergency; what I wanted done was merely something to add to the list of somedays. I still remember the hurt I felt when he dragged his feet about things like setting up the baby’s crib. I wanted it done BEFORE the child was born, and the was just too early for him. I didn’t ask him to set it up before I took the pregnancy test! But apparently, the last month of my pregnancy was too soon. I could deal with all that once I got home from the hopsital, he said. The baby would be fine sleeping in his car seat if necessary. Even before he was born, my poor son was not a concern for his father.

  2. Heather

    I find this column incredibly helpful. It applies to me on so many levels. I appreciate the columns about n’s who are people other than your spouse. Although those are excellent and needed, for me I have three narcs, none of whom are my spouse. The phone part rings true (see what I did there?). EVERYTHING is an emergency to the narc. I’ve wondered how I will feel when my narcs die and this has been a tough subject for me to tackle.

  3. D.D.

    My lovely, abused Mom died suddenly – eight years before my N-Father. My N-Father was 91 yo when he died. While I had forgiven and made peace with him before he died, I can honestly say that I hardly miss him.

  4. Only Me

    Fascinating post. It seems fairly often, I’ll find myself whispering under my breath something along the lines of “God, why can’t he be dead?” I don’t even have to think about it. It seems to well up out of some place deep within my soul.

    Ex psycho boy just turned 70 a couple of months ago. He has diabetes and hypertension. I consider him to be mostly dead to me, like his body just hasn’t caught up to that fact yet. He’s a stroke or heart attack waiting to happen. All in good time I’m sure.

    Your words rang a note of truth to me. God does have a sense of humor though. I know it! In the middle of my relationship with the ex, I wish that I had a good reason not to move in with psycho boy. Just before I was due to move, I was diagnosed with cancer.

    I knew it would change things, and it did! Soon, it was clear that psycho boy doesn’t do sick women! But as it was clear I had to stay put for for surgeries and reconstruction, he was on Match.com looking for my replacement.

    I think God used cancer to get him out of my life! Psycho boy, although I didn’t see it at the time, was a cancer unto himself! The cancer was quickly gone almost as soon as it was found (early!), and I was fine, but I was replaced pronto! She has money and financial resources, and I knew that was her attraction. Okay, she’s a big girl, and it’s not my place to judge.

    Maybe the cancer was a miracle that actually saved my life in more ways than one! I let it all go now. Everything will happen in good time, in God’s grace. I get to grow old now, but I am alone, except for my family and friends. Maybe that’s all I really need. It’s all in God’s hands now.

  5. Sunflower

    Boy, was I thankful for caller ID!! When I was 17 (before caller ID), the phone rang, only once, so I knew it was on party line and probably my best friend. I was busy and thought she could call again. After a minute I decided to answer after all, and it was my 23-year-old brother, calling from the phone in the barn that a machine had just torn off his whole leg! Needless to say, I never let a phone ring again! So when I left my x, I ordered caller ID. What a relief that was!!

  6. LoveChild

    Thank you so much for this post! For the past several months, I have been trying to get out of the habit of saying to myself, “I shouldn’t feel/think that way”. I realized that I was actually trying to hide those feelings/thoughts from God. Ridiculous! But like a child, I was ashamed and didn’t want anyone to know. The past few months, God has been showing me that he knows how I feel (obvious!!) and when I honestly confess it to Him, He can help me work through it better.

  7. Thank you for this post–it feels like I’ve just gotten a warm loving hug. I started wishing decades ago for the death of my N, and went through the guilt from that desire. Now, my wish is more to learn what God wants me to learn, and grow the way I need to grow. I think I am progressing, but I am a long way from feeling at peace with my N husband. Is that possible–is that a good, reasonable goal, feeling peace and joy while still married to a N?? Or will I go crazy trying?

  8. I too feel the guilt, but then I remember that David was a “man after God’s OWN HEART,” and he is the one who wrote “If only you would slay the wicked!” (Psalm 139)
    God knows how wickedness wears on others. While it most certainly would be wrong to help a wicked person to die, it is actually RIGHT to wish that wickedness away, and a perpetually unrepentant, wicked person, at some point becomes the “swine” we are freed from always having to try to reform. I love that it is OK, even good, to be honest with God.

  9. Laurie

    Amazing timing for this post! Truly God’s plan. Since I was very young and impressional, I listened to her tell me I wasn’t good enough and/or hadn’t done enough for her that even through divine forgiveness and detachment in love those words still haunt me. She’s 87 and going strong! Oh Lord, I confess this sin of looking forward to the end of her (manipulations lies and attempts to influence and control). My husband reminded me today to put on the armor of God and let those words of hers bounce off and fall to the ground! I pray for her salvation daily and know He hears me! Thanks for this site where we can be free to express these things with the people of God who truly understand! I wish I had a mom who could care about who I am. Thankfully, I have a Savior who does! Amen and amen!

