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.)
In my recent post on living with a narcissist, I suggested that you must be prepared to fight. What I meant was that the conflict doesn’t seem to end. It isn’t “knock-down, drag-out” fighting as much as it is a constant barrage of intimidation.
In fact, very few narcissists are up to a real fight. They will tell you that they don’t fight. You just don’t understand. And, when you think about the last fight, you were probably cowering in some defensive position wishing they would just stop. But they weren’t fighting. He or she was just trying to tell you something.
Those who are in relationships with narcissistic people already know what I mean here. You have faced this conflict, perhaps for years. You measure your success by the extent of your loss. If you only lost a little of the argument or the agreement, you feel like you won. But you still lost. You always lose.
You see, narcissists invest much more in winning than most people do. They must win. To lose, in almost any way, suggests that they are somehow less than they want to be. If you grew up in normal relationships and with a normal understanding of who you are, you understand that you win some and you lose some. The narcissist didn’t learn this. When they lose, it’s because someone cheated or those who determined the winner were flawed. Some outside circumstance intervened. Here’s a common exchange:
You: I think Ankara is the capital of Turkey.
Narcissist: No, it’s Istanbul.
You: Istanbul is larger, but I don’t think it is the capital.
Narcissist: Yes it is.
You: Well, I’ll look it up.
Narcissist: Waste of time.
You: Look, the encyclopedia says Ankara is the capital.
Narcissist: Let me see that. This thing is wrong. We should have gotten rid of these years ago.
(At this point you wish you hadn’t said anything.)
Narcissist: Well, I was right. It says here that Ankara used to be called Angora.
You: But you said it was Istanbul.
Narcissist: No, I said Angora. You just used the modern name and that threw me off.
Now, notice what happened. When you first opened your mouth you were assumed wrong. The source, because it supported you, must also be wrong. But when the narcissist realized that you were right, the argument changed. Suddenly he didn’t say what you thought he said. He is willing to lie or able to deceive himself into thinking that he meant the right thing after all. If you challenge him, you are now starting another argument. What seemed to be his error in the beginning was your fault and it will be your fault if you persist in the new argument.
The husband or wife of a narcissist goes through conversations like this several times a day. But most of them center on more personal things. Your opinions, your personal habits, your appearance, your role in the family, your discipline of the children—anything about you is fair game. You are on the defensive—always. If you dare to say something about him or her, then the real conflict begins. Not only will it be necessary to prove you wrong, you must admit your error and repent.
If you think this is too strong, you are blessed. You have never been there. But as you read the accounts of those who have suffered under narcissists, whether in the literature or on websites and blogs, you will see a great amount of anger. This is the anger of those who have been pushed down for a long time and finally have the opportunity to express their pain. If you work with a victim of a narcissist, perhaps as a counselor, you will probably observe someone who acts confused, downtrodden, discouraged, and very tired. This is someone who has been in a long and losing battle.
Setting new boundaries, finding new support, limiting the effect of the narcissist—these things will serve the victim very well, but will threaten the narcissist. Be prepared for the conflict to increase.
Interestingly, the legalist system brings out the same anger. Those who are constantly criticized, never able to measure up to some invisible standard, become afraid and confused. If they are able to break away, they express strong anger toward those who manipulated and abused them. Legalism is a narcissistic system. Its leaders are often narcissists who have found a way to look good by pushing others down.
67 responses to “Fight with a narcissist? Yeah, right!”
This is very painful to read. One of your recent posts noted that many of us have some narcissism active. May one day, the Lord will finish His work cleansing and replacing with His very Being IN ME.
This brought back MANY conversations where, if I am going to be in the conversation at all, must be ready at every turn to prove my version, thoughts. This is a pacifist, at best, “peace” advocate, intelligent. This is where I faced Agape love and still cannot be in the presence more than a couple of hours at a time. There is no winning, as you said, and I walk away needing a reduce-pain shower. Some days aren’t too bad, but mostly…this also relates to co-dependency, anger, probable abuse, flesh, on-confessed/unrepentant sin.
Since I can pray, I have hope for a miraculous healing….in me. I can see Christ’s heart.
Wow, this explains the narcissist well, I think. I wonder if all narcissists are verbally abusive. I would think they are all, by definition, emotionally abusive, So I expect verbal abuse would go hand in hand with it. What do you think?
I am sorry. I just realized that I hadn’t responded to your comment. I think those who live with narcissists would all say that narcissists are abusive, but some covert narcissists are pretty good at making you think you are the abusive one. I need to post on the difference between overt and covert narcissists. So, overt narcissists, while rarely physically abusive, are usually emotionally and verbally manipulative and abusive. However, they would deny this. They just have a way of speaking that has little or no account of your feelings.
that makes sense to me. I’ll look forward to hearing your hotughts on the two types. And btw, some who live with abuse, even though they know life is hard, would not recognize it as abuse. Either they are used to it and think it’s normal, or as you suggest, the narcissist convinces them it is their fault. Insidious, huh?
My narcissist really made me believe that everything was my fault and if I wouldve only did this or that differently or not have said something that got him angry he would not have raged on me. Of course his raging was my fault. When he would be done with the raging he would say “OMG what have WE done” What does he mean WE? I have done nothing but sit here and listen to him spew hate at me believing that it was all my fault and he had the right to rage. His apologies were always that he apologized for his part of it and that I should apologize for my part. My part of what? I do apologize but Im not going to apologize for his raging. I dont even know what I did. He was so intent in being honest about feelings and being intimate with our thoughts. When I would do this than I would be punished for whatever was on my mind and that I should not be feeling those things. Instead of making me feel safe he made me fear his retributions. We mustve broken up about 20 times in a 3 year period. He moved on so quickly too which was devestating. I dont think I deserved any of this and have never encountered an individual like him. I wonder what it is that makes me love him so much. I cannot be in love with someone who tries to destroy my self esteem.
Kitty, I don’t know if you still follow this blog, but I empathize with you, as I know Pastor Dave’s other readers do as well. My ex-boyfriend wasn’t usually one to share blame (re: “What have WE done?”), but your mention of that brought to my mind how on a few occasions, my ex would say, “I can’t do this on my own, [‘Cecilia’],” as in, he couldn’t hold our relationship together on his own. THAT always infuriated me! How arrogant of him to imply that I wasn’t trying to work at the relationship! And how clueless of him to think that what he was doing was HELPING our relationship. These kinds of people really are a mystery to the rest of us. Their brains function in such an abnormal way. I mean, did he ACTUALLY think he was doing all the work and the loving and the caring, or did he know, in reality, that he was a big jerk and was deliberately trying to mess with my head?
