Tag Archives: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Toxic Tuesday: Narcissistic Fact and Fiction

A Narcissist uses lies and deceit to recruit others for the purpose of advancing themselves. It is not something they do; it is who they are.

Think of it this way; we know God is love, God is merciful, God is just, and God is kind. The list of God’s attributes goes on and on. Attributes are not what God does. Attributes are who God is.

Narcissists are selfish deceitful recruiters. It is not just what they do; it is who they are—at the core.

God is capable of saving, healing and changing anyone’s heart, but the catch remains, they have to want saved, healed and changed. Narcissistic personalities are special and do no wrong. They have no sin because the morals and laws that govern others do not apply to them; therefore, they do not need saved, healed or changed. They do not seek what they do not need. They need no forgiveness because they do no wrong.

Even when caught in the act they insist, “But wait, that’s not who I am. I (the real me) would never do that! I know how it appears but I can assure you it is not the truth.”

The longer narcissists believe their own lies, the more toxic their brain chemistry becomes.

The closer Christians emulate Jesus, the more loving they become.

True Christianity is driven by loving God and loving others.  True Narcissistic Personality Disorder is driven by malignant self-love.

230px-Narcissus-Caravaggio_(1594-96)_edited

Narcissus by Caravaggio. Gazing at his own reflection.

Narcissistic Fiction in the Christian Community                         Narcissistic Fact

  • Joyful Christ likeness                                                                     Superficial charm
  • Confident dynamic charisma                                                   Grandiose sense of self-worth,
  • Trustworthy and honest                                                              Pathological lying
  • I have your best interest at heart.                                           Cunning/manipulative
  • Believable compassion, beautifully written words.      Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Personable, witty & up front personality                            Callous/lack of empathy
  • Moral and just                                                                                     Failure to accept responsibility                                                                                                                           for own actions
  • Dynamic engaging speaker                                                          Copies well-known speakers
  • Humble                                                                              Lies, exaggerates achievements & talents

It is nearly impossible for a heart and mind to accept the truth of a friend or loved one’s depravity. The magnitude of the sin will catch no one off guard more than the person who loves the narcissist the most.

You may find more information on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, setting boundaries and dealing with toxic people under my Toxic Tuesday posts. You will also find scriptures to pray over these topics.

Side note: The top three professions for individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are actors/entertainers, psychologists and pastors (in no particular order). There is also a huge number with N.P.D. in politics. A quick study of world history and dictatorships will produce a list of Who’s Who with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Toxic Intervention

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

Intervention occurs as a means to involve yourself in a person’s life.  Your goal is to alter their life, and your relationship with them, for the better. It will most likely come across as threatening and forceful to them, in a negative way, so great care needs to be taken in order to help them understand it is for their good, short term and long term.

Intervention is greatly enhanced by the help of persons close to them; such as mentors, friends, family members or respected leaders. They need to be people who have noticed throughout their relational history that something is strangely amiss. I do not recommend enlisting the help of a boss or supervisor; unless this is a work place intervention being used for the purpose of helping the toxic person remain employed.

This will be a sensitive issue to deal with because it means positioning yourself to be vulnerable before someone who may say, “No,” or who may sound a warning to your toxic person. Prayer is of the utmost importance. Ask God what His heart and will is for this intervention and petition it in the name of Jesus. After God confirms through scripture, prayer or a godly friend that this is the path He has for you; find safe, sincere and helpful people who have your best interest at heart and your toxic person’s best interest at heart.

I must remind you that I am not a professional. I am simply passing on situations I have lived through and life lessons from which I have learned. Seeking godly professional help or prayer support is a wise choice before beginning an intervention.

The intervention may require paying travel expenses for, and/or providing food and lodging for, your support help. Ideally this will not be provided in your home if the intervention is for your spouse.

