Justice

 

It’s Narcissist Friday!   

When do we get justice?

I have heard so many stories of narcissists who just go merrily on their way, leaving behind trails of broken victims. Narcissists destroy churches, businesses, careers, marriages, even children and seem to pay nothing for the damage they do. These abusers seem to get by with so much.

Some of the stories break our hearts. Spouses left with almost nothing after the divorce because the narcissist managed to get the best lawyers and convince the court that he/she was the victim. Children stuck with the narcissist parent, then nearly abandoned as the parent seeks new relationships. Church members who feel forced to leave their church home because of the ruthless focus of a narcissistic pastor or church leader. Employees nearing retirement pushed out before their benefits can begin because a narcissistic boss found a loophole in the contract. So many stories. So much pain.

When do we get justice?

Justice is society’s way of recognizing wrong. Justice is a way of letting the victim know that we understand what the abuser did, how it hurt, and why it was wrong. No amount of punishment can make up for the pain the victim suffered, but justice at least acknowledges that pain in a formal way.

When the abuser is allowed to walk away, to do evil to other victims or to prosper from the cruel actions, the victim is harmed again. In a sense, the victim is told that no one sees the pain, or no one cares. The victim in a narcissistic relationship is often painted as the abuser, and the truth is so twisted that the victim’s mental and emotional health is challenged. When the rape victim is blamed for the crime against her, and the rapist is allowed to continue to lead in the church or community, the victim’s reality is turned upside down. Nothing can be right.

When do we get justice?

In the real world, justice often hides from the victim. The guilt of the abuser is covered by a system that marginalizes both the victim and the sin. Allowed to simply be an unfortunate casualty, the victim wanders in a no-man’s-land. Not only do others not care, they don’t want to care. They don’t want to know because knowing will require something from them. So the abuser goes on in seeming bliss, having conquered once again, while the victim tries to remember where the pieces of life were lost so they can be put together again.

When do we get justice?

Yet, overwhelmingly, the victims I know and have heard do not seek punishment for their abuser. What they want is for someone to believe them, someone to know and care. Punishment of the abuser rarely helps the victim. A penance of money or jail or shame does little to ease the pain. What eases the pain is someone who listens and shares, who sympathizes. The pain begins to go away when someone else says the pain is real and valid. We are healed by affirmation and acceptance.

We get justice when we know that what was done to us was wrong, when the doubt and confusion are gone and we choose to look toward the future. When we can look at the pain and lay it at the feet of the abuser—then we can be free. When truth comes alive in us and pushes out the accusations and condemnations and manipulations spoken by the abuser, then justice happens in us. The light of truth shines again in our hearts.

Three thoughts to close: First, there is a God and the narcissist is not Him. Vengeance does belong to God and He will repay. Sin is either forgiven as the offender finds the Savior, or it is allowed to run its eternal course. The realm of punishment and recompense is not ours.

Second, trust the growing assurance in your heart that tells you the abuser was wrong. Find and listen to those who support you in seeing that truth and moving forward in its light. Believe those who believe in you.

Finally, be that support for someone else. Now that you know there is a way out of the confusion and self-incrimination, help someone else find that way. Let that person tell their own story. Don’t put your story in for theirs. Listen—care—affirm. Help someone else find the justice that acceptance brings.

We would like to stop the abusers from hurting others. In some ways we are hurt more by the fact that they continue to hurt others in the way they hurt us than we were by our own pain. But when you can do nothing, then there is nothing for you to do. Perhaps the best we can do is reach out in love and acceptance toward other victims.

Will the narcissist get what he/she ought to receive? I don’t know. And, increasingly, I don’t care. What matters is that more people are hearing our stories and believing. What matters is that we support each other. What matters is that there is a God in Heaven who loves us. For myself, I am willing to leave the rest in His hands.

29 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

29 responses to “Justice

  1. Celeste

    “The light of truth shines again in our hearts”. This is the golden gift that God has given me and continues to give over and over as I continue to heal. Yes, it is given to all as we begin to distance ourselves from a narcissist. Thank you for reminding us of this hope.

    I am walking beside a precious lady who is facing the realities of living with a narcissist. She respects my insights because she knows I walked this road. Her story is not my story, she is walking her own path.

  2. StillBroken

    This is so true. I am 2 years out of awakening to the reality of my narcissistic husband and still so broken over it. We are separated and no movement one way or the other in terms of getting divorced now (in the beginning he was adamant that we would get divorced but eventually backed off). I was very hurt recently when my husband dropped our daughter off at a family gathering and my mother greeted him so warmly and hugged him. My family has been supportive of me in my situation, but it hurts to see when they treat him so warmly. No one but me seems to even try to hold him accountable for what he’s done (infidelity, abandonment). Maybe they’re doing what they think is right in just keeping the silence about our situation, being really nice to him when they do see him….but I have to admit…it HURTS.

