It’s Okay not to be Okay


It’s Narcissist Friday!   


Brennan Manning wrote that one of the most important truths of his life was in the words, “It’s okay not to be okay.” The corollary to that was, “God loves you as you are, not as you should be.” The point is so important. None of us is okay.

Narcissistic relationships, whether in marriage, the family, at work, or wherever, are painful relationships. They cut deeply into our hearts. The narcissist takes life from us, goodness and strength. The narcissist often causes us to doubt ourselves and do things we don’t want to do. The narcissist messes with our heads and takes advantage of our own weaknesses. And, no, we are not okay.

Some women and men are suicidal in and after narcissistic relationships. I know pastors who left the ministry after dealing with narcissistic leaders. Some adult children of narcissists can barely function in the world. Some look in fear on new relationships. Some live in various ways of hiding. Some can’t seem to get it out of their heads. No, we are not okay.

Being okay is not the real test of success in life, nor is it a requirement for being accepted and loved. God knows our pain and the brokenness it has caused. He reaches out to the hurting and the lost. He loves you.

Now, I certainly want to encourage you to move toward “more okay.” I regularly counsel people to find the way back to health. Whether you are in the relationship or out of it, doing things that take care of you is important. You have the right and the responsibility to move toward health. There are things in life that can help you strengthen your emotional, mental, and physical health.

But, frankly, telling yourself and others that everything is okay, when it isn’t, just does more damage. Lying to yourself causes more incongruity and stress.

Sometimes the most healthy thing you can do is say, “No, I’m not okay.” It acknowledges the truth of what is happening in your heart. Living in truth may be the first step to becoming “more okay.”

You see, we all carry around the broken part of our lives. Those who have come to Jesus for salvation have found the way to true freedom and peace, but they still struggle against the old way of thinking—which was developed in the brokenness. We hold memories and bear scars and sometimes live with circumstances caused by the things we did and others did to us. That pain and sadness may never fully go away. And there are days when we forget how much we have and think about how much we have lost.

There may come a day when you can say, “I’m okay,” and mean it. I truly hope so. You should strive for that day. You should find some good supportive people who will help hold you up. You should do what you can to get your life back in order. You should learn to let the past be past and focus on today and tomorrow. These are all good things for all of us.

But until that day, especially when you are in the midst of the struggle, it’s okay to not be okay. If you never admit that you are not okay, you may never find the way to being okay.


Filed under Narcissism

19 responses to “It’s Okay not to be Okay

  1. TL

    I really needed to hear this today. God has given me so much healing, I find myself feeling ashamed and weak, when I have moments of struggle. Your post has given me a sense of “permission” to cut myself some slack, as I allow God to excavate what I have stuffed down.

    Thank you, pastor Dave for giving yourself to this ministry. I so appreciate your compassion, desire for Truth, and amazing ability to articulate what feels impossible to express. I pray you and your loved ones are well in every way.

  2. Kitkat

    Pastor Dave, this is so wonderful. Several people I know need to read this, they are just struggling to recover from N relationships. This speaks to me as pure Grace.

  3. … I’m struggling to be “okay” … especially since I’m being told to “get over it” by so many … so called professing Christians are the worst … always throwing balls of “forgive and FORGET” at me … meanwhile my abuser(s) are allowed to “not forgive or forget” (I’ve been accused of being sinful for showing ‘righteous anger??)
    Only the Lord is keeping me safe. He is so faithful and precious; truly the only ONE I can trust.

  4. Melinda

    Thanks for your understanding. After a 30 year marriage to a wolf in sheep’s clothing (and how i loved that false ‘sheep’) I wonder how I’ll ever be okay again.

    • Melinda – I hear your pain … mine almost lasted 40 yrs … still not out but know I should be gone – something has to change but I am just sooo very tired. I too, really loved that “false sheep”.

  5. I needed to hear this today, too. I was suicidal when I was in the marriage. I’m getting better, but I worry so much about my kids.

  6. Wonderful. I really needed to read this right now, too!

    Earlier today I posted an article that I wrote, entitled “How to Heal PTSD.” I wrote it because I want to help people who have been badly hurt and broken by abuse and trauma, as I have been. Although I am not completely healed of my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (and I may never be 100% completely healed), I have come so far on my healing journey that the difference is like night and day.

    BUT… today, right after I published my post on my blog, I started beating myself up. Feeling like a fraud, because I am not 100% healed. Thinking that maybe I need to delete the post, because I’m not “perfectly” healed.

    Although I state very clearly in my post, and elsewhere on my blog, that I’m still in the process of healing, I was feeling like a fraud. But I know that I am NOT a fraud! Truthfully, it’s like I’ve come about ten million miles on my healing journey, and maybe I have only about 500 or 1,000 miles left to go. Maybe even less. But, so what? IT IS OKAY FOR ME TO NOT BE 100% OKAY!

    Not being 100% cured of PTSD does not negate the fact that I have come a very long way and I have a lot of valuable insight to share about my healing journey. I’ve gone from being completely nuts, to only being a little anxious and idiosyncratic sometimes.
    Which, all things considered, is HUGE! 😀

  7. Yes, my well- intentioned but clueless to my pain sister said of the end of my 38-year marriage,” Just get over it! Put him behind you!” Never mind that I truly loved him and he’s the father of my two amazing sons and I care about his salvation. She would have helped me more if she just said,”I know I don’t realize how this hurts. Ho ahead and cry when you need to and as long as you need to. I’m here.”

