Confidence

It’s Narcissist Friday!

The narcissist wants to be the focus of your attention, of your heart. You are supposed to consider the narcissist important, even necessary, to your life. The center of your world should be the narcissist.

You may think I am exaggerating. Yet, the narcissistic mother will want you to think of her before you think of your husband, wife, or children. The narcissistic boss will want you to serve him without regard to your family. The narcissistic friend will call you in the middle of your meeting or family time. Why? Because they are more important.

People outside the relationship, who do not understand, will say that you should maintain boundaries. Like that’s something easy. What they don’t understand is how the narcissist has managed to strip you of your confidence. You worry that you might lose your job if you don’t do what the boss says. You remember how mom gets when you don’t answer the phone or help her with something. Something bad will happen if you don’t give in to the narcissist. Instead of standing up for yourself, you yield.

But that isn’t all of it. You used to feel good about your decisions and your reasoning process. Now you worry about choosing the best things. Over time, the narcissist has challenged so many of your ideas, showing you to be wrong, that you have learned to doubt yourself. Maybe you never thought of yourself as wise, but you didn’t think you were foolish or stupid. Now you wonder. Maybe you do need the narcissist.

When you finally leave the narcissistic relationship, you may find that you struggle to make decisions. Your confidence has been taken away. It was done on purpose, so that you would be dependent on the narcissist. The narcissist would not be the center of your attention if you trusted yourself or had the confidence to stand alone.

So what do you do now? You listen to those people who are telling you that you are smart and capable, and you move forward. You remember that not all decisions are good ones—even for the smartest of us—and you let yourself make mistakes. Start with small decisions and work up. The best decision you will make is to pull back from the narcissist.

And trust the Lord’s leading. I know that you have been taught to distrust your heart, but the Lord does communicate with you through your heart. Trust that He will move you in the right directions, and that He will overcome both your fears and your mistakes. Be confident in Him when you can’t be confident in yourself. Trust in His love.

6 Comments

Filed under Narcissism, Uncategorized

6 responses to “Confidence

  1. “You remember that not all decisions are good ones—even for the smartest of us—and you let yourself make mistakes.” — That’s great advice.

    “And trust the Lord’s leading. I know that you have been taught to distrust your heart, but the Lord does communicate with you through your heart. Trust that He will move you in the right directions, and that He will overcome both your fears and your mistakes. Be confident in Him when you can’t be confident in yourself. Trust in His love.” — Yes! Amen! Without the Lord in my life, I never would have survived the narcissists. But today, thanks to the Lord Jesus leading my way, I am the happiest and healthiest that I have ever been. Considering that I am a great-grandmother, that’s kind of amazing. 😃

  2. Patty

    Yes! Amen! Yes! I had no idea that I had become a shell of a person until I removed myself from the narcissist. That’s when I began to see that the confident woman I once was had become totally insecure and dependent on the narcissist. It is slow, deliberate, calculated and manipulative. Mine was over 2 decades long. There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord opened my eyes to how unhealthy the relationship had become. Each small step I took to regain my “self” the more unhealthy it became. When the narcissist begins to see they are losing their control of you they become even more manipulative and controlling and threatening. I had no idea the depths of the anger and manipulation which was just below the surface in the man I had called husband for over 2 decades. On the end, it was truly scary the way he could “flip the switch” and threaten me to submit to his authority. The cold, hard, and evil look in his eyes when I would deviate from whatever he thought I should do was almost too sinister to be real. He would of course always apologize when he knew he had pushed me too far and say, you know this isn’t me. I’ve never behaved this way before. This was true, in part. He had never behaved that way before, because my eyes had not yet been opened to how unhealthy the relationship had become (slowly over the decades). But it was absolutely NOT true that it wasn’t him. It was him, the him who realizes he can no longer manipulate, control and intimidate someone into being what he wants them to be. He successfully sucked me back in several times during our separation. Each time, he was charming and wonderful and said and did all the right things. Each time, once he had me back it got worse. When I finally moved forward with the divorce proceedings (against the church’s counsel) he really turned on the heat with me. (Privately of course). The threats, the insults, the manipulation, the slanderous remarks to our church, friends, and even MY family. The divorce took 3 years. He threatened and succeeded, in blowing through all of our resources and leaving me with nothing. It was scary, it was hard, but each day I was forced to rely on God. He is faithful. He is true. The last words I said to my narcissistic husband when he threatened me was “I would rather live in a cardboard box than to live another day with you and your emotional, financial and psychological abuse. He charged me that day with his fist drawn…. he did not hit me but I knew that would be next if I stayed. It nearly killed me as the next 3 years unfolded and I saw the “real” man I had been married to. He was wonderful (not perfect) but close as long as he was slowly succeeding in stripping me from all my support systems, dreams, and opinions. As long as HE was the center of my world, all was well. I felt like such an idiot when I saw this in hindsight. Without the Lord, it would have killed me. It is so so so very hard to face the fact that your entire marriage was a lie and a con. People who do not know, understand, or have any experience with narcissists will say …. oh it wasn’t a lie. Yes, yes, yes, …. it most certainly was. Every minute. Every hour. Every day. Every month. Every year. Every decade. Lies! Lies! Lies! Nothing was real. Nothing was what it appeared to be. Facing that reality can destroy you. But with God, it can make you stronger than you ever knew you could be. There are still times I struggle with “what happened” and “we could have had a great life together if anything had ever been real” but I now replace those thoughts with Lord, thank you for protecting me and for guiding me and for giving me the strength to go against even some members of the church who tried to guilt me into staying in the marriage. It is very difficult to let go of the false guilt but …. please hear me ….. you can not change anyone. Especially a narcissist. The very day I had the courage to have him served with divorce papers, the Lord revealed to me his relationship with a woman (I have since found out he had been stringing along promising to leave me for her for years before our separation). As each layer of deception peeled back it revealed the stench of the fake marriage and his calculations to replace me if I didn’t fall back in line. He is currently living happily with his mistress and her two children. I continue to pray for him. I also pray for her that her eyes will be opened to what lies below the surface of Mr. Wonderful.

  3. Savedbygrace

    Patty, I do understand..so many points are similar to my story…and people cannot fathom that someone would ‘be’ like that especially with the ‘Christian’ overlay..of all the abuses I think the spiritual abuse was the hardest to see and acknowledge and name… anyway, love and understanding from a sister in Australia:)

    Dave this was such a helpful post -thankyou
    about boundaries – you are right they are not easy..and stripping away of confidence was one element , I used to feel ‘weak’ and ‘less than’ that I was ‘ineffective’ setting boundaries until I reflected on how many boundaries I actually did set and he either walked right over or- more usually- subtly side stepped or manipulated his way over/under/around…they are well practised at this…it is not an even playing field and they do not ‘play fair’..so I have learned to say that of course my boundary setting could have been improved but actually the ‘enemy ‘ was just stronger and I didn’t realise I was in a ‘war’..enemy? he was my ‘friend,’ ‘lover’, ‘husband’-I called it other things ‘love’ ‘marriage’ friendship’
    If I had been ‘excellent’ or ‘perfect’ at boundary setting my marriage would not have lasted a year …but over 30 years down the track …the Lord rescued me and opened my eyes to “what is” and gave me the courage to set that final boundary.

  4. Phyllis Fleming

    Thanks. Your clarity is soothing.

  5. Janet

    Thank you Dave for this accurate and comforting message!

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