Safe People

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

(I am aware that this blog continually attracts new readers.  With somewhere around two hundred posts on narcissism and narcissistic relationships, it can be challenging for anyone to really use this material.  The search function works very well, if you know what to ask for.  Otherwise, we will all have to wait as the blog posts are sorted and categorized in preparation for a new (and exciting!) website.  So for the next few weeks, I want to dig back into the archives to pull out some of the posts that seemed most helpful over the last few years.  Please feel free to comment.)


A good friend wrote to me personally about my last blog post.  The main thing I want to share here is his suggestion that those who must deal with narcissists should “spend lots of time with safe people in your life.”  What a great thing to remember!

Safe people?  Who are they?  Some reading this will have difficulty thinking of anyone, or at least anyone they can spend real time with.  Part of the problem many of us have suffered is making the assumption someone is safe only to find out later that the person used us or came back at us with an attack.  Some of the people in whom we have trusted most have betrayed us most hurtfully.  Self-protection dictates that we are very narrow in our definition of “safe.”

So let’s define safe people with some “off the top of the head” statements.  See if you agree.

  1. A safe person is someone without a vested interest in the outcome, other than your welfare and happiness.
  2. A safe person is someone who is willing to let you make a mistake, even though he or she has shared concerns.
  3. A safe person is someone whom you respect, but for whom you don’t have to measure up.
  4. A safe person is someone who won’t remind you of things you have said or done just to manipulate you to do things his or her way.
  5. A safe person doesn’t care about your situation as much as he or she cares about you.
  6. A safe person is one who will tell you when they think you are full of %$#& and expect you to do the same for them someday.
  7. A safe person is willing for you to share what you want when you want; and you still enjoy time with each other no matter what has been shared.
  8. A safe person is someone who affirms you without using that affirmation to manipulate you.
  9. A safe person isn’t perfect and doesn’t expect you to be.

So could a family member be safe?  Of course!  In fact, you might find that he or she has been waiting for you to come.  Could a non-Christian be safe?  Sure, as long as you remember that there is a difference between you and there are limitations to your connection.  Could someone of the opposite gender be safe?  Yes, but the risks are obvious and serious.  Actually you might be surprised at the person the Lord will use to help you.  In fact, a safe person may already be near.

Where would you go to find such a person?  Well, I would love to tell you to go to church and I believe that there are probably safe people there, but I know that church is part of the problem for many believers.  So, perhaps an interest-based group from another church or an exercise group or school group.  There are people who would love to have a friend who would care and would reciprocate in safe ways.

My suggestion is that you ask Jesus to send you someone.  Keep your guard up.  If this person is safe he or she will understand.  Share only what you are led to share.  Trust Jesus only, but let Him lead you to safe people.

And listen—if you blow it, don’t worry.  The Lord knows the need of your heart.  He knows both your desire for a safe person and your fear.  When you are betrayed or hurt, go to Him.  He is always safe.

Would love to read your comments!


Filed under Legalism, Narcissism, Relationship

10 responses to “Safe People

  1. graceandgiggles

    Great post! My safe person thus far on my journey has been Jesus Himself. He has proven time and time again that He’s trustworthy and ALWAYS has time for me. Recently I’ve felt He has been my safe Person to execute in me the characteristics of a safe person for others who have had similar experiences with church, etc.

    Thanks Dave,

    • What is sad is that so many believers have never understood that Jesus is their “safe Person.” They have been taught that He is angry or distant, but not that He is near and that He loves them personally.

      There is always a need for relationships with others and I would certainly encourage people to pray and seek safe people, but you are right on. There is One who is always safe.

      • susanbotchie

        And our Lord Jesus never carped at any of us. Ever notice narcs do alot of moaning an groaning, and about the same rubbish over and over…ugh!

