Sin

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

Okay, so it wasn’t a mistake. It was a choice. Yes, a bad choice, but you made it willingly. You knew it was wrong and you did it anyway. You wouldn’t do it again, but you did it. As a Christian, you call it a sin. It wasn’t an accident or an error. It was a sin.

And the narcissist knows about it.

At best, he/she will keep it until a comparison or some manipulation is needed. At worst, you are open to blackmail. Either way, you know it will be used against you. At some point, when you are vulnerable, it will come out. The narcissist will laugh and remind you of your sin. She will call you “Goody Two-shoes” and then bring it up. Or he will threaten to tell someone who doesn’t know, who doesn’t need to know, just to get you to do something. You know it’s coming.

Actually, it has probably already happened. Narcissists scour the lives of others looking for “indiscretions,” then store the knowledge away as weapons or tools. They remember everything and aren’t afraid of making things sound even worse than they were. If you told your secrets when the narcissist pretended to be a safe person, if you connected your narcissist to someone who knew, or if you just couldn’t keep it hidden—now the narcissist thinks he/she has power over you.

Is it true? Does the narcissist have power over you? What if he tells? What if she lets it out? As long as those questions cause terror in your heart, the narcissist has power. The power disappears when you no longer fear the exposure.

Remember that no one fears exposure like the narcissist. The reason she collects dirt on others is to keep attention away from herself. The narcissist has secrets and weaknesses he never wants to be revealed. They see power in the knowledge of your sins because they fear the power others could have over them. While it can be risky, many narcissists are held in check by counter-threats. In other words, they don’t dare tell your story because you will tell theirs. That may sound disgusting, but some situations call for such a strategy.

It would be even better to take the power away from the exposure altogether. If the fear could be removed from your heart, there would be no power over you. So, let’s look at how to do that.

First, go to the Lord. Yes, He hates your sin. He hates it so much that He has paid the extreme price to remove it from you forever. He hates the pain it causes you and the separation you feel from Him because of it. But He always has loved you. That did not change when you sinned. He has always been ready to forgive you.

If you have come to Him, He has washed your sin away. That means no more guilt on your account—so no more shame. Yes, you did it. You did many other things also. That’s why you needed a Savior. And that Savior has fully forgiven you. You are free from that sin’s power over you.

Second, if there is unfinished business involved with your sin, you may have to finish it. Pay back the money, confess the crime, admit to the deed. If the narcissist is already using it against you, threatening exposure, you may have to deal with it yourself to take that power away. Pray about this and be careful. You may need to talk with someone for advice. Remember to keep the circle of your confession as small as possible. Not everyone needs to know.

Don’t be afraid to apologize. I am increasingly convinced that the person who can sincerely apologize is both rare and strong. The other person does not have to forgive you. That’s up to them. But you will want to communicate regret for the pain you caused. You may not be able to do more than that. Once you do, however, the narcissist can’t threaten you with exposure.

If these two steps are done—dealing with God and dealing with those you hurt—then move on with your life. No more shame. No more guilt. No more looking back. If the narcissist wants to make you look back or tries to bring shame on you, you are free to reject it. Every time the narcissist brings it up, you can shrug it off. You are not defined by what you did in the past. The fact that you sinned and needed a Savior is not shameful. That’s true of all of us.

But it’s embarrassing. It might be embarrassing for him to bring out pictures or for her to tell your story. We all understand that. There are things in all our lives that we would find embarrassing. Many of those things are not sins at all. Embarrassment comes when we believe our actions or decisions make us somehow lower than we want to be. No one wants to be embarrassed.

Listen: humility is a good thing. We don’t have to be better than others. God already loves us, fully knowing everything about us. We are cleansed, accepted, welcomed, and valued by Him. That’s the best anyone can achieve. The height of human accomplishment and honor is bowing at the feet of the Lord who loves you.

So, when the narcissist teases you about your sin, don’t respond with either anger or pain. The fact that he/she brings it up exposes far more about him/her than it does you. It only comes up because the narcissist feels threatened. You are the strong one.

And when the narcissist brings up your secret in front of others, you have the right to feel betrayed and devalued. That was the purpose of the narcissist. But you are also welcome to tell the others that this was something shared in confidence and it has been fully dealt with by God and the people you hurt. The blame for any embarrassment you feel is the fault of the narcissist. Your friends will see that and understand. Others will simply see a strong person trying to move on.

This is a hard post because it touches places that are already sore. I understand that some of this is easier said than done. But, please, know that sin is not forever and has no power over you that you don’t allow. Jesus has made it easy for us to deal with our sin as far as He is concerned. You may be surprised at how He prepares the way with others as well. The narcissist has no right to use your pain against you. Take the power out of sin and away from the narcissist.

 

 

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18 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

18 responses to “Sin

  1. Sunflower

    Exactly right. A few months ago I confessed to the N that God had convicted me of being too critical of others, and had repented of that. Not long after, that was thrown in my face along with, “You suck the life out of me”. I probably should have shrugged it off, but I was so shocked that I just packed my bags and left. Still gone, though he is all nice and trying to make it all good……but…….not a word of apology about what he said. Claims he doesn’t remember saying any of it and has no clue why I left.