And ditto on the multiple break-ups. It is such a comfort to know I’m not the only one. I read one other reader who mentioned multiple break-ups as well, and I have no doubt that is the experience of many who date narcissists/narcissistic personalities.
I have no idea if my ex has moved on or not…would not be surprised if he did, but I also know that until the Lord opens his eyes and humbles him, he will continue to destroy every relationship that he attempts. He may convince some poor girl to marry him eventually, but it will not be a happy marriage. And as for me, at this point, I don’t really have a desire to start anything new. Though I feel healed, I am still relatively exhausted, and I would have a very hard time trusting and opening myself up to any man right now.
I am right there with you. Know you are not lone in this experience. 😦
I have worked with what I know understand is a narcissistic female. The “checklist” of traits and behaviors is unnerving. Given that I love my job, but understandably loathe working with this person, I am at a loss at what to do with my new found realization. It’s like pulling the parachute cord to only find out that you have a small hole in your chute and the journey and the landing are going to be painful collectively. One day, I am called to “fix” a computer issue at this persons work space. The problem is the sentances are double spaces and there is not way to remove the space. I click the appropriate functions, “single space”, “change 10pt to 0pt, before and after.. and ask if they understood what the path to resolve was as I can demostrate or offer to again let them do the “clicking” and learning… the reply.. well I know that this mean “our firewall provider” must have alter things because I have never seen that before and I have done many presentations…. I explain that our provider cannot affect change on Microsoft and that as we use 2003-2007 OS, this function has been around for many many years. Reply, “no, I would know if as I have done many projects on Word”…. Really!! Every day is like this, denial, boost of brilliance, accuse me of being a bully and lie about who actually complete what tasking… I just want a “dog” whisperer to come to the office and teach some calm submission to either her or me… as one of us is going to have to parade the battle scars.
Liza, thanks for sharing this. Your “conversation” is a great example of what I tried to communicate above. It also brings out the point that the narcissist is often incompetent. They get their jobs and move up the ladder based on how they manipulate the system, not on how well they do their jobs. In fact, many narcissists could not do their jobs apart from people like you who make them look better than they are.
So, with that in mind, here are a couple of thoughts. First, you know that you will never win an argument against this person. No matter what you do, she will twist things against you. That’s okay if you expect it. Instead of arguing, you have some other options. You could just ignore her dumb statements and do your job. Or you could let it be known what kind of things she is asking you to do. You could log how much time you have spent fixing things that shouldn’t have needed fixing. You would have to be careful, of course, or she will make you look vindictive and petty. So, you keep track of what you do for everyone. IT professionals should not be used to fix idiot problems in Word. When you are asked what you do, by the company, these things are simply part of your report.
Now, of course, I don’t know your job or what you already do for keeping records, so take all of this with a grain of salt. My point is that your company has an incompetent employee and there may be a way of making that known by simply doing your job carefully and thoroughly.
I would be very interested in more of your story with her. Many people work with narcissists and need both encouragement and ideas on how to survive with them.
I think the reason that narcissists are often incompetent is that they are know-it-alls. Since they already know everything, they don’t need to learn anything, particularly not from other people, who are stupid anyway.
LOL!! Yes, they know EVERTHING!!
My father-in-law liked to tell everyone he was an “engineer.” Shortly after I met him, my brother who was in school for mechanical drawing, asked my father-in-law to look at this work, please let him know if he was doing it right.
My FIL looked at it, nodded, grunted, and said “seems good to me.”
My brother was a bit disappointed that he was not given any critique, suggestions, or praise.
I learned later that “engineer” was an HONORARY title given to my FIL! He was head of an assembly line!!!!
Why not just be honest????
RE: ” I just want a dog whisperer to come to the office and teach calm submission to either her or me…” I made a similar comment one morning after church, feeling convicted of my own reactions (sinful) to the person in my life who exhibits N behavior. I said ” I just want to do it better. Nearly in tears.”
I realize now, no matter how ” better” I do, the buttons will be pushed until I combust, or collapse. Losing is not an option, any expression that is not in accord with there thinking is a challenge to them…
A family member said something to the affect of ” I am not afraid of you ( N ) I will come and rescue my hurting loved one/ones from you. The N responded to the “threat” by going and purchasing a very, very, nice expensive long wanted gift for one of the loved ones, making it exceedingly more difficult to get everyone on the same page to leave the N.
I had to say to the well intentioned rescuing person,” Please do not say things like that. It is regarded as a challenge, and he will not lose.”
“But they weren’t fighting. He or she was just trying to tell you something.” – Very similar to what my ex would say when I would say he was controlling, micro-managing or obsessing about one of my innocuous habits that he didn’t like. He would say, “I’m trying to help you.” Umm…okay, well, if I found it helpful, would we constantly have this discussion/fight? Would I get upset with you? Hello! The situation has not changed, so clearly, you need to find a new approach, but of course not…because I’M the problem…I’m stubborn, disrespectful, lazy, etc.
And you are absolutely right about always being on the defensive. I had a revelation about this sometime after we had broken up (one of the times…don’t remember which, but I believe one of the later ones). I reviewed all of our fights that I could remember, and it seemed that the majority of them began because HE was offended by/didn’t care for something I said or did, whether it was legitimate or not, and I realized that I spent much of our relationship trying to defend myself, eventually realizing that it was futile…that I would never win, like you said.
A relationship shouldn’t be draining on a person. I believe you will feel energized by the right person instead.
Cecilia K. , loved both of your posts ! Esp. familiar with the blame of “disrespect, laziness” Etc…..It always seems they blame us for their own faults.
Some are energized by unhealthy relationships, but I believe they must already think somewhat that way , and love being with a reflection of themselves. “We’re so much alike!” But that is often a lie from the N too, and they will be crushed and puzzled just like everyone else.
I find that an extra need for space before jumping into a relationship to be a healthy one. Ns can often sense when someone has been through a tough time recently and play up to it, so it’s like a emotional safety mechanism that kicks in for us.
