Romans 15:2 “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” (NIV)
One of the most common yet stupid things said to Christians in the situation of having a narcissistic parent is how you’re not a good Christian let alone son or daughter if you don’t do everything your parents want, right down to tolerating their abusing you.
Truly, some people have no concept of what it truly means to honor your parent. They also must have missed Romans 15:2. Take a moment to read that Scripture again…
“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”
See that? “..for their good…” That doesn’t mean to do blindly for someone, it means to do things that benefit them. Doing whatever your narcissistic parent wants doesn’t necessarily mean doing what is best for them. Narcissists care more about what feels good at the moment than what is genuinely good for them.
So what is “for their good”?
- Taking your elderly narcissistic parent to the doctor when sick.
- Helping your parent by cutting their grass when their lawn mower is broken or washing their clothes when their washer is broken.
- Buying them something you think your parent would like just to be a blessing.
- Setting & enforcing boundaries.
- Saying no.
- Going no contact.
The last three items were pretty hard to consider good, weren’t they? They really are good though, & I’ll tell you why.
All three of those behaviors are about boundaries, & boundaries are a VERY good thing. Boundaries show others how you wish to be treated & gives people the option to treat you accordingly or not without forcing them to do something they don’t want to do. Boundaries encourage good behavior while helping you not to be responsible for someone else’s behavior, feelings, etc. In short, boundaries are a very loving behavior. Granted, narcissist don’t see them that way, but it’s still true. (If you’re interested, I have a free “Boundaries” book study course & article about boundaries on my website.)
Saying no is also a good boundary behavior because nobody needs to go through life without being told no at some point. Getting one’s way creates spoiled, entitled people with no regard for others (sound familiar??). Narcissists don’t like to be told no, & will do whatever they can to avoid it, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t hear no. The more they hear it, the less they will demand of you. This works well for you & at the same time, teaches the narcissist that you won’t tolerate being pushed around. A very good thing for the narcissist to learn.
No contact also can be for someone’s good sometimes. No contact should be the final step after trying to work out the relationship, & often, sadly, it’s very necessary with narcissists. It can be good for narcissists though, because it shows them they simply can’t go around abusing people & expecting them to tolerate it indefinitely. Also, you never know- maybe with you not in that person’s life, God will be able to reach her & help her to see the error of her ways. Sometimes it takes having people out of a person’s life for them to turn to God. (Granted, that is extremely rare, but with God, all things are possible.) No contact also removes the opportunity for that person to sin by removing you to abuse from her life. These things are all for the narcissist’s own good.
Doing something for someone’s own good never means giving someone whatever they want or tolerating abuse. These never benefit anyone! If someone suggests otherwise, they clearly have no idea what it means to love someone God’s way.
Psychology fascinates me. I like to understand what makes people tick & why they do the things they do, which explains my interest in true crime. I’m this way even with narcissists. While I never can agree with their abuse of course, I am still curious what makes them do the things they do. Besides, I’ve learned understanding them to a degree helps me to keep a healthy perspective about who is really the abuser, & who is the victim. A lifetime of gaslighting still can make it hard sometimes to remember who the real victim & abuser are. (For the record, I don’t think anyone can fully understand a narcissist except for another narcissist, so I know I’ll never entirely “get” them.)
I would guess I’m not the only person who is interested in understanding how people think, so I’m sharing this in case anyone else may find this as interesting as I did.
God showed me something quite interesting just before my father died last October.
As I mentioned before, he was in the hospital for 20 days on life support. In that time, I had people (some I didn’t even know) contacting me to tell me that I needed to see him before he died, “so he could die in peace.” “After all, you only get one set of parents!” “You need to put your feelings aside.” & the classic, “I understand why you won’t see him, but you need to go see him.” (How does that even make sense?!) Yep, I heard a LOT of crap. My phone also rang, sometimes for 20+ rings at a time or there were frequent repeated calls back from people I didn’t even know, but who knew my parents. Thank God for caller ID! I didn’t know the number but at least I knew the names, so I knew not to take those calls. It was a very painful time.. not only because of losing my father but also because of the constant bullying & harassment from so many people, even total strangers.
A few days before my father died, I was thinking about the entire situation. It made me cry, as it did a lot at that time. In my sadness I asked God, “Why do things have to be this way?! This whole thing is so stupid & so wrong!” Very clearly, I heard His voice… “Some people have made very bad decisions.”
It struck me.. that makes so much sense. I knew exactly what He meant by that simple sentence!
Narcissists decide to act as they do. They decided early in their lives that they were more important than other people & entitled to whatever they want. They decided to shut down the natural empathy that people are born with & focus only on their wants, needs, etc. instead of caring about others. They also decided they are allowed to use & abuse people to get what they want.
Flying monkeys also made a decision to be blindly loyal to their narcissist no matter what. They decided they didn’t want to know anything beyond what the narcissist says about a situation. They also decide to harass, stalk, shame & basically torture a victim if that’s what a narcissist wants of them (& often it is). All flying monkeys have decided that a narcissist’s victim does NOT matter, only the narcissist & flying monkey matter.
Bad decisions like these are why people are abusive. They have chosen to put themselves first & to disregard & even abuse other people. This means the responsibility of their actions is completely on them. No one forced anyone to make the decisions they made. No one forces them to continue making bad decisions or to continue the dysfunctional course they’re on.
