Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Breathing Example Illustrating Last Post

I wrote a post in February titled, "From Such Turn Away". If you want to get the full impact of what is to follow I hope you'll go back and re-read my post. It is the context within which the comment I'm going to address was made. It is important to see exactly what this person chose to ignore in order to make the statements he or she did.

Assuming you've done your little homework assignment above, I'll proceed.

The person whose comment you'll be reading found my blog on 4.7.08 @ 6:48 a.m. by doing a Google search, "biblical view of narcissism". Google landed this person on the blog post above. This is the only post on my blog that this person read. They read, clicked on 'comment', did their thang and left. Obviously, this person doesn't believe that my blog presents a biblical view of narcissism. You'll soon see why.

I have gone to considerable effort to deal with the clubs that are used on Christians by Christians. I have done so with deliberation and careful examination of the texts which have been used to keep Christians under the rule of narcissists in home and church. This is probably the reason I read this comment and felt exasperated. I have debunked everything this person says in various posts on my blog. I have done so thoroughly and thoughtfully so the idea that I have to start all over again with someone like this kinda overwhelms me.

Well, I'm not gonna. No need to re-invent the wheel--especially for someone who obviously is not open to any idea other than the one dessicated and shriveled idea that is rattling around in their empty cranium. Rather than approve this comment and let it sit there on that post trying to negate the whole of my blog, I thought I would bring it front and center. Posting that comment requires an answer from me. I found myself wishing this person had bothered to stick around and go to the newest post on my blog because they would have had my answer to their reasoning. Anyway, the comment has value which is why I didn't just flush it away. It's value is related to the subtitle of my blog. This person managed to distill down into remarkably few words all the reasoning that is normally used to keep victims as victims. The toxic and poisonous thinking that causes our homes and churches to willingly host the predators among us is present in this comment:

While I agree with what you said about Narcissism being a sin problem, I think it is extremely dangerous to tell people that it is not curable. All things can be done through Christ. There is no incurable personality disorder.

I also do not agree with you telling people to leave, or get away from Narcissistic people. A child can not get away from a narcissistic parent, and a wife/husband should NOT divorce their narcissistic spouse. God hates divorce more than he hates selfishness. Satan is more than happy to divide families and marriages.

Since a narcissist does not believe they are doing anything wrong, they will not understand why you are distancing yourself from them. I believe it is cruel to cut yourself off from someone unless they can completely understand the reasons behind it and learn to change their ways so they can have fellowship with you again. (Matthew 18:15-18, Galatians 6:1, 1 Corinthians 5) If you can not follow Biblical principals in discipline with a person then distancing yourself from them is as wrong as their attitude.

God's word gives us clear principles to live by as far as dealing with those who are living in sin. We are no better. Their sinful selfish attitude is no worse than any one of our sins. We all need the SAME Grace.

If we are truly going to deal with Narcissism in a Biblical manner then we need to use all of God's word not just parts of it to fulfill our own needs and desires.

Just in case you are wondering, my mother is narcissistic. I was raised by her. Still struggling with her. But I will not adhere to un-biblical principals just to satisfy my own selfish desires to be "free of her". I want to do things God's way and help to restore her to her Saviour and our relationship to one that God wants it to be. Dividing us is Satan's work. Posted by Anonymous to Narcissists Suck at Apr 7, 2008 7:21:00 AM
We have here the absolute assertion that we can't consider a malignant narcissist incurable which is a classic demonstration of a 'savior complex'. I deal with that here. I never say that any person is beyond God's help. I only admit the reality that some people are beyond the help of us mere mortals. The Bible agrees with me on this point.

Then we're told that there is no justification for ever divorcing a malignant narcissist, and to do so is labeled as being the dividing work of Satan. We've never heard that one before, right? Not real original, but it is brought out with regularity by the narcissist's cultists.

This person then argues that we can't leave a narcissist without it being cruel because they are incapable of understanding they are wrong...and therefore incapable of understanding our reasons for leaving. Another dose of savior complex is thrown into this nugget. This reasoning goes round and round forever which leaves people with zero justification for leaving an abusive malignant narcissist (and all malignant narcissists are abusive in one way or another). This person dares to make us more cruel than the narcissist simply for leaving. Nothing the narcissist ever does will be more cruel than us leaving them. How does someone get this stupid? Unfortunately, all too easily. I dealt with the non-cruelty of going no contact here.

Next we see the presentation of some texts which we are to assume support this person's points. First, Matt. 18:15-18. I have commented on this passage here. Nothing in my post negates this text. In fact, this text tells us to make only three attempts to reach someone before we throw in the towel. It is kinda amusing that this person cites 1 Cor. 5 as their support when the last verse of this chapter finds Paul quoting the Pentateuch, "Therefore 'put away from yourselves that wicked person'." Kinda makes me giggle. This chapter contains specific admonishment for Christians to judge other Christians who engage in immoral behaviors. Somebody forgot to drink their cup of coffee before engaging in mental exercise.

The rest of the comment bores me to death so I'll not parse it except to point out that it contains the commenter's attempt to label me as selfish and working in tandem with the devil himself as a divider. No accountability is ever laid on the malignant narcissist by this person. Who is the real divider? You and I well know who it is. The malignant narcissist with his lying and slanderous tongue is usually at the root of divisions in families and churches and other social settings. I am not the divider. I point out who the real divider is...the malignant narcissist. That doesn't make me the problem simply because I have pointed out the problem.

In my opinion, this comment has value for several reasons. One of which I've already pointed out...it is a succinct distillation of the emotional abuse handed out to others by narcissist appeasers (especially of the Christian sort) to the victims of narcissism and therefore is a perfect illustration of my last two posts. It is abuse designed to minimize our experiences, to justify the narcissist, and to keep us locked forever in a macabre dance with the soul-sucker.

Next, it contains all the self-righteousness which characterizes the narcissist appeasers. This is something I have talked about in the last two posts. The narcissist appeasers always have a cloak of righteousness they wrap around themselves when approaching those of us who have finally seen the evil doer for what they are and are trying to protect ourselves and our loved ones from them. Regardless of whether the person is religious, or Christian, in profession...this self-righteousness always accompanies the narcissist appeasers. They find a way to assume a moral superiority to you and then smash you to bits. They are simply co-abusers with the narcissist and I find them every bit as dangerous...possibly more so...than the narcissist him or her self.

