OPENING THE CURTAIN ON NARCISSISTIC ABUSEMar 04, 2022
If you know me, you will know that I love Jesus with all my heart. I have loved Him since I was a little girl. What you might not know is I was hurt very badly in the church. I still love Jesus and it’s because of Him that I love the church. In fact, (and this is how restorative God is) my current church has played an integral part in my healing.
I have now decided to talk about the narcissistic abuse that I experienced within the church. Not to scathe the church, but to expose the damage and to help bring healing, closure and a renewed hope to those who have also experienced abuse.
‘The Church Behind The Curtain’ is a four part series where I am interviewed by my son Ramon Tranquim who witnessed the effects of the abuse when he was just a young boy.
For anyone who comes across this blog who may have experienced abuse within the church, I want to say this to you:
Our God is a restorative God. He is NOT an abusive God. Christian Leaders who abuse their power and authority will be answerable to Him. However, we must not allow the effects of abuse to rob us of our lives. It’s so easy to be trapped in the pain of the past. So how do we heal and move forward into the calling that God has placed within us when we are broken and wounded from mental, emotional, physical or spiritual hit and run’s?
This is exactly why I want to share my story with you. It took me years to heal. It took me years to get involved in church. But I did, and you can too.
This full series is available on the ‘Under the Rug’ Podcast.
In Part 1 ‘Director to Dishes’, we go back to where it all began. My family and I were stepping back into church for the very first time after several years of having walked away from the church.
You can learn more about the back-story in my book ‘The Orange Hue.’ It’s available in paperback, ebook and audio-book form.
Being back in church after so many years was exhilarating. My self-protect-walls were beginning to fall, I was learning to trust again. But then came a shift…
Watch Part 1 below. *Viewer discretion advised.
Have you ever ignored the warning bells where later on you find yourself asking ‘Why didn't I listen to myself’? Comment below.
Be careful not to allow anyone to convince you that you cannot hear from God or make decisions for yourself. You are your own person. You know your own mind and God will give you discernment, wisdom and clarity to know what is right for you and your loved ones.
My Take Home:
I have certainly learned to take heed of the niggles. Now, I wait. I don’t jump in haste. I take time to seek council, to pray, to mediate, to sleep on it a day or two… before I act.
In Part 2 ‘Glam Up to Blow Up’, we go deeper into real life scenarios of what the growing abuse looked like on a daily basis, as well as the mental and emotional effects thereof.
Part of the challenge with narcissistic abuse is the victim doesn’t necessarily identify the abuse till much later on. Over time, and as the abuse intensifies, the victim is led to believe that they are the root of the problem.
I felt like I was losing my edge, like I wasn’t able to identify signs I normally would have. I was being ensnared in situations where, whatever decision I made, it was wrong. This is known as ‘a double bind’. You can skip straight to this section at the 7:28 mark:
Watch Part 2 below. *Viewer discretion advised.
Have you ever experienced a double bind? How did it effect you? Do you think that by continuing in a relationship that traps and ensnares, that things will somehow change? Comment below.
A double bind is a form of abuse.
As described on Psychology Wikia, a double bind is when you’re faced with two different demands, each on a different logical level, neither of which can be ignored or escaped. ‘Damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ type scenario.
My Take Home:
I have a voice. You have a voice. No one has the right or the authority to silence you. It’s easier to keep silent, but with that comes the risk of your mental, emotional and potentially physical demise… let alone the knock on effects on your loved ones. I know as I’ve been there. My silence led to an ongoing struggle with depression and anxiety, that got worse over time.
There would be no silence next time.
In Part 3 ‘From Bathroom Floor To Out The Door’, we cover my breaking point.
In the moment I slid to the floor and told my man ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ I felt like a bad mom, a bad wife, a bad worship director, and everything in-between. It was like I was failing in every area of my life. It’s shocking for me to admit that I was leading worship on Sunday, whilst battling with thoughts of suicide on Monday…
It was only years later that I came to understand that what I had been through was narcissistic abuse. It was the first time I realized that I was not the problem. At last I could begin my journey to healing.