So happy for you as you’re well on your way to healing!
How familiar this is! Except my ex would say, “I’m trying to teach you something.” I was usually completely disinterested, inwardly rolling my eyes. Because if he ever saw me roll my eyes at him, I was in trouble!
My daughter used to do it and it infuriated him. He regarded it as a threat…from a teenage girl! She and I both tried to show him respect, but it is impossible to truly respect a narcissist.
Alone, I understand about the eye rolling. I’m sure I did a lot of inward eye rolls, too, but probably also a lot of outward ones, because I just couldn’t contain them all the time. But in general, of course, I was never allowed to react in a manner that most would consider justified in light of the way he treated me. I know that’s common to all victims of N’s.
My ex has always spoken very lovingly about his daughter, but he seems to think she can do no wrong. I actually never got to meet her, so I cannot speak to that one way or the other (that’s a story I would rather not explain). Even if she is a really sweet girl, she is still a sinner. I have pondered whether his absolute adoration of her Might be due to the fact that in her very young years, she has loved to imitate her father in everything he does (at least, that’s the way he describes their relationship); at this point, she still sees him as a hero; she thinks He can do no wrong. But as she enters her teen years and begins to think for herself and probably rebel at least a Little, and as she starts to see that her “perfect” dad is not so perfect after all, what will become of his absolute adoration?
I don’t know. It’s very possible that he will still say she is perfect. He might not be oblivious to the changes in her behavior, but he will most likely blame them on her mother, his ex-wife (whom he told me numerous times was a narcissist – “Hi pot, I’m kettle,” right?). It is very possible that he will not hold his daughter responsible for any of her actions, just like he does not take responsibility for his own actions, and therefore, the cycle will perpetuate itself. BUT, I do realize I am totally speculating. If the Lord intervenes and brings him to his knees and an awareness of his narcissistic pride and actions, he could stop the cycle. That would be a day for rejoicing!
Thank you, UnForsaken. To be honest, I will own the faults he pointed out in me. From a human standpoint, they were understandable, given the circumstances, but from a scriptural standpoint, I was/am without excuse. I guess it wasn’t so much him pointing out my faults, but rather the WAY he pointed them out, that hurt so much. He definitely did not speak the truth in love, and some of the examples he would give of my faults just didn’t seem legitimate, but I would feel guilty nonetheless. And on the reverse, while he could definitely give as good as he got when it came to disrespect, I can honestly say he was never lazy. He was/is a very hard worker.
About being energized, that’s interesting…I hadn’t considered that some people might be energized by unhealthy relationships. I’m guessing you’re referring to the narcs, maybe? But your “We’re so much alike!” quote is uncanny…that’s just what he said on a few occasions. It was so bizarre…he saw us as so alike, and I saw us as very different. I honestly don’t think he was lying…I think he genuinely saw us as alike, which I actually found kind of admirable. It seemed like he naturally saw the positive, and I, the negative. When he would specify how he thought we were alike, I think I remember thinking his points were legitimate; but so were mine. What stood out to him was not what stood out to me…so neither of us was really wrong, I guess; it was just different perspectives. Nevertheless, it was still strange to me that he saw us as so alike. But then again, you could be right…maybe it was just a tactic of manipulation.
And yes, we need to be on our guards in terms of future relationships…I’m so thankful that I am now armed with this information. If I see signs of narcissistic behavior in the future, I hope I will get out a lot sooner than I did the last one.
Cecilia K. , there are so many different types of Ns and people! I used to think my N was usually right – but now I wonder if it is what he wants me to think. He is right about a lot: my mom isn’t logical, etc. But why play it up? He finds faults in others – true or Close to true – to make himself look and feel better. Then you feel like you have to agree with them, although there might be an even more important aspect they totally overlooked! Legit , like you said, but not the whole story.
The lazy bit, interesting. I didn’t mean in action( hard working), but rather in Mind. I think true laziness stems from an attitude, and pushing responsibility that is yours onto others. I see that a lot in a hard working Uncle of mine. Another N, by the way!
Aha, negative are we! I think that is from having the positive over- emphasized . Really, a negitive Truth can be a posative thing when we acknowledge it. But Ns want praise and More – flattery is the only satisfying form of praise for my N. It’s got to be over the top to seem real to him. Nothing I say is good enough, even if I mean it, because he thinks I think – fill in the blank – and couldn’t possibly take him that way. So, even my praise seems like a put down to him now. It Is his attitude, perspective. Really negitive ? I somehow think that you and I are just seeing the other half of the picture that everyone has been carefully coached not to see. Sure they have Great things that are true about them, but they are tooting their own horn and we can’t miss it. We want the Whole story. They are so insecure they can’t take it or understand our loving them in spite of their faults. They just don’t admit they have those faults – unless there is a Victim Benefit! 🙂
I do think knowing the signs will help in future, but have to give it to God. I recognized one, then two, then more, but there are so many kinds and they are pros at Deceiving. I think a lot of them start with themselves. I’m trying to begin with not deceiving myself so I have more truth to gauge their actions by. It’s hard not to live in denial!
Keep “arming” yourself too! I’m So Glad we found this site, because of the amazing info. and support!
Thank you, UnForsaken. I am grateful for your perspective. I like your take on laziness…had not thought of it in that light. I am very literal a lot of the time and forget that there are other angles/sides to things. God is good to bring others into our lives to expand our understanding!
And I see what you mean about a negative truth being a positive thing. And I realize even that being different is not necessarily a negative thing…I just wished that we were more similar in those areas—and they weren’t all differences that really mattered…I just wanted us to be more of one mind, even if it was something that wasn’t crucial (like our tastes in home decor, for example). But then, there were also differences that did matter, of course.
I’m glad you’re a part of this community. Thank you for your encouragement!
Cecilia K. – Thank You!! Your posts have deeply encouraged me too!
You’re so right about having the same mind with people. It’s nice to at least be Able to agree to disagree. It’s even nice to have a disagreement now and then when it helps us see better. But that is a Healthy relationship, something I’m learning more about each day.
It took me awhile to realize that my perspective wasn’t the one way off and I wasn’t being critical, that something was wrong with Their “normal”!