Last, and certainly not least, what we see demonstrated by this comment is the utter imperviousness to reason this type of person has. If you re-read the post this person was addressing you can see the amazing amount of logic and reality this person completely discounted in order to maintain their position. They may as well have concrete for a brain. This is important to note because you may find yourself trying to reason with one of these utter fools. Save your breath. And run. If allowed, a person like this will tie your hands and feet and tape your mouth in order to go on pretending the malignant narcissist is save-able and only misunderstood.

See, it isn't really about you or me. This type of person has limitless patience and hope for the evil doer. Because of that, this person has no pity or patience for the victims; this includes him or her self. I can feel a tiny bit badly for this person because they are also enslaving themselves along with others. But my compassion is limited because this person is making a volitional choice. I reject this person's right to make the choice for the rest of us when they obviously haven't any clue as to the true malignancy (i.e. evil) of narcissism. To stand on the side of saving a narcissist is to defend the narcissist's 'right' to destroy the rest of us. How is that compassion? How is that Christian? Christ came to "set the captives free". He is not a proponent of slavery or idolatry.

Both the narcissist and the narcissist's appeaser brethren are idolatrous members of the Cult of Nice. The worshipful deity is the narcissist; the lesser deity are those who keep the god fed with the flesh of humanity. The priesthood of this cult is populated with the narcissist's appeasers. They are more righteous than anyone because they are the most devoted servants of the Narcissist god. If a priest of the Cult of Nice determines that you must be fed to the narcissist god in order to keep 'unity' and 'peace'...then bye-bye to you. You are not left with any right to appeal. No recourse to justice. Your moral superiors have spoken and you must die.

For the rest of us the Cult of Nice is anything but nice.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

And to think that I rejected organized religions of all kinds!

Anna Valerious said...

The fault lies in human nature not religion.

Kelly said...

Yeah Anna, well said!!!!
I used to think just like the commenter you quoted and then I realized that my mother was using my beliefs against me. What can be more evil.
I cannot find anywhere in the Bible that says to stay with an abuser. And, as you said, all those with NPD are abusers in some form or degree. As Christians we are not to be doormats.
The responsibility for my mother's soul is ultimately her own, not mine.
Kelly

Anna Valerious said...

The responsibility for my mother's soul is ultimately her own, not mine.

What you said above is such an obvious and simple truth. One could be tempted to think it is complicated given the marvel that this truth is so often overlooked or discounted. I wish more people could admit to the grandiosity of their savior complexes and get over it.

Your comment, Kelly, is a good counter-balance to my assertion that the apologists for narcissists all have rocks in their heads. You, obviously, were not impervious to reason. I think I should have tempered my statement to say that one shouldn't spend more than one good attempt to reason with someone who is protecting a narcissist. I'll give the apologist one good chance to see sanity...after that I'm heading for the hills and leaving God with the monumental task of changing someone's dried lunch meat into a brain.

Anonymous said...

My mother used to try to pull this on me. When my sister or anyone else would treat me badly and I got upset she would tell me that I had to treat people with Christian charity. Which when you think about it is bad for both of you. It is condescending to the person who has done you wrong but more importantly it stops you from getting away from a person who is determined to do you harm. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you should keep putting yourself in a situation where they can keep stabbing you in the back. The other thing is that sometimes my mother would tell me to treat someone with Christian charity and then get angry with me when she heard from someone else about what they had done.

Then she would get angry with me for not standing up for myself and I would tell her that I had stood up for myself but that she had told me that I shouldn’t complain. Then she’d get even angrier because ‘No you never said any such thing. And anyway you are such an idiot, didn’t you know I didn’t mean it that way?!’
For the uninitiated : discounting my anger/hurt, blame the victim, denying an event, a dash of verbal abuse, blame the victim…..again. I mean if she remembers not meaning it that way then she must remember what was said, right?

If I was lucky – I would get confirmation that I wasn’t crazy when I would hear her recounting the entire story (nearly rolling on the floor with laughter) to hear friends when they would come over.


My father never talked about Christian charity but he is the same way. Frequently lending money to people who never paid it back. There was a friend of the family who would stay with us when he was passing through town. It happened at least once a year. He would stay for about a week, make long distance calls to Hong Kong, Australia, etc etc and over and over, my dad would be stuck with a $2000 + phone bill but every year he let him stay. And every time, this man said gee Fred, you know, I really can’t pay right now and yadda yadda and my dad would say okay. This same fellow would send his wife to borrow money and they would swear up and down we will pay you back – never happened. All their friends never understood why. I still don’t get it. I just don’t. But you will not find anyone more intolerant of stupidity and imperfection than my father. It enrages him.

N’s are well aware of what they do, they probably think it is funny as hell and if anyone is evil it is they because you don’t play those kinds of manipulative games for fun if you are a decent person.

dandelion said...

In a fundamental sense, I agree with your comments on narcissist apologists, especially when their sentiments are such as you've captured in your post.

But here is something I haven't really seen addressed anywhere: what about those of us who are raising a child who is a bit slower in emotional development, i.e. more narcissistic than is age-appropriate? The narcissistic patterns are very similar to those described in "grown-ups" on this and similar sites, and are more prominent compared to their peers.

Since brain development continues into the early 20's, I've hung my hopes on being able to influence my daughter away from her narcissistic patterns of behavior (as is a parent's job). In order to do this I have to maintain a close enough relationship with her, which necessarily involves maintaining some degree of compassion.

One can argue that kids are a special case, because they all start out as narcissistic and should grow out of it eventually, so we need to cut them more slack than we do the "arrested development" adults (narcissists).

However, it's not so easy to compartmentalize that in practice. If you have compassion in your heart for your highly narcissistic child, you start to find some for your childish (narcissistic) spouse as well. If you are disgusted with your spouse's narcissistic behavior, you'll be more likely to show disgust with your narcissistic child, which they will sense and it will set back progress.

Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Well done!!!!!

I used to feel guilty for speaking up and exposing the manipulation and dirty deeds.
Oh I was wrong, it really didn't go down that way, I didn't really see what I saw, you're crazy!
Oh I'm fed up with it all!
I was always made to feel guilty about not accepting their wickedness.