Make a list of applicable concerns, grievances, infidelities, hurtful behaviors or possible mental illnesses.  Your goal is to bring the person to repentance, restore the relationship and provide emotional healing. Make a list of behaviors which must stop immediately. Include the requirement of seeking godly professional help immediately. It would be sensible on your part to have already located names and phone numbers for professionals in your area. If you need help locating godly help go the right margin of my blog and locate: Resources. Click on Counseling Service & Referrals: One Time/Complimentary. You may arrange to speak to a licensed Christian Counselor at Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family also keeps a data base of professionals in your area.  In your letter include goals, and dates you expect them to be met by. An intervention cannot be left open ended or it will have been implemented in vain. If the intervention is for your spouse you may also prayerfully consider mentioning a therapeutic legal separation if the conditions in the letter are not met.

The goal is to always be moving forward. Always be growing closer to Christ. If it be up to you; Satan WILL NOT WIN this battle which means every morning when you wake up; you must put on the FULL armor of Christ. Pray it to God and ask Him to arm you with it: I have rewritten Ephesians 6:10-18 a bit to make it personal as you pray: “Finally, I will be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. I am putting on the full armor of God, so that I can take my stand against the devil’s schemes. For my struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore I am putting on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, I may be able to stand my ground, and after I have done everything, to stand. I will stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around my waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, I take up the shield of faith, with which I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. I take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

“And I pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, I am alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (NIV)

Prayer and fasting are necessary before undertaking an intervention. Ask your helpers, and a close friend and family member, to commit to fasting one day a week with you for the purpose of a successful intervention.

Intervention can take place at a counselor’s office, in your home (if the intervention is for your spouse), or in the person’s home.

Have with you the people helping you and have a copy of your letter for each person in attendance. This makes it clear that the situation requires accountability.

You may have to be clever in arranging the meeting. Your person should have no previous knowledge as to what is about to take place. Set the day, time and meeting place. This may be easy or this may require calling them home from work for help with an urgent need.

Read the letter. Allow a time for questions and answers if the person desires it.

Have a hand written note assuring them of your good intentions, stubborn love and unwavering concern. Encourage them to do the hard thing and seek help by reminding them of what is at stake.  Lastly remind them that your mind is resolute and the letter is not debatable. Excuse yourself from the meeting and leave the (unread) note with the person.

If your toxic person is your spouse, you will be wise to have sleeping arrangements elsewhere for the next two to three days while they decide their response. In your hand written note; let them know when you will return.

Have your intervention helpers stay behind. It is important to have more than one helper; two is plenty. Remember there is power in numbers. They can ask the person how they are feeling, what they are thinking, and if they understand the letter. They could even lighten it up a bit by offering to go to a restaurant to eat together.

Hopefully your helpers will let you know how your person received the letter. Were they remorseful, repentant, angry, aggravated, or completely in denial? If your helpers report back something like: Your person said you have a lot of problems and you are simply mad at them about ________ or ________ (you fill in the blank) but they are willing to give you the time you need to get over whatever problems you have; then you have a long messy road ahead of you. Toxic people tend to be in complete denial; and even worse, they are good at undermining others, manipulating them and putting on such a grand act that anyone would believe their side of the story. Even if they are in denial they may still be open to professional help for the sake of saving the relationship and they may attempt to meet your requirements and goals. This is good so seek all the help available while you can.

If possible pray out loud, together, with the person you are providing intervention for. I would like to say that Christ will not allow your relationship to deteriorate when the two of you are actively seeking His heart and will together. But since many toxic people are suffering from personality disorders even praying together can yield no change in their attitude, behavior or sin.

The most mind-boggling prayer can be praying with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. You can certainly be left feeling like a crazy person. They may be sexually, physically and/or emotionally abusive to you but when you hear them pray they sound like they are sitting at the throne of God. You wonder how these two extreme opposites can come out of the same person/personality. This is crazy making at its finest because upon hearing their prayer you may feel like you are, without doubt, the person in need of serious professional help. This is where journaling will help because you will have a written record of their behavior instead of wondering if you dreamed it or made it up. (For more information on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and crazy making; read through earlier ‘Toxic Tuesday’ posts.)

