“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction;” Isaiah 38:17a
The deeper I go into studying emotional/verbal abuse, the more my eyes are opened to see what I was blind to during my 27 years of victimization. I am now able to comprehend the red flags that were there all along. I recognize the proverbial blinders I chose to wear until I was so beaten down that I no longer had the strength to remove them. I am in no way insinuating that any victim of abuse is at fault. I am merely stating that through much prayer and studies, I know where I deceived myself into believing lie, upon lie, upon lie. I believed the lie to the point of desperation. I believed the liar to the point of losing my self-esteem, my dreams and goals, my friends and a lot of my family. I lived the lie until the Lord began to peel away the scales on my eyes and He began to show me in His Word who He says I am. I stayed in that “prison” until the light was shined on the truth. Once I saw the light, the door to freedom began to open. It took months of preparation, soul searching, prayer, and placing my hope, faith and trust in Him to lift me out of the situation and not return to it or another like it. When the door was fully open, I ran!
The Lord has given me a ministry to turn my test into a testimony. And made it my mission to shine the light on the truth about emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse.
Most of these abusers are Narcissists and/or Sociopaths. Narcissism is NOT a disease! It is a decision. It is a decision to gain control of their target. They know exactly what they are doing. Narcissistic abuse is a gradual brainwashing and crazy-making of their victim. Therefore, since it is a decision to abuse, you cannot “help” them, “fix” them, “teach” them or “show” them morals, decency, or common courtesy. You cannot love them enough to make them want to change. You cannot placate them in any way. It is impossible to avoid an attack, no matter what you do, say, or don’t say – everything is ammunition. All you can do is walk on eggshells and brace yourself – because it is coming.
Make no mistake, the Narcissist targeted you. They established rapport and gained your trust, they led you into sharing your hopes, dreams, fears, and (the worst part) you trusted them enough to share your past. These abusers target people that are already broken in some way; their targets are usually givers, hard workers, have a huge sense of compassion, and (are you ready for this?) very intelligent. All of these are wonderful attributes and character traits – except in the hands of a Narcissist. The Narcissist/Sociopath remembers everything you shared, earned your trust by sharing “their” story only to begin building a trap for you with the details of yours.
All the qualities they loved about you are now weapons in their arsenal. Here a few examples I remember all too well. The twisting of my good qualities that my abuser used against me:
- Your drive to do better? Selfishness. All the time you spend going to school and studying takes away from your duties at home and you aren’t going to use that degree anyway. “Who are you trying to impress, Miss High and Mighty college lady?”
- Your compassion for others? Stupidity. They don’t appreciate it and are just using you. You could be at home showing ME some compassion.
- Your friendly nature? Tramp. You just flip your hair and bat your eyes at anyone who looks your way. You don’t even know how pathetic you are. You are fat, lazy, frizzy haired, stupid and no one else wants you.
- Your ability to work long hours or hold down more than one job? Lazy. You aren’t really working, you are hanging around the office with your so-called friends that are lazy like you, or they are single and have nothing else to do but gossip all day and night. You are using it as an excuse to stay away from home so you don’t have to take care of the kids and the house.
- Your like-ability? Whatever. They don’t like you. You probably told them some cock-a-mamie story about me so they would feel sorry for you. You are such a victim, poor baby.
- Your faith? Hah! You can’t even do that right! Hypocrite. Have you ever read, “wives must submit themselves to their husbands. In EVERYTHING?” You don’t submit to me on anything! You fight me on everything. If you would just be the Christian you claim to be, we wouldn’t have these problems. *Of course he left out a whole scripture, focusing only on what I was supposed to do. Ephesians 5:22-26 ends with, “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…”
- Your friends and family? Losers and man-haters. They all hate me and you listen to them so much. All they do is talk smack about me. And their husbands? Wimps! No wonder we fight all the time with all their garbage running through your head.
No matter how long or how much you have been targeted by the abuse, it is all a charade. This person has twisted your good qualities into something sinister and/or shameful. The Narcissist has caused you to question your own motives, intelligence, and character. This twisting of words, actions, and qualities has a technical term; it’s called “gaslighting” (aka: crazy-making). And again, make no mistake, it is intentional.
Victims of long-term target practice tend to minimize the Narc’s behavior. They tell themselves (and others), “I probably said it wrong.” “They’re right, sometimes I just don’t think.” “I don’t know what else to do, I must not be trying hard enough.” And God forbid if someone outside the relationship actually calls you out on this. The immediate response is equally minimizing, “You don’t know/understand him/her, he/she didn’t mean it that way,” or one I heard recently, “he is just passive-aggressive, it’s his way of not having to make a decision.”
Someone I dearly love once said to me, “if you don’t respect yourself, how can you possibly expect me to respect you? If you can’t even love yourself, how could you ever love anyone else?” That someone was a catalyst to opening my eyes showing me that even though I was out of the situation, I was still minimizing it.
How can we get our lives back and find purpose and joy in living if we participate in the abuse by minimizing it or making excuses for it. Truth: it’s impossible.
Brothers and Sisters I want to tell you who God says YOU and I are:
-You are beautiful because you are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:4)
-You are royalty. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood…” 1 Peter 2:9a
-You are victorious. “For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4
-You are the Victor, not the victim. “The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never the bottom.” Deuteronomy 28:13
-You and your children are protected. “I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.” Isaiah 49:25b
-You are loved, forever. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
-You are chosen. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world…” Ephesians 1:4a
-You are strong. “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord is my strength is my strength and my song.” Isaiah 12:2
-You are enough, do not be ashamed. “Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other, never again will my people be shamed.” Joel 2:27
-You have a purpose and a future. “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
-You deserve peace. “My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Isaiah 32:18
-You are heard. “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a place to stand.” Psalm 40:1-2
You have hope. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 & “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
You are a new creation. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” Isaiah 43:18–19a
What will you choose to believe? Lies, slander, and a charade? Or the Word. Who will you choose to listen to? The Narcissist, who hunted you down and slew your self-worth? Or God, who has loved you since the beginning of the world.
While you ponder on the questions I posed to you, I have one more thing that the Lord says you are:
You are free, “to say to the captives, ‘Come out,” and to those in darkness, ‘Be Free!’” Isaiah 49:9
I decided to believe the Word. I decided to believe that every single scripture in the Bible is a love letter– from God– to me! I chose freedom. I chose love. I chose to stand up for myself. I chose to be free. I chose to hear and see the truth. I chose to find me again. I chose to believe my savior, Jesus Christ.
And now… I choose to SPEAK UP! I choose to help anyone that needs encouragement, guidance, or prayer. I choose to shout from the rooftops, “Verbal/Emotional/Psychological abuse IS ABUSE! Come out of the darkness and Be Free!”