Tag Archives: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Revenge

 

It’s Narcissist Friday!    

 

“Vengeance is fine, says the Lord.”  Oops!  That isn’t quite right, is it?  The verse says this:

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.    Romans 12:19

We are instructed not to seek vengeance, not even against the narcissists in our lives.  But isn’t that hard?!?  I remember Sam Vaknin saying something like: “the most common reaction of a person who realizes that he/she has been victimized by a narcissist is rage.”  I haven’t quoted that precisely, but that’s what opened my eyes to what I was seeing in the counseling that began my study of this type of abuse.

And rage desires vengeance.

Well, we understand some of the reasons why we should not seek vengeance, don’t we?  It lowers us to the level of those who hurt us.  It rarely accomplishes what we think it should.  It often hurts others the abuser has gathered to his life.  But let me add that attempting vengeance against a narcissist rarely works.  The narcissist is way ahead of you.  He/she has played the game much longer and is far more ruthless than you would be.  Many could tell stories of how their vengeance backfired because the narcissist’s image was so strong.  Now the friends you used to share see you as the dangerous one, for example.  Now the resources you wasted in your fruitless attempt at vengeance are gone, and you have less.

No, vengeance won’t solve anything.  But let’s define vengeance here.  What I am talking about is my desire to hurt someone in the way or at the level in which that person hurt me.  My desire to make them feel the pain and grief and loss I have felt.  If I want vengeance, I want to be the cause of their pain.  I want that person to look me in the eyes and realize I am repaying the abuse he/she gave to me.  And, even as I write those words, I realize why I can’t be in charge of vengeance.  That isn’t me; it shouldn’t become me; I don’t want it to ever be me.

But the narcissist may still get what’s coming to him.  It isn’t that vengeance is wrong.  It’s that it is not ours.  Evil does come with a price.  Those who do not come to Jesus, confessing sin and yielding to Him, will pay a price for their sins.  That is something the church has taught from Scripture from the beginning.  But this is in the hands of God.

At the same time, there are a couple of things that should be made clear.  Sometimes teachers and other believers add to our burdens by making wrong connections.  They prohibit actions that are not prohibited by the Scriptures.

For example, should an abused wife seek a significant settlement from her cruel husband in a divorce or separation?  Should she go before the authorities to force him to provide care for her and her children?  Some people say that isn’t right, that it falls within the desire for vengeance.

But a narcissist father and husband may have an amazing ability to walk away from his responsibilities—and will do so if he can.  So, yes, she should sue him at court if necessary.  A father has a responsibility to provide for his children.  A husband has a responsibility to care for his wife, even when his mistreatment of her drives her away.  This is not vengeance, nor even justice.  This is using proper authority to enforce what should be enforced.  Don’t let anyone suggest that this is somehow tied to vengeance.

Should you report the illegal actions of a boss or co-worker?  Should you expect repayment of debts made by narcissists?  Should you hold narcissists accountable to the same reasonable expectations the rest of us live under?  Yes, yes, and yes.  These things are not vengeance.

Some of these same teachers and believers want us to feel bad if the narcissist ever does receive punishment or consequences for his actions.  We cannot rejoice in the pain of others, they say.  Love does not rejoice in justice, they say.  And, when they say these things, they bind us unnecessarily.

God does not do wrong.  If He allows someone to suffer for their own actions, that is not wrong.  God does love the narcissist and desires that the narcissist would repent and turn in humility to Him.  God would quickly forgive and receive the narcissist in love.  But apart from that, the narcissist will receive just consequences for the life he/she has lived.

If we see someone humbled after a career of abuse and lies, it is not wrong for us to feel a sense of satisfaction.  Sadness, yes.  I suppose.  I would always rather see someone repent and turn to Jesus than suffer for sin.  But there is a sense of vindication when others see what you have seen, when the narcissist is exposed.  And that sense of vindication is not wrong.

What do you think of this:

LORD All-Powerful, you test good people; you look deeply into the heart and mind of a person. I have told you my arguments against these people, so let me see you give them the punishment they deserve.   Jeremiah 20:12 (NCV)

Jeremiah even made this a matter of prayer.  Again, I would rather see a person change than suffer, even if the suffering is deserved.  But it is far better to take your desire for vengeance to the Lord and lay it in His hands.

