Dealing With Narcissists* – Crying Out, Seeking God – continued

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James 1:5-8

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

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When dealing with an N that is driving us crazy, in addition to crying out “God help me!”, God invites us to ask Him for wisdom.  This is HIS wisdom – not human wisdom – including practical  tips, things of the heart, and even things from God’s perspective.  James says that if you ask for wisdom, He will give it to you – generously.

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But there is an important qualifier to getting this wisdom – “not doubting”.  The doubting here is not so much doubting as to whether you will receive the wisdom, but doubting as to whether you really want it – whether you really want to do things God’s way even if He gave you the clear right answers.   We know this is through James’ statement in verse 7 – ” For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”   Double-mindedness is to have two minds or opinions on the same subject – wanting to do things God’s way, but at the same time wanting what we ourselves want.  With that heart, God could tell us the right answer, and we might not even know we received the answer because we were only looking for the answer we wanted to see.  In order to ask for true wisdom in dealing with the situation, to receive it, and to KNOW that we have received it, we must start with the heart attitude that we will act on the wisdom God gives us without interjecting our own “will” into the matter.

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This invitation to ask for wisdom is in the context of trials, which James describes as tests (we will look into this later).  Of course, our challenge with our narcissist certainly qualifies as a trial and a test.

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James 1:2-4

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

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So go ahead – ask for wisdom in how to deal with your challenging narcissist.  But don’t expect to get what you are asking for unless you are truly serious about doing it His way instead of your own way.  All along being aware of the admonition in Proverbs:

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Proverbs 14:12

12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

 

Status Update

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I have been very very busy with other responsibilities for the past six months, and as a result have not been able to write nearly as much as I would like.  I have a window in the next four months to hopefully begin writing on the more difficult questions of how to deal with narcissists in family relationships and why God allows these people to wreak havoc.

HE has provided some Biblical perspective on those difficult questions, and I am now wrestling with how to discuss those perspectives in this blog format.  The reason I am wrestling is because those subjects need a comprehensive discussion with the key points being made together at the same time.  This blog’s current format of short quick snippets is not currently conducive to that kind of comprehensive discussion.

Anyway, that’s the challenge – we’ll see how it get resolved!

And there are also lots of case studies to dive into, as well as looking much more closely at how Jesus dealt with the narcissists around him.  Should be fun……

 

Progress Update – Searching For Wisdom on Biblical Perspectives on Narcissism

Dear readers,

To give a quick update on the recent “period of silence”……

I have had a spike in other responsibilities for the past 5 months, which has greatly hindered my time, energy, and mental space for writing.  But, during that time I have continued the wisdom search on Biblical Perspectives on Narcissism, and have become more clear on a few things even while I am still searching on others.

  1. The traits and tactics of narcissists / those with insolent pride are becoming increasingly clear.  Once you learn to recognize these traits and tactics, its pretty easy to understand what’s going on.
  2. Narcissists’ big advantage is their ability to “win you over quickly”.  I still need to get a better handle on “early warning signs”.
  3. One BIG issue is how to deal with these people once you recognize them and what they’re doing.  The best way to deal with a narcissist / one with insolent pride varies greatly depending on your relationship to them.  In fact, you could make a major mistake if you apply the wrong tool in a particular situation.  More later on this.
  4. It is becoming increasingly clear how God uses these people for our good and His glory, even though He will also deal with them in the end
  5. I still do not have a very good handle on WHY narcissists are they way they are, how they got that way, and what the “fix” is.  But, I am quite sure that the Bible addresses those issues as well and will continue searching.

 

More to come…………

 

 

Reflecting On The Reflections

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I have been at this for a few months now, and have enjoyed and personally benefited from this path of learning on this particular subject.  I feel that we are 30-40% down this road of understanding of the Biblical perspective on narcissism and narcissists, described as “insolent pride” and “scoffers” in the Bible. The emphasis so far has been on identifying the traits and tactics of narcissists, or (scoffers/those with insolent pride).   In the future will be discussing much more about:

  • How to deal with narcissists / scoffers, from both a practical and “heavenly” perspective
  • How narcissists can be healed
  • How narcissists’ victims can be healed
  • God’s redemptive purposes in this subject
  • How some societies have narcissism deeply embedded in their culture and national character
  • How God “deals with” narcissists
  • and more

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Once we have gone through this first round of putting a lot of individual facts and perspectives from the Bible about narcissism on the table, we will go back and start to better organize and synthesize them into a more integrated understandable picture. As I have been working through this, I have noticed that while there are some similarities and overlaps between the secular approach to narcissism and the Biblical approach to narcissism, there are also some differences.   The secular approach to narcissism does a good job of discussing narcissistic traits, and the narcissist’s tactics.  And it provides a few practical means of dealing with narcissists, such as “low contact”, “no contact”, lowering expectations, setting boundaries, etc.  In some cases, these are very helpful and match up with the Biblical approach to the subject.  But the secular approach to the subject of narcissism does not dig very deeply into the “heart” side of narcissism, the causes of narcissism, or the distinctions in handling narcissism depending on the relationships.  The Bible talks much more about these and other similar subjects. We’re going to keep digging until we’ve reached as close to the bottom of this subject of narcissism and narcissists as possible.

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One final note.  I have tended to use the modern terms of narcissism, narcissist, narcissistic rather than the related Biblical terms.  This bothers me a little bit to do this, as I would generally prefer to use Biblical language to discuss Biblical topics.  However, to reach those who are looking for answers on narcissism, but would only search on that term rather than on the search term of “insolent pride” for example, I have tended to more heavily use those terms which people would more likely use for their Google search on the subject.

One final, final note.  I have two main purposes for doing this project.  One is that I am in a situation that is highly motivating to learn everything I can about the subject of narcissism, but from God’s perspective.  The other is to demonstrate that God has far superior wisdom than anyone else on every subject, including narcissism, and that this wisdom is “there for the taking”, right out of the Bible.  All we have to do is look.

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* Narcissist is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”  please see here for an explanation

What This Blog Is About

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I found myself in a situation that I could not understand.   Things that I was seeing just didn’t quite line up.  Quite distressing.  I cried out to the Lord for help, and He showed me that I was dealing with a narcissist.  I read everything I could on the subject of narcissism and narcissists.  Once I looked at everything through this new lens, things started making sense.   But, I was only reading secular writings on the subject.   Since my deep conviction is that the Bible provides wisdom for all aspects of life, I was quite convinced that the Bible speaks on the subject of narcissism and narcissist.

So, I began to search out what the Bible says about narcissism and narcissists, and quickly understood that narcissism is equal to “insolent pride” in the Bible.  As I began to following linkages such as like “insolent pride -> scoffers -> Pharisees” a whole picture began to form.

The purpose of this blog is to record this search in a way that not only helps me, but also provides HIS wisdom and understanding to others at the same.  My hope is that not only will you understand this subject, but in the process achieve a better appreciation for the depths of God’s word – and that it does speak to everything.

This is a work in process.  I want to be faithful to the Bible and not proof text.  So, I urge you to use this as a launching point to also search it out for yourself in the scriptures.

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