Too Good to Be True?

Are you in a relationship in which you feel like you’re on a roller coaster or a merry-go-round that you can’t figure how to get off of? Is your boyfriend, fiancé, husband super sweet one moment and then moody and accusatory the next? Is there passionate lovemaking one night and explosive arguments the next day? Are there little red flags going off here and there that you’ve been choosing to ignore? Does he call his ex-girlfriends or wives crazy, manipulative lunatics? Does he play the victim in past relationships? Maybe he says he just hasn’t found the right one until he found you. Fate has brought you together. Maybe. But still, something’s off, something’s not quite right. Perhaps he’s an addict…drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex…you’re not sure if he is. Is that the problem? The underlying problem to many, if not all, addictions is a personality disorder. Maybe that’s it. There are different kinds of personality disorders and many different things to become addicted to. So, there are many combinations that can potentially become a destructive force to your relationship, your marriage, and ultimately to you, the victim. In an effort to help my fellow womankind, to warn you, to open your eyes, to validate what you might be experiencing and feeling, to let you know that YOU’RE not the one who is crazy…I write this blog…at 2:00 in the morning. This weighs heavily on my heart for you. If you’ll just consider the words that I present to you. I came across this article earlier that explains what narcissism is and what it looks like to be in a relationship with a narcissist. There were some inappropriate words in the original, so I did change a few words to make it PG. I’ve posted the link to the original if you’d like my reference to the article. If my words have rung a bell in your heart, please read this…

A relationship with a Narcissist has been compared to being on a roller coaster, with immense highs and immense lows. They have been described as the proverbial Jekyll and Hyde, one way one minute, another the next.

People usually get into relationships for love and the need to connect and bond with another. Narcissists get into relationships for entirely different reasons. They do not feel love and they lack the ability to connect and form normal attachment bonds with others.
Narcissists need people more than anyone. Because their entire sense of self-esteem and self-worth is dependent on the admiration of others, their emotions are a precarious balance of needing others and needing to be left alone.
Narcissists feel an enormous void inside of them. This void is ever present and the only thing that fills it, is the love and esteem of another. The fix is always temporary though. A Narcissist describes it this way, “It’s like my brain is constantly seeking something. It’s like I’m always chasing a carrot at the end of a stick. Nothing I do satisfies me, at least not for long. I feel like I only do things because I’m supposed to, because society does it. I don’t feel like I belong anywhere or with anyone.”
Narcissists are completely self-absorbed and are oblivious to the wants and needs of others. They enter into relationships in an attempt to fill this void and to make sure that they have someone who is always available for sex, an ego stroke or whatever need they may have. A relationship with a Narcissist always follows three phases, the over-evaluations phase, the devaluation phase and the discard phase.
The Over-evaluation Phase
A Narcissist is very careful when choosing a target. Typically, they will choose a victim based on their status. They must be attractive, popular, rich or extremely gifted in some area. The greater the status, the higher the value the Narcissist places on the Supply derived.
Once a target has been chosen, it’s almost like the Narcissist gets tunnel vision. They are hyper-vigilant in their pursuit and will project the perfect image that their victim wants them to be. They are excessively caring, loving and attentive at this stage. They shower their targets with attention, compliments and literally sweep them off their feet.
They place their target on a pedestal, idolize and worship them. Their target is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Here the Narcissist is ecstatic, full of hopes and dreams. They will talk and think about them constantly, they are euphoric. This is as close as a Narcissist will ever get to feeling love. This kind of idolization is what others would call infatuation.
The victim is likely so caught up in all the attention and is usually thinking at this point, that they have found their soul-mate. Their pursuer is exactly what they want in a partner (because the Narcissist is mirroring what they have learned appeals to their target) and they can’t believe how lucky they are and that this catch is still single.
What they don’t know, or could ever be prepared for, is what comes next.
The Devaluation Stage
The Over-Evaluation phase, if you’re dealing with a Somatic Narcissist, usually lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months, just long enough for the Narcissist to be confident that they have secured their target’s love and devotion. Unbeknownst to the target, what they were witnessing in the early phase was the Narcissist’s false self. In this second phase, the mask comes off and the Narcissist starts to reveal their true colours.
The shift could be gradual or almost seemingly overnight. Suddenly the attention they so lavishly gave you is gone and replace by indifference and silence. Days or weeks could go by and you won’t hear from them. They don’t return your phone calls, they don’t keep a single promise and you’re starting to suspect that they might be involved with someone else. The target is left baffled and confused and wondering what they did wrong to cause such an abrupt turnaround.
Narcissists become bored easily and what usually starts happening in their heads at this stage, is that the void begins to emerge again. The high they were feeding off of is waning and they begin to question your worthiness, that perhaps you weren’t so special after all, because if you were then the void wouldn’t still be there.
They become moody and agitated easily, blaming you for even the slightest transgression. They start to disappear more frequently and they give you the silent treatment in an attempt to create distance. As the Narcissist withdraws, the target starts to cling and your demands for his attention and your need to understand what’s happening, grate on his nerves. The harder you cling the more the Narcissist pulls away. They start to blame and criticize the target for everything, treating them like an emotional punching bag.
At this point the target is an emotional wreck. The Narcissist has left without any explanation and they can’t figure out how one minute they were put on a pedestal and now it’s like they don’t even exist. The Narcissist is a projector and they are projecting their emotional turmoil onto you. They feed off of other people’s misery (as long as it’s caused by them) just as much as they feed off of your admiration, either way it makes no difference to them.
It is this person, this cruel, indifferent, unfeeling, sadist that is the behind the mask. Most targets desperately try to find the one they fell in love with. What they don’t realize is that that person never existed. They were a facade an act put on by the Narcissist to secure their Supply.
The Narcissist will take no responsibility for their actions, because they simply don’t care how they’ve treated you or how you are feeling.