If you are interacting in this type of relationship the enemy is undoubtedly trying to destroy your life and the life of those you love. It is essential for you to pray truth (scripture) to God for provision, protection and guidance.

Needless to say, if you have not experienced interacting with an extreme toxic/foolish person you have no idea as to what I am referring. Good for you—praise God—football stadium type cheering and foot stomping. I am happy for you!

For you who are in a seemingly impossible toxic relationship, certain you may lose your sanity; take heart. Study your Bible. Pray. Christ will not leave you alone in your despair. Remember: Your work is prayer. God’s work is what He does on behalf of your prayers. This means when you are in total hopelessness you must call out to God in prayer. He will not leave you there; alone. He will lift your head, put you back together, stand you up, dust you off and give you strength for one more day. He will do this for you. Every—Single—Day. Ask for it.

A toxic person’s behavior can be made worse when they feel helpless or trapped. If your life is in danger or you think these responses could place your life in danger use your good judgment and refrain from possibly making the situation worse. If you are in danger please leave immediately and seek help. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships and a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse.

To Live but Not Exist

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

In previous posts I have mentioned narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Today I will add Narcissistic Sociopath.

“Narcissism is a term commonly used to describe those who seem more concerned with themselves than with others. It is important to distinguish between those who have narcissistic personality traits and those suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Those with narcissistic personalities are often seen as arrogant, confident, and self-centered, but they do not have the exaggerated or grandiose view of their own abilities that characterizes narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a pervasive disorder characterized by self-centeredness, lack of empathy, and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. As with other personality disorders, this disorder is an enduring and persistent pattern of behavior that negatively impacts many different life areas including social, family, and work relationships.

Narcissistic personality disorder is thought to be less common than other personality disorders such as borderline personality disorderantisocial personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder. Narcissistic personality disorder is estimated to affect 1-percent of the adult population in the United States and is more common among men than women.”  Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms and Treatments, Kendra Cherry

Narcissism, not the personality disorder, is rampant in today’s culture. I’m not surprised because God warned us of this in II Timothy 3:1-8: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,  always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.” (NIV)

I feel like I have to purposely guard myself against displaying such traits on a daily basis. Sin and self-centeredness are my default. I also catch myself trying to NOT be like certain people. Talk about being a Pharisee! I have to constantly remind myself to stop the comparing and just be like Jesus. He is the only perfect example and the only One who can help me.

Today’s topic:  Narcissistic Sociopath.

Do you know what it feels like to live but not exist?

Go with me here. Think of the latest Christmas fad in which many American families participate; Elf on the Shelf. I see friends pin Elf on the Shelf ideas on Pinterest and post pictures on Facebook of the latest places the elf appeared in their home.

For those of you without young children who have not heard of this latest rage; parents buy an Elf on the Shelf  just about anywhere; then every night strategically place the elf in a new location of their home. “There are two simple rules that every child knows when it comes to having an elf. First, an elf cannot be touched; Christmas magic is very fragile and if an elf is touched it may lose that magic and be unable to fly back to the North Pole. Second, an elf cannot speak or move while anyone in the house is awake!” elfontheshelf.com

Our family never did the Santa or Elf thing. Just a personal preference which our children have thanked us for. In our home, Mom (that would be me) is the elf who does all the shopping and gift wrapping and Dad is Santa who stuffs the stockings on Christmas Eve after all kids are snug in their beds. Our children leave cookies and milk for Santa Daddy and, in return for the homemade goodies; he always leaves a trail of crumbs and a witty note.

My friend, DeAnne who writes two blogs: The World Can Wait http://deanneleblanc.com/ and About Lyme http://aboutlyme.org/recently posted a picture on Facebook of their elf sitting on the edge of the toilet seat with a green peppermint and a red and white striped miniature candy cane conveniently ‘deposited’ in the bottom of the toilet bowl.

Parents decide when and where to place the elf for the next day in hope of thrilling their children with a surprising, shocking or often humorous location.

The elf does not really exist. It is just an object. A possession.

