Dealing With Narcissists – Focus On What You’re Doing, Instead Of What They’re Saying

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“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” 

Matthew 11:16-19

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Psalm 91 – Security Of The One Who Trusts In The Lord

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Psalm 91

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91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”

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For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

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You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.

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A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.

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For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.

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11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

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14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”

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Narcissists Are Quick To Take Credit For Other’s Work

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Most of us have likely observed a narcissist who focuses on taking credit instead of getting a job done well – even to the extreme of  taking credit for something they had absolutely nothing to do with.  It’s infuriating when it happens, and makes you wonder if they are intentionally lying or just delusional.  It could be either – most of my experiences have been of the delusional variety.  This is consistent with the fact that their heart drives their mind.

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. 
Luke 6:45
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Because their root heart attitude is “I’m best” or “I’m better than you”, the narcissist’s heart believes that if  something good happens it must have been them, and if something bad happens it must have been you.

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Many times you can’t argue with or fight their assertion, because it’s a “he said, she said” situation that is unprovable.  I once had a lady take credit for an answer to prayer I mentioned.  I was highly suspect, but it was not something to argue about – I just let it go and left it in God’s hands.

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There may be a time that you really need to set the record straight.  But be aware that you’re doing this vs. someone who will pull every trick in the book to not be wrong.  It would be wise to be very, very, very selective on when you fight the battle.  In most cases, it is better to simply trust God to defend you or to make it work all out for your good in the end.  When you bring the sovereign, loving, powerful God of the universe into the equation, it changes how you approach your response.

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You can step back and ask God to humble their hearts, and to enlighten their eyes so that they would see themselves in comparison with God’s greatness (they are small, He is big).  And you can pray specifically that God would help you and deal with, fix, and overcome the specific negative circumstances created by the N’s proud and evil response.  Rather than make your fight with the N, tactically use the circumstance as an opportunity for God to show His love and power and grace in working on your behalf.

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This may sound trite.  Our natural instinct is to fight for our justice and win.  But letting God fight the battle in their heart, and exercising His great power to defend and counteract the effects of their evil action (or better yet to use that evil action for our even greater good), is often a wiser, more peaceful course of action.

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Back to a narcissist possibly taking credit for our work.  Can we toot our own horn if we do something good?  In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) the guys given ten talents and five talents came back with tangible, measurable results.  They didn’t boast of their results, but were pleased to present to their boss tangible results.  Jesus didn’t rebuke their presentation of those results.  He only rebuked the “no results”.  (This was a business reference illustrating investing in God’s kingdom).  There is a difference between boasting and presenting facts.

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Measurable, identifiable results can be one means of countering a narcissists false claim.  Proverbs says,

The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.
Proverbs 18:17

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The narcissist may be the first to plead his case, but if you calmly present your provable, measurable, tangible results, you can let the facts speak for themselves in response – without getting into an unwinnable contest with a lying narcissist.

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Click here for initial steps on how to find peace with God.

 

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Dealing With Narcissists* – Crying Out, Seeking God

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Psalm 34:4-7

I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.
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Often, we will not have any idea what to do with the difficult Narcissist-caused circumstance in which we find ourselves.  After struggling and searching about on our own for answers, we may ultimately reach the end of our rope – where the only thing we are able to do is to cry out to the Lord to help us, to save us, to deliver us.  We may not know what to ask for, but simply to ask God for a miracle.  While we may not see any immediate answers, this crying out to God and asking for help can be the first step of a process where He will bring us to much firmer ground.  We may not even see that this crying out is the first step – until we look backwards months or years in the future.
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We probably needed to get to our wit’s end, to be exhausted of all our answers, in order to motivate us to finally look up to Him for help.  And even though we made God our last resort instead of our first resort, He will graciously and lovingly respond in helping us – although it may be a process instead of a bolt-of-lightning miracle.  God has been there waiting to help us all along.

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Dealing With Narcissists – Let God Defend You Through His Goodness

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Psalm 119:41-42

May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O Lord,
Your salvation according to Your word;
So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.

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For those of us who have tried to defend ourselves in the face of a narcissist’s* attack, we have typically seen that it does not work.  Any defense we make usually just gives the N additional ammunition.  Continue reading

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The Ultimate Fact Check

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As we stated in a previous blog post, one way of dealing with narcissists is to fact check everything.

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The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.  Proverbs 18:17

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The ultimate fact-check will come on the day of judgment.   Jesus said

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“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits …

 “…Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’  Matthew 7:15-16, 21

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While this could apply to anyone trying to get into heaven through their “good deeds” (instead of through true repentance and faith in Christ), I can envision narcissists in particular trying to talk their way into heaven through an inflated opinion of what they did on Earth – trying to pass it off as an act of faith with good motives.

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We know why someone would try to do this – they’re desperate to get into heaven to avoid God’s judgement. But why would they think they can get away with this? One possibility is that they have an inflated view of what they accomplished.  As Proverbs says,

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Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.  Proverbs 25:14
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The other possibility is that they actually did what might be seen as good works by an outside observer, but did it out of self-centered motives and not from a heart of love.  1st Corinthians 13 says even if you do good works, if they’re not done from the right heart they are of no profit in the end.
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If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.  I Corinthians 13:2-3
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Jesus said the same thing.
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“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.  “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.  Matthew 6:1-2

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The hypocrites Jesus refers to in Matthew 6 are the Pharisees Jesus directly speaks to in Matthew 23.

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Claiming good works as the justification to get into heaven will be the narcissist’s typical but final move.  Jesus, in the ultimate fact-check, will see right through the N’s inflated view of themselves and their false boasting for why they deserve to be in Heaven.

