Gaining Additional Perspective – Free Books

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This blog mostly digs into the nuts and bolts of how narcissist traits, tactics, how they got that way and what to do with our situations.  But we also need to understand the big question of “where is God in all of this”?

Two books that have been very helpful to me in the past few years.  Both are by John Piper.  The first book is “Spectacular Sins And Their Global Purpose In The Glory of Christ” 

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The second book is “Future Grace;  The Purifying Power of The Promises of God”

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These books do not talk about narcissism or insolent pride at all, but lifted my perspective to see a kind, loving, wise, powerful God who is behind everything and constantly working to show His greatness in and toward us.    They will not give you “all the answers”, but do provide a framework for processing God’s hand in the events of your life.

They are worth a look.  You can get them on Amazon, your Christian book distributor – or get free PDF downloads and/or summaries here by clicking on the links in this post.

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Spectacular Sins, and Their Global Purpose In The Glory of Christ

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Future Grace: The Purifying Power of the Promises of God

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* Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”.  See here

 

 

 

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Psalms for Healing – Psalm 42

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There are some Psalms that I “own”.  What I mean by that is that I have lived and felt a few Psalms to a depth far beyond reading and even memorizing, to a point where they truly became an expression of my crying out to God.  One of those is Psalm 42, coming to the forefront maybe four or five times throughout my life.  I memorized it over time, and have used it as a direct expression to God.

Psalms do not always give us “answers”, but almost always point us to the One with the answers.  While the Bible provides us with much wisdom for living successfully, life is ultimately about our drawing near to and personally knowing the God of the universe.  Crying out to Him is the often the first step in His process of working through a very difficult time – first emphasizing a relationship with our Heavenly Father, with answers to follow.  Here’s Psalm 42:

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As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.

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Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
For the help of His presence.
O my God, my soul is in despair within me;
Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.

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I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

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Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God. 

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Psalm 42

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Click here for initial steps on how to know God personally

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Narcissist Case Studies – Cain, The First Human Narcissist

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While it may not be obvious through a cursory look, Cain was likely the first human narcissist (Satan was the very first narcissist, see here).   Let’s go through the Biblical evidence:

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The first clue that Cain was a narcissist with insolent pride is found here:

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“not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.”
I John 3:12
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Being “of the evil one (Satan)” is similar to the way Jesus described the Pharisees…..
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You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”   
John 8:44
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Since the Pharisees were narcissists (see here and here) just like their father, Satan (see here and here), describing Cain in the same way as the Pharisees puts him in the same category.
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The other clues on Cain’s narcissism and insolent pride come from his actions and reactions.  There was a clear sequence……
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……..Evil was in Cain’s heart (repeating I John 3:12)
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not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. 
I John 3:12
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…….But Cain still expected God to “like” the offering he made.  However, God views obedience as much more important than the sacrifice (I Samuel 15:22).  When Cain did not get the positive response from God that he wanted, instead of repentance he 1.  became very angry, and 2.  began to mope
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but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. 
Genesis 4:5
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……God then told Cain what he needed to do to fix things
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If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” 
Genesis 4:7
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Note:  God’s instructions to the first narcissist (Cain) provides a clue to narcissists (scoffers with insolent pride) on how to deal with what is in their heart.
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Cain had a decision.  He could take God’s instruction to “master” the sin inside him.  But instead of repenting and seeking God, he decided to accept what was in his heart and get rid of the competition who was “making him look bad”.
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Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.   Genesis 4:8
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Then he lied about it
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Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 
Genesis 4:9
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When he got caught in this 3rd infraction (evil heart, murder, lying about the murder) and was going to receive final judgment from the Lord, he instead of repenting continued to whine, complain, and fight against his judgment – twisting what God said.
Cain first twisted what God had said in Genesis 4:11-12,
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Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear!   14 Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground (NOT true)
Then he lied about what God had said
“and from Your face I will be hidden” (NOT true)
Then he made a “drama king” kind of statement
and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”  (a grossly overstated fear)
 Genesis 4:13
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Cain’s response to his judgment was a classic narcissistic response to the consequences of his actions.
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The Intimacy of Being Consoled

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If I should say, “My foot has slipped,”

Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.

 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,

Your consolations delight my soul. 

