Shouldn’t I try to help?

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

Recently I read an article that gave an overview of narcissism. It was okay. It captured many of the problems narcissists present and shared some of the professional perspectives. But the thing that frustrated me was a two-pronged message: yes, you should try to help your narcissist; and no, there is nothing you can do.

That kind of dilemma is designed to bring frustration and failure. The article seems to put some burden on those who are in relationships with narcissists because the poor narcissists are so broken that we really should have compassion on them. But then it says narcissists resist change and cannot be changed without their participation.

Narcissists draw people who have empathy. These caring and kind people usually become their victims. Because they want to help, because they care, these victims will keep trying and keep overlooking offenses and keep blaming themselves. These are people narcissists can use.

So when an article like this says that we should care enough to try to help the broken narcissist, we want to try. We have always wanted to help. We have sensed the pain of the narcissist from the beginning. We have believed that enough love could turn the narcissist’s heart. But we fail. Every time.

So let me say it again: you cannot, will not, should not be the savior for your narcissist. He/she will change only by choice and only by serious or dramatic intervention. You have never been in a position to do what needs to be done to help your narcissist. That’s not why you are in the narcissist’s life. You are there to be used, not to help. I know that is harsh, but it is reality.

You have choices. You can leave the relationship or stay. You can, if you are strong enough, negotiate some reason into your relationship. You can give up and let the narcissist use you. You do have choices—but the one choice you do not have is to fix the narcissist. There is nothing you can do to help.

I believe that the Lord could change the heart of the narcissist. I also believe that the Lord will not do it unless the narcissist desires the change. I believe good, long, strong counseling could mitigate some of the narcissist’s cruel behaviors. Again, this is only by the consent of the narcissist. So, yes, I believe a narcissist could change.

But I do not believe you will change your narcissist, no matter how much you love or how much you sacrifice.

And there it is. Hard reality. I wish I could say something else, but facing the truth is the beginning of your freedom.

74 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

74 responses to “Shouldn’t I try to help?

  1. I agree! I spent many years trying everything I could imagine to help fix my narcissist and all it did was damage me more and more. Eventually I woke up and realized that I could not sacrifice myself any longer. Even still I feel guilty from time to time… feeling like I have abandoned him.

    • Arendale

      Sorry to hear. Guilt lies low and nags endlessly. I hope you can be healed of that guilt and live a life free of the sting and poison of narcissism.

      • UnForsaken

        ” Guilt lies low and nags endlessly.” Thank you for adding some meaningful poetry to our lives, Arendale! Simplicity says it best.

  2. So well said! To believe that we can love the narcissist enough for them to change keep one stuck in a one sided relationship. The only one who CAN Chang the narc, is God…. The narcissist has to want a relationship with God enough, that they are will to let God come in and do the work. It is the nature of the beast, that this is highly unlikely. Our best path is to go no contact(if possible) and giving them to God, pray that He will send people around themand bring them to Him. Besides, the only people we have the power to change is ourselfs, and even that takes the Lord.

    • dombeckblog

      True narcissists don’t think there is anything wrong with them. They blame others for everything, even the person who took the last drop of milk. It’s “their fault” the milk is gone. Therefore wanting to change never enters the picture. With no desire to change, they don’t.

  3. JD

    I would like to add that I have read that narcissistic personality disorder seems to get worse with age. My personal experience proves this to be true. My ex certainly didn’t get better, and after 20 plus years of compensating for it, making excuses, guessing at the cause, my soul and body gave out. I needed to save myself by leaving. By the Grace of God I chose to change, and leaving was the last resort. In hindsight, I wish I had gotten out before I got in. I didn’t help him, though I tried.

    • Drama Free

      I’ve said for years, you can’t pull someone out of prison. They pull you in. You can only get yourself out and your children, if they’re young enough. We have to stop trying to fix people who don’t want to be fixed. The narcissist likes who he or she is. That revelation is powerful and will set you free.

      • Arendale

        “The narcissist likes who he or she is. That revelation is powerful and will set you free.”

        A hearty amen to that. That revelation would give anyone the proper tools to deal with or relate to any narcissist.

        After I found this site, I came across another Christian site that deals with the narcissist. The owner exposes what the Bible says about the narcissist (if I remember, I’ll link his site/one of his articles here later today for the amazing biblical perspectives on narcissists). The Bible says a lot about pride, he writes, but in addressing the narcissist, the Bible talks about “insolent pride”. Insolent pride is rebellious against especially [God’s] authority and ‘has made a final heart decision to never change’. While it’s hard to believe that a human being who seems normal or good, or whom you love, can actually be this way, the internal/heart revealing or disclosure of this truth is definitely more than enough to untie anyone from the chains of bondage to or the deceptions of any narcissist.

