Support Community

It’s Narcissist Friday!

When the narcissistic relationship ends, who stands with you? Some are shocked to find that almost no one believes them, no one stands with them. Others are not so shocked.

From the beginning, the narcissist works to separate the victim from their support community. Quit school to get a job (and leave the friends behind). Move to a different state and leave family behind. Too busy for organizations. Too separate for close friends. The victim often finds that support has disappeared.

Well, at least you have the church. Right? But when the adultery happens, or the abuse, the people of the church stand with him. You go to the pastor for counsel and find that the narcissist has already convinced the pastor to be against you. Not even the church supports you.

Then, when he announces that he doesn’t want you any more, you find yourself alone. Friends have taken his side. Even the kids don’t understand. Even your family seems to blame you. The people in your life have all heard bad things about you from him.

Now what?

Some people feel stuck in the relationship because they have no support outside. The abuse continues because they don’t think they have anywhere to go. But when the narcissist leaves or abandons you, what do you do?

I wish this never happened in real life, but I have heard so many stories on this theme. The narcissist strips away as much support as possible. He/she must control the community. Some have found loneliness and depression after the narcissistic relationship was over.

Here are some thoughts on how to rebuild your support.

  1. Ask the Lord – He will never leave you nor forsake you. That’s what He promises. Yet, He knows you need other people. Ask Him. See who He brings to you.
  2. Expand your horizons – The people God sends might not think like you. Narcissists seem to love legalistic or separatist churches because the community is so small. The distrust is strong. So, you may have learned to distrust people who don’t think like you. Let God bring whoever He wants into your life. You don’t have to give up what you believe to have a friend who doesn’t believe the same things. Be careful, of course. Be wise. But don’t put up walls that don’t need to be there.
  3. Support others – To find a friend, be a friend. That’s what we were told. People who need you may also be able to give you support. The little old lady who lives nearby might need your help with a problem and also be able to pray for you. The young ladies at the gym or the shelter might appreciate your help with the kids or just your words of wisdom. In return, they give respect and welcoming smiles. Support comes from surprising places.
  4. Don’t take it personally – I know that sounds strange. But understand that separating you from supportive people is a well-recognized narcissistic practice. It wasn’t you. People didn’t stand apart because you were bad or unworthy. You still have all the good that friends used to see in you.
  5. Try to repair relationships – Yes, you may have done some dumb things. So many have told me that they were critical of family, mean to friends, superior to neighbors—because that was the culture of the narcissistic relationship. You may have been judgmental or thoughtless or separate. So, apologize. Apologizing isn’t hard when you realize you were wrong. You might find people who have been praying for you and wishing for a chance to be friends again.

And, remember that you are never alone. The Lord loves you. He stands with you. You have not been abandoned by Him.

15 Comments

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15 responses to “Support Community

  1. Im my case, with my children, only God can restore those relationships, and it will be a miracle. One son has promised to kill me.

  2. Adele

    Such good advice. Thank you.

  3. rodney hickman

    good advice..the journey to recovery is slow and painful, BUT you push on and know that tomorrow will bring fresh hope, so never ever give up.

  4. Jeff

    Got lucky and God brought my wife of 13 years into my life who has been thru her own hell. We support each other, even in our failings at times because we recognize the core of who we are.

    It’s not easy being alone and isolated but as has been said in this post… we eventually should open the door to someone. Boundaries are key in starting new relationships, a lesson learned the hard way when I was just looking for somebody to understand the pain and accept me as I am. Unfortunately there are those who sense vulnerability and come as wolves in sheeps clothing just to victimize and retraumatize us again. Would not have said this years ago but there are some good people out there, and they won’t necessarily be found in a church.

    Let us just continue to push forward and look for the lessons in life, and there are many lessons to be learned when carrying so much brokenness, with Jesus as our guide and protector. He too knows what it’s like to be betrayed and alone. This is where faith comes in…

