Me, Myself and I

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

The old Billie Holiday song brought a simple saying into our vocabulary that seems to encompass all of who we are while hinting at a sort of loneliness:

“Me, Myself, and I”

The phrase almost sounds like a reference to three people, yet the three are just one alone. Just me.

There is a difference between being alone and being by one’s self. Those who are not happy with themselves, who dislike who they are, will find the phrase lonely. Those who like themselves, who understand at least a few of their own motivations and affirm who they are, might find a sort of empowerment in those words.

Healthy people are content with themselves. Healthy people, while needing relationships and enjoying others, are not afraid to be alone. In fact, they can find being alone to be refreshing and uplifting.

Now, I know that much of the message you and I have heard in churches would lead us to be very disappointed in ourselves, even to not like who we are. One of the worst things preachers and teachers have done to us is to make our alone times uncomfortable by trying to convince us that we are somehow unworthy. I suppose if God is ultimately disappointed with and ashamed concerning me, then I should feel the same way about myself. So how could I be content being alone?

Narcissists confuse our sense of self. They try to insert themselves into our beings, and we tend to forget who we are. When the narcissist tells us that we are stupid or worthless or unwanted, we learn to agree and begin to dislike ourselves. We may even try to keep from being alone just because we have learned to hate ourselves.

It’s time for all of that to change. The truth is that God loves you, yes, just as you are. There is no “if” or “but” at the end of God’s love for you. He values you as a person. We have been taught that God doesn’t choose us because we deserve His love. That’s fine, but it doesn’t mean we are worthless. We have great worth because He loves us. God loves you—and that makes you valuable. In fact, that makes you someone very special.

The preachers who try to degrade your sense of self are wrong. The narcissist who tried to convince you that you are unworthy was lying. Not only are you acceptable to God, He highly values you. So much that He sent Jesus to pay the price to bring you home.

When you are alone, don’t tell yourself the lies the narcissist told you. Don’t repeat the shameful assessment the preachers gave you. Instead, begin to see yourself as a person of great value to the only One who can make such a judgment.

When you are alone, be okay with yourself. That’s healthy.

5 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

5 responses to “Me, Myself and I

  1. Amen, Pastor Dave! Narcissists can be so subtle. Mine never said many of the horrible things to me that I typically see on the lists of things they say. He never told me that I was stupid or worthless or unwanted. He did tell me that I was lazy and slovenly when I was sick and couldn’t perform at the level he demanded. His ongoing unfaithfulness certainly told me I was not wanted, not loved for myself. The one that has recently been freshly brought home to me is that he wanted credit for trying so hard to be patient and kind with me, as if my presence was so egregious and annoying that it took great effort on his part not to be angry with me and unkind all the time! And he constantly complained that he wanted more kindness from me, implying that I’m an unkind person, which I’m not. It took me a long time to parse it all out.

    I am so grateful that Jesus Christ sees me as someone to die for! I am not worthy in my own right, but as you say, because God loves me so greatly, and all the worthiness of Christ Himself has been imparted to me as a believer in Him. Hallelujah!

  2. Rebecca Holt Stoddard

    Pastor Dave, once again you write with profound insight and wisdom. As an introvert and a child of a narcissist, I’ve learned to love being alone because it’s one the ways I enforce personal boundaries that my narcissistic father never let me have as a child. (Thanks to the grace of God, I married a man who understands and respects my boundaries because he’s a healthy adult male.) One of the messages I struggle with from our preacher is his focus on evangelizing others–“sharing our faith.” But to me, evangelizing a stranger by asking “Do you know Jesus?” is a huge violation of their boundaries; I’d rather share my faith by how I live my life and let others ask me about my faith if they’re inspired. I wish more evangelistic churches understood the important difference between introversion and extroversion, between evangelizing by example vs. evangelizing by impromptu preaching to others. (Wasn’t it St. Augustine who said, “Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words”?) Anyway, thanks for these weekly posts of healing and wisdom for people like me.

    • Carl Feather

      So well said. So many Sundays I left church feeling beaten up because I had failed to witness to 10 people a day like Mr. Extroverted Soul Winner. The American evangelical church mirrors culture rather than challenges it, which elevates narcs and degrades kind, quiet, introverted people who just get the job done. Sigh.

  3. cefeather

    I grew up as an only child, and an INFJ personality, double whammy. I learned to be alone, but the person I was a lone with was hated and worthless because of the fundamentalist preaching I was exposed to as a child and youth. It was reinforced through more of the same in my adult years. This is exactly the kind of person the narcissist loves to love bomb. Easy target, make him feel good about himself. Then devalue and discard, and you end up feeling worse than when you started on that spiral. Fortunately, a loving God was at the end of the slide to catch me when the ride was over. And I am healing from both the past and the narcissist. Long ways to go, but every day is a step away from all of that self-loathing and emotional manipulation. And, yes, me, myself and I enjoy our company very much, as do my dogs and cat. Praise God. Thank you Pastor Dave.

  4. Adele

    What a wonderful message which I needed to see. Thank you.

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