It’s Narcissist Friday!
Burn it all. We understand.
Knowing that there are dragons but not knowing where they are, presents a problem. Anyone who has had to make the difficult decision to leave the known world to enter something new has that problem. It helps to have support and guidance, but even that may be suspect. What if you can’t trust other people? What if you can’t trust yourself?
So, some people, to avoid the dragons, decide to break with everything. They leave family and friends and jobs and homes and as many known things as they can. They burn all the bridges, all the support, all the ties. They practice their own “scorched earth policy.” No going back.
When all the memories hurt, when any good has been so compromised and stained by the evil, starting all over from scratch seems easier. And, if not easier, at least acceptable.
Some will do this systematically, cutting ties whenever they arise. They carry a flame-thrower everywhere as they try to separate themselves from the world that caused the pain. Leave the church, separate from friends, change phone numbers, move to a new location, even change physical appearance. They appreciate that their cell phone allows them to see who is calling before they answer. They are not hiding. They just want the chance to start again. And they certainly don’t want to have to explain.
Of course, not everyone can do this. Those who can’t may attempt what some have called the “nuclear option.” A huge explosion is necessary to make the change, and nothing is the same after. If they cannot separate themselves, perhaps they can move others to separate from them. The nuclear option has the advantage of radioactivity. Not only is the old world wiped out, but no one wants to go there. Friends stay away because they don’t know how to deal with the passion. No one from the church calls. The ex-spouse’s family stays away. Even your own family is extra cautious.
After the narcissistic relationship, many people find that loneliness is not a problem. They find relationships to be problems. They have to sort out their own hearts again, and that often takes a certain amount of solitude. Besides, the betrayals are so fresh that they are in no rush to risk new opportunities for that pain.
Now, we should understand this. The narcissistic relationship is overwhelming and controlling. It robs the victim of identity and life. The world of the narcissist is so powerful and so pervasive that the only way out may be to scorch the earth.
Yes, others might be hurt in the process. No, they won’t understand. They will wonder if they are part of the problem, or why you might see them that way. But it takes too much to explain. Better just to be alone for a while.
Real friends will be there later. They will wait for you. People who push either do not understand or have their own agenda. Be patient with yourself.
Some people think that the serpent in the garden of Eden was a type of dragon. Dragons have a reputation for deceit. They lie, they cheat, they trick. Be careful. You may find that the dragon is the only thing left after you scorch the earth. When that happens, the familiar words and feelings may just be enough to trick you into opening yourself again to the pain.
So, be sure that you are seeking the Lord who loves you in that time after the narcissistic relationship. There is One who will never leave you, no matter how big the explosion or how hot the fire. He may stand back while you do what you feel you must, but He will be ready when you want Him again.
The scorched earth is not without dangers. If all you have is yourself—and you know you can’t trust yourself—you may be vulnerable to the dragons again. So make sure that you have more than yourself. Look to Jesus and trust Him. His love never left you. Let Him lead you to safe places and safe people.
The valley of the shadow of death is a grim place, but the Lord is with you there. Not all is lost. In fact, with Him, the green pastures and still waters are still ahead.