Dragon Oppression

It’s Narcissist Friday!

The new land seems so bright and positive and filled with potential. But there is a nagging doubt in the back of your mind. In fact, it’s more than doubt. There is a hint of despair. None of this is real. You don’t deserve to be happy or successful. Something bad will come along to ruin everything. You feel like something is wrong inside you.

The Peanuts gang had poor Pigpen, who seemed to attract all the dirt to himself. The Pooh gang had Eeyore, who never expected anything good in life. They feel like kindred spirits as you walk in this new land. You should be happy, but…

Anyone who has come out of a narcissistic relationship should be aware of depression. It’s real, and it can be heavy. Like dark clouds that surround you on a sunny day, depression does not reflect what is happening in your life. You watch others having a great time, but you just can’t feel it. You know your situation has changed for the better, but the negative just hangs around. Depression is real.

There may be many kinds of depression, but it helps us just to look at two categories. The first is chemical and physical. If you lay awake at night, gain a lot of weight, or feel like you would be better off dead, PLEASE GO TO YOUR DOCTOR. If your doctor tells you not to worry and that you are fine, go to a different doctor. Many physical problems can manifest in depression, such as thyroid, diabetes, or lupus. These can be treated. Depression itself can have hormonal or other physical causes for which there are medications to help. If no one is telling you to get some medical advice, but you feel terrible, find a good doctor. If people are telling you to get some medical advice, find a good doctor. Find one who takes you seriously. Certainly not all depression is chemical or physical, but some is, and you owe it to yourself to look into it.

The second kind of depression experienced after a narcissistic relationship I will call “dragon oppression.” It’s a combination of self-doubt, confusion, and exhaustion. Add to that some fear, some regret, and some shame. An overwhelming sense of loss. A sadness that sits on your chest.

All of these feelings are normal after such a draining relationship. The dragon’s oppression is revealed when you begin to think there is something wrong with you. That’s what the dragon has told you, maybe all your life. No one knows why Eeyore is so gloomy or why Pigpen seems to attract dirt. They just do. It’s their nature. That’s a lie from the dragon.

Just because you have suffered does not mean there is something wrong with you. An abuser used you. You were betrayed and deceived. You were manipulated and controlled. How are you supposed to feel? And, frankly, anyone would find what you went through to be exhausting.

In my experience a good amount of depression (with a small “d”) comes out of simple exhaustion. Few people realize what the victim of a narcissist has suffered for so long. The explosion (or whimper) at the end of the relationship is just the breaking point. Some have battled for many years. You have a right to be tired.

But the dragon says it is your fault. You are stupid. You are ugly. You are foolish. You are bad. You may have heard this all your life. And you may have believed it all your life. And the dragon used it to manipulate you and hurt you.

Tell yourself the truth. Tell yourself that the dragon is a liar. Your confusion is his fault. Your sadness is normal after your loss. Your weakness and exhaustion are to be expected after what you went through. Don’t believe the clouds you see, look for the sunshine.

I take depression seriously. It is not simply a matter of using better self-talk, but do it anyway. It will be a step out of the gloom. Find someone you can trust to listen and care. Be careful of people who dismiss depression or suggest that you just need to “buck up.” Ask Jesus to help you find that person and protect you in the process. Then believe good about yourself. You can start again. You are worthy of success. You can have a great future. These things are not only true, they are words from the Lord.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11

The dragon wins by lying. He has no more power over you. Once you call him a liar and refuse to agree with his words, no matter how long ago you started hearing them or how deeply they are implanted in your wounds, his voice will weaken and the oppression will begin to lift. Trust in the amazing love Jesus has for you and find your joy in Him.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Dragon Oppression

  1. Karen

    I had the depression while he was here. After he left suddenly, my spirits lifted. I feel so free and relieved. Like a huge weight has been lifted. I’ve always trusted in God and now more than ever my prayers are being answered. Maybe after 15 years, I just finally feel like myself again. It’s better every day. He did me a huge favour. I know now why I was so sad before. It was him. I’m 60 now and to have a chance at life again is a blessing. I didn’t know how heavy the burden was until now. I thank God every day. ❤️

