Dealing with a narcissist

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Junior
My wife is struggling with co-depdency, narcissism, legalism and perfectionism from her parents even in adulthood. Any advice or resources on how to deal with this? I could not deal with it and no longer have any contact, which they probably prefer, but she remains the object of their ire. I’m no peach and my wife isn’t perfect but I think we have a little more insight into our own behaviors and shortcomings. There is also a financial dependency that still remains. How can my wife stand up for herself without being disowned? She works full time, we have 5 children and one disabled child (ASD) and she needs to be supported not just judged all the time. It’s very frustrating.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Senior
Probably super obvious, but do y’all pray for them? Again, it’s a no-brainer, but I can think of many things in my life that frustrated me in the past but which I, for some reason, failed to pray regularly and earnestly for.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Junior
Probably super obvious, but do y’all pray for them? Again, it’s a no-brainer, but I can think of many things in my life that frustrated me in the past but which I, for some reason, failed to pray regularly and earnestly for.
I used to a great deal when I was a part of their denomination and seeking acceptance. After 20 years of the same stuff, on and off, not so much. :confused:
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Senior
I used to a great deal when I was a part of their denomination and seeking acceptance. After 20 years of the same stuff on and off, not so much. :confused:
I feel hypocritical for saying this, knowing deeply my own shortcomings in prayer, but we have to realize that “unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). In this situation, if you aren’t pleading with the Lord regularly for these people, advice and helpful literature won’t do much good.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Junior
My wife is struggling with co-depdency, narcissism, legalism and perfectionism from her parents even in adulthood. Any advice or resources on how to deal with this? I could not deal with it and no longer have any contact, which they probably prefer, but she remains the object of their ire. I’m no peach and my wife isn’t perfect but I think we have a little more insight into our own behaviors and shortcomings. There is also a financial dependency that still remains. How can my wife stand up for herself without being disowned? She works full time, we have 5 children and one disabled child (ASD) and she needs to be supported not just judged all the time. It’s very frustrating.
I'm not sure this will be what you're looking for, but I do think it would be helpful (and I say this from having walked through similar family dynamics) for you and your wife to talk together with a licensed Family Therapist. When we first talked to one their specific professional experiences provided wisdom that was really valuable and it was the first time we felt that a counselor really grasped the full extent of the situation. While you probably have some good licensed Family Therapists who are Christians in your area (ours happened to be), even a good non-Christian counselor would likely be helpful because what they lack in Christian worldview they make up for in specific professional experience that a good and faithful jack-of-all-trades Christian counselor probably doesn't have. Someone who has seen a lot of what you are going through and counseled people through it will help you not only process, but set healthy boundaries and possibly find some ways to improve the relationship (though much of that is outside of your control).

As for prayer, I know we went through a long time where we had to confess to the Lord that it was just too hard to pray about our situation but that we were committing the situation to his him and trusting him even when we weren't talking to him about it regularly. What you're going through is REALLY hard, brother. I empathize. I'll pray that you and your wife find peace (and, if you don't mind, a good Family Therapist!).
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Junior
Yeah, sometimes I feel like a fool for getting into something I would not be able to manage, being always placed at a disadvantage, and ultimately making things worse to the point that I had to remove myself from all association while my wife continues to struggle with conflict on her own. In the meantime, I’m sure she feels a bit of pressure from my end as well from time to time.

People tell me all the time, how can these people not like you, you are such a nice person. Maybe I have them fooled or maybe I’m fooling myself. But this situation is such a mess. I could see why some pastors insist on extended counseling (at least a year) and preparation before going through with a marriage commitment.
 
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A.Joseph

Puritan Board Junior
I mean I should be careful when I say narcissism. I’m not sure all that entails. And I dont love labels. I guess perfectionism with a mix of religious and cultural elitism and a form of legalism are all part of where they are coming from, acknowledged or no.

But their good attributes include very hard working, responsible, organized, economically stable, disciplined, moral, handy/resourceful, etc. They are very proper, reserved and conservative in dress, presentation, conversation. Very black and white about all things. They are very diligent in all worldly affairs, keep a very clean house, etc. Very concerned with outward appearance.


We are not as strong as them in these areas and my wife, in particular, feels like a failure. I can’t even think like that anymore. My sin is too great to feel like a failure in life. I don’t measure myself by worldly success much anymore.
 
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arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
My church did a counselling seminar on this by one whose family was harassed by one : littletonbiblechapel.org/topical-messages?sapurl=LysyYjU2L21lZGlhL21pLytjOWsybmNnP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==
 
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