I finally woke UP!

Thanks again Anna for your blog and fellow bloggers.

Naive No Longer said...

I wonder how many more years it will take for that commenter to get slapped upside the head and bludgeoned to a bloody pulp by the narcissist over and over and over and over and over AND OVER AGAIN before they will finally admit that their vacant smile and quoting of scriptures in return is GETTING THEM NOWHWERE.

...Then they'll come crawling back to your blog and frantically read every damn one of your postings. Like a starving person desperate for true sustenance.

Naive No Longer said...

Dandelion said:

"If you have compassion in your heart for your highly narcissistic child, you start to find some for your childish (narcissistic) spouse as well."

I would venture to say that while you can have compassion on your narcissistic child, you would do him/her a disservice, even as a parent, to have compassion on his narcissistic acts. It will take a an astute eye and a firm hand by you to separate out the narcissitic behaviors and treat them with firm boundaries so that the child is not rewarded for such behavior. Children are still malleable and can learn that such behavior will not provide the tasty little morsels that they are looking for. If the behavior is consistently dealt with and not rewarded by an overly-compassionate, overly "understanding" parent who can be "played", there is hope.

Registering dissapproval for undesirable behavior and dealing with the child in a clear concise way is a far cry from registering "disgust". As for your husband...GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!!!!

dandelion said...

Okay, maybe some clarification is in order. By compassion, I'm not advocating letting the child get away with unacceptable behavior. But correcting the child's behavior is going to go further if the child believes the parent has their best interests at heart (i.e. compassion), and doesn't believe their child to be inherently evil (which they will pick up on and which will only push them further into their narcissistic shell). Making an attempt at understanding them is not the same as condoning their behavior.

Naive No Longer said...

Dandelion,

First, let me preface my comments below with stating up front that you sounded like me many years ago and I had to learn the hard way when it came to narcissistic behavior exhibited by my child. I would like to save you some real heart-ache, especially if your child has not yet reached the teen years where narcissitic behavior can escalate and wreak havoc in the home. Here goes, and forgive me if I misunderstood your original comments, but from my perspective I would like to say the following:

You said: "But correcting the child's behavior is going to go further if the child believes the parent has their best interests at heart (i.e. compassion), and doesn't believe their child to be inherently evil"

First of all, your child is not inherently evil. Evil-ness comes from making evil choices over and over and over.

I believe that in the case of narcissism, you will be held hostage by your child if you believe that correcting the child's behavior is going to go further if THEY beleive you have their best interests at heart. That may be true with other types of behavior but narcissistically motivated behavior is another ball of wax and needs to be dealt with as such.

You may indeed have the child's best interests at heart but when it comes to thwarting narcissistic behavior, THEY are not going to believe it at the moment.

When it comes to correcting narcissistic behavior, you may have to do so even in the face of them being convinced and trying to convince YOU that YOU'VE done something horrible to THEM and that
YOU DON'T HAVE THEIR BEST INTEREST AT HEART. When a narcissist's behavior is thwarted or a road-block set up to what they want when they want it - they will HATE you for it. Even if it is your child.

And thus, I would put forth that when it comes to "narcissistic" behavior, a parent has to be black-and-white. Correcting this particular type of behavior is INDEPENDENT of whether or not they think you have their best interest at heart.

Further, you said..."which they will pick up on and which will only push them further into their narcissistic shell). Making an attempt at understanding them is not the same as condoning their behavior.

I believe that having compassion and understanding in general with respect to your child is a good thing. I however, believe, that it is a mistake to approach explicit narcissistic behavior in your child from a position of compassion and understanding. For this particular type of behavioral pattern one needs to be decisive, firm, and matter-of-fact DESPITE or IN SPITE OF however they are "perceiving" you at the moment or interpreting your intent at the time. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO PUSH THEM FURTHER INTO THEIR NARCISSISTIC SHELL. It may SEEM like it temporarily, or they may convince you that that is true, but it is not.

Otherwise, you are going to get caught up in their "feelings of needing to be understood" and lose sight of what is really going on. ESPECIALLY in the teen years. You will go round and round the proverbial mountain with them and then they have you right where they want you - confused as to what the original focus was and now focusing on the fact that they need to feel understood and need compassion.

It is a slippery slope dealing with narcissism from the perspective of compassion and understanding because "us-types" tend to be overly-empathetic - to our own detriment and to the detriment of our children.

I know you did not ask for my "two-cents-worth". Please understand that I am in no way coming from an attitude of being critical, but my heart went out to you when I read your comments.

Anonymous said...

Foul! He/She sounds like a narcissist! To use religion to suggest that victims stick around for more abuse, IS BEING NARCISSISTIC! The kindest gesture an awoken victim can do is not to have anything to do with them! This is the ONLY WAY for the narcissist to be constantly reminded of their transgressions. As soon as you forgive them, they forget, and they are off to their next narcissistic abuse of their nearest and dearest! Narcissists USE religion as a big excuse to continue their abuse, by faking their Christian kindness and compassion! Until one is an awoken victim, one will never understand what it is like to walk on eggshells with them! And if you have children, it is IMPERATIVE that you remove yourself and your children from their abuse, which is poisonous and infectious! My N-SILs uses religion to further their transgressions in God's name! I have seen it with my own eyes and had a whiff of their venom! Her husband is an enabler! Her daughter have narcissistic tendencies as well which is now clothe in religion...please these people are indecent and depraved and really sick. The only cure is DISTANCE FROM THEM. Then they slowly wither and die, which is the kindest thing to happen to them.

Imagine their KNOW what they do is evil, and yet they continue with it, and disguising it in Christian ways! For Pete sake, expose them for they thrive by not being exposed.

Exposed them, and then let God work their miracles on them! Hide them and enable them, then you are doing the bidding of the Devil!

Geezzze!

Toni said...

I do not think grown adults should be given any slack when it comes to N behavior. Also, yes, while young people tend to be self-centered, it usually does not rise to the level of clinical N. Kids can be incredibly selfish and still not N. I'm sorry, but if a child is a true narcissist, that is very unlikely to change, ever. I think the best we can do around them is show zero tolerance. Any display of understanding provides supply for the N.

dandelion said...