These bad decisions also open the door for Satan to enter their lives, & close it for God to enter. Every bad decision opens the door wider for the devil while closes it tighter to God. I firmly believe that narcissism isn’t necessarily something biologically wrong with a person, but is demonic in nature. 2 Timothy 2:25-26 says, “He must correct those who are in opposition with courtesy and gentleness in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and be led to the knowledge of the truth [accurately understanding and welcoming it], 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” (AMP) The day my father died, a dear friend of mine received a vision from God about his salvation. God reminded her of this verse at that time. He said that is why my father behaved as he did- he had been taken captive by the devil to do his will. Not long after he died, I thought about that Scripture & how it related to the bad decisions God told me about. It makes a great deal of sense!
One thing many people fail to realize though is everything a person decides to do sows a seed, good or bad. Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (KJV) A person who abuses other people will NOT reap a harvest of love & kindness. It’s only natural! You can’t plant corn & expect to get an apple tree!
And, everyone has a point where they’ve had enough. When they walk away, that is because the abuser is reaping their harvest. I know, abusers & flying monkeys see this very differently, but it’s true. No one who walks away is trying to punish or hurt the narcissist (we all realize that’s impossible anyway- narcissists don’t feel the way normal people feel). We decide to walk away to protect ourselves & to stop the constant abuse. It is a perfectly normal thing to do. It is the natural harvest a person reaps after deciding to sow seeds of abuse in another person’s life.
Narcissistic parents are not like normal parents in so many ways. One of those ways is they never want their children to grow up. Why? Because a child is much easier to control than a self sufficient adult.
So how is something like this possible? Narcissistic parents make their children feel like they are forever the child, & the parent is forever the adult. This is done primarily through emotional warfare, such as making the child feel shame, fear, manipulating the child & reminding that child who the “adult” is in this situation. To show you what I mean, I’ll share some examples from my life.
I was a teenager in the 80’s. My friends were wearing make up by the eighth grade, & dating by the same time. I however, was unable to wear even lipstick before ninth grade. It took a great deal of begging on my part to be able to wear more makeup in ninth grade. Also, although my mother had told me for years that I could date at 16, when I met my now ex husband just prior to turning 17, my mother went completely ballistic at the prospect of me dating. In fact, she accused me of outrageous behaviors at that time, such as having sex with the entire high school football team & doing drugs. Her abuse hit its peak at that time, all because I admitted to wanting to date & called her out on saying I could date at 16. She refused to let me date until 1 week before my eighteenth birthday.
Another way my mother & many other narcissistic mothers keep their children childish is to control their appearance. My mother has dressed much the same way my entire life, & she always has attempted to make me dress a lot like her. I remember in late elementary school, sitting in a fitting room, fuming because my mother wanted me to like the hideous dark blue polyester pantsuit she insisted on buying for me. It was absolutely her taste, not mine, & no matter how much I stated my hatred of it, she was determined to make me wear it. As a teen in the 80’s, you would think I would have had mall bangs, pegged jeans & some of the other embarrassing fashion trends of the time, but nope.. instead, I dressed like a frumpy, middle aged housewife. Even as an adult, my mother would buy me clothes in her taste, not mine. One Christmas she got us matching shirts.
Age appropriate activities were also discouraged. School dances were not approved of, although I was able to attend a couple as long as I didn’t have a date. If my mother asked if I danced & I said yes, I was shamed for that. I was also not allowed to get a driver’s license until I was 18, & my mother could no longer legally stop me. She did, however, hide my birth certificate & showed it to the employee at the DMV while not allowing me to see it.
I moved out of my parents’ home just after I turned 19. My mother was livid. She told me I’d never make it on my own, I’d be back in six months & other nasty things. I felt then like she took me moving out as a betrayal, not as a natural course of events.
Once out on my own, my mother immediately broke her key in the front door, claiming it wasn’t her fault. My father ended up replacing all the door locks on the house. I don’t think it was an accident- I firmly believe it was my mother’s way of making sure I didn’t come back into her house since I had forgotten to give her my key back after moving out.
Being on my own didn’t stop her infantilizing behavior either. My mother constantly did little things to show me she disapproved of where I was living or how I maintained my home. She would inspect a glass before drinking out of it, obviously making sure it was clean enough to drink from, tell me I didn’t vacuum frequently enough or insult the town where I live claiming only “snobs” live here.
Behaviors like this are not only painful for the child (no matter her age) to live with, they also create a deep seeded insecurity & anxiety in the child. Prior to learning about infantilization, a child may grow up overly dependent on the parent doing the infantilization. The child thinks that parent knows so much more & she can do nothing without that parent’s wisdom. The child doesn’t trust herself. When a parent treats a child as if “Mother/Father knows best” no matter the child’s age, it ruins the child’s ability to trust in her own intelligence or instincts.
Once an infantilized person realizes what has happened, reversing the damage takes a LONG time & a lot of work. I was 16 when I began to see that the things my mother thought I should do/wear/like/drive/etc. & her opinions weren’t good for me- they were good for her. I am now 47 & I still have doubts about myself more often than I care to admit. Even so, the amount of time & energy I’ve put into shutting out her behavior has been worth it to learn to trust myself.
I wasn’t a Christian when I first began this journey, so honestly prayer wasn’t involved at first. However, now when I have doubts, I run to God immediately. I ask Him “Is this OK?” “Should I do/not do that?” or any question I have.
