Tag Archives: Good Friday

Sacrifice

It’s Narcissist Friday!  

 

Over the years that I have been talking with people about narcissism, I have heard many different accounts of the same story.  Yes, the details are different, but there are so many similarities.  This is why we are able to discern common practices among narcissists and other controllers.  There are certain techniques, certain behaviors, that almost come naturally to these users.

One such common theme is the idea of sacrifice.  Nearly everyone who has been in a relationship with a narcissist has been expected to sacrifice for the relationship.  Sacrifice a job.  Sacrifice college goals.  Sacrifice a savings account.  Sacrifice close relationships with family and friends.  Sacrifice the place you live.  Sacrifice your belongings.  Sacrifice your time.

This says nothing about the more destructive sacrifices.  Sacrifice your privacy.  Sacrifice your security.  Sacrifice your worth as a person.  Sacrifice your opinions.  Sacrifice your virginity.  Sacrifice your dreams.  Sacrifice your support structure.  Sacrifice your love for others.  Sacrifice your self-respect.

And what do you get for these sacrifices?  You get to be with the narcissist!  In other words, you get nothing except more expectations.  Although your hopes grew with each sacrifice, your reality didn’t change much.  You thought the narcissist would be more loving, pay more attention, or be more kind.  Instead, you got more ridicule, more lies, and more pain.  The more you sacrificed, the more you were used.

Your sacrifice is a measure of the narcissist’s worth.  In other words, the more you are willing to sacrifice, the more important the narcissist feels.  Since one of the goals of the narcissist is to feel important, pushing you to make more sacrifices may be a regular thing.  When you value the narcissist over your treasure, he/she is affirmed.

But that’s not the only reason you are pushed to make sacrifices.  Sometimes this is necessary for the narcissist to be in control.  Tearing away the support structure of a victim is an important part of narcissistic abuse.  Without the relationships or the belongings that make you feel secure or valued, you are much easier to manipulate.  So the narcissist sets you up to choose between that support and him.  In fact, the more you indicate that something or someone is important to you, the more pressure you may feel to offer that as a sacrifice to the narcissistic relationship.

And sometimes it is simply that what is important to you doesn’t matter.  Since the narcissist does not see the real value of others, except to serve himself, he also does not see the value of the things that are important to others.  Living near an invalid parent, for example, may be very important to you but not even on the radar of what is important to the narcissist.  Giving up your job is not a big deal because your job was never a big deal to the narcissist.  Unless it is important to the narcissist at the moment, it isn’t important at all.  A sacrifice to a narcissist will not be received with the emotion in which it was given.

So how are you supposed to deal with this?  If you are new to a narcissistic relationship and have begun to see this need for sacrifice, maybe it’s time to get out.  But most of those who read this realize that too many sacrifices have already been made and there is little to show for them.  I want to simply say that it is time to stop.  At the same time, I realize that’s a lot easier to say than to do and especially easy for someone not living your life.

Yet, sometimes health begins at the point you first say, “No!”  When you are able to look at yourself and understand that it is right for you to keep something that’s important to you, you might be at the beginning of the process of rebuilding your life.  Don’t sacrifice that friendship or that relationship with family.  Don’t leave your job.  Don’t give in.

You will pay a price for not making the sacrifice.  Your love will be attacked.  You will be called selfish and uncaring and uncooperative.  You will be blamed for the relationship problems.  The narcissist will become the martyr and will remember none of your former sacrifices.   But hold your ground.  None of the other sacrifices have satisfied this false god.  This one will do no better.

And that leads me to something else.  I am posting this on Good Friday.  I am very aware that not all who read here share my faith in Jesus, but I want to point out the reason we acknowledge this day.  On this day, according to Christian history, Jesus suffered on the cross and died as a sacrifice for us.  He died because He loved us.  He gave the sacrifice, instead of asking for one from us.  The contrast between the love of Jesus—real love—and the abuse of the narcissist could not be stronger than what we see on this day.

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Not Narcissism

It’s Narcissist Friday!

 

Each Friday I write something about narcissists.  Usually it is something that will encourage those who have to deal with narcissists, either to help them understand what is happening or to help them learn ways to cope or even move on.  Because of the nature of this day on the Christian calendar, I want to take a different tack.  Let me tell you about someone as far from narcissistic as I can imagine.

He left the comfort and privilege of his life for the purpose of revealing his true heart.  Nothing of his grandeur and majesty was invented or fictitious.  He lived in the highest place and deserved the greatest honors.  No one was like him; no one greater than he.  And he left it all to come to us.

He assumed the lowest place, a common person among common people.  Vulnerable, weak, racked with limitations he had never known, he grew among those whose lives were full of struggle and need.  They did not recognize his greatness, nor did he want them to.  He did not hide, but he did not promote himself.  He came because he loved them and he wanted them to know him.

As a man, he walked among the people in the simplest of ways, demanding nothing.  He owned nothing and demanded nothing of those who were with him.  People who listened to him were impressed by his authority and gentle heart.  They knew that he understood their lives and truly cared.  He prayed for them and healed them, but he asked them not to tell others because he didn’t want attention.  He cared for the children, the outcast, the grieving, the dying, the sinful, and the broken.  He fed the hungry, touched the untouchable, and spent time with those who were rejected by others.

Although he refused to play the political and psychological games that would bring him to prominence among the people, they still flocked to him.  He could have been a great leader.  He could have held worldly position and honor, but he kept his focus on the people and their need.  In humility he ministered to each who came to him.  They had nothing to add to him, nothing he could use to make himself greater, but he loved them.

And he knew their hearts.  He knew they would use him.  He knew they came for the food and the show.  He knew that their loyalty would not last and they would turn against him.  But he did not condemn them for their fickle hearts.  He understood and loved them.

He did not curry favor with leaders or compromise his values for his safety.  Not everyone was his friend.  There were some who hated him, who feared him.  But he did not fear them or hate them in return.  He came for them, too.

Then the day came when it seemed like they all turned against him.  Those who hated him came to judge him and kill him.  And, though he could have destroyed them with a word, he permitted no one to stand against them.  He even reached out in kindness toward his captors.  He went with them willingly because he knew his time of sacrifice had come.

When they falsely accused him, he did not rightly accuse them, though he knew the truth of their lives and hearts.  When they hit him, he did not shout against them.  When they whipped him, he did not cry out vengeance on them.  When they spat on him, he did not hate them.  And when they nailed him to the cross, he forgave them.

They mocked him and taunted him as he died, but he loved them to the end.  He gave his life for those who rejected him.  He died for those who hated him.  He died as a criminal, though he had done nothing wrong.  He did not defend himself against the lies.  He died as a poor man and almost alone.  The followers and lovers had almost all abandoned him.  But he still loved them.

Then, on the third day, he rose from the dead by his own power and authority, showing the world the truth about himself.  And still they rejected him.  But still he loved them.  He offers them, even today, the life they need.  No matter what they have done against him and the others he loves, he offers to forgive them and receive them and give them life.

Today there are still those who mock him and taunt him and seek to hurt him.  They still reject him and hate him.  But he still loves them and opens his arms and his heart to them.

This is not narcissism.

This is LOVE.

Have a “good” Friday!

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