August 5, 2013 by Stacy McDonald


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One who is consumed by the delusion of perpetual victimhood is engaged in one of the most bitter and prolific sins I have ever witnessed. It is a vicious, blinding, self-consuming, inexhaustible, and cancerous sin. It keeps its prey bound, paranoid, miserable…and dangerous. Narcissism is a cruel master; it compels its slaves to count as enemies those who love them, and ironically to attack those who speak the truth to them…the very truth which promises them freedom (John 8:32).

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

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13 Responses to “Slaves”

  1. ChristinMom says:

    “Narcissism is a cruel master; it compels its slaves to count as enemies those who love them, and ironically to attack those who speak the truth to them…the very truth which promises them freedom”

    I’ve been the victim of a Passive Agressive husband for 15 years. It’s very similar to Narcissism in that they can’t love anyone but themselves. Any relationship with a PA is utterly destructible, to all near him and to himself in the end. And because he’s at war with every-one, there’s no way to help him, except pray and keep out of his way.

  2. Lovey says:

    This really strikes a chord with me. You have perfectly described my own mother. It’s long been said that if she had to fill out an application that under “occupation” she should write “professional victim”. Does pathological lying fall under this too? Saddest part is that she proclaims to be a Christian and has attended church most of her life. But once she leaves the building, her church mask comes off and she returns to being the same obsessed, paranoid, chronically negative, foul mouthed person I’ve always known her to be. She’s been confronted in love but never hears what anyone is telling her and continues on the same destructive path. She told my unbeliever dad that he was never welcome at her church and told me years ago that he deserves hell. Well……my husband said enough and invited my dad to church (we attend the same church as her). I never dared to ask my dad because of the terror of dealing with mom’s repercussions. Now dad is attending faithfully and we are seeing this wonderful, amazing change in him. And mom? She hasn’t been there is weeks now with no explanation why. And we don’t ask because of the high chance of having to face one of her explosions.

    Stacy, how do we pray for someone like my mom? Her heart is so hard and bitter. She can do the “church speak” quite well and can talk religion till the cows come home. But it’s just talk. Our church family think she’s a saint because she’s taking full-time care of her mom. Yet they don’t know that she’s unkind to grandma and can’t wait till she dies so she can get her inheritance which isn’t much in the first place. Greed, bitterness, and lies consume her. I can’t help but wonder if she is really saved at all?

    I don’t share any of this out of anger just an overwhelming sadness and frustration.

  3. Barbara says:

    Stacey, there are many people who have indeed be grievously mistreated by others. They are victims of abuse and maltreatment; they suffer because people have sinned against them. And because many people don’t like to hear stories of pain and suffering, traumatized people rarely find compassionate listeners who will sit with them and hear their pain. But the vast majority of traumatized people are not ‘delusional’. Not at all. They are not making up stories, and it is very offensive and silly of you to label them as delusional.

    And if traumatized people are wanting to keep talking about what they have suffered, it is usually because they have not had enough empathetic listening from others who BELIEVE them, so they keep trying to talk because their need to talk has not been assuaged. And every time someone disbelieves them or tells them to ‘get over it’ this is an additional hurt.

    Why does the Bible say “weep with those who weep”? Because God knows that recovery from trauma and abuse is best done in the company of kind-hearted companions. Would you deny traumatized people the natural healing that can come from weeping with friends and companions? Would you say that Christians should NOT weep with those who weep? If so, you are going directly against what it says in Scripture.

    I suggest you reconsider what you have said in this post, as it will hurt many people who have been gravely sinned against by others.

  4. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Barbara – You are absolutely right. True abuse is wicked and insidious. I myself have experienced abuse in ways I won’t go into here. I have also counseled with friends who are in fact true victims of abuse – though they are moving past it in victory. That’s why I’ve been so sensitive to women and their stories – I can feel their hopelessness, even as I strive to give them hope.

    Perhaps that’s why it grieves me when someone who claims abuse turns out to be the true abuser. It is a fact that in our society, anyone who is manipulative and cruel need only claim to be abused, and suddenly they are invincible. A few tears and a good story and their victims are abandoned into a horrible no-win situation. No facts required. Who grieves for them?

    The invincible abuser is able to gain sympathy with emotional hyperbole – brainwashing those who are weaker (in various ways) with partial truths and manipulation, and ironically turning everyone against the true victim of abuse. Control. Divide. Destroy. Blame.

    THAT is what I am against. Defend the weak. Not the one who simply claims to be weak.

