Identity thieves

It’s Narcissist Friday!   

We have all seen the ads. The older couple loses their life savings to some internet hack or postal thief. The young man wants to buy a house, but finds that someone has taken out a credit card in his name, and his credit rating is terrible. The college student finds that her debit card, and the bank account that backed it, has been completely drained. How does all of this happen? Identity theft.

One lady discovered odd items on her credit report spanning twenty years. She later learned that her mother had stolen her identity when she was just a teenager. Her mother had maxed out several accounts in her daughter’s name. The daughter didn’t learn the extent of the situation until her mother died. That’s when she found boxes of credit card bills in her (the daughter’s) name. For years she struggled with the consequences of her bad credit. Her own mother.

Identity theft can really complicate the lives of victims. But the offenders don’t care. They don’t even think about the people they are stealing from. Their desires are more important than the pain the others will suffer. All that matters is that they get what they want. Besides the victims are just names on cards or papers. Not real people.

Sound familiar?

Narcissists are identity thieves. They steal the joy and the lives of others. Because they reject any truth about themselves, who they really are, they cannot accept the reality of other people. Think of it this way: the narcissist grew up hiding. From early childhood, the narcissist learned to present a false image for others to see. If they could love the image, they would love him. If they feared the image, they would leave him alone. If the image got into trouble, whatever reality was hiding in the corner could still be safe. But the narcissist had no identity, nothing real that could be acknowledged or shown to others.

The side effect of this lack of identity was two-fold. First, the narcissist became incapable of valuing the identity of others. He couldn’t see others as real people because doing so might establish a relationship that would make his hiding self vulnerable. So others became tools to serve the image. Friends, co-workers, spouses, children—all were seen as tools to support the image. The value of others was in the way they made the narcissist’s image look good.

But also, the narcissist knew instinctively that some kind of identity, no matter how false, was important. We talk about the image, but the image is not created out of nothing. The image of the narcissist is built on the characteristics, the lives, of the people around him. The narcissist chooses a happy and competent spouse, a wise business partner, a hard-working and giving friend. Why? So the narcissist can be seen as having those characteristics.

You go to work and find the narcissist writing up some paperwork. He says, “You know that couple you worked with yesterday? They came in a few minutes ago, so I finalized the deal. You snooze, you lose!” You did the work, he takes the credit (and the commission). Your mom says you can have a sleepover and decides that she will be the center of the party. She stays up and plays with your friends the whole time. Your husband is known as the fun one of your relationship, but you are the one who put the party together and made sure everyone had a good time. You are the one who communicates with friends. He is only fun when you are with them. What is happening in these stories? The narcissist is taking your success, your character, your life.

Eventually you wonder, “Whatever happened to me? I used to be fun. I used to be popular. I used to be good at my work. What has happened?” And you don’t have an answer. You think you are the same person, but something is missing. You are tired, yes, but there is something else. Something has been taken from you. Your identity. Someone else is benefiting from your gifts and your energy. Just like the identity thief gets the benefit of your hard-earned money, so the narcissist gets the benefit of your reputation, your hard work, your success.

The good news is that the identity is still yours. It may have been hijacked for a while, but you are still you. The one who worked hard before can work hard again. The one who succeeded before can succeed again. The one who had friends and laughter and happiness before can find all those things again. The narcissist can only borrow and drain. He/she didn’t become you. It may take some work, but you can find yourself again … and you can rebuild. The only thing the narcissist can do is find another victim.


Filed under Narcissism

58 responses to “Identity thieves

  1. Jeff Crippen

    Excellent! And I suppose this largely explains why local Christian churches are one of the favorite hangouts of these kind. They creep in wearing their stolen identity – wolves in wool. They work to erode our own true identity in Christ. And as long as we remain naive about this evil, they will succeed in their evil work.

  2. Jo

    This article is just what I need for my current struggle. After a decade of being married to a narcissist who obliterated my life, reputation, and everything I worked so hard for, I finally just got a divorce. He was characterized by taking credit for all my successes, so much so that his behaviors and habits sucked the energy and go-get-em right out of me. I have been battling a lie that everything I succeeded to do was actually a result of the narcissist’s “zeal” and “encouragement.” I know that’s bogus, but I needed someone to simply say that I can find myself again and rebuild. Thank you… I will.

  3. This is so true! I’ve noticed the narcissist in my life likes to “hijack” my memories. She has used photos I take and represent them as her own.

    For example, a couple of years ago my stepdaughter and I went to the zoo. I snapped a picture of her in front of the camels. I texted that picture to the narcissist. She had it framed and hung on her wall, printed and sent to friends and family and on social media not clarifying that it was taken by me.

