Sadly, I have only intimately known Narcissistic men. I’m not sure that you can separate abuse from narcissism. It is abusive by nature: mind games, manipulation, purposeful cruelty, indifference, lack of empathy, blame shifting, the hunger for admiration and control…. the list just goes on and on.
I have been married, but only loved 1 of 2 men in my life. Both of these men seemed okay with attempting to steal my authentic kindness, joy, strength, dignity, resilience and success. There needs were more important than mine. Emotionally immature and brazenly selfish. I have what they want and what they will never be capable of themselves. They are bottomless pits wandering the Earth seeking validation from women, relationship, porn and ministry. These men boast of intimacy with Jesus and living to serve him but behind closed doors only deceive, control and discard a woman. These men HATE women. The men I was involved with were both charismatic, and lovable on the outside. Knowing Jesus and “shining his light” wherever they went. They would give a homeless man the shirt off their back (literally). Yet, as I struggle at home, asking for connection, help and support there is nothing. It is more important to serve outside the home than inside. And you want to know why? Because there is validation on the outside. No one sees you on the inside – there is no validation there. These men are only happy when being praised in the eyes of their ‘fellow man’.
They need to be ‘set apart’, ‘chosen’ and set on this earth for a calling ‘unlike anyone else’. Their relationship with Jesus is ‘better’ and ‘is not like the common man’s’. They need limelight in their house of cards, called ministry.
They crush you as you stop stroking their ego. When we realize the sun and moon do not set with him, that is when the manufactured assimilation turns to hate, cruelty and disbandment.
I was accused of causing drama…
‘Drama’ to these men constitutes a woman expressing her feelings, asking for honesty and accountability, or standing behind a boundary. Drama is when you tell them how their behavior effected you. ‘Over-sensitivity’ is defined as you asking him not to joke about something, stating when your feelings are hurt, or when you are sad and ask him to stop a behavior. Have you ever heard this? “Oh, you know I’m joking, that’s not who I am – stop being so sensitive” While inside, your gut is screaming at you, SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG.
“The central attitudes driving Mr. Right are:
You should be in awe of my intelligence and should look up to me intellectually. I know better than you do, even about what’s good for you.
Your opinions aren’t worth listening to carefully or taking seriously.
The fact that you sometimes disagree with me shows how sloppy your thinking is.
If you would just accept that I know what’s right, our relationship would go much better. Your own life would go better, too.
When you disagree with me about something, no matter how respectfully or meekly, that’s mistreatment of me.
If I put you down for long enough, some day you’ll see.” -Lundy Bancroft
‘Making a mountain out of a mole hill’ or questions like “Why do you have to make a big deal about everything? Why can’t it just be? Why does everything have to turn into something bigger than it is?” This is code for: ‘Stop telling me how I am hurting you. Stop telling me the patterns you are noticing. Stop holding me accountable for the things I told you I would do. Stop having an opinion and expressing your needs.’
They study your vulnerabilities, your story, personality, character traits, gifts and talents and then they exploit. They manufacture an entire relationship which mimics who you are, what is important to you, and what you WANT a man to sound like. You are not a human made in the Image of God – you are a means to an end, and believe me when I say – they will tell you EVERYTHING you want to hear. Why? Because they studied and listened — just like they would for a final exam. It is all made up, they read your desires and create a hologram of what you long to have. It is not real, and he is not real. It is pretend. Sooner or later, his truest self will arise from the deep and you will be caught in a whirlwind of crazy-making, intentional cruelty and confusion. They punish you for existing. They hate the feminine.
The intentional cruelty looks like; silent treatment, ignoring phone calls, name calling, emotional abandonment when you are facing something difficult in life and need comfort. It also includes blame shifting, yelling, intimidation, explosions of anger. You are NOT allowed to feel, think for yourself or act on your own behalf. You cannot share your thoughts, emotions or desires. It must be ABOUT HIM ALL THE TIME. If you are not constantly supporting him and telling him what he wants to hear- you will be punished, and your efforts will NEVER be enough for him. One time, I caught myself saying, “I can never do anything right!” (big red flag!)