    Let me ask you, Barbara: If your husband suddenly lost it (perhaps through drugs, mental illness, or vindictiveness) and we received testimony from him that you are a critical, demeaning, cruel abuser, should we blindly believe him simply because he was the first to claim abuse?

    Of course, you’re a woman, so he would have trouble in our society. Instead, let’s say it is your son who is being accused. Should we simply believe his wife without proof? And what if the proof was against her? Should we just believe her because she was the first to claim abuse or because she is a woman – even though your son explained (with proof) his innocence?

    Again, defend the weak. Not the one who simply claims to be weak.

    This type of abuser needs help too; and enabling them just prolongs their misery, as well as everyone who loves them.

  5. Barbara says:

    Stacey, I am not advocating naively believing anyone or everyone who claims to be a victim of abuse. I know that many abusers falsely claim to be the victim when in fact they are the perpetrator.

    You will note, Stacey, that in my comment I did not mention gender; it was you who brought gender into the discussion in your reply. Rather than discuss this on the basis of gender, I think it’s better to acknowledge that people (including yourself, perhaps) need to learn how better to discern the genuine victim from the phoney victim.

    That is why I had concerns about your initial post: it did not acknowledge that there are genuine victims of abuse, so any genuine victims who happened to read you post would most likely feel slighted by your words — they would feel that you were labeling them as delusional.

    As you may know, domestic abuse perpetrators who claim to be victims in their marriages usually also claim that when their victim says “I’m being abused” he or she (the true victim) is lying, crazy, delusional, a nut case. etc. So for victims, your words are very reminiscent of the unkind and false accusations that their abusers have used against them. You post, therefore would be very hurtful and triggering to genuine victims of spousal abuse.

    Stacey: if you were defending the person who you believe is the real victim, but it turned out you were actually defending the perpetrator, what would that make you? I would suggest it would make you an ally of the wicked person. And your stance would hurt the victim and would increase his or her sense of isolation.

    Notwithstanding your personal experience of abuse, nothing you have said gives me confidence that you know enough about the dynamics of abuse to be able to wisely discern a true victim from a phoney victim, or to phrase your teaching about abuse in a way that will not be unduly hurtful to genuine victims.

  6. Anna says:

    This sounds like my ex-h. He is still claiming to be the victim, feeling sorry for himself, miserable.

    I am recovering from his abuse. I want to address something you claimed in your response to Barbara. In my experience, the abused are rarely believed RARELY. It requires proof (that I gathered) before folks, especially pastors, will even consider that the abused are being abused and even then, there are questions about why we didn’t find a way to placate so we could’ve avoided “setting him off” as though we didn’t already do that. And then when we offer the proof, we’re accused of betraying the abusers’ confidence. I have no idea where you got the idea that claims of abuse are instantly believed. No clue. It’s not true. And it’s so sad that the victims of abuse have to cover all their bases and drive themselves nearly insane to make sure that their claims are provable.

  7. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I have written an article that details the different forms of abuse HERE. And you may be interested in reading Domestic Tyrants. I’m not sure why you think this post has anything to do with my ability (or lack thereof) to discern between true abuse and false abuse – as I don’t claim to have any special gifting in that area. And, besides, that’s not what this post was about.

    I only stated that false abuse exists, and if we’re not careful, we can allow it to create a nearly invincible abuser and an ignored victim – one that is abused a second time by those the abuser wins over.

    I am familiar with the website you represent. While I applaud your efforts to help women (and men) who are in truly abusive situations, I have also been amazed by how the moderators there seem to encourage the type of pseudo-victim/abuser that I’ve mentioned. There is no way you can know the truth behind the stories you receive on that website, yet they are given a platform to encourage one another in their bitterness. And I see a lot of bitterness. Even for a true victim, this is not healthy.

    And may I remind you that it is awfully easy to listen to one side of a story from someone you don’t know over the Internet—someone who may live thousands of miles away—and make a judgment call. What if you found out that you were supporting someone, a virtual online friend, who was actually the abuser? What if you found out that because of your enabling, you were actually encouraging more abuse? What would that make you?

    May the Lord reveal the truth in each situation and may the weak be defended and protected from tyrants. In addition, may the tyrants repent and turn to Jesus. And may the Lord protect the children who are the most vulnerable of all.

  8. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Lovey,

    I’m not sure what happened to my comment – perhaps I didn’t save it. I recommend that you pray for your mom. It is very likely that she is the most miserable of all. That is what is so ironic about this type of bondage.

    I don’t know you, your mom, or your family’s situation; however, if your parents are divorced, and your dad has just become a Christian, perhaps you could encourage him to reconcile any past hurts with her. Though she owns her own sin, it is always good to try to make it easy for people to forgive and move on. We are all called to be peace makers.