Let’s be honest.  These people can cause great pain.  They are cruel and uncaring.  When they are done using one person or group, they move on to another.  How can it be wrong for us to pray that they would be exposed and stopped?  How can it be wrong for us to pray that they would feel something of what they made others feel?  Yes, our first desire should be for the narcissist to change, but sometimes the only way for them to want change is to begin to see the truth about themselves.  Exposure, humiliation, legal consequences—these are often the way change begins.  There is nothing wrong with being encouraged when we see these things happen.

Allow the Lord to choose the time and method.  Give the right of vengeance to Him and trust Him.  He knows what you have been through, and He loves you.  He will care for you—whatever He chooses to do with the narcissist.  You may not get to see what happens.  In fact, you may think that nothing happens.  Just trust the Lord.

Vengeance belongs to the Lord, not to you and me.  But it does belong to Him, and when He allows pain and recompense to come into the life of the abuser, it is good.

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Guard Your Tongue

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

What do you do when you discover that you are in a relationship with a narcissist? Obviously, if this is a boyfriend or girlfriend, you should get out. Run, and not slowly. But what if this is in your job or at your church or even in your family? What if you can’t get out? How can you survive?

Maybe it’s your new boss or co-worker. Maybe it’s your new in-law. Maybe it’s someone at the club or church or school. You know what a narcissist is, and this person fits the bill. Now what?

First, don’t be afraid. You are smarter than you were, at least you have more knowledge about this. Your guard is up and your boundaries are in place. There are things you can do to protect yourself.

Once you know that a narcissist is in the equation, guard your tongue. Don’t offer information about yourself, especially not secrets or information that can compromise you. If possible, don’t tell details about your family or your background or even previous jobs. People at work don’t need these details to work with you. Your job is to do your job. They can do theirs. You can be civil, even friendly, without giving information that will be used against you later.

Don’t criticize others. Your thoughts about the company or your co-workers or your neighbors can and will be used against you or them. You may suddenly find yourself on a “side” in a battle because of something you said. You can have your opinions, but keep them to yourself if there is a narcissist around.

Don’t make promises. Narcissists remember and expand your promises. Just do your job and do it well. If you say you will do something, do it. And if you don’t intend to do something, say you won’t do it. Even in a new job or relationship, there is a place for boundaries.

Tell the truth. Narcissists love to accuse others of the things they do themselves. Since narcissists lie easily and believe lies are a good way to accomplish their purposes, they will want to deflect attention from their lies to yours. If you only tell the truth, you can support the things you say when you are questioned.

Don’t agree. If the narcissist makes a bold statement about the company or a co-worker and you nod your head or indicate in any way that you agree, he will say it was you that came up with the idea. You will be pulled to her side in whatever argument she is in. There is nothing wrong with saying that you don’t want to get into it, that you don’t agree, or that you are too busy with your job to care. Whatever it takes to keep yourself out of the narcissist’s manipulations.

Don’t make fun of others, or state strong political opinions, or tell inappropriate jokes, or even give compliments that can be used against you. Believe me, the narcissist is listening for something. Guard your tongue.

Now, some of us would have a hard time functioning with these restrictions. I know I would. At the same time, I sure wouldn’t want to give the narcissist free tools to use on me. Be yourself, but be your guarded self. The narcissist represents a danger to you and to others.

You know that person who seems to be pleasant and kind, but never really enters into the banter and politics? Be that person. You know how others seem to stop their complaining and criticizing and gossip when that certain person comes around? Be that person. Don’t be superior or condescending. Don’t give the impression that you are better than others. Just be separate from the kind of things the narcissist commonly uses in these environments. If you can avoid the game, do it.

Now, you might still get attacked or hurt by the narcissist. These folks often get what they want. Just don’t let your tongue make it easy for them.

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Crisis!

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

Narcissists thrive in unstable times.

Think about that for a moment. When a company is in crisis, who is hired to lead? Very often it is a narcissist. It may not be much of a crisis, just a concern about dealing with brand or competition. The company board seeks new leadership with new ideas and a willingness to change without regard to traditions or even compassion. The threat is that the old ways might bring the company down, so someone who can set aside those old ways is desirable.