    To explain, we’ve been married 12 years and I had learned to keep things to myself. If I tried to bring up a concern or a need or desire, I got shut down with a quick angry snap or a 2 -3 week silence and then suddenly a pretense that nothing had ever been said. One time I asked him what he wanted and he said, “I want to live like a bachelor with a maid.” And, “Don’t we have a great marriage? We never fight.” Right. Can’t. So this time I’d got up the courage to bring up a concern about our relationship and that’s when the above happened.

    Anyway, I’ve been listening to Patrick Doyle videos and he says not to go back to the offender unless he has been convicted of his sin by the Holy Spirit and shows deep contrition, otherwise it will be twice as bad as before.

    • Sunflower, Patrick Doyle has given good advice. On average, women leave an abuser (and Narcissistic abuse is abuse) seven times before finally leaving for good. Why? One of many reasons is that women actually believe the false apologies or better behavior that often follows when a woman has finally put down her foot, without waiting to see if he has truly repented. True repentance requires (1) a confession to you and to others of his wrong behavior. I say others because abusers will always slander their leaving spouse, making up lies and putting the blame on her for leaving, when the fault lies with them. He needs to confess to these people too. (2) Making the other person whole. If he stole, he needs to repay. If he destroyed a relationship you had because of his lies, he needs to restore it. If he hurt your relationship, he needs to restore it. (3) Changed behavior and changed attitude that is consistent and permanent, and demonstrated for at least 6 months to a year.

      Once a woman returns, the abuser is emboldened to increase the abuse. After all, he didn’t change, and you still came back.

      Your husband has engaged in verbal abuse. You can’t make a reasonable request with an abuser, they just want to shut you up. Which is why you never fight. And you would be well advised to listen to what he wants in his marriage – living as a bachelor with a maid.

      Abusers seldom change. But some serious individual counseling for an extended time is needed if they will change at all.

    • Gratefully Yours

      I am so grateful you shared about counselor Patrick Doyle. I just listened to him for the first time, choosing his talk on Unsafe People and he said everything I’ve thought of regarding my covert narcissist husband. It’s a comfort to hear someone articulate what I’m experiencing. Your story also resonated with me. Thank you for sharing.

    • UnForsaken

      Hey Sunflower, here is something to think about. Often when weighing things in our minds we do sound even more critical than we are or intend, but more often the real critic is the N. They made you feel that way. I’ve become familiar with the technique by someone trying to make me feel a certain way and previously influencing a decision, but afterwards I’d feel I was the one who decided. It looked that way. It felt that way. But actually, it was their influence on me.

      Please try never to go back to a man who wants a maid. One of the worst insults. You did get Good advice! Speaking up like you are here will heal your spirit, just getting it out! ❤

  2. Grace551

    Another amazing post! You are a legend! (I don’t know if you say that in the States? I’m British. It means ‘you’re awesome, you do such great things.’)

  3. 20:20

    Does it have to be a bona fide sin or just an embarrassing fact you revealed with a false sense of confidence?

    I once had a “friend” whom, whenever I vented to about some social issue I might have, had this insidious memory, taking great delight in reminding me of that person’s past sins against me, keeping a list if you will, adding fuel to my existing rage with bits of things I had long forgot, but had at some point told her in confidence, thus rendering me to leave her company in far worse shape than when I had arrived.

    It took years for me to realize she was not in any capacity a real friend but some sort of parasitic minion from hell before I cut her off completely. It’s been 20 years and I haven’t regretted it for even one fraction of a second.

  4. Tammy

    Ah… Once again you have the N’s number. Give it to Jesus and He will take the shame and guilt away from you. Then when the N threatens you, just say “Ok” with a little flippant shrug of your shoulders. Take away their power! 6

    Oh 20:20 I love your user name!

    Pastor Dave – I bought the paperback. How do I get the ebook? (I just started reading it and am blessed already)

    • So I think the answer is that Amazon will remember the purchase of the paperback and not charge you when you try to purchase the ebook. It is difficult for me to see that from my end. If that doesn’t work, let me know and I can send you a pdf of the book. Thanks! I am so happy to hear the reports from folks who are enjoying it.

      • 2birdman2

        Pastor Dave… I downloaded your ebook a couple weeks ago and have thoroughly enjoyed it!!! what a beautiful perspective you have painted of God’s grace! thank you:)

      • Tammy

        This was new to me. Thank you! It worked perfectly. I clicked on the Kindle Edition which was $0.00 and then “Buy now with 1 Click”.

        Note: Once it says $0.00 for a Kindle version, there is no need to click “Read for Free”. That is where you sign up for a Kindle subscription.

        Kindle was previously set up so it was immediately on my device. Now we know. Thank you!!

  5. Selma

    This is one of my greatest fears.