  4. KT

    Aaaaaamen!!!! Just like the article said, it’s the narcissists job to victimize “kind-hearted, loving sometimes Christian people. After all, thats what Jesus said, right? However, on the contrary, Jesus DID NOT permit the devil to rule and mistreat Him, but He spoke the Word and rebuked him! He was NOT the devil’s fool. But he always won over the enemy… always! I’m convinced that we should do the same, hence Luke 10:19.

  5. Thus my fervent prayers for the past seven years that God will radically manifest Himself to the man I loved for 38 years, not knowing he was an unbeliever and never having known about NPD. I’ve prayed for the Dunamis to break the hardened heart in him, Living Water to undercut the foundations of the enemy’s strongholds in his mind, will, heart and spirit and for his blinded eyes to be opened to Jesus, his deafened ears open to hear the voice of God, and as the fish swallowed Jonah, for him to be engulfed in God’s awesome Presence so holy reverence for God can topple every idol he worships. Much as he abused me, I want to see Chip saved, transformed by the renewing of his mind to prove the good, acceptable, perfect will of God. He divorced me but is on try #2 to annul our marriage through the Catholic Church, even though neither of us were Catholic. Control issues on steroids! I’m trying to stay out of God’s way and receive His blessings for me. He brought me a Godly man, we were married for 8 months, then he was killed by a DUI driver. Satan wants me to crumble and die, but I refuse and I lift my hands and bring my crushed heart to El Shaddai to heal and bless again.

    • dombeckblog

      How tragic! I am sorry for your loss. Cyber hug!

    • Arendale

      Sorry for your losses through the narcissist and then your godly husband. I pray that God will comfort and heal your soul and will get you justice and restore your losses.

      • Thank you so much. The good thing that has come out of this is the devotional prayer journal my second husband encouraged me to publish, just two months before he was killed; a chaplain put copies in the county jail library for inmates to read. The other blessing is a post I was able to write with God’s inspiration for Facebook for the Homicide Survivors Task Force in Tucson about the deep heart cries of people who’ve suffered traumatic loss – what they would say if people didn’t expect them to be “nice” and keep their pain hidden. Praise God, it’s blessing other grieving people.

      • Arendale

        Wow, Rose. You wrote about “the deep heart cries of people who’ve suffered traumatic loss – what they would say if people didn’t expect them to be ‘nice’ and keep their pain hidden.” People who are honest about their grief and loss, and anything really, are a breath of fresh air. I’d be interested in reading the article. Can you link it here?

      • Hello. If you look for Homicide Survivors on Facebook, they posted the article several weeks ago. I’mont sure how to link it to you, but thank you so much for your comment. It was impossible to sit in that room filled with anguish and not write what I heard from those hearts, mine included.

    • Janet

      Oh my gosh Rose!! I am so sorry !! The pain you have endured!! I can see you know how to receive good and comfort from the Lord to sustain you! The enemy is trying you and you are standing firm!
      And I utterly agree with you in your prayers for your ex N husband! I will agree with you for my ex N friend.

      • Amen amen Janet. We long to see those victories that only God’s Holy Spirit and the Blood of Jesus can win, but we know in God all things are possible. I’ve posted prayers on PrayerWatchInternational’s website and the E5Men website, open to anyone to lift up requests for other believers to pray and agree for. I’m humbled beyond words that (1) ken encouraged me to publish theblog and (2) God put copies of Move Your “…BUT…”- A Journey Into God’s Heart into the county jail library for inmates to, prayerfully, hear Christ’s forgiveness and redeeming love for them. This is one amazed empty bucket in His hands! Thank you so much.

  6. Janet

    “Narcissists draw people who have empathy. These caring and kind people usually become their victims. Because they want to help, because they care, these victims will keep trying and keep overlooking offenses and keep blaming themselves. These are people narcissists can use.”
    This describes to a ‘T’ my 6 year long nightmare relationship with my N sister in the Lord.
    I am convinced as is Dave, that the only One Who can change a Narcissist is the Lord. Only He understands the depth and damage in these twisted souls. Only He understands their pain. Only He has the Omniscience to orchestrate the circumstances that will cause the Narcissist to WANT to change. Yet, it may be likely that Narcissists ONLY exist to change US. The Lord told me to stop trying to be a savior. That was HIS job. All I did was utterly fail. I felt so much self blame and so much shame. I made an absolute mess. I took all the blame. They also shame us, blame us, treat us like we victimized them. So, we either repent from what is revealed in us and change, or we end up jumping off of a bridge. Until I finally learned that I was not to blame and that I WAS still very dearly LOVED by the Lord, I was close to being in such hopelessness and despair as a failure, I wanted to just walk into the sea and never come back.
    Today, I cannot give up hope for my N sister in the Lord, simply because I know that the Lord CAN do it! He CAN bring her to a place where she will see her responsibility in everything. I know she loves Him in her own self obsessed way. But HE is able to do ANYTHING. Perhaps this kind comes out only by prayer and fasting?