If you live with a Narcissistic Sociopath you most likely feel like an elf; with the exception you do exist. You are a living breathing human being made in the likeness of God; to love and be loved. But you feel like an object and you are not supposed to need time, attention, affection, space or money. It is expected you will only do the things you have been authorized to do and go places which have been preapproved.

According to Dr. Martha Stout’s book The Sociopath Next Door, sociopaths make up 4% of western society (Stout, 2010). Although not all narcissists are sociopaths, all sociopaths are narcissists (Stout 2010).

If you happen to live with one I am certain you did not willingly pursue such a relationship. No. These people use lies, manipulations and charm to hook their victim; in fact, they probably loved (or seemed to love) everything about you.  By the time you realize the truth and understand they are not capable of loving you and maybe cannot stand you, it is usually too late.

Society tends to think of sociopaths as serial killers and murderers only; but this is not true. They may be someone we would never suspect is evil or messed up emotionally and/or sexually. They blend in with us and they are terrific actors, manipulators and con-artists.

I have walked my readers through narcissism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder (also known as Sociopath) one step at a time because if you recognize someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder you are one stop closer to identifying a sociopath.

Another reason you tend to not recognize N.P.D. or a Sociopath is because you are not a deceiver so you don’t know what one looks like. You are not a manipulator so you have no idea you are being played. You have the capability of loving and bonding so when someone acts like they do too; you have no clue that they are performing. Here is the most disturbing part to me: Deceit is such a way of life for them that they are convinced of their own lies. Even when caught in sin or crime and confronted they think: “But wait, that’s not really who I am. I did not do that.”  Evil.

I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist on any level but I understand how these personality traits can infiltrate heart, mind, strength and spirit to the point you may believe you are the messed up, evil and in need of help person in the relationship.

If you recognize yourself in such a relationship; seek professional godly counsel.  If you recognize a loved one as possibly having a personality disorder; seek professional godly counsel for them and attend with them. It will not be easy as the recovery rate for these people is debatable; between 1%-5%, and I think that is being generously optimistic. The most frustrating part is that the spouse or significant other may be the only person who sees and experiences the symptoms, crazy making and ruthlessness of these people. The reason: because they are capable of being grand actors, dynamic speakers and fake sympathizers. That being said, statistics say many of these people either tend to mellow out between age 40-50 or have perfected their game. It is a toss up.

This is about to go deeper so grab a cup of something hot to drink and don’t forget a little bit of chocolate.

Below you may read through the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder taken from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), DSM-IV-TR. If you are certain you are dealing with N.P.D. then read the list of 20 sociopathic traits from the book Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Dr. Robert D. Hare, Ph.D. I highly recommend you read this book if you believe you are in a relationship with a sociopath.

If you already know you are in such a relationship and you are in danger please leave immediately and seek help. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships, resources for counseling services and referrals, and a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse.

The DSM-IV-TR defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as “an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts,” such as family life and work.

1. Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

2. Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion

3. Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions)

4. Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply)

5. Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favorable priority treatment

6. Is “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends

7. Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others

8. Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly

9. Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, “above the law”, and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy (http://samvak.tripod.com). Sam Vaknin has a valuable book, Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited. This is a necessary read if you interact with N.P.D.

Have you or your loved one/friend qualified for 5 of the 9 criteria for N.P.D.? If so, go through the following list  for qualifications of a sociopath. (You’ll discover many overlapping traits from each list.) The list below of 20 sociopathic traits is from the book Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Dr. Robert D. Hare, Ph.D

1. Glib and superficial charm. The tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Sociopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A sociopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.

2. Grandiose self-worth. A grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Sociopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

3. Need for stimulation or proneness to boredom. An excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Sociopaths often have low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.

4. Pathological lying. Can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.

5. Conning and manipulative. The use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.

6. Lack of remorse or guilt. A lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.

7. Shallow affect. Emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.

8. Callousness and lack of empathy. A lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

9. Parasitic lifestyle. An intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.

10. Poor behavioral controls. Expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

11. Promiscuous sexual behavior. A variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.

12. Early behavior problems. A variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.

13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals. An inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.