I also have found it valuable to question everything. When my mother would give me an article of clothing & say I should like it, I questioned myself- do I really like this? Why? If she told me I should or shouldn’t do something, I also questioned myself- What will happen if I do/don’t do this? Will it benefit me? Even now that my mother has been out of my life for two years, I still do this behavior if I have any doubts.
Getting to know yourself, your real self & not the self your parent(s) tried to make you into is also invaluable. The better you know your true likes & dislikes, the less doubt you will have & the more you will trust your own decisions. One way to get to know yourself is to learn your Myers Briggs personality. I found it to be an indispensable tool in getting to know myself! If you are interested in taking the test, you can find it at this link: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp There is also a list that describes all of the types at this link.
You also have to learn to trust your instincts. I believe they are the voice of the Holy Spirit guiding us, which is why they are so wise. Infantilization ruins one’s ability to trust one’s own instincts, unfortunately. Try listening to those gut feelings on small stuff, then work up to bigger issues. It really gets easier the more you do it.
As hard as it can be, you really can conquer the damage done by infantilization!
Sometimes avoiding narcissists is impossible no matter how hard you try & how much knowledge you have about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. When that happens, there are some ways that you can fluster them enough to where they will want to leave you alone.
If you have & enforce good boundaries, narcissists won’t like you. A good victim has weak or non existent boundaries. If you have & enforce your boundaries, a narcissist won’t know what to do with you. They may try to make you feel stupid or wrong for having them, but when you are secure in the knowledge what you are doing is right, their gaslighting won’t work.
Having healthy self esteem is a huge turn off to narcissists. The lower a person’s self esteem, the easier that person is to control. Similarly, the healthier a person’s self esteem, the harder that person is to control. While narcissists often enjoy the challenge of controlling a person with healthy self esteem, they will give up when they see that person isn’t going to tolerate their abuse.
Knowing about NPD is also a huge turn off to narcissists. Even if you don’t explain the ugly details of narcissism to them or call them out, so long as you know what these people are like & what they are capable of, it will be a problem for them. Narcissists don’t want anyone to figure out what they are doing, because a person who understands their games cannot be controlled or manipulated, & won’t create any narcissistic supply.
Self validation is a powerful weapon against narcissists. They want their victims to look only to them for validation. A person who doesn’t need the narcissist for validation won’t provide any narcissistic supply or be controlled by a narcissist.
Understanding that no contact is a very viable option gives you strength when dealing with a narcissist, & they can’t handle that. Narcissists want to be the ones in charge at all times. If you know that you have options, & don’t have to let the narcissist make all decisions in the relationship, you will become a problem to a narcissist.
If a narcissist knows you don’t need him or her, you become a threat. Narcissistic parents & spouses in particular like to make a victim completely dependent on them, preferably financially or emotionally. If they see you are well aware you don’t need the narcissist, can leave the relationship anytime & still survive just fine, you won’t be a good victim to the narcissist.
Avoiding all narcissists seems to be impossible, unfortunately. However, if you can implement some of these tools, you will be able to handle yourself very well when you must deal with them.
Some time ago, I wrote about the miraculous events that surrounded my father’s death last October. (If you missed that post, I’d really like to urge you to read it now. It’s quite a story!)
Recently I’ve been thinking about those events a lot. One aspect of it in particular that is on my mind is how God told my friend to tell me never stop praying for my mother.
Looking at the situation now, her salvation seems utterly impossible. She’s a narcissist. We all know how they are- they know best about everything. This makes them very closed off to listening to anyone tell them about salvation through Jesus, & my mother is no exception. In fact, my mother has told me she has a “direct line” to God & “when she prays, God listens!”
This can be very discouraging. On a positive note though, I also know what happened with my father which eliminates my discouragement. While I know God is the One who did all the work to save my father, I prayed & asked many other people to pray for him as well. Not trying to take any credit from God of course, but I do know that my prayers & those of others made a big difference for my father. James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (KJV, emphasis added)
As my prayers & those of my friends made a big difference with my father, so can yours with the narcissist in your life.
I know, praying for someone who has hurt you is a very, very hard thing to do. Like it or not though, as Christians, we are commanded to do so….
Matthew 5:43-48 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV)
I would guess these verses aren’t anyone’s favorites… lol They certainly weren’t mine for a long time. Then a few years ago, I felt that God wanted me to start to pray for some people who have been abusive to me. Much as I didn’t want to, I did it anyway, even when I didn’t mean it because I was still angry with them. As time passed though, it got easier. Then I felt He wanted me to pray for more people who had abused me, then more. At the current time, I am praying daily for a lot of people who have treated me terribly every single morning. And you know something? It’s not hard to do anymore. In fact, I have an alarm set on my cell phone to ring each morning to remind me to pray, but even with my terrible short term memory, I usually remember to pray long before the alarm goes off. Often even before I get out of bed in the morning.
Praying for these people is something I look forward to now. Since I began to do so, I have felt closer to God than ever. Even if I am angry at them at the time I pray for whatever reason, I know God appreciates the fact I’m trying to do as He wants in spite of how I feel.
It also has helped to release the anger I felt towards these people. I can’t explain how it works, but somehow it does work! Of course, if something new happens, I may get angry- that’s just normal- but at least I’m not walking around full of unforgiveness & bitterness anymore. (For the record, this also doesn’t mean some people will be allowed back in my life- forgiveness does NOT equal reconciliation. It means I released the anger I felt at them, period. Trusting them again would be foolish unless their actions changed dramatically.)
