It almost doesn’t matter what your relationship with a narcissist is: parent, child, sibling, spouse, boss, coworker, neighbor, pastor, organizational associate–it is going to be a difficult, if not impossible relationship. Being on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse is lonely because the narcissist will isolate you in order to effectively abuse. Many people, when they realize what is happening will ask, “Why did God send me a narcissist?”
When asking, “Why did God send me a narcissist?” we must realize that just because we are children of God, it doesn’t mean we are sheltered from any bad that can happen to us on Earth. But what man means for evil, God can mean for good! Those who have been through narcissistic abuse have the ability to inspire fellow abuse victims to healing and an emotionally healthy new world.
So many of my articles talk about how bad narcissistic abuse is. Certainly, nobody would want to spend an entire lifetime under the thumb of a narcissist. But this article is going to be different because it is going to spin a very positive light on such a dark world. So, bear with me as I explain!
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Did Joseph ask, “Why did God send me a narcissist?”
In the bolded paragraph above, I referenced a verse from the Bible. At the end of the book of Genesis, Joseph is reunited with his brothers who almost killed him, but instead threw him down a well and sold him into slavery in Egypt. They did all of this because they were jealous of him. In Genesis 50:20, he tells his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story of Joseph, this family is absolutely full of narcissistic behavior. His father, Jacob, seemed to be quite a narcissist even from birth, as he was always scheming evil against his twin brother Esau, even from the womb. As an adult, he manipulated Esau out of his birthright with the help of his mother and an evil plot. And he even wrestled with an angel of God before finally giving up his life of narcissism and submitting his life to God. (Maybe there is healing for a narcissist?)
Joseph’s mother was Rachel, who was Jacob’s favorite wife. (Yep, this is actually all in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, chapter 29). She was barren for many years, while Jacob’s other wives (including Rachel’s older sister, Leah, who Jacob was tricked into marrying when he actually wanted Rachel)–had a total of 10 sons. When she finally had Joseph, he was Jacob’s golden child. And, of course, all of his brothers hated him for that. (Rachel had one more son, Benjamin, after Joseph. But Joseph was still Jacob’s favorite.) If this is all confusing to you, I have put it in a chart here:
This chart is actually very telling of how Jacob functioned in his family life and what God did with this mess. First, if you look at the birth order and clumps of certain children born of certain women, it does seem that Jacob is somewhat loyal to whatever wife he was with at the time. I am not excusing the polygamy, but just noting that it doesn’t seem he was with all the wives at any one time. Also, it is likely that most if not all of the first 4 children were born before Jacob worked off his 7 additional years to marry Rachel. Then, upon Rachel not being able to bear children, he moved on to what he thought was the next best thing: her top servant. When that didn’t give him the satisfaction he wanted, he decided to go to Leah’s servant. This fires several possibilities in my mind (none of them are Scriptural–all of them are conjecture):
- After four children with Leah, Jacob may have moved on to Bilhah as the closest thing he could get to a son with Rachel, who was known to be more beautiful than Leah.
- Bilhah may have felt guilty for sleeping with Rachel’s husband and put a stop to things.
- Leah may have been angry about being betrayed, driving Jacob to pursue her top servant instead.
- Maybe Leah refused to have more children when she finally got a girl after six boys!
- Who knows why Jacob ended up sleeping with Leah’s top servant. Maybe because everyone else was refusing??? (This one is very tongue-in-cheek!)
- And finally, Jacob has two sons with his beloved Rachel. And with that, he seems to be done pursuing more children.
Okay, so now that you see where Joseph comes from, you can also now see how Joseph turned out to be the quintessential extremely spoiled, youngest child. (Just for context, Benjamin was also a spoiled, youngest child. The two were the only sons of Jacob’s favorite wife, hence they were both treated with special favor that the other sons–and daughter–didn’t receive.) And this should also give you context for the fact that Joseph had indeed picked up some of the narcissism of his father, likely both by nature and nurture.
Joseph’s bout of narcissism didn’t last very long, because his brothers found it quite intolerable. I have to wonder if during the years he was thrown in prison he wondered why God had put him in that family. He wouldn’t have used the word narcissism, but if they were truly treating him narcissistically, he would be keenly aware of it regardless of the name or lack of name. I would like to think that he evaluated his behavior and God placed him low enough to reach out to Him for emotional and spiritual healing. And honestly, the rest of Joseph’s story seems to bear that out.
He ends up being second in command to Pharoah at the tender age of 30. And yet, it seems from the Biblical account that he never uses it to promote himself, but only to do great things for the country he now serves. It would seem that Joseph’s apparent narcissism was more like spoiled child behavior.
He saved his brothers and father from famine that God warned him about in dreams. And then, he saves and reunites with his brothers, forgiving them for all that happened.
