It’s Narcissist Friday!
A constant in narcissistic relationships is the strange confusion that comes over the victims. Narcissists love chaos and disruption. In almost all narcissistic relationships, the confusion begins early.
When I started writing about narcissism, I just wanted to explore and expose the connection between it and legalism. Then, as I realized how many people had been hurt by narcissism in “Christian” relationships, I wanted to help and encourage. I wanted to help people understand what happened and help them work through to find health.
Narcissism is fundamentally a mind game. Narcissists almost always rule by intimidation and awe. They convince their victims of their superiority and take what they want from them. When you meet a narcissist and the narcissist thinks you might be useful, you will be impressed. If you are not impressed with the narcissist, it will be because you are not useful to him/her. The narcissist controls what you think about him.
Unbelievable? I have been making the case that this is the narcissist’s super power for the last several years. The narcissist enters every relationship, from his own children to the people at work, with the idea that he can manipulate certain ones for his benefit. This sounds devious and evil, but it is just how this personality disorder works. And the narcissist is very good at it.
We use mind words when we describe narcissistic abuse. Manipulation, gaslighting, projection. An amazing willingness to lie is an almost universal part of narcissism. Even depersonalization, in the context of relationship, is a mental destruction. Victims of narcissists find themselves defending their abusers, rationalizing the abuse, and blaming themselves for the situation. Even those who finally find a way out struggle with the confusion for many years.
Add to all of this the context of the church, particularly the performance-based church. Even the place of hope and promise, the one place where narcissistic abuse should have no part, becomes a place of this manipulation. The meaning of words are changed. The basic concepts of the faith that should set us free are redefined to bring more bondage. Love is exchanged for duty. Freedom is exchanged for standards. We are told that we must perform to certain standards that are impossible. We are doomed to failure even while we are encouraged to try harder. That’s the church most people are connected with as they struggle with narcissistic relationships.
The reason I am writing all of this is to allow those who have suffered through narcissistic relationships to see why they have had such difficulty in rebuilding their lives and finding health. This confusion is a tool of the narcissist. It was cultivated, and it is purposeful. Don’t blame yourself!
I’d like to take the next few months to walk through definitions that have been twisted and broken in the legalistic and narcissistic struggle. Part of the process of finding health and freedom after the narcissistic relationship is the renewing of the mind. That means sorting out wrong definitions and wrong perspectives.
Please understand that I don’t consider myself to be the one dependable source of truth. I would love to have your input and even some discussion on these things. Primarily, I want to look to the Scriptures to see what has been revealed there about these things. We will find that many of the definitions and perspectives we have carried out of these relationships are contrary to the simple teachings of the Word of God.
Just know that a good deal of the struggle you are experiencing with the church and the people in your lives might come from this continuing confusion. There is a way through the fog. My prayer is that the light of God’s love will shine into your heart as we walk together.
Apparently the audio file is not included in the email of this post. It may be too large or email filters might not let it through. If you would like to listen to the audio version of the post, you will find it on the blog site.