To "naive no longer," I appreciate your comments. Indeed I was overly empathetic early on, but did come down harder on her with time. Also, her difficult period was back in middle school; she has improved tremendously from beginning to end of high school.

Some might argue that this means she wasn't truly narcissistic to begin with, but I guess I'm in the camp that says an inborn predisposition to narcissism can be overcome by ingraining different patterns of thinking before the brain matures. If you don't consistently challenge their distorted thinking, the narcissistic pattern becomes set by adulthood.

And I do believe that more of what I said sunk in because I was willing to listen to her also. Sure, at the time of these altercations, she made a great fuss about not being supported, but in calmer moments she did let on that she understood what I was trying to tell her and most of the time she actually agreed with my points. Yes, the fussing was manipulative on her part, but that doesn't mean I fell for it. And she did grow out of it.

I think my original point got lost, and I don't know if I have the energy right now to keep explaining what I meant.

Something along the lines of having to think/feel differently about a narcissistic child vs. adult, because there's still a chance to change things.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

As usual, you decimate the usual Cult of Nice arguments. However, I am left wishing that you would take the time to reply to the rest of the comment. I know you are exasperated, and I hate to ask, but I still felt the old familiar pull when I read that. It's hard for me to articulate what's really wrong with those arguments, until I see what you wrote. Then I feel the ring of truth.


So, if you can stand it, would you please consider replying to the rest of the comment, including links to old posts as you were before if appropriate? I think it pulls together so many of your arguments so well.

I have made a resolution to go back to the beginning of your blog and read the whole thing over again from the beginning.

If you can't stand to reply to the rest, I understand. I will continue to read and learn, and someday that stuff won't be able to exert a pull on me--I will instantly know what is wrong.

Thanks,
Renewed

Anonymous said...

Anna, could you fix the link to this post? I tried to click on the title to open it up on its own page so I could print it, but the cult of appeasement post opens up instead.

Thanks,
Renewed

Anna Valerious said...

It's fixed now. :o)

Barbara said...

I hope that comment didn't come from this nutjob:
http://www.narcissismcured.com/narcissism_cured_-_13_steps_and_free_radio_show.html

cured? these are EVIL people.

btw - God doesn't hate divorce, he hates Evil:
http://www.divorcehope.com/godhatesdivorce.htm

Barbara said...

BTW - Kathy Krajco calls this poster's assertion THE SIN OF SODOM or "forcing someone to bend over for it."

http://narc-attack.blogspot.com/2008/02/religion-and-victimhood.html

http://narc-attack.blogspot.com/2007/11/self-preservation-under-narcissistic.html

http://narc-attack.blogspot.com/2006/09/docile-victimhood-or-fighting-back.html

One final point. The poster assumes the narcissist is human. ie. Same as you and me. WRONG.

Anonymous said...

OK, so please remind me--what if someone tells me I should "turn the other cheek" to the N? I know they're making me bend over for it, but how do I respond to that without sounding sinful/vengeful/unforgiving/etc.?

Thanks,
Renewed

Anna Valerious said...

Renewed,

To your request yesterday that I go ahead and parse out the rest of the comment...I'm considering it. Can't promise anything, but I'm at least considering it. :o)

Anna Valerious said...

I know they're making me bend over for it, but how do I respond to that without sounding sinful/vengeful/unforgiving/etc.?

I'm very interested in how others would handle the situation you've posited, Renewed. I sure don't feel like I have a real good answer to this one. I'll take a stab at it, though.

I think many things might determine how one would respond in such a circumstance. Not the least of which is ones own personality and relating style. If someone is able to remain cool under pressure then they would likely react differently than another person who is more easily shaken. So I'm guessing that the 'right' way to handle it would differ depending on the personalities involved.

As for me? It would likely depend on the mood I'm in. Feisty day? "When I need your opinion I'll ask for it." Introvert day? ***vast silence on my end*** Let busybody say their piece, I nod vaguely then walk away with grim determination to avoid that person like the pox they are. Anybody who insists you or I 'bend over for it' does not have our interests at heart. Therefore, they are no friend of ours. Therefore, so-long, sodomite. Silently crossing them off the list of people to interact with seems as good a way to cope as other ways may be. Pick which ever response allows you to still respect yourself in the morning, I suppose. It takes a lot of practice and effort to learn to let other people's negative opinions of you roll off your back. I really think it is one of life's hardest lessons to learn. That of not taking to heart unearned negative opinions of others.

Anna Valerious said...

Renewed,

Kathy Krajco, in the comments section of her most recent post, says something that may apply to the question you raised.

True, exposing the N would warn other people about him, but your first duty is to yourself, and exposing a narcissist is a thankless job that often brings you nothing but grief as the N comes out smelling like a rose.

If others don't see that you have suffered material damage from the N, they may well wonder about YOUR motive.

Ns are practiced liars, glib, slick-talkers, expert at manipulating people. It only makes sense to ask yourself whether exposing the N is worth the trouble.


To respond to someone who is insisting you take the N's crap requires that you expose the N. It is this exposure which can then be turned on you to label you as "vengeful, unforgiving" etc. Kathy sums it up perfectly when she says,

If others don't see that you have suffered material damage from the N, they may well wonder about YOUR motive.

This is probably very important to factor in when deciding how to respond to someone who is telling you to turn the other cheek. If the evidence of material damage is not compelling and obvious then you are likely set up to have your own motives called into question. Sometimes our silence is the only response we can use until the day comes when the proof is established beyond reasonable doubt.

I don't know if I'm even really touching on your question. I hope I am, of course.

dandelion said...

How about making some remark that casts a little doubt, like "things aren't always what they seem" or "you don't know the whole story." No need to explain further to those who are not likely to get it, since this is what often makes one seem vengeful (the desperation to convince).

Anna Valerious said...

Oooo, well said, dandelion.

I read somewhere, quite some time ago so I've forgotten the source, that a good response can be a shrug of the shoulders, a sad shake of the head, and then the comment, "the effects of mental illness can be such a tragic thing." Then walk away. Referring of course to the 'mental illness' of the N...not the person you're talking to.