  2. Kay

    Dave: Thank you. My daughter and I are in the healing process to change the “co’dependency” mud-trap we’ve both been in for years. Neither of us were safe to each other, others or our own selves until this last year. Co-dependency is not in the same sense as narcissism, yet the recommendations for ‘safe’ people is exactly the same. It shows me just how parallel they are in the scheme of psychosis recognition. As soon as I heard a speech by a very public person, I KNEW right away: “here is a narcissist”. Nothing has changed in this one’s life except the ability to hide a little better.
    Even if we as Christians are not dealing with either of these two major pitfalls in someone’s life, the recommendation to have “safe” people to walk with whether in church, family, employment, neighbors, etc. Not everyone is safe for every conversation; that is a hard lesson to learn. Sometimes, oftentimes, it is the person you are not buddies with daily. There is a word I use occasionally, familiarity, which can mean: I KNOW your hangups, personal choices, you don’t really have to tell me anything, because I know you so well.
    Many people consider ‘talking’ the same as ‘fellowship’ and get into big trouble. Sometimes we so don’t want anyone to know our sin that we choose ‘friends’ rather than Christ-appointed mentors/ counselors.
    I would say for myself, tread lightly with people you see “using” their family, other friends, co-workers, church workers, gossiping, insinuating remarks. I see it at church regularly. Would I chose to confess to those how failure-ridden I am? NO!!!!

    • The desire for safe people has opened most of us to a great deal of pain. We want to trust family and Christian friends. But you are right, be careful of the burdens you try to share with others. Some things can be shared with some people, not everything with anyone. Discerning that is a challenge.

      While it seems particularly sad that we cannot share with other believers, we must remember that they are on their own journeys. Their flesh is still active, just like ours. So do be careful. But trust that Jesus will send someone when you really need someone. It may not even be someone you would have considered a friend before. And trust that Jesus is always there Himself – for you.

  3. Thank you for this. I will be praying for such a person for myself. I’ve already been praying for just such a friend for my husband.

    I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks now and am just now finding the nerve to comment. Your series on narcissists has been very informative and helpful.

  4. Cecilia K

    I absolutely agree. Anyone who has to deal with a difficult person in their life, whether it be a narcissist or another type, needs to have a safe person to go to, to share what’s going on. I believe it is essential for mental health, and yes, Jesus is going to be the safest One, but it’s also nice to have a “flesh and blood” safe person, too. : )

  5. This is a great list. I discovered that as I developed healthy boundaries, I found more safe people to be around. It’s also important to recognize that people change and so do relationships. Someone who was safe once may not be any longer, and it’s okay to move on. Thanks for sharing this; it fit in with some things I’ve been thinking about lately.

  6. Cecilia K

    Hi everyone, I wasn’t sure where this would best fit, but this seems like a good place. I just wanted to share something that I got a kick out of last night. Now, to preface, I thank the Lord that He has healed me to the point that I no longer really need validation for my feelings about what I went through, but it’s still nice to hear when you get it, no matter where you are in your journey.

    Anyway, so last night, at Bible study, our discussion started off with the question, “What’s the dumbest argument you’ve ever had?” (To be honest, once we got to the end of the evening, I couldn’t see how that was relevant to what we studied—Hebrews 9, but oh well.) Anyway, I spoke up and shared that the only thing that came to mind (although there were so many more dumb arguments than this) was one Sunday when my (now ex-) bf (the narc, although I did not call him that to the ladies present) and I were making sandwich wraps for a church fellowship luncheon, and he watched and micro-managed me as I made mine, instead of focusing on his own. Four times he noted something that (according to him) I was doing wrong. I told him I didn’t like being micro-managed, but he defended himself, insisting that he was right, of course.

    “Martha Stewart says that food is a science, [“Cecelia”].” (I translate that to mean that it has to be done in an exact way.)

    “Well, ‘Gavin’, it’s not an exact science. There are variations in people’s tastes,” I said, and was trying to convey that some folks may like the way I was making mine, and others may like them his way. No, I was so blind that I couldn’t see how right he was and how wrong I was. Anyway, don’t recall how it ended, but it was a dumb argument—over sandwiches. (But of course, it really wasn’t about sandwiches, was it. It was about his desire for control vs. mine for personal independence/autonomy/freedom/individuality.

    Anyway, my point in sharing this with you all was that after sharing Just That One Incident with the group, one of the ladies present said I made a good decision to not date that guy any more! Oh, YES!! That was a great moment!

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