    That being said, none of you should allow/enable her to manipulate you. And, personally, I would make sure grandma is okay.

  9. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Anna – The fact that there are men and women who have a perpetual victim mentality (which is drastically different than that of a truly helpless victim) does not negate or minimize the fact that there are true victims that need protection. We are to protect the weak.

    But there are in fact times when people claim abuse out of vindictiveness or a desire to control a situation. Google “false claims of domestic abuse.” Or, as you’ve noted with your husband, some just live in a perpetual state of misery, embracing a pessimistic narcissism. “Everyone is against me….all my life people have been mean.” “If only ____would have done what I wanted, all would be right with the world.”

    We tend to speak from our own experiences, which you and I are both probably doing.

    In my past, I was in an abusive relationship, so I can relate to what you’re saying. And you’re right; there are often times when the abused are not believed – especially if the couple is very isolated.

    However, true abuse cases aside, you surely realize that there are those who attempt to control situations by preying on the sympathies of others. I’ve personally known several over the years, and it is a very different subject indeed.

  10. Thank you for this article. I think it was timely to read since I just escaped a situation which *seems* like what you have described here.
    I took the liberty to link to this article from a tab on my blog. I hope you don’t mind. God bless you.

  11. Kim says:

    This post is so poignant to me as someone who has lived with a person so consumed with making their identity one who is a victim but is actually the abuser. Thank you so much for calling out this sin. I have spent a lifetime trying to appease my abuser – who is a family member but not a spouse. This person is actually a contributing blogger on Barbara’s blog that was mentioned earlier. I have been shocked by the nasty tone and bitter words the mediators have allowed on that blog. It stuns me – as one who has suffered abuse from one of the authors of that blog. I am so, so grateful to know that she is not fooling everyone, that God is granting discernment to godly believers in the blogosphere. Thank you for the encouragement your post has brought to me and my family. God bless you!

  12. Lynn says:

    Your blog entry is a very important cautionary tale about believing what we read on the internet without the benefit of a personal (in person) relationship. I strongly urge Barbara and any others who take on extra bloggers and/or editors to their pages to be certain they know (without a doubt) that person. It is so very easy to twist the truth and become the victim when in fact you are the abuser. I know this because I have seen it happen and been the victim of it by someone I once called a best friend. Helping someone truly abused is an amazing and wonderful thing. Allowing a narcissistic, manipulative and lying individual to spread their venom further on a website/blog meant to help is another thing altogether. And make no mistake, people like my friend are good at what they do….experts in fact. They can sell a sob story like an Oscar nominated actress. The only way to avoid being taken by a person like this is to know them personally….don’t ever base it on a online relationship. The consequences are not worth it.

  13. Mrs. A. Non says:

    Thank you so much for your articulate, straight-forward post. I have learned the hard way that narcissism leads down a dark path; for years I was in a [non]romantic relationship with a narcissist. Her idea of love was for me to meet all her expectations—to always agree with her, always do what she asked, and always behave how she wanted me to. I didn’t understand in the midst of it that I was motivated out of a fear of her rejection—I sincerely thought I was loving her well until I disagreed with a decision she made and she stopped all contact despite more than 30 years of history. She later walked down the exact road you have described—that of delusional, perpetual victimhood.

    A friend alerted me to her blog and a couple of blogs to which she was contributing. She had crafted an intricate story of spousal abuse. Obviously I can’t speak to what happened in her marriage, which is why I was very surprised to read on these public sites accusations that I had rejected, disbelieved, and abandoned her—an impossibility considering the fact she hadn’t spoken to me in years, much less shared any of her story with me. After much research and speaking to several people who were involved, I found many inconsistencies and untruths in her claims. As I read more and more of her blog posts, the more I was shocked at her own abusive tone as she slandered her family members and friends who had tried to help her and twisted their words. She posted private letters from her husband, mocking his pain and his efforts to win her back. And she outright lied about how people had treated her—I guess that’s part of the delusion.

    I was saddened that in the privacy of her own home behind the safety of her computer, she had decided that being sinned against entitled her to sin against others. And I am saddened that websites and blogs that originally intended—I’m sure—to provide a safe place for abuse victims have morphed into a toxic platform for slander, gossip, and bitterness. Another part of the narcissism, I suppose, is being convinced that you are an authority over anyone who has an opinion that differs from your own.

    Thanks again, Stacy, for your courage in speaking biblical truth and encouraging your readers. You are a blessing.

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