The Joy of Ranting


It’s Narcissist Friday!    


Every once in a while I get an email or a comment that ends with something like this: “I am sorry to share all of that, but thank you for letting me rant.” Believe me, we all understand!

Maybe it’s the craziness of all of it. Maybe it’s the isolation that we feel in narcissistic relationships. Maybe it’s the look on people’s faces when we try to tell them what has been happening. Whatever the cause, it just makes you want to scream sometimes.

Remember the old Sylvester and Tweety cartoons, where the cat needs to scream? He runs to the garbage can, lets it all out, and closes the can before the noise can escape. Then the garbage man comes along, opens the can, and is knocked over by the scream. Wouldn’t it be great to have a place like that?

We need to be able to let it out. Holding anger in (or frustration or whatever you want to call it) isn’t healthy. At the same time, it may not be healthy to let it out in the relationship. So what do you do? Maybe you have a good friend or family member who will let you say what you really think. Maybe you have a place to write your words (like here). Or maybe you just go for a walk away from everybody else and tell God what you think.

I encourage you to find some safe place or person to let some of your frustration out. Be careful. Probably not someone at church or in your family, unless you are very confident. Almost certainly not your kids. Maybe a counselor who doesn’t try to fix you by shutting you up. Maybe not your pastor.

Some people can’t handle the honesty you need. Some really don’t want to share your burden. Some will have all kinds of answers for your problems, whether they have really listened or not. Some will judge you for your honesty. So be careful.

It takes a thick skin and a lack of caring just to dump your stuff on someone else. In fact, you could become part of their problem. So what do you do if you can’t find that certain safe person or place? How can you get your rant out and stay safe without hurting others?

Well, here are a few ideas.

1. I already mentioned taking a walk and telling God how you feel. You don’t have to hold back with Him. He already knows, right? And He can handle your anger or confusion or grief. It doesn’t have to be a walk. Maybe a drive or just sitting in the car. I would suggest that you speak out loud, so be aware of who can hear you. Go ahead and scream, cry, explain, whatever. Just let it out. God can handle it. And you may well find that He gives you more encouragement and guidance than you expect.

2. Write it down. For many of us, writing is therapeutic. Writing makes us choose our words, but anonymous or hidden writing lets us say things we might not say otherwise. Writing connects your creativity with your frustration and gives you a release beyond just yelling. Again, be careful. If you write in a diary, you don’t want your narcissist finding it and using it against you. He/she will. You could burn what you wrote or seal it in an envelope and give it to a trusted support person. (Here’s an idea: you could write with ink that turns invisible so no one can read it later except you (because you know how to make it visible again). Wink…)

I think writing things down can be very important. Logging events might help a great deal if you are being gaslighted (made to think you are crazy). You may be able to share these events with a counselor later to help explain what you have gone through. But these logs are probably not the place to write your rants. Your rants may actually make you sound crazy! That’s no reason not to write them, however. Just don’t share them.

3. You are welcome to write your rants as anonymous comments here. I would ask that you keep the swearing to a minimum, of course, and don’t overload the internet (I know you could!) But telling your story, even with some strong emotion, is fine here. Sometimes you might get a response or two, but even if you don’t you have had the opportunity to let it out somewhere. You can look it up later and know that you wrote that.

4. You may be able to find a face-to-face group where you can let things out, maybe even anonymously. Some support groups only use first names and allow people to tell their stories without judgment for emotions. As always, be careful. Groups can feed these emotions so they don’t actually get out, but loop back over and over every time you share or hear someone else share. You probably know people who are so caught up in their anger and confusion that they tell the same story repeatedly. You want to get rid of some of it.

Sadly, these are also groups frequented by predators. Beware the support person who comes out of one of these groups, especially someone of the opposite gender. Narcissists on the prowl will seek someone already victimized by another narcissist.

Letting out the rant is simply being honest. Using the rant to attack or dump on others is obviously not what you want to do. But holding it is not going to help. Let the emotions out somehow without hurting others. Embrace the feelings you have in the situation. If you deny them, they will hurt you. Instead, acknowledge those feelings and, by so doing, control them. You can do it. In fact, it might feel good.


Filed under Narcissism

18 responses to “The Joy of Ranting

  1. Thank you for giving me the joy of ranting 🙂

  2. Melinda

    As usual, you really nailed it. It’s unfortunate that there are few places or people to truly listen to our pain. In fact they can traumatize us all over again with their harsh words and behavior. (“Stop feeling sorry for yourself.” “Get over it.” “Time to move on.”) Or they can dump you as a friend or family member. This is called “secondary wounding,” and it can hurt as much as what the narcissist did because where you expected to find support, you found none. Please write a column about it sometime. I love your weekly blog. It truly helps to have a place where people “get it.”