Enter the narcissist. Great promises. Great ideas. Amazing self-confidence. Ability to say one thing and do another. Ruthless, dedicated, innovative, strong. Narcissists are hired to lead companies that are in crisis or feel the threat of a crisis.

When someone is in trouble and vulnerable, who is there to help? Often the narcissist. The narcissist is on the spot, ready to help. He thinks quickly, makes decisions without regard to opinions or culture, and gets things done. Few people can handle life’s crises as well as the narcissist.

And neither companies in trouble nor individuals in trouble do well at seeing the strings attached to this help. They are just so happy to move forward with some hope that they don’t watch for the red flags. Companies spend resources, merge with other companies, and lose valuable employees while the narcissist leads. Yet, the real cost of that leadership is ignored because of the reassurances of the narcissist. Individuals sacrifice money, supportive friends, jobs, and more as the narcissist directs their lives. But they don’t see the dangers until later.

Later, when the new ideas fail and the changes reveal their weaknesses, the narcissist walks away a winner. The company suffers great loss, but the narcissist moves on with a generous severance package. The individual finds himself or herself almost destitute of resources and support, but the narcissist moves on to “help” someone else. All because the crisis blinded them to the real costs of trusting the narcissist.

Narcissists are planners and manipulators. They are opportunists. They seem to be able to smell vulnerability. Like wolves watching the sheep, they know who is weak and can be separated from the flock. And they present themselves as heroes, deliverers. Always able to embellish past accomplishments, to turn failures into someone else’s fault, the narcissist appears to ride in on a white horse to save the day.

So, here’s a thought: if narcissists thrive in unstable times, then would it not be in their best interest to stir up trouble and keep the instability going? Those who live and work with narcissists know that unpredictability and tension are part of the relationship. Constant criticisms and comparisons, pitting people against each other, gossip, and lies—these are common tools in the narcissist’s toolbox. When the narcissist comes into the church, strange divisions seem to develop. When the narcissist comes to the workplace, the competition level rises and cooperation suffers. When the narcissist enters your personal life, stress and distress become the order of the day.

I am convinced that narcissists deliberately stir up trouble so they can use crisis to make themselves look important and needed. They don’t care what happens, except that they get the benefits. If there is no stress for them to use to their advantage, they will create it.

At the risk of sounding political, I have to ask: is it a coincidence that the rise of narcissism in our culture is accompanied by a rise in tension and division? Doesn’t it seem like there are people who do very well in these times of crisis? People who get rich and powerful during the distress? People who really don’t care about the “collateral damage” that follows their pronouncements and decisions? We are beginning to define leadership, in business and government, in narcissistic terms. The idea that leaders are servants, spending themselves and their energies on behalf of the people, just doesn’t describe what we see. Compassion and love are rarely part of the leadership our culture celebrates.

When you feel the tension around you rising, or the stress in the group increasing, look for a narcissist. And prepare yourself.

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Just Mean

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

The other day an advertisement came across my computer screen that intrigued me. It was a little crossbow for shooting round toothpicks. If you picture the toothpick as an arrow (or bolt), the crossbow was just the right size to use to shoot it across the room. In fact, the ad said it would go several meters. Also, the ad suggested that it would be great fun to shoot these toothpicks at people in your family or at work. Just imagine how much fun it would be to get shot with a pointed toothpick! How much fun it would be to get hit in the eye or to sit on a toothpick that has been shot into your pants! Oh, wait. It might not be as much fun to be the one who is shot.

Now, I am as tempted by little toys like this as the next guy. Most men never really stop being boys in some ways. But to shoot toothpicks, sharpened and hard arrows, at another person in fun is beyond me. Instead, I immediately thought of what it would be like to get shot with one of these. I would be more much more likely to be the target.

And who would have been shooting these toothpicks? As soon as I saw the ad, I thought of a certain narcissist I have known. He would love this toy. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t already have one. I can just see him in a meeting shooting this at certain people. And, if that person got angry or hurt, it would just be “in fun”.

Narcissists, in general, are mean. No, not all of them would shoot toothpicks at others. Not all of them would do the petty little acts of cruelty the narcissist I thought of would do (and has done). But the idea of “meanness” goes beyond shooting toothpicks. It refers to the low thinking of a person.

