Tag Archives: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Name the Enemy

It’s Narcissist Friday!     


The little girl had a new book. Grandpa sat down to read it with her. Along the way, they came to a page with a scary picture. The little girl began to squirm. She was scared of the “monster.” The grandfather said, “Oh, that’s not a monster. That’s just a shadow. See? It’s Bob’s shadow.” The little girl was still nervous at the page, but started calling the monster, “Bob’s shadow.” Every time Grandpa read the book, they called the monster, Bob’s Shadow. Grandpa also pointed out his own shadow and the little girl’s shadow. It wasn’t long before all the fear went away from that book. Naming the monster changed things.

There’s a monster in many marriages and families. There may be a monster at your work, or in your church, or in your organization. Sometimes you might wonder if your friend is a monster. The thing about monsters is that they want to stay hidden. A good portion of the fear monsters produce comes from the fact that they operate in the shadows.

Naming the monster takes away some of its power. Calling it by name, rather than just fearing the unknown, puts a box around it. When we use the word “narcissism” and refer to someone as a “narcissist,” we are not trying to make a psychological diagnosis. We are simply naming the monster we have feared.

We are often chastised for using a professional term to describe what we see. There is a category of personality disorder called narcissism by professionals. They are usually not happy when we use that term, because it is their term. They are, after all, the professionals.

We had a lot of fun a year or so ago trying to come up with other terms to use instead of narcissist. You might like to read some of the great suggestions here. In the end, however, we had to settle back to the term that has definition and literature support. It fits the monster we have seen.

If your marriage, or church, or workplace, or whatever seems to have a monster hiding somewhere; if you are afraid of what you see, but don’t know what to call the problem; if something is lurking in your relationship that feels like it needs control and attention; if you feel like you are being used or abused, but can’t quite figure out how—you might be dealing with narcissism. Read some of the literature. Check out the term online. Read some of the many posts on this blog and some of the stories in the comments.

Not every problem in marriage is related to narcissism. Not every difficult person in your life is a narcissist. As you read, be honest. If the term doesn’t fit, don’t use it. It may even be that there is no monster.

But narcissism does hide in the shadows. When it sneaks out to you, it won’t look evil. It will look loving and kind and funny and generous. The monster has a happy face. At the same time, there may be in your heart a foreboding, a fear that things are not as they seem. That’s the time to believe that the monster has a name and to begin seeking it. The day may come when the monster steps out of the shadows, and you will see its ugliness and hunger. The only way to prepare yourself is to find the name ahead of time.

Naming the monster won’t make it go away, but it will limit its definition. In other words, you will stop blaming yourself and stop trying to deny what you have been seeing. You will stop saying that these are little quirks and that everyone has weaknesses. You will begin to see the monster in the light, without as much fear and confusion. And you will find some ways to deal with it.

Even if you give the monster the wrong name, you will find the terror and anxiety diminished. Later, as you continue to study and evaluate, you may learn the real name and have even more strength. But you will no longer be afraid of something hidden in the shadows, working to destroy you and what you hold dear.

No one can effectively battle an unnamed enemy. You don’t know where it is, how it will attack, or even what it is. But once you begin to define the enemy and give it a name, you can focus your energies in the right places and avoid many distractions. Some have lived in fear and defeat for many years before they finally were able to name the enemy. That’s when things began to change.

A few years ago I wrote about narcissism as a monster. You might want to read that post as well.



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It’s Narcissist Friday!     


I haven’t decided if I like Facebook or not. It’s a little like looking for treasures at the dump. There are filth and waste and broken things to wade through in order to find anything of value. It seems to bring out the worst in some people, but it rarely brings out the best.

Sometimes I think Facebook is a narcissist’s playground. Can you imagine anything more pleasurable to the narcissist than trolling? Deliberately posting things to upset people, making comments on threads just to get people angry—these would be great fun for the narcissists.

And the opportunity to post “wisdom” and receive accolades from others! That’s a narcissist’s dream. No accountability, just “likes” and affirming comments. If someone disagrees, all the narcissist has to do is block or unfriend them.

Just like that, the “friend” is gone. Now, you may have seen this with your narcissist in real life. Sudden demonization. The person who once was a friend, is now a hated demon. And not just on Facebook. Some have seen this with long-term friends, neighbors, even family members. One disagreement, cross one line, and the person is out.

For the narcissist, there are three kinds of people: supporters, enemies, and nothings. Nothings are people who don’t matter; they exist in the narcissist’s mind as fillers. Supporters, of course, are people who love and serve the narcissist. Everyone else is an enemy. Not just a challenger or someone who doesn’t agree, but an enemy. And enemies are to be destroyed.