    • Melinda … you spoke my feelings. What is so cruel is when the abuser(s) tell you to ‘move on and get a life’. These were the people that I served and nurtured for many, many years … I’m discarded and the professing Christians seem to agree that I’m not worthy of “any love”. It hurts and I’m very tired and feeling rather confused at times as to how to move on??
      I don’t have many friends or family willing to get involved … Praise God that He is faithful.

      • Melinda

        I know what you mean and it’s getting worse. I heard on public radio that there’s been a 40% drop in empathy in college students with a corresponding rise in narcissism. Being an empathic person myself, I was shocked to discover that 3 of my 4 sisters weren’t there for me like I’d assumed they would be. Like I would have been for them.

      • Recently had to remind ‘family’ that I have accepted the fact that I am living … LUKE 12 : 52-53…Not Peace, But Division …for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
        ** I totally accept this and am discovering that I am still being blamed for the past as their way of relieving their guilt because they refuse to honor the Lord with their lives.

  3. Grace Wynns

    Thank you for sharing. This post really helped me.

  4. Murphy, Lee A

    I was one of the people who, after many years, had enough, and let it out to the person who was abusing me with her narcissistic personality. As you have predicted in previous posts, that person immediately left the relationship, I believe because she had finally been discovered. Although I went through the enormous pain of this breakup, I am now free and clear of this person’s abuse, and have never felt this emotionally stable in my life. I am 58 years old, and I “discovered” my sister who is 3 years older. Our breakup was almost 4 years ago. I have no regrets and am the happiest I have been in a long time — but still always find a sad sort of comfort in your posts. Thank you.

  5. Abby

    I so look forward to your Friday posts. Thank you. God’s grace is, indeed, the only path to healing. Married 46 years, faithful to my Lord, I have only known for 18 months that my husband is a toxic N. God has used your column to give me truth and as I learn and deal with this terribly hurtful situation, He just keeps growing me in His love. He is teaching me to recapture my open love for others. It’s more than freeing. It’s invigorating. My N, of course, doesn’t understand this new detachment. I could go on and on, but won’t. But please accept my deepest gratitude for being a part of this healing on my “adventure”. God’s richest blessing for you.

  6. Forrest

    For those in the UK, I would recommend calling Samaritans if you can do so safely. It’s not just for people who are suicidal. Samaritans won’t judge you or attempt to tell you what to do. They will listen and allow you to talk through what you are experiencing and how it has affected you. As a volunteer Samaritan, I was amazed at how often I would be thanked for my help when all I had done was listen. Listening to somebody helps them feeling validated and allows them to put things in their proper place.

  7. Penny

    I searched far and wide and long and years for a counselor who really understood the abuse of Narcissism, and when I was finally allowed to vent and rant and let out many of the episodes of abuse, gas lighting, character assassination, lying, crazy-making stuff, the counsellor sat back and said “Wow. Just when I think I have heard it all–and I have heard some doozies–, but what you just told me really takes the cake.” THAT moment… of affirmation, of empathy, of believing & validating how horrendous & exhausting it is to be in a relationship with a narc…that moment was cathartic and clarifying. To actually have someone look you in the eye and say “you are not crazy” (in fact, you are quite sane & strong) and be amazed at what you have survived is the “reality check” that we all crave and long for. This site is also that same reality check, that safe place were others “get” it and we can rant with glee. Thanks, Dave.

  8. UnForsaken

    I’ve gotten Great joy out of ranting this week to my sister! We were trying to think through some things as they happened, rather than being completely blindsided by the issues at hand. It was relieving to get it out and also to have actually seen it as it Really was, before months went by viewing it the way he created “reality”. Gaslight – supposedly a store wasn’t where it always had been! Passive-aggression – something of ours having heavy things stacked on top of them to emphasis how little space he has and Squash them, even after ( at his demand ) we almost halved the quantity by donation and special organization! And there was an affirmation of what I’ve suspected him doing before, when I’m Certain he heard me say something, but had me repeat it Three times.

    Actually, the one that has troubled me the most is where I saw a couple family members actually help him keep secrets from us on two occasions. One had to do with his idea of family vacation, so it directly effected us all, and yet they acted like we had no Need to know they had invited someone else until that person had accepted! That wasn’t his idea, but fell in very nicely with making us feel unwanted. Space limitations, well, it just looked as if we’d have to put up with it, or not go – as they expected, because we couldn’t a few other years. We didn’t have a right to know so long as we thought we had a choice in going! Confused?!

    No one felt they had been rude and may have felt only a little thoughtless, but not after we both told them we had decided individually that we didn’t feel up to it. This is what they had anticipated, and decided to outmaneuver, by inviting someone else to entertain them, and in the Ns case, feed his unending need for gratitude.