Any of YOUR simple requests for human decency will be met with: “Stop controlling me”, “Nothing I do is ever good enough for you.”
” At times he is aggressive and intimidating, his tone harsh, insults spewing from his mouth, ridicule dripping from him like oil from a drum. When he’s in this mode, nothing she says seems to have any impact on him, except to make him even angrier. Her side of the argument counts for nothing in his eyes, and everything is her fault. He twists her words around so that she always ends up on the defensive.” -Lundy Bancroft
A similarity between the two men I knew: Both were raised and emotionally neglected by single moms, and while enduring abuse from their fathers. One, acquired father wounds of neglect, physical and emotional abandonment, shame, toxic masculinity, and sexual abuse. The other acquired father wounds of physical beatings, toxic masculinity, sexual abuse, emotional and physical abandonment, and neglect. Comparing these two histories proves that psychological damage causes the same, if not worse brain damage as does physical beatings. The two were cut from the same cloth, interestingly the one who was NOT physically abused was the one that WAS physically abusive toward me. That’s pause for thought.
Both men hated the women they were intimately involved with, myself included. Both stated to me, “I have something precious and I don’t know what to do with it.” Literally, my goodness and truth were too much for them. Each had a track record of using and tossing women aside. One virtually, and one in real life. When one woman failed to validate – they left to seek the next.
The other similarity between these two men: both were recovering drug addicts, and both became “addicted to Jesus”. It seemed that their addiction to drugs and the high was transferred over to the high of the conversion experience – each man in his own right is wandering the Earth looking for the next spiritual high. To be seen, validated and heard while ‘proclaiming Jesus’. This is code for: “I am seeking my own glory”.
The more I watch, learn, and experience the more I am 100% convinced there is a connection between addiction and spiritual bypassing – though I will not go into detail here.
The man I married did seek his validation from ministry and my own father’s approval, thinking that’s what he was supposed to do as well. You know the story; he was “called by God” to be a Pastor. I fully believe these men think they are called – not because it is from an actual place of intimacy with Jesus, but because they are craving deep validation from attachment wounds. In fact, I believe these men don’t have relationships with Jesus. Why? Because the psychological damage and attachment disorder from childhood is so severe, that they are unable to attach to God, and in turn, cannot securely attach to ANYONE in their life. My ex-husband struggled with sexual addiction behind closed doors because it made him ‘feel like a man’ (validated). When men consume and devour images of women on the screen, they dip their cup over and over into an empty well that will never be enough. In real life, when they have relationship or marriage with a real woman – they place her on a pedestal – she is the one that should fulfill all their sexual fantasies and needs. When we fail to meet that standard – we are punished and the true self is revealed:
“Disrespect also can take the form of idealizing you and putting you on a pedestal as a perfect woman or goddess, perhaps treating you like a piece of fine china. The man who worships you in this way is not seeing you; he is seeing his fantasy, and when you fail to live up to that image he may turn nasty. So there may not be much difference between the man who talks down to you and the one who elevates you; both are displaying a failure to respect you as a real human being and bode ill.” -Lundy Bancroft
The Covert Narc. Passive or Aggressive – the pain and damage is the same. My ex-husband never did finish seminary or become an ordained pastor, because his thirst for naked women and validation from flesh became his source of value.
The man I loved had no addiction – only recovered from drug addiction. Addiction in it’s truest form is called an Attachment Disorder, and is essentially co-dependency. Why? Because the soul is lost. It’s looking for something outside itself to validate, affirm and bring value. This man, craved validation from a woman. He needed a relationship like he needed air. He had an awakening, and saw this pattern in himself, but slowly this craving for validation was transferred to ministry, and the high he got from people believing that he would do great things for “Jesus”, while gaining his own ‘followers’. He had a grandiose sense of self, believing he was ‘set apart’ like no other, and a mad craving for admiration from those around him. He traded crack for admiration. Multiple times he called excited that, “people are following me Rochelle”. My response, “hopefully they are following Jesus.” (big red flag!) His focus was about self, self-absorption, self-centeredness, and no ability to see outside his own radius. While this man no longer struggled with drug addiction – the addiction became his own talents and ‘calling’. Why? Because that is where ego is stroked, and publicly he is worshiped and adored. He is craving the adulation so badly, it has made him blind to his own behavior.