  8. Still Reforming

    I appreciate your words here, and I agree it’s healthy to say, “I’m not okay.”

    What I’ve found lately, however, is that among those I know who don’t really care (like people from my former church), when they ask how I am, I reply, “I’m alright. You know, ups and downs.” Something like that – something that acknowledges the truth, but doesn’t invest it in people who aren’t going to care even when they hear the truth anyway. I do this because the sting of having told them I’m not okay and then having them dismiss it as if it doesn’t matter (because to them it doesn’t), well, I’d rather protect myself than share truth with those who really don’t care. It’s like salt in the wound to be honest and tell them how I’m so sad and it’s like experiencing a death, all to have a pat-on-the-back, cheer-up response.

  9. Celeste

    Healing after marriage to a N is like peeling an onion, one layer at a time. Some layers are rancid, nearly intolerable to accept and embrace. It seems unreal that one human can use up another human to suit his purposes. The N shakes his fist at God, saying, “You created her for your glory, but I deserve to rob her from you and use her to serve my purposes. Remember, God, it is all about me”. So, sometimes when I come upon a really bad layer of the onion in the healing process, I am not OK. I continue in therapy which is quite necessary and extremely helpful to repattern ways of relating. But it is financially, very costly and time wise, quite a commitment. Also, the emotions that surface throughout the weeks of healing through a layer is tough. The divorce is just the beginning of the road to freedom. The web of destruction is thick to untangle. And the N just moves on to his next victim and the church performs his next wedding ceremony, embracing him as if he was the victims in a bad marriage. No, I am not always OK.

  10. Penny

    So timely.
    Just today I sent a message to a friend that basically said, “No, I am not okay”. We have been in a prolonged family trauma/medical crisis, and there is no way it could be ignored. But it was…by the very people we had loved and invested our lives in. Repeated requests for help went virtually ignored, dismissed, de-valued, adding insult to injury. So today I said I am not ok. It will take the rest of my life to heal. I am not okay….but saying it was necessary. It IS okay to not be okay.

  11. Praying for Penny and others who are now bravely admitting that “we are not okay.”
    Grateful, to a loving and yet firm Lord who will deal with the cold-hearted in His time. Wish I could personally meet many of you face-to-face to convey that I care. I covet prayers, as well.

  12. Bruised Reed

    I came across this blog a while back – one of many wonderful resources God has provided in my journey of healing from a lifetime of dealing with N’s (family members, romantic relationships, and “friends”). More often than not, the weekly narcissist posts are exactly what I needed to read at the moment, and this latest post is no exception.

    Today, I also am not okay. My heart is raw and sore, from my evil N-mother’s latest stunt – refusing to come to my wedding six weeks ago, all because I, my fiance, and some close friends all took a stand against her bullying and complete disregard of some boundaries I had set. (N’s can’t stand to “lose” or be told “no,” can they?) So her “revenge” for setting the boundary in the first place was to refuse to come to our wedding. Unless, of course, we “repented” and “kissed the parental ring” (so to speak); while completely ignoring the actions that sparked the situation and need for bounries in the first place. And even though my fiance was just as involved in those decisions as I was, I’m apparently the only one to blame. :sigh: Gotta love being the scapegoat. As I told my hubby today, I feel as though I am grieving an orphan might – not only for what has happened, but for the loss of all that could have been

  13. Bruised Reed

    Lest anyone think from my first comment that I am bitter, no, that is not the case. I don’t hate my parents, I’m just tired of being hurt, of being forced to pay the price for their sins. Yes, I am a believer, and I know God will wipe away my tears and judge them if they do not repent, but some days, it’s hard to remember those things, let alone believe them.

  14. Penny

    Dear Bruised: I doubt anyone here would think you hate your parents, and those of us who have been wounded by the unrepentant narcissist identifies with your hurt and weariness. Hugs~

  15. Viv

    I’m not “okay..” I have been emotional abused by narcissists in the church – the worst kind – as you go to find refuge & solace & comfort & support..instead you cop an abusive narc..
    But have only realised it after a few years…. I have always supported him…. Sacrificed so much for him.. UNTIL I confronted him with the truth of his behaviour…
    He then blasted me- crushed me..
    Punishing me…
    Looked up to him- a church music ministry leader & sacrificed much in support & commitment..
    Yet – he has no desire to see the truth.. Repent.. Reconcile.. Until HE is ready.. Wants to string me out.
    I feel my spirit is broken & grieving…
    Am feeling depression coming. Trying to keep me head raised enough to see the eyes of Jesus..
    I find Christians, leaders in the church – to be worse..

  16. Barbara

    Your posts are very encouraging and uplifting. You said you counsel with people to help them. How would someone contact you for counseling?

  17. Batya Ahul

    Thank you, I needed this today.
    Sometimes we need to walk through darkness to truly see the light. Praying for all of you & just so grateful for this blog😘

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