Do you find you are angry? Hurt? Confused? Wanting to curl into the fetal position and just cry?
Do you or have you felt like there was something wrong with you? That you are broken?
Have you asked or do you ask, why did this happen to you? How did you get to this point?
I know I have felt all of the above.
For years, I heard manipulative behavior from a parent. When I was a child there was an abusive situation that occurred in my home from a stepparent. That moment led me to grabbing my younger sibling and leaving that home to move in with the other parent, equally or if not more, abusive.
Within a few years of this event, the parent that I moved out from would say, “I forgive you”. I often associated this with guilt for the decision I made in that situation to protect myself which meant leaving. What I now realize is it was their way of maintaining control over me.
This pattern would continue in relationships. I found because I never really developed a sense of self, I was allowing others to use manipulative or narcissistic behavior to control me. I was making decisions based on what others needed from me, genuinely not understanding that I was sacrificing or even understanding my own needs.
I would feel angry, hurt, and I am assuming I would portray passive-aggressive behavior. I grew up where you were nice, did what you were told, but then often observed gossip and judgmental condescension behind the back. I always wondered why people would behave like that.
I have been told I am too direct, honest, forthright. My nickname from one of my parent’s growing up was “just the facts Clara”. In other words, I was told to shut up because nobody liked the truth. Being silenced like this, made me internalize everything. I turned my hurt, shame, anger and lack of self-confidence on myself. This led to so many bad decisions!
People would say to me, you just need to let it go. I wanted to say back, “let it go, really?” It felt to me that no one ever accepted any responsibility for their actions, but I was supposed to simply accept it. And that they could use the three simple words of “I forgive you” to make it all go away? You can imagine what I wanted to say back….
I tried every means possible to let it go. I would pretend it did not hurt or it didn’t matter while joining most of my surroundings in alcohol, on occasion drugs, and going along with others as a means to cope. While this was a distraction, I would later realize, the anger and the hurt were still there.
After years of hurting myself I asked God for help. God, what can I do to be free from this pain, this hurt, and stop letting others control me? How can I forgive? I went to the Bible to seek answers on forgiveness. The first one that came up was:
“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15 KJV
It was in that moment that I realized how many transgressions I had made in my life and how I wanted God to forgive me. I was able to look at my hurt, my pain and anger towards what others had done to me through a different lens. I was no longer angry with those that had hurt me because I realized that they too are human, and humans are flawed. I was able to see how I had allowed myself to become a victim by not having healthy boundaries and a sense of self in the first place.
I am not in any way suggesting to anyone to be a doormat. I am simply stating that being able to build a relationship with God has shown me mercy. It has allowed me a more compassionate and wiser perspective when looking at situations. I no longer tolerate manipulative behavior, and I also no longer absorb their grievance against me.
I experience others now telling me I am a good example to them on maintaining composure in highly charged situations. I know this only came from my experiences and God giving me the wisdom now to see things differently. I still struggle, as I am not perfect, but it has gotten much easier since learning God’s word.
I would like to end this edition of this blog with this final passage….
“For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged: and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2 NIV
I can tell you I have personally witnessed this. My last narcissistic relationship existed on and off for nearly 14 years. There is absolutely no reason why I should have ever gone back to this person and yet I did time and time again. I know the things that happened to them so I can understand the why behind how they are. In this relationship, I was left abandoned and homeless more times than I want to say out loud, changed jobs/careers, and eventually had to file for bankruptcy. Over the past two years, I watched God do to him the same he did to me.
Recently I did something to hurt someone I love deeply. So, in return, he did something to hurt me. I tried to be angry with him for hurting me, but I couldn’t. I know he is a good person, and he was reacting to how we thought I treated him. A lot of it was miscommunication based on our previous experiences.
The truth is I didn’t mean to hurt him, but the fact is, I did. And I needed to own that. God’s word has allowed me to take responsibility for my actions and be quick to apologize even when I do not want to. I am grateful to God for the humility he gives me because without it, that friendship/relationship would have left my life.
If for any reason other than your own peace, knowing how God’s mercy changed my life and watching the power in his word, I invite you to see if it too can change yours.
Wishing you love, peace, and happiness.