Revenge

 

It’s Narcissist Friday!    

 

“Vengeance is fine, says the Lord.”  Oops!  That isn’t quite right, is it?  The verse says this:

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.    Romans 12:19

We are instructed not to seek vengeance, not even against the narcissists in our lives.  But isn’t that hard?!?  I remember Sam Vaknin saying something like: “the most common reaction of a person who realizes that he/she has been victimized by a narcissist is rage.”  I haven’t quoted that precisely, but that’s what opened my eyes to what I was seeing in the counseling that began my study of this type of abuse.

And rage desires vengeance.

Well, we understand some of the reasons why we should not seek vengeance, don’t we?  It lowers us to the level of those who hurt us.  It rarely accomplishes what we think it should.  It often hurts others the abuser has gathered to his life.  But let me add that attempting vengeance against a narcissist rarely works.  The narcissist is way ahead of you.  He/she has played the game much longer and is far more ruthless than you would be.  Many could tell stories of how their vengeance backfired because the narcissist’s image was so strong.  Now the friends you used to share see you as the dangerous one, for example.  Now the resources you wasted in your fruitless attempt at vengeance are gone, and you have less.

No, vengeance won’t solve anything.  But let’s define vengeance here.  What I am talking about is my desire to hurt someone in the way or at the level in which that person hurt me.  My desire to make them feel the pain and grief and loss I have felt.  If I want vengeance, I want to be the cause of their pain.  I want that person to look me in the eyes and realize I am repaying the abuse he/she gave to me.  And, even as I write those words, I realize why I can’t be in charge of vengeance.  That isn’t me; it shouldn’t become me; I don’t want it to ever be me.

But the narcissist may still get what’s coming to him.  It isn’t that vengeance is wrong.  It’s that it is not ours.  Evil does come with a price.  Those who do not come to Jesus, confessing sin and yielding to Him, will pay a price for their sins.  That is something the church has taught from Scripture from the beginning.  But this is in the hands of God.

At the same time, there are a couple of things that should be made clear.  Sometimes teachers and other believers add to our burdens by making wrong connections.  They prohibit actions that are not prohibited by the Scriptures.

For example, should an abused wife seek a significant settlement from her cruel husband in a divorce or separation?  Should she go before the authorities to force him to provide care for her and her children?  Some people say that isn’t right, that it falls within the desire for vengeance.

But a narcissist father and husband may have an amazing ability to walk away from his responsibilities—and will do so if he can.  So, yes, she should sue him at court if necessary.  A father has a responsibility to provide for his children.  A husband has a responsibility to care for his wife, even when his mistreatment of her drives her away.  This is not vengeance, nor even justice.  This is using proper authority to enforce what should be enforced.  Don’t let anyone suggest that this is somehow tied to vengeance.

Should you report the illegal actions of a boss or co-worker?  Should you expect repayment of debts made by narcissists?  Should you hold narcissists accountable to the same reasonable expectations the rest of us live under?  Yes, yes, and yes.  These things are not vengeance.

Some of these same teachers and believers want us to feel bad if the narcissist ever does receive punishment or consequences for his actions.  We cannot rejoice in the pain of others, they say.  Love does not rejoice in justice, they say.  And, when they say these things, they bind us unnecessarily.

God does not do wrong.  If He allows someone to suffer for their own actions, that is not wrong.  God does love the narcissist and desires that the narcissist would repent and turn in humility to Him.  God would quickly forgive and receive the narcissist in love.  But apart from that, the narcissist will receive just consequences for the life he/she has lived.

If we see someone humbled after a career of abuse and lies, it is not wrong for us to feel a sense of satisfaction.  Sadness, yes.  I suppose.  I would always rather see someone repent and turn to Jesus than suffer for sin.  But there is a sense of vindication when others see what you have seen, when the narcissist is exposed.  And that sense of vindication is not wrong.

What do you think of this:

LORD All-Powerful, you test good people; you look deeply into the heart and mind of a person. I have told you my arguments against these people, so let me see you give them the punishment they deserve.   Jeremiah 20:12 (NCV)

Jeremiah even made this a matter of prayer.  Again, I would rather see a person change than suffer, even if the suffering is deserved.  But it is far better to take your desire for vengeance to the Lord and lay it in His hands.