Sometimes the narcissist is surprised by a nothing who suddenly appears as an enemy. In other words, someone the narcissist was not watching who presents a challenge or disagreement. That causes a problem because the narcissist doesn’t know how to attack such a person. Those watching will probably see an uncharacteristic lack of finesse as the narcissist shuts the new enemy down.

But the one that bothers the rest of us is when the narcissist hears or sees something in a supporter/friend and begins to see that person as an enemy. The intensity of the hatred of the narcissist is almost shocking. It’s as though the friendship never existed. In fact, the narcissist now believes that the friendship was phony the whole time. He/she will find ways to speak evil of everything the friend ever was or did. The memories will darken, and the feelings will turn to various shades of anger and hatred.

It is said that the Pharaohs of Egypt would handle betrayal by deleting all mentions of the person in the official records, removing the face from any carving or monument, then ordering that the name of the person never be spoken again. (We see something of this in the Ten Commandments movie.) If the narcissist could, that’s how he/she would handle the friend who disagreed. It isn’t enough just to move on without that person, that person must be scraped from every good memory and demonized.

And, yes, the narcissist feels betrayed. Supporters are supposed to support—always. Once a person expresses disagreement, that person can no longer be trusted. I knew an assistant pastor who humbly went to the senior pastor with a concern. The moment he raised the concern, in private, the senior pastor fired him. Just like that. Betrayal, in the mind of the narcissist, must be handled swiftly and severely.

Then the narcissist looks around to see who might have agreed with the traitor. If you dare to say a kind thing about the ex-friend, you will feel some of the wrath meant for the enemy. Wives are told that they cannot call or meet with certain people who have “turned against” the narcissist. Children must never speak kindly of the enemy, no matter how close they were. Even in relationships that are difficult to end, the narcissist will try to punish anyone who supports the new enemy.

This one can really hurt. What do you do when the narcissist demonizes a family member or a friend? You can’t agree, but you hardly dare to disagree. Well, if you have been married very long, the narcissist already has you in a special category somewhere between supporter and enemy. The same may be true if the narcissist is your parent. What that means is that you can disagree, but you will pay a price.

If the person who is demonized is part of your support base, you really cannot afford to let them go. You need that support. If you are strong enough, tell the narcissist that you will see who you want to see and talk with who you want to talk with. That will feel good, but be prepared for the response. Then be sure to explain to your friend or family member that the narcissist might have put them in the category of enemy, but you have not. Even if you can’t see them, you still love and appreciate them. Too many people have lost their whole support structure because the narcissist has demonized all of them. Don’t let that happen to you. At the minimum, let your friend know that you are not the one slamming the door.

And, if you are the one on whom the door is slammed, the new enemy, your head is probably spinning. You barely know what you did to deserve that kind of treatment. You thought you had a right to disagree. Now you know the truth. Now you know what kind of person you were dealing with. It isn’t you, it’s the narcissist. If you no longer have contact with him/her, consider yourself fortunate. You have not suffered loss, except perhaps the loss of what you thought you had.

But you didn’t have a friend; you had a narcissist.


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Supply and Demand

It’s Narcissist Friday!     


I just listened to an excellent message on how the Law is based on demand, while grace is based on supply. According to the Law, God demands our obedience and service. Under grace, God supplies everything that is expected of us.

It struck me that this idea of supply and demand is a core problem in narcissistic relationships. The narcissists demand, and we are supposed to supply. But that isn’t what they think is happening. They think they are the ones who are giving. That’s why they demand.

Think about it. How many times have you heard your narcissist say something like, “After all I have done”? (Never mind that he/she hasn’t done much of anything.) The narcissist sees most relationships as deals. He may only be blessing you with his presence, but you are supposed to keep your side of some kind of bargain.

Narcissists almost always believe they deserve our attention, praise, service, generosity. Somehow, they think they have provided something for us. If we fail to reciprocate, they become angry. Part of the nearly constant anger of the narcissist is this feeling that he/she deserves more and is being slighted.

This allows the narcissist to see what is yours as his. This allows her to take your position, your secrets, your kindness—to use for her own purposes. After all, look at what she has done for you. You owe the narcissist. This is the way the narcissist reasons.