    • Kathleen

      Janet, although I am familiar with the scripture you are referring to at the end of your post, I am unsure what you mean by it. Do you wish to know if YOU pray and if YOU fast this N may change?
      If that’s what you are saying, please try to understand that that again is YOU trying to change the N or trying to convince God to change the N. If you fast and pray, then once again you are trying to help the N.
      Sometimes you need to walk away and do nothing. And yes, that is so hard to do. But you need to save yourself, not starve yourself. ((hugs))

      • Arendale

        I second that, Kathleen, that you shouldn’t fast or pray or exert an ounce of energy on behalf of a narcissist.

        My dad is a narcissist. He’s a college professor and handpicked my mom from an all-girls’ school overseas to marry many years ago when he was teaching high school. He knew she would basically worship him as a god, and that’s what happened all her life. She unfortunately passed away last February, and since she was still young and healthy, the circumstances were suspicious. She was a believer and was very kind and loving and gentle, and everyone liked her. I tried to fast and pray for my dad to change/repent many years ago, but I came under very heavy oppression as a result and learned that you shouldn’t intercede for [a narcissist].

        Jesus said, “Whosoever will, let him…” You can’t change a person’s “will” nor their “let” through prayer or fasting or anything else. But you can ask God to give them a receptive heart so they can, of their own free “will, let [Him]” change their hearts.

  7. Marielle

    Wow. Yes, I was in such a relationship for 32 years. It would be good, then not good, then bad, then really bad. It finally got to the point where I felt myself dissolving and had to leave. My daughter seems to have made such a choice too, but is leaving after less than half that time. Trying to lead a narcissist to change is a waste of life.

  8. Lea Anna Curtis

    I totally agree with your post. Only God can change them, and God can do anything, but I feel they must want to be changed.
    And although I believe this, there is that faint curiosity in my mind, that is it slight possible that it is an “emotional immaturity” that they really can’t control?

    • Arendale

      There may be some immaturity; but from what I’ve learned, they can indeed ‘control it’. In fact, they live to control everything and everyone. TIf they don’t want to change, God won’t force salvation on them.

  9. Savedbygrace

    “an article like this says that we should care enough to try to help the broken narcissist”
    this kind of article is so unhelpful and heaping up on the target more abuse and guilt.. it is borrowing from the n’s tactics of blaming and shaming.
    my testimony and that of many I read here is that we have more than tried to help our ns! In my case over 3 decades of marriage! It says that whoever wrote that has never truly listened to the stories of those in relationships with the n. I don’t need more guilt tripping- I need someone to show me kindness put their arm around me and say “it’s enough-you can stop now. You’ve done all you can. You can let go.”

    • dombeckblog

      Awwww. Thank you!

    • Janet

      Exactly. . “I don’t need more guilt tripping- I need someone to show me kindness put their arm around me and say “it’s enough-you can stop now. You’ve done all you can. You can let go.”
      This is where it is imperative that we hear from the Lord. I didn’t know He Himself was saying this to me for many years in fact. All I could hear was the voice of guilt tripping, shame and blame. So I stayed longer than I needed to. I still get the deeply reproach full growers at church. But I now know it’s not my fault nor my problem. I still pray daily gorgeous my NEW because it’s still a burden I carry but it’s not a prison any more.

      • Janet

        I mean glowers, not ‘growers’, haha! And, not ‘gorgeous’ but ‘for’, and North not ‘NEW’. I have a new Samsung with predictive spell check. Not used to it. GAAAAH!

      • Arendale

        My Samsung tries to dictate my spelling too. Maybe if it was just America… Lol. I love language and grammar, so let me take a crack at what that paragraph is supposed to look like:

        “I still get the deeply ‘reproachful’ ‘glowers’ at church. But I now know it’s not my fault nor my problem. I still pray daily ‘for’ my ‘N’ because it’s still a burden I carry but it’s not a prison any more.”

        You can rest now.

      • Janet

        No, not north, but ‘N’.

  10. Val R.

    How should one respond when the narc is active in an evangelical church and appears to the rest of the world as a perfect Christian/hostess/wife/mother/person? I’m referring to siblings, not a spouse.The narc has convinced other family members that the lone victim (so far) — a person who has quietly sat on the fringes, ignored and shunned, for decades — is an abuser.

