Faith and Family Awakening & Narcissism

Discussions about negotiating relationships between faithful LDS believers and the apostates who love them. This applies in particular to mixed-faith marriages, but relations with children, parents, siblings, friends, and ward members is very welcome.
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Newme
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Faith and Family Awakening & Narcissism

Post by Newme » Wed May 08, 2019 3:15 am

It just dawned on me (@ 4am :) ) that my faith crisis helped instigate a family crisis - or awakening of dysfunction. If I hadn’t had some experience and confidence in navigating outside the Mormon box, I may not have been receptive to realizing what I thought was “normal” in my family of origin, is actually dysfunctional.

I remind myself that there is also good in the church & my family. But I’ve realized I was raised by a BPD narcissistic mother and married a narcissist because it felt normal to be blamed, shamed etc. Since I brought to light inconvenient truths about the church and our family, I have been hated and blamed, for “struggling.” They project their own problems they deny - onto me - then they feel off the hook. The church is also narcissistic in ways: shifting blame, wanting to be the center of attention, pretends it is superior to all, and tells lies like:

Lie: “You must give your power over to me - you must think like me.” (Truth: we each need to own our power and strengths.)
Lie: “You’re nothing without me.” (Truth: your worth is inherent.)
Lie: “You owe me.” (Truth: You don’t owe anyone anything.)
Lie: “Your feelings & opinions are irrelevant.” (Truth: Your thoughts & feelings are essential to help you navigate you!)
Lie: “It’s your fault.” (Truth: Refuse to take others’ response-ability, especially when they try to make you. They NEED to take their own. And you need to not allow them to burden you with theirs on top of yours.)

Again, I see positives in church involvement - like the sense of community - but boundaries are essential when narcissistic traits are expressed.

Do you think narcissists or scapegoats/doormats are drawn to or have the most difficulty seeing the negatives of, & maintaining boundaries with, such a narcissistic church?

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BriansThoughtMirror
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Re: Faith and Family Awakening & Narcissism

Post by BriansThoughtMirror » Wed May 08, 2019 5:41 am

I like your description. I was in a stake conference when it suddenly hit me that, to doubters, the church acts like an abusive significant other. The weird thing is that it's like that for some, but for others it really works.
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BriansThoughtMirror
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Re: Faith and Family Awakening & Narcissism

Post by BriansThoughtMirror » Wed May 08, 2019 5:42 am

Also, I'm still not quite sure what all my family's dysfunctions are... But there definitely are some that the church issues exacerbate.
Reflections From Brian's Brain
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RubinHighlander
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Re: Faith and Family Awakening & Narcissism

Post by RubinHighlander » Wed May 08, 2019 9:19 am

This one hits home, but not quite in the same way. My first marriage was to a narcissist. I was exactly the wrong person she should have married because I was a server who took all the blame and it just enabled her and exacerbated the situation. She had three different affairs over our 13 years of marriage and I kept taking the blame and taking her back. I think she'd get bored with me and toss me aside like a broken toy, but then realizing the other guys were not any better, she come back to the stability of her boring mormon life. She was actually the one who filed for divorce. I blame my brainwashing in church doctrine for taking her back over and over.

It wasn't until my 2nd (and last) marriage that my DW pointed out how narcissistic my X was and had me read a book about it. What an eye opener! it then all made so much more sense and all that guilt I had for not keeping that first family unit together was greatly diminished. Over all those crappy years of dealing with my X and my kids leaving the church I can see now that TSCC definitely made all of the issues worse: guilt, fear, depression, suicidal thoughts, sadness, loss of hope, false hope and my reactions the decisions I made with my kids. The only thing that kept me from falling off the edge was nature; literally saved my life through all the drama and gave me hope. At the time I thought it was God, but really it was my decision to go up to the mountains away from all of the crap and kick my own ass in the tops of the mountains, wandering through the forests. It's now a scientifically proven fact that spending time in nature, especially forests, physically and mentally improves health.

I think the reason my X couldn't exists in the church was because she found it easier to keep herself on her pedestal by her own standards and not by TSCC. She's actually much better now the kids are raised and she moved out of state; actually apologized to me for all the $hit she put me through all those years. So time can heal a lot of those wounds, but the common denominator in significant improvement is removing TSCC from the denominator.
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Newme
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Re: Faith and Family Awakening & Narcissism

Post by Newme » Wed May 08, 2019 10:11 am

BriansThoughtMirror wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 5:41 am
I like your description. I was in a stake conference when it suddenly hit me that, to doubters, the church acts like an abusive significant other. The weird thing is that it's like that for some, but for others it really works.
It’s good to know you also have realized this. The big thing in my life - which makes sanity possible - is maintaining boundaries. This sounds easy, but it’s not when tested by persistent people.

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Newme
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Re: Faith and Family Awakening & Narcissism

Post by Newme » Wed May 08, 2019 10:23 am

RubinHighlander wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:19 am
This one hits home, but not quite in the same way. My first marriage was to a narcissist. I was exactly the wrong person she should have married because I was a server who took all the blame and it just enabled her and exacerbated the situation. She had three different affairs over our 13 years of marriage and I kept taking the blame and taking her back. I think she'd get bored with me and toss me aside like a broken toy, but then realizing the other guys were not any better, she come back to the stability of her boring mormon life. She was actually the one who filed for divorce. I blame my brainwashing in church doctrine for taking her back over and over.

It wasn't until my 2nd (and last) marriage that my DW pointed out how narcissistic my X was and had me read a book about it. What an eye opener! it then all made so much more sense and all that guilt I had for not keeping that first family unit together was greatly diminished. Over all those crappy years of dealing with my X and my kids leaving the church I can see now that TSCC definitely made all of the issues worse: guilt, fear, depression, suicidal thoughts, sadness, loss of hope, false hope and my reactions the decisions I made with my kids. The only thing that kept me from falling off the edge was nature; literally saved my life through all the drama and gave me hope. At the time I thought it was God, but really it was my decision to go up to the mountains away from all of the crap and kick my own ass in the tops of the mountains, wandering through the forests. It's now a scientifically proven fact that spending time in nature, especially forests, physically and mentally improves health.

I think the reason my X couldn't exists in the church was because she found it easier to keep herself on her pedestal by her own standards and not by TSCC. She's actually much better now the kids are raised and she moved out of state; actually apologized to me for all the $hit she put me through all those years. So time can heal a lot of those wounds, but the common denominator in significant improvement is removing TSCC from the denominator.
I can relate. I love nature - it’s been my saving grace too.

So sorry you experienced such awful treatment. I put up with a lot for a while too - but I finally learning to assert myself. I was reading about how dysfunctional parents pick on scapegoats - who are usually easy to pick on (takes blame/sensitive) &/or reveal truths the entire family are actively trying to avoid. And as children - especially young - messages of unwarranted blame can be ingrained in the psyche, making it more difficult to overcome. Then you add on top of that a family & invasive neighbor fanatics of a narcissistic cult like the lds church & it’s tough.

There is a silver lining though! Those who were forced to play scapegoat become really good at detecting BS, and thus after realizing and healing, are more likely to have healthy relationships - being more aware.

It sounds like you found a good wife now. Good!

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