Unconditional Love – Again

It’s Narcissist Friday!   


Mary has a lover.  She also has a husband.  She only wants to be with her husband because he finances her desires.  She has no love for him, no commitment to him.  During their arguments, she says that she hates him and wants nothing to do with him.  When she leaves the house, she goes to the home of her lover. 

John hits his wife.  He stopped being kind and loving toward her a long time ago.  She is the scapegoat of his anger.  He keeps her isolated so others don’t know her suffering.

Jane hates her daughter.  At least that’s what she yells at her when she is angry, which is most of the time.  She wants her daughter to remain with her until she dies so that she can have a servant.  She permits no outside relationships, no outside activities.  Jane tells her daughter that she wishes she had aborted her before she was born.  Her daughter is unworthy of her love or of any human kindness, she says. 

Mike is the master of his home.  His wife and children exist to serve him.  When he works, he comes home and demands service.  When he doesn’t work, he expects his wife to bring in money for his use.  He has a new pickup and boat, while his wife and children barely have food and clothing.

In the minds of some, Mary’s husband should continue to give to her and care for her in spite of her unfaithfulness and in spite of her own statements of rejection.

In the minds of some, John’s wife is supposed to stay and be a contented wife without regard to her own safety and health.

In the minds of some, Jane’s daughter should obey and love her mother.

In the minds of some, Mike’s wife and family should serve him with sacrifice and love, no matter what.

After all, Christians should show unconditional love!



I received a comment the other day in which the writer took all of us to task for our lack of “unconditional love” and for speaking of the narcissists in our lives as “objects.”  (Not all comments make it past my moderation.)

But I feel the need to address this idea of unconditional love again.  I wrote about it a year ago HERE.  Please read that post.  This post will only add to what I said there.

Unconditional love is a wonderful thing for people to talk about.  It suggests that good people will put up with anything.  The idea is often used to weaken the resolve of victims for making changes.  It is also used to try to hold back the hand of justice for the offender.  The idea is especially convicting for Christians.  After all, what is more loving than continual, sacrificial, forgiveness?  That’s what we have received, and that’s what we are expected to give.

But I have found that it is a lot easier to tell others to love unconditionally than to actually do it myself.  In fact, I suspect that unconditional love isn’t something we can do.

 Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.

C.S. Lewis


But let me ask this question to those who would expect us to love unconditionally: What do you mean by “love”?  Do you mean staying in a relationship where there is danger and hatred?  Do you mean never expecting accountability for the actions of the offender?  Do you mean maintaining the lie that hides the broken and abusive relationship? Do you mean allowing the victim to suffer to the point of suicide or mental illness?  Is that love in your eyes?

You see, most of the people who call others to unconditional love have suffered little in life, or have accepted that suffering for their own lives.  They judge and criticize, rather than empathize.  But unconditional love is not a demand or even an expectation.  It is a glimpse of Heaven and the Lord’s own heart.

I know that there are rare and wondrous occasions where parents forgive the murderer of their child.  I know that some have truly forgiven their abusers or rapists.  Those are marvels in our world, worthy of story and song.  This is not unconditional love as much as it is love beyond conditions.  No one sets out in the morning to have that kind of love in their hearts.  No one could ever create such love.

The rare times we see or feel this kind of love are nothing less than miracles, acts of God.  To judge someone for not experiencing a miracle is unfair.  To place the expectation of a miracle on another, when very few of us would ever experience such a thing ourselves, is cruel.

I sincerely doubt that any human love can be truly unconditional, however.  Love is based on relationship, and when relationship fades, love fades.  You will often hear people speaking of the unconditional love of pets, usually dogs.  But pull the dog’s ear and it will make you stop.  It may feel badly for biting you, but it will bite nonetheless.

A person who sets out to carry a cat by the tail will learn a lesson that will be useful throughout life.

Mark Twain


To judge a victim for seeking escape or solace is to misunderstand the need of the heart.  Narcissists often demean their victims to the point of incapacitation.  They use and abuse until the heart is broken and the mind is weakened.  It is natural for victims to want to leave or end the pain.  How could it be otherwise?  And how could they be wrong?  Should we expect that victims would want to remain in their suffering?  Of course not.

There will be a day when we will love fully and freely, without condition.  And in that day there will be no more sin.  No one will cause pain in the heart of another.  There will be no abuse or manipulation or degrading.  No one will lie.  No one will cheat.  No one will be cruel.  I look forward to that day.

Perhaps, if you experience the levels of pain that some here have suffered, you might have the grace to keep on loving.  If you do, it will not be that you are spiritually superior.  It will be that you have been given a gift.

It is much more likely that you would go through a time of great grief, mourning the loss of love and the broken relationship.

Please don’t judge those who are in the midst of this struggle.










Filed under Narcissism, Uncategorized

70 responses to “Unconditional Love – Again

  1. Susan mcallister

    Does anyone else wake up Friday morning snd check your email first thing for a new, “It’s Narcissist Friday” article?? Just saying…so helpful, Pastor Dave! Thank you!

