I’d like to begin with this is my experience. I am not here to tell you how to think or feel. My story, while it may or may not have some similarities with yours, our experiences our each our own. Only you can make the decision to turn your life to God.
Many of you may be able to relate to my experiences in ways that are relevant for you as I share with you some of the appalling ways in which I have allowed myself to be treated by others and the emotional and narcissistic abuse I have endured. I invite you to hear how God has given me discipline, strength, confidence, peace, and unexplainable joy. I am not talking about the kind of happiness expressed in a smile, but about pure contentment. The kind of joy and peace you feel at a cellular level knowing everything will be okay even when you are going through some of the most difficult times in your life.
I think it is also important to note, I do not pretend to be an expert in the Bible. I just love God! I am devoted to reading God’s word daily. I try to learn more about what was happening during the time when passages were written and reflect on past and current events to see how I can apply this wisdom into my daily life. I already recognize it is a lifelong process and I still have so much to learn, yet I have noticed since doing so, I am slower to react, more confident in saying “no” to deceptive or manipulative behavior – even when it doesn’t benefit me – and more content in how I am living. I am no longer living to please man but living to please God.
It was through my experience when talking with Tracy that we were discussing God and how close I feel to him that the idea of this blog came to fruition. I wanted to share how he has been holding my hand through my own trials and tribulations. This was not always the case. In fact, if you would have asked me ten years or even five years ago, that I would be so committed to God, I would have told you were crazy!
Although I remember very distinctly God trying to get my attention in 2010 my journey with God didn’t begin until 2017. I still do not truly comprehend what led me to God. At that time, I didn’t hear a voice or a calling as some say they experienced. All I know is I woke up early on a Monday morning that July and turned on a sermon. I did this after asking God to not let me wake up the night before. I am not sure necessarily I wanted to die, but I also knew I didn’t want to live. I felt no hope! I was in so much pain both physically and emotionally and knew that if I didn’t do something differently, I would continue to get the same. I didn’t know when I turned on the sermon that morning, that I would be doing it every morning ever since.
My trials didn’t stop there. And that wasn’t my first time trying to live life differently. I had just become more skilled at accepting vehement resistance from most including family and friends. It took up until August of 2020 to find the confidence to say enough from one relationship that I had gone back to. Following the “no contact” rule, I had just told the one person that I loved more than anything to no longer contact me – and it hurt! Deep in the gut, want to crawl up in a ball and sob for days hurt!
The next day I spent eight hours on the couch researching. I was not sure what I needed or what my goal was. I just knew that I was grieving and trying to comprehend what was real and what was not. Two years ago, I had started looking into what narcissistic personality disorder looked like. I even suggested to this person their behaviors aligned with those of such nature. Their response, “Thanks for your diagnosis. Here is mine of you…you are always a victim”. My first reaction to myself when reading that was “That’s what a narcissist will say” but if I am being honest is, this individual was not completely wrong.
I was always putting others needs before my own, including theirs. As a middle child growing up in an abusive alcoholic home, I had never developed a sense of self because I was too busy trying to fix the situation, keep the peace, accommodate everyone else, gain their approval, or do what everyone else did to fit in. I learned this behavior at an incredibly young age where my emotional needs were abandoned. The result is I ended up victimizing myself because of the decisions I made. What I didn’t comprehend over the years as I was making these decisions, is I ended up being exactly what I didn’t want to be.
Telling him to no longer contact me I felt a tremendous sense of loss. The kind of grief that you can barely get up because you are so exhausted. I didn’t have a lot more fight left in me. I realized I had allowed so much to be taken from me – sense of who I was, finances, career choices, self-esteem. health, relationships, etc. and I knew I didn’t want to be angry – I wanted to forgive.
Have you ever asked yourself if there is a God, why did he let this happen to me?
At the beginning of this story, I referenced Genesis 50:20 which references Joseph from the Bible. Joseph overcame being sold by his brothers into slavery, imprisoned in Egypt for denying a lying seductress, and yet eventually rose to a remarkably high ranking where later in life his brothers who had previously sold him, were now to bow before him.
Here is just one example of countless stories within the Bible of “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 NIV.
In the book, Through the Eyes of Lion, Levi Lusko writes “pain is a microphone”. I didn’t even know the level of pain I was in. I knew I wanted to be baptized again and through this experience my testimony was given to the Church. It was one of the most challenging days of my life. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:32 KJV. I didn’t want to tell the room the ways in which I had contributed to my own situation, and yet I did not want to be a victim. Despite being sick to my stomach for days before as I prepared my speech, when I stood in front of the congregation, it was the most comfortable I have ever been.
So, what made me do it? I realized it was not about me. It was about the ability to help someone else. Maybe someone else in the church that day needed to hear all the horrific things I have overcome and to hear how God has helped me. I am hoping it helped the young adults in the room to prevent them from making the same mistakes. Maybe some heard the importance of being a good role model as a parent and what happens to your children when you do not build healthy self-esteem. Possibly some of the young adults, as much as they dislike their parents discipline them, they are now grateful they have a parent who cares. Or maybe some heard how it can change someone’s life by simply asking “How are you?” and actually stopping and listening to the answer.
In a world where narcissism is becoming an acceptable or can I be so bold to say celebrated form of behavior, this is an opportunity to empower others to see you too can overcome! It took me over 25 years, and repeating the same mistakes way too many times, but I now have a healthy sense of self, healthy boundaries, and can confidently say “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 – NIV).
Thank you to surTHRIVER S for helping us to understand your journey.