Psalm 94:18-19

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The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. 
Psalm 34:18
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“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 
Matthew 5:4

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 For those who have been hurt by a narcissist*, a serious amount of comfort and healing are needed.  While a certain amount of comfort can be provided by friends, there is a limit to what a friend can provide.  Even if your friends have not also been fooled or tainted by the narcissist’s deceptions, they may not really understand the damage the narcissist has done.  But even more fundamentally, no other human can truly feel everything you’re feeling.

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The Search for Intimacy, Continued

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In Part 1 we discussed the fact that most people want intimacy, especially with someone who is somehow beautiful or worthy – as illustrated by the popularity of love songs and people wanting to attach to celebrities.  But selfishness and self-centeredness on both sides of a potential “intimacy connection” makes it very difficult to actually achieve intimacy.  This is especially true in a relationship with a narcissist – their total selfishness and self-aggrandizement makes it impossible to have 2-way intimacy with them, as they really do not care about you – just themselves.  However, since the narcissist is a pro at “doing intimacy” early in a relationship, they can easily reel you in as an unsuspecting person hoping for true intimacy.  Then, when the narcissist’s true selfishness is revealed, you discover that the intimacy you thought you had is nonexistent.  The loss you feel is especially painful since you are worse off than from the time before you met the narcissist.  Going from zero “intimacy” to “100”, back to zero feels worse than if you had just stayed at zero.  Even though the “intimacy” you thought you had with the narcissist was never truly there, the sense of total loss you feel is very real.

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At the end of the day, there is only one person who is truly non-selfish, who genuinely loves us, who wants our best, who wants to know us, who wants us to know Him, and who is the most beautiful person we could ever be around.  God’s better way is to center our search for intimacy on the one relationship where intimacy is definitely possible – with Him – and then springboard from that intimacy to greater intimacy with those around us.   The intimacy with Him makes us to be less selfish, more beautiful, more compassionate ourselves – and those changes in us become the basis for greater intimacy with others.  As we become more beautiful and attractive ourselves, others will seek to be around us and closer to us.

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O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

You know when I sit down and [b]when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. 

Psalm 139:1-3

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One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate in His temple. 
Psalm 27:4
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We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 
I John 3:2b
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 We love, because He first loved us. 
I John 4:19
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So, the road to intimacy starts with God.  And that provides the basis for intimacy with others.  And while this will likely not result in intimacy specifically with a narcissist in our life, it will provide the truest, deepest intimacy with the greatest person possible.  That will enrich our lives and result in a beauty that is attractive to others.
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As we will see in future posts, this intimacy with God is also directly connected getting to maximum comfort and healing of hurts that have resulted from our dealings with narcissists.

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Additional Reading – to get started on the path to true intimacy

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Click here for initial steps on how to know God personally

 

 

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The Search for Intimacy, Introduction

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Many, if not most people feel a deep inward need for intimacy.  This desire can influence a lot of our decisions – it is real, and strong.  If you doubt that, just look at the success of love songs or love story movies over the years.  Of course the intimacy desired is with someone who is somehow “beautiful”.

One reason narcissists can so easily reel in unsuspecting people especially in a dating relationship is that they are very good at “doing” intimacy early in the relationship.   And they push hard for instant intimacy.  The narcissist’s “intimacy imperative” could be due to their strong drive to win you over quickly in order to achieve their  ultimate self-serving goals.   But, they could also be genuinely searching for  intimacy themselves in order to fill gaps in their own soul – even though their narcissism will ultimately undermine the intimacy they seek.

When the narcissist has won you over, and then inevitably shows their true colors of selfishness and self-exaltation, it is an especially painful  loss since you lost the intimacy that you thought you had finally found.  The “intimacy” was never on a true foundation, but the sense of loss is nonetheless very real.

It is helpful to understand that it is partially our desire for intimacy that makes us vulnerable to the narcissist.  This inward desire for intimacy is ok – and God-given.  But instead of being a source of intimacy as we originally thought, the narcissist was actually the last person who was going to provide that intimacy.  Our desire and search for intimacy contributed to our pain and sense of loss, but as we will see ahead is also the best way forward out of that pain.

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Healing – The Heart God Revives*

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All of us come across others’ who say things so well that there is simply nothing left to add.  Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth created just such a piece in the form of a bookmark which you can download here,   From her series Brokenness:  The Heart God Revives.
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Broken:  The Heart God Revives (Bookmark)  By Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

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Proud people focus on the failures of others.
Broken people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need.

Proud people have a critical, fault-finding spirit; they look at everyone else’s faults with a microscope but their own with a telescope.
Broken people are compassionate; they can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven.

