I had never heard the term ‘narcissist abuse’ until recently.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing.  But I soon realized, I had been a victim. | CHRISTIAN BLOGS | CHRISTIAN BLOGS FOR WOMEN | CHRISTIAN BLOGGER | CHRISTIAN BLOGGING | CHRISTIAN WOMEN | CHRISTIAN WOMEN BIBLE STUDIES| EMOTIONAL ABUSE | ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE HURTING

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Emotional abuse in marriage seems to be an odd topic to feature during the Days of Awe.  But there is a reason I feel this fits!

This week I, along with other Jewish, Messianic and Christian people across the world, celebrated Rosh Hashanah.  Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and right now we are in the middle of the Days of Awe, the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

I had never heard the term ‘narcissist abuse’ until recently.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing.  But I soon realized, I had been a victim. | CHRISTIAN BLOGS | CHRISTIAN BLOGS FOR WOMEN | CHRISTIAN BLOGGER | CHRISTIAN BLOGGING | CHRISTIAN WOMEN | CHRISTIAN WOMEN BIBLE STUDIES| EMOTIONAL ABUSE | ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE HURTING

This page/post may contain affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, as well as an affiliate of other programs, this means if you purchase something using these links, I will receive a commission on qualifying purchases.  I am not paid to endorse any specific product on this site.  For more detailed information, please visit our Disclosure page

 

As Imani Ackerman wrote in her post about Taschlich this week for our Days of Awe Guest Series, this is a time of prayer and reflection.  It is a time where we examine our hearts and look at areas where we can grow closer to God and our relationship with Him, as well as with others.

The tradition of taschlich, as Imani stated in her post, is symbolic of casting your sins and your cares to where they are seen no more. It is beautifully symbolic to me; a picture of releasing these burdens I have carried and giving them to God.

In the spirit of freeing oneself from burdens, I am sharing this anonymous post about emotional abuse with you in the hopes it can help someone else!

This post only details the personal experience of the writer and is in no way reflective of everyone’s experience and in no way makes a diagnosis of any kind.    If you believe you may be in an abusive relationship, please visit https://www.womenshealth.gov/relationships-and-safety/other-types/emotional-and-verbal-abuse for further information or call 800-799-SAFE if you are in danger.  If you believe you suffer from anxiety or PTSD please seek help from a professional.

 

Narcissist Abuse

I had always assumed I had suffered from anxiety, and I do.  But where I thought anxiety was the condition, I found out it was really only a symptom.  It was a symptom of a greater problem I didn’t even know existed.

I had never heard the term ‘narcissist abuse’ until recently.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing.  But I soon realized, I had been a victim.

I struggled with sharing this story because I didn’t want it to seem as though I was bashing anyone or gossiping.  That is not my intent.

I had been burdened with believing this was “just me” for so long!  But it is not just me!

So my intent here is not to slander or gossip, in fact, I am refraining from sharing the majority of my story.  I am sharing just what I need to in order to explain my own experience with anxiety and PTSD.  I want to tell my story to help someone else feel the freedom from guilt that I now feel!

 

What Is a Narcissist?

According to Meriam Webster, a narcissist is:

-an extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance

 

… since the narcissist is so convinced of his high station (most are men), he automatically expects that others will recognize his superior qualities and will tell him so —Charles Zanor

 

The Center for Anxiety Disorders (http://centerforanxietydisorders.com/narcissistic-abuse/) has a list of traits a narcissist would exhibit.

I won’t share the whole list (you can visit the link for the full article) but I will list those I witnessed in all their glory in the past since these are part of my own experience (I am realizing now it is most of the list!):

  • Putting you down or criticizing you to make themselves feel good or superior
  • Isolating you from others, such as your friends and family
  • Getting angry if you disagree with them
  • An exaggerated sense of self-importance. These people inflate their accomplishments, making a simple success into a monumental achievement when they tell people about it
  • Believing they are superior to everyone else, despite the fact they have no special talent or haven’t accomplished anything noteworthy
  • Lacking empathy for others, intolerance of other people’s needs and feelings
  • Arrogance
  • Being envious of others or believing that other people are jealous of them
  • Telling you everything is your fault (example: they say things like, “if you would only be smarter/prettier/stop pushing my buttons/do things the “right” way/dress better, etc., I wouldn’t act this way.”)

 

I recently read a couple of blog posts from women I admire greatly.

Leah Grey – https://greyministries.com/blog/free-from-narcissistic-marriage?rq=the%20lord%20set%20me

Alice Mills – https://poemachronicles.com/narcissistic-marriage/

Until reading these, I had no idea this is what I had experienced.