  2. Z

    The Dragon Oppression can linger for a very long time after one frees oneself from the dragons. Especially if those dragons have abused you all your life and it’s all you know. I was physically abused by both parents as a child and young adult until I married my first boyfriend just to get out of that house of horrors. There was also violent Domestic Violence between parents. This was an every day occurrence. I lived in terror daily. I had to be SO hypervigilant to every banging sound, every time of voice, every facial expression..to try to anticipate when I needed to get out of the house or quietly lock myself in my room. All professing “Christians” which led to my very distorted view of “Christianity”. Now I know there are wolves in sheep’s clothing who put on their costumes for “church people” and the public but are truly evil in their hearts.
    Of course, growing up in that environment where violence and hatred are “normalized” versions of family life, the person I fled that house to marry was another physical abuser and filled with hate. Another professing “Christian”. It took me 10 years to leave after many serious injuries and with my “family” urging me to keep returning to him because “He said he’s sorry”. No support system and I was afraid of being alone. But I finally had had enough and did live alone and loved it!
    Even after I married my present husband who is MORE than the gift I prayed to God to choose and send to me-a true Christian inside that matches the outside persona-my family continued the abuse. Not physically, but verbal and mental and they included him as their target. My abused siblings chose to deal with their abuse by becoming allies of their abusive parents and targeted me-the black sheep who called the abuse out and set boundaries on them. This escalated the abuses. Violence upon me and my husband by them followed to teach us a lesson-retaliation for our boundaries and periods of separation from them. That was the final straw. I am in No Contact with all of my family. Siblings and extended family chose to remain “neutral” about known lifelong abuse-including vicious child abuse. I’d given them all a pass on their silence as professing “Christians” bit no more after the brutal attack on us. They are not the kind of people I want to associate with.
    My point is that it’s a couple of years since I went No Contact with them. At first I felt SO FREE. And I know still it was the right choice. But after the initial freedom I felt, I now struggle with CPTSD, anxiety and depression as well as stress-related daily pain. Therapy has helped me with the cognitive aspects of CPTSD-the intrusive thoughts, mental flashbacks..But my body hasn’t gotten the message of freedom yet. And my therapist is kind of at a loss as to how to help me with that. My body is still “clenched” in hypervigilance all the time. Heart racing and pounding, breathing difficulty, crying, looming fears of unknown dangers…It’s so used to 60+ years of having to be “on guard” that the body sensations won’t let up. I’m safe and I know in my mind they can’t harm me anymore. But my body won’t get the message of safety. I know it’s to be expected that my body and brain have been conditioned to be in anticipation of a horrific event happening for so many decades and it will be hard to undo that. I let my guard down that one time after a long period of separation when they begged me to visit them, apologized with crying, promised to stop the abusive tall and actions…and I fell for it. I put myself and my husband in their clutches one last time and it turned out it was a conspiracy set-up. An ambush violent weapon attack. A “parting gift” in retaliation for our daring to separate ourselves from them for months before that and tell them it was because of the unacceptable abusive behaviors. They knew we were pulling away more and more. So they INSISTED on having the “last word” with their attack.
    Depression and anxiety remain as remnants of that parting gift. We didn’t see it coming. And we didn’t expect all the relatives and family/church friends we thought loved us, and who knew about the abuse I’ve suffered all my life at their hands, would turn their backs on us in our time of need. The depression for me stems from that realization. Nobody cared. Of course I know the abusers and their allies in my siblings lied and smeared us viciously to everyone we know. But I feel those people KNEW the truth about the abuse and should have had some discernment and compassion-they profess to be followers of Jesus-and therefore reached out to us somehow. Not a peep. So there is isolation. Just my husband and me and one cousin who also knew the truth and who chose to stand by us. She heard the smears and lies. Oh, how the abusers tried to turn her against us! But she ignored them and supported us and does still. Thank God for her! But still the added isolation of covid life has made it nearly impossible to make new friends and a “family of choice”. I need and take medication daily for the severe anxiety symptoms (body reactions) but they persist. I don’t And I have to take medication for the daily pain condition caused by toxic long-term stress. I don’t want to take any additional medication for depression. So I try my best to let Jesu fight it for me. When I am weak, He shows Himself strong. I’m still suffering but I’m still standing. Many days are spent in pajamas and in bed all day when the pain is very bad and the depression and anxiety are unbearable. I keep thinking that TIME and REST is what my body needs. A couple of years of being free of their abuse compared to 60+ years of abuse is probably not enough to get my body and mind to relax and “unclench” from their “normal” hyper-hypervigilant state. So I’m taking advantage of the lockdowns and limitations to rest my body and mind. I pray the damage isn’t permanent. I’m also building my closeness with Jesus more and more each day with the unwanted idle time I have. I’m retired so the idleness of covid life is harder for me. Being alone with my body sensations that are so disturbing and unbearable, at times feeling like panic attacks, isn’t the best situation. And people who were never abused are now depressed due to the covid life restrictions too. So much worse for those already battling depression. Isolation and idleness are the worst things for depression!
    Sorry for the length of this. I SO identified with your post today, Pastor Dave. Any words of wisdom you have would be greatly appreciated.