Now, I know. You can’t see anything he/she has done for you. Or anything you think of has long ago been “paid back.” But remember that the narcissist doesn’t see us as individual people with value and needs. The narcissist only knows that he/she feels cheated—all the time. He might be angry with the boss, but you are supposed to supply his needs. She might be angry with her parents, but you are supposed to take care of her.

This is why you always lose. You give a gift and the narcissist thinks two things: “It’s about time!” and “What am I expected to do now?” A simple gracious “thank-you” seems to be foreign to a narcissist. Instead, the gift somehow fits into this business deal mentality. The narcissist always knows the cost of a gift. It will either be less than he/she deserves, or it will require something from him/her. The narcissist hates feeling like he is in debt, yet always believes others owe him. So, even when you give the supply he/she demands, you still lose.

There is no choice in a business deal. If you take something out of a business deal, you are required to put something in. Buying groceries means you spend money. Simple. Being with the narcissist means serving. Simple—to the narcissist. The formality and “law” of the deal help the narcissist feel better about himself. Anything he receives from others is only what is expected.

Frankly, I think this is a terrible way to live. Always angry. Always hurt. Always looking for more. Never satisfied. Never truly grateful. Yes, that’s what it’s like to be the narcissist.

Of course, we all want our contributions to be noticed and valued. It hurts when they are not considered worthy. But most of us don’t do things for the sake of return. We don’t think in terms of supply and demand. Life is not a business deal for us, nor are our relationships. We give because we love. The narcissist knows nothing of that.

Narcissist relationships are like one-sided agreements. Like the harsh and cruel god of the legalists, they demand and we must supply. Under grace, there is no demand, just need—and love supplies. Get your head around that!


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Feeding Trolls

It’s Narcissist Friday!     


According to the Urban Dictionary, a troll is:

“One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument”


I was commenting to my sons that I recently entered into a discussion on Facebook. One of them said, “Don’t feed the trolls, Dad.” We had an interesting discussion on what it meant to feed trolls.

Basically, these are people who drop comments intended to get your goat. (See what I did there?) They don’t care what your opinion is or what the purpose of the post was. Nor do they care if you argue with them. They just want you to get angry or upset. Their “food” comes from your emotional responses. If they can get you to say something stupid or something you might not normally say, they win. They feed on your regret and embarrassment.

Sound familiar? I continue to marvel at how narcissists seem to connect with every manipulative tactic and mean-hearted behavior out there. This one is particularly made to order. Narcissists love throwing their victims off center, making them upset enough to say or do something embarrassing. I have known narcissists who will knowingly say inaccurate things just to get someone angry. They will argue a point they don’t even believe just to keep an argument going and watch their opponent. Argument for the sake of argument.

Some of you know this behavior all too well. She enjoys saying unkind things about your friends just to get you to defend them. He accuses you of something he knows you didn’t do just to get you riled. The narcissist doesn’t care how bad he acts, he just wants to see how uncomfortable he can make you.

Why? Because when you are uncomfortable, you are vulnerable. If you say something you will regret, he wins. If you go a little too far with your defense, she won’t let you forget it. Anything that can be used to control you or make you look bad, the narcissist will use.

Internet trolling is almost everywhere. We have had trolls here, challenging people and “teaching” them. They disagree or accuse or belittle, just to get that response. They love the response.

We learn something about trolling and narcissistic arguing on these social media discussions. First, they are addicting. There is something about the adrenalin rush that comes when you try to slap down the troll. They say something provocative. You respond. They say something else, probably a little cutting. You respond. They write some insinuation or outright negative statement about your intelligence or parentage. You respond. Why do you respond? Because you have the dream of slapping them down. You begin to long for the right words that will force them to run in fear and hide in their holes. But they don’t. Almost always you have to be the one to stop. They could keep it up for much longer than you are willing.  I know you want to find that perfect response for your narcissist.  You might even find it, but it won’t work.

Another thing you learn is that these exchanges almost never end well. By the time you have to quit for your own sanity, you are writing in all caps and cussing and envisioning yourself with your hands around the troll’s neck. Your blood pressure is up, and you are angry. Not what you wanted when you started up your computer to check Facebook. You yell at the kids, kick the cat, and drive like a maniac on the way to work. And the troll knows this. Not the specifics, of course. The troll only knows that your emotions supplied his habit.

No one knows who first said it, but we have something of an Americanism that applies here. It has been used in American politics for as long as they have existed.

“Never wrestle with a pig. You both get muddied, and the pig loves it.”

The only part of this that doesn’t seem quite right to me is that the narcissist never seems to be dirtied in the exchange. The reason, of course, is that you are so aware of the mud on you that you can’t focus on the mud on her. And, she’s so busy pointing at the mud on you that she doesn’t let you or others see herself.