For example, say that someone has come to you to criticize you for not 'playing nice' with your N mother. This type of response suggests to the third party that there is a lot they don't know about the person they are defending. The measured matter-of-factness of the statement also supports that the crazy person in the equation t'aint you. It can shut the busybody up long enough to escape the conversation gracefully. Seemed like a good strategy when I read it. Haven't had to implement it yet.

Your suggestions sounds very much like this approach. I would love to hear from someone who has tried it to report on the results.

h said...

"""If we are truly going to deal with Narcissism in a Biblical manner then we need to use all of God's word not just parts of it to fulfill our own needs and desires."""

The poster only took parts of scripture to fulfill their owns wants and desires.

sighhhhh. I wonder at times if people that think like this truly don't see the counterdictions in their own statements.

Katherine Gunn said...

h~
Well said. I'm not to the 'sighing' stage yet, though. It makes me angry. I spent so much time LIVING in that attitude with my Bible-scholar Nmom and the church we went to, I have no patience for it now. Right now, I might be likely to say something like, "You think they are misunderstood and can be cured? Wonderful. YOU go live with them for a few weeks and then we'll talk." That might not be the most productive answer, but dang, it would feel good! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Anna, Dandelion, and Katharine,

Thank you for all of your suggestions and comments. I have my feisty moments, but they are usually AFTER an incident ; ). During one I am pretty much dumb as a lamb going to the slaughter. Sigh.

I have been thinking this over and have been considering this response: "We made the NC decision after trying many things, with much prayer, and with great sorrow. We pray for them daily. The only way left to honor them is to not gossip about the situation."

What do you think?

Renewed

Anna Valerious said...

I think it is excellent!

Angela said...

I never understood narcissism until I started reading Anna's blog and it opened my eyes to my life, which I had been giving away to my N-Dad and N-husband. I left my husband of 10 years last August and didn't start reading this blog until after that. I wish I had read it a loooooog time ago. It would have saved me years of heartache, but better late than never.

For so many years I thought I was going crazy. Now that I am away from my N-husband and know about narcissism, I can see his manipulations so much more clearly. I went to "our" house where he is still living to get some more of my dishes and he told me I had already gone through the dishes and took what I wanted. I told him that I hadn't. He insisted that I did. He was trying to intimidate me. Use to be I would have believed him and thought I was crazy for not remembering. I told him that I had not gone throught that stuff, that I was going to go through it and that I KNOW WHAT I DID AND DID NOT DO. I told him that now I understand why I used to feel so crazy, was because he would tell me things that were different than what I remembered them and I would think he must remember it corriectly and not me. Now I realize he was manipulating me to think of a situation as he wanted it to be. We only owned 2 glass cooking dishes, but he insisted that I had already taken one. I said, "no I didn't", we only have 2, so I have not taken one and then he insisted I did. I have gone to therapy and the therapist would say, assert yourself and repeat your point. That never works with my N-husband, he will repeat his point till he's blue in the face. I finally figured out that I have to listen to myself, make my point one time and then be quiet. He can't stand for me to be quiet b\c then he has nothing to argue with.

One of the people that commented on your blog one time said, "I wonder how much money had been spent for therapy for those involved with Narcissist's? And how come the therapist's don't figure it out?" That is sooooo true. I have gone to years of therapy trying to fix myself and deal with the N's in my life, when I should have walked away from these people.

My 9 year old daughter is also having these N tendancies. She is turning out just like her Dad. She is very manipulative! And since I left my husband she is with him one week and me one week. It is very hard to have her at my house. She is exhausting to deal with. Everything has to be about her, she thinks. I was glad Dandelion brought that up about her daughter. And of course my N-husband is fighting for full custody and is painting a very bad picture of me to his lawyer and my lawyer even doubted me, until I spent some time with her and told her about me and my character. She felt much better. He's acting like I'm some crazy alcohol woman who does nothing but sit around and get's drunk and he is father of the year. Yeah, right!

Oh and he is a devoted Christian who attends church Wednesday night, Sunday morning and Sunday night and plays the guitar in the service and studied the Bible in a class called Bible Study Fellowship for 5 years. He studied the Bible nightly and would yell at my older daughter for not studying the Bible every night. When I asked him if he wanted to study the Bible when he was a teenager, he conveniently couldn't remember. He loves knowing the Bible so good that the people at the church look up to him to know the stories. Amazing! He certainly doesn't apply it to his life.

I don't know what to do about my 9 yr old daughter with the N-tendencies. Any suggestions?

Anna Valerious said...

I have to run out the door, Angela, but I wanted to point you to Stanton Samenow's book, "Before It's Too Late". It is featured in my Amazon Favorites in the sidebar. Very helpful information for parents of young children starting to demonstrate anti-social behavior which includes n-tendencies. You can probably find a used copy.

Anonymous said...

That comment from the "turn the other cheek writer" who thinks it wrong to avoid the NM is still obsessing me. I am trying to analyse the conflict within me as to why I still can't deal with her (NM) phone calls. Can anyone beat this fish story? My NM was so controlling she called me at the hotel we (hubby and I) were staying at on the morning of our honeymoon, at 8:00 am. Can anyone beat this? I have heard that manipulation done to a person from another is defined as withcraft. Create an effect by manipulation for their gratification. Why would a christian want to yoke themselves with that?

Self-help books don't work, have never been psycho-analyzed, but having surfed through some sites, I sense counselors on this subject are so eager to defend the "pitiful abuser" and teach "techniques" to appease the abuser. The church today uses much of the same psycho-babble. Unfortunately, "we" need to know-that-we-know staying away as much as possible is the only solution. And, by the way, I have actually told a few people that my mother was in my opinion mentally, emotionally sick when they would praise her as being a "delightful" woman. They have that "deer in the headlights" kind of look, but I'm telling the truth, and the truth will set us free. PS Got a call today from my mom and it's an on-going saga; wish those who preach to continue a relationship would walk the walk and take on a N and give us a "furlough". Haven't cut the umbilical cord entirely but am spacing out my interaction less and less. My epiphany happened last week when I realized so many are taking their lives back. Thanks!

Katherine Gunn said...

Anonymous - Apr 11, 2008 8:29:00 PM

"I am trying to analyse the conflict within me as to why I still can't deal with her (NM) phone calls."