“Mean” is one of those words that comes to us from a long way back. It meant someone or something that was common, but common in character. Interestingly, it is almost always negative. Think “lowest common denominator”. Anybody can be cruel. Not everybody can be loving. To be mean is to sink to the lowest characteristics of humanness.

So what does this look like in society? Bigotry, jealousy, laughing at another’s pain, acting without regard to others, lying, cheating, taking advantage of those who are weaker, abusing others to get what you want, boasting, stealing anything from belongings to accomplishments to attention. These are the base or low things people do to others. This is what mean is like.

Is it a surprise that this is also a list of narcissistic behaviors? You could add to this list. Narcissists do mean things. Narcissists say mean things. Apparently, narcissists think mean thoughts. Your narcissist might actually be one of the most intelligent and capable people you know, but he/she seems to wallow in the lowest places of human behavior. I know men with doctor’s degrees who make it unsafe to turn your back or leave your coffee unprotected. They are just mean.

Why? Why are they so mean? Well, I don’t have the time to go deeply into that here except to suggest that the base emotions tend to bring us down to those low places of behavior. Anger, fear, jealousy, greed: these things seem to cause most of us to lose whatever social graces we have learned. And narcissists always struggle with these base emotions. The underlying anger of a narcissist is unceasing. It’s hard for most of us to enjoy the pain of others, but not hard at all for the narcissist.

Most of us have learned by now that we can’t relax when the narcissist is around. You never know what he/she will say or do next. Just when you think you are safe, you get jabbed with a “toothpick”. It might be a criticism, a cruel reminder of a secret you shared, or even a physical assault. We should know better than to give them tools to use.

So I wrote a note to the company offering the crossbow. I suggested that their sale of this “toy” might not be wise, especially since they advertised the fun idea of shooting others with sharp toothpicks. I reminded them that, if someone got hit in the eye, their company could be liable. We will see what they say. I’m not really against the toy. I just don’t want one of my narcissists getting one.

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Common Characteristics

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

While most of the literature on narcissism seems to focus on the marriage relationship, there are other narcissistic relationships that have to be addressed. There are several good books now on parental narcissism, and some even on narcissism at the workplace. I have tried to categorize the various relationships I have read about or experienced and have come up with six:

1. Marriage (dating, significant other)

2. Parental (could include grandparent or family authority)

3. Workplace (boss, co-workers, system)

4. Friendship (anyone who uses friendship connection)

5. Organizational (church, volunteer, would include leaders)

6. Familial (siblings, children, connected by family)

There may be others (and I would love to hear your suggestions), but I suspect most would fall under one of these categories. An argument could be made for a sort of “neighborly” narcissistic relationship, where the person has no direct personal connection other than being near. The “narcissist next door” may not quite fall under any of these categories but still be a significant problem. There might be others.

All of these different relationships share common characteristics. Obviously, there is a narcissist (or multiple narcissists) in each of them. The effects on the victims are also very similar. When I write, I usually have more than one kind of relationship in mind. My hope is that the information is helpful to anyone who suffers from such a relationship.

When you have to deal with a narcissist, in any relationship, you should expect to be used. Remember, just because the narcissist is kind does not mean he isn’t using you. He may give you what you want as he uses you. It may feel like you have a good working relationship, even while you are being used.

You should also expect that use will turn to abuse if you fail to give the narcissist what he/she wants. Whatever the narcissist has given to you is an investment in what you are supposed to give to him. Your failure, for any reason, will be met with punishment. If you have a problem that affects your performance, the narcissist will have no empathy for you. Any patience or kindness you are shown is more investment in what you are expected to return. Eventually, the narcissist will want you to provide your part. If you do not, you will almost certainly experience a type of rage meant to intimidate you into submission. At best, the narcissist will write you off without any regret or concern.

Almost everyone in relationship with a narcissist feels the drain of being used. There is something in the connection that seems to go only one way. You get smaller while the narcissist grows larger. You become less important while the narcissist grows more important. Even if you begin stronger or more important, you will feel this change increasing and have a sense that the narcissist is using you.

The narcissist must be viewed as superior, or in the superior position. This seems obvious in business, familial, or organization relationships. Sometimes it is not so obvious in friendships. Remember that the person who is being served often feels himself or herself to be in a superior position. Sometimes narcissists present themselves as victims (think invalid, impoverished, and/or inexperienced) to have others serve them. From our perspective, they don’t seem to be in a superior position, but they are being served. They have found a way to demand your time and energy, perhaps even money, to serve their desires.