14. Impulsivity. The occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.

15. Irresponsibility. Repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.

16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions. A failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

17. Many short-term marital relationships. A lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.

18. Juvenile delinquency. Behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.

19. Revocation of condition release. A revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.

20. Criminal versatility. A diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes. (Hare 2011).

Don’t bury me I’m not yet dead
Don’t bury me I’m not yet dead
Don’t bury me I’m not yet dead
not a walking zombie with no head
not a stepford wife made to obey
don’t want to go through life that way

I’m alive I’m alive
that’s what I say
I’m alive I’m alive
gonna live that way
I’m alive I’m alive
that’s what I say
I’m alive and I’m gonna live today

Do robots dream of electric sheep
I need to live my dreams
not just in my sleep
I’ve been hold up here
but its time to leave
I need to make my move
while I’ve air to breathe
don’t give me drugs no novicane
I must be alive cause I still feel pain

we where born with wings
we where made to fly
we where ment to live
while where still alive

I’m alive I’m alive
that’s what I say
I’m alive I’m alive
gonna live that way
I’m alive I’m alive
that’s what I say
I’m alive and I’m gonna live today

Toxic Tuesday: Boundaries

keep-calm-and-have-boundaries

“She dresses herself with strength.” Proverbs 31:17

There is a way to remain strong and to thrive despite interacting with a difficult person. It isn’t easy because when you are in the middle of relational turmoil or are receiving a verbal lashing it can be challenging to keep your thoughts straight.  Thinking quickly typically does not happen. If you are like me, you have to think about and pray about the situation before acting, speaking or setting a boundary. Having a plan of action in advance will safeguard you and will be beneficial to the other person. Often the difficult person has a tough time with self-control and your boundary can actually help them keep an emotional or verbally abusive outburst from erupting.

Does your D.P. (difficult person) keep asking the same questions over and over? Do they refuse your answer and creatively find another avenue to demand the response or resolution they desire? Do you continually hope for an agreement? Do you long to be rationally understood?

Disagreements abound. There may be several answers or opinions to a subject but not to your D.P. To them it is black and white and their way or opinion is the only correct one. Do not waste your time arguing. Perhaps using, “That is your opinion” repetitively will soon keep your D.P. from attempting to overtake you on the matter again. It isn’t that your D.P. forgets the previous conversation you had on the topic. It is that your D.P. is attempting to wear you down. “That is your opinion,” used consistently will remind your D.P. the ‘wear them down’ tactic is no longer a working strategy to be used against you. I’m not saying they will not continue to try, I’m saying, “That is your opinion,” is a gentle reminder to them that this conversation is going nowhere. This also shows them that you are keeping your opinion and your dignity.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) Although your reply will not be received as gentle it is working in a gentler way than arguing words which are being fired at you from a flaming tongue.

Is the topic to which you have already given an answer being approached—again?  Think about this response, “I am not discussing this with you.” Any time your D.P. brings up the topic in hopes of receiving a different answer from you; remember this easy phrase. You will most likely have to say it several times as long as this person stays in your life.

“Say just a simple ‘Yes, I will’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Your word is enough.”  Matthew 5:37 (Living Bible)

If your D.P. likes to make decisions for you or give you orders but they are not an authority figure, “That’s not what I was thinking” or “That’s not what I had in mind,” are examples of good phrases to learn. After your D.P. has heard the same phrase multiple times they will remember the boundary before trying to cross it again.

If your life is in danger or you think these responses could place your life in danger use your good judgment and refrain from possibly making the situation worse. If you are in danger please leave immediately and seek help. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships, resources for counseling services and referrals, and a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse.