Man, I understand. I still cringe when she calls. Why? Because I never know whether I am going to get the pleading, pitiful mom or the ticked of, in-a-snit mom, or the pushy mom, or the . . .

I actually wrote down a conversation I had with her a couple of months ago right after we hung up. I then went over it with my therapist and my aunt. They were disgusted. She actually tried to manipulate me by praying for me. The prayer itself was a veiled warning that I was in dangerous territory. That kind of prayer is witchcraft.

By the way, my therapist is repulsed by the blame-the-victim mentality, so there are some good ones out there. She believes me that my mom is a narcissist.

This is kind of interesting - tells me she understands what narcissists are all about - after looking at some photos of my mom (just a bunch from over the years) she said the she hoped we wouldn't have to bring her into the office because she really didn't even want to meet her. Smart woman. ;-)

Anonymous said...

As to Angela's quandary about custody of her daughter.....I don't say it's right, but many times I have speculated as to how things might have been different if I had given the SOB custody of all three of my girls. First, I'm pretty sure he would have reversed course real fast. Even if he hadn't, though, and they had lived with him instead of me --would my relationships with my daughters be better now -- or at least healthier? I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Biblically, Satan was the ultimate Narcissist. God threw him out of HIS house, as I recall. Satan had certain qualities that God just found repulsive. What might those qualities be? The exact qualities Anna has been writing about in her blogs. So to tell someone to tolerate a Narcissist is like telling God to tolerate Satan.

sharonb42 said...

Thanks, Anna, for this site. I too am a conservative Christian and have struggled for many years (most of my 58 years of life) with a controlling, N mother, and an N brother (the smartest man alive, greatest preacher you'll ever hear, etc). I'd love to tell some of my stories- like how my mother tried to get my husband to have a vasectomy (without my knowledge) so that I couldn't have children, being taken to the doctor constantly as a young child with my poor, tired & doting mother taking such good care of me (then beating my brains out at home because I was sick), etc. etc.

And, mindlessly, I allowed her to control the large part of my life. Doing everything I could to try to please her in some way, while my brother, the "golden child" did little but grandstand (when mom is hospitalized, he usually comes by to talk with the doctors {being the smarter one, he is the only one the md's will talk with and that can understand what they're saying} then gives me orders to about how to take care of her and then sashays away, once more the hero). The list goes on and on and on.

There is in the Bible a point of no return- a place where God just says enough. After more tries at reconciliation that I can name, I've finally come to the point where I know history will repeat itself and I'll just go through the same pain again. Which causes me anger and sin. At this point, distancing myself isn't a desire to hurt her (a Narcissist's pain comes not from the loss of the person but the loss of a sourceand maybe embarassment as being seen as less than perfect), but a desire not to hurt myself more than necessary. We all desire love from our parents- they are next to God in our minds. When it isn't given, it is excruciatingly painful. Does society not remove an abused child from the home? Or should the child remain there hoping for change in the abuser?

I do believe that N's can be changed by the grace of God. On the other hand, repentence is also a part of salvation. And those who cannot see their sins, do not repent of them. I think the greatest thing I can ever do for my mother and brother is to pray for them and that I do regularly.

Writer in Washington said...

Hi, Anna:

I've thought a lot about this post. I can sympathize to a degree with the poster because I have often struggled to reconcile my cutting off the MNs in my life and the teachings about forgiveness that are current in the church.

I've found that a MN is the sort of person who puts themselves on par with God. God is their "Dad", Jesus is "that Jesus guy" or "my buddy Jesus". When someone reduces deity to the level of a regular human being, RUN!!! This means that in their mind, they have a special status with the Almighty. Their "personal relationship" with God has reached the level of presumption and arrogance.

This morning, I heard a TV minister state that a person doesn't need to repent to other people. Just to God who "forgets" your sins, but you don't have any obligation to repent or make restitution to other human beings. (This isn't someone that I normally watch, I just happened to catch the end of his program. Anytime I've seen any portions of his show, he strikes me as a bitter, legalistic, arrogant fellow.) It is that sort of teaching which has allowed MNs to flourish in the church. They don't have to make anything right with the people they have committed character murder against. Their victims "have" to forgive them if they are Christians. This enables a MN to portray themselves as being a Christian, you see. They can put out blogs quoting Mother Theresa ("If you are judging someone you aren't loving them") and feel very smug in their self-righteousness. They even have the nerve to tell their victims that they "have to forgive them, its an imperative for a Christian." While "forgiveness" (which in this sense is actually a writing off of a debt--not the same thing as the payment of a debt)may be an imperative there is absolutely nothing in the bible that says relationship is. NOTHING. In fact, the scripture tells us to "try the spirits to see if they be of God." In other words, don't just automatically buy into someone's claims of spirituality, repentance or whatever and commit yourself to a relationship with them.

When my MN mother was dying, and I was her caregiver because my "golden child" brother wouldn't do the job, as she was lying in her bed she looked at me and said, "I've been such a fool." I simply responded, "It's too late now and I don't want to dwell on it." Not because I didn't think she needed to make things right, I was very aware that she simply couldn't and I wasn't about to countenance the crocodile tears of her "repentance". Perhaps that is harsh but I knew that her repenting at that point was too ludicrous to be considered. This woman had taken the estate that it took my father years to build up, and had mortgaged most of it to give the money to the "golden child". She had robbed me and my other brother of our inheritance. When I was given Power of Attorney to act for her, I discovered all that she had done. This is in addition to the character assasination she had done to me. Of course, she was a "christian" and a bible-teacher and "Sister Super-Spiritual". To allow her to balm her conscience with a phony repentance at that point was an outrage that I would not allow. It would not have been because she felt what she'd done to me was wrong but because she wanted to have a clean conscience when she died. It was for her benefit alone. While I've written off her debt to me, it doesn't mean that she went to her grave not owing any debts to me or to others. She died terrified of death because she knew she owed too much to too many people that she had never made right when she had the chance.

