I’m not sure if television trends depict real life trends or if it’s the other way around but either way, it’s becoming quite apparent that power hungry, controlling, narcissists are on the rise.
We think we like them on TV, but characters like Tony Stark (Ironman) and Frank Underwood (House of Cards) make narcissism look much cooler than it is in real life.
In real life, living or working with a narcissist is a lot like living or working with a rattlesnake. Those that get in the way – get bit.
Narcissists use their “top dog” status in a group to glorify themselves and push others down.
They use whatever they can to boost themselves up higher, including those they claim to love. They are more interested in power and control than anything else.
The biggest problem with narcissists is that you can’t “stop” them, no matter how hard you try. Fighting them only seems to make them bow up and get tougher.
But, you CAN learn to shield yourself from their weapons.
Narcissists often use blame and toxic shame to maintain their lofty position in a group.
Blame and toxic shame both burn and many of us have learned to retreat in order to avoid being hit by one of these two dangerous, flaming munitions.
No one likes to be blamed for things. No one likes to be shamed, especially in a toxic way. This is exactly why the narcissist uses them!
These are punishments that are meant to keep us from doing one thing: challenging the polished image of the narcissist.
Let’s take a look at those weapons for a minute.
Blame takes all the focus off of the narcissist and points you out as the problem. Blame is noisy. And fear of being blamed keeps most people quiet.
Blame sounds like, “You shouldn’t have done that! Now everyone is going to suffer because of you!” or “Look what you made me do!”
Toxic shame takes it even further and makes you feel like you ARE the problem. It starts out externally thrown, but like a virus it gets under the skin where it can fester and cause infection from within.
It says things like, “You are a no good, worthless piece of trash who can’t do anything right!” Like a song stuck on repeat, it whispers eternally of what a disgrace you are until you believe it and then you no longer pose a threat to the narcissist.
Both of these weapons are mind games that are defeated with one simple deflector.
This sounds too good to be true doesn’t it.
You can’t light a wet match
The truth is, joy gives us an identity that is impervious to the weapons of blame and shame. Joy douses the flame. You can’t light a wet match.
When our identity is based in joy, in knowing that God and others are glad to be with us, for who we are, not for what we do, then blame falls flat and shame has no way to get in under the skin.
When we grow our identity in joy, we begin to understand that weakness is not a bad thing! When we don’t view weakness as a bad thing, then we no longer fear appearing weak.
Growing in joy won’t stop a narcissist from trying to hurl blame and shame at you, but it will prevent you from catching on fire.
Blame and toxic shame both require a fear of weakness, and a fear of the exposure of weakness in order to work.
I bet you’re wondering now, “How exactly do I grow in joy then?”
The answer is much longer than a blogpost! Check out Joy Starts Here, Connexus, and THRIVE to learn how!