Tuesday, September 30, 2014

7. Anger from Narcissistic Abuse

The Scapegoats of a Narcissistic Mother by Gail Meyers
To be free to express resentment dating back to
early childhood does not mean that one
now becomes a resentful person,
but rather the exact opposite. 

Alice Miller
Child Abuse and Mistreatment

© by Gail Meyers  
When I learned there is a name for all of the abuse, lying and manipulative maneuvers of my narcissistic mother, I almost immediately acquired an insatiable appetite for reading everything I could about the disorder.  I was astounded that complete strangers I had never met experienced the same abuse no one ever seemed to understand.  Of course, after a lifetime of invalidation, the temporarily unquenchable thirst for more makes perfect sense.

Naming Narcissistic Mother's Manipulation Tactics

Besides being validating to learn the name of the problem was narcissistic personality disorder, it was also validating and healing to learn her maneuvers have names.  Many of the narcissistic mother's manipulation tactics are identified and  discussed in previous chapters, including:

There is healing power in being able to name the problem.  It helps break through the denial, clear the fog and see the reality of the situation.  Learning about these tactics also makes them less effective.  So name your narcissistic mother's stunts.

Goodbye Denial, Hello Anger

As you learn about narcissism and manipulation tactics the realizations begin to break through the denial.  The natural response is to become angry about the abuse and the injustice of it all.  Then, if you haven't already, you notice another double standard.  It is fine for narcissistic mother to fly into a rage, but it is not okay for you to be angry.  It is especially not okay for you to be angry with your narcissistic mother.

Is Anger Wrong?

Many of us have the idea that anger is wrong. We receive the message many times in our lives that it is unbecoming, unattractive, or unacceptable to be angry.  If our anger from a lifetime of abuse is not resolved in 15 minutes, we repeatedly receive the message that we should get over it, leave it in the past and not become bitter.  

However, being angry for a season of time in order to process our anger from the narcissistic abuse is exactly what prevents us from allowing bitterness to poison our lives.  While it might feel that way at times during recovery, anger is not our identity, it is a phase of the healing process.

So resist giving in to some of these beliefs and pressures about anger, which can easily result in denying and stuffing the anger.  Stuffed anger is about like trying to hold a beach ball under the water.  It is going to come out somewhere, and probably with a lot more force than we expected.

During the course of my recovery from my narcissistic mother, I became so angry it was almost frightening. I would say enraged more closely described my emotions when the realizations flooded in, shattering the denial that had been in place for many years.

At this point in my recovery, my therapist at the time told me when it is all said and done I will truly pity my mother. Quite honestly, I thought she was either crazy or giving me way too much credit. I did not believe there was any way in the world I would ever again feel anything but rage toward my narcissistic personality disordered mother. The anger was so deep and so consuming, it felt as if it would blaze nearly out of control forever. It didn't. It was anger built up over a lifetime of abuse, so it did take some time to process.  However, it did finally subside. 

The Biblical Perspective on Anger 

The narcissistic mother masquerading as a Christian loves to tangle this one up as another way of attempting to beat you with the Bible, invalidate your righteous anger toward her evil behavior and usher you into depression or bitterness.  

She will broadly misapply Psalms 37:8 to every instance of your anger, especially righteous anger rather than unrighteous anger.  However, she will not apply it to her seething anger or narcissistic rages.  Anger is a God-given emotion, which is why instructions for handling it are in the Bible. 

Christian Psychiatrist Dr. Paul Meier states the following in Free to Forgive :

Over ninety percent of biochemical depressions are caused by holding on to our anger in the form of grudges and vengeful motives.  If people learned to get in touch with their anger, verbalize it and forgive the abusers of this world then over half of our psychiatric practice would be eliminated.    

First of all, there is a distinction between unrighteous and righteous anger or righteous indignation in the Bible.   Righteous anger is not forbidden, but we are warned about unrighteous anger.  

Unrighteous Anger

Proverbs 15:18 addresses unrighteous anger by telling us,  "A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention."  This is a warning that can be applied to the unrighteous anger of a hot tempered narcissist. 

Psalms 37:8 addresses unrighteous anger, as well as the wrath mentioned in Dr. Meier's quote, when it tells us to "refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not; it leads only to evil."  

  • Refrain from unrighteous anger.  
  • Forsake wrath, which is rage and vengeance.  
  • Fret not, it leads only to evil.  Fretting is "to torment; irritate, annoy, or vex, to wear away or consume by gnawing, friction, rust, corrosives, etc." 
  • Romans 12:19 says, Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the LORD.

Righteous Anger

Wikipedia defines righteous indignation as "a reactive emotion of anger over a perceived injustice." It is righteous indignation to become angry when someone hurts us or someone we love in a sinful manner.  God Himself expresses righteous anger.  It is under control, slowly provoked and expressed legally.

Secondly, Ephesians 4:26 gives instructions on dealing with anger.  It says, "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil an opportunity." This is the epitome of the Biblical instructions for dealing with anger. Righteous anger is not forbidden.  It says, be angry, sin not and deal with it quickly. It is so simply stated it would be easy to overlook the significance of these instructions.

  • Be angry. Feel your God given emotions in response to injustice without denying, burying and stuffing the anger;
  • Deal with the anger in a healthy, controlled manner.  Anger can be a signal something is wrong that needs attention;
  • Deal with the anger quickly.  Do not stuff your anger;
  • Do not give the devil an opportunity.  The mishandling of anger can open the door for many other problems.