So, don’t feed the trolls! When the stupid statement is made, just let it go. When you are accused, shrug it off. When the narcissist tries to rattle you, don’t say anything. Remind yourself that the needling has one purpose, and it doesn’t benefit you to play along.

Yes, I know this can be hard. If you do get rattled, catch yourself and relax. Don’t give the narcissist the satisfaction of making you angry. Say as little as possible as soon as you realize what’s happening.

Need practice? Read some of the political posts on Facebook. Force yourself to stay out of the comment thread.


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It’s Narcissist Friday!     


Okay, so it wasn’t a mistake. It was a choice. Yes, a bad choice, but you made it willingly. You knew it was wrong and you did it anyway. You wouldn’t do it again, but you did it. As a Christian, you call it a sin. It wasn’t an accident or an error. It was a sin.

And the narcissist knows about it.

At best, he/she will keep it until a comparison or some manipulation is needed. At worst, you are open to blackmail. Either way, you know it will be used against you. At some point, when you are vulnerable, it will come out. The narcissist will laugh and remind you of your sin. She will call you “Goody Two-shoes” and then bring it up. Or he will threaten to tell someone who doesn’t know, who doesn’t need to know, just to get you to do something. You know it’s coming.

Actually, it has probably already happened. Narcissists scour the lives of others looking for “indiscretions,” then store the knowledge away as weapons or tools. They remember everything and aren’t afraid of making things sound even worse than they were. If you told your secrets when the narcissist pretended to be a safe person, if you connected your narcissist to someone who knew, or if you just couldn’t keep it hidden—now the narcissist thinks he/she has power over you.

Is it true? Does the narcissist have power over you? What if he tells? What if she lets it out? As long as those questions cause terror in your heart, the narcissist has power. The power disappears when you no longer fear the exposure.

Remember that no one fears exposure like the narcissist. The reason she collects dirt on others is to keep attention away from herself. The narcissist has secrets and weaknesses he never wants to be revealed. They see power in the knowledge of your sins because they fear the power others could have over them. While it can be risky, many narcissists are held in check by counter-threats. In other words, they don’t dare tell your story because you will tell theirs. That may sound disgusting, but some situations call for such a strategy.

It would be even better to take the power away from the exposure altogether. If the fear could be removed from your heart, there would be no power over you. So, let’s look at how to do that.

First, go to the Lord. Yes, He hates your sin. He hates it so much that He has paid the extreme price to remove it from you forever. He hates the pain it causes you and the separation you feel from Him because of it. But He always has loved you. That did not change when you sinned. He has always been ready to forgive you.

If you have come to Him, He has washed your sin away. That means no more guilt on your account—so no more shame. Yes, you did it. You did many other things also. That’s why you needed a Savior. And that Savior has fully forgiven you. You are free from that sin’s power over you.

Second, if there is unfinished business involved with your sin, you may have to finish it. Pay back the money, confess the crime, admit to the deed. If the narcissist is already using it against you, threatening exposure, you may have to deal with it yourself to take that power away. Pray about this and be careful. You may need to talk with someone for advice. Remember to keep the circle of your confession as small as possible. Not everyone needs to know.

Don’t be afraid to apologize. I am increasingly convinced that the person who can sincerely apologize is both rare and strong. The other person does not have to forgive you. That’s up to them. But you will want to communicate regret for the pain you caused. You may not be able to do more than that. Once you do, however, the narcissist can’t threaten you with exposure.

If these two steps are done—dealing with God and dealing with those you hurt—then move on with your life. No more shame. No more guilt. No more looking back. If the narcissist wants to make you look back or tries to bring shame on you, you are free to reject it. Every time the narcissist brings it up, you can shrug it off. You are not defined by what you did in the past. The fact that you sinned and needed a Savior is not shameful. That’s true of all of us.

But it’s embarrassing. It might be embarrassing for him to bring out pictures or for her to tell your story. We all understand that. There are things in all our lives that we would find embarrassing. Many of those things are not sins at all. Embarrassment comes when we believe our actions or decisions make us somehow lower than we want to be. No one wants to be embarrassed.

Listen: humility is a good thing. We don’t have to be better than others. God already loves us, fully knowing everything about us. We are cleansed, accepted, welcomed, and valued by Him. That’s the best anyone can achieve. The height of human accomplishment and honor is bowing at the feet of the Lord who loves you.