I thought that one of the really healthy/normal people I knew was Amazing – but although I still admire her, I know it’s possible to become more like her as I strive to be more like Christ.”Wow” should be the norm, at least if I’m admiring great character and thoughtfulness. There’s a long way to go, but I’m getting to realize God made each of us to be the best individual He can make us to be – not like anybody else!
Best wishes on your journey!
Hi Unforsaken, have been reviewing some of these old comments, and I wanted to share that I understand better now what you meant/mean about the laziness of Ns, or at least one aspect of it. A few months ago, my ex appeared to be making an attempt at starting up our relationship again. This was after nearly a year-and-a-half since we broke up. When I hesitated to get together with him, he offered to listen if I needed to talk about something. I responded that there is a lot I would like to talk about, but Not on the phone, and Not without a counselor or mediator present.
Then he began the whole confused/denial act – why would we need to talk with a counselor/mediator? He talked about all the rosy times we had together, and how “the last several times we hung out” went well. At first, I had no idea what he meant by “the last several times we hung out,” and then I decided that he must be exaggerating the Two times (that I could recall, anyway) (and not “several”) that we had seen each other since the break-up, but I would not consider them as “hanging out.” Anyway, I responded that yes, they were pleasant instances, but I just did not feel the need to mention my concerns at that time (he had not made an official advance at that point, plus neither instance was conducive to bringing up sensitive subjects).
Then, he denied that his request to have lunch was a “personal invitation” (i.e., for a date), but rather to discuss a matter that I had agreed to help him with months before that, which I had thought was no longer going to be an issue. I didn’t really buy his claim (we ended up talking about it on the phone, and it took, like, two minutes, so why would we have needed to have lunch to talk about it?), but rather than call him on it and risk creating unwanted drama, I just thanked him for clarifying what he meant.
But anyway, all that to say, it dawned on me a while after that exchange that yes, he is too Lazy to work at fixing our relationship. He is too Lazy to face the possibility – or reality – that He has a Lot of work to do on himself…that He was the problem in our relationship, and not me. He is too Lazy to endure the mental and emotional anguish that such a process would require. But of course, he is also too Scared to face his demons. Oh, that he would trust Christ to be his strength. He claims to have trusted Christ for his salvation, but it seems like that’s where his involvement with the Lord ends. So sad. It still breaks my heart b/c of “what could have been”…if only…
I feel slightly convicted that I got on my spiritual “high horse” regarding my ex not trusting the Lord to be his strength, because I realized that I am probably also guilty more often than I realize of not trusting Christ to be my strength through various situations, and either avoiding them myself, or trying to deal with them on my own.
Cecelia K., I’m so glad you came up with some new thoughts on my post! It is very hard to get all the layers of a N relationship in one sitting. For me it has been hard to trust my own perspective, since we are All human after all. But Ns try to influence our perspective and we buy it because we think that they are striving as hard as we are and “who are we to judge?” !
If you read about this kind of stuff, I’d highly recommend ” The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans. I got it at my local library and it helped me see how my N is effecting my feelings, thinking and perspective in ways I’d never thought possible. I thought I was just trying to be fair, but he totally misinterprets my idea of kindness as weakness. Nothing wrong with turning the other cheek, but we tend to use this out of context ( Ns are such a whole new ball game, and we didn’t even know we were in one ). We forget to stand up for ourselves the way we would for anyone else we love. The book covers so much of why I feel and respond the way I do, I just hope it will be as much of a blessing to you! ❤
I read your post carefully and believe that you are not on any high horse. You just had an eye opening experience. Most Ns – even if they claim to be Christians – do not Act like Christians, at least in their in their attitudes. To say that he isn't trusting Christ for his strength is perceptive, Not vain! What kind of strength does he have? Meanness. That kind of strength is not from God. If you turn to God and ask Him for strength, He provides the strength to be Kind, honest, perceptive and more like Him. This is obviously not the kind of strength Ns have. Ns desire a different type of strength, or define it differently than we do. We live in different "realities" or ways of looking at the world. Yes, we are all human, but I bet not all of us do things for the same Reasons, and that is what GOD is interested in. We care about our Ns as people. As the definition of Narcissism goes, they only think of us as tools and so can't care at all. You are absolutely correct in that he isn't getting his strength form God but that is because he doesn't desire that strength. The difference between Ns and ourselves is that they desire another type of strength than God gives, and we are Striving – failing or not – to get true strength and kindness from God. (O.K., my sentences are all twisted up, but hopefully you can see what I'm trying to say! )
Do get the book! It's not a Christian book per say, but still hugely helpful. It explains the concept above Much better than I can!
Cecilia K. I really hoped you would be encouraged. ” Information over-load” comes over me a lot and I have to spazz out and share with Somebody! But it’s hard to know if it’s encouraging to the other person to talk about the hard stuff. I’m still grasping it all myself, occasionally having night mares about what I just realized happened at such and such a time, years ago or today.
The reason I’m so excited about this book is because it’s the only one I could find at the library, and it helped me Understand the way they think differently and be less hurt. But I’m not sure the shock ever goes away. I mean, do we want to Not be horrified by cruelty? I’m realizing that half the shock for me now is that I was actually blind to so much cruelty before. I’m in “therapy” to see again…..or maybe for the first time!
I’ll be praying for your prayers to be answered. I need grace and peace too. In J.I.Packer’s ” Knowing God”, he described Peace as: 1. Strength from God to deal with ourselves and other’s humanity and 2. Contentment in what He has planned for us. My very loose translation, but he was saying it’s more than a fuzzy feeling. It’s knowing God is there and in control. It’s giving it back to Him the way you have done, saying you’ll take what He gives. Isn’t it the greatest comfort to know that He has promised to be there?! And also that He turns even evil that happens into our good. ❤
Sorry, I’m a little distracted today. The “concept above” I meant is: How abusers look at life vs. the way we strive to look at life. Why do they do these things? What are they thinking and how do they justify it? What reactions do they expect from us? The book answered all of these for me and More. She also does a great job describing healthy relationships and thinking patterns for us to more easily identify them after being so fully exposed to such twisted views.
The only downside I’ve found thus far is that the author doesn’t discern between an abuser who can change and one who will not, since you have to be close to the situation with a lot of perspective to know that. But it can be dangerous for some to follow her excellent advise unless they have a councilor for extra perspective or are Out of Reach of their N. She is talking about all verbal abusers: Ns, people with N traits, psychopaths, overt and covert abusers, etc.
