Have you ever heard of the book, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman? I read it years ago. It’s a wonderful book that suggests five different ways people can feel loved, & says every person has a preference for one of those ways over the others. Although the book was written with couples in mind, I think it’s good for all relationships. People naturally tend to show others love in ways they feel the most loved, often without realizing that the other person may feel more loved by a different action.
While it is important to know how best to make those in your life feel loved, I believe there is something else that is equally important. We need to know how to love people God’s way.
Of course with narcissists, they are convinced it is loving behavior to give them anything they want & to do anything they order their victims to do. If someone doesn’t do such things, in the narcissist’s eyes, they are unloving, selfish jerks. When subjected to narcissistic abuse, it’s easy to believe that they are right, & having any sort of boundaries is unloving & selfish. This is extremely wrong however!
Ephesians 5:2 in the Amplified Bible says, “and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.” Notice that one part that says, “unselfishly seeking the best for others.” Sometimes the most loving thing you can do may look unloving on the surface, but is truly the best thing for someone else.
Giving someone everything they want isn’t loving in a Godly way. It makes people entitled & selfish. It isn’t loving because it isn’t seeking the best for them.
When someone is dysfunctional, they may think that it’s loving behavior to treat them a certain way, such as enabling unhealthy behavior. The truth is that isn’t loving at all. Although it may not feel like it to the dysfunctional person, it is much more loving to have healthy boundaries & encourage good behavior.
Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is to walk away from someone. That may sound hard to believe, but it’s true!
If someone is abusive, they need to know that behavior is unacceptable so they can be motivated to improve their behavior. Admittedly, with narcissists, this is highly unlikely, but it’s only right to try to get the point across to them by setting boundaries. Eventually if this doesn’t work, walking away is a very viable option. It is best for the victim, obviously but also for the abuser. Walking away removes the opportunity for the abuser to sin by abusing the victim. It also models healthy behavior for the abuser.
If you have been in this painful position of needing to walk away from an abusive person, chances are you’ve been criticized harshly for going no contact, especially if your abuser was a parent or other family member. People are extremely critical of those who sever ties with their parents, no matter the circumstances, as you no doubt have learned. This message is for you today. Please don’t think they are right. Walking away is a loving thing to do in such cases. You did what was best for you & for the abuser in your life.