  2. mujer

    This brought tears to my eyes. Your words are so true. We who have suffered greatly at the hands of the Narcissist (in my case my late Grandmother and Mother) and have made the painful but necessary decision to break of all contact, can almost “suffer” again, from the “well-meaning” friends and family who say things like, “But she’s your mother and she’s old and sick” and “Don’t you want to just sit down with her and discuss all of this (Believe me I’ve tried!) or,”You’re supposed to be a Christian.. Honour thy father and mother, always forgive, etc, Psalm 27:10-11 Hebrews 13:5-6

  3. I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to being the man that God created you to be and answering His call on your life. You have been a guiding light to me in my journey of healing from a 35 year narcissistic abusive marriage as well as growing up as a very abused child of a narc.
    I’m so very tired of hearing how I have to still love the man that tried to kill me. I’m so very tired of the questions from people in authority over me in my church judging me due to the extreme trauma I have had to endure. I’m supposed to be over it and healed already…well I lived that trauma for 51 years …I’ve only been on a healing path for 3 years…God’s not done yet ! Why is it some failing in ME? More over …why don’t they believe Me? …Is it that the truth is just to horrific? And what about the pastor that allowed my husband to be a member of the church(different church ..but I’m still hurt) …but not me …(I had to go get counseling and mental health help before I could become a member). Well I came to him for marriage help …and he believed the ABUSER !!!!!
    Sorry for the rant…I felt this may be a safe place. I know I still have anger for how things turned out I stayed and prayed for 35 years , got thrown away and almost killed. I’m homeless now all because I didn’t want to die …Yup I’m angry (and rambling) God help me.
    So Ill keep going back to God for His Love and Healing…and keep asking for the help of The Spirit to forgive. It’s all I know to do.

    • Tammy

      angelsforhorses my heart breaks for you. No-one should have to go through such anguish at the hands of this awful evil! You will definitely help with healing on this site. You suffered so long… don’t beat yourself up for grieving as long as you need to.

      I don’t have any quick fix answers for you. It isn’t easy. I do know that I allowed myself to grieve (like someone died), I talked WAY too much about it, but I finally came to a place of healing.

      I can say that people in the church and counselors that will understand what you have been through are the exception. It is sad that there aren’t more professionals out there that actually get it. I live in a very large city with nearly a million people and I could not find a mental health professional that really understands narcissism. One said she did but colluded with my daughter and came to such an illogical conclusion that someone that has NO counseling experience would agree with me.

      I finally found someone an hour away in a small town. He was blunt with me. It wouldn’t help my daughter to go to counseling as long as she was still lived part time at her N father’s home.

      Your energy is precious right now and needs to be focused on your own primary needs first. God wants us to trust and lean on him because unfortunately people are fallible and often will disappoint us and break our hearts. You should be able to find help from a church with a DivorceCare class, food pantry, clothing or other tangible help that you need right now. It breaks my heart to say that you may not find much help with regard to them understanding the emotional damage and misery the N in your life has caused. You have it here. I know this is the internet but we are real people who have cried real tears and we feel your pain.

      I will pray for you to find healing and love in the only unquenchable place you can. In Jesus Christ.

      • Thank You Tammy,
        As to help in my town there is none. Other than God and His provision, I am not eligible for services…I’m a throw away as far as services …HOWEVERI have seen Gods provision for my life over and over. I’ve been on a healing path for three years now and God has done some amazing work to the point that I’ve been able to go back to college to get a degree in law. The path that I’ve been shown is to be an advocate for those in my situation and women getting out of prison, the homeless and Trafficked individuals .as I’ve walked that path myself…I still can’t get medical care of counseling(though with the caliber of the counselors here I don’t want them anyway). God is My provider and My Healer. I’m just very happy that there is some one out there who gets it.

      • Tammy

        Angelsforhorses – There is no “reply” link after your last post so these are going to be out of order…
        I am so happy to hear what you are doing now! Others that will read your post will be inspired now, and your new focus will allow you to continue to bless others in ways you wouldn’t have been able to do had you not gone through the suffering yourself. May God continue to heal your heart so that you can pour out his love on others!

  4. Kathy

    And to the ones who would claim that the victims of narcissists are not exhibiting “unconditional love” —
    What if that “unconditional love” causes pain and physical/emotional harm to a third party? Should we show “unconditional love” and submit to an N husband who beats and degrades the children? Do not the children also warrant “unconditional love”? Allowing an N husband to abuse the children is NOT only non-spiritual — it’s sin. This is not an extreme example — this is reality in many homes. Women “submit” to N husbands — and their children are hospitalized with real injuries, many die. The psychological damage is beyond measurement. Is it proper to “unconditionally love” and stand by when someone else becomes a victim?
    Do we show “unconditional love” when our child or spouse is addicted to alcohol and/or drugs? Do we stand by and just pray? What kind of love is it when we allow someone to slowly kill themselves and take others with them?
    Jezebel showed “unconditional love” and submission to her husband Ahab. He wanted something that did not belong to him — Naboth’s property.
    This is what I encountered — in-laws that wanted something that did not belong to them and yet I was told (by them, not by my husband): Well, mom SAID I could” and “dad said I could have” and “YOU have to give it to me.”
    When my husband did pass away, and with his full blessing, I cut them off. They created victims of our children. Should I have let them continue to take food from the fatherless? Should I have let them continue to tell my children that the in-laws suffered more than they when my husband died? My in-laws were adults with their own spouses, homes, children. My children, the fatherless children, were 18 and 12.
    Should I have loved my in-laws unconditionally and not my children?
    That’s an insane question.