Narcissists are not capable of forming normal healthy attachments to people. Those that aren’t familiar with the disorder are completely at a loss to understand how unnecessarily cruel their behavior can be. The target was never more than an object to the Narcissist, whose usefulness is on the decline.
The Narcissist isn’t one to throw away a potential piece of supply though. He will keep up this I love you, I love you not charade going for as long as it suits them or as long as you allow it. He will breeze in and out of your life as if nothing ever happened, completely oblivious and indifferent to your suffering.
This mind trick is deliberate and he will keep feeding you crumbs of attention, just enough to keep you emotionally invested and available to cater to his every need.
At some point one of two things will happen: either he will find a new target and begin phase one with them, thus ignoring you completely, or you will have had enough of his psychotic abuse and you will take control and put an end to it, thus ushering In phase three.
The Discard Phase
It is almost baffling to watch the ease at which a Narcissist can pull away from his partners. Many targets are left asking themselves, “Did he ever love me? Did I mean anything to him?” The simple answer is no. No one means anything to him. Women are only a means to an end – to obtain the much needed Narcissistic Supply. Once your usefulness has run its course, you will be discarded abruptly and cruelly, without warning.
Trying to get over a relationship with a Narcissist is extremely difficult. Once it is over the target is usually an emotional wreck, whose self-esteem has been annihilated by the persistent demeaning behavior, insults and cruelty of the Narcissist. Depending on when they were able to break free, the target maybe a shadow of their former self, with a lot of work ahead of them to rebuild their shattered self-image.
As a victim tries to pick up the pieces, What must be remembered is that you were deliberately targeted, lied to and manipulated by a skilled con-artist, for their own gain. There was nothing you could have done differently and none of this was your fault. The Narcissist will repeat this pattern with every person, every time, bar none.
All former targets must be vigilantly on guard, because a Narcissist always reserves the right to revisit a former source of supply, no matter how much time has passed or how badly they’ve behaved.
Once you have broken free you must close the door on any and all contact, because if you don’t you’re headed back to a watered down version of Phase One – over and over and over again.

Remember, friend, you were created for more than this. You are the apple of God’s eye. You are worth more to your Creator than all the gold and riches in the world. You cannot fix a man or make him better. Only God can. Look to Him for help and guidance and never forget who YOU are and what YOU were made for. He has great plans for your life.
If you are dating or engaged to someone like this…run! Run as fast as you can! Get off the crazy train while you can! If you’re married, get help, now. Find a professional counselor to help you. If you need assistance finding someone, I can point you in the right direction.

I pray blessing, strength, boldness and emotional healing over every woman who reads these words. May God’s love fill your heart and help you to see yourself as He sees you.

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”


The Official “Husband Improvement Program”*

When I first met my husband, he seemed like THE perfect man. My mom likes to tease me that I once said he’s the closest thing to Jesus. Of course, I deny saying such a ridiculous thing! Mom insists I did and I guess I WAS a little love struck. Love makes you do and say some CRAZY stuff!

Once you marry a person, you find out all those “special” little things about them that you were blind to previously. You know what I’m talking about. The way he snores at night. The way he slurps his soup or the milk in his cereal bowl. The messiness or the other extreme of OCD cleanness. Wet towels on the bed. Socks left everywhere, turned inside out…jeans too. The inability to change the empty toilet paper roll. And so on…know what I mean?