    • Celeste

      I don’t know of a place where God instructs us to be “nice” to people. You have put the two words, “silence” and “nice” together in the context of your family’s behavior toward your N. These words seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly; a lot of smooth sugar without nutrition. It is betrayal to your integrity. I am so sorry. Please hold your head high and speak the truth to yourself, out loud when possible.

    • Still Reforming

      StillBroken,
      I am so, so sorry for your pain with your family and him. I do understand. My genetic family mostly didn’t want to know anything, until my now ex-husband lied to my mom, and only then was she done with him. It may take that kind of betrayal for them to know the truth – but that’s disheartening. I would have hoped that my mom would have cared enough to listen to me and believe me without having had to be lied to herself. My blood brother still is friendly with my ex-‘s family so I don’t really trust him (blood brother) either. It does HURT and it’s a lonely place to be. But…. the Lord did tell us that our enemies would even be those in our own household (like our husbands and maybe even birth family).
      The gist of this post had me thinking about that verse from Revelation, when the martyrs are sitting under the throne of judgement asking, “How long, O Lord? How long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?”

  3. Excellent post today! I agree that the knowledge and wisdom in understanding what is done through Narcissism, brings a sense of validation. The truth sets us free. I was reminded as I read your post of the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis……..at the end of his story, Joseph declares “HIS” story…..”what the enemy intends for evil, God will use for good…Genesis 50:20″ ……..I might add, if we let HIM.

  4. Lisa

    Your post today so resonated with me. I am 3 1/2 years from my narcissist husband abandoning our marriage of 33 years. We had been together for 39 years, and his sudden, cruel leaving and treatment towards me and my adult children were unbelievable. No one but me called him out on his behavior and treatment of all of us. At first I prayed and prayed for God to restore my marriage and family. They were everything to me. Now I realize God rescued us from my Ex-husband. Anyone that can treat their family the way he did with sudden abandonment both physically and financially, I do not want to be a part of. His true character and integrity were shown to me.

    My children and I have survived, and I look forward to thriving.
    The first Christmas after he left, I recently found out he sent out a Christmas Card that included a picture of himself with the Other Woman he left us for. We were not even divorced yet. I finally feel that I can look forward, celebrate the future with my children, son-in-law, grandchildren, and a future daughter-in-law, and this year want to send our “Family Christmas Card” with a picture of all of us that survived. I has taken me almost four years to get here, but I now see what he is or has become, and feel so blessed how God has seen me through this difficult life journey. Maybe that is my justice. I would never have developed the personal relationship I now have with Our Lord, if this had not happened. It is true, to be grateful for the trials in our lives, and God will be there for you.

  5. Savedbygrace

    HI Dave this post was very helpful to me but I was wondering what you meant by
    When we can look at the pain and lay it at the feet of the abuser—then we can be free.
    what does that look like?

    • Christians who are abused are often taught that their pain is something they are responsible for. “No one can hurt you unless you let them,” we are told. I find that makes it very hard to heal. We’re not talking about the pretend offenses people are taking up these days. We are talking about real abuse, whether physical or not. Those who abuse are responsible for what they did – and for the effect it has on their victims. Healing comes when we look at our pain and understand that the abuser caused that. It was not our fault. Then we can begin to deal with it properly. Then the concepts of forgiveness and moving forward can come into play. If the victim blames him/her self for the pain, how is it possible to move forward – especially when it isn’t the victim’s fault? No, the pain was caused by the abuser and should be credited to him/her.

      This is a good question, and I think it should have a longer response. Watch for next week’s post!

      • Viv

        Absolutely..!
        I am struggling right now with abuse by a music ministry P&W leader in the church.
        He is a controlling, ego maniac, narcissist who stomps over everyone to get his own way.
        For years I showed loyalty and support and made sacrifices that put my young family last – for the sake of “commitment”..
        However due to me standing up to him he has unleashed an attack which has gutted me, as he has heaped blame, shame & guilt on me- & as I respected him – I take it to heart.. Hence the depression..
        He has divided the group & punished me by devaluing and discarding.
        He is renowned for these powerful spirit crushing attacks- but such an awesome loud leader that all are intimidated by him…
        How do I cope..? The rest of the band are wanting to kick him out.. All so upsetting., he has slandered me in email, lied about me, – all because I confronted him with the truth of his abuse…

  6. Savedbygrace

    ah yes, I know what you mean… my children could agree/understand my initial separation from my abusive h but 18 mths down the track the fact that I am still in pain and cannot trust/reconcile with him is now somehow my fault:( I am constantly needing to remind myself I did not ask for this.. it is not my fault.
    Thanks for your prompt reply. I look forward to your posts each week- it helps me stay sane!