The person who wrote all this stuff to you is someone who still believes that everyone can be saved. They can't. Although the door of salvation is always open, there are too many who will not choose it because they simply don't believe they NEED it. They cannot see their fault. In fact, the scripture refers to those who have so slaughtered their conscience that it is like it has been "seared with a hot iron". These are the people who are super Christians with you, but are something else with others--depending upon who they are with at the moment. In short, they are "anybody's dog who will hunt with them" as my Dad used to say. In any case, most MNs I know will fluctuate between copious tears of self-flagellation to self-aggrandizement within minutes of each other. Whatever will get them the most attention. They cannot take responsibility for their actions or make a genuine restitution. Perhaps the word denial really covers it best, it is certainly not true repentance. The real meaning of repentance is something they cannot fathom, let alone follow through with. They come to God and to others arrogantly, demanding to be restored to relationship without any regard for the damage they have done or the consequences of it. They miss the part of the story of the Prodigal who recognized that he had no right to a relationship with the Father at all. He did not return with any expectations of restoration to sonship. An MN expects you to be constantly looking for their return and to run to greet them, to give them all you have to give again. In short, you are supposed to be living your life on hold until they decide to come back to you again. They've missed the whole meaning of that parable, and have given it a meaning that was never intended.

I think that most people who are praying for a MN really do mean well. They still have hope that the person can and will change. However, keeping in a close relationship with someone who is a MN is a very dangerous thing to do. I really doubt that the person who wrote to you is close to their mother. They probably keep her well outside their personal life. That is what I eventually did with my mother. I still ended up taking care of her on her deathbed though. There are degrees of contact. The main thing is, no one has the right to tell another person how to handle these situations. That is what is really wrong with the person who wrote you. He/She thinks they have the right to tell you how to respond to the MNs in your life, based upon their own decisions. That is called ARROGANCE and SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. Nothing Christian about either of those. He/She thinks that they are more spiritual than you because they have taken the "higher" road.

They have set themselves up to be disppointed over and over again, too. That's sad and wasteful. But maybe they just aren't there yet, as you have said.

Anonymous said...

I, too, was listening to a radio teaching from a pastor I respect --- and to whom I owe much of my spiritual growth. However, he was preaching on forgiveness and, as I've heard him do before -- stressed forgiveness by the one sinned against. He outlined the steps by which we are forgiven in Christ, including REPENTANCE. But when talking about OUR obligation to forgive -- repentance did not seem to be a factor. I ought to e-mail him and point it out.

Writer in Washington said...

I asked my husband about this (he is a former minister) and whether he believed that a MN could be saved. He responded,"Only by a miracle." That is because to repent means to turn around and go the other direction. It means that if you were stealing, you have to stop stealing (and return what was stolen if you can), if you were lying you have to start telling the truth, if you have been falsely accusing others you have to start taking the blame upon yourself, and so on. A MN is not able to do those things without an act of divine intervention. They are never at fault, you see.

We pray for my N stepdaughter and stepson to experience that sort of miracle, but we aren't living our lives on hold in the expectation of that. We've moved on without them in our lives. They made the choices that cut them off from our family. Writing off their debt and allowing them back in our lives are two very different things. Unless they prove that they have changed, the door to relationship will remain closed.

With my Nmother I cut her off from close contact with my family several years before she died. I had given her ample warning that I would do that if she didn't stop her backstabbing and betrayals. I would occasionally meet with her for lunch or something like that, but I did not spend a lot of time with her. I never admitted her to my confidence or trust. I took care of her because (and this may offend some folks) the scriptures say to honor your parents and I did not see anyway out of that. I gave her the care she needed and was kind to her. I did it out of obedience (and sacrifice) to God, not because she deserved any of it. I did not mourn for her when she died and do not miss her now.

With my husband's exN--there isn't even the remotest chance that I would consider allowing her in our lives. Not a chance. She is such a very malignant N, that I believe she is quite dangerous and I know she is capable of ANYTHING. In addition, although she is now claiming to be a Christian it is only because she knows that most Christians are fools. They are gullible and she can manipulate them by playing the game. That is how she maneuvered my husband into marriage with her in the first place, she knew how to play a victim in need of rescue and at the same time to sound very Christian. She has a sister who is a missionary and I believe she has restored relationship with her now, but most likely by blaming all of her heinous behaviors on my husband or her own parents. It makes no difference to us because we consider anyone who will listen to her not only not our friend, but its doubtful they are even a Christian. Certainly, they have no spiritual discernment.

Christians should know that they are not hearing the full story when they listen to just one person's side. In addition, they are passing judgment in a situation where they really have no knowledge. Hmmm. That, in my opinion, is another example of arrogance and presumption.

That is why the current teaching on forgiveness is so very off the wall. It does not hold the abuser accountable. It continues to abuse the victim by making them responsible for the consequences of the abuser's actions. That is stupid and a misapplication of the scripture. The purveyors of such nonsense would most likely not apply it to themselves, either. The Cult of Nice is for others, not for you to live by.

Anonymous said...

Just learned today that my N bro. and N Mom had put the family business up for sale, given it to a realtor etc. etc. All without consulting me although my late dad left me 12 1/2% of it (died intestate). Not to mention this is illegal, it hurt once again. But my brother did so kindly inform me that he'd see I got my 12.5% share (big of him, considering it is legally mine). Of course, the rest goes to mom and her boy (did I mention his gold digging wife? Bro. is her 2nd husband- 2nd husband who is a pastor. Did I mention she deserted her 10 year old son for my brother? Wouldn't you like to attend their church?
Like the fool I am, I called my mother and got the usual claptrap- she'd be dead soon, I was going to kill her (she's been dying since I was 14- I'm now 58), she'd never done anything to me in my whole life. Finally, I said the words I guess I'd been wanting to for years: "I just don't want anything else to do with you". I can't believe God wants any of His children to be abused, no matter what age or by whom. And, after years of trying to get one real word of approval from her, those words liberated me more than any I've spoken in a very long time.
God bless you, Anna.

Anonymous said...

That makes a lot of sense. I believe my father is very delusional in this sense. "She is your mother. Don't say things like that about her. You must respect your mother." She really has him under control.

For petes sake dad. Wake up. She is my mother but that doesn't give her the right to do whatever she wants with me. Go against what she wants. Don't do everything she says.

This is the number one reason I do not talk to anyone else in real life about my mother I just pretend everything is fine for them and thats it. Here I can attempt to describe it.

