It’s Narcissist Friday! (Almost)
Each week in our little church we pause to give folks an opportunity to share the things they are thankful for. So often an answer has come to prayers, or an unexpected blessing has happened, or someone just wants to express gratitude for a regular thing we usually take for granted. It is a happy time.
When I counsel people I hear them apologize for talking about their pain all the time. They think they should be looking at the good things in their lives instead of the struggle. But I usually just say that it is hard to think about how good your arm feels when your leg is hurting. The purpose of pain is to focus our attention on something that isn’t right. So we shouldn’t be surprised or ashamed when it works.
But when pain is ongoing, when it is chronic rather than acute, we have to do more than learn to live with it. We have to find ways to overcome it. That’s when being thankful is so important. Being thankful, counting our blessings, changes our focus. We tell our pain to step aside while we remember the good things. The pain might not go away, but it seems to back down for a while.
So, for those in ongoing narcissistic relationships, where the pain continues, I encourage you to take a moment to look away from the struggle. Don’t worry, it will be there when you get back. But you need some time away, don’t you? You get a little time away—in your heart—whenever you stop to give thanks.
There are people in your life who are not narcissists. Give thanks for them. There are places you can go without the narcissist. Give thanks for those places. There are minutes in your day without the narcissist. Give thanks for those minutes. There are people who believe you. Give thanks for them. There are people who would believe you if you told your story. Give thanks for them. There are people who love and are kind even though they know little about you. Give thanks for them.
And there is a God who loves you and never leaves you. He sees everything. He has helped you to be strong. He has walked with you through the valleys. He gives you hope and promise. He accepts you and welcomes you into His presence. He cares for the victims and repays the abusers. He is a God of justice and love.
I understand that words like these can feel empty when you are in the midst of your pain. But there will be a time when you can stop to give thanks. When that time comes, enjoy it like a vacation. Let the love of friends and Jesus flow over you like the warm sunshine. Let the good memories bring light into the darkness that has surrounded your heart. Let hope give you strength.
The day of Thanksgiving is always most poignant in times of suffering and worry. To stop and smell the roses, count your blessings, or live in the light is always refreshing for our souls. There is much that is good in our lives, even though it is hard to see those things when we are hurting. It’s just that the pain does go away a little when we remember the good things.
Giving thanks is far more than a duty. Giving thanks is a blessing from God in itself. Those who are able to give thanks find themselves, at least for a moment, in a place of freedom and peace.
Obviously, I posted this early, before the holiday, hoping to give a word of encouragement. I am so grateful to and for all of you who read here. Your comments and prayers and support are blessings indeed. If you would like to share anything you are thankful for, you are welcome to do so in the comments. Your words may well add encouragement to others. Don’t preach. Just be thankful.