    When I recently saw the picture at a family member’s house and mentioned that I took that picture, my stepdaughter didn’t believe me. I had to show her the other pictures at the zoo from the same day.

    It goes along with this article. She doesn’t have her own good memories to share. She has to steal mine.

    • Still Reforming

      This is precisely why I unfriended some of my (former) church’s members as “friends” on social media. When I learned that my (now ex-) husband was looking at photos I put up on my FB account over at their houses (because he wouldn’t engage with me at home, but chose to sneak around to see what I was posting), I unfriended them. ONLY because I know how he thinks and how he uses whatever I say or do in some twisted way against me. After 20+ years, the (anti-)”marriage” ended.

      People who haven’t lived it don’t get it. They don’t understand the perverted, twisted evil that it is to steal another’s life. I and many others whose testimonies I read on-line talk about the long struggle back to who we once were. It’s a long haul, but we have enough memories of the good in life and our God that we rejoice as He walks us back to things we once enjoyed and loved and lived – that we may yet again.

      • Laurie

        Dear Still Reforming,
        I so agree with your “people who haven’t lived it don’t get it”. My N is my mom and I’m the scapegoat. Not only did she spend a lifetime denying her abuses, critical comments and pathological lying, when I share with my husband how deep the wounds were and she comes to Thanksgiving dinner with her bag of tricks, he sugarcoats her behaviors, It just adds insult to injury and makes the recovery process harder. I think he thinks that it’ll make me feel better or will lessen the recovery time from the “open grave” of her mouth. It truly makes matters worse. It would be so good to one day call the “lie” what it really is, process it for what it is, put it at the foot of the cross, and move on. To say things like “she didn’t really mean that” or “she’s getting older and doesn’t understand what she’s doing” denies the reality of the situation which, as we all well know, is what their life is all about. Double whammy.

        Fortunately for me I have a Savior and He is Jesus Christ the Lord over all!

      • Amen amen. We should all get together, hold hands in a huge circle, and proclaim “God says I am HIS delighted in and chosen!” Isaiah 62:2-5

  4. noel6119

    Thanks! This article clarifies what happened to me. Ii was married for 45 years. I was always planning and making our lives the best that they could be. I cleaned, decorated and cooked the meals. I sewed clothes for the whole family, including him. I sewed, coordinated, and made decorations for our three daughters’ weddings all while working full time. He sat back and enjoyed. While we were divorcing, I shopped for all our family’s Christmas. He was really surprised when I told him that this was the last time I would do this for him. No More!

    His new wife seems to be sick a lot. He sees our family a couple times a year at a quick lunch or dinner.

    • Anne

      Good article. I was married for 44 years and did many of the things that you did, noel6119. I loved the holidays but got little help from my ex. He begrugded having to lug the tree into the family room, then looked at me with contempt when I asked if he would help hang the ornaments. Yet I’m sure he liked the house when it was all done.

      This is my first Christmas post-divorce. We each have our own apartments. I’ve already put up my tree all by myself and am working on putting out some of my old decorations. I have no idea if he’s doing anything at his place and I won’t ask our daughters what they know.

      He always said he didn’t understand why I did all that work for just a few weeks of enjoyment then take it all down again. I think he was just lazy and secretly enjoyed the fruits of all my work. But, true narc that he is, he would never compliment me for it or for all the effort I put in running our family.

      Whatever happens next, whether I find a normal, loving man to spend the rest of my life with, I will always be sorry that I didn’t leave my husband sooner. And I will never stop hoping that the karma fairy does to him what he did to me.

      • Cecilia K

        Anne, I think you’re probably right that he secretly enjoyed the fruits of your labor, but just didn’t want to help. Who wouldn’t appreciate a beautiful, festively decorated room? His attitude regarding the ratio of amount of effort to length of enjoyment reminds me of the attitude my ex-NBF had toward flowers. He once said he wouldn’t plant flowers, because they didn’t last long enough to be worth the effort. He preferred baby jades and bonsai trees, and in true N fashion, he assumed—I guess because he enjoyed them—that I must enjoy them, too.

        He once said something about giving me one of his baby jades or me taking one home, or something (but see, he didn’t Ask if I wanted one), and I politely said, “That’s okay.” He asked what that meant, and I said, “I don’t want one.” “Why not?” “I think they’re ugly.” Thankfully, this was one occasion when he respected my decision (at least, I don’t recall a fight breaking out over it, but I do remember being uncertain as to how he was going to react). However, at the same time, it was like he was a little perplexed how I could not have the same affection for them that he did.

