It’s Narcissist Friday!

The old movie, Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman and released, in 1944 brought a new word into our vocabulary. “Gaslighting” has come to mean the process of making a person think he or she is losing sanity. The person who is “gaslighted” is being systematically weakened so that the abuser can control and manipulate.

It sounds horrible. Who would do such a thing? Well, perhaps the same person who would lie to get into a relationship with you. Perhaps the same person who would violate your privacy, lie to you, push away your friends and family, cheat in almost any competition, and blame others for his mistakes. Maybe the same person who would boast of his accomplishments after doing all that.

The narcissist needs to control. If he can’t overwhelm you with his brilliance and charm (like he probably did at the beginning), he will want to undercut your strength and confidence.

I suspect this is a favorite tactic of the covert narcissist simply because the covert doesn’t want to face conflict, but the overt will use it as well. The overt will try to overcome your objections, accuse you with lies, call you names, or sabotage your efforts. The covert will just act like a victim. Any problem is your fault. Any disagreement causes pain for the covert, pain that comes from you.

For example, you were supposed to meet the narcissist for coffee at 1:00. By 1:30, she still is not there. When she finally comes, she thinks she is early. After all, you agreed you would meet at 2:00. If you disagree, she will show you her note to herself that says 2:00. You suspect she wrote the note just before she got there. Of course, it could go the other way. She might not show up at all, then say that you were the one who was late. She didn’t wait because she knows how stressed you are lately. You are beginning to forget things, she says.

Remember that lying is easy for the narcissist. A lie that gives a “one-up” on you is worth a lot. Making you feel bad or incompetent is a great way to control. Narcissistic mom says “you always” forget or get things wrong. Narcissistic boss says you just aren’t ready for leadership. Narcissistic preacher tells you that you can’t trust your heart, but you can trust him.

Reject the lie. You are not going crazy. The stress you feel is a normal part of a narcissistic relationship. Mistakes and misunderstandings do not define you. The moment you suspect that you are being manipulated, that someone might be trying to undermine your sanity, step back. Protect yourself.

It is sadly common for narcissists to win in custody battles, job advancements, or property disputes because they succeed in making the other person look irrational. They push the buttons that will prompt unusual words and actions. They know what they are doing. They might even win.

But that doesn’t mean you are insane!

No, you have been tricked. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes the evil wins. Pick yourself up and move on. Never assume that you have lost your sanity. Frankly, it sounds strange for me to say that. But so many have said they found it nearly impossible to separate from the narcissist or start a new life because they didn’t trust their own thinking.

Look to the Lord for clarity. Let Him send a good friend—who has no agenda but to walk with you—and let that friend reassure you. Find a good counselor to talk with. Seeking counsel is not an admission of weakness or incompetence. Narcissists are experts at manipulating. Don’t disparage yourself if you get tricked by one. Find the way back to health and move forward.

Your sanity has not been lost, just covered by the narcissist’s lies. Doubting yourself is normal. Keep moving forward, and you will begin to feel good about your thinking again.


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15 responses to “Sanity

  1. Lucy

    Spot on! Thank you … been there , went around that mountain, bought the T-shirt and thanks to God’s amazing Grace was able to walk off the mountain . Not easy by any means but possible with God.
    Thank you for what you do and the lives you touch through this

  2. Singing Eagle

    You GO Lucy!! I know it must have been hard but your “graduation” shared will help educate and encourage others find the way to walk off their mountain too!!!

  3. JLM

    I look forward to reading your posts every Friday. They are always so insigntful. You seem to write like you are reading my thoughts about what happened. Sometimes what you share brings pain. But the pain of enlightenment is also a way for me to continue healing. It is very encouraging to know that these things were not “imagined”. They truly happened to me. It is also very sad that this is so prevalent. I see narcissism everywhere now. Even in myself at times. Thank you for sharing your blog. It is truly a blessing.

  4. Tabby

    Gaslighting WOW ! There is a name for it. Helps me to understand Just what is happening
    Does anyone have a suggestion what I and my husband should do.:
    37-year-old son is gaslighting us. He was injured is on SSI and lives with us.
    Yes he has had some very difficult unfortunate very sad things happen in his life. He has CRPS. That causes excruciating 24 seven pain. He has had it for nearly 10 years.
    His wife cannot handle it she left him three years ago and now he lives with us. He hates everyone and everything. He most definitely is a narcissist very angry and cruel one.
    He berates us, belittles us, says the most horrid dirty things to us. He is sloppy dirty loud and yells filth to neighbors He has been beaten multiple times by strangers.
    If we legally have him removed he will be on the street and we know because of his physical
    needs not being ment or someone killing him he will be dead in short order.
    Does anyone have a suggestion how to help him? What is morally right for us to do?
    Thank you

