Leading Authority in Treatment of Narcissism and Emotional Abuse

The starting point for a healthy relationship

Hi! I know that not all of you are in the “dating” market, but I had the opportunity to speak at a local Single’s Event last night about How Not to Date a Loser, and the content applies to any relationship, really. Because I love crowd participation, I asked the question, “When you heard I’d speak about this topic, what did you think I’d tell you?” Of course, most of the responses were about watching for this or that in the other person.

“Watch how he treats his family and the waitress!” “Pay attention to how he spends his money!” “If she’s whiny and negative, run away!” “Make sure she’s a Christian!”

No one responded with, “Make sure you’re in a good healthy place,” or “Make sure you love Jesus!”
And yet, to keep yourself out of harm’s way of the losers in your life, you must start with YOU.

I had not defined what a loser was. I know in this context, it conjures up descriptions of the abusers and narcissists in our lives. As you can imagine with this group, many of them felt like losers themselves – middle-aged or older and still single or single-again. But, they came up with a fitting definition themselves: To God, no one is really a loser, but, in the context of our close relationships, a loser is someone who pulls us away from being who God has designed and called us to be.

Starting with “you” takes knowing who God has designed and called you to be. This isn’t only an important part of knowing good boundaries to keep the “losers” at bay, it’s also important to heal. This is what builds our core sense of self grounded in God, which is strong, unshakable, and at rest in Him. It helps you be intentional about where you’re headed – and keeps you from being your own “loser” who gets in the way of being who God created you to be. (That could be another whole topic, right?)

Spend some time today refocusing on your path. Where are you headed? What story are you leaving in your wake? What are some things God has convicted you about that you’ve been ignoring? What are some things you know He’s called you to do that you’ve been afraid to step into? Affirm how you’ve grown, and keep reaching for that person He has designed you to be.

This Week’s Question:

The last 5 years of my 25 year marriage I have been wrestling with and researching how to come to terms with the fact I am in an emotionally abuse relationship. I have sought out Pastors, Christian counseling, books, articles and shared them with my husband and all of the people we counseled with. No one even addressed or saw this issue in our marriage. I have come to terms with my husband will not seek help and we will keep going in the same cycle unless I break it. The one topic within this issue I don’t see a lot of advise on is how do I talk to my Pastor, or church leaders, family and friends what I am going through or I have left this relationship? It is already so difficult to be shunned emotionally by your spouse, how do you avoid that from those around you that you are looking to find support from also?

Sharmen’s Answer:

A: I know how difficult that place is from personal experience. I learned that standing up against sin and abuse is often a very lonely road. However, God has a vested interest in your testimony, and much of how you walk through this will be simply through His grace enabling you to be a light to those around you.

Some things to consider: Everyone is broken and few take the courage to truly engage in others’ broken stories. Those who emotionally abandon you in the church are choosing not to be Jesus to you, and to miss out on seeing what he is doing in/through you. If they are complicit in minimizing the abuse, it matters to God that they are also minimizing his design for marriage to be a picture of Him to the world. He sees, he knows, and he will deal with their own hearts as he sees fit.

As you try to talk to them, you will probably find a lot of resistance to calling the abuse for what it is. Sometimes the best thing to say is, “I know you are not seeing what I see because you aren’t living in this space, but it hasn’t honored God and he is calling me to be a better light for him.” And then ask them to keep praying for you and your family, for the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it… You may have to grieve lost relationships on so many levels, but God will also rise up new and deeper ones…. and will carry you through all of it.

I won’t tell you that any of this is easy or that it passes quickly. But, as you do what God puts before you to do, you will see him go before you to defend and protect you…

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