Whether or not he felt he was a victim of narcissism, his whole family seemed to have recovered quite well by the end of the story. And for the end of this story: Jacob’s 12 sons become the 12 tribes of Israel that are highlighted and a significant theme throughout the Bible and history. This proves to us that God can use us for His good in spite of ourselves. Of course, he also used Judas to betray Jesus, so being used of God does not always put us in a positive light!
Was Abigail Angry at God for Sending her a Narcissist Husband?
In yet another story from the Bible, Abigail was described as a beautiful, intelligent, and kind woman. But in the account in 1 Samuel 25, her husband, Nabal, is described as vastly wealthy but surly and mean.
As the story goes, King David sent his men to ask Nabal to feed the troops after they had protected Nabal and his men. Nabal’s answer was to deny he even knew who David was, in spite of the fact that King David protected them! (That would be akin to us not knowing who our President, Prime Minister, or King is in today’s world).
David’s answer to his men was to arm up and head over to Nabal’s camp. And poor Abigail was caught in the middle. She had to have been asking, “Why did God send me a narcissist to be married to?” She certainly didn’t deserve it in human earthly terms. But God had better things in store for her.
Nabal’s men knew about the exchange and were horrified that Nabal would mistreat an ally in such a despicable way. They went to Abigail and appealed to her to somehow salvage this terrible situation. And now Abigail finds herself in an impossible situation. If she goes behind her husband’s back to rescue them, she faces the ire and revenge of her very cruel husband. But, if she intervenes to save them from being killed by David and his men, she risks being killed by a betrayed and angry former ally. She decides that to save the day, she must go against her wicked husband (wicked was the word Nabal’s own men used in this exchange).
So, how does Abigail handle the situation? Better than just about anyone would! She was amazing. She immediately prepared an absolute feast. Then she told her servants to take it to David and she would be right behind them. And she didn’t tell Nabal a thing about any of it.
Abigail and the servants arrived at David’s camp just as he had decided to return Nabal’s treachery by killing every single one of his men. She immediately gets off her donkey and bows to David, apologizing profusely for the exchange between his men and her husband. She begs forgiveness for her husband’s foolishness, reminding David that Nabal’s name actually means fool! And then she offers her gift of food to procure peace between the two camps.
David tells her that she has saved every one of Nabal’s men and saved David from a time of bloodshed. And then he graciously accepts her gift and sends her home with assurance of peace. Her quick thinking and action saved the day.
When she got home, Agibail found her husband, drunk and feasting with some of his men. He was so busy partying in his own little world that he had no idea the fate that his wife saved him from. She waited to address the issue until he had sobered up the next morning.
When she told him all that had happened, he was likely mortified that his wife had actually saved the day by undoing all of his foolishness. At this point, he had a heart attack and died ten days later.
Abigail then became David’s third wife, but one that he loved dearly (life certainly wasn’t perfect for women back then, but her marriage to David and subsequent life in a palace was certainly a step up from an evil man who happened to be affluent as well.
And while she may have questioned God as to her years with Nabal, it was used to save many lives and eventually put her in a pretty comfortable life later on. She was one of the few who got an answer as to why God sent a narcissist into her life while she was still alive.
Did you know that Jesus handled narcissists several times while on Earth and the Bible tells us how He did it? In this short video, Kris Reese does an amazing job of showing us exactly how Jesus responded to narcissists and how we can take His example check it out right here:
Why Did God Send me a Narcissist?
When I got married, I had no idea what a narcissist was, let alone what their bag of tricks looked like. Even years in and deep into the narcissistic abuse, I couldn’t understand what was going on. I prayed for God to make me a better wife. And I tried to help my husband to “understand” all of the things that I couldn’t seem to communicate to him. Until, finally in the counselor’s office, I realized he knew all along. But as long as he pretended not to know truth, I couldn’t hold him to it.
Once I learned about narcissism, I remember praying that somehow that would not be my husband’s issue. I prayed for it to be anything but narcissism because everything I read said there was virtually no case where a narcissist turned from their ways and became a self-aware, kind, reasonable person. God chose not to answer that prayer in the way I so desperately wanted.
But what did He do? He brought the best counselors and support into my life. He showed me what true healing and emotional and spiritual health looked like. And now, He has shown me how to help so many other people literally around the world to heal in their own way from their narcissistic (and even other forms of) abuse!
What man meant for evil, God meant for so much good!
I could not see it for what it was when I was going through it. For years I thought it was something I was doing wrong. Eventually I realized it wasn’t me. And then it was several more years of emotional and spiritual healing before I was able to confidently say that God sent me a narcissist so that I could learn how to relate to almost anyone I encounter and have helped literally thousands around the world.
Why Did God Send YOU a Narcissist?