I’ve also realized that maybe no one else prays for them. Have you ever considered that about the narcissist in your life? I thought about this after my ex husband’s mother passed away in 2010. She was a devoted Christian, but I am unsure if any other of his relatives are. Since he said he didn’t believe in God, it’s safe to assume he didn’t seek out Christian friends. There is an excellent chance he has no one praying for him aside from me! That to me is heartbreaking! And, if it could happen with him, it could happen with others as well. So many narcissists claim to be atheists & have no patience for Christians so they don’t exactly surround themselves with them. You may be the only person who prays for that narcissist in your life! I tell you this not to make you feel obligated or guilty somehow- it’s just a simple fact & it may be possible in your situation.
I know it’s hard to pray for someone who has hurt you so deeply as only a narcissist can, but please, Dear Reader, try it. Hopefully you’ll see the results of your prayers in that person’s life. If you don’t, however, you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing, you can enjoy the new closeness to God & feel better with less anger inside of you!
There is a lot of information out there about going no contact, but not a lot of it is good, in depth information. It isn’t always helpful for those who are seriously considering going no contact with their narcissistic parent. The purpose of this post is to provide a deeper look at things to consider when going no contact.
No contact is a very serious decision, & never should be entered into lightly. Never, ever initiate it unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s the right thing for you to do. Never initiate it during the heat of the moment such as during an argument. Only initiate it after a great deal of serious prayer & consideration.
No contact also is a permanent decision. If you resume contact with a narcissist, chances are excellent that this person’s behavior will be a LOT worse than it was before you started no contact. If you let that person suck you back into a relationship or if you are the one who initiates contact again is not important. The important thing is you’re back. The narcissist will start out behaving with you to test the waters, but that won’t last long. They see you as being weak with weak boundaries (easy prey in other words), since you allowed this relationship to be reconciled. Also, since you set that boundary of no contact, you must be punished for that as well. This is why no contact must be a permanent decision! Once ties are severed, accept no communication from the narcissist at all. Block all emails, phone numbers, social media accounts.. any access that person can use to contact you. If they find ways around it, block that access too. You may need to change your email address, phone number or name on your social media accounts.
No contact isn’t easy. You lose people you never expected to lose from your life, even family members. That is incredibly painful, but it’s very common. It seems to me that the majority of people would rather side blindly with the narcissist than stand up for what’s right. Maybe they’re afraid of facing the narcissist’s wrath if they side with you. Maybe they think it’s easier to get you to change than the narcissist & they’re just looking for an easy way out of this situation. Or, maybe they’d rather think of you as bad, wrong, crazy, etc. than admit to themselves that you were abused & they didn’t protect or help you. Whatever their “logic”, it’s still going to hurt you a LOT when they abandon you in favor of your abuser. On the good side though, you do find out who your real friends are. Those who stand by your side even if they don’t understand the situation are your real friends. Those who don’t judge you or tell you that you need to “forgive & forget” are your real friends. Those who refuse to give your abuser the time of day are also your real friends.
Your emotions are going to go haywire for a while. I believe this is because your mind is finally free from constantly having to think about the narcissist. They seem to take up all the room in any relationship, leaving no room for you or even for you to think about things other than them. You are to find ways to appease & please them, avoid their wrath, anticipate all of their needs & wants, prop up their ego at all times & more. Then, once you realize how messed up all of this is, you need to find ways to stop providing them with narcissistic supply, battle their gaslighting so you can keep your sanity & avoid them as much as possible. Any relationship with a narcissist is a LOT of work! Once that is done, it’s like your brain finally realizes it’s free of that, & decides now is the time to start dealing with that stuff it couldn’t deal with when in the relationship with the narcissist. All kinds of memories come to the surface & with them, a ton of emotions. Even when memories aren’t popping up, your emotions can go haywire because finally you can feel instead of only focusing on the narcissist.
If anyone tells you that no contact is taking the easy way out, don’t listen to them. No contact is usually the necessary step to take, but that doesn’t make anything about it easy!
One thing all daughters of narcissistic mothers have wondered at some point or another is why can’t their mothers love them. It’s a completely normal thing for any child to wonder when raised by a narcissistic mother. Unfortunately, it’s also damaging to a child, even into adulthood.
Most children, even adult children, will try to please their narcissistic mother in order to earn her love. They try to be sweet, get better grades, participate in whatever activities Mom wants them to participate in & more trying to earn her love. It doesn’t help that others encourage this behavior. If they know your relationship has problems, often people will encourage you to try to fix it. They often say the stupidest things such as, “You only get one mother so you need to find ways to get along with her.” “Of course she loves you! She’s your mother!” “She did the best she could!” “She just doesn’t know how to show love very well, but she does love you!” Statements like this only leave a person feeling worse because now they feel even more guilt & shame for not being able to make their mother love them.
I understand how this feels. I felt awful for years because I knew my mother didn’t love me. I figured something must be terribly wrong with me if my own mother couldn’t love me. Thank God that He has set me free from this thinking!
I thank God for teaching me about who I am in Him. This has been vital! The Bible has so many wonderful things to say about who we are as children of God. I wrote out a list of these things on my website. Check it out at : http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php
Anther thing God did to help me be free from wondering why my mother doesn’t love me was to teach me about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Learning about it has helped me tremendously! I finally learned that my mother is incapable of loving anyone- it’s not just me she can’t love. She can’t truly love anyone because of NPD. It has been incredibly freeing learning that! I no longer feel I am a terrible person because my mother can’t love me because I know it’s about her inability to love, not my lovableness.