Watch Part 3 below. *Viewer discretion advised. Tissues a must have.
f you have been impacted by anything discussed in Episode 3, please seek help.
For crisis support or suicide prevention:
AUS - Lifeline 13 11 14
UK - National Suicide Prevention Helpline 0800 689 5652
USA - National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
Have you ever experienced narcissistic abuse? How did it effect you and have you been able to heal from it? Comment below.
Church Leaders - you have a weight of responsibility on your shoulders to shepherd and lead your people with integrity before God. If you abuse that authority, you will be answerable before Him. God will not be mocked.
Church Members - a tree is known by it’s fruit. What fruit is your leader bearing? If it is good fruit, you and your household will flourish. If it is bad fruit, get out.
My Take Home:
Many who are broken and abused not only walk away from the church, but walk away from God also.
There is this horrible misconception that the abusive actions of a church leader is in effect approved of and authorised by God.
This is not the case.
The truth is, the abusive actions of a church leader are in fact a mis-representation of God and an abuse of authority. They will be answerable for their actions and will need to give an account.
In Part 4 ‘From Hurting To Healing’, we cover the ramifications of my years of abuse. It had taken its toll. Unfortunately, my walls were up long after fleeing. I had completely lost sight of who I was and I certainly wasn’t about to waltz back into another church and simply ‘plug in,’ for fear of history repeating itself. It saddens me to admit this in writing. 😞
So what is the way forward for someone in this very same position? The fact is, we the wounded still have a responsibility before God, not to bury our gifts and talents, but to bring what we have to the table, so as to strengthen and edify the body of Christ.
However, when coming out of an abusive church, it’s important to give yourself time. Time to heal, time at Jesus’s feet and time to forgive so as to move forward. So many see this as, ‘If you’re not plugged in to church, you must be backsliding.’ No, that wasn’t the case for me. In the aftermath of fleeing to the other side of the world, (God literally plucked my family and I out as covered in my book ‘The Orange Hue’) my body needed sleep. Nothing super spiritual about that. It was just my reality.
I needed to reconnect with my kids whom I felt I’d abandoned. I needed to reconnect with my husband. I needed to reconnect with myself. And above all, with my God.
I took long walks along the ocean’s edge to breathe in His beauty. I’d close my eyes and listen to the melodic sounds of the birds, the bellowing waves crashing, the smell of the sea. The comforting feeling of cool sand beneath me.
I’d inhale peace and exhale relief.
I needed this time to come to terms with the fact that I was finally free. It was the first step in my recovery.
Watch Part 4 below. *Viewer discretion advised.
Where are you at in your journey? Is it time to flee an abusive church leader? Are you in the aftermath of having fled and feeling a little lost? Or are you built up and ready get back up again so that you can continue with the work ahead? Comment below.
Church Leaders & Members- Be vigilant of wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. You have people and purpose to protect. Luke 6:43-45.
My Take Home:
God is restoring His Church and Jesus is coming back for a pure and spotless bride. We have work to do to rebuild what has been broken and to restore what has been stolen. We are well able. It’s time to roll up our sleeves, humble ourselves before God, be vigilant and alert and continue with the work He has commissioned us to.
Our God is a restorative God. He is NOT an abusive God.
Christian Leaders who abuse their power and authority will be answerable to God.
We the broken however, still have a responsibility before God to dust off the dirt, forgive those who have sinned against us, and move forward with what God has in store.
The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few (Matthew 9:35-38). We the labourers cannot remain stranded on the roadside from whatever hit and run’s we have experienced. We must get back up and fulfil our part in His-story.
If you have been impacted by anything covered in this interview, please do not hesitate to reach out via email at [email protected]
Share this blog with anyone in your world who needs it.
I love you, Nx
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