        And then, regarding the bonsai, he had become involved with some bonsai organization, and one day, he mentioned that he had looked into how much a family rate would be (as in, me, him, and his daughter, if he and I were to get married). I responded with something like, “[Craig], if this is important to you, I will go along with it, but please remember, bonsai is Your thing. I’m not interested in it.” (Translation—You need to ask me if I want to join, before you sign me up, which is probably how I should have said it to begin with… I’m not sure why I didn’t say it that way.) I think I recall he did get a little defensive at that. I remember him angrily accusing me of not liking plants (which isn’t true…I like pretty flowers, even though they are only temporary).

  5. JS

    This one made me cry. Yes, yes and yes. This is exactly what they do. And they have no shame.

  6. Yeah, I wouldn’t play by his rules. For 38 years I was fairly compliant, though, being the caring Christian wife. I played by God’s rules, not his, so he angrily took his ball of PlayDoh and found another mold…and another …and another…and now he’s on try #2 to get the Catholic Church see things his way and give him annulment so the one who has him now can have God’s “blessing” over what Jesus called adultery, which is load of recycled horse hay. The fun part is that, even though I’m evangelical, I’ve made friends with a number of Charismatic Catholics and we have fun praying together! I still want see that man truly saved.

    • Rachel

      Hello roseinspiration, this resonates with me a lot. I am a cradle Catholic and my NH is an adult convert to the Catholic Church. I am sure he will try for an “annulment” is due course. I too pray with some fantastic Catholic friends who are Charismatic and full of the Holy Spirit. This has been the most deeply healing part of my journey. As Jesus says, the Spirit blows where He will, and I am very happy to find Him among all kinds of Christians! My H is an adulterer several times and I too want to see this man saved!
      Blessings to you and yours!

      • Well, we are ” soul sisters” in many ways. God woke me up literally on December 6, 2012 with the words “You’re worth fighting for!” ringing in my spirit. I needed that truth, because boy did my Former husband play dirty the next month, and in April, and in June….. And this past June, too, showing none of the counseling he’s received has made a dent in him. May God speak those words to every heart here.

      • And in a PS to my reply below, the victory I found in six years of hello earth is how relentlessly God loves each us, and me, and you. My journey is in print just a few days ago from Xulon Press directly and on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and iBook now in a devotional prayer journal to help others find the depths of God’s love for them and find healing in the valleys. I titled it Move Your “…BUT…”: A Journey Into God’s Heart, after a word the Holy Spirit spoke to me in 1999. God always has a “…BUT GOD …” bigger than any words anyone, and especially any Narcissist, speaks over us here. My deepest prayer and hope is that it, like Rev. Dave’s blog here, can be a vehicle through which God’s Spirit speaks directly to others for healing, restoration and joy.

      • Sorry I didn’t see this sooner. We are soul sisters for sure.I’mstil, 18 months now, waiting for what I know will be another “no” from the Tribunal because in his questionnaire, he simply validated everything I said. I’m sure the man is mentally ill, but my prayers go up on E5Men’s website for believing men to pray for him. Have you heard of the John 17 Movement, bridging the gulf between you all and us evangelicals? I know it’s a God thing as we come closer to Christ’s return, bringing Jesus’ Bride together. Blessings back to you with thanks.

  7. Yes! And what’s more, once they have stolen your identity and unique contributions, they then proceed to make you feel like you are worthless, because there is nothing special about you after all, if they share all of your unique qualities.

  8. Hephzibah

    Not only does my N husband of decades years try to suck my life out of me and steal all my stories to tell as if they were his own, but when he tells others his own experiences and his own opinions, he has always used the “royal we”, thus making everyone (naturally) think that I took part in the experiences – which I usually didn’t – and agree with all the opinions expressed – which I just about never do!! I mean, who these days uses the “royal we”?? Not even the pope! Maybe some dictators and potentates.
    I just found out four years ago that he is an N, and immediately all the experiences of the past years have started to make sense. I have now got him to stop using “we” when expressing his own opinions (at least when I am sitting right there – not sure what he does behind my back.) And I am learning to share information on a need-to-know basis only. I carefully weigh the words I speak, knowing that everything I say can and will be used against me. I don’t get mad and express it (well, I try not to!) because that is fuel for his fire and just assures him that, yes, he really is superior and in control, and I really am crazy just like he says.
    I am still working on getting my brain to “get” the fact that I have not only the right, but the responsibility to make more decisions for myself and to set more boundaries. Getting better at it bit by bit, by the grace of God. If not for God and his word and his grace, where would I be? Let’s not go there….
    Thanks, Pastor Dave, for your wise and sensible and patient and grace-filled words. I find life in them. Thanks for giving us this safe place to dare to be real people with stories worth telling. And thanks to all who post here to let each of us know that we are not alone in this journey and we are not crazy, and we do not have to remain victims. Blessings on you all!