So, when the narcissist teases you about your sin, don’t respond with either anger or pain. The fact that he/she brings it up exposes far more about him/her than it does you. It only comes up because the narcissist feels threatened. You are the strong one.

And when the narcissist brings up your secret in front of others, you have the right to feel betrayed and devalued. That was the purpose of the narcissist. But you are also welcome to tell the others that this was something shared in confidence and it has been fully dealt with by God and the people you hurt. The blame for any embarrassment you feel is the fault of the narcissist. Your friends will see that and understand. Others will simply see a strong person trying to move on.

This is a hard post because it touches places that are already sore. I understand that some of this is easier said than done. But, please, know that sin is not forever and has no power over you that you don’t allow. Jesus has made it easy for us to deal with our sin as far as He is concerned. You may be surprised at how He prepares the way with others as well. The narcissist has no right to use your pain against you. Take the power out of sin and away from the narcissist.






Don’t forget!  You can still get Walk with Me, a 30-day grace devotional, as an ebook on Amazon for only $6.99.  And if you purchase the paperback, you get the ebook for free!  Just click the images to access the links.


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It’s Narcissist Friday!     


We live in an age of fantasy. Magical powers, superpowers, evil powers—there seems to be a fascination with having special power, something to make you better than others. We have probably all been asked what we would do if we had special powers, perhaps lots of money or high authority or persuasive abilities. Most of us would consider such a question to be playful. If we were serious at all, we might decide to stop some evil or fill some need. But that kind of fantasy is a game for us.

Fantasy about having power is not a game for the narcissist. If you look through the list of nine characteristics that define narcissism, you will see that nearly all of them have to do with power. The narcissist wants power over others. The narcissist wants others to see him/her as powerful. The narcissist believes himself to be powerful. The narcissist thinks he has a right to power. The narcissist wants you to respect her power.

If I were to ask you what you would do if you had the power, your mind might go to self-serving things. But after more serious thought, you would almost certainly want to use that power to help others. For most of us, power would be about what we could give or do for others.

For the narcissist, power is about what you can get, rather than what you can do. The narcissist isn’t going to think about all the good he can do to solve the suffering or struggles of others. The narcissist is going to think about what he can have on the basis of his power. In fact, he will consider that power to be a tool for achieving the fantasies he has always had.

We often wonder about those who misuse the trust of others for their own gain. Politicians and entertainment industry people have been in the news lately, not just because of their sexual escapades but, because of their abuse of power. They take advantage of people who come to them for help. How can they do this? Well, it is no secret that narcissists are drawn to these vocations because of the opportunities for power.

If you see a position of power, watch for narcissists. Whether it is high-level politicians, or wealthy entertainers, or pastors of churches, or even leaders in your own small organizations—wherever power seems present, there will be narcissists.

In fact, you might be surprised at the places narcissists find power.  Small organizations, church groups, neighborhood associations, even (as we know) the family.  If the narcissist cannot achieve power in a big place, he/she will seek it in a small place.

Power gives control. Power brings privilege. Power provides attention. All of these are things the narcissist craves. The fantasy of the narcissist is to be surrounded by servants fully yielded and very generous. The narcissist wants love, but will take groveling. In fact, groveling will seem better than real love, because the narcissist doesn’t understand real love.

We have talked before about how the narcissist sees people. “Tools, toys, or obstacles.” In other words, “Serve me or get out of my way.” There is no time for the needs of others, no time for treating others as real people. The narcissist only has time for meeting his/her own needs.

But… you say. Some narcissists have organized great charities and have authored great legislation and have given great speeches in support of good causes. Even your narcissist is kind and generous at times. If all they think about is themselves, why do they do these things? The answer is in another question: What does the narcissist get out of it? If the narcissist uses power to give to others, it will always be to get something for himself.

We are shocked and amazed when the great charity effort doesn’t quite reach the people it was meant to help, when the leaders prosper instead. But we shouldn’t be surprised. We notice the adoration and attention the generous narcissist gets, even though he hasn’t really given anything that cost him. Loyalty can often be purchased through kindness, as can admiration. It wasn’t about the giving, but the getting.

Good people are often shocked by the abuse of power. We are disgusted to see how some use others. But we should not be puzzled. That’s the way of the narcissist.


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It’s Narcissist Friday!     


I hate mistakes. I hate making mistakes. I can spot a misspelling on a sign or a grammatical error in a document in seconds, unless I wrote it. For several years I read long theological documents able to catch minute doctrinal errors, but sometimes the things that come out of my own mouth are just dumb. I would never consider myself a perfectionist because there is nothing about me that is perfect.

