Something came to mind lately that I think many of you who follow my work can relate to.
Years back, I posted something on Facebook. My husband & I had a minor disagreement & I was angry. As a result, our cats were acting up badly. Cat owners know this can be normal. Cats are very in tune with their humans & when we’re upset, they’re upset. I asked if any of my fellow cat parents knew of a way to calm the cats down since there was no need for them to be upset. An aunt & a cousin both told me I needed to make up with my husband. That would calm the cats down. Immediately I was angry.
These people knew nothing about our disagreement, but naturally felt it was my responsibility to make things right. Not my husband’s. Not up to us to work things out together. All responsibility was mine, according to them. This isn’t an isolated incident either. This same aunt once told me I needed therapy to figure out how to fix the relationship with my parents. Another aunt once chewed me out for not watching football with my husband. He likes it so I should watch it with him even though I absolutely hate sports. Yet, not once did she ever tell him he should get into some interest of mine.
If you’ve been through narcissistic abuse, I would guess these scenarios sound somewhat familiar to you.
People seem to think that victims have a lot of responsibility, & not all of it should be on a victim’s shoulders. Not making an abuser angry so they don’t abuse their victim is one example that comes to mind. How many people tell wives or children of men who beat them to just stay out of his way so he won’t hit them? Obviously that is very wrong. What isn’t as recognized as equally wrong is making victims feel as if they are responsible for making the relationships in their lives work. Whether the other person in the relationship is abusive or not, this is simply wrong, yet many people, including victims, accept this without question.
When someone is in a relationship with an abuser, telling them to fix the problems in the relationship is not only a stupid suggestion but impossible. No one person can fix a relationship. It takes two people working together. Plus, abusers have no interest in fixing anything. Being abusive gets them what they want, so they have no desire to change anything.
Making someone feel responsible for how happy a relationship is or is not also can be a sign of a narcissist. Think about it- narcissists do everything they can to convince victims they are the real problem in the relationship. They also make sure their victims know they are responsible for the narcissist’s happiness. If they can make a person who isn’t their victim feel they are the problem & they need to make a relationship better, this must encourage them. It shows them they can do this & probably even proves to them that this is how things are. One person should be solely responsible for a relationship.
If you are in this position & someone has told you that you need to make changes to improve or even fix a relationship, please know that they are absolutely wrong! Galatians 6:5 says that each person should carry their own load. In other words, each person has things for which they are responsible. One person isn’t responsible for an entire relationship!
If you aren’t familiar with boundaries, it’s time to be. I created a free book study based on Dr.s Cloud’s & Townsend’s book “Boundaries”. It’s available on my website. Even if you aren’t interested in the book study, then please read the book! I found the information in it & the other books in the series to be life changing. I believe they can help anyone with weak or even non existent boundaries.
Also, never forget to pray. God is more than happy to help His children however they need help, so let Him! Ask Him if things are your responsibility or not. Ask for help on knowing what to do or not to do in your relationships. He gladly will teach you whatever you need to know.