    • Penny

      Sounds like classic scapegoating to me. Perhaps you are describing yourself? If so, I am truly sorry, and understand the isolation & confusion & betrayal. There is no “response” that doesn’t play into the tangled drama of a narc.
      It isn’t fair, and if it is at all possible I would suggest attending a different church, and/or going no contact or very minimal contact.
      Why? Because if you are the scapegoat, it won’t take too long before the N finds another one…perhaps (sadly, predictably) even another family member, church member or pastor.
      Understand: The N needs a target, a toy, an obstacle to use for attention. Take that away, & they will eventually find another one…so don’t let it be you. Then a pattern will emerge and you are not the focus; narcs cannot sustain their fake, false self w/o a scapegoat, a victim. They do this to themselves, so the best choice is to get out of the way, protect yourself, & they will self-destruct. It may take years, but at least you are no longer the target.
      Be safe, be aware, take care of yourself, but learn that ANY response to a narc is like a drug to them. Positive or negative attention is still attention & it is their drug of choice. Don’t give it to them. Scripture calls us to live in the truth, not falsehood.
      Sadly, the church will teach you to love hem, pray for them, reach out to them, rescue them, respond to them, compromise with them, suck it up, be the “better Christian”….but it’s not scriptural and not healthy.
      Jesus walked away, called it like it is, invited them to repentance, but didn’t try to change them.
      Good enough for me.

      • Arendale

        Penny, well-spoken. Churches and Christian ministries need people like you who can advise on how to approach and react to unhealthy, abusive, and narcissistic people.

        You said, “Learn that ANY response to a narc is like a drug to them. Positive or negative attention is still attention & it is their drug of choice. Don’t give it to them.” Men still dig for truer words. I currently live with a narcissist (not a girlfriend or wife) and will be moving in a few days. I used to react with surprise to his inhuman, demon-level attitudes and actions, and he’d breathe in everything like a drug. I stopped reacting, and he’s now dying of desperation.

        You also said that the churches will tell you to love and pray for them. I had a well-meaning pastor tell me to do just that about a week ago. I responded to him that God had told me to pray for the narcissist to open his heart to God BUT had not told me to ‘love’ the narcissist. This kicks against ‘charismatic wisdom’ (ie. goodwill on a pedestal; wisdom in the garbage), but I’d rather be bad and have peace of mind than be good and have satan’s narcissists climbing all over me and destroying my mental well-being.

        You said, “Jesus walked away, called it like it is, invited them to repentance, but didn’t try to change them. Good enough for me.” Well, amen to that. Only people who haven’t been harassed and emotionally raped by narcissists could disagree with that statement. God bless.

      • Janet

        Penny is spot on.
        And, I too had been the scape goat. I was isolated and shunned for about two years because of her lies. But after a while, people suddenly began to be really friendly again.
        I think she had found a new victim. A pattern is indeed emerging and others are beginning to see it.
        I had begged the Lord for MONTHS to send my ‘N’ back to her home country. He actually told me He will keep her here to expose her behavior. If He were to send her home now, she would be anonymous and start all over again. Here, He can work His work sooner. The Lord also showed me that He endured many many lies against Him by the jealous Pharisees . Many people shunned Him because they BELIEVED the lies. The Lord never ever bothered to run around trying to defend Himself or correct the lies about Him. He said “My times are in Your hands O God.” He left justice in the Father’s hands. And so, I was to do the same, trust in His justice.

      • Arendale

        I have the same feeling (knowing, really) about the two Christian narcissists I’ve known in this city– that God wants to expose them. He feels differently (He isn’t amicable) about “wolves in sheep’s clothing” or predatory and abusive people than people generally do.

        Two ‘friends’ of the narcissist I currently live with have recently reached out to me, telling me that he was abusive to them. And in a men’s fellowship two days ago, the chance came up for me to mention briefly a Christian narcissist who leads the men’s ministry in a popular church– a man whom many people trust. The older men at the fellowship who know this man began to seriously contemplate it; they would not have thought about it much (because they believe he’s a good person) if the Lord had not ‘led’ me to share before this that in 2006 He’d exposed to me in just one church seven satanists posing as Christians and ministers.

        I reported to these men at the fellowship that after the Lord revealed these seven satanists in 2006 to me and I shared this with the church’s pastors, then the Lord also confirmed it to the whole ministry team and also brought forward people who were suddenly ‘moved’ to report their abuse (even sexual abuse) at the hands of these satanists– sexual and ritual abuse that went on even inside the church’s basement. When the men at this fellowship heard that the Lord had done this through me in 2006, they then seriously considered when I said that the men’s ministry leader at this popular church here, whom they know and trust, deserves closer scrutiny (I said nothing more).