My mother uses religion to make me feel guilty. Not taking it anymore and a year ago I decided that there were some beliefs that were fundamentally wrong about my religion and so I will leave when I turn 18. The reason for pretending to still believe is that she will do anything and everything to force me back and guilt me into it. My dad is religious also and will not think very well of me and be using the same tactics to get me back into that fold of sheep.

No offense to anyone who is religious. Your beliefs are yours and if you are happy that is good.

My favorite scripture is mathew 18 verse 6 something about offend your little ones and if you do deserving a millstone tied around your neck and being cast into the see.

Many people in religions fail to realize that you must not only respect your parents but that you must respect your children. They are precious they are innocent until you poison their minds. (speaking of bad parents not the good ones) The agony some parents make their children go through is horrible. Some parents are nazis and I know this from experience.

Every right you have takes away a right from another. So if you believe you have the right to do whatever you want to do with your children you take away from their right to make their own choices and not be tortured.

Garfield

Sunny said...

What in the world??? What this person is saying is that God wants you to remain with an abuser and continue to let them be your punching bag. This is absurd. God is love and love means doing what is best for people. It is actually best for everyone involved, INCLUDING the abuser to leave them. To allow an abuser to continue in sin abusing others is a sin against them because it is actually aiding them in continuing in sin and continuing in abusing you. Would you also allow an abusing spouse to continue to abuse your own child? Then why would you suggest letting an abuser stick around abusing you? This is complete craziness. Where do these insane ideas come from? Certainly not from the Scriptures.

Nyssa The Hobbit said...

This reminds me of a year ago when my husband and I cut a couple out of our lives, a couple who claimed to be Christian....I often witnessed the wife's cruelty to others, including her husband, who was my best friend for a while. And, of course, soon the cruelty was extended to me because she found out what I thought about how she treated others....Hubby and I let her stay in our lives for a while for the sake of the husband, who we liked. But she kept causing so much drama in our lives, accusing me of so many things, and her husband kept sticking up for what she did and blaming me for the problems....

The last straw was when she misunderstood an e-mail I wrote and decided to humiliate, belittle and demean me, and cuss me out, and her husband actually used his larger size to intimidate and threaten my husband. Why? Because my husband told him that her actions were making things worse. My husband was furious with both of them and refused to let me debase myself to her for the sake of peace and Christian forgiveness.

She never apologized for anything she said or did, not then, not over the past two and a half years we had known her. Instead, she acted as if all apologies were due from me to her. I wasn't even allowed to make apologies to her husband for causing drama through my e-mail--all had to be made directly to her.

When we decided to end the friendship that evening, she saw it as my husband "storming in," apparently thought we were being childish and dramatic, and petulantly complained that "WE weren't the ones to end the friendship and unfriend on Facebook!"

It was sickening, disgusting. When I attempted to make peace a month after all the events, I just got more of the same crap from her. Just more ripping on me and my motives, believing that I should agree with her, that everyone would agree with her, and expecting me to bow down to her while I was owed absolutely nothing from her. When I threw up my hands and decided this wasn't going to work, she accused me of throwing their "olive branch" back in their faces, said I could call them when I decided to "GROW UP and stop feeling hurt over the consequences of YOUR BEHAVIOR." More disgusting, vile filth.

[To be continued]

Nyssa The Hobbit said...

[Continued]

Then of course, a mutual friend tried to get me to reconsider. He didn't know any details, he said. But he tried to encourage me to forgive their weaknesses, reconcile...said that Satan causes divisions...he didn't want to see long-time friendships end....I could understand his concern, especially if my former best friend was acting upset and sad when telling him about the breach, but he didn't know what happened and my husband and I couldn't possibly go back to that mess without substantial changes. Both the wife and the husband were now sunk very low in our esteem, and couldn't go back up again without even so much as an apology from either.

I've gone through an enormous amount of pain, heartache and self-reflection over the past year, because in cutting her out I also had to lose what I thought was my best friend. But I do not regret losing her from my life. I'm able to begin healing from her crap and abuse, without her constantly throwing more at me. I don't want anything to do with her. I don't want to see her name anywhere, don't want to deal with her, would rather she went far, far away from here. I don't want her back in my life. But because she's a Christian, or at least claims to be, many would think I am obligated to court her back into my life? No, no, I feel a tremendous relief to have her here no longer. Why would I want her back?

As for the husband--well, I've been realizing he may have his own narcissistic issues. Maybe not malignant, necessarily, but destructive. And she's definitely MN. He, too, did and said things that on reflection make me wonder why I thought he was so cool. He told me things that were very unChristian. He told me about his own cruelties and abuses. He told me he wanted to assault somebody who had offended him, and I tried to talk him out of it....Thank God his wife changed his mind! But I know how he is revered by many as practically a saint, how I had once done the same. Refriending him at this point would not be at all wise.

Amy said...

I know what that comment was aiming at because I was subject to this argument very often by my N mother ("It is Satan who wants to separate people from one another.") A nice way out for those who don't want to be responsible for their own actions: "XY is not turning away from me because I ill-treated him or her, but because Satan is getting between us." Hah. My N mother once even accused an old friend of hers, who had absolutely nothing to do with the whole thing, of being Satan trying to separate her from me.

If you want to stick to the narcissist in your life, I can only say: you're welcome. You would never ever leave him, how noble. Funny how by acting like this you will wind up totally isolated, without anyone to turn to BUT the narcissist. This is the fact that amply proves that it is the N who gets between people, not ill-advised others trying to separate the narcissist from his victim.

Without wanting to accuse your commentator: who knows what are the true reasons for sticking with such an evil person. It must not necessarily be stupidity - she might be financially dependent on her and thus finding excuses everywhere for not dumping her.
I knew a woman once who often complained bitterly about her N sister's behaviour towards her: this woman is divorced and has two daughters she must raise on her own. A few days after her N sister had made her a handsome money present for Christmas she ended all contact to - guess who? To me.
Using words just as offending as her sister's, she accused me of being paranoid and brainwashed by pop psychology. She would not end contact with her sister but fill up her energies with regular meditation and exercise, and she ended hoping that I would some day see the error in my ways. How gracious, after she had turned to me for help because she had no longer been capable to endure her sister's mean behaviour. The ones I most sincerely am sorry for are her daughters, unprotected from her aunt and with a mother on her best way of becoming just the same.