  7. SurrenderAll

    Pastor Dave, this post was so timely for me! Just this past week I have been struggling with feelings of hatred toward my stbx. I so desperately wanted him to finally admit that what he did to me was wrong! I confess that I wanted to see him in pain and ashamed of all the pain he had caused me and my children. I hated him for it. I could feel myself falling into a sinful trap with all this hatred.

    During prayer time, I realized that this intense desire to see him suffer for what he had done, was really a desire for justice. But why was the desire for justice so intense? …Because if there is justice, then my pain is real; and if there is no justice, then my pain is meaningless/invisible. I wanted to fight for myself – stand up and scream, “This is wrong!”.

    But God whispered into my heart that HE is my Champion. He sees it all, so my pain can’t be invisible, and with Him there will be justice. Like you said, “Sin is either forgiven as the offender finds the Savior, or it is allowed to run its eternal course. The realm of punishment and recompense is not ours.” When He is my Champion, all I have to do is follow. Just get out of the way and FOLLOW.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your messages of God’s immeasurable grace and for the comfort and confirmation you so often bring!

  8. I spent time in prayer today with God about this very issue, “Justice”, coming to the peaceful conclusion that Vengeance is the Lords, and sin always takes its course. Death. Or salvation. Either way, placing in Gods hands this person whom I can not control, and asking God to prepare for the things ahead in which we have children together, that I may have his peace when my abuser repeats his cycles on his not victim. Great post, wow, so encouraging❤️

  9. Penny

    I am in a crisis of faith for this very reason.
    Where is justice? Where is relief? How long, O Lord?
    It’s all just so……unnecessary.
    It’s so easy to just be nice. And it’s easier to be nice, to be kind, to be thoughtful.
    I know it’s rhetoric, but why can’t the narc just be nice? Why must there be so much drama? No matter what, everything ends up being all about them.

    • UnForsaken

      Penny, please cut yourself a little slack and don’t feel you have to puzzle through this all right now. I’m sending you a BIg hug and this small reminder: They want everything to be about themselves because everything is really about God. Like Ecclesiastes says, Everything on this earth is vanity/useless unless we know it’s full purpose: God. In it’s fragile imperfection we are created to glorify God though it all, and the upside-down universe is meant to as well. The problem is that the Fall and sin have human kind coveting what God never meant in a Perfect world. Sin in all it’s forms is horribly unnecessary and irrational to the extent we cannot explain the “WHY” of it. How we sinners come to Think the things that effect what we do can sometimes be seen though. Ns aren’t nice because their hearts are coveting against others and God, and the drama helps them accomplish that feeling of winning over .

      You have encouraged us in these areas so many times Penny, and I can’t thank you enough for that! For some reason I forget these truths often, esp. in the thick of things like I’m sure you are right now. One book helped me remember better – True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer – but it’s a meaty little book that is a hard to read in the middle of the battle. Praying you will feel His Love this week. As you “let go and let God”, seeking Him on this, may you know His extra special care! ❤

      • New Creature

        Well said. Thanks. I needed to hear that today.

      • Penny

        Thank you, Unforsaken. Your kind words were soothing to my soul, and much needed.
        I have come to see that grief and mourning often mimic a crisis of faith. My faith in God is fine, it’s my heart that is broken…and rightfully so. I am grieving…for what was lost, for what should have been, for what should never have happened.
        Then I remember the saying: “let your heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God”.
        If my heart breaks for that, then I am ok.
        Hurting, but ok.
        Thank you.

  10. Gabrielle

    My mother and sister have tag-team abused me since I was born. I’m now 52 and I can’t believe I survived the shock of discovering that I have survived a nest of snakes. They’ve also poisoned everyone’s mind against me, as only malignant narcissists can. I have moments of healing and joy but I can never go back to feeling safe. This blog is one of those God-sends in life.Thank you Dave.

  11. UnForsaken

    This is a wonderful post and reminded me of the only time I lost my temper at my N, saying ” Why are you so unjust?” It hit me as a very strange first thing to pop out of my mouth when it’s not even a word we use or hear every day, but the concept must have been very deeply rooted in my subconscious. Thankfully it was all I said. Thankfully I survived, but in future I’ll be putting these questions to myself about Narcissism, not to an N! It did make me start searching though, and through it all I found out about Narcissism, as well as this wonderful site! Yes, this is exactly how I’m learning to heal, to place those feelings of guilt etc. at the feet of the one who should be feeling it and keep looking UP.

    Being Stuck with parents and emotionally abandoned, as well as blacklisted by them, is becoming even more true for me. I keep reminding myself that God may allow the worst times to happen all at once because He wants to show us an even bigger deliverance. He wants to have a deeper relationship with us yet. I don’t know how much shame I will have to suffer or how bad it will get before getting there, but I Know His deliverance is coming. He has promised to care for us and be there for us, perhaps especially when we don’t feel like He is. Also, the Holy Spirit prays for us in ways we cannot put into words. ( I love that verse, but can only paraphrase.)

