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.