Stepping Away: Healing from Narcissistic Abuse
Breathing erratically, my mind raced. I prayed for God to take away this pain that pierced deeper than any physical pain I could have imagined. Reeling, I was sick to my stomach. My brain was trying to re-wire itself as to what was real and what I had been told was “real” from a loved one. Their reality and actual reality had finally collided.
God, in His infinite grace and wisdom, had slowly been lifting the veil, and now it was fully lifted. I could see the truth plain as day. I couldn’t play this person’s game of lies and deception anymore.
To them, I was not an individual, I was a part of them. When I flexed my individual thoughts, feelings, and doubts, I was lectured, put back in line, ridiculed, or gaslit to believe that what I felt, saw, or heard didn’t really happen or didn’t matter. My thoughts and feelings were of no value to them unless they aligned with their own thoughts and feelings.
While it may seem like common sense to step away from this type of relationship, when you’re so close to someone or raised in this environment, you don’t know any different until God shows you different.
I had tried so hard to be seen and known by this person my whole life, but the reality was finally setting in- this person didn’t really care about who I was. This person only cared about control and controlling the narrative of who I was when it benefited them.
That truth was the hardest to swallow.
The lies and smear campaign started as I stepped away- the hateful messages, the shaming, and guilt-tripping. But I had to remember why I stepped away. God was revealing what healthy relationships should look like. I couldn’t keep someone close to me who I couldn’t trust and who didn’t respect me as an individual.
Even though I had my husband by my side, I felt alone in my experience and pain. I wanted others to believe me, but I didn’t want to keep fighting for others to believe me. I was tired of sharing the damage of the relationship fallout and this person’s lack of responsibility for their actions. I was tired of people telling me I had to “put up with it because they were a family member” or because “they had been through a lot”.
At what point does a person need to take responsibility for their actions and behavior? Just because a person has been through a lot doesn’t excuse their abusive behavior. I am not, nor can I ever be someone’s savior- only Jesus can. And if someone doesn’t want to face the reality of their situation, reflect on how they’re living, or ask for genuine help, I am only enabling their toxic behavior. I become a crutch for them.
“Putting up with it” is not loving, it’s damaging. It’s continuing a cycle of abuse that is accepted and passed on to the next generation. It’s teaching my children that others are allowed to cross boundaries when they have the title of “family” or “insert other titles”. That is not okay.
Regardless of a person’s title, there are times to step away and let people sit with the consequences of their actions. When someone knows you will “put up with” their behavior, they aren’t motivated to reflect on the damage of that behavior. They will then never change because they know that no matter what they do, you will stick around.
While stepping away from that relationship three years ago was extremely difficult, God stepped in to re-shape how I viewed relationships. Those closest to me now may not be blood relatives, but we hold a tighter, eternal bond because of Christ. My dearest friends in Christ have listened, stood by me, and just let me talk as I’ve worked through this process. They’ve challenged and encouraged me in this journey of healing.
I don’t understand why I went through what I did for so many years, but I see how God is using it for something bigger- for good. God has equipped me with a keen sense for recognizing those difficult relationships. He’s brought people into my life who are struggling with similar circumstances that I went through, and I’m now able to help and encourage them. He’s given me words to write about it, sharing my experience, so that I can shine a light on narcissistic abuse.
You’re not alone if you’re on this healing journey too. I’ve been in those dark, hurting places where you want to hold on, you want to help, but you feel helpless because you can’t. Keep turning to God. Even when you don’t feel like it- keep praying, keep asking for people to come into your life for support, read God’s Word, and allow yourself to be directed by the Holy Spirit. And when others won’t listen, find someone who will listen to your story and allow your voice to be heard.
Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash
12 thoughts on “Stepping Away: Healing from Narcissistic Abuse”
I’m sorry for your struggle. Please know I will hold you and your journey in my prayers today. And I so appreciate what you’ve shared here. It’s beautiful. It’s honest. And it models a courage which benefits all who see it. As odd as it may sound given the context here, I celebrate you in your journey and the choices you made. Cultivating healthy relationships around ourselves is the only way we can find the communal strength to live the Kingdom. There is an important difference between “explaining” someone’s behavior and “excusing” it and I, too, have often struggled with honoring that in my own relationships. I have spent A LOT of time working to remind myself it’s not me who saves others. Your words have touched my heart and reinforced something I’ve been working with and on for years. What a grace and love–filled post. You’re magnificent. Thank you.
Thanks for your reflective comment, Michael. Yes, it’s definitely a struggle in the flesh that I continually have to turn to the Lord for true guidance. Praying you continue to trust and walk with the Lord in your journey as well! I appreciate your comment and transparency.
Praying for healing !
Thank you, Barbara! Have a blessed Easter!
This is truly sad and so tragic, but, you have seen it all for what it is; which is the perspective one needs to overcome, and this writing “contains the powerful message,” you needed and were compelled by the Holy Spirit to get out to others!
This except is the key to doing that for you and anyone who is on this planet as I see the Truth, God’s Truth!
“Keep turning to God. Even when you don’t feel like it- keep praying, keep asking for people to come into your life for support, read God’s Word, and allow yourself to be directed by the Holy Spirit.”
We are living among a race of narcissists now, can’t people see this plainly with all of the self-adulation and seeking of attention almost everyone on the internet is doing??? I say to them all WAKE-UP, before you are owned by the Devil! That which you do is not worshiping God and so far removed from it, as this internet has become a form of flypaper or a giant “World Wide Cyber Spider’s Web” that is “dulling
humanity” greatly not allowing people to function out in the “Real World” as God intended, but to instead be cocooned in this mesmerizing artificial fake cyber realm which has been designed by people who are monsters for the most part having been influenced by money, power and Satan to build this better human mouse trap to begin the enslaving process of the entire human race for the Antichrist who is going to make an appearance when the time is ripe for a deluded and lost human race who will follow like fools this great deceiver to hell.
Countless people are struggling with this same difficulty and as you pointed to the actual solution or means by which anyone who truly doesn’t want to be lost in the shuffle or played by narcissists who riddle this cyber fakery world of deceptions or smoke and mirrors the ultimate Pandora’s Box of all time!
Thank God you see this light from Him our Lord!
God bless you today and on into the most important Easter Sunday this week and beyond; for all God has planned for you and your family! Amen.
Brother in Christ Jesus,
Lawrence Morra III
God bless, Lawrence. I’m glad we can rest in the assurance of Jesus’ truth. Thanks for your comment, and have a blessed Easter!
You said it Sister Amber! We sure can; and you really did a great job in dealing with all you have which is proof! And as well what you brought to the fore here in this forum to share; such deep insight or wisdom that doesn’t come easy, but your gracious offering can save someone from unnecessary suffering; for this we pray!
Keep it up and I’m inspired by this effort!
Thank you, Lawrence, and God bless! Yes, with God’s truth our lives are truly transformed!
Sure thing Amber! I’m more than happy to give a bit of my own perspective and pray that it helps. I didn’t always see it or fully appreciate how it’s really only God’s Truth that matters; ultimately everything rests in His divine hands and perfect judgment, He has the final say in all things!
Thank you again for the inspirational work from your own life experience and heart! Amen.
Amber, I read this post before and reread today. I appreciate your insight as I am learning to set up boundaries with people close to me. I am sharing this concept with kids too. Hopeful and prayerful that breaking the patterns of accepting unhealthy behavior from others will improve their lives. God bless you!
Thank you, Mary! Yes, it’s definitely hard to break those patterns when they’ve been ingrained for so long- maybe some before we can remember. So glad to hear you are sharing this with kids, as it is important to know that it’s okay to speak up when boundaries are crossed.