If you are dealing with an individual suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder they will never tire of attempting to wear you down. They are not able to see your point of view; they are not capable of empathizing, loving or bonding. They are users who recruit people for close relationship who can be used for a specific purpose to improve their existence, provide a cover for something they don’t want others to find out about them or meet an unhealthy desire.  Maybe you have recently come to this realization about someone in your life. Although you may see this and know this, the most maddening part of it is that no one on the outside sees it. That is because a narcissist lives their life on a stage acting out the role they think the other person wants to see. They are the grandest actors you could ever have the disadvantage of being in any type of relationship with. Here is a very important character trait to remember when dealing with a narcissist: Self-control. Although telling them how you feel or giving them a verbal reprimand may feel good to you; when it is all said and done you will soon realize it was wasted time, emotion, words, energy and thoughts because not one word of it will be taken seriously or to heart. In the end this will further frustrate you. A narcissist has no other point of reference other than themselves.

These lessons have been hard experiences I have lived through and learned from, but I only learned from them because I spent extensive time in prayer and Bible study, and had the loving support of family and some of the best friends a girl could ask for from God. If you make time for Jesus, through prayer and Bible study, and invite Him into all areas of your life; you will never regret it or think, “That was time wasted.”  Never.

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 (NIV)

Most likely the issue with your D.P. is control. These personalities long to having power over other people but now that you are on to them, you can set up safe and healthy boundaries to protect yourself and your loved ones. You will recognize the behavior when you see it and not be caught off guard. I remember the feeling when I finally began to recognize it. Your, “Ah hah” moment is coming!

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31: 25-26 (NIV)

Most importantly, practice I Corinthians 13:2, “but (if I) have not love, I am nothing.”  (ESV)

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”         I Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)

Toxic Tuesday: Boundaries

Boundaries

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

Last week I shared a sampling of scriptures teaching about fools—common day toxic people. I’m not referring to nuisances or dealing with someone who appears to be in a bad mood today. I’m referring to the very character of a person who shows no regard for you, your heart, your needs or your boundaries. You know something is wrong; you just don’t know what.

First I need to acknowledge that I have been a fool of Biblical proportions on many occasions; especially as a youth. Without Christ, I cannot imagine where I would be emotionally, spiritually or even logistically. I know for certain I would be a toxic mess in every way; including contaminating those around me.

Second I need to acknowledge my gratefulness to my Savior, Jesus Christ, for living to intercede for me. For His sacrifice. His grace. His mercy. He saw me, a foolish—toxic person, who loved Him and wanted to be used by Him as redeemable and usable.

That being said, in my adult life, I have encountered numerous unhealthy people who were users, manipulators and who were abusive in nature.

How I easily fall prey…

I naturally trust people even though life experiences have taught me multiple times over that I should use caution.

I assume I am wrong when someone tells me I am wrong, that I am misinformed or that I am not remembering correctly. My insecurities leave me feeling wrong in almost any circumstance. This drives me crazy.

I want to be a peacemaker. I do not want to make someone angry or mad at me and I want to avoid problems at all cost.

I have to stay close to the Lord in prayer and in His word or I have the potential to continually make mistakes. I am capable of messing up even when staying close to Lord through prayer and through His word but I would rather make a mistake acting in faith than make a mistake because I did nothing at all.

You can understand how the above plays into my thought life when interacting with an abusive person.

Here are some controlling mechanisms I have encountered: If you want specific signs to look for and responses to use for the below topics; they may be found in: The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond By: Patricia Evans.

  • Withholding companionship and/or conversation
  • Not allowing you to have a different opinion which ends all possibility of a discussion
  • Your experiences and feelings mean nothing
  • Making jokes about you that actually cut to the bone but are disguised as ‘funny’
  • Withholds information from you so there cannot be a discussion, purposefully changes the subject or gives multiple answers to a question but never the answer to the original question
  • Diverts all accusations back at you (think of a mirror being held in front of the person reflecting all your comments back onto yourself)
  • Judgmental or condescending tones that criticize you; even when you are complimenting them it may not be a grand enough compliment and is therefore received with anger or resentment
  • Makes light of your significant words or actions as having little significance. This can be as matter-of-fact or subtle
  • Undermines you, your ideas, your experiences or your needs
  • Threatens  you emotionally or verbally
  • Calls you sarcastic, condescending or mean names
  • Everyone forgets once in a while; this forgetting is denial and manipulation to avoid taking responsibility or apologizing for something they have said or done; or regularly forgetting important commitments to the other person
  • A drill sergeant who orders you around instead of respectfully asking
  • Denies your reality – “I never said that.” “You are making that all up.” “We never had that conversation.” “I don’t know where you got that.”
  • Abusive anger