  10. Kitkat

    I have known several people who lived well beyond any expectations that I now believe were Narcissists. Miserable till their dying day. Knowing how the Ns never do any wrong, are never accountable, accuse others for their mistakes etc… etc… etc… I believe that God gives them every possible opportunity to repent. Maybe He makes them live longer than many of their victims, so there is no one else left to accuse or blame, and giving them every opportunity to reflect about those that they have systematically hurt who are no longer there. Those souls that loved them unconditionally and did their best for them, who passed away leaving them with a gaping hole that no one else can fill except the Lord. I have an aunt who is well into her nineties now, and she was always causing trouble wherever she could, and would never concede any wrongdoing or blame for her actions. Always meddling in other people’s affairs and yet would be the epitome of piety in church on Sunday. She could never understand why her two other sisters, at times, wouldn’t speak to her. Even though she did her best to come between her sisters and their children. I told her one time that, “God has given you two great sisters and one day you will be held accountable as to how you treated them.” She just blew me off with the usual N reply, “I didn’t do anything.” I picture Ns standing before God and saying, “It wasn’t my fault.” and accusing God for all their missteps, much the same as Adam did in the Garden of Eden. “It was the woman YOU gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Adam lived a very long time, and perhaps, he was the very first Narcissist.

    • Penny

      Wow–Kitkat, I so agree with you that God gives them every opportunity to repent.
      My N is my MIL, and she will be turning 90 late this year. For decades she has whined and lamented (I will soon be 60/70/80!) with the self-absorbed, “worship me” warning “how much longer do you think you’ll have me around?” (Like she is “Her Royal Highness, Queen of the Universe”, and we should be bowing down to kiss her feet in gratitude for merely being in her shadow.)
      Recently I told my DH that she has it all backwards: the question is NOT how much longer do WE get to “have” her around, but rather, how much longer will God give her to repent???
      And yet she refuses to repent, even telling us to “stop using the word repent”. Queens do not repent….they curse the miserable minions who suggest they should, thus IMHO, she curses the very God she pretends to worship.
      So yes–Dave’s post was spot on, & when I think of her, I often wish she would die.
      She is an unrepentant, ungodly, miserable reprobate who harms the cause of Christ and brings dishonor to His name. I am so weary of her evil, so weary of her falsehood and fake image and idolatry. God’s own patience is not infinite, and I long for His justice.
      I am grateful for the imprecatory Psalms and the permission to pray them.
      I will be grateful when she meets her Maker.

    • I don’t think they think that way. They don’t care when you die and they didn’t care when you lived. They can’t. Not wired for it. They can’t live long enough to repent no matter how long they live.

  11. Cookie

    Thank you for this post. I have often asked the same question – do narcissists live longer than the rest of us? I think the answer is probably “yes”. My N goes to great lengths to take care of herself and be taken care of by others, thinking nothing of the expense to others. After one particularly stressful time of caregiving, I tried to explain to her that her life decisions to do things her own way while expecting others to care for her was having negative consequences on my life. Her response was, “I’m sorry for the consequences on your life, but I am worth it.” And she was right – she is a human being that God created and loves and she is worthwhile. The problem was that there no acknowledgement that anyone else is worthwhile as well. And when only one person in a relationship is considered to be worthwhile, there is no room for negotiation or a real relationship, there only thing to do is set boundaries.
    I have finally come to the point where I can say that while I love my N mom, she is not a nice person and, when she is gone, there are many things about my relationship with her that I will not miss. In the meantime, I try to remember her good qualities, set boundaries, detach, endure and accept and act upon God’s message to me that, no matter what she says or does, my life does, indeed, matter!

  12. Heather

    Cookie is correct! They do live longer BECAUSE they have so many taking care of them. We are all expected to solve their problems for them. No responsibility, no GUILT, no pressure from a narc (since they are the narc). Surely that is leading to a healthier heart, low blood pressure, etc…ok, maybe not, but their physical health is probably better than my health at this point because they are not under the pressures we are under.

    I am sometimes envious of my narcs for being able to worry only about themselves while I worry about everybody under the sun.

  13. Interesting … and as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing wrong with a good old imprecatory prayer every now and again, either! If it was good enough for David, it’s good enough for me.

    Also, praying for your enemy’s salvation helps. In my most desperate moments I’d pray for my old boss, the malignant narc, by saying, “Lord, please save ______’s soul. God knows she needs you! …. If you want to knock her upside the head a couple of times before you do, I’m okay with that, too.”