    • Rachel

      Hephzibah, the Queen says “we”! That’s a real royal “we”!!
      Haha! She sounds ridiculous.
      I totally agree with ” I carefully weigh the words I speak, knowing that everything I say can and will be used against me. ”
      In fact, I think an N should start by saying ” anything you say may be taken down as evidence and used in court”!
      I also agree that we become very careful and guarded about what we say. But how can a relationship grow like this with such a lack of respect from the N and no scope for trust in him or her? This is the wall the N builds around their heart and soul. It is their loss.
      Thanks for sharing your insights and advice.

  9. Savedbygrace

    Thankyou Pastor Dave!
    Narcissists are identity thieves.
    -feels like the ‘missing piece’ in the jigsaw puzzle of my abusive marriage. This explains so much- the weight of ‘carrying him’ in every area ( work, family relationships, Christian commitment) and the confusion of not knowing why this person cannot function for themselves! confounded by the verbal abusive of harsh criticisms and spirit of superiority and entitlement. A devaluing of me and an elevation of him. Identity theft. You nailed it.
    The clarity this brings is such a gift- thankyou so much:)

  10. Thank you for this very enlightening post.
    “It may take some work, but you can find yourself again … and you can rebuild.” With God’s strength … this is my prayer.
    I want to be whole again so I can serve and love others – the Lord implanted this in my heart but the years and the many N’s in my life have robbed and worn me into someone who feels very alienated and not knowing whom I can trust?

    • Rachel

      Dear healinginhim, you can trust The Lord! Ask Him to send you helpers of His own heart and He will. I have been so surprised at how many genuinely kind people there are around me, many of them are not Christians but they have undemanding of right and wrong and how to behave with delicacy and care for others.
      Be very kind and gentle to yourself, try to find one or two women who will pray with you, this will bring healing. Blessings to you.i

      • Thank you Rachel. I have been cautiously seeking ‘true friendship’ but living in a small community makes it difficult as gossip is very hard to deter. I truly know God is faithful but the many years of having even those whom I trusted back out on me has caused this life of caution.
        As for anyone to pray with me … that too is very limited as I don’t fit in with the Beth Moore fan club and thus many look upon me a “poor ole soul” who just doesn’t get and they probably feel “my faith” is indeed the problem in all my relationships — yep, that’s Scriptural and I’m not about to water down the Gospel to please the crowd.

      • Still Reforming

        “The Beth Moore fan club.” You have one of those too in your area? Both churches I attended rallied around her and also Max Lucado. Any women’s Bible studies or seminars were centered around their books or teachings. No offense to those who like those things, but… though I participated in them, I never found them to be meaty enough. And when I pointed out Scripture where I thought it might not support the teachings, I was quickly dismissed. When I brought up Reformed theology that I was just learning about at that time, boy, was I shut down by a few ladies. So, like you, I really never fit in well with the women’s groups. I find it all the more remarkable because I attended one Moore webinar over two days right around the time my marriage was on its last wobbly legs. When I got weepy, no one was interested…. although there was a lot of interest in the little do-lollies of the webinar: the free mints, the tea, the little gifts, the books, etc.

  11. This post reminds me of a short little poem I wrote several years ago as I was coming out of the fog after many years of marriage to an abusive man . the title is simply…… “Me”
    Today I found a piece or two of who I used to be
    Wrapped and trapped in timelessness was an old, old part of me
    I put them in my pocket, sealed my pocket closed time time
    Took back what he had took from me, for they were always mine.

  12. oops * sealed my pocket closed WITH time

  13. Selma

    My N isn’t a parent or ex, so I often feel guilty when I think about the trauma that others experience for years (perhaps a lifetime) while mine only began a short 18 months ago. However, this post really hits close to home for me. The N in our lives tried to steal my husband of 30 years — so, for me, it’s felt like she’s been trying to steal MY identity. She even had him convinced that SHE was his best friend. No, the person that’s stood beside you for 30 years — through the good & bad, the highs & lows & loved you through all of it — that’s who gets to be the best friend. Not the one that breezed in 18 months ago, whose constant drama sucks up all your energy, and nearly destroys your marriage of 30 years — that’s NOT your best friend.

