It’s Narcissist Friday!
You have knowledge. You have weapons. You certainly have experience. Now you can fight the dragon. The weak spot in your life, at least since you met the dragon, has been trusting other people. Just when you think they will fight for you, they run off to hide or betray you to the dragon. So, you don’t need them. You will stand alone.
As I have said before, one of the primary losses to come out of narcissistic relationships is trust. When you have been betrayed and used, trusting people is hard. This is especially true when you didn’t see it coming. When the narcissist was your friend, or family member, or lover.
King David felt this betrayal and put it in words we all understand:
Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
The pain is deep because it contains a certain self-incrimination. You feel like you should have known the truth. You should have been smarter. You should have read the clues.
Combining the anger, the insecurity, and the inability to trust yourself can lead to an isolation that pushes everyone else away. We tell ourselves that we don’t need others. We can’t trust them anyway. Friends and family have hurt us, so we have to go forward alone.
You come home at night to an empty house. You don’t answer the phone or your emails. Your living room and bed are enough. Even the television is filled with deceit. A good book is your best friend. You convince yourself that being alone is safe.
So, you become the Lone Warrior. You speak up against evil, stand against abuse, but never allow yourself to connect with the people you try to support. You never let them see the real you, the one that hurts and struggles. And, as you ride away after helping, they look at each other and ask, “Who was that masked person?”
This also is normal. You might not crawl into a cave, but you built a cave around yourself. You have been beat up, betrayed, and manipulated. Not again. It hurts too much. Your feelings and your response are normal.
But there are dangers here. The Lone Warrior is vulnerable. Partly because you are not as strong as you think. Partly because you are not as wise as you think. The dragon’s whispers still bounce around inside your head. The fear is still there.
Anger gives us strength. I have written about that before. It is designed to enable us to push beyond our limitations. But the strength that anger provides comes from within us. In other words, the energy is taken from other places in our lives. The extra power or strength we get from anger is stolen from our compassion, our wisdom, and our morality. The thing that enables us to move past our boundaries also enables us to ignore the pain we cause others and the cost to our own integrity and future.
You know what I mean. How many times have you said something or done something in anger that hurt someone more than you intended or burned a bridge you didn’t want to burn. You punched the wall in your anger, doing more damage to it than you thought possible, but you hurt your hand and now you have a hole in your wall. Anger steals energy from a better you.
This may be hard to read: In the process of avoiding the dragon by pushing everyone else away, don’t become the dragon for someone else. The narcissist hurts others because he/she will not accept the responsibilities that come with real relationships. Better to think of other people as objects, not persons with feelings and value. If your isolation comes at that price, it isn’t worth it.
We were not made to live in isolation. Yes, it may be necessary for a time of healing. But it can never be a goal. We are healthiest when we live in healthy relationships. And, of course, that’s the rub. How can you have healthy relationships where people never hurt you? After a few betrayals, it becomes easy to believe that there are no reliably healthy relationships.
I wish I had some easy formula to offer that would protect you from other people and let you find good and supportive friends. The answer, I think, is first to look to the Lord who loves you. Trust Him first. Then ask Him to bring the right people into your life.
We are not talking about intimate relationships. Just a kind person who cares. It may be someone you already know, someone you have pushed away. It is probably someone of your gender. It might be someone whose story is similar to yours. Or it might be someone who has a very different story filled with very different pain. You might discover that you can help each other out of what you each have left.
The point is that you should resist the Lone Warrior role. Yes, you can do it, at least for a while. No one doubts your strength, no one who matters. You are capable. You can take care of yourself. But, as soon as you are able, open your heart just a little to someone who is kind.
Now, I have to say this: be careful. You already know there are users and abusers out there. You are free to step back when you start to see the red flags. You are free to disagree, to say no, to set boundaries. In fact, you should do that with everyone. Just don’t let your caution be the only influence.
Try some new things. Go to new places. Push yourself to stretch your comfort zones. Still be careful. If you have someone to talk things over with, someone truly supportive, listen to their wisdom. Pray, then step out in your faith.
Know that you are not alone. There are others all around you. Hurting people, survivors, are everywhere. And they are waking up. They are shining the light on abuse and manipulation. The narcissistic vermin are being exposed. The truth is increasingly revealed.
There are those who walk the path you are on. They may not have experienced your pain, but they do understand pain. And they need a friend. Just like you need a friend.
Look to Jesus, who loves you consistently and fully, and begin to open your heart to others. You are not alone.