  14. Kathy

    It’s an amazing and wondrous thing when the Lord has seen your struggle and directs you to this post. It’s wonderful to know you’ve been heard, and He has answered and says “I love you.”
    In your darkest times, Dave, know that the Lord has used you — which means He has heard you.
    Thank you for this post.

  15. sandra

    I find great wisdom and solace in this blog and comments.

    This article comes at a time when I have been projecting what it will be like for my n. (not a spouse) to be very old. I think it will be very hard for him/her. All the n’s masterly manipulations will be lost upon the trained healthcare workers, and more, there is the serious risk of being remanded to a psychiatric facility and or subjected to psychiatric meds.
    Being an n is a very dysfunctional adaptation to life and to the extent that the n can control or somehow modulate this particular quality within themselves, the save or lose themselves.

    It is heartbreaking really.

    So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, if we say won’t they ever die, we can just project what fear the n must have. Their future is not bright, and I’m not sure I want to be around for this.

    Thanks for this blog and comments of sharing.

  16. Whisper

    I look forward reading this column every Friday as it helps me cope and stay strong. I was surprised to see todays post. It’s hard to admit that I’ve thought that the only way to survive this N relationship is to live longer than him. Then I will be free from the manipulation & craziness that he has injected into my life. This thought only comes & goes. My main concentration is staying mentally healthy and not letting him define me. It’s a constant battle.

  17. Annie

    I don’t wish him dead ( well I don’t think I do) but I do often wish he was put in prison for the many crimes he has committed. His criminal charge related to firearms ended up with a ‘slap on the wrist’ such is his manipulative, lying and controlling power. The phrase ” rot in Jail” (Gaol in the USA I think) seems less of a wrong thought than “rot in hell”. My Narc was and remains a cruel Sociopath/Psychopath with the smile of an assassin but with very soul-less eyes. I find these thoughts disturbing but such is the damage these horrible people cause. Recovery takes years…. Sometimes we just learn to live with it. I am safe …. at least I think I am. He continues to live on in society to destroy his next victim…. As long as she has money and prestige. Callous.

  18. George

    I can remember wishing my parents would die before I was even 12. Then already I figured I would be better off as an orphan. My parents have been shamelessly projecting their toxic shame on me for more than 50 years. When I confronted them in their old age when I finally named their behavior, they complained that I should be “Nice” because they already had one foot in the grave. I responded they should be thankful that God is patiently giving them more time to repent.

  19. Cookie

    This reminded me of one interaction I recently had with my N mom. We had an unpleasant discussion with her about her refusal to honor a commitment she made to us about accepting elder care services, which results in her children traveling long distances to respond to her elder care needs since she is unwilling to allow anyone else to help her. At the end of that discussion, as we were heading out the door, she said “I will out live all of you!” The funny thing about aging N’s is that they are not very good a covering it up anymore – they just blurt out their thoughts without thinking about them first. Obviously, it would give her great satisfaction to out live her children. As a parent, I can’t relate to this at all. I hope my kids out live me by a long shot – living well into old age with happy and fruitful lives. Her comment is really quite sad when you think about it.

    • Penny

      Cookie, I have been there/done that. My N has said and done similar things. She was always setting me up to be the bad guy, to take the fall, to be guilty of not caring enough or doing enough or doing it right. I got cancer, she got a new husband. I am convinced she will never die.

      May I humbly suggest you stop rescuing her from her own decisions? Narcs are all about power and control. If she has the health and strength to refuse care and renege on commitments and keeps playing “both sides against the middle” (triangulation), then let her “own” it. Let the chips fall. Stop “feeding the monster”, and let natural consequences happen. She will rage and rail and recoil and exact revenge. You may have to watch it, but you won’t have to fix it. Get of her way and let her feel the burden of her choices.

      I remember when I first began to remind my N of her own choices, and even to “agree” that she was “in control” of her own life….but not mine.
      I began to say over and over and over, “you ARE in control…of you. Not me. It is your decision. However, I cannot _________” (fill in the blank).
      I became a broken record of natural consequences. I stopped rescuing her. I began to tell the truth to her and anyone who asked. I got betrayed. I got blamed. I got cut out of the will (horrors!) I got scapegoated.