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A Revelation

Narcissists make YOU feel like the problem; like something is wrong with you!  Everything bad that happens is YOUR fault.

It was classic gaslighting and it happened all the time! (Gaslighting was another term I wasn’t familiar with until recently! It is defined as “manipulating (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”)

And I believed it.  I believed something was WRONG with me.

You see, first, in classic narcissist form, I was isolated. By isolating me there was no one to tell me that I am NOT the problem.

By being isolated, I would believe the lie that it was all me!  By believing it was me and that I was just a messed-up person, I would be quick to accept responsibility.

That is another classic narcissist move.  They make you believe that if you were only “different” then everything would be better.  They make you believe that the power to be happy lies with you and if you just did things THEIR way everything would be perfect!

They fail to take responsibility for things.  They may accept a task or responsibility, but they won’t do it.  Then when it fails they find a way to blame you!

 

And This Is Where My Anxiety Comes In

Every day consisted of stress.  Every day there was an issue because something wasn’t done.   A bill wasn’t paid or the kids weren’t given their medication so they got sicker, etc., and then I had to deal with the fallout and fix what should have been done.

Over time, my body forgot what it was like to not have worry and fear.  It was such a daily occurrence I became afraid of everything!  Everything that happened was always bad!  It was always more stress!!  And more stress was always followed by blame.

I stopped answering the phone.

I used to LOVE talking on the phone.  I would sit and talk to my friends for hours.  To this day, I despise the phone.  I can’t stand talking on it because during that time my body learned to adapt to the fact that every phone call was something stressful.  Over time I associated the phone with bad news, with stress, with fear.  I still get a twinge of anxiety when I hear my phone ring.

I stopped answering the door.  Every time there was a knock on the door it was something negative.  To this day, if I hear someone outside I will run to the window and look with a sense of anxiety even though I have not had anything bad happen in years.  My body just hasn’t let that go.

I stopped living.  I went to work and came home and took care of my kids and that was it.  I had no friends and no one to turn to.

 

 

Walking Away

We tried counseling as a last ditch effort.

In counseling, he tried to make everything my fault.  The counselor wasn’t having any of it.  He wasn’t accepting his narcissistic behavior.  He tried to make him see where he was responsible, so he just stopped going.

You see, he wasn’t interested in fixing the marriage.  He wasn’t interested in improving. He was only interested in fixing me.  He wanted someone to agree with him that I was the problem and fix ME so I would do all he wanted.  But he wasn’t getting that so he quit.

Being in a marriage with a narcissist is a constant barrage of blame, name-calling and finger-pointing.  It is being told you are crazy, you are the one with the problem.

It is about bringing up every single thing you ever said or did in the past when they can’t find something in the present to blame you for.  You live with every mistake you ever made being thrown in your face.

I got to a point where I fell away from my faith.  I felt like if I was such a bad, crazy person how could God love me?  How could God ever want to use me?

So I walked away.

I walked away from him and I walked away from God.

 

But God Had Other Plans

I am now happily re-married and my life is blessed.

God didn’t let me keep myself away from Him for long. I kept experiencing His gentle call back.  I ignored it for a couple of years but slowly made my way back to Him.  Not only did I return to God but my husband was also saved the following year.

But yet that specter of the past still haunted me.

I was happier than ever but still experienced anxiety. I still experienced fear and worry over things that seemed irrational.

I thought it was JUST ANXIETY. But my husband showed me (and these articles I referenced above did as well) that it was a form of PTSD.

My body had become so accustomed to reacting a certain way in situations that it didn’t know how to react differently. It was just doing what it had done for so long.

If something good happened, I was always looking for something to stress about in it.  I would look for possible issues that could arise.  I just couldn’t let go and be happy!

I had left the abuse, but it hadn’t left me.

What a freeing feeling!! Just knowing it wasn’t me! Knowing there was a reason for this was freeing in and of itself!

I wasn’t experiencing freedom because I wasn’t addressing the right issue.  My anxiety was not the issue…just a symptom!!

Now that I know about narcissist abuse I can let God do the healing work because I can stop allowing those things spoken over me define me!  Now I know it is not “just me”….it is not something I just have to accept about myself.  It is caused by lies spoken over me for years until they became MY truth!

So now I replace those lies with HIS truth!  I do not have to live with that abuse anymore.

I am not there yet.  It is still going to be a long process and I hope to share it with you along the way!  This is a new revelation for me and I am just starting to allow God to now do the work in me.  I hope this is the first of many posts where I can share my journey to healing with you.

I am so full of hope and faith now and that is a big step forward.  And the Lord will bring me the rest of the way!