So narcissistic relationships are, in any form, draining and one-sided. The lack of empathy and desire to be seen as superior is wearing and corrupting. If you find yourself in a relationship where you feel drained of life—energy, time, money, whatever—you may be in a relationship with a narcissist. If you begin to realize that the person knows a lot about you while you know little about her, or you value the connection far more than he does, you might be in a relationship with a narcissist. If you experience flashes of anger mixed with stringed generosity, you might have a narcissist on your hands.

Fundamentally, every narcissistic relationship is a business deal. You do what you are supposed to do and the narcissist might do what he is supposed to do. Sometimes this relationship works, perhaps for a long time, but if anything changes your side of the deal, there will be consequences. And sometimes, even if you have done your part, the narcissist will find another to replace you.

And it might be at church, at work, with a friend, or in your family. The needs of a narcissist are quite simple. They might not look the same, and you might find them in different places, but they will all want the life and energy you have. They will use you and lessen you to lift themselves up.

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No Record of Wrongs?

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

One of the ways believers are held in abusive relationships is through an interpretation of Scripture that is well-known, but hard to support. Most of us have been taught that 1 Corinthians 13:5 teaches that love “keeps no record of wrongs.” Interestingly, almost no translation of Scripture says that. Instead, the passage should read something like “thinks no evil.” Look it up for yourself and compare different versions. I think you will be surprised at how strongly a rather odd interpretation has been applied by preachers and others who tell us to “get over it.”

Recently a commenter mentioned how she felt required to continue to stay with her abuser (narcissist) and not hold his offenses against him based on this verse. We are, according to some people, supposed to both forgive and forget. That seems to be the idea here. And that allows every offense of the abuser to be a “first” offense. Instead of seeing a destructive pattern, the victim is limited to seeing only a single offense, which must be forgiven.

But abuse is cumulative. That means the effects of abuse add together. One punch to the face is quite different from many punches. One criticism is different from years of criticism. Each new blow weakens and damages the victim further. To suggest that each should be treated as the first is to deny the suffering of the victim.

Interestingly, there is little support for this idea anywhere else. Our laws, which are based on the teachings of Scripture, certainly don’t treat each offense as a first offense. The legal system recognizes patterns of behavior. Even God keeps a record of wrongs until we come to Him in faith. It would be very difficult to support this “no record of wrongs” approach from Scripture or from common sense.

Of course, the Scripture does tell us to forgive. And we should be generous with our forgiveness as an expression of love. Those who come to apologize should be heard and blessed. Those who have sins in their past should not be reminded of those sins after coming to Christ. Forgiveness is always tied to a change of thinking or at least acknowledgment of the wrong. Even our sins are forgiven, or at least forgiveness is only applied, as we come to Jesus in faith. Otherwise, as the Scripture says, “you are still in your sins.”

Without going into a long post with a boring Greek lesson, let me just say that the passage simply means we should not judge others negatively—think no evil. We should not assume the worst of a person. The old saying, “Never ascribe to malice what could be explained by stupidity,” is a fair restatement of this admonition. Don’t think that a person who causes you grief is evil. That person might just be incompetent or negligent.

And just because he looks creepy or she talks a lot doesn’t mean they are bad. Judging by skin color, choice of clothing, ability to speak clearly, or whatever will probably not give us a right assessment. Nor would it be fair or loving. Love doesn’t treat others according to stereotypes or by what they have done in their past. Love allows for change in a person or for a person to express themselves differently. Love,

bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Do you see the difference? It is not unloving to see a pattern of behavior that causes others pain and suffering. It is not unloving to affirm the truth about the damage consistent abuse can do. Nor is it unloving to hold others accountable for the abuse they do. In fact, it is loving to take a molester off the streets: loving to past and potential victims and loving even toward the molester. To allow a person to continue hurting others has nothing of love in it.