    • Anne

      Yet what a horrible betrayal of your husband to fall for her crap. He is just as culpable as she is for the sin. Yes, maybe she seduced him, but he allowed it. I hate when people say “Oh, it just happened.” as if that somehow absolves them from the chaos and pain they’ve caused their family.

    • Selma – I’ve been living under ‘her’ shadow for years. What hurts is that a woman (Christian?) whom I thought was my friend is a close friend of ‘her’ and is supportive of ‘her’ and feels sorry for ‘her’, etc etc. Sort of like friendship evangelism.
      It’s terrible when no one wants to acknowledge the betrayal … even though there hasn’t been contact for years; because of previous attempts I know she will be back as soon as she senses that I’m finally gone from the scene.

  14. Tee3

    I’m married to a pastor who has displayed all the characteristics of narcissism since we got married 21 years ago. I found out about NPD 2 years ago when I was searching the internet to know what was wrong with him. I moved out of the house in June for 6 weeks when our pastor/marriage counselor intervened, so I went back hoping things would change.
    Two months ago, the verbal and emotional abuse strated again, either the blaming and shaming included. He went to report me to our pastor. This was to let the pastor think he was the good guy. Unknown to me he had told a lot of lies about me and the pastor believed me. By the time I got to there man and narrated my sidebar the story, he had already concluded that I was too touchy, too sensitive, I was wild, and not submissive enough. My husband kept on withnthe lies even in my presence, but the pastor refused to believe me.
    I don’t feel much love for my husband anymore, and I’ve lost some respect for the pastor. My husband preaches every Sunday, and it takes a lot of strength to sit through.
    I’m glad I found your site. I can look at my marriage now with a Christian perspective. I’ve started praying for God’s strength not to argue and to learn to ignore him and his comments sometimes.
    If God wants me to hold on, I pray for grace, because He isn’t telling me to leave yet.
    God bless you.

    • Anne

      So now you know your dear pastor and dear husband are two of a kind. I find it appalling how many family and friends fall for their story and won’t even listen to yours. They just look at you with either pity or disdain because they think they know the narcissist. He’s such a good man and he’s put up with so much from you. They believe all his lies and there is nothing you can do about it EXCEPT decide whether you’re willing to spend the rest of your life submissive to such abuse or whether you have the guts to get out for good.
      I finally reached the end of my rope after 43 years of increasing verbal abuse and gaslighting. Many people think I’m crazy to have given up such a wonderful life but they have no idea what was going on behind our closed doors. It’s not easy being alone at 65 but last year he finally went too far and I suddenly knew it was him or me. I chose me. A few months after he moved out I found out he was having sex with other men. Now I am absolutely sure I made the right decision.

      • Anne – Mine is not openly verbal. In fact, no conversation is finally what he has gotten and desired all along. This relationship (can’t call it a marriage) is very close in years to yours … The internal scars are deep and won’t heal because so few are there to truly help me … it’s very difficult under my circumstances to just move on, however, I believe there will be a ‘family’ incident that finally pushes me out the door – it’s been brewing for years.
        Thank you and others for sharing … I covet prayers as I’m definitely in a “weepy state” during this time of year. Yes, I have the Lord but just as He came in the flesh; He would desire that others; especially professing Christians would reach out to the vulnerable instead of ‘carrying on with their programs.’ (forgive me if I sound too discouraged and bring others down)

      • Still Reforming

        I’ll pray for you. You aren’t alone. I know what that ‘weepy state’ and being near to tears, even if not gushing but soft vulnerable weeping, at the drop of a hat. Anything can bring it about. I’ll pray for you, dear one. ((hugs)) Since I think Christmas is really a modern-day thing anyway – not that I don’t love the season or the songs and smells and cooking, etc – I think it’s more Christ-honoring to reach out to the vulnerable and care for one another than to get caught up in what can be the trappings of the season.

    • Savedbygrace

      Tee3 I agonise with you … a loss of love and respect is the natural consequence of being abused.. this happened to me too and I can so relate to having to sit thru the sermons.. it is a uniquely isolating situation because your abuser is also your husband is also your minister.. and it sounds like the other pastor just closed ranks.. I’m so sorry…but you are not crazy, it is real.
      I am now separated from my pastor husband… I am in a far better place in every way even tho I grieve my loss of what I hoped would be in my marriage…we were married over 30 years… initially I left for a couple of months and went back, -like you-believing all his promises to change…it took me nearly a decade to finally ‘see’ through all the fog of his manipulation , power, control and many forms of abuse.. and then to work up the courage to leave again…I have been greatly helped by learning about abusers tactics (eg see acryforjustice website) and also seeing a counsellor who specialises in domestic violence has been invaluable. I will pray that you can find one or two people as a support network
      take care ((hugs))