This is true for you as well, Dear Reader! Just because your mother didn’t love you, that doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy of love- it means something is wrong with her, not you! Learn all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Reread the information a few times if it helps- I do! I read about it often, & some things I reread often. It really does help to remind yourself often that she has problems, because when you really know that, you will stop blaming yourself & thinking you’re a bad, unlovable person because your mother doesn’t love you.
Narcissistic parents might like to think they’re the best parents ever, but they are so far from it. They instill the worst possible beliefs in their children that often follow (well, maybe more like haunt) those children for the rest of their lives. Below is a list of a few of them.
- “You need to be able to do anything & everything I tell you to, no matter what! Not because you’re talented or capable, so don’t think that! But because I want you to do those things!” Narcissistic parents are a confusing group. One way they are confusing is treating their children like they should be able to do anything, yet also making sure they know they aren’t smart, talented or capable. As an example, my parents were very parentalizing. In other words, they wanted me to take care of them rather than them taking care of me. Even as a young child, they’d come to me with complaints about their marriage & sometimes, they’d expect me to fix whatever disagreement it was that they had. I was just supposed to know how to fix things for them, but at the same time, both let me know they didn’t think I was smart. This type of behavior can lead to an adult who is terrible at self care. The adult may not recover as long as necessary from surgery, may go back to work immediately after giving birth or experiencing a trauma such as the death of a loved one. They don’t take care of themselves because they believe they don’t deserve to.
- “If you want to be loved, you have to earn it.” Narcissists actually have no real grasp on what it means to truly love someone. What they call love is conditional love at best. They will abuse their children & only stop it when the children do things that please them. This makes children of narcissists work so hard to please their parents. They are so starved for love, they’ll do about anything for their parents in order to earn some “love.” This can lead to adult children of narcissists who are frequently used & abused. They try to earn love from others. Abusers seek this out in a victim, because it means that victim will put up with anything.
- “Your worth depends on what you do only.” Related to #2, this means that you only have value when you please the narcissist. If you discovered the cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s & heart disease, & made it free & readily available to every human being on the planet, if your narcissistic parent didn’t have a vested interest in these cures, your parent would still see you as worthless. Yet, if you bought a pen for your parent you knew she liked, it would gain more approval than inventing those cures. She would see you as more worthy for getting her that pen than when you invented the cures for diseases that plague humanity.
- “Your emotions aren’t important. In fact, you aren’t allowed to have them!” The only person that really matters to a narcissist is that narcissist. No one else is even human, merely a tool to be used. Don’t “bother” a narcissistic parent with your feelings. After all, tools don’t have feelings, so you shouldn’t either. Besides, their emotions are the only important ones! Adult children of narcissists have become professionals at stifling their emotions. As a result, they end up miserable or sick (high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, anxiety, etc.).
All of these false beliefs are just that- FALSE! They have no basis in reality. Their basis is in the narcissist’s reality which is a world full of insanity. If you grew up learning such nonsense, then Dear Reader, it’s time to get rid of those false beliefs. Ask God to tell you the truth. Are you worthy? Are you deserving of love or does it depend on what you do? Any questions you can think of, ask Him & listen to what He has to say. You will find out quickly that these beliefs are not true. God thinks so much more of you than your narcissistic parent did. Let Him show you what He thinks of you. It’ll heal you & bring you joy.
Kinda along the lines of my last post about marital rape…
Another way narcissists can abuse their partners is by withholding intimacy. Although this is commonly thought to be something only women do, men do it as well.
Withholding sex can be as emotionally damaging as forcing it, but in different ways. Withholding can make a person question & doubt herself. She thinks things like she isn’t attractive or desirable or even thinks she is disgusting in some way, which is why her partner refuses to make love to her. This particularly cruel type of rejection is devastating to the self-esteem, & a person with low self-esteem is easy for an abuser to control. Low self-esteem means a person will tolerate a lot of abuse from her partner, & for a long time. She does not think anyone else would have her, so why leave?
Sex also can be used as manipulation. An abuser may promise sex if his partner does something else he wants, & the partner, wanting sex, will do whatever the abuser asks.
It also can be used as a punishment. For example, if you do something your partner didn’t want you to do, he may refuse to have sex with you for weeks or even months
If you are experiencing these things with your spouse, they are abusive! Don’t doubt that for a moment!
Also don’t doubt yourself. I know it’s hard, but the way you feel is wrong! You aren’t unworthy of your partner’s love- your partner is being abusive, & that is no reflection on you whatsoever. Talk to God about how you feel, & ask Him to tell you the truth about who you are. I also have some affirmations on my website that may help you. They are available at the following link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php
**Obviously this post is about a sensitive topic. If you have been sexually assaulted, this may be triggering for you.**
A topic rarely discussed yet is a huge problem is marital rape. It’s certainly an ugly topic, & it definitely makes people uncomfortable. Many people don’t even believe it’s a real thing, because they wrongly think if you’re married, your spouse can’t rape you. Unfortunately marital rape also is a common phenomenon, especially among those married to narcissists.
Narcissists are the ultimate in selfishness, as anyone with any experience with one knows. They expect everything to be their way, including sex. Some narcissists use physical threats & violence to take what they want, others use guilt or shaming.