    Please pray for me right now. I’ve had some very bad jolts based on hidden agendas, money, and the N’s possible future revenge. I’ve also been given a great answer to prayer that I pray will continue to develop into Much needed more answered prayer. And I’m praying that God will give the wisdom to say things just right for everyone when I must persist in doing what is right for my health when the N wants to deny me. I need more grace as I face the fact that God may allow doors to be closed once more, but also the strength to proceed in the direction He wants no matter what.

    Thanks Everyone for your encouraging words lately. I’ve really needed the articles too. Keep the wisdom coming, Dave! ❤

    • Dave, Ephesians 6:13……..when you have done all you can do, stand! Also, the verse that came to mind when I read your well written response………The Joy of the Lord is your strength! Nehemiah 8:10

      • UnForsaken

        Was this reply meant for me? One way or the other, it is encouraging! I was really talking to Pastor Dave at the end.

        Yes swedes7, Stand Firm in the LORD!

  12. Viv

    Help!!
    I am struggling right now with abuse by a music ministry P&W leader in the church.
    He is a controlling, ego maniac, narcissist who stomps over everyone to get his own way.
    For years I showed loyalty and support and made sacrifices that put my young family last – for the sake of “commitment”..
    However due to me standing up to him he has unleashed an attack which has gutted me, as he has heaped blame, shame & guilt on me- & as I respected him – I take it to heart.. Hence the depression..
    He has divided the group & punished me by devaluing and discarding.
    He is renowned for these powerful spirit crushing attacks- but such an awesome loud leader that all are intimidated by him…
    How do I cope..? The rest of the band are wanting to kick him out.. All so upsetting., he has slandered me in email, lied about me, – all because I confronted him with the truth of his abuse…

  13. Char

    Has anyone been abused by their husband’s refusal to have children with them? I had this control dance done to me by a suspected narc for 12 years. He would never give me closure but would tell me that I was in fear & not trusting God. This only hurt my relationship with the Lord. I am 37 now and am running out of time to even have kids with a future husband once we are divorced. I will be 38 when I graduate this year.

    • Still Reforming

      Char,
      Yes. That happened to me. When I would try to discuss with my (now ex-) husband whether or not we should have children, he would say “maybe we could,” but never committed to a time frame. This is generally true about to the vast majority of any commitments on his part related to time. He will always put off and not commit.
      Finally, I hit 40 years of age. My son from a previous marriage was living with us on and off, and he (then 13-yr-old son) asked me to not have any more kids because he was enjoying the attention when he was with us. I replied, “Don’t worry. I’m getting too old to start having kids anyway.” And my husband said, “Oh, I don’t know about that…” somewhat implying we could. So I tried talking with my husband again about it, and he put it off. I said I couldn’t wait to bear children at Sarah’s age (in the Bible). He chuckled.
      Anyway one night it hit me that I wouldn’t have any more children because he never initiated the discussion and always deferred, so I started to cry softly. He asked what was wrong, and I told him I realized that I was done bearing children. He again said he didn’t know about that, but this time I said that he either has to commit to a time frame or end the discussion of having children permanently. He said we could have a child together, but that we should wait until we returned to our home state to start. (We were living in another state for a job he had.)
      And so, we did. And we now have our 12-year-old together, although he left her and me last year. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing since he is an abusive man, but it hasn’t been easy.
      I look back and realize that for him, it was all a game. Anything I wanted in the relationship (in this instance, a child) was just another thing he could use to try and control me.

    • Still Reforming

      Char,
      I should add though – in your case, you will never be too old to adopt a child. (Well, you might not want to when you’re 90, but you get my point, I hope. 🙂

  14. George Hoogendam

    Dear Pastor Dave.

    Thank you for this timely article. I received this the day after I agreed to serve on a team at our church that wants to be a restorative justice practicing church. This is a program that is being introduced in partnership with Shalem Christian Counselling. I have been incredibly blessed by your articles on Narcissism. I have finally been able to name the conflict I have been dealing with my whole life when I confronted my parents with their questionable behavior. I have been grieving the last 3 years as I am finally able to put closure on conflict that I did not understand. I have been reflecting on Ezekial 14 and it appears to be describing a narcissist and God’s call for him/her to repent. I am excited to be a part of anything restorative after 60 years of confusion and destruction. Praise God!

    Thankful to God for your ministry, George

  15. My favorite part of this post:
    “Will the narcissist get what he/she ought to receive? I don’t know. And, increasingly, I don’t care. What matters is that more people are hearing our stories and believing. What matters is that we support each other. What matters is that there is a God in Heaven who loves us. For myself, I am willing to leave the rest in His hands.”

    Beautifully said!

  16. Lea Anna Curtis

    Sometimes this is harder than others to leave it all to God and not try to fix it ourselves.

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