Let’s be honest.  These people can cause great pain.  They are cruel and uncaring.  When they are done using one person or group, they move on to another.  How can it be wrong for us to pray that they would be exposed and stopped?  How can it be wrong for us to pray that they would feel something of what they made others feel?  Yes, our first desire should be for the narcissist to change, but sometimes the only way for them to want change is to begin to see the truth about themselves.  Exposure, humiliation, legal consequences—these are often the way change begins.  There is nothing wrong with being encouraged when we see these things happen.

Allow the Lord to choose the time and method.  Give the right of vengeance to Him and trust Him.  He knows what you have been through, and He loves you.  He will care for you—whatever He chooses to do with the narcissist.  You may not get to see what happens.  In fact, you may think that nothing happens.  Just trust the Lord.

Vengeance belongs to the Lord, not to you and me.  But it does belong to Him, and when He allows pain and recompense to come into the life of the abuser, it is good.

18 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

18 responses to “Revenge

  1. Patty

    Surely the Lord sent you to encourage me today. So very weary of the chaos, confusion & abuse. Even “away” from him I still can not get away from the abuse. Was praying all night …. how long Lord?

  2. Diana

    Pastor Dave – thank you for this post. The timing was perfect. These thoughts have been crossing my mind lately. There is some peace behind your words.

  3. As I sit here homeless(I do have a roof over my head as I live with one of my pastors temporarily) and alone, my health failing, unable to get medical care. I honestly pray for the abuser to know God, to come to God! I don’t want revenge, but there are times when I sit and I cry. I can’t stop crying because of everything he(the abuser) took away from me, he took my children, he took the lives of my cats(I found them in the yard with their necks broken laying side by sides) he took my health by refusing me Medical Care for 34 years as well as the constant beatings, stranglings, the sexual abuse, he took my inheritance, he took my home(sould it out from under me) and I got no justice in the courts. But at the same time, I know that my Justice will come from God. I am in college again at 56, I can get out of bed on a daily basis, I have family that God has given me, and I have a relationship with three of my eight children. I know God is good and I also know that my ex doesn’t know that love. So I pray for him everyday to know the love of God. Revenge isn’t mine, and Justice belongs to God.

    • Sorry for the typos. My Phone has a mind of its own sometimes.

      • Savedbygrace

        Dear GypsyAngel You are an amazing and courageous woman to leave the abuser! I am so sorry for the treatment you have endured. You did not deserve that. You are God’s precious loved daughter. It is only natural that you would cry bucket loads of tears after what you have been through. From another survivor-the pain will ease, you will heal, I am glad God has provided family to care for you when you need it most. He has given you a thankful heart to see his blessings through the pain. I pray for healing for you and your children. Keep taking it one day at a time. The story of Job in the Old Testament may encourage you- it tells of a man who ‘lost everything’ and his quest to find answers of God and know God’s presence through it all. It is both beautiful and wise. I will pray for you GypsyAngel.x

      • Thank you for your kind words Savedbygrace. I wish I had been strong enough to leave him; however, he discarded me [I actually left and came back so many times I lost count, married to him for 34 years]. I am healing By Gods Grace as I’ve been no contact for 6 years now. But the pain some days is so palpable. And around this time of year, I desperately feel the loss of everything that I was blessed with and worked so hard for. I know that God will give back everything that the devil use my ex to steal from me. But the callousness of it all sometimes get to me. But God is on the job. and rebuilding me and my life from a strong foundation.Thank you again. May you be Abundantly Blessed ❤

    • Postbellum

      Dear GypsyAngel,
      What heartbreak you have endured. There are no words sufficient to say about your loss. God was there, he saw it all, nothing escapes him, he does not sleep. I believe God is grieved by what happened to you, He will make it right. You have strength from Him or you would not have survived this. Thank you for sharing your story, praying for your recovery.

  4. Janet

    This topic of justice against narcissistic abuse has come up 3 times this week with 3 different people, and the question always asked was: “why does God DO NOTHING?” “Why does He not deal with the abuser?” “Why am I left to pay and pay and pay with no justice?” This was a timely article.