Proud people are self-righteous; they look down on others.
Broken people esteem all others better than themselves.

Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit.
Broken people have a dependent spirit; they recognize their need for others.

Proud people have to prove that they are right.
Broken people are willing to yield the right to be right.

 

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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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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.

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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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It’s Not NPD, It’s A Heart Issue

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1 John 2:16

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

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According to I John 2:16, ultimately all “sin issues” that people have (“all that is in the world”) can be boiled down to one of three root causes

  1. Lust / sexual immorality (“the lust of the flesh”)
  2. The desire for things (“the lust of the eyes”)
  3. Pride and the desire to exalt oneself (“the boastful pride of life”).

It could also be a combination of one or more as illustrated by the Pharisees’ taking actions to fulfill desires (“lust of the eyes”) that they then covered up so that they would not look bad (“boastful pride of life”). Continue reading

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It Hurts Worse When Its A “Friend”

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Psalm 55

12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me,
Then I could bear it;
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me,
Then I could hide myself from him.
13 But it is you, a man my equal,
My companion and my familiar friend;
14 We who had sweet fellowship together

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Our most painful encounter with a narcissist will very likely be with someone close to us.  And especially with someone we thought was a friend.  One reason is that when we expected someone to act like a friend and in exchange were stabbed in the back, it is a painful betrayal.  The other reason, as David said in verse 12, is that when we are more entangled in a relationship it is harder to avoid them – bringing us painful reminders more frequently.

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David goes on to describe their smooth words which disguise the evil in their hearts

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19 God will hear and answer them—
Even the one who sits enthroned from of old— Selah.
With whom there is no change,
And who do not fear God.
20 He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him;
He has violated his covenant.
21 His speech was smoother than butter,
But his heart was war;
His words were softer than oil,
Yet they were drawn swords.

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But as David reminds himself and says to the Lord at the end of Psalm 55

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22 Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
23 But You, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction;
Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days.
But I will trust in You.

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You can read the entire Psalm here

Click here for the initial steps on how to know God personally

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Dealing With The Dread of Getting Through Another Day

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Matthew 6:34

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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Many of you may think “how am I going to get through this one more day”?  Or possibly living in dread of an event coming up that you are pretty sure your N is going to spoil.  Or something similar.

There’s another way to look at it.  If you look at this through the lens of God’s goodness (i.e. – everything that happens to you is good – it is just a matter of HOW it is good), and if you believe that God’s grace is fully sufficient for every need and that He will provide it as needed – then you can view the impending possible difficulty as an opportunity for God to show Himself strong on your behalf – either through working to shield you, or to give you the measure of internal grace needed to experience joy in the midst of trouble.  In other words, rather than dreading it, you can  anticipate seeing God work on your behalf.

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2 Chronicles 16:9

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His……

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2 Corinthians 12:9

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

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But as Jesus taught His disciples to pray….

Matthew 6:11

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

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……He does not give us tomorrow’s provision today.  He will give that tomorrow’s provision tomorrow – and give today’s provision today, as it is needed.  This gives us the opportunity to rely on Him, to trust Him, to need Him just a little bit more.  And that daily need for Him further builds our relationship with Him.

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John Piper has a very helpful illustration in his book “Future Grace“.  Piper said to picture God’s promise that His provision of grace will be there when needed as a river flowing toward the edge of a waterfall.  The river illustrates the grace coming to us in the future, and the edge of the waterfall is “today” or “this minute”.  God promises the river of grace to continue to flow toward us, while we experience this moment’s grace at the edge of the waterfall.  The constant river of grace coming toward us gives us peace today that the grace needed tomorrow will be there tomorrow.  Therefore, we can simply focus on applying His grace at this moment, and trust Him for future moments.

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Moving-picture-Niagara-Fall-waterfall-animated-gif

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Part of our peace today that grace will be there tomorrow is the anticipation of the opportunity to learn and grow, and to see God act (in big or little ways) on our behalf.  While for some, the particular trial may not last very long, for others it may last a lifetime.  But we can trust that God has His loving purposes in either case, and that the lesson of trusting Him today for the grace needed tomorrow will carry us throughout our entire lives.

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Click here for initial steps on how to know God personally

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Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective

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True Intimacy

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Underlying much of our struggle with a narcissist is our deep-down quest for true intimacy.  That desire for intimacy is what often got us involved with them in the first place.  A narcissist fakes intimacy at the beginning, but their drive for dominance and self-absorption prevents it from truly taking place.  The failure of intimacy may tempt you to throw in the towel and try again, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for it will be futile.