        The disclosure is in progress (of the men’s ministry leader as well as the narcissist I live with), because when I finally spoke with the men’s ministry leader’s pastor some weeks ago (after trying to reach him over two months about the issue), he confessed that we spoke ‘in God’s time’ and said that God recently began talking to him about the same issue of narcissism.

        I agree with the Lord’s wisdom regarding exposing narcissists and wolves in sheep’s clothing. I have several Scriptures on my Google Keep set to notify me every day. One of them is this passage which isn’t unfamiliar to some victims of narcissists:

        “I hear the slander of many; fear is on every side; while they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life. But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand” (Ps. 31:13-15). Amen.

      • Drama Free

        Penny,

        A hearty amen! You cannot prove a negative to people who want to believe and perpetuate a lie. You have to walk away. It can be difficult to do, but if there’s one thing you can learn from reading this blog and people’s responses, waiting and hoping and praying for years and even decades that the narcissist will change, is a fruitless endeavor. They like the way they are.

  11. Cannot thank you enough for this post.

    • Arendale

      I feel the same and will share this post with some people I know who don’t understand the dynamics of narcissism. God bless.

  12. Arendale

    “Narcissists draw people who have empathy. These caring and kind people usually become their victims. Because they want to help, because they care, these victims will keep trying and keep overlooking offenses and keep blaming themselves. These are people narcissists can use…

    “You cannot, will not, should not be the savior for your narcissist. He/she will change only by choice and only by serious or dramatic intervention. You have never been in a position to do what needs to be done to help your narcissist. That’s not why you are in the narcissist’s life. You are there to be used, not to help. I know that is harsh, but it is reality.”

    I totally concur. This kind of thing needs to be taught in churches and Christian circles, but too bad such places tend to be over-populated with and ruled by Christian narcissists.

    I currently live with a Christian narcissist. I’m not easily ‘impressed’ by good or evil, but the depth of evil in this guy almost necessitates a standing ovation. Not long after I first met this narcissist, it became clear to me that he was 100% ‘permanently closed’ to the Lord. I told the Lord this, and He told me to pray that the guy will RECEIVE a heart that hungers and thirsts for the real/”Living” God, not the charismatic flaky “do what you want” god he follows. God led me to Ps. 42 regarding this guy:

    “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, oh God. My soul thirsts for God, for the LIVING God.”

    God explained to me that no one comes to Him unless he is first drawn (as Jesus said) and that before one is drawn, they have to have in them a hunger/thirst for God which is God’s hook, so to speak. But before even that, the person has to receive that thirst/hook; then be drawn to God; then receive salvation. God did not tell me to intercede for or love or care for or fast and pray for this narcissist but to cut to the chase and pray that he would, of his own free will, RECEIVE a hunger and thirst for God. He did not receive it; but thank God I’ve done my part.

    “You are [in the narcissist’s life] to be used, not to help.” This truth needs to be taught far and wide and meditated on until Christians begin to praise God’s wisdom as much as we praise His Love.

  13. Janet

    Really good post!

  14. Mark

    Great post, I would like to call this part out especially:

    “So when an article like this says that we should care enough to try to help the broken narcissist, we want to try. We have always wanted to help. We have sensed the pain of the narcissist from the beginning. We have believed that enough love could turn the narcissist’s heart. But we fail. Every time.”

    This is what the typical church teaches. Keep on loving and you will change the Narcissist. This is the definition of codependency. The church, for some reason, wants to create codependents – people who won’t confront others and break the peace, but instead try to treat them well in the vain hope that they will change. As Pastor Dave has said. It fails every time. Or, perhaps I should say, it fails 99 out of 100 times, and that 100th time is the example the church uses to slap people in the face who want to have boundaries.

    • Arendale

      Well said, Mark. It’s good to hear reasonable people.

      I recently, about a week ago, talked to a pastor at a ‘popular church’ about the Christian narcissist I’m currently roommates with (this after I brought to his attention the narcissist who leads his men’s ministry). He asked several times, “How has God told you to love [the narcissist you live with]?” I told him that God said nothing about ‘loving him’, but he pressed that ‘love is the answer’. The Bible, however, says the opposite– that believers separate from the wicked and be wary of wolves (‘bad people’); it does not tell us to love any evil people. Preach that in an American church and the Holy Spirit might just suddenly blow in and start an unwanted and unexpected revival. (Jonathan Edwards preached 500 sermons on love; no spiritual renewal broke out till he preached ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’.)