    The N in my life is a licensed psychologist & member of the church where my husband became the lead pastor. In just a few short months, she became his new “best friend” & they entered into some sort of reciprocal agreement — he saw her for life coaching & she saw him for spiritual direction. He shared a great deal with her, including details of problems in our marriage. As I grew increasingly more vocal about the inappropriateness of their friendship, she threw up some of the information to me in an effort to hurt me & further alienate me & my husband from each other. Strangely, it had the opposite effect. I was more angry that she had betrayed his confidence (in a situation that he very much considered akin to a therapist/patient relationship), than I was at him. It was also the first in a series of events that began to sow seeds of doubt in his mind about her. (It would take another three months, several more cataclysmic events, & a final ultimatum before we were able to begin to rebuild our marriage.)

    But the fear still lingers. Not that she could use any of the secrets to hurt me, but that she, at some point, could use the information to hurt or embarrass him within our church. Although I have never asked (nor should he ever tell me), it may be that she revealed a great deal to him as well. Perhaps that will allow him to, as Pastor Dave affirms, keep her “in check.”

    • It is harder when you don’t know what they know. The narcissist will hint that she knows your secrets, even to the point where you will tell the story out of frustration. Obviously, we should never tell the narcissist anything, but they are very good at getting information they want. But sometimes I think we just have to stay quiet until we really see what they know. You can assume that the narcissist lies and will hurt you if possible, but don’t assume that they know everything.

  6. My N-ex also attracted Ns & was able to manipulate a small team of very effective minions. We were in a relationship (of sorts) for almost 20 years before I could finally make the no-contact break. I lost count of how many times I went back. It was safer. He didn’t have to say much, his minions and N friends did the dirty work from many directions and levels. I told a few people that need to know. Only 1 of my close friends knows most of the “secrets”. Telling those that needed to know, what they needed to know was freeing. While it is now 6 years since no-contact, I still feel embarrassment. I feel more disappointment & embarrassment that I was “conned”; how can a smart person get done over like this? My question for myself at this time is – was I groomed by N-ex, or was it genuine?
    In the 6 years since no-contact, dealing with the trash that came with the relationship has been hard and wonderful. My friendship circle has changed. I stand in my power and assert what is better for me. It has been like peeling an onion.

  7. 2birdman2

    I would have to agree with your response Charlene. the only difference is in my relationship the roles are totally reversed my ex-wife was the narcissist and I kept forgiving and trying to overlook but was continually mentally and verbally abused and all of my so-called past sins would be continually thrown in my face no matter how many times I apologized. thank you for your comments! I have now left for good and have filed for a divorce.

  8. Wendy

    Psalms 64 NKJV

    Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation;
    Preserve my life from the fear of the enemy.
    Hide me from the secret plots from the wicked,
    From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity,
    Who sharpen their tongue like a sword,
    And bend their bows to shoot their arrows-bitter words,
    That they may shoot in secret at the blameless;
    Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear.

    They encourage themselves in an evil matter;
    They talk of laying snares secretly;
    They say, “who will see them?”
    They devise iniquities:
    “We have perfected a shrewd scheme”
    Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep.

    But God shall shoot at them with an arrow;
    Suddenly they shall be wounded.
    So He will make them stumble at their own tongue;
    All who sees them shall flee away.
    All men shall fear,
    And shall declare the work of God;
    For they shall wisely consider his doing.

    The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and trust in Him
    And all the upright in heart shall glory.

    Thanks Dave for this article. I have a caretaker who is NPD. The caretaker is trying to find information about me.

  9. Sergeant Bluff

    This is so true. I have been transparent to my fall to my family and counselors etc as recommended by domestic violence advocate knowing he was a sick narcassist before i did abd had to listen to what they were trying to tell me

  10. UnForsaken

    A bit off-topic: Have any of you felt beaten up just from talking to a N in a positive conversation? It might partially be not being able to identify the lies, at least at the time. I may get the impression they will actually use what I say for a mutual good cause – and they can – but there is great unease in trusting them to do this. It feels all wrong. I hate giving any kind of info or communication, as it can always be used for evil. I constantly re-evaluate if that was a wise thing to do, even if it was necessary to function. As I know anything I say could be twisted against me, I find it important to remind myself I’m really trusting GOD.

    Trust is very hard with fixers and knit pickers. They tell you things “shouldn’t be that say”. The only right way is their way. They love seeing everything in the negative sense and look gleeful as they claim you attacked them. Reality is not their forte. 😉

    But it really interests me to see people swallow this from a N. Some are Ns themselves. They believe the nasty person who says they have been wronged somehow by you. From then on you don’t have a chance, in a box in their heads. It is often a ploy of these people to make you out as a sinner because you “refuse to fellowship” or avoid them. Everyone has a right to be with who they wish, but somehow they grudge you that.

    Sin? It’s certainly a good thing God told us what it really is. It cannot be what they say!

  11. Can't remember what name I used before :-)

    This post affected me really deeply. I wanted to cry after reading it (and I did, a little), in a “thank you” kind of way. After mulling over it for a day or two, I realized why – it was because I still feel ashamed of the wrong choices I made during my marriage – having crushes on men and having “emotional affairs”, something which my ex-husband used against me to try and smear me after I left him and right after I left him, when I got hit on by a married Facebook friend and let myself fall in love with this man and even had a very brief affair with him. I realized that several years later, I’m still carrying this shame in my heart, even though I haven’t sinned in this way since, and maybe it’s time to acknowledge it and start forgiving myself.

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