  5. Z

    This complete isolation happened when my husband and I ended all contact with my family of origin after a violent attack on us by them. My family has been abusive in every way all my life. That final attack on us was their retaliation/escalation because we were becoming more firm in our boundaries and consequences for their abusive behaviors and speech. That escalation response to our protective boundaries makes them very unsafe, dangerous (pathological) people we no longer have any association with for our safety and mental well-being.
    Well, the expected smear campaign was well underway even BEFORE we went to No Contact with them. Extended family and lifelong friends (did I mention that these are ALL, including the attackers, decades-long professing “christians”??) all knew about my own and my siblings’ ongoing abuses by both parents as children. They also knew all about the very violent DV between parents that we children had to witness regularly. They all know I had a childhood of daily terror. (And none of these “christians” did or said a thing to help us children.) But these same people turned their backs on us after the attack for the sake of their own comfort and convenience. Too much trouble for them to take a stand against the continuation of the known abuse by known abusers. To call evil “evil”. They chose to ignore us, side with violent abusers, disobey their God and walk with bad company-the wicked. They feared the same reprisals that happened to us. But that is no excuse for them to turn their backs on us-brutally injured victims of violence with clear evidence of the violence and the one-sided ambush attack on us. There was no ambiguity they could hide behind as to what had happened.
    I thank God He gave my husband and me each other! Without that, it would be 100% isolation for us. We are both so traumatized that we find it almost impossible to reach out to new people. We don’t trust people-especially “church people” after the way they acted all my childhood and after the adult attack on us. The opposite of Christ’s behavior. So we don’t attend a church anymore. Small town-the abusers tainted every church long ago in their preemptive strikes and nonstop smear jobs. We’ve been so betrayed and abandoned by people I NEVER thought would behave in such a despicable way. I’m not sure I even want new friendships! I know God made us for community. Not for isolation. But protecting ourselves outweighs the need for community right now. I do pray that God’s will be done. If He wants to send good safe people into our lives, we are open to obeying Him but He will have to make it REALLY clear to us that they are sent by Him!
    We are so traumatized by the attack by “family”, by the betrayals and abandonment by 100% of the people we knew all our lives, by the stab in our hearts that no one we knew and thought had cared about us actually cared at all. How EASILY we were discarded as yesterday’s garbage. It does a number on one’s head. We feel we were seen and treated as worthless and of no value, although we know we are NOT worthless and valueless. Hard to wrap one’s head around when we were always there with care and kindness and compassion and help for each of those people when they needed it. And their professions of being “christians” has done a number on our faith walk. Not our faith in God. Our faith in “christians”. Almost an aversion now.
    But I see that this is not a healthy way to live. Likely not what God wants for us. But I can’t see any way out of feeling this way. It’s like we want to build a fortress around ourselves now to keep out all the hypocrites and false people and false “christians”. To protect ourselves better than we did before, now that we know how people really are when you need them. When it might cost them. When it might become a little uncomfortable for righteousness’ sake.
    The abusers did their “job”very well. First, they violently attacked us. Then they vilified us falsely and got their “allies in evil” to isolate us so that WE feel like the pariahs that THEY should be feeling like! It shouldn’t have been SO EASY for that to happen. Especially by “christians”. So much damage.
    Prayers about this would be appreciated.

    • Maya

      Wow, I’m so sorry for your pain. You are living in so much fear and mistrust. In order to meet other kind Christians and nice people in general…and establish relationships, one must let barriers down and open up. You sound so hardened, that may not be possible. What exactly have other Christians done to you and your husband? Other than siding with your parents?

      • Jeff

        I cannot speak for Z but can share my own experience understanding their anger. Had a psychologist/pastor in a church I used to be active in tell me, after I told him just about everything that had happened in my “family” to “just love my parents.” That statement, coming from somebody in the church with stature who I used to respect cost me another 10 years of suffering in dysfunction. That was just one instance of many that happened in church because I was vulnerable. Unfortunately, from my experience, most churches are not a safe place for the walking wounded. They are made up of people who are a mixed bag of humanity, some falling for a charismatic leader, (some narcissistic) the mission of the church, or the big shiny building. All I have to do is look at the catholic church and their handling of their pedophile priest problem and all the destroyed lives as a result to know that evil lurks in this world, even in so called “churches.”

      • Z

        If I need to explain the harm done to us by so-called “Christians” after my story-it was not just “siding with my evil, wolves in sheep’s clothing abuser parents-physical, sexual, verbal, mental and spiritual abuses near daily plus having to witness, as a child their violent DV with each other as well as their violent abuses of my siblings-who are now such co-dependent “adult children” they suppress their own abuses and idolize their abusers-I lives in abject TERROR fearing for my life every single day of my childhood. No parenting. I had to parent myself. I had to hide the family secrets. I had to wear the shame that was not mine to wear. And what were the “Christian” relatives who lived in same building and heard our screams of terror doing to help us helpless voiceless brutalized children? Not. One. Thing. Looked the other way. With their Bibles under their arms every Sunday and Wednesday. Hypocrites who made the choice to enable and cover up evil horrendous known abuses of children. If that’s not enough, when my family arranged a “payback” ambush attack on my husband and myself-attempting to kill each of us but bludgeoning my husband badly, these “Christian” people you suggest we “open ourselves up to more” and “let our barriers down for” (which is what we wrongly did by falling for my parents’ “set up” to go there for Christmas to lure us back after our No Contact so we could be ambushed there, so there is the reason we have STRENGTHENED OUR BARRIERS AND BOUNDARIES!) saw my husband’s brutal one-sided injuries and instead of “weeping with those who weep” they sided with the abusers again. Then they actively did the toxic family’s bidding by participating in the expected smear campaign and character assassination of us-the clear victims of evil. THAT is EVIL. These people knew us for all my life and for decades of our marriage. They knew the smears were lies but spread them anyway. Evil. They were open to the usual bribes and “polishing” by the abusers to try to hide their true selves from others. That this worked so successfully for such clearly, known evil people on so-called “Christians” makes us much less prone to “open ourselves up” to “Christians”! Would you?
        The Bible warns us to “Above all things GUARD YOUR HEART”. This is where we went wrong. We allowed evil people into our lives to have access to us to do such harm to us. We indeed, Jeff, are the “walking wounded” and deers in the headlights-still not knowing what hit us. And to say it’s shaken our faith in CHRISTIANS-not in God-is an understatement. Caution is our position now. God wants us PROTECTED from evil, not associating with it. And any “Christian” who enables and covers up abuse and helps smear the victims is also COMPLICIT IN EVIL. We have no place nor should we for evil in our lives.
        Maybe after someone threatens to kill you and bludgeons you or your loved one with a hockey stick while your co-conspirator “Christian” parents look on and do nothing to intervene-enjoying the show-and then the other “Christians” in your life who enabled abuse when you were a child and then again as an adult victim as well as participated in smearing your name by knowingly lying about you, just to be “on good terms with the known abusers”, you’d maybe see things differently and not judge us as “hardened”.
        “Wise as serpents and harmless as doves” is what I call it.