  5. Tammy

    I agree! My sweet mom used to say “Honey, he’s your brother!”… saying I should have a relationship with him regardless of his behavior. She stopped saying that once he mistreated her when she did something he didn’t like. We should be empathetic to others plights even when we don’t understand the pain they are experiencing.

    For those that judge people that don’t continue a relationship with an abusive person, or condemn us talking about the N’s in our lives as “objects”, I ask you to consider Jesus Christ. He did call us to forgiveness, but who did he dine with? Who did he spend all of his time with? Conversely, who did he call out publicly and not waste his precious time with?

    Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees names like… brood of vipers… fools… hypocrites… Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of the bones of the dead and of everything unclean!”

    It doesn’t take a Bible scholar to interpret Matthew 23. He described them as objects to make it clear that he knew their hearts. Pure Evil! He didn’t tiptoe around their sin. He didn’t have a relationship with them. He told them that they were evil and he continued on to hang out with sinners. People who knew they needed Jesus and his forgiveness and love.

    Jesus told his disciples that if a community wouldn’t listen to them that they were to shake the dust off their feet and move on! They were evil and Jesus made it clear that the disciples were not to stay and waste their time.

    We do not need to justify ourselves to others for choosing no contact with an Narcissist. For the ultimate justification, look no further than Jesus Christ.

  6. Certain things in life are thought of as being ‘givens.’ It’s a given that this or that wouldn’t happen. Some narcissists attempt to remove these givens and then the victim isn’t believed and instead is punished. In other words, the abuse can be downright scary and it startles the person being told about it and the victim who has suffered the worse kind of abuse is left unprotected or shunned for speaking such things.

  7. I “hope” what most people mean when the suggest I forgive my mother is that I come to the fullness of healing where I no longer feel angry.

    What I think most of them mean is “How awful of you to sever ties with your mother. Allow her to emotionally abuse you or you’ll feel guilty when she dies.”

  8. Thank You for this post. You offer a practical way of looking at this subject, and I found it to be very helpful. As I have struggled through untangling myself from the past, and the constant juggling of my emotions and perceptions…my biggest challenge has been dealing with my inner battle between hatred and forgiveness. I was unable to move forward while I denied the hatred inside of me. I felt that I was unhealthy, and that something was wrong with me.. I felt like I was not right with God, and if I could just forgive, the hatred and anger would go away. Advice I was given was always to “forgive”. As it turns out, this advice so easily given, is not so easy to do. Even with Gods help, and constant prayer. One day I simply accepted the hatred I felt. I decided to allow it, rather then fighting to repel it. Hatred, as it turns out, is most harmful when it is denied, ignored, or diminished. Once I embraced it, this bigger then me, all cosuming inferno, seemed to calm in a way that became manageable. I began working towards forgiving, and it was helpful to remind myself, “I am not Jesus” and God does not expect me to handle things in the same way Jesus would. It is that Gods teachings are my beacon of light, and my responsibility is to move towards that light… consistently, honestly, and faithfuly. I have experieced the most growth, though many disagree with me, by accepting… There are things, that are simply not forgiveable.

    • Rachel

      Iamamolecule, I agree with your thoughts about forgiveness. It’s so important to acknowledge our negative feelings. One of my children feels huge hatred towards his father. We have talked about forgiveness and I tell him, ok, you feel very angry and hate him, that’s ok, but you can’t do anything about it which harms him, that’s the line that has to be drawn. We manage to make light of it and I say, ok, you don’t have to forgive him, but keep that in the back of your mind. I think this is healthy. At the moment, he can’t forgive him in any way and needs to process and own the complex and negative feelings he has. I accept that this is his place at the moment. I talk to him about praying for our situation and for his Dad, but don’t make any demands. I hope your journey continues with the healing that you need. Blessings, x

  9. J S D

    I believe malignant narcissists and psychopaths prey on, possibly seeking out, and/or groom their victims to demonstrate “Christian” kindness, relying on the victim’s goodness, their moral obligation to forgive and to forget, and to love unconditionally. Forgiveness quite frankly enables these monsters to continue on with their evil abuse.

    As a Christian, are you required to forgive the devil? As a Christian, do you not believe in true present day evil? As a Christian, isn’t it your moral obligation to discern the difference between good and evil?

    This whole business of unconditional love, forgiving and forgetting, not being judjemental is just fodder to the truly evil “people” in this world. In my opinion, all of those “good” characteristics are the ideal not reality and something for Gods and angels to aspire to.

    While hanging on to anger, hatred and pain can cause long-term physical and spiritual injury, I’m not sure “forgiveness” is fully understood, or is an answer or remedy. Letting God handle it, and turning it over to God is not the answer either.

    We were given free will. We were given intellect. We were given the ability to judge the difference between good and bad, right and wrong. We need to use all of these gifts just to survive. We need to stop letting evil use these gifts against us to continue their abuse. We need to stop denying that evil exists and employs cohort methods, disguises and deception to destroy us. We need to take responsibility for ourselves and act upon it.

    If you are in the presence of evil, get away from it.