  5. Patty

    My abusive ex has been fully supported by the pastor and elders of my former church. The pastor is recorded for 86 min. slandering, breaking clergy confidentiality, lying, etc. along with telling my adult children I had no biblical grounds for divorce and warning people to not associate with me as I am a spiritually and emotionally dangerous woman.

    The elders have refused to listen to any of my evidence or concerns for almost a year. They have encouraged others to leave who have questioned the pastor regarding his behavior. It will not surprise you to hear that the pastor and elders see themselves as victims in it all.

    The pastor decided to quit doing his weekly pulpit supply after 10 years when I quoted from his recording and spelled out how those things were untrue or highlighting his slander (legally-not just “mean” words.) I also sent each of those 13 emails to the board chair. Never received a single response from either but the ‘Lord” directed him to spend more time with his family and Sunday will be his last week.

    The abuser sits there delighted as a rural church is destroyed and he is publicly supported and defended against his “crazy ex wife” and the new woman is warmly welcome. What do you do when the swarm of narcs are all “godly men?” Slandering me to my children and turning the church I have considered home since I was born, has been the most painful. Watching the elders not even willing to investigate or talk with me has been hard, too. I have recordings and writings where the ex admits to and discusses the marital rape, emotional, physical and verbal abuse. I also found out about physical abuse from the children I knew nothing about until 2 Christian therapists suggested a therapeutic separation. (It was very helpful Only away from him could I begin to see what was happening.) I have a raft of evidence but no one will even look at it. Ex has now changed his tune and said none of that happened. I have offered our fraudulent tax returns. A brick wall to anything.

    Gratefully divorced for a year next week after 31 years of serious mistreatment. I was in such a fog by the end it has been a long healing process aided by a good Christian psychologist trained in trauma and many other displays of healing and tenderness the Lord has given. So grateful! I pray the Lord will use the evil for good in the lives of other women.

    I don’t want vengeance. I want the truth to be exposed and evil not to be welcomed and covered by those in “leadership.” I want the chaos and carnage to stop in this church I have loved so long. I want this pastor to be exposed for who he is and not be able to keep leaving a relational trail of destruction without ever being called to account. The ex was an elder and is a highly respected businessman and civic leader-still. Never mind all evidence proving that is an incorrect assessment.

    Thanks for listening. I have been told often, “Vengeance belongs to the Lord. Just give it all to the Lord.” Does He ever use information we have to bring justice/exposure to the unrepentant and proud?Sure appreciate your blog!

    • Postbellum

      Patty, I am appalled at your former church’s behavior. Wow, I thought what I went through was bad. I can relate to your pain and loss, I was told that I sought an unbiblical divorce and was under Gods judgement and needed to repent of my sin towards God, husband , and my children. I am so sorry for your 31 years of mistreatment and for your children as well. I too am free for one year, and my former is an upstanding church member, quotes scripture, teaches bible study, groomed for elder, gave huge dollars in contributions. We were the perfect family, no one saw the dark side. Therefore, no one believed me or my children. He told church I brainwashed children and I am unstable, and all the rest. It is a very specific pain to endure subsequent abuse/shunning by a group that espouses love. I have fantasized many times as to how I would expose my NPD former husband to the church. I have considered sending articles to leadership that explain these types of abuse and how it is a violation of Gods plan for marriage, particularly abandonment on part of husbands (or wives) that commit these crimes against their families. I know they would just pick them apart and never admit to failing me and my kids. I have also considered mass mailings to the church members or going to the denominations governing body. I have done neither, but I have gone no contact. I have had to conserve my emotional resources for fighting divorce battles with my ex and focus on being there for my kids and my own recovery. He is still a member there and takes our younger children to this church. It is a powerless feeling and such a gapping hole of pain and loss. However I am in a large city and only encounter former church members occasionally, and the flow of hate mail has dwindled. I don’t want revenge. I want exposure and justice. Ultimately I want him to be saved from the fire as I cannot believe he is truly saved, he is a complete fraud. I have wrestled with God so much, ‘why do the wicked prosper’. But, I know that we walk by faith, He is perfect, I am dust. I am to trust and obey, and cry out to him as my Father. I hope I don’t sound trite or dismissive, i don’t want to minimize the struggle or painful loss. I certainly have not ‘arrived’.
      I believe there are times when God does use information we have on the abuser to expose, but God can expose him with or without that info. The word points me to trusting Him with the timing, so very hard though.
      1 Peter 3:9
      Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” I think the way I am required to ‘bless’ my former husband is to not wish harm to him, not to hate him, and pray that he will be saved.
      Patty, you are a lovely person, is there a way you could relocate and put some distance between yourself and this insanity? That is so much to endure. It is good that you have a counselor to help you navigate this stuff. I am glad you are here, too.

