Defining Respect

It’s Narcissist Friday!

For the narcissist, respect comes from power and privilege. In other words, those who have power and privilege deserve respect. That’s why the narcissist seeks control and adoration, to get respect.

Now, as I write that, I also understand that the narcissist doesn’t really respect anyone who doesn’t deserve the power and privilege they have. In other words, anyone but the narcissist.

Does the narcissist respect the boss at work, for example? To his/her face, yes. Behind his/her back, not so much. Because the narcissist sees everyone as either useful or competitive, no one is valued as a person. If he has a boss, the narcissist will quickly discover the failings of the boss. If the boss values the narcissist and helps him advance, that will be positive. If not, the boss is unworthy of respect. But even if the boss is positive in the narcissist’s mind, it will be without respect because the boss’s value is not tied to the person but the usefulness. In other words, the narcissist actually respects no one.

So, there you are waiting and working for the narcissist to respect you. You bend over backwards to do what she wants. You willingly submit to unreasonable requests and harsh criticisms. You smile and nod and agree and hope your integrity isn’t completely lost. But it never happens. Just when you think the narcissist might respect you, he/she does something or says something that puts you down again. Will it ever happen?

Sadly, not in the way you wish. You wish to be respected as a person, the way you respect others. You see someone who does well and you honor their skill and dedication. The narcissist sees that as either luck or deception. The only ones who do well, according to the narcissist, are those who cheat or happen to be in the right place at the right time. So, no matter how hard you try and how sincere you are, you cannot gain the narcissist’s respect as a person.

My suggestion is that you stop trying. Respect yourself as a person. You could wait forever for the narcissist’s respect. Oh, you might get a word of thanks or some minor recognition. Anything more than that the narcissist will use to affirm himself. Your hard work is to his credit. So, you have to respect yourself.

I don’t mean that you should stop doing well in your job or in your life. Be who you are. Be the person you respect. There may be others who will notice, but the person you should work for is you. Do well because you are a person who does well.

If you stop trying to get the narcissist’s attention or appreciation, you might find that he will notice you more. He will be wondering what you are up to. That could result in both good and bad consequences. He might try to charm you into telling him why you aren’t concerned about his respect. At the same time, he might decide that you have become a threat. So, be careful.

Think about it this way. As long as the narcissist doesn’t give you what you want, and you keep trying to get it, he has you where he wants you. He gets your service, your kindness, your submission. But only if he does not respect you as a person. There’s no benefit to him if you begin to think of yourself as someone special.

But you are someone special! You are who God made you to be. The Lord already loves you and respects you. That’s something the narcissist will not understand. When you are with the narcissist without groveling and without anxiety, you will stand in freedom and peace.


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4 responses to “Defining Respect

  1. MapleRose

    Exactly. When I stopped trying to have a meaningful relationship with my ex-narcissistic husband and just stepped back and left him in God’s hands (as my thinking went), things sure changed quickly. He was not a happy camper and my learning curve of who he really was increased sharply, leaving me in a very confusing fog for a while as I tried to reconcile Mr. Nice Guy with this monster. But, I stood my ground, stuck with God, and found my way out.

  2. A friend

    Thanks Dave! My narc is my 92 yo mom. My sister is the Golden Child. I am the scapegoat and went no contact July 20, 2019. How does the Golden child fare in all this? My sister is most likely a narc by now too. She gave me the silent treatment for about 14 years prior to my no contact with my mom. I would like to add with an entirely humble and gracious heart that the Lord saved me in 2004, I am eternally grateful.

  3. Savedbygrace

    hi Dave I agree:
    The only ones who do well, according to the narcissist, are those who cheat or happen to be in the right place at the right time.
    But I also observed with my ex “Christian” NH who was also a minister (!) – that this can be masked by a lot of ‘mental gymnastics’ and victim playing and ‘false spirituality’ eg false humility – in order to explain why their ‘gifts are not recognised’ why ‘others are given top jobs or seniority’ because of ‘preferential treatment’ or ‘unfair system’ or ‘personality clash ‘ with authority figures…and lots of justifications why the rules should not/do not apply to them… any kind of specialness/adoration will do so long as they get it..

  4. rodney hickman

    Thanks Dave, i have often wondered about narcissism and what the bible calls the Jezebel Spirit… Pastor Mike Connell told me and I quote “Narcissism is the flesh trait… Jezebel spirit empowers the controlling self centred behaviour. Repentance is essential” .. anyway his sermon in USA last Oct 2019 is entitled “overcoming the spirit of jezebel” can be found on youtube.

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