I’ve read quite a few times lately that victims of narcissistic abuse should never have compassion on narcissists. Narcissists don’t deserve compassion. Feeling sorry for them only opens the door for you to fall for their gaslighting & abuse.
Honestly, I don’t totally agree.
While it’s true having compassion on someone can lead you to tolerate things you normally don’t allow, that isn’t the case 100% of the time. For so many of us who have been abused by narcissists, we have learned what narcissism entails. We can predict the gaslighting & crazy making they will do, so we know how to deal with it when it happens. We also realize how healthy boundaries look, & have no trouble enforcing those boundaries. We are often also able to feel pity for the narcissist who abused us- after all, whatever made them the way they are must have been pretty terrible. Their behavior is so dysfunctional. It’s very sad. We can balance compassion for them with maintaining healthy behavior on our part.
God has enabled me to pray for my parents daily, even on those days I am so hurt & angry, I don’t care where they spend eternity. Sometimes, my prayers are very insincere, but I pray anyway because God understands how I feel & honors the fact I’m trying.
So why bother praying for them, especially during bad times? Why care at all for people who have hurt me so deeply, & who won’t even acknowledge I live with C-PTSD? They don’t deserve it! They’ve done too much while refusing to acknowledge anything they’ve done!
One reason is because God wants us to pray for other people, even those who have abused us. I also believe is because having compassion helps me to remember that I am NOT like them. Some examples of ways they are different than me are:
Narcissists don’t care about anything about anyone. People are nothing more than items to be used to benefit the narcissist. They are not entitled to normal human feelings, needs, wants, likes or dislikes.
Normal people though care about other people. Even people who have hurt us- we don’t wish awful things on those people. We may not actively wish the best on those people constantly, but we also don’t wish the worst on them.
Feeling compassion, even periodically, for the person who abused you, who made you experience indescribable pain, I think, can be a good thing. It’s a reminder that you are NOT like them! You instead have escaped what is meant to destroy you with your humanity in tact. That is really a big accomplishment! Definitely something to be proud of! Escaping narcissistic abuse without being bitter isn’t an easy task.
I truly believe that this is an individual thing though. Just because I’m good with feeling compassion for the narcissists in my life doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you too. And you know what? That’s OK! God has very individualized plans for each person, even those in similar situations. I’ve met some people with narcissistic mothers who feel no compassion for them, only disgust their mothers chose this dysfunctional, abusive way of life. It doesn’t mean they’re carrying around bitterness or anger, only disgust for the poor choices their mothers have made. This works for them just fine. It enables them to keep firm & healthy boundaries in place or to stay no contact. It doesn’t hinder their healing process, either. So if you feel that having compassion for your narcissistic mother is wrong for you, don’t feel bad! That may just be the path for you.