    Anyway, all this went quite smoothly because of tact and a good rant to each other. It truly is a joy to find ways to free your mind and build up what boundaries you have ! Past the initial anger, rants can be a great reality check and relief when you trying to get the whole picture. But always rant to someone you Know you can trust! A rant has really been worth it when it brings out truth you need for healing.

  9. Emily

    I just spent the evening with my mom and I am stunned by her complete lack of awareness that I’m a person too. I’ve talked about her narcissism in therapy. I’ve cried and felt sad about the way she treated me as a child. Tonight I feel exhausted by her neediness. I also feel angry and sad that I didn’t get a chance to be myself as a child. I’m working that out as an adult.

  10. anonymous

    Does anyone else feel like they are going crazy? I just read this post & have been sitting in my car over two hours rather than go home & deal with suspected narc husband. I was 25 when I married him, and he never allowed me to have children for 12 years. Now, I am glad he didn’t. He is a believer & still goes to church every Sunday but watches sailing videos with bikini clad young women & women wrestler videos (and prob nude/poem videos which he deletes from history.) . I guess he rationalizes since he is not getting sex from me, he has a right to use other objects to get his needs met through. I am 37, and he is 54. I saw my Christian counselor today, she said to be attractive in today’s society is a liability because it can draw predators. You would think he would be fighting to keep me, but no. I also emailed the pastor about the videos and his spending money on foreign currency like crazy but never having enough money to take me on vacation, nights out, etc. (went to beach twice in 12 years)

    • healingInHim

      Yes, quite often many of us feel like ‘we are going crazy’.
      Be assured of prayers and understanding hearts at this site. It’s taken me many years to realize the abuse I was undergoing … still making my way out of the fog.
      I question that ‘he’ is a believer … he is a false convert. True believers “in Christ” do not abuse their spouses. Sadly, many churches are full of wolves.

  11. addie1977

    I’m 38 and finally figuring out why I tried to kill myself 4 times in my teens and have been a nervous wreck ever since. Last year, my father helped me open a business. My husband and I decided to spend his 40th birthday cleaning and painting it, as I knew my father would look down on us if we took the day to celebrate and I desperately (as usual) wanted to show him that I could continue to downplay my needs so the business could be successful. As I was buying paint that morning, I get a call from my dad saying he was at the new business and asked where I was. I told him I was buying paint and supplies and would be there shortly. He said I should probably get there now. I knew something was wrong. I get to the business and he is there with his wife. He asks me to come in and sit down. He said he stopped by my house twice in the last few weeks while the kids were home (we had no idea). He said that the house was messy and that he was concerned about my ability to run the business. He also said it would “sure be a shame for child protective services to stop by and see a messy house”. He cried and carried on as I sat shaking and quaking with fear, hurt and confusion. After awhile, my husband got there and dad asked me if I wanted him to repeat what he had just told me. I tried to say no but he went through the whole thing again. So, my husband of 16 years, father of 3, on his 40th birthday received a lecture about cleanliness. When he wrapped it up, he demanded a hug even though I was paralyzed with grief. I hugged him. He then asked about 12 times if I wanted his wife to show me how to paint. As he was leaving, he smirked and said “see what happens if you come by MY house unannounced”. I was so gobsmacked I was dizzy and hysterical. After a few days of figuring out how to handle it, I wrote him a letter declaring boundaries for the first time in my life. I definitely unloaded, but in the most respectful way I could. He said he wanted to be clear that my words and actions were my own and that after I’ve had time to reflect, I would hopefully see it differently as an expression of love.
    Since then, there has been a family reunion where my dad told a sexual joke at a dinner table full of children, a day where he and his wife arrived at the cabin and took the favorite grandchild to the lake, leaving the other 5 grandchildren wondering why, a day where he picked a fight with my sister after she confronted him about the grandchildren, forcing her to consider leaving early, and a day when he took my brother and I to a bar and acted like nothing happened except when I mentioned that I started smoking again and he said “yeah, I’m sure that’s my fault, too, right?” He also said that he didn’t want to see me for Christmas and then the next day called and asked when we could come over for Christmas.
    At present, my dad is writing a book about his spiritual journey and his deep appreciation of Thomas Merton. Thank you for letting me vent. Seriously.

    • healingInHim

      addie1977 — venting?? or just crying out in pain after all the craziness which never seems to go away?
      ((hugs)) to you. I am determined to write down my story so my adult children, siblings and others will eventually know the truth; and remind them that the man I married allowed them to abuse me which was all a part of his abusive tactic towards me — years and years of broken promises to be a better husband until he had all of them befriending him and alienating me. … Their lies and schemes will not go unnoticed by an awesome, holy God.
      The same goes for you, addie1977 and others. God hates the proud and self-righteous.

      • God is love. Choosing one’s own will through pride and self-righteousness separates one from God, not the other way around.

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