  15. Still Reforming – Thank you and others for praying. I feel the years of ‘covering up’ and that so few want to believe me … especially ‘flesh & blood’ … my sense of identity as a wife, mother, grandmother, sister or even a friend?? … they’ve been taken away.
    I am very humbled and grateful that God saved me many years ago. The struggles have strengthened me and I know “who I am IN CHRIST”.
    So many of us in such a state; the infallible Word teaches us that such would be the case for “the remnant”.
    Praise God for pastors that preach the “true Word”.

    • Still Reforming

      I have a sense in my own life of God’s isolating me. In that I mean that many have been suddenly removed from my life – husband, church “family,” genetic family, “friends,” to the point I very quickly found myself “alone” (yet not Alone). And…. for me, there have been ups and downs related to that. Downs, but…. revelation of God’s presence, His provision, His teaching, His Truth, all of that and more…. only in this alone-ness.
      And so, although I’m not necessarily comfortable in it, I take comfort in it all the same. I keep hearing testimonies such as yours and my own – of women (and no doubt men too) who are suddenly now being shown who really isn’t with them. And I think they are our enemies (as Jesus said the enemies would be those of a man’s own household) for Christ’s sake. Not saying we hate them. Not saying we’re vengeful. I’m just saying, they are not of Him and therefore not us either, as His children.
      And so, we are alone. God is doing something in this, because I hear too many testimonies now that share this isolation. No church nearby that will listen. No friends to support. No family who acknowledge.
      And yet, here we are – on a site like this. Commensurating. Drawn by God’s enlightening Pastor Dave (and Pastor Jeff and a few, very few, others).
      The Lord is hand-feeding us all in our isolation.
      Since we are spread so far apart geographically now, I really hope in the new earth we will find one another and share endless time in great joy rejoicing in our deliverance.
      Until then, I hold you close in prayer.

      • You’ve just written my whole situation at the moment. Yes! Encouraging thanks for sharing❤️

      • Still Reforming

        Richarda and healinginhim,

        I just heard this preached on-line. How timely! From Jeremiah 23. Although preached to Israel, I think it’s relevant to God’s people relevant today:

        ““Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the Lord. “Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.”

      • healingInHim

        Still Reforming – referring to the sermon on Jeremiah 23. Yes, very timely and also, we continue to look forward to our “blessed Hope, Christ Jesus.”
        I have become very aware that the enemy of our souls uses these sinful circumstances to “shut the mouths” of those who desire to share and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
        Praise God that He uses the oppressed to share their faith because others often wonder how they can keep afloat? It allows me to share and point others to Christ-fearing ministries who are exhorting the oppressed, however, we all need each other to hold one another up during those times of exhaustion; both physical and emotional.

      • Profilelow

        That is so true what you said. My Mother and I are in isolation now due to the fact it was revealed to us that my Family isn’t for us because they are made up of narcissists and some sociopaths. I exposed one of the sociopathic family members and guess who my family believed? The one who has a track record of lying which is the sociopath. The ones who were there for us are deceased and my family revealed how they really were after they died. So called friends that I cared for and would give the shirt off of my back showed who they really were and I Had to go no contact with them as well because they are narcissists. One day soon God will deliver us from the hands of wicked and give us justice for our trouble. We must remember that God is with us and for us. It’s not easy at all living our lives but Jehovah God carries us through somehow and I thank him for it. Take care and God bless you!

    • AES

      healinginhim – please dont think you wont heal as it will happen! God is the one we should rely on and sometimes its in our brokenness that we truly realize this even when others arent there. A while back i made that determination that no matter what i was gonna love/serve God with my whole heart soul and mind and God has really done a work in my life. Also, after much prayer and seeking and trusting and relying on God, he has given me peace strength and deliverance from the brokenness and depression i was under from the ex N in my life. I also kept in my mind quite a bit on a particular Scripture i would like to share from Isaiah 41:10 – “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” With everything you have just put your faith and trust in God and he will bring you through……..Saying a prayer for you…..

      • healingInHim

        AES – Thank you for your encouragement. Yes, the Lord is faithful and it is remaining in His Word and seeking sound Biblical teaching/preaching via the internet that has kept me grounded amidst the pain.
        So grateful for pastors who truly understand the dynamics of reaching out to the oppressed within the church. Sadly, they are not found locally. Even still, I glean much from pastors such as Jeff Crippen and Dave Orrison. The untwisting of Scriptures has been difficult as I was always a “permanence view of marriage” gal.