She totally dumbfounded me in showing their “reality” vs ours. It’s how they look at the world, which is conveyed though their attitudes and behaviors and sometimes betrayed in their words. It’s amazingly easy to tell what an Ns heart-goals are with her tips. Of course our first responsibilities are our own behaviors and hearts, but these facts are meant to empower us to live with more confidence and safety. I know you want that as much as I do!
Thanks for sharing Cecelia K. ! I hope you can get something out of all this ramble. If your’e really interested, the book is probably available on Amazon and her website ( verbalabuse.com ) has other book recommendations.
Thank you for the book recommendation, UnForsaken. I Am interested in all the narcissist topic books. Would definitely like to check them out. Maybe I should move those further up my list (I already have 1 or 2 boxes of books waiting to be read), as it’s been so pertinent to my life in the last few years. And thank you for your perspective of strength, and how my N doesn’t desire God’s strength. I had never thought of it like that before. I know I really need God’s strength right now, because I have really been desiring to be with my ex again lately (although minus all the cruelty and drama, of course). It is really hurting me that his pride is more important to him than I am. I know I am not alone. I am praying for the Lord to help me be content with where He has me, and what He has given me (and what/whom He has Not given me).
I am so grateful for this site. Two weeks ago, with the help of this site. I was able to Finally End a narcissistic friendship. I am so grateful that it is over. From reading these posts, I am so able to see that I am not alone. Thanks
So glad you are out, Ann, and that you are finding healing through this site. If ending a narc friendship is anything like ending a narc romantic relationship, you might miss your friend down the line and question your decision. If so, pray for wisdom from the Lord and come back and visit the blog if need be. You are safe here.
I am grateful that I am out, as well. This site helped to realize what I was feeling was normal, I do pray, and that has helped too. Thanks for your wisdom.
I am with a N’s and we have broken up so many times in 3 years its unreal. I have no contact and somehow he gets back in he will drive by my house he will stop or he will leave something on my porch. Call me from an unknown number. This is the last time. We are going on a trip to Vegas for three whole days. We just had two fights about something this weekend. When we were first together we went to Florida an I wanted to call my daughter to come and get me. He took my phone and would not give it back then he told me if I used the hotel phone he wasn’t going to pay for it. I am scared a little this time he wants us both to leave our phones at home. I do have some money to get back by myself. Everyone including my counselor tell me I need to leave him we are not married but he is a control freak even his family are scared of him because he intimidates them. They don’t want to hear his mouth. My friends hate him my family hates him. So why don’t I get it that is the thing I do not understand and confuses me. Please help.
You already know what needs to be done. And you are the only one who can do it. There is no way on this planet I would go anywhere with anyone who told I could not bring my phone. I refuse to even go to seminars where phones are not allowed, no contact with the outside world. Nope. Ain’t happening.
How badly do you want to go to Vegas? Vegas is going nowhere in the near future — so go another time by yourself or with a trusted friend.
Re-read your post. You say you’re scared.
Your mind, your heart, your body is already telling you what to do, what not to do.
Please listen to yourself.
My spirit tells me he has another women he always has a back up he always has. I just do not understand why I just don’t tell him get lost. I have a wonderful job take care of myself my own new car a lot of friends that support me. I am trying to look within myself to ask myself why I deserve better. I am 68 but still goin strong thanks be to God and Jesus. The man got saved two years ago he does not read the Bible says he cant. Once he even said he was such a good man he was right up there with Christ. He does do some good things but it is because he cant stand to not have people like him there is something wrong with them if they don’t. He drives me crazy he has no flaws and if you tell him he does look out. I felt after this trip I was going to tell him good bye. His family loves me and want to know why I am with him that I could do better. My counselor told me he is a project to me. I am so easy going and I am an artist. Please I need to understand why I let him back in.
Whoa – I’ve heard THAT before, as in “I don’t need to read the Bible; God speaks to me and tells me what I need to know.” OR “I don’t have to pray and bother God; He knows what I need.” Like he has a direct line to the Lord when he lives like the devil. Nope, not buying into that demonic deception. AND yes ma’am, you are right…your guy only does the good deeds to be seen and admired by others. Lustful, wrong motives. Double-minded men are unstable in all their ways. PLEASE ditch this loser!!!
Emily, I understand it’s normal to beat yourself up and question why you keep letting him back in, but I hope it encourages you somewhat to know it’s normal to keep taking him back. If you read through all the posts on “Grace For Your Heart”, you will see numerous stories of folks who broke up and reconciled multiple times, including myself. These guys (and gals, too) have a way of convincing us they’ve changed or they will change or something. They’re very charming, and can be exciting people to be around. As Pastor Dave says, their super power is manipulating what people think of them. And I think ALL of us do have some good memories with them mixed in with the bad. So I think that’s partly what keeps us holding on and trying to convince ourselves that we can adapt to the unpleasant behavior.
And also, since they are also good at convincing us that the relationship problems are OUR fault, we keep thinking, if we just learn to love them better and be more patient, merciful, etc., then They will change. That’s what the books say should happen, but Narcs break all the rules. The principles of relationships from books and even the Bible, unfortunately, don’t seem to have the effect on Narcs that they do on reasonable people.
I am not trying to disrespect God’s Word; but unfortunately, practicing its principles doesn’t guarantee that we will get the outcome we are looking for, which is why we are meant to practice them strictly to glorify God and not for selfish reasons. But whereas showing kindness to a reasonable person will reap kindness most of the time, this doesn’t always happen with some people, like Narcs, as you have obviously seen for yourself.
About the trip to Vegas, I echo Kathy. Don’t go! You are not obligated. That is really scary that he doesn’t want you to bring your phone, and chances are good that while he’s implying that he won’t bring his either, he probably will secretly bring it and try to keep you from knowing. Or just as likely, he will pull it out while y’all are on the plane (to rub it in your face) and will have some excuse why it was okay for him to bring his but not for you to bring yours. Remember, the rules don’t apply to him (in his mind, anyway).