      • Patty

        Thank you for your kind and encouraging reply! You are the second lady to respond to me with a nearly identical situation and a divorce after 30 years. The emotional toll of just getting through the divorce and aftermath is so exhausting so I am glad you have conserved your energy. The ordeal with the church has been going on for over 2 years and has only gotten worse.

        My mom (who has left the church after 60 years) prays regularly with 2 other ladies for the Lord to reveal truth to whomever it needs revealed. It is uncanny to watch things getting exposed. Several people in the church have watched this unfold and have left. It tends to be those that listen with tears and shock-not defensiveness, denial and minimization. Such a stark contrast between those who have a tender heart and the hard-heartedness of leadership and others.

        I have found the Crying Out For Justice blog and materials to be helpful as well as books Dave mentions here. Figuring out what was actually happening was the first step for me. I truly did not grasp what was occurring in my own marriage and I have been a therapist for over 25 years.

        I do know that none of my efforts to go directly to the pastor or try to meet with the elders have been successful in any way and only confirms their ideas about me without ever meeting with me. But a couple that did stand up to the pastor are so grateful to see now that they were in an unhealthy situation. The people who have tried to talk with the board before leaving have all gone on to be involved in a healthy church and are doing well so I see the Lord bringing good in that way.

        It is interesting that people who have left all had different issues with the pastor of inappropriate behavior but we were labeled “gossips and divisive” if we raised concerns so we did not speak together or compare notes. Now we see the evil that was happening but we so wanted to respond in a biblical manner that would have/should have worked with “normals.”

        I see the Lord at work. I’m out of town looking at an option for moving away as I believe that would be helpful. The ex was the “outsider” when we married so I will be leaving my roots, mom, sister and family, daughter and family and many friends. He “got” the church, my reputation with many, and my sense of emotional safety in my home town. I got to see that my faith is genuine when things I loved got kicked away. It has been an intensely painful and fruitful season.

        The church conflict specialist the young couple mentioned above contacted and offered to pay for (but was refused) said the healthiest people leave first. 🙂

        Grace and peace to you today and during this holiday season. I’m thankful you are free as well. May you continue to heal. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Savedbygrace

    Patty, I’m sorry you have been through so much and I relate to your story having come out of a 30+ marriage to a N. I found that the N knows my great desire for justice to be seen and for my reputation to be intact and he uses that knowledge to ‘push my buttons’ and manipulate circumstances and public opinion. The only way out for my peace and safety ( and ultimately my opportunity to stand on my own track record with out his influence) has been to step out of his sphere of influence and go no/low contact. He/they thrive on drama and all this is amplified in a country town. I had to grieve the loss of my home church and find a new one- this was a very hard decision to leave the church, but I have been blessed by the freedom of a new fellowship of believers and I have been able to keep up with some friends from the old church, but on more neutral grounds eg coffee shop. I have found that, left to stand on his own actions without being able to divert attention to me or any drama, he has been unable to keep up the facade and many people have now seen through him and are appalled. I have had quite a few former allies of his contact me and apologise. I share this for your encouragement. Sounds like your church has serious issues given what you have described. You have directly addressed them, I do think there is room to ‘shake the dust off our feet’ and move on. Only you will know if this is the right thing in your circumstances. I do hope you are able to prioritise your healing. I have found over time my adult children have also compared my priorities and lifestyle with their N father and they are seeing the truth of things and are now needing to process their own grief and loss for all he cannot be for them and the harm he generates in their lives. It takes time but I have learned to ‘trust the journey’ and truly let go of my need to control the outcome and trust that God has it in hand,
    Every blessing to you.