  16. HisDaughter

    Thank you so much Pastor Dave for this post. I’ve been mulling over for weeks now how my identity has been crushed the last several years and God gave me my identity at conception. He gave me a very specific identity to full fill His purpose through that and Satan has been using the narcissists in my life to keep that from happing. The Holy Spirit used this to confirm and reaffirm what he’d been speaking softly to me about for the last several weeks. The narcissists in my life have gaslight. lied, and deceived me since I was about 8 and I’m now 45. I got out of the situation in my 20s completely when the Lord opened the way out but in my 30s they went to counseling and appeared to change so I went back into the relationship only to have everything happen again. I was angry at myself for allowing it to happen again. Again…thank you for this posts.

  17. AES

    For quite some time i too had felt so lost and sometimes it was though i didnt know whether i was coming or going. I felt so horribly broken inside and in deep depression from all the nonsense of the N that was in my life (a husband that sure did have the characteristics anyway). After 20 years of marriage and dealing with all this, it is finally over as we just got our divorced finalized! I am so glad it is over but at the same time i am sad that he did not want to allow the peace and love of God to help him and him to receive salvation! With all that said, i do want to give a testimony, after a certain period of being separated from him and through much prayer and seeking God and trusting and finding great strength in God, that God has given me peace, strength and deliverance from all the brokenness and from the depression and from the lost feeling and it is truly awesome what God is doing for me and it is my prayer that God will also bring peace strength and deliverance to all of you and bring such joy back into all of your lives! I also want to say “thank you so much Dave” for having a site like this!! i know that God led me to this site several months back when trying to do some searching about various things!!

  18. Anne

    It’s a difficult time of year to get divorced. It’s only been 2 months for me and it’s hitting me hard. But I thank God I was able to finally see the truth and muster the courage to leave the darkness behind. I know many women stay in such marriages but it must be so difficult to continue to live with such deceit. Last December was my tipping point; I knew then that I would never understand his behavior and that I couldn’t live with a man capable of doing what he did to me and our children.
    May your future path be lighted by your faith and your inner strength. I am also so grateful that I found this site.

    • AES

      When it comes to marriage its difficult either way when trying to figure out whether to stay or go especially when children involved or wanting to do whats right and especially if one may not have anywhere else to go or so hoping for change……but with this or any situation in life when a person has God on your side all things work out for the good!! 🙂 🙂 i pray God helps you through…..

  19. Tee3

    Please, I need prayers and encouragement. I need counselling. My N pastor husband told a lot of lies about me to our Christian counsellor/senior pastor. I feel so betrayed, and my husband is going around like nothing happened. I tried telling the counselor the truth, but he was already convinced with the lies. I’m praying for strength and for Him to lead me one step at a time.

  20. Tee3

    Anne and Savedbygrace, thanks for your encouragement. I was kind of weepy and overwhelmed when I sent the second post. I didn’t know the first one had been answered. God bless you all Gordon your encouragement. Thanks to Pastor Dave for this site.

  21. Tee3

    Thanks, Anne. I didn’t know my husband was gaslighting me until I read the article here on backlighting.
    I’m glad you were able to walk away from your marriage. My twin sister is urging me to leave, but I have to make concrete plans before I do so.
    God bless.

    • Anne

      I have a twin sister too, identical, but she is siding with my husband. So not only do I have his betrayal to deal with, I also have hers. I believe she is also a narcissist and can’t believe she’s been duped by my ex for so long. Whatever, the pain is tremendous.

  22. Tee3

    Saved by grace, thanks a lot. You don’t know how glad I am to find a pastor’s wife who’s walked this way before. Sometimes, I wonder how a Christian could tell such horrible lies, brush it up with a shallow apology after counselling, and expect his wife to forget all the cruelty and lies and carry on as if nothing happened.
    I live in West Africa, and divorce is frowned upon here. The counsellor said we had to stay together ‘for better for worse, till death do us part’. And I wonder if I can continue to condone the abuse for life.
    We are in the calm phase now, and he’s being nice to me because he’ll need my support and money at Christmas time. I know it’s only a matter of time when things will blow up again, and the abuse will start again.
    Thanks again for being there.

  23. Dee

    I’m hoping someone can help me. I had been with my son’s father for about 10 years. During that time I was abused,terrorized,cheated on and given multiple STDs. I managed to break it off and finally get away from him. Then I found out he is getting married and I am heartbroken. All I can think of is how could he love her more than me, how could he treat her better than me and how come he wouldn’t marry me but is marrying someone else. I know I should be relieved but I cant seem to shake this. This can’t be normal. Can someone help?