When a narcissistic spouse uses guilt or shaming to fulfill his sexual desires, this often goes unrecognized as abusive by the victim. The problem is, it’s still as abusive as if he’d held a gun to your head. It doesn’t matter if he’s your husband- no one should force you to have sex through either physical force or by using mind games!
The legal definition of rape means forced sexual contact against someone’s will. It doesn’t say it only happens between strangers or only when a lethal weapon is used. Rape can happen between married people, & does every day. Rape often happens because the weapon of choice was a husband telling his wife, “If you loved me you would do this for me” even knowing it will cause her physical &/or emotional pain, yet not caring about that. I have been in that position as well as having certain activities forced on me & both are incredibly difficult to cope with.
Some folks may even quote the Bible regarding this topic, but often it is taken completely out of context. The first part of 1 Corinthians 7:4 says, ” The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband…” (NIV) The verse actually doesn’t end there, however. And, the first 7 verses of this chapter in the Amplified translation clearly explain the point the apostle Paul was making: “Now as to the matters of which you wrote: It is good (beneficial, advantageous) for a man not to touch a woman [outside marriage]. 2 But because of [the temptation to participate in] sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 The husband must fulfill his [marital] duty to his wife [with good will and kindness], and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have [exclusive] authority over her own body, but the husband shares with her; and likewise the husband does not have [exclusive] authority over his body, but the wife shares with him. 5 Do not deprive each other [of marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves [unhindered] to prayer, but come together again so that Satan will not tempt you [to sin] because of your lack of self-control. 6 But I am saying this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all the people were as I am; but each person has his own gift from God, one of this kind and one of that.” (AMP) Obviously, rape is NOT God’s will. These verses prove sex is God’s will to be a part in a loving marriage.
Sex isn’t supposed to hurt either physically or emotionally. It isn’t supposed to be on sided or forced or something that forces someone to compromise one’s values. It’s supposed to be two people who love each other giving & receiving pleasure & joy. If only one person is enjoying it while the other person is miserable, that is wrong & abuse!
If you’re married to a narcissist, & this is happening to you, I’m sorry. Rape is a horrible, horrible thing. When done to you by someone who is supposed to love, cherish& protect you, it may be even worse than when done by a stranger because now you also have to deal with the feelings of betrayal.
If at all possible, please, PLEASE get away from your abusive spouse! (If you’ve read my writing for any length of time, you know I don’t like to tell people “just go no contact” since I believe it’s an individual’s choice. So, if I’m recommending getting away from a narcissist, it’s because I firmly believe it’s the wisest thing to do for your own safety!) Look into marital rape laws in your area & press charges.
Most of the victims of narcissistic abuse I have spoken with are devoted animal lovers. I’m one too. My pets, past & present, mean the world to me. I also love other animals that aren’t my pets.
It won’t be a surprise if you know anything about narcissists, but they aren’t the same way. Even ones that claim to love animals really don’t love them because narcissists don’t know how to genuinely love.
Animals are nothing but potential supply to narcissists. I realized that with my parents. When they would visit my home & if any of my pets paid them attention, they were happy. If one didn’t want their attention, that one was criticized harshly. Not only when the incident happened, but after the incident indefinitely. I adopted Magic, my first cat, just before Halloween, 1990. I took him to my parents’ house shortly after to introduce them to him. My mother decided to pick Magic up, even after I said he only likes me to hold him. Magic scratched her so she would put him down, which she did quickly. Until my mother & I stopped speaking in 2016, she mentioned Magic negatively from time to time even though he died in 2007.
If you have a narcissist in your life & pets, as that pet parent, it’s your job to protect your pet from the narcissist.
If the narcissist in your life is physically abusive to you, chances are good your pet will be abused too. If you can escape, do it! If you can’t just yet, try finding a home for your pet until you can escape. If your pet has been hurt, document everything! Take pictures, have a copy of his or her veterinary record. Documentation of bad behavior is always a good thing. Even if it isn’t illegal (like if your state doesn’t have strict animal abuse laws), document anyway. If your narcissist breaks the law, it can help your case to have proof of bad behavior, even when it’s not illegal.
If the narcissist is verbally & emotionally abusive, remember- animals understand what people say. I have no doubt of this at all. I’ve seen too much evidence proving they do. When my parents would upset me, there were always at least two of my cats there to distract them. Chester & Valentine in particular are very sweet cats, but very protective of me. When my parents came to my home, they would sit by them. Each time they said something upsetting to me, the cats would scratch or bite my parents’ hands. Every. Single. Time.
Also, my parents would say cruel & hurtful things to my pets. It hurt their feelings! Poor Chester was called fat more times than I can count. He’s a muscular cat & very solid, but at first glance he does look kinda chubby. I told my parents no more nasty comments to the pets or they aren’t allowed in my home. My mother wouldn’t visit my home for I think it was almost 2 years after that.
Whatever the narcissist in your life does with your pet, protect him or her! It’s your job as the parent! Proverbs 12:10 says, ” A righteous man has kind regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.” (AMP) It can be hard to stand up to a narcissist, I know, but you must protect your pet. As always, when you talk to the narcissist about it, do so calmly & in a simple, matter of fact way. Any emotions you should could be narcissistic supply & something the narcissist would use to hurt you again later. As an example, telling my parents not to insult my pets, I calmly said “I won’t tolerate anyone coming into their home & talking badly to them. If you do it again, you won’t be allowed back here.” My father never said a word back to me on the topic & didn’t insult them again. My mother defended herself vehemently, stayed away for a long time after that conversation & behaved much better when she finally did return to my home.