      • Maya

        Z…I’m sorry.

      • Batya Ahul

        Hey Maya,
        It’s so wonderful that you want to offer help- are you new to Pastor Dave’s wonderful blog?

        I think many people here have suffered greatly- myself included growing up in a narcissistic family & subsequently experiencing narcissism in almost every church I have ever been in (I believe I was/am drawn to narcissistic relationships because it replicates my FOO- I’m now super aware/hyper vigilant of anyone with narcissistic tendencies). Many of us who come here have experienced pain but our stories are all different.

        I personally come here as it is a safe Christian fellowship where I can ask for prayer (& I do so regularly😊). It is Christ lead through Pastor Dave with wisdom & humility, the words of encouragement every week help us all so much.

        It’s so wonderful you’ve come to join us but please be aware that many of us are hurting. I see you genuinely want to help but I’m not sure it’s been received as you intended. We all need to be gentle with one another- we’ve all been hurt before- let’s keep this a safe Christ centred space where we all feel welcome 😊

      • Z

        Thank you for your perfect words and the sentiment behind them. I couldn’t have said it any better and appreciate that you are looking out for the hurting people like me (and yourself) who DO come to his blog to be heard, validated and supported in a Christ-centered forum.
        I’m sorry for your tough experiences with FOO which I also had.
        God bless your kind heart.

    • Jeff

      I feel your pain and have empathy for you. Come from a highly dysfunctional “family” myself, although they claim no religion. They facilitated life long damage thru sexual and emotional abuse and groomimg perpetrated on me as a child. Am unable to go no contact at this stage in life because I manage some holdings for them in their feeble years but it has been a blessing to use as a tool to strengthen boundaries while seeing things for what they really are. I don’t buy into their or anybody else’s narcissistic abusive crap while navigating it all, staying focused on taking care of myself and my wife. As she continues to remind me, it will eventfully pay off and is just making me stronger. Eventually going to use this experience to help others, God willing.

      You take care of yourselves, no matter what that entails. I know it’s maddening to experience but try and find the purpose in it all while TAKING CARE OF YOURSELVES. Unfortunately, sometimes it comes to no contact when there is absolutely no reason to stick around. Some are better left “to bury their own dead.”

      Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:60

      You will eventually learn how to trust again. Just takes some time to practice discernment once the scales fall from our eyes and the “what the hell happened” wears off.

  6. Singing Eagle

    Thank you for sharing the message that life can go on after a narcissistic relationship. It reminds me of a deer in headlights when you are blinded or even feeling paralyzed by the years of abuse and suddenly it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere, with nothing that feels safe or familiar. But when you are able to get over the blinding light of control and abuse, you start getting a clearer vision of yourself and surroundings. You may realize there is a new you to discover and whole new world around you to rediscover life again. The Lord will lead you to a fresh new place to grow.

  7. Maya

    Jeff, I hear you about having little to no trust in churches. I’m not Catholic, but I agree; the culture of child abuse and ensuing coverups is extremely evil. I cannot imagine discovering my child was repeatedly molested by a member of the clergy. Then…trying to help my child overcome that.
    However, I do have a difficult selfish mother who lies. I love her but she is not a part of my life. She lives 70 miles from me and I do not visit. She is 82 and still working, so has friends/co-workers/social life. She has NEVER wanted to discuss family dysfunction; I’m the opposite…I want to be honest, open, and get things squared away pronto.
    I’m big on dependability and transparency. I’m willing to trust, and do so, but if a person is not honest and dependable, I cannot have him/her in my life. That boundary leads to my isolation. I connect with very few at church. Everyone seems too busy and absorbed in their own thing(s). I don’t take it personally. I keep trying.
    I pray, trust and worship God. I fear God and keep His commandments. King Solomon wrote that is the most worthwhile endeavor.
    Grace to you and your wife.

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