    • Notlongnow

      Thank you Z. I could relate to everything you wrote and it made me feel a little less alone.

      • Z

        Dear Notlongnow, I’m so sorry that you’ve had to endure traumas and their scars that are anything similar to mine. My heart breaks for anyone who has had to face such horrors. But I’m thankful to God that my story resonated with you and that it helped you feel less alone in having those kinds of experiences. And you make me feel less alone too. That’s what makes this a community. God bless you and keep you. 🙏🏽

    • Dear Z… I wish you and I could have a cup of tea together. (Decaf Earl Grey for me, please.) I wish we could walk together on a nature trail, and sit together in the park under a peaceful blue sky, and talk about anything and everything. I wish we could browse antiques shops together, and stop for ice cream on the corner, then have dinner afterward, because dessert is always better when eaten first. 😀

      I wish these things, because through reading your comments, I have come to know that you are a sister in truth. You have a beautiful soul. And wow, you and I have so much in common!

      Depression. I struggled with the big, ugly black D for years. Every antidepressant medication out there, I was on, as my doctors tried one after another. At its worst, I spent 2 years mostly in bed — while taking a daily prescribed antidepressant. I got the side effects of weight gain and no energy, but zero relief from the depression.

      Finally, I began searching online for natural ways to treat depression. Everybody is different, and I don’t recommend anyone with serious depression trying to treat themselves alone, without good medical and/or therapeutic help.

      These are the things that helped me come out of my intractable depression. One, I started eating a 1/4 cup serving of raw walnuts, twice a day, the kind you find in the baking section in food stores, near the flour. I like the Great Value brand from Walmart. Other nuts help too, like pecans, pistachios, and almonds, but I mainly stick with walnuts because they are much higher in the type of omega that helps with depression and anxiety, compared to other types of nuts. For me, walnuts have made all the difference! It’s been about 7 years now since I started eating walnuts twice a day, almost every day, and truly, these have been the best years of my life!

      I also did a very slow taper off of my anti-anxiety and antidepressant meds, taking about a year and a half to get completely off of them, by cutting off just a tiny ‘flea bite’ of the pill every day, staying at that level for a couple of weeks, then biting off two tiny flea bites every day for two weeks, and so on. VERY IMPORTANT: going off prescribed medication can be deadly dangerous, so Please Don’t Do It, without your doctor’s knowledge and approval!!

      In addition to the twice daily walnuts, I weaned myself off all caffeine, which has made an amazing overall improvement in my mood. For me, no caffeine means almost no anxiety. Who knew?

      I also began exercising for at least a few minutes every day. A brisk walk around the house, a few minutes on my stationary bike, or even dancing to music. Even just one or two minutes of doing something that gets my heart beating faster, really makes a difference over time!

      And always: prayer. Even when all I can pray is “Lord, Please Help!” Also reading the word, even if all I can manage is the single verse of the day on BibleGateway.

      Talking with a caring friend, and sessions with a good Christian therapist if you can find one, helps so much, too.

      Your comments have touched my heart, Z. I really wish we could meet face to face. Are you anywhere near New Mexico? ((HUG))

      • Z

        Dear Linda Lee/Lady Quixote,
        Oh, how I’ve prayed for God to send me a friendship like you described. I don’t have a friend in this world to do those lovely things you said you’d like to do together. I have my husband and I’m so thankful for him. But not having a godly girlfriend leaves a heartache and void. I wish I lived near New Mexico!
        I thank you for your ideas to treat depression and anxiety. I’m going to try the walnuts twice a day right away. I am not on depression med though sometimes I think my life would be less painful if I were. But the anxiety med I take daily is more necessary. I pray for the day my CPTSD and severe anxiety and panic disorders are stabilized enough to wean slowly off that med. I did it once before and felt so great off all med. But then another huge violent trauma happened and the CPTSD got worse than ever so I’m back needing the anxiety med.
        You are a beautiful soul and I so appreciate all your words of deep compassion and encouragement. I know you’ve been through a lot too. That you use the comfort God has given you to comfort me and others is such a blessing and is so pleasing to God. May He bless you so abundantly for your heart of kindness. Thank you from the bottom of my 💔.

      • Thank you, my friend. Whether we meet later on in this world or in the next, we are friends and sisters in the Lord. I thank God for you.

        I would probably have more to say, but my daughter just learned that she is positive for covid-19. And now, my brain doesn’t seem to be functioning very good.

      • Z

        My dear sister and friend Linda Lee,
        I will pray 🙏🏽 for your daughter to have no symptoms and to recover perfectly and quickly. And I’ll pray for you too to remain calm and steady as you care for and support your daughter.
        Your kind words have been a balm to my soul! God bless you for that!

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