People say, “Just let it go!” all the time to those who have been through bad experiences or abuse, but what do they really mean? I think many people who say that don’t say it to try to help you. Instead, I think they really mean, “Stop talking about it. It makes me uncomfortable!”
Unfortunately, this statement can make a person feel ashamed of themselves for being unable to “just let it go.” They feel like something is wrong with them, or maybe they’re a bad Christian when the truth is, they’re simply human.
The fact is, most people just can’t “let go” of pain. It’s not that we want to hold onto it at all- we have no choice in the matter. It’s kind of like a splinter. You can’t wish it away or let it go- you actually need to deal with it to get rid of it.
If you really want to let something go, once & for all, it takes work. You need to feel the anger, feel the hurt & get it out of you. It can be intimidating at first, especially if you weren’t allowed to show your emotions as a child, but it does get easier in time.
When it happens with me, I make time to write in my journal. Writing is often easier than saying things out loud for me, so although often prayer is my first place to start, journaling is in this particular situation. I let it all out- name calling, bad language & all. Sometimes I’ll write as though I’m speaking to the person, sometimes I just vent about them & what they did. I just follow whatever feels right, & let it all out. I pray after, & ask God to help me. For many things, this helps to purge me of the anger & hurt completely. For other things, I have to repeat it a few times. I’ve learned not to judge it- abuse does bad things, & everyone heals differently.
Maybe what I do will help you as well. It’s worth a try anyway, right? If you’re sure it won’t, then do whatever does work for you. Or, ask God to show you what you need to do. Healing is a very individual thing, & there’s nothing wrong with you if something other than what I do helps.
Remember, Dear Reader, if you can’t “just let it go”, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s OK! It’s perfectly normal to have to feel things to heal.
Narcissists have a way of making their victims feel like we are the problem. This is awful for the victims, because as a result, we end up tolerating their abuse for years. We think they’re good to put up with us, & we try harder & harder to be good enough for them. Meanwhile, as we’re losing ourselves in trying to please the narcissists, the narcissists are gaining tons of supply.
So how does this happen? How can a person honestly believe they’re the problem when the narcissist clearly is? Narcissists accomplish this in several ways.
Projection. Narcissist always accuse others of their own flaws. This makes a person feel inadequate. A person may even become angry but feels they don’t have the right to be angry since they are the flawed one.
Narcissists don’t examine their behavior, only yours. If you’re angry with a narcissist, all that narcissist sees is how you’re acting. They don’t ask themselves why you’re angry or is it something they’ve done. They see you acting in a way they consider irrational, & make you feel crazy for your behavior.
They gaslight. All narcissists love gaslighting their victims. Gaslighting is basically when you say the sky is blue, & the narcissist says it’s clearly green & something is wrong with you for thinking otherwise. Granted, that is an extremely obvious example, but that’s pretty much how gaslighting works. Narcissists see the same thing you see (that blue sky) but don’t want you to see it that way. Rather than agreeing that the sky is blue, they’ll tell you it’s green & try to make you feel crazy for thinking it’s blue. Narcissists do this often with abusive things they have done. They may deny the events happened entirely, or try to convince you that they happened in a very different way.
Narcissists provoke their victims to rage while maintaining their cool. One primary feature of narcissism is their complete lack of empathy. This enables narcissists to feel no guilt or remorse for abusing a victim. This also means they can maintain their calm demeanor while simultaneously driving a victim to the brink of madness. When this happens, a victim feels insane. After all, the victim is the one screaming & crying while the narcissist is cool & collected. The victim looks crazy to herself & anyone else who may be witnessing this phenomenon.
If you’re in a relationship of any sort with a narcissist, these things are most likely happening. When they do, please remember this post & remind yourself that you are NOT the problem! The narcissist is only trying to make you think you are!
The Bible talks a great deal about how we are to deal with other people. One of those things it discusses is how we are to help each other when struggling.
Galatians 6 says these two things….
- Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (NIV)
- Galatians 6:5 for each one should carry their own load. (NIV)
At first glance, these Scriptures only a couple of verses apart may seem contradictory, but they really aren’t. Verse 2 says we should carry each other’s “burdens” while verse 5 says each person should carry their own “load.” Although the difference is slight between those words, it’s also significant.
According to merriam-webster.com, one meaning of burden is “something oppressive or worrisome.” And, also according to merriam-webster.com, load means “a considerable amount.” I take this to mean that in the context of these Scriptures, a burden is something excessively difficult or challenging to deal with while a load is a more typical struggle. Trying to survive the pain of losing someone you love versus cleaning your house, as examples.
When you’re raised to only focus on the needs of your parents, you tend to grow up thinking it’s your job to take care of people while ignoring your own needs. It’s terribly unhealthy! These Scriptures provide an excellent perspective on helping people.
When someone asks for your help, if they are suffering with a burden, then by all means, please help them if you feel God wants you to & you are able to do so. However, if someone frequently wants your help for small things that they are well able to do themselves, then it’s not good to help them. You are enabling them to be irresponsible by taking care of things they should take care of & to take advantage of you. Let people carry their own “load”! It truly is a more loving thing to do than to enable irresponsible behavior because it encourages them to do what is right- not using you or other people.