      But I also got free. I began to realize that I was not “honoring my mother” by being controlled by her sin. I started creating boundaries (i.e.: I would hang up on her [after 3 warnings] if she persisted in verbal abuse.) I began to call it sin to her face and called her to repent. (Titus 3:10,11) She refused. I caught her in lies, exposed her duplicity, stopped covering for her. When people asked me about her, I told them she was abusive & that I could no longer expose myself to it. If they asked for more, I said that I had sinned by allowing it to continue for too long. That usually stopped the conversation because most of these folks knew the truth & had never defended me, but allowed me to be scapegoated, thus participating in her evil. (2 John 1:10, 11)

      I eventually made the decision to avoid her, remove myself from her path (Romans 16:17) and let her have her “blessed control”. Lord have mercy, but “control” is only fun for a narc if they can control YOU. Take away the target (you) and control is no longer so much fun. But that is also when narcs reveal their true identities, and are unable to control their abusive tongues or maintain their public facade. She did not endear herself to others who now became targets of her control.

      Eventually, I went NC. I had to….to restore my sanity. I was on the brink of suicide, literally. It was tough….it is still tough. Few people understand, especially family (including spouses). Most condemn me, & blame me for “destroying the family” (sic) but all are speechless when I responded by saying she had already destroyed the family w/o any help from me.

      I have released her to God, and He is the One in control, not her. I have not retaliated against her, nor sought revenge. Yet, I am falsely accused of a variety of offenses (including being unforgiving, bearing a grudge, etc.) which is actually rather humorous since I have not uttered a single word to her or about her in over 3 years, so exactly what am I guilty of?
      I began to learn that having boundaries was not punitive, but about protection and preservation. My boundaries were about protecting myself and my family, not about “punishing” her, nor about holding a grudge. If you protect yourself by locking doors at nite, is that holding a grudge against your neighbors?

      The biggest spiritual offense for me was that her narcissism was so engulfing, so pervasive, so overwhelming that it forced me to look away from the Cross in order to focus ONLY on her. “What fellowship has light with darkness??” (2Cor 6:14) It became intolerable as she claimed to love the very Savior that she denied by demanding to be Queen of the throne. There was no room for the King of Kings as long as she remained on her throne. There was also no need for a Savior because she was never wrong! No, she had no need to repent of anything and blamed everyone else for her own behavior. When I had that epiphany, I stopped trying to “honor” her, realizing that she was making a mockery of my faith while using it for her own purposes, not God’s. She consistently dishonored the word of God, and I found that I could no longer bear it.

      I am not saying going NC is right for every situation, nor am I implying that you should. But I am saying that you have a right to not be abused by the controlling nature of an elderly narc. I have searched the scriptures and cannot find anywhere that allows abuse simply b/c the person is old. If there is a wolf in the sheepfold, we need to flee, not feed it. We are all called to obedience and holiness and should run away from those who “maintain the appearance of godliness but deny its power…from such turn away.” (2 Tim 3: 5)

      Sorry for the long post, and I hope this is taken as affirmation and not accusation. I totally understand your difficult circumstance. I will be praying for you!

      • Kitkat

        Penny my dear, What you have posted here today is powerful. All I could think of when I read it was, powerful, powerful, powerful. You come from a position of strength and value, hard fought through experience. I believe you have helped many, many people with this post. You have given them the tools to say, “No More!” Bless you!

      • This is terrific…..may I use it in a post on my blog? I’m not sure how to reference a comment…..

  20. Anon

    The problem with ignoring a phone call from a narcissist then calling them back when you are ready is that you will pay for not being immediately available when they called. At least, this was my experience. I became conditioned to answering immediately as otherwise I would get the wrath when I called back. As one of my ex-husband’s other ex wives (I was #4) says, “He teaches us all how to behave.” I do call back other people at my leisure because they are normal and can handle the fact that I was busy with something that didn’t involve them. I’ve found that is just not the case with a Narc…or at least the Narc I know.

    • sandra

      I can relate! I don’t get wrath, but I will be expected to explain. And i cant have enough of a reason. So, soon enough we are back to my true purpose in life, which is being a sounding board for my N because of course I have nothing else to do…

      • UnForsaken

        Sandra, Exactly! We do pay for everything. I think these ideas are mainly coping methods that we can keep in mind for certain times we need them. They work sometimes and not other times. But I don’t see them ever working for the N….they make things work for Us. Ha ha!

        The methods aren’t worth it if they don’t work for you, but with constantly erratic Ns, who knows when any of these ideas Might come in handy? 😉

        “Nothing else to do”, yup. I’m just going to be ‘irresponsible’ for about an hour and refuel my batteries enough to be me! ❤

  21. Robert

    Thanks for the laughs! I love this article. I have known too many narcissists.

  22. Still Reforming

    Thank you, Pastor Dave, for the permission to not kick ourselves over those kinds of thoughts. I long, long tormented myself because I wished he would die. I never wanted him to die really, but I wanted the torment in my life to end – and the only way I saw it ending was for one of us to die. Little did I know how God would deliver me – 20+ years into the relationship. My abuser left us! I *never* would have thought that would have happened.