True intimacy arises from someone who cares about you, who knows you deeply, and who is deeply interested in what you think about it – and with you in turn caring for them and what they think about.  Imagine sitting across from your soul mate, someone you love and who loves you, and being able to say, “you have complete insight into my soul”.

That would be wonderful if you could find it in the form of another person.  How many people do you know who have found that?   People are fallible in many ways, and self-centered, to the detriment of intimacy.  Putting an expectation  of intimacy on someone who is not up to it, puts extra stress on the relationship.  Of course, as with many things a measure of intimacy is possible, even if not to the degree you might hope.

God knows that we will never be completely fulfilled apart from Him.  That’s not a self-centered move on His part, but the reality that only He is completely satisfying, and His creations – even at their best – a dim reflection of His magnificence.

Ultimate intimacy comes from God and is reflected in what are the most intimate chapters of the Bible Psalm 139.

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O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it. 

Psalm 139:1-6

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Think of being so in love with someone that you watch their every move.  That’s what David is talking about here.  I originally of God’s awareness as an “accountability” thing.  That is true, as God does see everything we do from a moral perspective. But we can also simply take it for what it is – the God who cares for us knows us intimately.

The Bible phrases it in other ways.  For example, just think of taking your concerns, and handing them to someone who is able to carry them, and who cares enough to do so.

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“casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  

I Peter 5:7

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And one of my favorites,

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Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 

Psalm 73:25-26

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Is this just a cop-out or rationalization for a bad situation?  No. The fact is that this intimacy with God is the ultimate goal for God’s creation of us.  Paul says,

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For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.  I Corinthians 13:12

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While God knows us perfectly now, and knows that He is our true soul-mate, we can partially understand that now, but will full understand it when we see Him face to face.  In the meantime, He uses the disappointments of our current relationships to gently encourage us toward the real goal of intimacy with Him – the One who can truly satisfy us.

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Dependency – Do Not Become Slaves Of Men

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As we discussed in an earlier post, co-dependency is a fuzzy pop-psychology term.  The more precise Biblical concept is that of someone becoming a “slave of men” (I Corinthians 7:23) by subsuming their inner self to another person, rather than to God.  But we will use the term codependent interchangeably as shorthand.

How do we know that this phrase did not refer to the physical slavery of the day?  We know it because Paul made several other clear statements that while it is better to be free, it was also ok to be a slave.

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Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.   For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.    I Corinthians 7:22-23

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In fact, slaves were to not just chafe under their masters, but seek to honor the Lord in the situation.

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All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against.   I Timothy 6:1
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Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.   Colossians 3:22
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Paul could make these statements, because slavery was a feature of his era’s economic system, not focused on the control of people’s inward selves but their outward performance.  In fact, in Christ everyone was equal irrespective of their socio-economic status.
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a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.    Colossians 3:11
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There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:28
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Therefore, Paul’s admonition to “not become slaves of men” referred to who we are as a person, who we are on the inside, how we live our lives before God and with others.  We are not to subsume who we are on the inside to someone else.
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All scripture taken in isolation is subject to misinterpretation and abuse.  “Do not become slaves of men” could easily be twisted to mean, “no one will rule over me” (including God-given authority), leading to “I can do whatever I want”, or “I should exit any relationship that restricts my freedom”.  This does not mean that.  We are referring to an inward freedom to be yourself and the person God wants you to be, regardless of the circumstances.
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There are different tactics a “slave master” might use to make someone their slave (codependent).  For example,
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  1. Bullying
  2. Manipulation
  3. Use of fake authority
  4. Abuse of true authority
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Underneath the success of all of these is an element of the fear of man on the part of the codependent person – worried about what the other person thinks of you or can do to you, rather than what God thinks of you or can do to you.  Proverbs says,
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The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.  Proverbs 29:25

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and Jesus said
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 “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!   Luke 12:4-5
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As narcissists have an inner drive to be the unquestioned #1 around which others’ lives orbit, they are particularly driven to make others their emotional or physical slaves.  It is difficult for them to achieve that with “hard targets” (those who are on to them or not afraid of them), so they focus on available “soft targets”.  And one of the easiest of soft targets are their own children.
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Next up:  Possible paths to co-dependency

 

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