Thank you everything you say is true everything!!!! But how do you break it off and keep it that way. I feel like three years of my life are gone! The little gifts he buys me from garage sales are suppose to make him a wonderful man and I do not attack his character at all!!! all hell breaks loose. I know he doesn’t love anyone not his children he controls their lives he owns their homes, and they all are having nervous break downs one at a time. He is still wonderful friends with his first wife and exspects me to go to every function and if I don’t it is me. Today has been a bad day for me I almost called my counselor. I told him last night he needed anger management he turned it completely around. Today I felt I am the bad guy and as a Christian he is better then me. Please help me to know how to keep him out of my life. I am happy without him I have so many wonderful friends and my family and I put them all on hold for him please send me something tonite please.
Emily, I am so sorry. I didn’t see your response until just now. The desperation in your words is heart-wrenching…my heart goes out to you. And I know I don’t have the magic answer…I’m not sure there is any real way of guaranteeing that you won’t take him back. In matters of the heart, logic doesn’t always win out.
And the fact that I haven’t seen or heard from my ex-boyfriend for six months isn’t because of anything special I did or some super-human inner strength I had. I took him back numerous times, inspite of advice from friends and my own better judgment. I kept hoping that each next attempt would be better than the last. I tried deleting his contact information/unfriending him on FB (which got me a wicked tongue lashing/guilt trip from him via email) – I still took him back four months later when he contacted me and apologized for one of his many offenses. I knew I should insist on repentance for all of his abuse, but I decided that even one apology was a good sign, and since I had started to miss him, I gave him yet another chance, telling myself that I would insist we go to counseling and talk about our other issues. But since things were going well for a while, I put it off, reasoning that I didn’t want to rock the boat…maybe we didn’t need counseling after all. HA! That was foolish reasoning.
For whatever reason, when you have been apart from a Narc for a while, you begin to forget or minimize the abuse, and then all you can focus on are the good times you had with them, and your heart convinces you that maybe it will be better “this time” if you take them back, or that you’ll figure out how to endure somehow. I felt like I needed to put up with the bad in order to have the good. Nobody’s perfect, after all, I reasoned.
Ultimately for me, it took the Lord intervening and more or less forcing me to stay apart from him. How did He do that? By bringing my (ex-) boyfriend to the point where he no longer wanted to see me. I committed an offense that prompted him to ask me to choose between him and a close friend, and I chose her. After that, he told me not to contact him anymore. That was six months ago, and to this day, he has stuck to his no contact rule (and so have I). Normally, after four months, we would have been back together, so it seems pretty certain that he’s serious about staying apart this time. And now that I am armed with the information I have learned about narcissism, God has given me strength to stay away. I hardly even miss him anymore.
So I guess ultimately, my advice would be to pray and ask the Lord to maybe bring about a situation where the decision to part is mutual, or just something that forces you to stay away from this man. Tell God you don’t have the strength/will to do it on your own, but you know you need to. If you have a support group, ask them to help you get out and stay out. You could maybe also try telling your Narc to not contact you anymore, but of course, that might very well be met with rage/manipulation/verbal attack/guilt trip/etc. Just be prepared for it and try to stand your ground.
I also recommend writing to Pastor Dave privately via his email, which I think is dave(at)graceforyourheart(dot)com. It’s on this site somewhere. He is always inviting people to write to him directly for counsel.
I truly, truly don’t mean to sound harsh. PLEASE understand that the written word is NOT the spoken word. My voice is gentle, not lecturing.
You say you have been with him 3 years — and so what? You feel you have invested these 3 years and so you hate to waste them? Maybe a little more time, a little more investment, and everything will come together and you will ride off into the sunset together? It’s possible.
But a more likely scenario is, if you stay with him, you’ll have invested 4 years, 5 years, 6 years, always hoping that “this time will be different.”
It doesn’t work that way.
I think you have fear — fear that you’ll miss him too much, fear that you’ll be miserable without him, fear that he’ll keep bothering you, fear that you’ll feel the pain of a break-up.
Ummm…. how many years did you live WITHOUT him before you even met him? Pretty safe to say more than 3 years???
Perfect love casts out fear. And your heavenly Father, who wrote the definition of love, says “Do NOT fear”…..and He says it multiple times in His Word. Do Not Fear. Sometimes He says Do Not Fear- It is I.
He is there for you. Please — so many people take abusive partners back and then say “I wish I had stuck with the break-up last time.” And they say it multiple times.
Do Not Be Afraid ….of living without that man. Be VERY afraid of staying with him. Look at his children! Look at how old they are, how much time he had to be kind to them — and he chose not to.
DO NOT BELIEVE that you have any power to change ANYONE.
Leave him. When the fear comes, get in the Word.
God says Do Not Fear.
Who the heck do you think is telling you FEAR???
Get in the Word. Lean on God.
Leave this ungodly man.
You truly will survive. Honest, you will.
Emily, this is all true. You don’t feel yourself strong enough, but neither do we……and some of us have made it out! I believe you can do the same. There it no textbook answer as to how to do it, but the pattern suggested by Kathie and Cecilia K. is a great place to start!
One thought : when you are in a corner it is much harder to think creatively or any other way. ( I Know! ) So here’s an idea. Why don’t you take your Own trip? Get away, go somewhere he won’t guess or be able to follow you ( perhaps to a friends who would be willing to be a watch-dragon ), somewhere quiet you could give yourself space, some place that Forces a time of no contact as much for you as for him. Go NOW! I know this sounds drastic but you were planning on going somewhere anyway, why not make it a recharge journey or a kind of breakdown prevention? I know you are afraid, as all of us would be. I wish I could put my arms around you and tell you that this is the right thing …. but only God can show you what He really wants you to do. Only He can cast out fear. Listen and He Will show you!
Praying for You, Emily!
This is a fabulous idea, Unforsaken!! Emily, please do care!!
And, BEFORE you say you can’t afford it, think it through. Maybe you can’t afford something big — but what about even a local hotel for 2 nights where there’s a pool and/or a massage spa? What about a night of shopping and buying yourself some nice things?
When I left my first husband, the counselor told me “Every day do something nice for yourself.” Could be a bubble bath or a box of my favorite cookies (Milanos!) to have with tea in bed with a magazine that required no thinking, EVERY SINGLE DAY do something nice for yourself. Change that toenail polish! Have a haircut! Buy that box of candy or cookies!
if you can take a trip, take one!!
And block his number from your cell phone.
This time is all for you.