    Re: the phone, I have learned after too many calls from solicitors to not always pick up the phone. Caller ID is a real blessing. Then, somehow my husband learned my cell phone number, but I discarded the call without answering. (He has my home phone number and should call that number instead.) Then I blocked his number on my cell. Yay!

    Before he left us, I had taken to wearing earphones and my mp3 player because his hissing at me and snarling was getting too much to bear. I always needed to have a witness around if I would entertain anything he had to say, and even then, it wasn’t trustworthy or real.

    And I too am grateful for imprecatory prayers, for Jesus’ stern words to those who were fakes and users, and for the instruction to dust one’s feet off from a town and move on. I’m in that process. Although I’m just learning how to stand again without being caught in the N’s whirlwinds, there are more frequent moments of life as it used to be – more than two decades ago. Moments of hope and laughter. Moments of looking into the sky and feeling closer again to God. Moments of interest in something other than the trial. Moments of life. Moments that have nothing to do with him.

  23. Gabrielle

    Thank God you just posted this. I was recently chastised by a psychotherapist who told me that if I did not forgive my mother and play nice with her that my own pain would never heal. I wrote him an angry e-mail about this and he responded by telling me that I obviously wasn’t grasping his point. This sent me into a tail spin of despair and suicidal rage that my mother can send me into so easily herself. Emotional attacks, followed by “What on earth is YOUR problem?” Of course they insist it has nothing to do with them and then they go along humming a self-righteous tune. All I can do in the pit of despair is pray that God is sending me help in the form of a guardian angel who sees my pain and my need for real love. Ever since my father died of cancer when I was 17 I have always wished it had been my mother. When my brother died 17 years later I hoped that my mother would realize the emotional abuse she had put us through. Instead she used it as an opportunity to draw attention and sympathy to herself. I can never express how I feel without eyebrows shooting up and people looking at me like I’m crazy. When will the madness end? Is blind mother-worship so hard-wired into everyone? My mother wants me to dote on her, to fret over her aging (she’s 84) and to complacently listen to her while she explains to me that my problems, needs and feelings are trivial and have no place in the world.

  24. Penny

    I thot I would add a comment about the phone. I too was abused and manipulated by my N’s incessant need to reach me by phone, email, text. etc. Any time, 24/7, I was expected to be available for the ridiculous to the sublime.
    Eventually, however, as I began to create strong boundaries, I realized that boundaries were about self-protection & self-preservation; boundaries are not punitive.
    I needed to protect my heart & soul from the N, so I went online and blocked email, phone, etc so I would no longer be verbally assaulted.
    I got a lot of blowback, but I persisted. I finally realized that even tho the N would not & could not change, it did not mean that I could not change! I COULD change how I related and responded.
    My N did everything to manipulate me back to “how it used to be”. She deliberately overdosed on Prescription drugs; she constantly had to be “rescued” only to be angry about being rescued and then attack me about being rescued.
    She created one crisis after the next, all in an effort to exert power & control. Finally, I “got it”. If anyone was going to change, it was me.
    So I did.
    I disconnected my landline telephone. No more phone calls or answering machine messages!
    I blocked her cell phone number. No more voice mail.
    I blocked her email address. No more nasty accusations, false emergencies, or silly requests (how do you make French toast? Where did you get your shoes? Who is your doctor?)
    Sure-I got major blow back and angry outbursts and more false accusations, but I was now in control and not the N. Family and friends who were her allies turned against me–how dare I have boundaries! Who did I think I was? Now I was the “scapegoat extraordinaire”.
    So be it.
    I finally realized that I really could protect myself from the whims and manipulations and machinations of the N.
    I had to grit my teeth and grow a steel spine & develop a shrewd sense of humor (oh! Poor thing has to actually pump her own gas? Horrors!) but I was finally free! Free from being objectified, free from the demands of perfection while also being set up to fail. Free from the idolatry that comes with trying to please the insatiable.
    Yes–it CAN be done!
    You are NOT required to be at the beck & call of the N. It IS okay to have your own life as a separate individual, valued by God, w/o being connected to a narc. You DO have a voice and opinion that does NOT have to be approved and reviewed by a narc to be valid.
    You are created in His image, not the Narc’s and as such, you are important w/o the narc. Your value is NOT intrinsically related to the narc but to God alone.
    Problem is, the narc thinks they ARE God.
    Prove them wrong! You bow to no one save God alone.
    The narc does not deserve your “worship”. Period.
    You are NOT required to answer the phone or even return calls. Wait 24 hours, then 48, then 72. Suddenly you will begin to discern the urgent from the manipulative.
    Take back your life. It’s yours, not theirs!
    Live YOUR life.
    You CAN do it. Seriously. You can.