“I will repay you for the years the locust has eaten.” Joel 2:25

 

 

 

Some other posts you might enjoy:

WHERE IS GOD IN MY TRIALS?

FEELING BROKEN – LESSONS FROM A BROKEN PLATE

WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE YOU DON’T MEASURE UP -YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH

I QUIT – HOW FEAR OF FAILURE KEPT ME FROM FINISHING

 

Emotional Abuse in Marriage: Narcissist Abuse 3 

Emotional Abuse in Marriage: Narcissist Abuse 5

Diane is a wife and mom, a Jewish believer in Yeshua (Jesus) and yes, a blogger. In addition to owning Worth Beyond Rubies, she also co-owns other sites such as Faithful CEOs which helps Christian bloggers and businesses, Hot Flashy Faith which is a site for women over 40 and everything important to them, and Women of Worth Café another site for Christian women with Bible studies, devotions and the Jewish roots of the faith. Diane lives in BEAUTIFUL Northwestern Connecticut and when she is not blogging, you will find her spending time with her husband and kiddos out on their little mini-farm.

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    Leigha | OfferingGrace
    Guest

    Diane, this is a very good post. Oh, it is so my dad. The way that he treated my mom, kept her isolated from family. He belittled her, blamed everything on her, etc. As we , the kids, got older, we each experienced our fair share of things from him as well. Thank you for posting this. It helps just knowing we are not alone.

    Denise
    Guest

    I’m in the process of leaving my husband now. We are currently separated and I’m working on making it legal. He is totally narcissistic and has recently started a smear campaign against me. I totally got what you went through.

    Alice Mills
    Guest

    This is so moving. This is my story, too. My narcissistic ex sent me to counseling as well! Thank you for this post!

    Colleen
    Guest

    Oh, my heart hurts for everyone in these types of situations. You were absolutely right to walk away, and no one should be telling you that you should have done more. I’m so glad you are in a better place now.

    Michele Morin
    Guest

    Oh, the sadness we bring into our marriages because of our sin.
    Thanks for sharing this cautionary tale.

    Sherry Stahl
    Guest

    It’s hard commenting on this one because I can’t comment anonymously. I have experienced narcissist abuse from a couple people in my life, some the same as you’ve mentioned and some different. It’s sad how until you get healed emotionally, you tend to draw the same type of people in your life. I agree that it leaves you with symptoms of PTSD. It’s difficult to release these patterns of thought, but I have grown so much since leaving the unhealthy relationship and learning to not take on hurt by other narcissists in my life. It’s taken a lot of counseling… Read more »

    Cindy
    Guest
    Cindy

    Thank you for being so brave in sharing your story. I too have been there. I ended up doing EMDR therapy which helped with the PTSD and the years of shared custody of our children. I have found healing and power in the presence of God. I no longer see myself as scared, unworthy, unwanted. I know now that I am strong, worthy, and a precious daughter of God. He has blessed me with a wonderful husband and a second chance at having a marriage the way He designed. He brought me through and He will for you too.

    Theresa Boedeker
    Guest

    Thanks for printing this. I have known 2 men like this. Thankfully I was not married to them, but I have seen what they have done to their wives and those around them. And it is so sad. And you are so right. They make you think it is all your fault and things would get better if you would just get in line. A marriage needs two caring and unselfish people to work. Not one trying to tow the line and the other blaming. Love is the opposite of the behavior these people exhibit. I am so glad you… Read more »

    Rebecca Jones
    Guest
    Rebecca Jones

    You did great with this Diane. I will share it. Men have that quality to lead but abuse their roles when life revolves around them and not God. Women were meant to love and be loved.

    Deb Wolf
    Guest

    Diane, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I believe when we share the ways God uses them to help others. I suffered from anxiety for years and it’s a hard struggle to overcome. Only by grace! Praise God! Your posts always bless me! <3

    Shawree
    Guest

    This post is everything! You are truly amazing and I’m so happy you were brave enough to leave. It is also inspiring to see you, a Christian woman stand up and say that it is okay to leave an abusive relationship! Amazing post!

    KellyRBaker
    Guest

    Thank you for sharing this! I know this is helping many to have their eyes opened and be free. May God continue to use your words far and wide, friend.

    Nicole
    Guest

    Great article. I can relate to so much of this. My first marriage ended for many of these same reasons, and I turned away from God for a time too. I had never heard the term narcissistic abuse, but what you described fits my experience. And while you’re going through it, it’s hard to realize you’re not the only one. In my case, God took a bad situation and used it to grow my faith and make me stronger. I can see it’s the same with you. It takes a lot to tell your story. Thanks for sharing!