There must be a bazillion blogs about narcissism floating about, some of them quite good. No shaming intended here at all, I am a huge fan of, write about it and then write about it some more. I just want to take note of the fact that all of the energy is still being invested in the narcissist and their issues.
I am just saying, it is probably a narcissist’s dream to have a bazillion blogs written all about them, and to have those who have been victimized by narcissists just continue to focus on them, their problems, their issues, the damage they did. That’s the thing about narcissists, they always have a bazillion people willing to take their personal inventory FOR THEM, and to do their deep, emotional work, FOR THEM.
First let me say, all of us can be selfish, self absorbed, self consumed, and insensitive sometimes. That is just normal, human behavior. Narcissism is something else entirely, it is a fracture or a wound of identity, a state of being. It is a genuine disorder, one people can rarely just snap out of. I think our culture casually tosses that word “narcissist” around as a label for something bad, everything from “someone who failed to meet my needs” to an outright sociopath. All the “bad guys” in our world today are just called “narcissists.”
I suspect both my parents were genuine narcissists, of the identity sort. They were both covert narcissists, meaning not necessarily arrogant or bombastic. In fact, they were both kind of nice people, not to anyone who depended on them for anything, but I mean friendly, hospitable, charming, and completely unaware of the harm they inflicted on others. Actually, I’m fairly certain they weren’t even aware “others” existed, except perhaps as accessories or characters for their own story.
The Lord has been so kind to me, so gentle, so patient, but He really doesn’t cut me any slack. He always tells me the truth. He has taught me many times that genuine narcissists are blind, they simply cannot see. They are not the problem, I am. God is not interested in the sin of narcissists at all, at least not in the context of dealing with me and my own sin issues.
It is immoral and irrational to just whack a blind man on the back of the head and demand he see me and my needs. He is completely incapable of doing that. I am a bit like Balaam, beating on a donkey. Just whack it again maybe it will come to its senses?
I am by nature a huge fan of “lead a horse to drink…. and then let’s just hold his head down and make him do it,” but that is all wrong, immoral, and more importantly, it doesn’t work. Ever.
This is some tough stuff to swallow, but the donkey is not the problem in this situation. The problem is, why do you keep trying to get your needs met by people who are incapable of meeting your needs? And then get all frustrated about it? Why do you look to people for validation, affirmation, support, instead of going directly to the top? We have a Great Physician, a Teacher, a Father, a Brother, who actually wants to just pour into our soul, to heal our wounds, who actually wants to love us and give us the secret desires of our heart.
Also, He is completely free and he has a fully staffed 24 hour hotline.
There is a great saying in faith, “always go vertical before you try to go horizontal.” It means look up, turn to God first. In a way, it means, be selfish about healing the things you actually have dominion over. We have zero dominion over the narcissists in our lives, or the addicts, or the sociopaths, or any other dysfunctional human. We also have zero dominion over the functional ones, but that’s a tale for another day.
Some of us, like me, who have been exposed to narcissism, suffer from the besetting sin of not putting ourselves and our own needs first. It’s a sneaky one because we’re often taught to be in service, to put the needs of others before our own. I was once really blessed by reading the tale of Martha and Mary. Husband’s love their Marthas, churches love their Marthas, Pastors love their Marthas, but it is Jesus who says, Now hold up! “Mary has chosen better and it shall not be taken from her.“
Martha is cranky and unhappy because she is trying to meet a billion needs while ignoring her own, blaming everyone else, and as a result she is also being kind of snippy towards her sister. Laughing here, but I’ve actually stepped into a few messes just by speaking that truth! Let me tell ya, churches and pastors really, really love their Marthas. Also Martha feels like she is in control, she has power, she’s doing stuff, she is needed.
Ahh but Jesus says, Nope! That’s not how it works. And Jesus is right every time. Jesus loves Martha for real, the way she actually needs to be loved.
One thing I’ve really learned in my walk with Jesus, it is never going to be about the other guy. It’s okay to vent, to blow off steam, to talk about abuse, and to be aware that other people really are accountable for their stuff, but the Lord always wants to do a good work in you. We are the apple of His eye, this is a personal relationship. You are the only one in the garden with Him. You might be up against an army of 500, but He is just going to say, don’t look at them, keep your eyes on me.