  25. Wallace

    April 19th 2015
    Narcissism develops out of unmet dependency needs in early life. N remain infantile their entire lives, behind the mask of such ‘phony fronts’ as omnipotence and immortality. In old age they become increasingly desperate to have their lifetime of unmet dependency needs met as they lose control of their previous idols (various ego props) and the carefully manipulated entourage (they are Kings and Queens remember) of puppets they cultivated throughout their entire lives, Those they used and abused to cover-up and fill their essential emptiness, dependency and spiritual void which is the origin of their demons and sins. N will always develop the delusion of immortality, a Denial delusion that their lives are in fact finite and ultimately in control by God (someone other than them- selves). Be reassured from my nursing experience working in Healthcare that there is no worse Hell then the days, months of years that many N find themselves in as they get closer and closer to their final days on this earth and are finally, yes finally forced to account before God their Sins in this life. Witnessing that Hell for my own Mother is the primary reason I repented my own sins and now fully understand the Wrath of God that will reigns down on the un-Godly in this life well before the next one. Witnessing that Hell for her is for me, one of the core proofs of God’s divine justice. God despises impiety. And Gabrielle above, seems obvious your psychotherapist is still enmeshed in their own co-dependency needs that they never resolved with their own N parents and is now like any N by extension, just trying to control and subjugate you to the will of yet another N. Praise the Lord as he is the only true liberator from these Hells established and maintained by the enemy that N are contently attempting to put believers in. Praise to the work of God through this blog.

  26. Dear Dave, this comment may sound weird, but i sometimes wonder if part of the reason demons tremble is they know they will be spending eternity with unrepentant narcs in that lake of fire. We tend to think devils are more evil than humans. But are they?

  27. Diana

    Thank you for this post. When my N husband was diagnosed with lymphoma I thought God might work a miracle in this man for the better. However his actions proved the contrary much to my dismay. Once again he found a new way to reap pity, attention, and a way to manipulate people and avoid work by playing the cancer card. He always found time to go to movies and parties surrounded by sick people but said he couldn’t be around his grandchikdre because he might catch something. I kept asking why doesn’t God just let him die? And I felt guilty for it. My mantra to God was ‘break him or take him’! But my N is still here and done with chemo now and the first words out of his mouth were ‘I’m going to go take a road trip with a friend! I walked by his side and put my life on hold to be there for him, and his first thought was now how can I go have some fun and it didn’t include me. Thank you for this post and giving me the right to grieve and realize I just need a break; a break from games, selfishness, disrespect, and all the other nastiness that accompanies a sick mind. God grant me peace in whatever way you choose.

  28. amen!!! Leave the phone alone …. smiles and I do too! Carla

  29. rebecca semple

    Thank you, Pastor Dave, for this post!

  30. No longer confused or angry

    I felt the need to write about my experience and post it on this site. This may not be the best blog for this message, but here it is. Hope someone can benefit from my experience with a husband who is a narcissist.

    Lost in a world of your making.
    How did I get here?
    I never knew a place like this could even exist.

    I didn’t enter your world all at once.
    It was a process.
    Pity brought me there.
    Foolishly, at the time, I equated that with love.
    This is one of the greatest lies Satan tells us.
    But you knew exactly how to play on my kindness.
    You had honed this skill well over the years.
    As a child, you created a world where you were loved and accepted for who you are,
    A world where the feelings of rejection and confusion couldn’t exist.
    And it is in this world that you have lived your days.

    Did you knowingly pick me out to be your victim, your emotional slave, your co-dependent?
    No, probably not, because this is the only world you understand, your only reality.
    You would have wooed anyone gullible enough to be fooled by your charm and willing to sacrifice themselves for you.
    In reality, part of the blame is mine.

    Forty-two years I was a cast member in your play.
    Confused, trying to understand our relationship and your relationship with our only child, our beautiful daughter, when all the time there could be no relationship with anyone.
    It was all an act. We were each playing our parts. Charades.

    Little by little, I was losing myself until the culminating event when I truly and completely did.
    At last, my wake-up call.
    Coming to myself in the back of an ambulance, I struggled to understand what had happened to me.
    Memories of the day were gone. Completely.

    Then came the year of separation and soul-searching.
    Reaching out to my loving Heavenly Father for help, guidance, and forgiveness.
    Acceptance that I had made a grave mistake.
    Acceptance that I would never have the loving marriage I had always dreamed of and believed would be mine.
    Acceptance that God loves me even though I can never be perfect.
    Acceptance that I had bought into Satan’s lie and allowed pity to be a reason for marriage.
    Needing forgiveness.
    In His amazing grace, he finally got through to me that I am His child forever.
    This is the relationship that is getting me through.
    He is the one I can trust.
    I can give my undying devotion to Him without fear of losing myself
    Because it is In Him I will find myself, the self He created me to be.