Sound familiar? Most of us have been carefully trained to focus on our mistakes. Remember school? You handed in a paper with your most careful work. You received the same paper back covered with notations about your mistakes. Red circles, black check marks, harsh comments. Out of 100 points, you got 92. And, instead of noticing the A-level work, you wondered what you did wrong. Everything was focused on what you did wrong.

Many years ago, I worked for a man who seemed to take delight in pointing out my mistakes. He actually used the word “failed.” I failed this way and that way. I sat with him through my final assessment for three or four hours while he told me how I had failed. It took me a long time to get over that.

We learned to judge others and ourselves by our mistakes. The media loves to point out the mistakes of politicians they disagree with. The fans talk about the mistakes of the players and the referees. The error at the store is much more memorable than the many times we have had good service.

Teaching students without focusing on mistakes is a very delicate and difficult job. It takes more time and caring. Instead, teachers usually just hand the criticisms and judgments back and tell them to do better. And the students learn to hate their mistakes. Mistakes bring pain. Mistakes bring shame. Mistakes mean failure.

But we all know in our hearts that mistakes are basic to human life. Not one of us goes through life without making mistakes. It isn’t possible! Let me emphasize that: IT ISN’T POSSIBLE! And not only do we all make mistakes, we all make roughly the same number of mistakes.

The conventional wisdom is that the only way to avoid making mistakes is to do nothing. In other words, the people who are doing something are making mistakes. That means that the people who are doing more are making more mistakes. The most successful people are those who are making the most mistakes. For many years Babe Ruth was known as the “Sultan of Swat” for making so many home runs and the “King of Strikeouts” for missing so many balls. Making mistakes is part of living.

So what’s the difference between those of us who focus on our mistakes and live in fear and shame and those who seem to be able to move past their mistakes? If we all make mistakes, why does it seem like there are people who make none? And why does it seem like I make so many more than others?

The answer is: MAGIC!

What? You don’t believe me? Well, it’s true. How does the magician do his or her wonders? Is it because of mystical powers? Of course not. The key word to understanding magic is “misdirection.” And that explains how people seem to go through life without making mistakes.

Think about this: If others make mistakes just like you and I do, why don’t we see them? Probably because we are too busy looking at something else. The magician tells you where to look mostly by looking there himself. While his hands are doing the trick, his eyes are focused on the place he wants you to look. You look at his right hand, for example, while his left hand is doing the trick. You look at his assistant, just like he does, while he works his “magic.”

The successful person has his or her eyes on the next success. You don’t see their mistakes because they aren’t focused on them. I learned this early and have taught it to my family: if you don’t focus on your mistakes, the majority of people around you will not even know they happened. We have all listened to a singer or musician who stopped to correct a mistake we didn’t notice. If the singer had not called attention to the misspoken lyrics or error in music movement, most of the audience would have either missed or ignored the mistake. The successful performer keeps moving forward drawing the audience along.

The narcissist, on the other hand, gets you to miss his mistakes by causing you to focus on your own. He watches you and collects your errors to use as distractions when he makes his own mistake. By presenting you with your error, which you are ready to accept and consider, you don’t have a chance to see his. And, even if you did see his mistake, you can’t focus on it because you have to defend yourself against your own.

But suppose you have already moved past your mistake. Suppose you have learned whatever you needed to learn and left the fact of your error behind. Then, when the narcissist tries to distract you, you would see his attempt at distraction. You would not have to defend yourself, and you could keep your focus on his error.

Now, I am not suggesting that you focus on the mistakes of others, even of narcissists. What I am suggesting is that you learn to lose sight of your own. The fact that you make mistakes will never go away. You should accept that as the simple truth of an active life. But your mistakes have no purpose in your life other than to help you learn as you move forward. And like good housekeeping, when something has served its purpose, get rid of it. If someone else digs around in your trash and finds something you threw away, don’t take it back.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: In Texas, the things you have put out in the trash no longer belong to you. The courts have ruled that you have transferred ownership of those items to the waste-hauling company, the people with the job of getting it away from you.

So here’s what I would suggest. When you make a mistake, acknowledge it and learn from it. Then get rid of it. Give it to the Lord, and thank Him for His love and acceptance. Then it belongs to Him. He will remove it from you, and you will not be identified by your mistake. Tell anyone who tries to bring it back to you that it belongs to God now. They have no right to it.

Stop focusing on your mistakes. They are normal. Everybody makes them. Move forward with your life.


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