    • Tabby

      Thank you for your response.
      We have seen several professionals
      All agree he should not live with us but no one knows how to make that happen and have him be somewhere other than the street.
      We do not have money to provide his own place. He is so sick there is no way he can provide for himself. He is a very sick soul
      We pray and pray for God to make a way for relief for him and us. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts I hear them seriously

      • Jeff

        I am very sorry to hear of your plight and feel your pain. I come with a history of childhood sexual abuse and neglect perpetuated by a narcissistic mother and older brother. Have come to the point where I do not tolerate much anymore. As with you, I ask God every day for relief from my very sick situation. Sometimes it feels like God is so far away in our pain and I’m sure you feel that too at times. I guess, this is where faith comes in. Believing in the unseen in what are very dark circumstances, even though we know He is there. Jesus felt the same way on the cross. For some reason we have been “chosen” to go thru the trials we face. I pray for strength for all of us and hope for healing, whatever that may be, for you, your husband, and your son.

      • Tabby

        Thank you Jeff
        I totally hear every word you are saying. I to have come to understand that “we have been chosen”. I do believe there is a purpose God has for our suffering s Sometimes I become to weak and am over whelmed though. A word of encouragement goes a long ways. Thank you so much. I feel your pain; I have been there also. So grateful you have a beautiful and loving relationship with Jesus. We never would make it in life without Him.
        I will continue to trust God for His purpose and timing. I pray you hold on also. In God’s love thank you again

  5. Jeff

    Abuse should not be tolerated. Period. Wish I would have known that many years ago because it would have saved a lot of pain and lost time. Can’t diagnose on this post but can say you should seek professional help to deal with this situation because narcissist or not, it’s only going to get worse if he is allowed to victimize while playing the victim.

  6. AnneG

    When my ex-husband and I had been dating for a short while in college, we had arranged to meet on campus at a particular time. I was there, waiting, and wondering where he was. He finally showed up about 30 minutes late and I was very relieved to see him. But he was upset. He claimed that we had agreed to meet in a different place and he had been waiting for me there.
    I remember just being relieved to see him and telling him that it was just a misunderstanding. But he could barely talk to me. At the time I thought he was just upset that I wasn’t there and tried to console him by saying that it we had just misunderstood each other.
    I have no idea if he did this on purpose or whether he just got the place wrong but his reaction seemed extreme to me. Of course, back then I knew nothing about covert narcissism. I don’t think anyone did. Over our long marriage there were a few similar incidents that escalated to verbal abuse on his part. He seemed to think that I did things deliberately to upset him.

  7. Maya

    Social Services can probably help you. I formerly handled cases involving elderly abuse and exploitation. You certainly have a trying situation. Ask if a caseworker can make monthly visits for the purpose of helping you cope, bringing outside insight and documentation, and maybe some restraint on your son’s part.
    God bless you and keep you strong!

  8. I met a coworker of my NPD ex at a Christian singles event, and she was shocked, after we talked a while and she recognized she’d seen me before at company parties, and said in surprise, “But you’re such a sweet, kind woman!” I can only imagine the lies “he” told about me, to justify his cheating and divorcing me. That man needs a POWERFUL intervention from Holy Almighty God to set his thinking straight and lead him at last to genuine repentance and to Jesus’ mercy.

  9. L

    Thank you for your ministry and kindness. I am going through custody battle number 3 in the 7 years since my narcissist ex husband divorced me (I have sole custody but any time I do something he doesn’t like he “punishes” me by filing for custody and engaging in long drawn out legal battles.) I have been reading this blog off and on since the first custody filing, and am so thankful for your encouragement. I don’t know why the Lord doesn’t stop these people who want to harm us, who want to harm children. Thank you for caring and for praying for all of us.

  10. Singing Eagle

    Hi “L”…. “I don’t know why the Lord doesn’t stop these people who want to harm us……” That sounds EXACTLY like my cry! My experience is that first of all, the narc has no concept of the pain they cause other people. They are the center of their own universe. Their main goal is usually to get what they want at any cost regardless of who it hurts. Secondly, why God “allows” is something we may not know or understand on this side of eternity but He is STILL a good God. He didn’t say He would explain everything that He allows us to go through, However, for someone like me (40+yrs marriage), the Lord gave me the grace to not only survive but I would have never known the stronger person I’ve become. Hopefully, you have a good support system to encourage and nurture you and help you stay focused on the Lord (YES, who IS your very present help in time of need!) and focused on your little one(s) who needs you all the more. May the Lord reveal to you all that He is for you at this time and all that He has equipped you with to fight this battle and remain peacefully resting under the shadow of His wings, AMEN!

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