    Never again will I allow myself to be used by someone to bolster their feelings about themselves.
    Though you are still trying to “woo” me back into your world.
    Never again will I enter that abusive place.
    I am wiser now.
    No longer the naïve nineteen year old swept away by the attention of an older man who made me believe he loved and cared for me more than anything in life when all the time, his motivation was to find someone to perform the part he needed them to play.

    Your now need for a caretaker because of health issues and this has been the determining factor for my decision to remain with you.
    But I can no longer play the part of the loving wife.
    I do love you, by God’s grace, with His agape love.
    I will show you that love, but that is all I have to give.
    Giving more would only continue the lie.
    You desire things to return to way they were.
    But that will never be.

    I pray that someday before you draw your final breath
    You see the love God has for you
    For, in reality, you never really knew that you were truly loved
    Either by Him, which is the best and highest love,
    Or by me.

  31. Karen

    I am presently struggling with these same thoughts and feelings towards my N-Mother. I fairly recently discovered that she was indeed a narcissist. I always understood there was a problem but didn’t know what it was. I also realized the problem is mainly between myself and her. My brothers seem to be exempt from it all. Anyway… I am a Christian and am struggling so much with my feelings of anger and hatred towards her. I have such guilt and fear for having these very unloving and negative thoughts for her. I have often given into thoughts of wishing her dead, because only then can I be truly free. This of course goes against everything I believe about Jesus. Does He not command us to forgive? And to honour our parents? And of course I cannot help but question why a loving God would allow me to endure this kind of treatment from a parent of all people for over 50 years. I cannot seem to find any peace at all in this situation. I am in need of spiritual guidance in this matter.

  32. Kitkat

    Karen, read through the many different blog subjects on this site. There is much wisdom here from those who have known the sting of a Narcissist. Sometimes just reading through gives you more strength than you have had in a long time. Pastor Dave also can be contacted privately on the contact tab on this site if you are really struggling. But, honestly the more you read about other people’s experiences the more freeing it will be for you, because you are not alone.

  33. Tammy

    Thank you Pastor Dave as always!

    My heart breaks for all of you here – you have been abused and your hearts have been bruised and battered for far too long. I was too. Both sides of my family were ripped apart by N’s. A grandmother… a brother… an ex-husband… all different types of N’s but still N’s.

    I want to encourage everyone by saying that although the memory of the pain will always be there, it is possible to heal. I didn’t know what an N was, but I did the only thing I could do with each one. Go NC (“no contact”). I know that is impossible for some of you and I grieve for you.

    I never wished any of them dead. Honestly I spent way too much time wishing they would change and being angry for their treatment of others and myself. That was all wasted energy. My behavior in response to them didn’t line up with my Christian values either.

    Pastor Dave has many great posts and good solid advice. There is so much to say, but I think I’ll stick with one of the most relevant emotions to this post. Guilt.

    Guilt for wanting out of a relationship with someone we are supposed to love… be it a husband, mother, father, relative, friend, or whomever. I don’t know everything, but I do trust the Word of God.

    So here is one passage that certainly applies here:

    Romans 16:
    17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,[f] and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

    Please don’t dwell on verse 20! God’s timetable and ours is not the same. Notice though that it says to avoid people that cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught.

    If we shared HALF the things these evil N’s have done, I’m pretty sure that divisions and obstacles would PALE in comparison.

    What is my takeaway from this? RUN. Run as fast as you can. Avoid to the 10th power.

    I’m getting off my soap box now & hugging everyone. 🙂

  34. noble

    I have drawn so much strength from reading these post. I believe God has led me to this blog because He knew I needed all of you and your stories to help me realize that I am not alone. For a very long time I tried to help all the N’s in my family, including my husband of 25 years – only after I realized that I had to leave him to save my life. I was so sick that I didn’t think I had the strength to leave – but God helped me every step of the way. I was married to a Christian narcissist who had everyone believing he was very spiritual. He spoke in tongues, prayed for people in work-places, quoted Scripture, etc., but the mask came off behind closed doors. I was in such fear that I stayed sick with ulcerative colitis, gastritis, and then shingles. I was a walking skeleton. That was my wake-up call to escape from this nightmare. When I stayed sick, he had complete control of me and everyone around me. He eventually convinced friends and family that I was mentally ill – and that is when I knew I had to strategically make a plan to move out of state. I left May 2 of last year and it took almost 7 months to regain my health and strength back from all the abuse – It has now been almost a year and my mind is clear and my health is getting better every day. I just want to thank you Pastor Dave for all your articles that have helped me so much over the past year and may God continue to use you mightily. And may God bless all of you with His overcoming strength, courage to stand for what is true and right, and His wisdom to be able to discern between good and evil. I don’t think that narcissism is a personality disorder – I think it is a self-control issue. God gives us a free will to be good or bad. Narcissist choose to be very bad!