Now these are “little” issues in the grand scheme of the world and life in general. Annoying at times (or always), yes. But we can deal with these little nuances in our spouse, right? If you said, “No,” girlfriend, you need to step back and take an eval of your life. Any time I start feeling like a psychotic woman, having to hear that snoring for ONE.MORE.SECOND, I stop and think about how much I love my husband and how wonderful he is to me and the kids. He’s such a wonderful daddy and provider. We are so blessed to have him in our lives. Truly. Then, of course, I give him a violent shake and make him roll over. When he throws his wet towel on my side of the bed, I just shut my mouth and hang it up for him. It’s no reason to start World War III. It’s all about perspective people! Or so I’ve learned…

I’m a fixer by nature. When I come upon a problem, I feel the need to find a solution. I frequently fight the urge to jump in and “save the day.” All my life I’ve been like this! I looked at my husband and saw some problems, the need for some fixin’ up. Can you feel the trouble brewing? Something in me told me it was not right, but I just couldn’t help myself!

The plan for an overhaul on my main man was not met with enthusiasm by all parties involved. Lew has been quite resistant to Susie’s Official “Husband Improvement Program.” My need to fix my man went much deeper than wet towels, dirty socks and toilet paper rolls. His behavior, his speech/grammar and level of spirituality went on the “to-do” list, as well. I attempted to micro-manage his relationship with God. I told him what he should and should not be doing, saying and feeling. I expressed great displeasure and disappointment with him when he did not measure up to MY standards. *Show this to your husband and then tell him how blessed he is to have YOU for his wife and not me! 😉

Now, I’m not going to go into my issues of why I’m such a control freak. That would take up more time and space than this blog warrants. But, I will share with you how I have changed.

In an effort to catch my husband “up-to-speed” in the program, I nagged him, criticized him, questioned him, badgered him, tried to make him feel guilty, and more. My efforts to force my convictions and standards into his very being drove a wedge between us. My actions and his non-action caused frustration, great anxiety and stress within me. And my hubby felt as if he didn’t measure up, he felt inadequate as a husband, like he could do nothing to make me happy, like he could do nothing right for me. Sounds like a recipe for misery, eh?

I will add a disclaimer in my defense here: My motives were in the right place. I see what an awesome person my husband is. He is gifted with many talents and abilities that I know God wants to use in great ways in His life. I, being the person I am, want to help him get to the place where he is being “all he can be.” I love him and want the best things for him. Okay, that being said, let’s move on.

Of course I prayed for my husband while putting him through the “program.” One day, I was having a talk with the Lord and begging him to make Lew this and make Lew that. And do you know what He said? Something like this…”Susie, I love Lew way more than you ever could. Relax, I’m in control. I’m working on him and making him what I want him to be. Leave him ALONE!”

Ka-Boom. Schmack down.

Sigh. Okay, okay. I get it.

Around this same time, I received a daily devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries in my email. It was all about praying for husbands, covering them daily in prayer from head to foot. I printed it out and hung it on my kitchen wall. I read it every day. For weeks, for months, for years…to this very day. Somewhere along the way, I’m not even sure when, things began to change between he and I. The interesting thing is that I’m not sure if he is the one who changed or if I am the one who changed. You see, sometimes when we pray, WE are the ones who change. I’m not saying that my husband has not become a better man, but MY attitude, demeanor and actions changed too. Prayer works, people. It works.

With God all things are possible.

Lew knew that I was praying for him each day. Not because I told him, but because he saw the paper hanging on my kitchen wall. I believe he felt my prayers each day as he drove to his job. That knowledge alone empowered him as a husband and as a man. He read what I prayed. He saw the desire of my heart for him. God began speaking to him about our life. He shared, we talked. Instead of him asking me questions about God and the Bible all the time, now he gives me great advice and counsel according to God’s Word, as well. His relationship with God has grown exponentially. I feel confident, safe and secure with my husband. He feels loved, accepted and affirmed as a husband. One very important point to take away: The changes that took place in me and Lew had nothing to do with what I could do in my own power (the nagging, criticizing, fixing, etc). It was only because of prayer and the surrender of my life and my husband to God. Period.

Our pastor talks about how marriage can be like a little slice of heaven on Earth. I used to think, “Yeah right. That’s never happening in this house.” But lo and behold, my marriage to Lew IS a piece of heaven to me. Not perfect, of course. But REALLY great!

In closing, I encourage you, dear wife, to stop nagging and start praying for your husband. Stop trying to change your man and start working on yourself instead. Place your husband in God’s hands, no matter how bad you think he is. He’ll see the change in you and get aboard. It may take some time, but with God’s help, your marriage can be that little piece of heaven you so desire. Below, I’ve posted the link to “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe.” Please, print it out, hang it where you will see it every day and start praying!

*Susie’s Official “Husband Improvement Program” is not an actual program used for the improvement of a husband’s unsavory behaviors. It is a fictional, literary expression of the author’s feeble attempts to change her own husband. No studies have been conducted to test the program, save the author’s own. As stated above, the “Husband Improvement Program” resulted in the epic fail of peace and harmony within the home of the testers. Use at your own poor discretion and the ultimate demise of a happy marriage.

Proverbs 18:22

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. ..
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.
Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the Lord.