  10. Sunflower

    Unconditional love? Where is that in the Bible? God is constantly saying, If you do this, then I will bless you. If not, you are cursed. The church tends to pick verses of promise out of the Bible, conveniently leaving out the bits about what we need to do to receive that promise. God’s love is many things. Unfathomable, unreachable, etc., but not unconditional. I’ve often wondered why women seem to be expected to love so differently than God, even.

    • Cecilia K

      Sunflower, I understand your dilemma with this, and I am not scripturally knowledgeable enough to know how to address those particular parts of scripture in the context of unconditional love, but a pretty clear example of it is stated in Romans 5:8 – “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

  11. Kitkat

    Another great read, Pastor Dave! If we continue in these relationships under the guise of unconditional love we are placed in the role of an enabler by people who think they know what is best for us. Never do you hear of these folks talking to the abuser in the same way as they talk to the victims. Where is the victim’s unconditional love? Where is the love to not suffer beatings? Where is the love to not suffer emotional abuse? Where is the love to not be isolated? Where is the love to not be shunned? And where is the love in not being believed? I believe that well meaning people want to believe in the fairy tale where everyone lived happily ever after. Don’t actually show the reality, because it might cause me to have to think about something that I don’t want to see. They like to be comfortable and not get into the messiness of a dealing with reality. They want easy answers so that there is no confrontation with the abusers. They want to feel they have helped by showing the victim the way to unconditional love in an abusive relationship and then sweep it under the rug. The only thing is that in too many relationships where it has been swept under the rug on a regular basis you eventually find a body under there, ripped and torn because the real issues were never addressed and validated. We do a tremendous disservice to victims of abuse by giving them Christian pat answers. It’s the cowards way out and there is nothing Christian about it.

  12. When will that day come…when we love fully and freely without condition? When we go to Heaven? What if you have no chance to ever see the pearly gates…simply because God has forgotten you? I would like to JUST ONCE, know how it feels to be loved. I don’t even care about the conditions.
    I used to be very religious. I used to pray, beg and promise. All I ever wanted was to know how it felt to be loved.
    He always said no.
    I am mad at Him and He knows it. I still believe in Him and have no doubt that He exists…but sometimes….i wonder how he can put somebody on this earth to suffer so much.
    You will probably choose to not allow this comment and that’s okay. It will just be another “no.”

    • For laurelwolfelives:

      Words can be too small and seem trite to answer something like this. Your pain is so obvious and so great. I grieve for what you have been through. Pain often does not allow us to feel anything other than itself. Sometimes anger is the only thing that affirms that we are still alive.

      All I can tell you is what I believe. I believe God understands your anger and is with you in your pain, even though you don’t see Him. I believe that He has never let you go. The One who went to the cross for your sins and mine, long before either of us were born, showed His love in His sacrifice. He forgave our sins, in spite of the fact that we willfully disobeyed and dishonored Him. He is always ready to welcome us. His heart is open. In those times when God seems so far away, it is only our tears that blind us to His presence.

      I don’t know why you have suffered so much. I only know that there will be an end to your suffering. There will be a time when all of those who look to Him will find themselves safe in His loving arms. One day we will wake from this troubled sleep we call life, and we will find that we have been in His arms all along. Nothing separated you from Him, not your sin and not your anger.

      My prayer for you is that He would give you a glimpse of the truth. That’s all most of us get. But I pray that glimpse will be so powerful and so clear that you will be able to hold onto it. I pray that He would show you His love in a way that breaks through your suffering, at least for a moment.

      Heaven is a wonderful promise for those who look to Jesus, but we all understand that it seems like a promise far off. I pray that you would find Heaven in your relationship with Jesus today. I know others will be praying with me.

    • Never Alone


      I understand your pain. My experience has been similar. In the midst of a broken marriage, I cried out to God for over two decades. I, too, prayed and begged. God remained silent and seemingly uninvolved. As a result, I raged with anger and hatred toward God, I denied Christ repeatedly, and I questioned if I was ever a true believer. Then, after several years, God busted through my rock-solid, hardened heart, and drew me back to Himself, forever changing the way I viewed Christ. My painful and lonely marriage has been the catalyst for this renewed and deeper relationship with Christ. Through suffering, God is teaching me that He (and no other) can satisfy every longing of my heart.

      Friend, God is intimately acquainted with you, your needs and your pain. He sees and hears you. His love for you is beyond your comprehension. He, even now, is ever present and is leading you. And one day, deep in your soul, you will say “The Lord is my portion, therefore I have hope in Him.” Lam 3:24 Praying God reveals more of Himself to you this day! =)

      • I have never denied God nor will I ever. I just think he doesn’t have time to bother with little things….like me. There are far too many others out there who desperately need His help.
        He has allowed the people who ravaged my heart and soul to have happy, fulfilled lives and I RESENT it. These people murdered me emotionally and HE allowed it.
        So much for trying to be a decent, God-fearing person most of my life.

  13. Mary's Twin

    Thank you! I am struggling with this myself. Growing up in an abusive home with a narcissistic mom has definitely messed me up. So what did I do, I married a narcissistic man. My eyes have been opened to the problem recently. I realise that I have been conditioned to be a people pleaser just to avoid being abused by my narcissistic bullies and now I have become rebellious. My question is….How do I break this pattern and still Glorify God. I am currently behaving like Mary in your post, simply because my desire is to be loved and accepted for a change. I am not proud of my behavior, but in my heart I desire a relationship that includes love and acceptance from a human.

