Heart Pain

It’s Narcissist Friday!   

“The question is not how well you can hold on to Jesus,

but how well He can hold on to you.”

Not too long ago I said those words to a mother worried about her son who says he is no longer a believer.  I suggested that people go through rough times in their faith, that statements and decisions are often made in the midst of grief or despair, and that those struggles or compromises do not define us.  Instead, believers must trust the Lord to get them through those times. Sadly, years can be spent in the struggle.

Jesus said His people would have times of tribulation.  For some, that means persecution on the basis of faith.  For some, it means marriage struggles or financial struggles.  For others, it may mean times of intense depression or personal doubt.  But He promised that He would be with us in those times.  We might not feel His presence or even believe in it, but He will be there.

The Lord wants us to know this.  He promises many times that He will be with us in our “valley of the shadow of death.”  Nothing, He says, will separate us from His love.  For those who have trusted in Him as savior and hope, it is His strength and faithfulness that gets us through.  In those times when our own faith is so obviously inadequate, when it seems we have been living a lie, when we no longer feel His presence or enjoy the promise—we need something more than ourselves.  His strength is our hope.  It was never our own that would save us.

Yes, dealing with narcissists and abusers and evil systems can drag us down.  In fact, they can drag us a long way down.  They whisper their lies into our hearts until we begin to believe them instead of the Lord who love us.  It isn’t just our faith that is lost, but our identity.  We lose the people we once were when the lies worm their way into our hearts.  Then, as we seek to establish a sense of sanity and control again, we find ourselves rejecting what we were and trying to define someone new.  The once loving and carefree person becomes suspicious and cool toward others.  We seek to protect ourselves from pain, rather than to enjoy life. 

Thoughts of despair and rejection of self are normal parts of dealing with the pain and confusion narcissists and other abusers bring into our lives.  They reflect the tearing and breaking that is happening within us.  If someone makes a harsh statement about the Lord or rejects the hope they used to have, we must understand the source.  Pain causes us to react in ways that are inconsistent with our desires. 

Heart pain is real.  Just as you might jerk your hand away from a hot burner and spill your coffee as you do it, you might also react violently against a certain criticism with words or actions you would not have chosen otherwise.  Sure, we are still responsible for what we do, and we may still have to clean up a mess, but the fact of our reaction is not evil.  It’s normal. 

Don’t beat yourself up for stupid or mean words or actions that came out of your pain.  Do what you can to settle things with others.  Apologies are not really that hard.  Then move on.  Find the way back to the person you know you are, especially the person who knows and loves the Lord who has never left you.

And be willing to forgive and let others who have done similar things move forward.  Their heart pain is just as real to them as yours was/is to you.


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6 responses to “Heart Pain

  1. Carl Feather

    Thank you. I really needed this reminder today.

  2. Annie McCallum

    Thanks for this article. It is very encouraging!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been emotionally and physically abused once by my narcissistic pastor who uses my extremely poor health against me on and off for 40 years.. He says that I use my health to manipulate and that I use the cancer (twice active and still in treatment) as my ace card. He also said that he’d rather see me dead that hurt me, then denies it. That is so cruel to do to a person who struggles with metastisizng cancer can easily go to my brain and bones. My husband has also has manipulated my grown children and church elders into thinking that it is “all me”. As long as I pretend and not tell the truth my kids will support me in my fight against cancer. All 4 have withdrawn support. Psalm 73 has given me comfort too!

  3. This is beautifully written and expresses most everything I have been through with narcissistic parents and a narcissistic work system. Thank the Lord for guiding me through and setting me free. Many thanks to you for putting these experiences and hope into words.

  4. David Lesniak

    Dave; absolutely incredible truth!!! 👊💥 Bless you, my dear brother 🙏💥👆

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Child of the King

    Dear Pastor Dave (and all those out there!), I have been reading these posts for a few months now and have been encouraged with each one but have never commented. However, after reading this post, I am compelled to write. This is so beautifully written with such insight and empathy that I believe is straight from our Father’s heart! Pastor Dave, thank you for sharing with us what you receive in the throne room of God on this subject. I pray for God to continue blessing you with his wisdom, discernment, and insight on this subject. We here in the community are richly blessed by your ministry!

  6. Pastor Dave,
    This blessed my heart and put into words my experience with my husband, (he divorced me after 22 years because I could not support his narcissistic behavior and delusions). I am now free of the pain and have a forgiving heart. The experience strengthened my trust and belief in the Lord. People do not understand until they live it.
    My sister is experiencing this now, her husband has a brain injury which may or may not heal and he is verbally abusive trying to guilt her into staying with him, she has no intention of leaving him and has done all in her power to preserve his life! His accusations are unbearable sometimes even though she knows these are confabulations related and common to the brain injury. I am there for her but her husband is very jealous of our relationship so we are careful not to fuel his distrust.
    Thank you and bless you for your work.

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