      Modern Christianity is like someone downloading on to his computer a file that he wants but that’s actually corrupted by several hostile viruses. After years of downloading from the flesh, the world, and the devil, churches are finally almost 100% obsolete– virus-ridden and corrupted files as far as God is concerned, becoming more and more each day vessels of dishonor that God cannot use.

  15. Darlene

    Found this blog by what may seem to others as an accident. But of course it is not. So thankful for your articles. I have read through many of them like a thirsty, sun burned fieldworker after a long hard day. Those last words describe how I feel about life & soul many days. I have been free from my N ex husband for a little more than 7 years now; what confounds me is that I find the sting of those years is still with me to some degree even after all this time.

    Having been married to my first love at a ripe 22 years old, 7 years & three chilsren later I heard God tell me to run for my life. I have now come to recognize the man who found me & lured me down gis twisted path of destruction was absolutely a full blown narcissist! I couldn’t have married a worse person – I was so tender, so naïve.

    I don’t know where your passion comes from to write about this subject but what a comfort it is to find validation & affirmation through this blog. And still I wonder if anyone can really speak to the confusion & dysfunction of a relationship with a narcissistic unless they have experienced loving one themselves. And who can even fully understand what is written here when reading what others share so openly unless they too have first hand experience.

    Oh! If we could save all the sweet souls & loving hearts that the narcissist preys on! So they would never have to endure this sad confusion.

    Thank you ALL for sharing & God bless.

    • KT

      Thank you, I enjoyed your comment! There are many that don’t know the N exists! Or they may be in a relationship with one and just can’t figure wth their problem is!!! Those that have “stumbled” across this site, I count it as nothing less than the Grace of Almighty God that had lead us here insight, answers and solutions to our relationships with the N! I am OVER my N, but I feel trepidation for his new victim which happens to be my colleague!! She is so sweet and innocent. But I myself feel alarmed for her! My ex N is making his move on fresh game! So my new dilemma is, “should I warn her or mind my business”? I know things about him that could possibly shred her future if she gets involved with him! It happened toe but, with God’s help, it will not cancel my future hope for a healthy relationship. Any thoughts anyone?

      • Cecilia K

        KT, you can take a chance and warn her. You probably realize there’s a chance that she may just write you off as a jealous ex-girlfriend, trying to break them up so you can get back with him; or if she were to tell him what you said, He would likely try to discredit you in her eyes. You would still at least know you tried to help her, even if she wouldn’t listen.

        I haven’t been in this situation so far, and it’s not likely I will be, but I have thought about a similar scenario before, where I might happen to meet a new girlfriend of my ex’s—what should I do? Should I warn her about what she is getting herself into? I decided that what I would try to do is, if I could catch her alone long enough, I would give her my contact info, ask her not to tell him I did, and just offer to listen, should she eventually need to talk to someone who understands what she is going through. That way, it doesn’t really seem like I’m trying to break them up, yet it might give her cause for concern, and maybe she would ask for more information before she even gets to the devaluation phase.

  16. Diana

    Please read Wisdom Hunters for today, August 17. Do we leave the N’s after years of lying, deception and disrespect or forgive them? Posts like that in WH are why I feel guilty every time I try to walk away from my N husband and seek a new life. I begin to second guess my decision and ask what would Jesus do? Turn the other cheek?

    • KT

      Guilt is not from God. He always wants what is best for you. You should want the same.

    • Kathleen

      “do we leave the N’s after years” OR “forgive them?”
      Diana, why the word “or”? You can do both. You can leave AND forgive. You leave for yourself, to save yourself. Jesus said to turn the other cheek, but He never said to put your cheek where you know it will be slapped.
      You can leave and forgive — i.e., claim no indebtedness from them to you.
      Peace.

    • Penny

      Diana: it is very easy to confuse forgiveness & reconciliation. You can certainly forgive, but reconciliation is not synonymous with forgiveness. If it was, then everyone would be “heaven bound’. Jesus’ death on the cross certainly covered the sin of all….yet not all will be in heaven. How is that possible? Because true repentance is needed, and without repentance, reconciliation is not possible. All are forgiven but not all are reconciled, because God is also a God of justice. Christ’s death cost Him, and thus it requires true repentance; there is no “cheap grace”. Many of us have been taught “cheap grace” wrongly by the church, and thus have endured abuse that Christ Himself opposed.

      Ps. Jeff Crippen wrote:

      “The rampant problem in the professing Christian church today is not that we don’t forgive like we should, but that we forgive like we should not.”