Many people won’t be pleased if you tell them you are unable or unwilling to help them, but that is not your problem. I know, you will feel guilty at first, but please remember that in spite of what your narcissistic parent(s) taught you, your job is NOT to be responsible for everyone but yourself. It’s unhealthy (mentally & physically) & out of balance to ignore yourself & your needs for others constantly!
Please remember, Dear Reader- you aren’t responsible for taking care of other people. You are responsible for helping when you can when it is necessary only. You have the right to say “no”. God did not put you here to be used, but instead to be a blessing to others.
― Albert Einstein
Silence is a narcissistic abuser’s best friend. Silence not only allows abusers to continue to abuse, it basically encourages them to abuse. When abusers don’t have consequences or anyone saying, “What you’re doing is wrong”, what motivation could they possibly have for changing their behavior?
By silence, I am not only referring to the silence of the victim, but others as well. If the child of one of your relatives is being abused, but no one speaks up, the abuse will most certainly continue. If no one gets involved, why should the abuser stop abusing? The abuser is getting what he or she wants, which is all that matters to that person. There is no motivation to stop abusing.
Some people may find this speaking out to be immature, holding a grudge or even “un-Christian” behavior, but it really isn’t. Ephesians 5:11 says, “Take no part in the worthless pleasures of evil and darkness, but instead, rebuke and expose them.” (TLB)
Narcissism must be rebuked & exposed! Allowing narcissists to continue to abuse their victims without consequences does no one any good whatsoever! Abusers continue to hurt people & victims continue to suffer so long as no one speaks out.
As victims, we must speak out about our experiences. Other victims need to know that they aren’t alone, they aren’t crazy or to blame for the abuse as their abusers have told them they are & that there is life after narcissistic abuse. They also need to know ways to cope with a narcissist if they are unable or unwilling to be no contact & no one but another victim can share successful ways to do that.
If you aren’t a victim, however, but you know someone who is, you’re not off the hook! If you know someone who is being abused, support & help that person however you can. Listen, offer advice if that person asks for it, pray for & with that person & even learn about NPD.
And, everyone must understand what narcissistic abuse & NPD really are. The meaning of the word “narcissism” has been so tainted. Many people think being narcissistic is the same thing as being selfish when in fact, it is so very much more than simple selfishness. The true meaning of narcissism is so diluted & that needs to change! Raising awareness by talking about narcissistic abuse & NPD openly will help to make that change.
So remember, Dear Reader- speak out about narcissistic abuse! Help to raise awareness! Help victims!
I am obsessed with psychology. I wonder why people do the things they do, what makes them tick. I’m even hooked on the ID Channel & several of the true crime shows on that channel.
When a friend of mine told me about the MBTI test a couple of years ago, I was intrigued. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator test is based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality types. I took the test & when I read my results was shocked. For the first time in my life, I realized I’m not the freak many people have said I am! In fact, I’m quite typical of my personality type. My type just happens not to be overly common.
Since that time, I’ve read a lot about my type & my husband’s as well. It’s helped me so much to understand both of us better. And, it helped me to understand the best ways to help myself heal from the narcissistic abuse I’ve experienced. My type is pretty much even logical & emotional. One thing that helps me is to understand the motivation behind the abuse. I’ve come to understand why my parents are/were narcissists, why my father didn’t protect me from my mother’s constant abuse & that being a narcissist means everything they do is motivated by narcissistic supply. Knowing all of that has helped me to understand completely that none of the abuse was my fault. Realizing everything they do is motivated by gaining narcissistic supply also helped me when I was in relationship with my parents to be prepared for what they might do. I could see things coming a mile away a lot of times so I wasn’t surprised when they happened. I also figured out what I think my parents’ types were, which helped me to understand them better. Granted most of our problems were due to their narcissism, but realizing that their personality types & mine were pretty much my polar opposite sure didn’t help the situation! We just don’t really understand each other because our personalities are naturally very different.
Learning about your personality type can benefit you too, Dear Reader. The more you understand yourself, the better you’ll be at finding ways to help you to heal. It also helps you not to take the cruel criticisms to heart that your narcissistic parent said. My mother in particular always made me feel like something was very wrong with me or I was crazy, so learning that I’m simply typical of my type was very freeing!
In case you’re interested, this is the test I took: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp
If you decide to take the test, then learn all you can about your personality type. I find this site to be quite useful: http://personalitygrowth.com
There is one last link I want to share with you. This one is about the unhealthy side of each personality type. I found this to be beneficial because it shows you what behavior you are prone to if you’re dysfunctional. https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2017/07/31/evil-versions-every-myers-briggs-personality-type/
When an abuse victim isn’t believed, often times the person who doesn’t believe the victim says it’s because the abuser is too nice or too good of a person. No one so kind could do the terrible things the victim says they did! The victim must have misunderstood, is exaggerating or flat out lying!
What the non believing people fail to realize is that this is typical of abusive people, narcissists in particular. Abusers have two sides- the side they show the public & the side they show to those closest to them, their victims. Behaving in such a manner guarantees the victim won’t be believed if she tells others about what the abuser does. People will believe the charade of a good person because abusers are notoriously good actors. Some are even able to convince mental health professionals they aren’t abusive, & that the victim is lying.
If someone you know tells you that someone else you know is abusing them but you don’t believe it, please keep this in mind. Don’t brush someone off because the person they accuse of abuse is “too nice” to do such things. If you don’t live with that person, you don’t know the real person!