Listening to Dragons

It’s Narcissist Friday!

In the middle of the night, you hear the dragon’s voice. Taunting, tempting, scolding, he speaks into your head. You are nothing without him, he says. If you return to him, you will be happy, he says. It was all your fault, he says. It’s easier in the daytime, but the voice is still there, still trying to guide you and manipulate you.

The old joke asks, “How do you know when a politician is lying?” Answer: “His mouth is moving.”

How do you know when a narcissist is lying? Well, the answer isn’t as easy. You want some of the things your narcissist said to be true. In the beginning, at least, the narcissist said kind things, affirming things. You believed him then, and it hurts too much to think it was all a lie.

Yes, narcissists lie. A lot. It comes easy for them. But not everything they say is a lie.

But how do you know the difference? That’s the rub. You can’t just reject something because you don’t like it. Especially if it is about you. You were taught to accept criticism. You grew up knowing that you weren’t perfect. You learned to apologize because you did wrong things. So, you just can’t reject the narcissist’s words without thinking them through. A lot.

In fact, you are more likely to believe the criticism than to accept the compliment. When the narcissist said nice things, it felt good, but you had to let yourself accept them. Again, you were taught to think less of yourself. If someone said you looked nice, you were supposed to find a way to push the compliment away.

So, the things you wanted to be true were hard to accept. The things you didn’t want to be true were easy to accept. And the narcissist used both against you.

And you still hear the words. You hear whispers from the past, from your parents and your narcissist. You hear them from others in your life. But all of them are from the dragon.

You see, the narcissist tapped into the insecurities and needs you already had. He/she knew what to say and how to say it to manipulate you. It wasn’t so much about lying as about control.

Two things. First, you may not always be able to discern the narcissist’s lies, but you can know that everything the narcissist says is for his or her own purpose. In other words, you know the narcissist is serving himself when his mouth is moving. Since narcissists have no inclination toward the truth and no hesitation to use a lie, you never know which they are using. But you always know it is about them.

Second, since you cannot trust the words that were spoken into your heart through the years, you have to grasp the truth that comes from the One who loves you. Sadly, one of the things most victims of narcissism experience is a loss of trust. It’s hard to trust people when you have been abused. So, trust the Lord. His love has never wavered.

In the sight of Jesus, you are special. You are beautiful and desired. The love He has for you has been from the beginning. No matter what you have done—mistakes, sins, stupid decisions—He has loved you. Fully knowing all the truth about you, He loves you.

So, when the dragon’s lies whisper in your ear, remember that you can’t trust his words. He serves only himself. He loves only himself. Whether his words came through your parents, your spouse, your friends, your boss, or whoever, they are still the dragon’s words. But shrug them off. Tell yourself that you will only listen to the One who loves you, the One who went to the cross for you. The One who accepts you.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Listening to Dragons

  1. Mark

    For most people, criticism is taken readily and respectfully because it is often very difficult for a person to criticize another to their face. I think the church makes it much more a make or break issue because we are taught to overlook minor offenses, and so when we realize we need to confront, the issue is so important that the relationship hinges on it.

    That said, that is normal people. I don’t believe narcissists are so resistant to criticism, again, because it creates that power dynamic. Abusers find ways to twist and manipulate power dynamics for their own good, and cultural norms, especially, based on mutual respect, are a great opportunity.

    Think about it. Salesmen “refuse to accept your ‘no'”, and pester you – both abusive tactics – to make the sale. When that didn’t work, they started door-to-door sales, so, now you are trapped in your house with an abuser. When people stopped answering their doors, they resorted to telephone spam, e-mail spam. These are all narcissistic, abusive tactics to sell you a product by manipulating common human decency.

    It’s no surprise, then that narcissistic-leaning people will use the same dynamics in relationships. Using our own respect, courtesy, and decency as a way to break down our barriers and establish codependency.

  2. Leslie

    Pastor Dave,
    Your words were the first I had read that made my heart stop. Years ago I found your words that seemed to know every hurtful experience I had, emotions that I could not express and an explanation to what happened to me. And since that time I have done extensive research. It all makes sense and the validation I found has made me so much stronger. And I’m healing!!
    But to now watch as my son is still manipulated by his father and now his wife is soul crushing. He has hurt me beyond words. Please pray for him and me. I do not know what to do. I know I need to trust God so I will ask that I have more faith. My sons name is Michael.
    Thank you Pastor Dave

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