Thank so much please keep supporting me I need encouragement
Will do, Em! You are in my prayers!!! 🙂
I love what both Kathy and UnForsaken have said. I also wanted to add — and you might already be doing this since you are on this site — but go back and read through all the archives on narcissism, as you have time. I believe God has also used this blog to help me not contact my ex anymore, because I see from Pastor Dave’s posts and other people’s comments that it NEVER gets better, and also — and maybe even more helpful — I also see that our problems were NOT MY FAULT — at least not completely. Of course, I contributed to them in some ways, but I ultimately believe that HE was the PRIMARY problem. I don’t have problems getting along with other people. Just him. So learning about narcissism, being able to define his deranged behavior, has really helped me heal and given me strength to not weaken and try to contact him again (that combined with the ex’s request/demand for no contact, as well as the Lord showing me through a precious friend what REAL love looks like). So please read as much as you can. Knowledge is power, as they say. And pray, pray, pray for wisdom and strength.
You have ALL gave such good support I think it is coming the breakup. I sometimes feel he loves me but then his mouth says otherwise. I know it is not going to be easy. I have already warned my friends I will have to stop going to our church because of him. The last time I broke it off, he even tried to get to me there. Of course he always tries to make him self look perfect in everyone’s eyes so I feel like the bad guy. He will be where ever I go. If he passes me in my car he does a face or something. I will write on here everyday if I need to. Every single day. Sometimes I hate him so bad and other times I pity him knowing what others realing think of him.
Lov to all
Today I’m off from work and going out to meet another widow for lunch. it’s be nice to me day! I have a ministry and I have children — but I have ME TOO!
You do this too!! Go do something nice for yourself! It’s really not sinful at all to treat yourself to something, even just that Whitman box of candy that only has 4 pieces!
There was a woman who poured very expensive oil/lotion on Jesus, and that very spiritual Judas complained the money should have been given to the poor. But Jesus said that she gave Him what He needed at that time.
And He was completely God — and completely one of us.
And He needed to be — pampered is not the right word, but I think you know what I mean.
Hold your head up, Princess Em!
Thank You Kathy you are a gem!!! Today I am doing something for myself!!! That’s a promise if he gets mad oh well!!!! I have had enough of the ranting an raving!!! I am a very positive person my friends tell me all the time I am an encourager and lift them up all the time!!! I am learning by my own son to keep the negative out of my life it will kill you. Please be my encourager!!! Im not giving up!!!!!!!!!!
And please tell us what you did today for YOU!!!
I can’t wait to hear it!
Yesterday I went shopping by myself, bought dinner for myself. I am an artist an I worked on a picture I just started and enjoyed my quiet time. I am also a writer. I find my joy in the gifts God has given me. A wonderful day!!!! My hope was for my Narc to see the artist in me and to be proud, he doesn’t understand and I have over looked that, because everyone doesn’t always. But you know I am ok with me. I see everything in him I hate, but stay, I don’t know if I pity him. My counselor told me he is a project to me. I don’t understand.
“My hope was for my Narc to see the artist in me and to be proud.”
Do you have conversations with him in your head? He says “Wow. I never realized how artistic you are! I’m so proud of you.” And you feel some sort of satisfaction that all is well with the world — his eyes have been opened! And YOU did it!! Your love changed him!
Sort of like Beauty and the Beast? I hate that movie. Years ago my 4-year-old was watching the Disney version and “poor Beast” was so sad, so pathetic as he watched Beauty (unknowing to her) cry. And some petals fell from a rose.
Sigh. How sad for Beast. No one likes him or understands him. It’s him against the world.
And my fiancé was with my daughter and said to her “Poor Beast. He’s so lonely.”
ARGH!!!! I overheard this and went into the living room and said “No, NOT poor Beast, (daughter’s name). Poor Belle! He took her away from her dad. He locked her up. He said she has to be nice to him anyway. He’s a mean person and that’s why he’s so ugly. Maybe if he was NICE she would like him. That’s so stupid to be mean to people but want them to be nice to you.”
Are you doing that with your Beast? He was not created for you to “save.” You cannot set the prisoner free. You cannot open the eyes of the blind. It’s a myth, a fairytale. It makes money for Disney.
Paint for Jesus! He’s already proud of you!! You are His!! And He is NOT a beast! He’s the lover of your soul and you are His bride. Validation from GOD!!! That’s HUGE!!!
Do something nice again today for YOU and for HIS GLORY!!
Oh no — I may have misunderstood your post. You said “it was my hope..” and I thought you meant that was your hope as you were painting, but it didn’t happen.
Perhaps you meant that as it was something in the past that you’re pulling away from?
If I misunderstood — well, just ignore me.
Kathy I just wanted him to see who I am but he can never I know that. Since the Vegas trip he has pulled away and so have I. I feel as usual he has someone else. I hope so. I told Him I am tried of the games just tired and we have different goals in life his is money always money. Everyone tells him all the time that I am a beautiful woman and I make him look good. This is never commented on. Tonite he is to come to my house at 7:30 I want to end this as an adult and not play games. So pray for me, pray for me it will take everything I have to be strong enough. I am a 68 an a young 68 I still work have a great job. I have my own place and have bought myself my last three new cars. So you may ask why do I put up with him that is the all mighty question. I have read everything on here I can read and the truth is the truth. Please reply to this.
Than You so much
Oh, boy. Ummm…..I beg to differ, but having him come over at 7:30 to “end this as an adult and not play games….” well, he will. He will be angry and accusatory and say all kinds of things to make you defend ending it. Then you’ll feel guilty and defend it and he’ll point out all the “nice things” (crumbs from a whole loaf of bread) he did for you. You will second-guess yourself and feel crummy. You will have played a game.
Or he’ll get sad and cry and tell you he’s a loser and please give him one more chance, and you’ll feel moved and feel bad and tell him he’s not a loser, he’s just mean sometimes. He’ll promise to try harder, and you’ll give in. And you will have played a game.
Actually, what I think you should do is never ever ever draw a line in the sand unless you’re willing to go thru with it.
Want to get rid of this nonsense? Call him. Say “Don’t come over. it’s done and I don’t want to discuss it. Find someone else. I wish you well. God bless. Goodbye.”
And be done.
it’s hard. it’s very hard. But I think it’s the only way.
And get in the Word.