You can imagine how off balance I become when dealing with an abusive person.  Even when I begin to understand something is intrinsically wrong with the person, their ideas or perceptions it can be difficult for me to decide the healthy way to deal with it. My first concerns are usually, “Did I do something to cause this issue?” “I don’t want to make the situation worse than it all ready is.” “I want to reach them for Christ so how can I handle this in a positive way?”

Do not explain yourself or defend yourself. Do not get emotional. A word of caution when interacting with an abusive person: They often feed off of your reactions. Do not feed the monsters! And if you are in relationship with a narcissistic person; they feed off of positive or negative emotions. They may be nice to you, hoping for praise and accolades to feed their ego but when it does not work they will turn to negative behavior hoping for a negative reaction out of you; again, to feed their ego. This is called Narcissistic Supply. DO NOT BE THEIR SUPPLIER. Indifference is the key to keeping your sanity when dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Keep your emotions to yourself.

“Don’t spend a second trying to explain that you weren’t doing what you were accused of doing or guilty of what you were blamed for. Just say, ‘Stop it.’ Abusive statements are lies about you which are told to you. They violate your boundaries. The abuser in effect invades your mind, makes up a ‘story’ about your motives, and then tells it to you. No human being has the right to do that to another.

 Generally, accusing and blaming involve lies about the other person’s intentions, attitudes, and motives. They leave you feeling frustrated and misunderstood and, therefore, especially desirous of explaining yourself. If you do try to explain yourself, the abuse is perpetuated.

 One more word about ‘explaining.’ If you are encountering abuse and feel that if you could explain things the other person would understand, remember this: If someone started throwing rocks through your windows, you would be more inclined to tell them to stop than you would be to explain to them why they shouldn’t throw rocks. Verbal abuse is like a rock thrown through your window.” Patricia Evans (2010) The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond. Massachusetts: Adams Media. p. 141

Simplicity: “Stop it.”

Say it. “Stop it.” Keep practicing.

If you wonder, or know, that you may be dealing with a foolish, toxic, abusive person I highly recommend keeping a dated journal. Depending on the type of abuse; this may require keeping your journal in a safe place, password protecting your electronic journal or typing your journal as an email and sending it to yourself at your password protected email address.

Why journal? To show yourself that you are not the crazy person you are constantly told you are or feel like you are. This will help you decide how to set healthy boundaries for yourself or your family. You may even find that the traits or problems you are dealing with in the other person are listed as mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This is available at your local library and you can find criteria for specific mental illnesses online.

If you are in a physically or sexually abusive relationship you need to report it to the police and/or seek help at your local Domestic Abuse Shelter. You need to begin a paper trail that could later be used for seeking help not only for you, but for the abuser, and a paper trail that would stand up in a court of law. In the right margin of my blog you will find a link under ‘Resources’ for Domestic Abuse/Domestic Violence with hotline numbers for abused women and men.

I am not saying we can avoid all difficult people or all difficult circumstances. Placing our faith in Christ  is not an insurance policy for avoiding pain and suffering. We need look no farther than Christ on the cross to put away that argument.

In Romans 8:35 Paul asks whether, “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” can separate us from the love of Christ. Since this was included in scripture we can be certain Paul knew of what he wrote. We will experience hardships.

So stay close to the Lord, nothing can separate us from His love. Pain, suffering and difficult relationships should not drive us away from God, but rather allow us to identify with Him and allow Him access to our hurts. Only then can He give us the complete healing we need.

Pray about it. If you need help on how to pray specifically for a difficult relationship, take a look at my blog post: DIY Prayer Box. It will give you numerous ideas for spending time with God.