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Psalm 10 – David’s Prayer Asking God To Act Against Proud, Wicked Men

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Psalm 10

Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.

For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire,
And the greedy man curses and spurns the Lord.
The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance,does not seek Him.
All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

His ways prosper at all times;
Your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them.
He says to himself, “I will not be moved;
Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.”
His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression;

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A Summary On How To Live With A Contentious Woman (And Still Be A Real Man)

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[Note:  This blog entry is intended for men.  It was a difficult blog post to write, and I’m still working through it.  But it was far enough along to push the “publish” button and provide you with a launch point for your own search into the subject.  It may seem as though I am just focusing on narcissistic women, with men as victims, but I hope to write a similar post on the reverse relationship – a wife living with a narcissistic husband – in the near future.

Underneath this entire blog post is the view that marriage is a human illustration of a divine relationship]

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Romans 12:18

18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

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1 Corinthians 16:13-14

13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

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How is it possible to be peacefully married to a a contentious woman and still be a real man?  A tough question.  Her modus operandi is to dominate you, which leaves you the seemingly impossible choices of either fighting back and creating a war at home, or submitting, neither of which is appealing (or correct).  This post summarizes a range of things to consider for dealing with the situation.  Your contentious woman could range from one who is merely annoying to one who is “impossible to live with”.

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An Illustration of The Impact of Crying Out To Jesus For Help

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I had lunch with a friend a couple of weeks ago, who told me a moving story that underscores the importance of simply crying out to the Lord in times of trouble.

The friend’s mother was a serial “marry-er”, who was also on a quest for “power”.  When he was young she was involved in witchcraft as a means of experiencing more power.  He did not know his father at all.   At one point he threw out all of his toys, because they were “talking to him” (demonic activity in his room).

His mom did occasionally go to church, so my friend had some awareness of Jesus.  At one point sometime before age 8 he was so desperate he cried out “Jesus, SAVE ME!”.  He believes that not only did he become a genuine Christian then, but the Lord took that cry for help and did much more.

At age eight his mom took him to a particular church down the street just one time in order to impress her current boyfriend.  She did not go back, but he continued to go.  After awhile a lady in the church noticed that he was always there by himself, and took him under her wing, picking him up for events, paying for him to go to camp, and more.  At age 18, the pastor of the church started mentoring him further.  Even though he had no earthly prospects for proper guidance in his life, Jesus provided.  Later, God has blessed him further through having his own family and a prosperous business.

In response to my friend’s cry, Jesus saved him on several levels – not only for eternity, but also out of his seemingly impossible circumstances.

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For more on the importance of looking to the Lord for help, please see Dealing With Narcissists – Crying Out Seeking God and Dealing With Narcissists – Crying Out Seeking God Continued

 

 

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The Fruit of Weakness – David and Saul

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David to Saul (a narcissist) – I Samuel 24:10-12

10 Behold, this day your [Saul’s] eyes have seen that the Lord had given you today into my [David’s] hand in the cave, and some said to kill you, but my eye had pity on you; and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 Now, my father, see! Indeed, see the edge of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the edge of your robe and did not kill you, know and perceive that there is no evil or rebellion in my hands, and I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life to take it. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you.

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Saul to David – 1 Samuel 24:18-20

18 You have declared today that you have done good to me, that the Lord delivered me into your hand and yet you did not kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safely? May the Lord therefore reward you with good in return for what you have done to me this day. 20 Now, behold, I know that you will surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand.

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As we discussed here, purposefully allowing ourselves to be weak, rather than resisting, in the face of an attack from a narcissist, allows God to act and provides a stronger testimony to the narcissist and others.

David was a prime illustration of this in allowing himself to be weak in the face of the narcissistic onslaught from Saul.  Even though God had anointed David King, and David had done nothing wrong, and even though he had the strength with his “mighty men” to take Saul head-on, David allowed Saul to chase him, and trusted God to 1.  protect him, 2.  deliver him from Saul, and 3.  establish him as king in God’s time.   Even when David had the chance to kill Saul – which would end it all and fulfill by his own hand God’s declaration that he would be king – David chose to let God act and fulfill His word, rather than taking things into His own hands.

David’s testimony spoke volumes to Saul, with Saul admitting to himself and publicly what he probably already knew in his heart, that David would surely become the King.  David’s allowing himself to be weak and leave things in God’s hands, ultimately showed God’s strength to the nation of Israel, and was a testimony that Saul could not refute.

And, in the end, God dealt with Saul and David became king.

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Additional reading:  “Saul Hunts David”

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Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective

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Dealing With Narcissists* – David’s Prayer for Justice

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Psalm 94

94 O Lord, God of vengeance,
God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O Judge of the earth,
Render recompense to the proud.
How long shall the wicked, O Lord,
How long shall the wicked exult?
They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly;
All who do wickedness vaunt themselves.
They crush Your people, O Lord,
And afflict Your heritage.
They slay the widow and the [d]stranger
And murder the orphans.
They have said, “The Lord does not see,
Nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.”

Pay heed, you senseless among the people;
And when will you understand, stupid ones?
He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?

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Dealing With Narcissists* – Understand That They (And We) Will Give An Account To God

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Romans 14:12 – So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
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1 Peter 4:5 – but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
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Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
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Hebrews 10:30 – For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.
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One of our biggest struggles in dealing with narcissists (those with insolent pride, see here) is when we see them “getting away with it” – “successfully” dodging responsibility, blaming others, sliding by without receiving any consequences for their destructive actions and the pain they are inflicting on us and others.
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