I have notified my friends and they are praying an knowing him he could show up with his new girlfriend who knows. I did not realize how sick people can be and I work with people with Mental Illness. I even tried to blame myself saying no I am the one that is the NARC all my friends support me and see how he has drawn the life from me. I am a very happy go lucky person and when he is around I don’t even smile. I will let you know I know ur right in what you say my friends are afraid he could hurt me but I don’t think so.
Okay. I think you’re playing with fire. But update us please.
Ok will do
Emily, do you have a front porch or some place you can meet casually at your place …a place You can just walk away from without having to ask him to leave? As they insist on playing their game it helps to have a plan ahead of time for various possibilities. Make it on your terms, like maybe asking a friend to turn up within half an hour or so ( whatever seems reasonably short to you ) , to cut the drama from dragging on. Since you can’t stop him, play with some ideas before he starts playing the game! It may help keep the painful thing shorter . And Please don’t hesitate to call the police if he hurts you in any way, or starts beating the door in. Don’t tell yourself it won’t happen. It may not, but thinking about a plan will prepare you for anything.
Very few ideas here, but think about what will work for you. Praying….Take Care!!! 🙂
I had three confirmations and you were one to not let him come to my apartment. Two of my Christian friends who are very close told me to call him I said I cant do that it would not be good. So I text him and just told him it was over not to contact me in anyway or I will call the police and get a restraining order. Before I could delete his number he text me back and said I was crazy and did not respect myself and that he will find a women that does and that I think I am better then him and we did not have a relationship at all. One of my friends told me if I feel like a relapse to call her right away. I want to break this cycle of men in my life.
Thank You and please keep giving me advise we all need it.
Don’t you love it? You tell him to take a hike, and he says you don’t respect yourself! DUH!!
Stay safe. Also— give someone the local police number and your address to have handy and a code word or two. My ex held me hostage and would never allow me to use the phone to call the cops — but he had no problem if I called a friend!! They are truly screwy.
So glad he never came over.
(((hugs))) One step at a time.
Thank you for the wise words lady!!! Everyday is a new day I will learn a new thing each day about me. Please stay in touch don’t want to go back want to keep going forward!!!!! Sometimes I don’t believe they can hurt you but he did grab my throat twice and told me how easy it would be for him to kill me and then he laughed about it. I will get stronger I will that is a promise to myself!!!!!!!
Needed this today. 😉 Thank you.
Narcs have such an evolutionary mindset, they are truely nauseating.
I found it funny when I would be in an argument with my narc cousin and I would stand my ground, not letting him win with BS and illogical nonsense meant to throw me off. I’d tell him straight up that I’m not wrong and that I won’t change my mind, my opinion. He’ll give up and sulk for awhile, but after a couple of days he comes back around.
Either several days later or even months he’ll bring up this argument but will change a little bits about it and will go as far as to change everything you said. He once even reversed our arguments, saying that I was saying all the things he was saying, claiming that I was crazy for not remembering right.
You can never win, no matter how much you try.
I always felt my husband was bipolar. He asks me for a divorce about every couple years. Noatyer what I do in life I’m wrong. If I tell the kids yes to something he says no. If I say no he says yes. He calls me a liar conniver, hypocrite. About every few months to weeks. Just when I think life is good it turns and I have no idea what I did I sit and worry knowing it’s coming, the fight. I can tell lately whe. He is headed towards the hatred side when I walk in a room he gives me a look of your disgusting. The. I know it’s coming. I start worrying just last week he went to his older daughters house to talk. He accidentally butt dialed me so I listened. Now I have health issues but working with a holistic dr to help. He put me dow. To his daughter telling her I was a druggy an alcoholic etc. when I confronted him he just yelled at me and told me I was a liar a conniver and hypocrite. He told me he never wanted me to go to a dr again. One I have cancerous polyps in my colon every couple yearsy dad and gpa died of colon cancer. I have bad arthritis in my legs and I have edema I have a pituitary tumor and my thyroid is out from huge tumors He doesn’t wants takings meds all dr prescribed which is mainly synthroid water pills and rls medicine. I cancelled all dr apts per his request but I can’t stop taking my meds. As far as an alcoholic I have a drink now and then but no more than 2 a week or less. I do smoke to help with the stress and feel it’s one area in my life he can’t control. I have been dealing with this for more than 20 yrs. he was abused as a kid. So I can understand how he became this way. Will
He ever change or is it something I have to just deal with because I don’t know how much more I can take. We both are remarriedu first husband was physically and mentally abusive. This one is just emotionally and mentally abusive. I don’t know where to go or what to do anore looking for help and answers to what God says. He also told me he never wants to see me do a devotion on being. Good wife because a hypocrite when it
Comes to that. He also said he wanted me to get a job so I start looking for one and then he asks why are
U looking for a job if u get one whose going to make me lunch etc. we have 12 kids 5 still living at home. Concerned for them and what it would do to them if we separate.
Reblogged this on Lucky Otter's Haven and commented:
Don’t waste your time fighting with a narcissist. You lose even when you win. They will never admit defeat. Read on.
Mine often made me feel that I had a bad memory and couldn’t remember things right and he would say he never said that, I did. I often felt I needed a tape recorder to tape everything we talk about so I could replay it but then the problem would be knowing there to find it and what tape and having to hear the whole thing even if it takes days or hours or weeks so that would have been pointless. He was also a hypocrite so he made it look like I didn’t understand because he would justify everything like why it’s okay for him to be immature but not me.
My niece said it best, describing the two narcissists in the family, “We are always trying to prove to them we’re good people and they are always trying to prove we’re bad.” That pretty much sums up my relationship with my narcissistic mother and sister. That is why the targets in the family have always felt as if they were on the defensive – Someone has to win and that someone will always be the narcissist because she fights dirty. It’s taken me 50 years to figure this out.
It’s all so very sad, and very true. I believe most of us thought our situations were unique. But the narcissistic patterns of abuse keep surfacing with great consistency. Unfortunately, when one dysfunctional relationship ends, another narc is waiting in the wings to swoop down and take up where the last one left off, or in the very least, just to crap on your day. It might be helpful to know from which rocks they crawl out from under. But the advice Pastor Dave gives is practical, and very helpful. We can’t make them vanish from the earth, we can’t change them. We can’t help them. But if we ignore them, they might go away. And if that doesn’t work, RUN!