    • J S D

      You need to get out immediately. If you have young children their safety comes before your own.

      I came from the exact situation you speak of. And although I knew both my mother and spouse were toxic, and I needed to keep them out of my life, I chose instead to just keep them out of my head. It’s not a solution. It’s a bandage for a severed artery.

      My guess is there are wounds much deeper, that will surface. My guess is you think you can handle it. My guess is the only way you can handle it is to become and behave like a narcissist yourself.

      Cut your losses and get out. Give yourself a chance to heal. Give yourself the chance to know and demonstrate real love. It exists.

      • Mary's Twin

        Thank you J S D…..
        I certainly don’t wish to become a narcissist, but I really struggle with standing up for myself, because neither of my bullies ever hear what I have to say…..it always gets switched to what ever it is that they need or desire…..ugh.
        So yes I spent a good amount of time trying to keep them out of my head. However, the too comes with issues. My bullies always expect me to answer them when they talk to me. If I don’t, then it is just more verbal abuse. Neither of these people have a relationship with Jesus and if I tell them what I know, I am told to shut up or that I am a zealot. So….Is this one of those times that I should kick the dust off my shoes and leave (divorce them both)?

    • Savedbygrace

      Dear Mary’s twin, I feel for your dilemma and have had to face the questions of What now? once I realised how toxic and abusive my relationship was. I honour that you want to glorify God in your life.. there will be ways ( even if small) you can already do this where you actually do have the power and the control, the choices, – I found it helpful to walk in the light that God has given me so far.. a bit like following the torch light when you are out in the countryside and all is pitch black around you.. you can make the next step and the next step into the light. Be true to who you know God wants you to be so that you can live with no regrets. It is natural that you crave love and affection as you have been starved of them -any effort to meet that need whilst in such confusion and distress at home is likely to add to your suffering in reality- trust that God will look after your needs for love and acceptance in his timing.
      These things may help:
      stay safe- be aware any change in your relating style at home can increase risks to your safety.
      If you did decide to leave you will need a safety plan
      reach out for help eg domestic abuse hotline, counsellor or refuge; build a support network- a few girlfriends or even if it is just one friend ( best not to be a romantic interest! you can do without this complication just now)
      constant verbal ‘discussions’ are another tactic used to control and abuse and, like you, I did not like the person I was becoming being involved in these discussions ( anxious, defensive, hopeless, combative- despairing of being heard or understood). In my situation, I was unable to successfully modify my h’s behaviour and have my boundaries respected so my only recourse was to step off the merry go round and separate. This was a difficult thing to do but has enabled me to think more clearly and have the emotional and psychological peace and safety to start healing and gain a new perspective and some hope.
      Praying for you.

  14. grace551

    Another amazing post – thank you very much, Pastor Dave.

  15. Kitkat

    Laurelwolfelives, your post broke my heart. I agree with Pastor Dave it may be hard for you to see the Lord right now. I just want you to know it is okay to be angry,you have been hurt and it is okay to grieve. But try not to live there. I was raised in a very legalistic religion. One where I felt God was constantly condemning and judging me. I had a very authoritarian view of who God was. But with time God unraveled my misconceptions about who He is. I have no answers as to why so many people are dealt such a difficult life. We are the victims of the generations before us who did not listen to or want to heed the guidance God was trying to give to them. And the evil passes down from one generation to the next. But I do know that God constantly tries to open our eyes and ears to His calling us to a better way of life. And perhaps, it is why God has led you here. There are many wounded here but from those wounds God has used them to help many others who come seeking comfort and a kindred spirit. Read through many of the posts on here and may you find nourishment for your soul from those who have been where you are and know that you are not alone. The Lord loves you, I pray He brings you comfort and love and may He shelter your heart in the loving embrace of His wonderful Grace. You will get there, we are praying for you!

  16. Bobbie

    Thank you so much for this post. I have finally decided to get out of the pain. Of course I have been asking God if he is ok with this as I have always believed that you don’t give up. Thank you for your posts. I need strength and courage the next few months. Please pray for me.

    Sent from my iPhone


  17. Your post was so powerful, affirmative and healing.
    Thank you and God Bless.

  18. Ailsa

    Thank you , thank you. Right on!!!

  19. Savedbygrace

    Dear Laurlewolfelives
    I think ‘religion’ has a lot to answer for!
    you wrote:
    I used to be very religious. I used to pray, beg and promise. All I ever wanted was to know how it felt to be loved.
    He always said no.

