It’s Narcissist Friday!
It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of narcissistic relationship you are in. One thing that is lost is peace. If you connected with the narcissist at a difficult time in your life, you might have thought he/she would bring you peace. And, maybe, for a little while, things seemed better. The crisis might have gone away. What you didn’t expect was the new crisis that came in.
You didn’t expect to jump when the phone rang. You didn’t expect the fear of not measuring up to expectations. You didn’t expect to dread the end of the day when he comes home. The questions. The accusations. The insinuations. The arguments. You didn’t expect any of that.
If you grew up with a narcissistic parent, it is likely that you have never really known peace. You have never measured up, and you have never known what the next crisis will be. All you know is that something negative is coming. Always.
Narcissists don’t want the people around them to have peace. It’s easier to control people who are off-balance, afraid, or emotional. If the narcissist can create an atmosphere of comparisons, criticism, and worry, he/she can be right in the center. So narcissist mom will pit one child against another. Narcissist boss will stimulate unhealthy competition in the office. Narcissist friend will overwhelm you with problems. Narcissist preacher will tell you that God is disappointed in you. The narcissist might stand ready to be your savior in the midst of the crisis, but you will find he/she does little to bring you peace. Even if the problem is solved, you are now in debt for the help.
One of the churches in our town has a familiar meme on its sign: “No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace.” I like that, but it tells only part of the story. The reason knowing Jesus brings us peace is because He accepts us and loves us without criticism. The Christian knows two things about crisis. First, no crisis identifies us. In other words, I am accepted and loved no matter how I perform or respond to the things around me. Second, no crisis will last forever. Because I trust Jesus, I know that I will outlast or overcome any crisis. And I know He is with me through it all.
I have used a little story about a man whose boat capsized in a storm. He was able to climb onto a large rock, but the rock was battered by high waves and strong winds. The people on the shore saw him in trouble but could do nothing to help him. Finally, when the storm subsided, someone was able to get a boat out to rescue him. Someone asked him how he could endure the terror of the storm. His answer was that the rock beneath him had never moved.
Obviously, that’s an old preacher story, but it has a good point. The love Jesus has for you and me is stronger than the crises the narcissist brings into our lives. We may not find peace in our daily circumstances, but we can find peace in our relationship with the Lord who loves us. And that peace can make a difference day by day.