If you decide to separate or divorce from your abusive or narcissistic spouse, you will be misunderstood. Friends, well meaning or not, will give unsolicited advice. Some of it will be helpful, some stunningly hurtful.
This is your journey, not theirs. It may not be the journey you want to be on. (It sucks. No other word describes it so accurately.) BUT it’s the journey we ARE on. Until others walk a day in your shoes, they will not understand. Move forward. Forgive them. Find friends who do understand. Remember that God understands and loves you deeply. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness. I will build you up again.” Jeremiah 31:3-4
Love and blessings,
When I finally understood the narcissistic “games” that my spouse was playing, it was a relief. It explained so many things. While scary and upsetting, it provided sanity as well. There was a reason he did the manipulative, mean, controlling things he did: Narcissism. The label didn’t excuse his behavior, instead, it gave me a framework to understand behavior that had been so confusing. I realized I wasn’t the crazy one. And I wasn’t the only one.
Early on, this humorous yet serious list of “Games Narcissists Play” explained so much to my confused and foggy mind. By recognizing these games, I was able to stop playing some of them. I couldn’t change HIS behavior, but I could recognize the game being played and change MY responses. Or I could rehearse a response beforehand to a predictable game.
I referred to this list over and over. It helped me keep my sanity. It gave me strength to stop playing the games. Game #6 “Keep Away” was especially helpful, as it helped me stop responding to the jabs, accusations and lies. Don’t play these games. Take your ball and go home.
Games Narcissists Play
When you begin healing from Narcissistic abuse, you change for the better, dear one. You come out of the fog. You become alive again. Jesus told us He came to give us life, and not just a “barely getting through the day, walking on eggshells” life. He came to give us abundant life. (John 10:10)
I think this summarizes the healing process well:
Love and blessings,
There are seasons of life that are difficult. Seemingly unbearable. For most Christian women, divorce falls into that category. Divorce is something they cannot even imagine; something that likely goes against their church upbringing and evokes fear, despair, and shame.
Some Christian writers call these difficult seasons of life “the desert”, some “the wilderness”. No one wants to go there. Personally, I’d rather stay in a comfortable, happy place in life. Someplace like the Four Seasons Resort. I seem to spend a lot of time trying to make my life “work”, to make my life comfortable, to make my life the Four Seasons. But there are times when I cannot make life work. As hard as I try, as much as I anticipate and control, it’s just not working. Life is unmanageable. I’m a mess. And nothing I do seems to fix it.
I think these are the times in life that God allows us to hit rock bottom and turn our face to Him. We admit we can’t make our life work. We can’t control people, places or things. Our world seems to be crumbling around us. We are broken.
This is the wilderness.
A helpful piece of wisdom came from my Christian counselor, B.G. As I pondered his words over and over, I began to change the way I responded to my narc X2B.
OK. So what DOES one say in an argument with a narcissist/verbal abuser/emotional abuser? I started to say any of the following:
- “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
- “I understand that is your perception.”
- “Interesting perspective.”
- “We see it differently.”
- “We continue to see things differently.”
- “We disagree.”
- “Maybe you’re right. I don’t see it that way, but who knows?”
Here are some truths and quotes that have kept me sane during my divorce. It is easy to forget the truth. It is tempting to slip into denial. My counselor said multiple times that his job was to “keep me sane during this process.” I think he knew, much more than I could imagine, how crazy-making and difficult it would be to divorce a narcissist/verbal abuser/emotional abuser.
My narcissistic X2B would often cause me to think that I was the crazy one. He argued circles around me. He re-wrote history as we were discussing it. Then I researched and educated myself on the many games that narcissists play to keep us off balance, under their control, upset, co-dependent, and walking on eggshells. I learned to stop playing those games. I couldn’t control what he did, but I could stop my part of the insanity. So here are some truths I remind myself:
Remember that Narcissists Lie
They lie. It’s what they do. Expect it. Don’t be so outraged when it happens. Settle yourself down. Breathe. I’ve learned to calmly yet assertively state “That is not true. The truth is…XYZ.”