    I’m so sorry you have experienced so much hurt and pain from others. It’s not wrong to want to be loved!
    I would like to encourage you to read/see for yourself the account of Jesus life in the Bible ( eg Mark’s gospel)..it truly is an eye opener.. contrary to what many who have been burdened by ‘religion’ may have been told… we find in Jesus someone who blasts apart the burden of religion in favour of a relationship of LOVE … he re writes what it means to be accepted, have worth, to be known, the real Jesus (as opposed to the religious ideas built around him) will NEVER say no ! He loves you so much!! I pray that you will feel the truth of that and come to know that reality of Jesus love for you in the depths of your soul. (((hugs)))

    • H V

      I want to assure you that God would never say “no” to loving you. There is nothing we can do or not do to change the love that the Lord has for us. I completely understand your feeling that your prayers are being answered with a”no” as that seems to be the case thus far for me as well. Upon talking about this with someone else they assured me that someday I would thank and praise the Lord for “unanswered prayers”. You see God wants and knows and commands what is best for us. It is so so so painful to endure but I am choosing to put all that I have in the faith and assurance that my loving Lord and Saviour will not leave me in the lurch and that there is a plan in this. Jesus himself suffered the greatest betrayal of all and He knows, he knows. He will work all this for good to those who believe and call upon His name.

  20. “Unconditional” love might better be defined Biblically as “sacrificial’ love, which is agape love. Sacrificial love is a scriptural concept, whereas ‘unconditional’ love is a concept easily distorted and misrepresented. Agape (sacrificial) love demands that we operate & relate to others in TRUTH. Sometimes, that means separating from them, or telling them hard truths (in love), or rebuking them, etc. So then, FELLOWSHIP is conditional (based on behavior, fruit, etc), even if love is unconditional.

    • You have made an excellent point: FELLOWSHIP is conditional based on behavior, fruit, etc…….THANK YOU. Blessings. Very insightful and well said post.

      • Pbjmama

        This is the same conclusion I reached after studying unconditional love… Jesus loves us without conditions (limitless, perfect, holy love). He is our Creator. However, He doesn’t have unconditional relationships. Sin meant Adam & Eve lost intimate fellowship; God didn’t stop loving, but He did set new limits. When “churchianity” says we’re to love unconditionally, they usually mean “don’t put any conditions on the relationship.” Well, that’s just foolishness. There are MANY conditional statements in the Bible: if you confess with your mouth, if you believe in your heart, if you deny me before men, etc. Do an “if” word search; it’s staggering. Salvation itself is conditional! If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t need the cross. God loved us even in our sin, but that doesn’t mean everyone gets to Heaven on love. Repentance is necessary. Fellowship/ relationship depends very much upon certain conditions.

  21. Thank you, Lord for allowing this post to come at this time. This subject needs to be dealt with according to Your true Gospel not man’s hardened heart.
    May broken hearts be healed as we share and pray for each other. I’m still healing — it’s taking so long — but I know my Savior will see me through despite the lack of true flesh and blood physical believers coming to my rescue. ((hugs)) and prayers to all. ❤

  22. Lynn Sonia

    THANK YOU for your weekly posts. I stayed in a very dysfunctional marriage for 25 years, hoping and praying that he would change. To top it off, he had a seminary degree and pastored for a number of years. I kept up the good Christian wife smile and suffered behind closed doors. Your writings have put words to my experience with my ex (I divorced finally 10 years ago after he had an affair with my best friend). I eagerly read each writing and pass on to friends. Bless you. Lynn

    Sent from my iPad


  23. Alice

    Beautifully written and 100% true!

  24. Thank you! Bless you! Your post yesterday and a year ago on “Unconditional Love” are answered prayer. Although I knew in my gut what was right…..And have “heard” it, I seemed to need to read it! It is difficult to find information for the mother in a mother/child narcissist relationship. I, the mother, have made an “idol” out of motherhood and the ” should ” that a mother loves her child no matter what. Add a healthy dose of “religion” and Job’s friends and you just sat down under a cloud of false guilt and condemnation. I know I DO love my son and true love is not mush. These facts and truths don’t always soothe or silence the ache in my heart to have a healthy relationship……..So I choose to speak to my soul; discipline my mind and trust God sees and knows my heart. Some days I do that better than others. Yep, the battle is in the mind. Your words, “loving from a distance”…….were like water on dry ground. Again, thanks. I stand, Eph 6:13!

  25. NoLongerSilent

    Thank you for this post. I have been struggling with my relationship with my golden child/flying monkey sister ever since I went nc with my narcissistic mother last Oct. My sister will agree 100% that our mother is abusive but her motto is forgive & forget & that family should always stick together no matter what. Her way of dealing with mother is avoid mothers wrath at all cost. If one upsets mother then the victim of her wrath deserves what they get. After all, as she sees it, they knew that would upset mother. I lived the past 44 years with one goal in mind, do whatever needed to appease mother. As many of us know, that is near impossible with a narc.

    Last Oct I finally stood up to mother when she spoke harshly about my daughter. I was calm but made it clear to mother that her words were hurtful & I will not tolerate her behavior. As you can imagine that didn’t go over well with mother! She lashed out telling me that she was my mother & she can speak towards me any way she wanted. She also demanded me to make a list of topics that she can speak to me about. If I didn’t then she’d have no further relationship with me since I don’t allow her to speak freely like she should be able to. I never did make her that list & she has never spoken to me since. I have to say, for the first time in my life I have had peace. No walking on egg shells out of fear of upsetting mother.