      Please read this blog post for another view on what is all means:
      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2016/02/15/some-common-wrong-and-harmful-notions-about-forgiveness-and-the-cross/

      I am sorry for your path, and hope this place is safe and healing for you.

      • Arendale

        Good words. ‘Forgiveness’ is one of many good words that needs to be cleaned up and re-defined back to its authentic meaning.

  17. Anonymous2

    I’m dating a guy who has a long history of codependent relationships with narcissistic women. I remember him blaming himself for not “giving enough,” and I couldn’t believe my ears. I knew one of his ex’s, a woman who thought everyone was demanding too much from her. In truth she was paid 30% more than her coworkers and did half the work. I saw her as a “professional victim.”

    Now he’s adjusting to dating a woman who is emotionally healthy and genuinely grateful for his reliable, generous, and thoughtful nature. His default tendency is to give-give-give. And now that we’ve been together for a while, I’m insisting on meeting him halfway (financially, time, gasoline) …or at least trying to.

    His family sees the difference and they let me know in a lot of ways that they want me in his (and their) life.

  18. Drama Free

    Last year, I went low contact with my parents and one of my siblings after my mother tried to destroy my relationship with my teenager. I was finally able to recognize the pattern I’d been seeing for over three decades. My maternal grandmother was a narcissist, but everyone in the family knew it, so all the flying monkeys came from outside the family. My mother’s narcissism is more covert, so I didn’t see it for a long time, yet she has targeted a different family member, usually a spouse or significant other of one of her children, for bullying for over thirty years. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when it came around to my turn (again). I saw it!! I knew then that nothing I’d done for all that time had changed a thing. The sweet, generous mother I saw sometimes and if I just “prayed enough”, “fasted enough”, “loved enough”, I’d see all the time wasn’t who she really was. The nasty, slandering, gossiping, malicious, unkind woman is really my mother. She likes being that person. She has power there. I can’t change it. I can, however, protect my kids and my relationship with them. So, I have joined two of my brothers and broken contact.

    I feel as if I am violating all family laws, but I am protecting my kids and my life is amazingly drama free now. I love my parents, but they will not change. Mom is going to continue targeting people in the family (she has no friends). Dad will continue backing her up and listening to her lies about his family. And my sister is continuing the family tradition of a narcissist in each generation.

    Mom recently sent an email about an upcoming surgery. When I answered and wished her a speedy recovery, she responded, “I hope you find a way out of this place you find yourself and recognize all the pain and hurt you cause.” Sigh… She’s never going to get it and it’s not my job to make her understand.

    • Penny

      Drama Free: if I had a nickel for every surgery, sickness & attention-grabbing posturing from my MIL it wouldnt begin to pay for all the therapy & counseling I’ve needed to recover.
      I’m not a therapist, but several glaring behaviors jumped out in reading your story. The first behavior is sometimes called “hoovering”, like a Hoover vacumn, the N tries to suck you back in to their vortex. They often use sickness or other “emergencies” to appeal to your natural empathy, then they beat you up for it.
      It helped me to know that & to recognize yet another “technique” they use.
      The other is both “pathologizing” (you need to “find a way out the place”) like you’re mentally ill and “projecting” onto you “all the pain & hurt you cause”. SHE is clearly the cause of pain & hurt, but she’s blaming you! Classic & predictable narc behavior.
      I am sorry you have endured this, & truly understand. I finally went completely NC when she began in earnest to turn my own sons against me. That was the end. I drew a line in the sand and never crossed it.
      There are no do-overs for that, and so she went on a “scorched earth” campaign to destroy me, destroy my marriage, accusing me of being mentally ill, telling every family member I am nuts, bitter & unforgiving, blaming me for having a hard heart, & claiming every pastor at her church agrees & her poor perfect little boy is married to such a miserable wench.
      I haven’t spoken or even responded to her in over 4 years now. I too struggled with the “honor” issue, until I realized that “honor is not fitting for a fool”. You can also “honor” a parent by living a life of truth & integrity, and not tolerating lies and abuse.
      Stay the course & keep visiting here for strength & wisdom.
      Selah~

      • Drama Free

        Pam — It is all so very sad. Such a waste. I am ashamed now to think back to the way my SILs were treated. One was accused of having Munchauser By Proxy Syndrome, the other as being Bi Polar. Last year, when I finally woke up to the pattern, like pointillism, you can’t see the picture when you’re too close, I apologized for not stopping the slander and gossip against these two good women. My brothers had the sense to break of contact, one for 8 years, the other for 4 so far. And now me. But my parents will not admit they have a problem. We are the problem.
        As the only Christian in the family, for years I believed it was my responsibility to show Christ to them. So I swalled the insults, kept turning the other cheek, and forgiving. I noticed that the freedom and boldness I experienced everywhere else disappeared inside the walls of my living family. I could see something wasn’t right, but true to form, thought it was my fault and repented.