It is unloving to continue to hold a particular sin or error against a person who has acknowledged the wrong and sought forgiveness. Even then, it may be difficult to forget. Keeping no record suggests that we are supposed to forget. Not only is that very difficult for humans, it is usually not wise. I might forgive someone who stole money as my bookkeeper, but I probably shouldn’t put that person in charge of my books again. And if I tell a person a secret and it is not kept, I will rightfully be hesitant to tell that person another secret. To forget (or to ignore) past offenses is quite different from forgiving them. Sometimes ignoring a person’s weaknesses and temptations can be very foolish.

So, please know that it is wise and right to see patterns of behavior and build boundaries in your life when you encounter maltreatment. Forgive as much as you can and then go to the Lord for more, but don’t ignore the truth. Abusive people, narcissistic people, usually count on our unwillingness to admit what we see. If we don’t deny the truth, we often try to cover for it. Don’t let an improper interpretation of Scripture convince you to lower your defenses against evil.

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Complicity

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

Have you ever lied for your narcissist? Knowingly or unknowingly? Almost everyone in a relationship with a narcissist has. Someone calls and she says, “Tell them I am not here.” Or someone asks about a time and he says, “Tell him I will be there at five.” (But he has no intention of arriving that early.) Or maybe you cover with your family by telling them that he/she is not feeling well and couldn’t come. Or you sign the tax forms even though you know they are wrong.

Some people grew up lying for narcissistic parents or even siblings. Some started lying for a lover very early in the relationship. Some lied for their bosses or their friends. And, when they did, they became complicit in the narcissist’s lies.

Whoa! That’s harsh! I know, but that’s how the narcissist sees it. In fact, that may have been the intent. Most of the time the narcissist’s lies just flow without regard to consequence, yours or his. But after you lie for him, he holds it over you. He uses your compromise, even if it was unintentional, to shame you into more lies or other actions you don’t want. Now he thinks he owns you.

But it was his fault! You didn’t mean to lie. He lied to you and you just passed it on to others. None of that will matter to the narcissist if he thinks he can use guilt to manipulate you. He will tell you that it is your fault your parents think he is always sick. He will tell you it is your fault he was late for that appointment. And because he knows how to twist your thinking and your heart, you will believe at least some of what he says. You should have known better, you tell yourself.

Maybe you lied just to try to keep the peace. You lied to your children about the narcissist, telling them of love and concern that never really existed. You lied to friends and family to try to cover the pain and shame you felt because of the relationship. Still, the narcissist uses this against you. He/she manipulates your feelings.

So, first, I would suggest that you simply stop lying for the narcissist. Tell him/her that you will no longer agree with false statements and no longer pass on lies, nor will you cover for him/her with falsehoods. Be prepared for backlash. There will be threats, pleas, and cruelty. You will be accused of betrayal and complicity. It will be challenging.

But there are good reasons to get yourself out of the mess. Some of the people heard lies from you, instead of the narcissist, even though they came from him/her. Now they are wondering about you, why you have become untrustworthy. And, when the relationship begins to break up, your friends and family are puzzled at the change they see in you. You never said these things about your spouse, the boss, or your friend before. They will think something has changed.

How do you get out of this? Well, I think you deal with it head on. Some of the lies (and if you are like most people in relationship with a narcissist, there are many) don’t need to be addressed. You can’t go back to deal with them, and you shouldn’t try. Give them to the Lord and let them go. But those that come up or have to be confronted should be owned. Yes, you lied. If you didn’t know it was a lie, but you shared it as truth, say that. If you knew it was a lie, admit it and apologize. You thought you were protecting your family/the company/the church/your marriage, but now you know it was the wrong thing to do.

Narcissists create traps for those they use. The more they can compromise you, the more they can control you. Breaking that power is hard. If you don’t do it you will pay a price, and you will lose more of yourself. If you stand up and deal with it, you may still pay a price, but you will move one step closer to health.

I appreciate those who read and comment here so much. Your stories flesh out these thoughts in many ways. If you are able and willing, please share a time when you lied for your narcissist and paid a price. Yes, I know it might be hard to limit it to just one time. But my prayer is that this will be an encouragement and warning to others in these relationships. Share also how you stopped lying for your narcissist. I am looking forward to your stories!

(Also, please be careful with your identities. I know that narcissists lurk here. I would caution against using your full name. Feel free to use an alias. Your email address is safe, but the name you use is shared. If you forget and post with your whole name, you should be able to go back and edit your comment to change it.)

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