    These past 7 months have given me time to really see mother for who she is. It has also allowed Very painful moments of my past to surfaced. Some moments were hard to work through. I’ve never been allowed to feel the pain of past wrongs. I was always told to forgive & forget immediately after the offense occurred. My sister is still trying to make me forgive & forget mothers behavior over the course of my life but I can no longer play that game. My beloved husband & our 4 grown children have been extremely supportive of my decision to move on. They encourage me to build relationships with people whom I love & they love me to. I’ve lost most of my extended family over me standing up for my daughter. That is something I will never regret. I feel like I’m starting over with relationships though. I literally have no friends besides my husband & kids. It doesn’t help that we moved last Oct. So we are starting from scratch in our new community as well. On top of all that, my husband & I are empty nesters as of Last Nov to. We have a lot of new changes in our lives but isn’t that how life goes sometimes.

    I see the Lord working in my life & despite how painful the past memories can be I look forward to His healing power in my life. Thank you for this post. It has helped me realize that I’m doing the right thing by not staying in abusive relationships.

    • Kathy

      ((hugs))) I understand how painful this could be. Although it was my father-in-law and my mother-in-law, and all their children that I have cut off, I cut them off because of the way they treated my children — their own grandchildren, nieces.
      They also believed they could speak to my children any way they wished — and they were mistaken. YOU are now the mom. Protecting your children from those who would hurt them is your right and your duty. Don’t waver. Your mother brought you into this world and she OWED you — she OWED you nurturing and love and food and education. You owe her nothing. However, the debt goes forward and now you owe your children the same. They will owe their children.
      I’m so sorry you were robbed of what was your right as a child. But so glad you broke that chain.

      • NoLongerSilent

        Thank you for your comment, Kathy. I brought tears to my eyes. Besides my husband & kids, you are the first person to tell me I’m doing the right thing.

  26. Jean

    This is one of the best posts you have written. You hit the nail squarely on the head! You have pointed to the “ideal” of unconditional love, but reminded us that it is a gift to be able to live up to it. Too much of the time we are expected to return unconditional love for abuse. I don’t believe we are naturally wired like that, and if we are somehow able to, it is by the grace of God. We have attended a church for some years where there are abusive members who seem to be considered more equal than others. We were expected to put up with the abuse, while there were no consequences for the abusers. If we pointed out patterns of abusive behavior and the problems they caused, we were labelled as the problem. After losing much of our love, joy, and peace, we decided to go elsewhere. That cost us the perceived loss of “friendships”, but has given us back much-needed joy and many a good night’s sleep. Some congregations are not healthy and protect those who abuse. I believe God gives us choices in some matters, and sometimes that choice is to leave situations that cause us harm.

  27. Those who demand unconditional love need to re-read their Bible. When the woman is caught in adultery, Jesus tells the accusers that he who is without sin is the only one who can throw a stone. Those who throw the demand “love unconditionally” are throwing stones. Jesus then tells the woman to go and sin and no more. He does not tell her she may continue in her sinful ways. She is directed to change. Jesus is brutal in His treatment of those who profess to follow God and yet manipulate God’s word to justify their sins. He calls them on it and condemns them for it. Justifying sin by corrupting God’s word is a dangerous road to follow.

    Those who demand I “love unconditionally” are defining the meaning to make themselves comfortable. What they fail to recognize is that they are demanding I “love” my abusers more than God. My abusers wanted my total and complete adoration; they demanded I commit sins to please them; they deem their needs are of greater value than anyone else’s, ergo they are of greater value than even God. I don’t care what words they spout; their actions state clearly that they are higher than God. “Worshipping” them is sinning against God.

    Jesus says that the first Great Commandment is to love God and the second is like unto it to love neighbor AS self, not better than self. Forgiveness is not interchangeable with with absolution. Forgiveness is not interchangeable with trust. Forgiveness is saying to God, “It’s too heavy. I’m giving it to You to carry for me.”

  28. Denise

    Great article as always. I’ve been a fan of this site for 2 yrs, first time commenting.
    No one suported me in church with my N xH and Pastor. They quoted all these scriptures. The Bishop I went to for help called me selfish and said my x had to keep preaching BC of his ‘calling’ and that God forgave him of the affair. (garbage)
    Every day more of my love for him chips away.
    Married 22 yrs, I went No Contact 18 Mo ago after divorce. He still contacted me every 3-4 Mo without me replying. It’s been 4 Mo now and I just found out that the $12,000+ lien he left on the house will not be released regardless of the fact that we’re divorced. I want to close this door. Attorney says I’m letting him get away with not being responsible. She gave me free advice and set up my Motion, but cost too much to represent me. Idk what to do. All I see is a ‘drag out’ in court because he’s never paid ANY of his debt. Just when No Contact was going so well & I was moving on. Court date is set to garnish wages, demand monthly payments or hold him in Contempt of Court next week and I’ve been holding on to the letter to mail him for days cuz I don’t want to start the contact (game) again. He will love it. This could go on for 10 yrs!!! Pls pray for direction! House is already upside down in equity. If I do it, I’ll be stuck with his games, if not I’ll be stuck with the debt and the Order says I have to refinance either way. Idk what to do. Need prayers friends…

  29. hazelnut

    I am all to familiar with how emotionally painful it is to be in relationship with someone with the character disorder of Narcissism, especially the feature of lacking empathy. Pastor Dave, can we all band together in hope and prayers that the generations coming after us – that the parents with the information, classes, and secure attachment perspective available now with the technology available on the internet for self-help, and with the help of informed therapists – that people can and will change so as not to grow-up these people that harm others? My hope is in a God that saves us from ourselves …structured egos of self protection from shame and fear.