        Now, I understand so clearly. If my parents were to truly get help, I’d be there in a heartbeat. I was brought up with “family comes first” and the church taught me to honor my parents. I no longer believe I am violating either of these principles by staying away. Their home is toxic. As I said to my brother, my mom loved to target someone, so by staying away I’m giving her lots of ammo which makes her happiest. So, I’m really doing her a favor.

        I am sorry for the way you have been treated by your MIL. I hope your husband is supportive of you. I admire my brothers for putting their wives and children first.

      • UnForsaken

        Penny, your reminder about what true honor is meant to be drives home an important point. Someday I will be in a place where I won’t tolerate lies and abuse from them, but in the meantime I don’t have to in my heart. So many times when I feel my life is a big fat lie making things pragmatically work outwardly ( as much as it will ), the knowledge that truth and integrity are also matters of the heart deeply encourages me. God sees the heart. He knows the real you. He makes the real you!

  19. Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote

    I am praying that all is well with Pastor Dave, since he hasn’t posted here in awhile.

    Dear Father God, please bless Pastor Dave Orrison and his family and church family. Bless him, Lord, and keep him safe and in Your perfect will. Pastor Dave has been a great blessing and encouragement here on his blog to those of us who have been victimized by people who seem to be incapable of genuine love and compassion. Thank You, God, for giving Dave Orrison the grace to do this healing and enlightening work. If it be Your will, I ask that Pastor Dave will continue in this work for many years to come. In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

    • Lea Anna Curtis

      Amen….I missed his post this past Friday. We really appreciate you, Bro Dave.

    • Thanks so much for your concern and kind words. Everything is fine here. We have been traveling and last week I couldn’t get a post out. But I am back in my office and life is back to normal (whatever that is). I appreciate your prayers and concern more than you know! -Dave

      • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote

        Hallelujah!!

      • Savedbygrace

        So glad all is well with you – I felt so bereft without your weekly post! it brought home to me just what a lifeline it is to me on a weekly basis. Thankyou so much for your dedication to this ministry, blessings to you and yours in abundance:)

  20. dombeckblog

    😞 Hope you are ok.

  21. Lea Anna Curtis

    So thankful you are ok. We really need you!!

  22. Well me personally…I am a narc & for some reason I am always attracted to worse narcs than me or sociopaths. As a matter fact that’s all I’ve dealt with. From those experiences I can say it damaged me more. & for some reason I just can’t feel anything for someone unless they’ve got major issues….

  23. Ashley Perks

    Arendale mentioned on September 3 2016 a website dealing with the Biblical view of NPD. I haven’t seen if it did get posted. He wrote: “After I found this site, I came across another Christian site that deals with the narcissist. The owner exposes what the Bible says about the narcissist (if I remember, I’ll link his site/one of his articles here later today for the amazing biblical perspectives on narcissists). The Bible says a lot about pride, he writes, but in addressing the narcissist, the Bible talks about “insolent pride”. Insolent pride is rebellious against especially [God’s] authority and ‘has made a final heart decision to never change’. The link I think he meant is here: https://biblicalperspectivesonnarcissism.com/category/1-narcissism-insolent-pride/
    I have found Dave’s blog and the website above extremely helpful.

    • I have to approve each comment that has a link because so many are either spam or off-base. When this was first brought to my attention, I did not approve it. I will today with a caveat: There are several points on which I do not agree with this blog. Some triggers are here for those who have been shamed by religious narcissists. I do not think that narcissism is as simple as pride, although I think it fits under that general category. Also, I have some real hesitations about blogs that appear to give teaching and information, but identify no teacher or writer. Who is behind this blog? I can’t tell, and that concerns me. We know that narcissists can and do write about narcissism. That may not be the help you want. Be careful…

      • Ashley Perks

        Thank you very much for your wisdom and the timely warning. Your blog is a safe and sound place, at least.

  24. thecartoonshrink

    I appreciate your comments and think you make some important points. Agree that really, really knowing they are not going to change (w/out seeing someone like myself for a long time) can help.

    ps. I work in mental health and made this cartoon…it’s focused more on narcissists in leadership, but think you might still like it.

    http://www.thecartoonshrink.com/understanding-narcissism-the-basics/

    • I do like it! It is unfortunate that the leadership part at the end will be seen as a political statement, especially in this climate. I think it would have fit many of the presidents over the years and presidential candidates.

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