It’s Narcissist Friday!
I have read many books about narcissism and abuse over the years. Most were what I would call teaching books. They exposed the reality of the abuse and the methods. They gave explanations for the odd and cruel behaviors of the abusers and the responses of the victims. Some were books about the church’s response or the teachings of Scripture. Some were written for the professional community and taught therapy strategies and more.
Other books were written by victims sharing their pain and struggle. Some offered nothing other than their story. Others were angry toward men, counselors, church, or anyone else who hurt them or failed them. These books are usually less than helpful for those who read, except to stir up emotions.
But there are a few books that I might call “survivor stories.” I mean those who have been through the pain of narcissistic abuse and have found freedom and value and joy in life again. There are few of these books, especially ones that are genuinely helpful for other victims.
So I was pleased, even excited, to read Megan Cox’s book, “Give Her Wings.” Megan has been able to look back on her struggle, thanks to a good personal journal, and walk through not only her feelings but the actions and attitudes needed to come out victorious. She is remarried, has great relationships with her children, and works to help those who are suffering from abusive relationships. She is a success story.
But Megan is not the kind of success story we used to read about in the magazines, the “My Problem and how I Solved It” crowd. No, she struggled. She hurt. She felt the confusion and the rejection and the shame and the grief. And she remembers it.
That’s what makes this book so helpful. This is not a counseling book, not a 12-steps-to-victory book. This is not an angry book or a whiney book. This is one woman sharing her heart and the things she learned through the long battle. Those who read this book will be encouraged, but they will also be accepted and valued.
And they will learn. I appreciate how Megan has been able to weave the techniques of abusers into the story in such a way that readers identify and find helpful words of encouragement and practice. You will read about projection and gaslighting and many other things you have read about in other sources. But you will read about these things from the perspective of one who has walked the walk.
As I said, this is not an angry book. There are few details of Megan’s abusive relationship. Her intent is not to batter or counter-abuse those who hurt her. Her intent is to be honest about the pain, without providing a “soap opera” for readers. She talks about her children and their struggle because her readers will have children. She talks about her extended family and her church family because her readers will face the same painful and confusing reception.
This is a book you can share with victims in abusive situations. It will help them understand more of what is happening and give them hope. This is also a book you can share with someone who is watching such a relationship from the outside. It will not turn them off and might even help them see more of the truth. Someday Megan’s and, perhaps, your children will read this book and understand a little more of what happened and why things worked out as they did.
About the only criticism I had is that the book needs both an index and a bibliography. The index might actually take away from the story format of the writing, but it would be nice to find again where she talks about certain things. (Write in the margins!) Also, Megan mentions several books you will want to find. Fortunately, some of these books are listed on her website.
The book is not about narcissism, although many in narcissistic relationships will understand why I recommend it. Nor is it technically a teaching book. You probably will not learn counseling techniques or find detailed explanations of narcissistic or abusive behavior. What you will find is a friendly and comforting voice, the voice of someone who has been there.
The website: www.giveherwings.com
The counseling ministry: www.mountaincitychristiancounseling.com