It’s Narcissist Friday!
I have noted in past posts that narcissists are predators. I suppose all abusers are to some extent, but narcissists are often patient, sensitive, and generous—in the beginning. They groom their victims with nice words and kind actions until they are confident that the hook is set securely. Then, as many have described, everything changes.
One of the most common characteristics of the lover narcissist is the ability to listen. They will listen to your stories, your complaints, your memories, and your confessions. Someone once described their narcissist as empathic, the very quality narcissists lack, but I said it wasn’t empathy that moved him to listen so patiently, it was investment. It was a means to an end. Once enough information was gathered, it would be used as a controlling weapon.
At the same time, there is something in the hearts of hurting and vulnerable people that wants to be heard. Perhaps we actually feel that confession is “good for the soul.” Perhaps we so desperately want someone who will accept us. Perhaps we want to tell all our dirty secrets just to test the relationship. Maybe there are several reasons. Hurting people often want to tell their secrets.
But you should keep your secrets. You don’t have to tell everything up front. Be very careful of the person who listens and asks for more. In fact, you should feel free to hold things back. Many of your secrets are simply between you and the Lord. Keep them that way.
You will have to listen to the Lord on this. There are things a spouse should know that others don’t need to know. At the same time, I don’t think even a spouse needs to know everything. You share life with your spouse, but you don’t depend on your spouse for life. What I mean is that you have a right to secret thoughts and memories.
Many will disagree with me on this, but I would remind you that you are a person with a unique and intimate relationship with the Lord. He knows all your secrets, and He loves you. He has never wavered in His love for you because His love has never been contingent on expectations or images. Everyone else in your life has their own desires for what they want you to be. Everyone else is compromised by their own flesh and feelings.
You only see life through your eyes. You are the only one who has lived your life. You are the only one who thinks your thoughts. So don’t be afraid to keep some things to yourself.
Of course, you understand that some secrets can slip out at the wrong time to hurt you or others. Those you may have to handle differently. But choose. Pray for guidance and make the choice. And you may not have to tell more than one person.
Too often, friends are terrible confidantes. They blurt out your secrets or use them to shame and control you. And, sadly, you may not know which of them will do it. So, be careful. And don’t be ashamed to hold things back. The ones who most think they have a right to the details of your life may be the ones you shouldn’t tell. The more they ask or push, the more you should keep your mouth shut. And if a friend confides in you, be sure that you don’t share their secrets with others. Don’t be the one who hurts or uses a friend.
The only One who matters already knows. And He loves you. So tell Him everything, all your secret disappointments and expectations and failures. It may help a lot to speak of these things, but do it in the privacy of your own relationship with Jesus.
A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. Proverbs 11:13
Debate your case with your neighbor, And do not disclose the secret to another; Proverbs 25:9
I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:5