  30. Mark

    This is Colorado’s process. Your state may be similar. http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/UCC/FAQs/spurious.html

  31. hazelnut

    I’m one of those mother’s whose husband killed my daughter. I don’t know how to come to unconditional love and don’t think it is possible for us humans either. I did read once that there are knitting groups in prison for inmates, so I imagined that he was there in the knitting group finding peace for his soul and asking forgiveness for the terrible thing he had done. It’s the closest I can come to forgiving him. He died in prison. The pain of the loss was so insurmountable. I pray he found the way.

    • It seems to me, in. my humble opinion, you are there. Your kindness towards your husband in hoping he asked for forgiveness and also praying “he found the way”…….is “loving.” Love is not gushy emotion but a choice. Again love is not trust or relationship. You are right, only possible in Christ. I am sorry for your pain and loss.

    • Anon

      I’m soooo sorry to hear of your tragic loss of your daughter. Sending you love from afar!!!

  32. Diana

    I so appreciated this from Pastor Dave. I feel I am giving my narcissistic family abusers my unconditional love by not retaliating in kind to them or get revenge and will leave their reaping what they have and are sowing with God. I don’t have to put up with their abuse though and that has nothing to do with unconditionally loving them. I think Pastor Dave has a good point in that Christians understanding of what God meant about unconditional love is sometimes wrong. God will allow someone to reap hell if they don’t choose Jesus but He loves that person and died for them!

  33. Anon

    I did love my ex narc unconditionally. I didn’t stay in the same home with him after his verbal, mental, emotional abuse escalated towards me and the children but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t love him. You can still love from a safe place. The only reason I was kicked out was because I told him the truth of his hurtful behavior. But telling him that truth Was an act of love for him, me, and our children. His response was the part that was not loving. Ironically, he accused me of not loving unconditionally. Love is a verb, and action. I never did anything unloving to that man yet he did so many cruel things to me. The words “unconditional love” mean something very different to an abuser or to someone not prone to thinking things through logically and rationally. To them it means they can treat you as poorly as they want to and you should just take it without saying that it hurts because saying it hurts is somehow a “criticism”to them and their ego which they use as yet another excuse to give you more abuse . The victims are not the problem when it comes to unconditional love. Most victims have given too much of the abusers/uniformed person’s type of unconditional love. That is healthy for no one.

    • Oh my gosh. This comment really strikes me. This is exactly the dynamic in my recently ended relationship. He rages and says the most hurtful things, but when I shut down or try to end the relationship, he tells me that I can’t stick things out so I must not be committed. He acts as though HE is being victimized. After swearing and screaming and calling me names and using my vulnerabilities as weapons. HE acts as though he is the injured one if I walk out. It became such a vicious cycle. He would rage, I would walk out and then we would later pretend nothing happened.

      • Sunflower

        Have you ever recorded this?

      • Anon

        Wow!! Onethousandtinysteps!! I wish we could email directly because it sounds like we were with the same person! My ex did the exact same thing – he would act like nothing happened and then when I would bring it up because I really wanted to resolve it and he would act like the victim and say I was criticizing him for bringing it up. His final reason for divorcing me was because I sent an email explaining how I really wanted sincere apologies in our relationship. Who divorces someone for that?! Oh yeah, a narc!

      • Cecilia K

        Onethousand, sounds a lot like my experience with my XNBF. As others on here have commented, it’s so painfully amazing (better adjective?) how similar a lot of our stories are here, and yet, I’m thankful for the similarity—not that I’m glad that others suffer this horrible suffering, but thankful to be able to relate to one another, to give and receive understanding, and know we’re not the only ones.

    • Cecilia K

      Well said, Anon!

  34. “To judge a victim for seeking escape or solace is to misunderstand the need of the heart. Narcissists often demean their victims to the point of incapacitation. They use and abuse until the heart is broken and the mind is weakened. It is natural for victims to want to leave or end the pain. How could it be otherwise? And how could they be wrong? Should we expect that victims would want to remain in their suffering? Of course not.”

    Several concepts are in that paragraph that are generally ignored. Narcissists abuse to the point that the victim is incapacitated… (in my case even that incapacitation is seen as my sin… lousy dad and husband.) There is little thought given to the fact that spiritual injury and incapacitation are possible. At least, it’s not a concept I have been able to find direct mention of.

    The need of the heart is not the only thing misunderstood. The character of God is misunderstood. /His/ response to the oppressed is to bring justice and relief. The usual response I get when asking for help with my nwife is sweet contempt. They either demand automatic, sacrificial forgiveness on my part, or they believe her smear campaign and chew me out. Oddly, they skip the part about automatic forgiveness and unconditional love when they are discussing anything they think I’ve done wrong. They withhold justice, relief, compassion, and while I “writhe” in the hurt they inflict on me, they tell me *I* should be showing grace.

    I wrote a blog post last week about whether the Pharisees were narcissists. The post describes some of the things that God held against them, and refusing justice and relief to the oppressed was a big part of the list.

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