These men were taught to hate women by their fathers. The consequence is a wandering soul for all eternity, wondering who and what will validate their existence next, unable to attach to God or others. Perpetrating their malicious acts is just a means to an end.
One of these men I married. The other I really truly loved, though now I see, it wasn’t him I loved – it was the hologram he wanted me to see. As my dear friend said, I loved a ‘snapchat filter’ of a terrible man.
One man spewed shame and deception, the other overt cruelty and cowardly deception.
I do not minimize my pain when I say, both gave me the opportunity to confront my own wandering soul, abandonment trauma and my ability to validate myself. As much as I HATE to say it; pain can be our teacher, and our wounds lead us to greater enlightenment. It took much processing to be able to say that, and I highly recommend you do not start your journey with that statement. First, feel all the feels.
I became the warrior, the little girl inside of me needed, and nothing was stolen. Bruised for sure, but not stolen.
I keep thinking of an article written by Andrew Bauman. His own soul work and helping me through my story has changed my life and the way I view men. I am not a man hater, but I call out destruction and sin when I see it.
He describes types of abusive men in this way: “The emotionally unaware man with narcissistic characteristics is foolish, clumsy, and without self-awareness. He is very different from the violent narcissistic abuser. I will call the first type the “Unaware Fool” and the second the “Narcissistic Coward.” It is important to note that the Unaware Fool’s lack of awareness can lead to passive violence while noting he is not violent at his core. The “Narcissistic Coward’s” violence is more aggressive and his insecurities more pronounced.”
“These two types of men’s healing paths are similar in the fact that both must face their story of heartache and betrayal, as their early childhood wounds must be deeply grieved… Both must have the courage, to tell the truth of the condition of their lives, past, present, and what the future will hold if they remain unrepentant. It’s vital to know what makes a good, safe man, to know what you look for in a partner and what to avoid.”
He goes onto state that the Unaware Fool can change if he is completely committed to his own work. The Narcissistic Coward, rarely if ever, will change. Lucky for me, I was involved with 2 of them!
This type of framework is NOT an excuse for abusive behavior. It is an understanding to help us as women be discerning when choosing a partner.
The Bible describes the Cowardly Narcissist as a fool:
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright. Prov.14:8-9
A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated. Proverbs 14:18
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. -James 1:26
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. – Prov 18:2
And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. Mark 7:20-22
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. Prov 26:4-5
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. -Prov 12:15
Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his folly will not depart from him. Prov 27:22
A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. Prov 18: 6-7
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, -Rom 1:22
Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. -Prov 14:7
The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving. Prov 14:8
There are so many more validating verses just like this.
Hear me my precious sister: These men are NOT Jesus with Skin On! They don’t know who Jesus is because they have never truly been the broken hearted. They have never come to the end of themselves, and some of them will never hit rock bottom. They just keep reinventing it.
If you have had the same experience as me, in or outside of marriage, I am deeply sorry.
It is not your fault! Abuse is NEVER the victim’s fault. It is my loving spirit, kindness, generosity and passion for my future that was exploited. I do not blame myself for entering into these relationships or for staying as long as I did, and neither should you.
I am learning that my generosity, and giving spirit is only for those who give and invest in me. My dignity will never be squashed again, and my voice remains supreme above any outside influence.
I learned that I am strong as hell! I am resilient and I don’t back down. I can never be made small ever again. My body is good, and she protected me. My Papa protected me like a daddy should and He validated my inner voice- he was there the WHOLE time, marking my victories.
If you’ve ended a relationship, or you’ve recently been discarded by the Narc… let’s practice self-compassion together.
“Of course I loved him – he showed me what I wanted to hear and see”
“Of course I stayed so long – I love deeply and fiercely, and the people who love me appreciate that quality about me.”
“It is not my fault – I was trained to choose dysfunction and I am still learning.”
“I have loved ones and community to help me grieve and recover”
“I can trust my gut and my goodness”
You are good and kind, dear sister, and no one can take that from you.
You are not alone.