I recently did a consultation with a woman in Australia who was emerging from her relationship with a narcissist. First, she is an attorney. I say that so you understand that even the smartest of us can fall for the tricks of a narcissist! (As a side note, my own lawyer in my divorce was also married to a narcissist, which is why she felt such a bond to me and ended up taking my case!) Second, toward the end of our session, I had complimented her on how succinct and perfectly detailed her notes to me were before our consultation call. It was perfect for me to understand her backstory well and be able to spend that hour dealing with the current issues and discussing issues of moving on and healing.
One of the last things we discussed in that consultation call was her future dream to minister to other people who were coming out of narcissistic relationships by helping them to document what they had been through and a plan for healing. I can’t tell you how encouraging that was to me to see how God was working through a couple of broken down people to bring healing to thousands if not more people down the line! In this case, God had sent a narcissist to a beautiful person whose calling in life was already to help people with documentation and organization. And now He was inspiring her to make that her ministry to hurting people, at least in her little part in the world, but potentially worldwide.
Again, what man meant for evil, God meant for good.
So, if you are sitting (or standing) and reading this article, feeling like you are never going to get out from under your narcissist, know that God has so much more in store for you. It probably won’t be a blog or a ministry of helping women put seemingly impossibly jumbled thoughts into writing. It could be as simple as helping a friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker, or any acquaintance through a difficult relationship with their narcissist. It could be that you start praying for someone who confides in you regarding their hurt. Or it could be that you start whatever ministry God places on your heart.
I would love to hear how God has worked through your narcissistic relationship. I would love to hear how your thought patterns turned from totally defeated to an inspiration and encouragement to others. And I would love to hear how we are all a worldwide team to conquer narcissistic abuse!
The One Resource I Recommend the Most for You
I have a whole webpage of the best resources I used in my own journey to healing and often recommend today to those in my local support groups. There are a bunch of free printables to help inspire you on your path to healing as well as the best books I have read on my own journey and in helping others. But if I could only recommend one most helpful resource to you, without a doubt, it would be The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick.
She begins the book by giving you a short test to help you determine if you are in a disappointing marriage or a destructive one. Then, she will give you information regarding both types of marriages and emotionally healthy action steps you can take based on your own evaluation of your marriage. The best part of this book is that halfway through, you can feel the healing as you begin to think more clearly about your own situation and are able to make your own healthy decisions based on the information you now have.
She also talks about C.O.R.E. principles that help you to maintain healthy boundaries and a good life regarding your relationships. Here is what each of the letters of CORE mean:
C – I will be committed to truth, both internally in my own heart and mind and externally. I refuse to pretend.
O – I will be open to the Holy Spirit and wise others, teaching me, maturing me, and guiding me into his way of living my life.
R – I will be responsible for my own responses to destructive behavior and commit to being respectful without dishonoring myself.
E – I will be empathic and compassionate toward others without enabling people to continue to abuse and disrespect me.
In a response to a follower, she goes on to say, “When you know and believe that you are a loved, valuable, worthwhile human being and live from that core place, toxic people lose their power to manipulate you. They can’t control and intimidate you as they once did when you felt worthless, dependent and needy.”
Once I learned these 4 really important steps and started practicing them, my whole world changed. Tell me how it worked for you too!!!!
Where are you at in the process of healing from narcissism? If you are just in the beginning stages, then give yourself a hug and know that you are going to be okay! If you are slogging through the mess of getting out of it, know that the sunny days are closer than they feel! And if you are emerging through it, you know that you are no longer defined by what your narcissist tried to turn you into!
Do you think you may be in a relationship with a narcissist? If you think so, take this test with instant results to get a better idea of whether you are indeed involved with a narcissist and what healing you will need to pursue.
Are you just now in the beginning stages of recognizing narcissistic abuse in your life and not sure where to go or what to do next? Or maybe you are in the middle of the trenches, trying to make sense of the craziness swirling around you as you work your way through. Or, maybe you are in the end stages and just need some confirmation that you are where you need to be as you are nearing the finish line of healing. I can help you start to put the pieces together to get quickly on the path to healing, make sure you are where you need to be as you progress on your journey, and finish well as you make your way to the light at the end of the tunnel. I have many resources you can check out here, but if you would like quicker, more direct guidance specific to your situation, a direct consultation may be more helpful to you. I am currently booking about 9 or 10 days out; you can check out the various consultation options here. (I am hoping to add more consultation slots in the next few weeks so we can get the time frame down to 3-5 days from the time you schedule until you get your consultation.)
I just want you to know that if you found this article, that means you are taking steps to healing already! And you are going to find the peace and happiness you are searching for. Here are a few more articles to help you along your journey:
You’ve got this! I said a prayer for you and everyone else that came to my website today. And I know God has your back, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now!
Hugs and love,
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