  35. Kitkat

    Noble, so glad to hear you are on the mend, it is like rising from the dead isn’t it. A dead relationship, a dead marriage, a dead friendship, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free!

  36. UnForsaken

    This post rings true all the way around. Having cared for aging loved ones, I can attest to the to the guilty feeling that it would be so much better for everyone if they could go Home. And an N doubles this. The old film ” The Long, Hot Summer” has the N speak the last lines, ” Minnie, I feel as if I could live forever”. It’s amazing how true to life this seems in our modern life!

    In my present situation I find myself wishing that it would all just go away, not in death, but as if waking from a bad dream. It feels paranoid, but it’s real.

    In our hearts we are waking up from a metaphorically numb death – to – life. It hurts all the more because we didn’t see or feel it before, but it’s worth it! Truth is always worth it!

  37. Thank you for writing this. I’m so glad that I found this website! I need advice from people who really know what a narcissist is. I have been with this man for 8 years. We have two children together who both have autism, they are 3 & 4. My children mean everything to me and I feel the need to be with them all the time to make sure they have their needs met and are OK. In other words, I feel trapped in this relationship because if we break up I wouldn’t want him to gain custody or even visitation of my children. for 8 years now I have been trying to pinpoint what is going on with him at first I just thought he had trust issues, then I thought he had paranoid personality disorder because he accused me of cheating on him constantly which I wasn’t, then he would have what I thought were mood swings and get enraged over any little thing so I thought he had bipolar, now I really know what is going on and he either has narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic sociopath.
    my life was headed in a good direction and then I met him. I had just graduated a university, I had a savings, I had an IRA and it was just me and my do, I was planning on going to grad school, everything took a turn for the worst. the first 4 months were too good to be true then I started seeing red flags I am codependent so of course I thought I could help him.
    He lies to my face, goes behind my back, has NO remorse, NO conscience, No empathy, rage, ignores me, minimizes everything, criticizes. He has a very violent past. Impulse control issues, gambling addiction, excessive porn, has been addicted to cocaine right after I got pregnant with my first baby. We broke up and I moved away, so depressing. I took him back under the condition that he/we would go to counceling and he would take meds. I still thought it was bi polar. He was really mean and selfish throughout both of my pregnancies, if I have a migraine, hurt, stressed, etc. Blames me for everything, denies everything, gives me the silent treatment every time I try to resolve conflict if I say he did something that I didn’t like or that’s not ok. He will either get very angry at me or leave or put himself to sleep. we can’t have a conversation or even an argument it is more like an attack on me and then he will shut down never give me a chance to explain or care to hear my reasons.
    The fact that our children have a disability and aren’t like all the other kids their age he is in denial and blames me. He is constantly doing the opposite of what I request regarding our kids either out of spite or to prove me wrong. at least if we are together then I can always keep an eye on my kids and make sure they’re safe and okay. 5 days ago he became enraged and threatened to leave me. I need to learn how to set boundaries with him. I’m realizing that I am in a very abusive relationship – emotionally and verbally. It’s hard because I can’t walk away because I’m stuck here with the kids. He is covert, I am his target. Nobody sees his evil dark side except me when no one is looking. Wolf in sheep’s clothing! Everyone thinks he is the nicest person, and no one believes me. He started a smear campaign against me years ago, everyone takes his side and thinks he is a victim – even my own family and friends! I’m isolated. I have a home daycare 12 hours a day, but only a couple clients because I have either been pregnant or had therapists at my house everyday for 3 years. I’m constantly busy. I only sleep 3-4 hours a night. I have no money. I can’t move or I lose the little income I have with my home business.
    If anyone has suggestions about what to do or say ( or what not to do or say ) in general, or with boundaries. Rationalizing with him doesn’t work. We tried counceling before I ever got pregnant and he tried to convince the lady everything was my fault or checked out. She told us to break up and that I was a codependent.
    Also, he has a 10 yr old daughter from his last relationship. I have been like a mom to her since she was 18 months old. she is now extremely manipulative, lies to people’s face, hurts people, break things, needs to get her way and have all the attention all the time he lets her get away with it and if I say anything he jumps down my throat, what do I do?

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