    • Patty

      So many of your comments were beautifully stated especially regarding the loss and grief for the adult children and “the harm he generates in their lives.” Thank you for your kind and encouraging perspective.

  7. Pamela Shalom

    This is an absolutely EXCELLENT article !! Thank you, Pastor Dave. Blessings….

  8. Thank you again, for prompting me to ask questions, review my feelings & my actions.
    I did want vengeance & decided when becoming an observer to my situation, vengeance was going to feed my N ex, as it did my narcissistic employers over the years. I did demand what I was legally allowed from the employers. With regards to my ex, we (I) had developed a separation from early on (My father regularly mentioned needing to maintain some independance including a secret stash of money). Yes, I did feel good about burning the last of his stuff!
    It is still hard not to scream these narcissists behaviours loudly to everyone. It is hard not to visit them & tell them what damage they have done & my opinion of their evilness. But, again when viewing as an observer, doing these things will feed their sense power & strengthen their portrayal of me being the unhinged one, the trouble maker etc. So I have chosen to take the quieter, no contact, & , when required, legal routes. It is slower. My friends get concerned about what is being said about me, but I can not control that. I choose to maintain my dignity, and speak my truth when I can. I can see how my ex-employer has got frustrated by me not joining into his “Monkey Dance” vortex of hate, spite & bullying, so after 5 years he seems to have stopped trying. It is the band of minions that need a strategy too. Mine has been to limit conversation to polite hello and generalities.
    When reading other peoples’ experiences, I do feel lucky. I am not a regular church goer. I was raised as a catholic but found the people in control very disappointing. So I am not tied to the interpretations of what is right, good/evil as determined by the “bosses”. My underlying philosophy is to do no harm , particularly no harm to me. Vengeance harms ME. Yes, a narcissist is usually 3-4 steps ahead in their style of game: vortex of hate, bluff & bullying. The success rate for that style of game is astonishingly high, but a largely predictable game plan.
    There is a shift in compliance and obedience. It is seen in the revelations of child abuse & abuse in a range of religious & non-religious organisations. As seen with Weinstein & the Australian (Ballarat) abuse, it takes 1 or a few voices who eventually get heard through persistency & consistency. The path is hard but it can be done.
    My last point – keep assessing yourself, your responses, what triggers you, what is your dream. It can be easy to stay in the space of victimhood, or non-useful thought patterns. Been there, getting out steadily & slipping back in every so often. A lovely thing since I started the break from the narcissists is the number of truly wonderful, caring people I now have in my life. For the first time in 30 years, I have people I can truly expose myself to, not just the false, shiny surface which I needed for survival.

  9. Seeker

    But what about our defenseless children who are forced into visitation by an Order that they can’t control and are subject to ruthless abuse by the N?

    • I’m not sure what you are asking here, but I certainly sympathize with your situation. Kids are tools for most narcissists, tools to use against a spouse. My only advice is that any physical abuse should be carefully documented (pictures, recorded statements, doctor’s visits, etc.) Emotional abuse can be documented as well, especially if the child is able to tell the story into a recorder or to an attorney. Custody “agreements” can be changed if abuse is discovered.

      In relation to the desire for revenge, you must think of your children first. If you fail in your attempt to discredit or hurt the narcissist, the danger to the children may well increase. Even if you succeed, and are found to have done something illegal, it may give the abuser even more power.

      The desire for revenge is very understandable, but please stop yourself. It would be easy to make your situation even worse, for you and for the children.

  10. Seeker

    Thank you. I’m not seeking revenge for the children, I’m just trying to keep their hears and minds as safe as I can from the emotional abuse being perpetrated. It’s a hard thing to prove. My faith has grown tremendously as I have nothing but the Lord to fully protect their precious hearts and minds. It’s just so painful to watch them be subjected to such toxicity. Thank you for this site and your posts. They are well timed and minister to me.

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