I recently read something on Facebook. It said, “A mark of maturity is when someone hurts you, trying to understand the person rather than get them back.” I thought it was an interesting quote, but others commented differently. They said things like you shouldn’t waste time thinking about such things. People who hurt you are evil & you don’t need them in your life. The Bible says not to be in relationship with evil people, so when someone hurts you, you need to get them out of your life.
While the Bible does say we shouldn’t be in relationship with evildoers, not everyone who hurts you is evil. When my husband comes home from work after a bad day & snaps at me, does that make him evil? No! That makes him someone who is very frustrated & not thinking clearly at that moment. If I didn’t understand that, on the rare occasion it happens, I’d be filing for divorce rather than giving him some space & forgiving his mistake. Many times when someone hurts you, it is for a simple reason like that. They just aren’t thinking, that’s all. They aren’t necessarily trying to hurt you. It’s no reason to end a relationship! We all make mistakes & accidentally hurt those we love at some point.
What about those who deliberately hurt & abuse you? I think it is beneficial to understand them as well. Not to excuse their actions, but because it helps you.
I have learned to understand my narcissistic parents pretty well, & it has helped me a great deal. Understanding why they act the way they do helps me to keep a good perspective, to realize as personal as their hurtful actions feel, they aren’t personal- they are a result of their dysfunctional thinking. Yes, they are deliberately trying to hurt me but it’s not because I’m a bad person, deserve it or have “asked for it” in some way. It’s because they are incredibly dysfunctional.
Understanding them also helps me to remember that they are the ones with the problems. Growing up with narcissistic parents, you learn that you are the problem. Whatever goes wrong, it’s your fault, not your parents’ fault. Once you understand narcissism & your narcissistic parents in particular, you realize it is NOT your fault! It’s not you, it’s them!
If it is impossible for you to go no contact the narcissists in your life, then understanding them will help you to figure out creative ways to deal with them. Granted, when dealing with narcissists, dealing with them in a healthy way is impossible. However, you can figure out ways to deal with them that are healthy for you. Understanding them & leaning on God for help in this area will help you tremendously!
Remember, understanding abusers does NOT excuse away their actions or make abuse acceptable. Nothing does that. It does, however, benefit you a great deal.