Thank you, Joy S. for sharing your past memories, lessons learned, and spiritual growth in the Lord with the GiveMe Chocolate readers.
God loves you and has done amazing things in your life!
Your insight into living with an NPD parent gives timely lessons for continued relationship during the upcoming holiday season for those who will be spending time with an NPDer. Thank you for the practical applications that help one recognize and respond to the unhealthy words and actions of deeply wounded souls; NPDers.
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From my experience with an excellent counselor, I learned some tips that I will pass onto you at NO CHARGE.
#1). A phone conversation with your NPD parent is preferable to a visit because it can be ended if they begin to sin against you again. And you can end it before you sin in your anger if they start provoking you!! If you initiate the call, make sure you have another commitment immediately following so that you have a genuine reason to conclude the call at a set point. “Where words are many, sin is not absent.”
#2). Some people may feel that they can only protect themselves by limiting contact to mail for a time. Others may not be strong enough even for that. Pray and ask God what to do.
#3). In areas where you are ensnared by that parent, seek to free yourself. No man can have two masters. If it is financial, pray about how you can graciously extract yourself. (I had an opportunity to join a family business that would have relocated me to my NPD parent’s city and made me dependent on their satisfaction for my livelihood. Might have been lucrative, but I turned it down.) Watch out for loans, financial gifts, or any “deal” that has hidden strings. What starts off as a string can become a heavy chain. (When I shared a bank account with my NPD parent, any attempt to approach them would have left me homeless and unable to finish school because they would have cleaned out my balance. I delayed the conversation until I was in a safe place in case “fireworks” erupted. Which they did!) Throw yourself on the Lord for all your needs.
#4). Be a “broken record.” Your parent will argue with you about these boundaries and the more you attempt to refute each point, the more focus you lose. Make a pleasantly worded script and stick to it. Don’t get sidetracked by rabbit-trails or new accusations.
Think of it like this. Your supervisor tells you to tackle a project now, but some other manager completely out of your chain-of-command tries to pass off a pile of work on you also. Do you argue with second guy? No. No, you just say, “Look, I already have my orders from MY boss.” And you keep saying that until he takes his pile and leaves with it! Do you know who rocks at the “broken record”? Nehemiah from the Old Testament! Check out Nehemiah 2:19-20, 6:1-9. He kept telling Sanballat and Tobiah the same thing, “I’m working on this project for my boss, and I won’t be coming down to argue with you.” Be Nehemiah. He’s my hero. 🙂
With that final bit of Old Testament advice, let me wrap this up. Like you, I have a toxic, NPD parent. And I have tried lots of things to cope with their fallout in my life. I wrote this to share what has helped me and WHO has helped me.
First, self-help is NO HELP. Listen, if someone’s been in a head-on collision with a bus, they are WAY beyond self-help. They will not be triaging themselves in the ER or operating on their broken spine. Friend, an NPD parent is a bus, an eighteen-wheel semi. And you have been repeatedly run over by them since you were a mite of a thing. You cannot help yourself. Only the Divine Physician can gently heal those wounds over time. Yep, over time. Lots of time. With His help, you are going to beat this. You are going to rediscover your precious blessed life with fresh eyes of thankfulness.
Second, watch out for unforgiveness. It is a quicksand to suck your life out.
Last, extending forgiveness is the antidote to being a bitter, younger replica of your NPD parent. That’s a scary word picture, huh? But joking aside… Pursue forgiveness. Drink it up. Our faithful God-Daddy will equip you with all kinds of supernatural perseverance and strength to forgive when you make His Will your delight!
I close with thanks to Carolyn for allowing me to share my heart here again. She has a passion for bringing hope to those overwhelmed with difficult circumstances, having walked thru some incredible trials. Her love of God’s Word, faithfulness in prayer, transparency, and willingness to relive some icky chapters in her life so the stories may encourage others floor me! Neither of us are professional writers or therapists. What we know, we usually learned painfully. What we have, we offer to the Master, who does amazing things with little. He confounds the strong and worldly, and chooses the weak and foolish. Me. You.
It’s going to be the ride of our lives. So buckle yourself in with God’s Word and take His dear, scarred Hand. Hang on…
With Him, we’re going to thrive despite difficult circumstances!!