    • Still Reforming


      First of all, it is normal and healthy for you to have the feelings you are right now. For someone to use you for a decade, have a child with you, and then not marry you and turn right around and marry someone else suddenly, it is normal and healthy to be heartbroken, no matter how he’s behaved. You had been under the impression that perhaps he at least cared, so to discover otherwise is heartbreaking. Allow yourself to grieve.

      Indeed it is better for you, by the sounds of it (having been abused, terrorized, cheated on, and given multiple STDs) for you to be out of there and as far away from his as possible. He likely has not changed his ways and the new wife will be the focus of all that cruelty.

      Allow yourself to grieve, thank God in the process for His deliverance, and learn all you can from this website and A Cry for Justice (a blog on-line that helps targets of abuse).

      Peace to you….

      • Dee

        Thanks for your response. I know I am in a better place but some days are harder than others. He seems so content and happy with this new person while I am alone and lonely. The man I decided would be his replacement turned out to be an even bigger narcissist, if there is such a thing as degrees. Now I’m left to wonder if perhaps it’s not the.people but my choices. My son’s father cheated from day one, lived with a woman while we were trying to put things back together or rather I was. Went to jail for putting her head through a wall in front of my son. A few months after I had my son I began suffering from post partum depression and he went on with life as always telling me essentially to suck it up. My pregnancy was a he’ll. And yet I am still so dad. I feel like I can’t grieve I have a child who depends on me. I still have to interaCT with him for the sake of my son and it kills me that whIle I am silently falling apart he is going on with his life. I can’t grieve I don’t know how. I just want to move on to whatever is beyond this veil of pain.

      • Still Reforming

        The more you learn about narcissism (read this post again and again – and read Lundy Bancroft’s “Why Does He Do That?” and hang out at A Cry for Justice’s blog as well) – the more you will likely discover that no matter how your ex- APPEARS, he is NOT a happy man. He is NOT happy with the new wife. He is as miserable as he ever was. He fakes his personna. He is not real. He adopts the lives of those around him (which is the gist of this post). There is no real joy in your ex-‘s life. He is putting on an illusion so those around him will think something of him – and it’s working.
        At a certain point when I realized that my (then) husband was doing everything (lies, manipulation) ON PURPOSE with INTENTION, I developed a plan for myself. Yes, I was emotional (hurt, confused, etc), but I also at the same time tried to think logically about it. What could I possibly do for myself? My plan was this:
        1. Find people to whom I could turn to talk about what he was doing (at that time, I limited myself to his explosions of anger). Find people I can trust that I can take my child to if he explodes again in front of her. At that time, the people I trusted were local. Now, most everyone I trust is only on-line, but that’s fine. We’re divorced now. And yes, I have to still deal with him as you do your ex-, but limit the contact as much as possible. In writing (email) if possible. That’s what I do. If he calls and I must talk to him, it’s only about our child and I keep it brief. If he starts to yell or whine at me, I hang up.
        2. I read. And read. And read. I had a book list as long as my arm about covert (aka passive-) aggressive behavior, narcissism, sociopathy, etc. That helped. But, at a certain point, when it all became too depressing, I turned a corner and started reading about survivors and those who exited the bad place. Books like Christi Paul’s “Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt” and “Mending the Soul” by Steven Tracy.
        3. I disengaged. I disconnected from him. I unplugged. The last year or so when we were still together and he came home from work, I got his dinner on the table and plugged myself into a laptop with earphones. When we were alone, I wouldn’t listen to anything he said (because it was poison to my soul). I put earphones into my head connected to an mp3 player. When my child was around, I would allow him to talk with me only because she was a witness. He wasn’t trustworthy so I didn’t trust him.
        I hope this helps – even a wee bit. I agree with Savedbygrace. It will likely benefit you a great deal these days to find someone local you can trust to pour your heart out to about all of this. A local DV shelter will be the best place to start, I would think.
        Blessings to you… and peace….

  24. Savedbygrace

    Dee you don’t have to go it alone… find a counsellor who specialises in DV (not relevant at this point if they are Christian- they need to understand what you’ve been through and how to help you) They will help you process these very natural and strong emotions- just having someone walk the journey with you can be so empowering.
    It will take time to grieve and it will come in waves, some days will be better than others. Looking after yourself is the best gift you can give your son.
    ‘It takes a village to raise a child’- let others help you and your son.
    You will get through this x

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