God is angered with the mistreatment of the helpless, orphans, widows and strangers in Exodus 22:21-24. Jesus was clearly angry when he cleared the temple in John 2:13-22. Righteous men in the Bible were also angered by unrighteousness. Most of Galatians is Paul expressing anger toward false teachings.
Anger is a healthy, even biblical response to injustice or abuse.  Besides being an indicator something needs attention, it can be a powerful motivator.  The key is finding healthy ways to process our anger rather than denying or stuffing it. For example, keeping a journal is beneficial to help process anger. Exercise, go for a drive, talk to a trusted friend, punch a pillow, join a support group, see a therapist, but find healthy ways to validate and process your anger.  It is validating while processing it, can motivate us to make positive changes, and is like releasing an enormous weight once it begins to subside. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

7.b. Writing Letters to a Narcissistic Mother

The Scapegoats of a Narcissistic Mother by Gail Meyers

At some point in the recovery process many of us consider writing letters to our narcissistic mother, enabling fathers or various flying monkeys. While it is usually a good idea to write the letters in order to clarify your thoughts and help process your feelings, most of the advice is against actually mailing the letters.  The literature from professionals, comments from others, and my personal experience are all consistent with this advice.  So, I think this is wise in most instances, but not a nicely packaged answer to be imposed on everyone in every situation.      

Reasons Not to Mail Letters

There are valid reasons not to mail the letters

First of all, a narcissistic mother who has spent decades invalidating her child to the core of their being is not suddenly going to validate the content of your letter.  I know you may desperately want or need for her to, but highly narcissistic mothers do not suddenly take responsibility for their actions - ever.  There are no magic words or explanations that are going to change that.  

On the contrary, sending your narcissistic mother a letter can open you up for more invalidation.  She may never open it but leave it on the table in her house for you to see at a later time, just to let you know she never bothered to open it.  She may not even acknowledge receipt of the letter at all.  She may return the letter to you.    

Secondly, it is so easy in the throes of early recovery to believe if you can make the depth of your pain clear you will surely receive an apology.  If you send one of these letters articulating the depth of the devastation your narcissistic mother has caused, you may very well get a peek of the depth of this disorder.  You may also get a glimpse of the depth of the flying monkey's denial, indifference or silence. What you are highly unlikely to get is validation from those who used you as a scapegoat.  Even pouring all of your pain out in a letter does not cause a narcissistic mother to feel true remorse or sincerely apologize.   

Lastly, your narcissistic mother may use your letter against you.  She may use it to prove your emotional instability.  She may present it out of context or with lies to give others a false impression if she tries to play the victim. Flying monkeys may also use your letter against you.

Reasons to Contemplate Mailing Letters

There are only a couple of exceptions I am aware of where adult sons and daughters have shared they mailed letters without regretting it.  

First, is if you simply need to get it off of your chest and express yourself regardless.  By writing you can say what you want to say without interruption, which was always one of my main attractions to writing letters. While I can see why therapists often advise against it, I can also relate to Anna's quote.  

For my family and circumstances letter writing was
the right plan.  I am competent with the written word.
There were many things that had never been said
before and I wanted them out there.  And I 
wanted to be able to say those 
things without interruption. 

Anna Valerious

I wrote letters during my sexual abuse therapy decades ago and mailed the letters against my therapist's advice mostly because I so desperately needed to speak my truth at the time after being silenced as a child. 

However, by the time I did more recovery work, I no longer cared what the flying monkeys thought about it.  There are good reasons why flying monkeys are flying monkeys in the first place.  I lost so much respect for the flying monkeys during recovery that I no longer needed or wanted their validation on the matter. 

So, even in this scenario, because there is so much potential for negative repercussions, consider mailing the letter to yourself first.  Write it all out, put it in an envelope addressed to yourself marked personal and confidential and mail it to yourself.  If by the time you receive the letter back in the mail, read it, and decide you still think you should send it, then perhaps listening to your instincts rather than anyone else is your answer.

Secondly, some therapists recommend writing a letter upon going no contact. There are various reasons for this, including anticipated legal action. If you decide to write a no contact letter make it brief and to the point. If you believe the police or courts are going to be involved before it is all said and done, get competent legal counsel from someone in your area.  If you can not afford legal counsel, most law schools have legal aid clinics.  Your local bar association may also be able to advise you of resources. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

6.d. Narcissistic Mother's Guilt Trips

One in 25 ordinary Americans secretly has no conscience 
and can do anything at all without feeling guilty. 
Martha Stout, Ph.D.
The Sociopath Next Door

© by Gail Meyers 
Many adult sons and daughters of narcissistic mothers are intimately familiar with guilt trips.  Guilt trips are used by narcissistic mothers to manipulate you by using your own conscience against you.  Effective guilt trips cause you to feel bad while you simultaneously build up resentment toward the guilt tripper.  Even so, narcissistic mother gets her way while keeping you in a place of doubting yourself.

Since guilt is often so effectively used for manipulation, narcissistic mothers have quite a few favorite guilt trips. A  narcissistic mother masquerading as a Christian will even attempt to convince you God is her ultimate flying monkey with her honor thy mother and forgive and forget guilt trips previously discussed.  So, the following are a few other favorite guilt trips narcissistic mothers love to use.  

If You Really Loved Me!

She accused me more than once of not loving her, but I know the truth of the matter is that was projection revealing her true feelings toward me.  Essentially what she wanted was for me to give her everything she wanted, do everything she wanted me to do and never question or confront her while she slandered and abused me.  However, her definition of what her loving me was supposed to be included slander, lies, verbal abuse, smear campaigns, etc.     

After All I've Done for You!

This is the guilt trip that is so often combined with gaslighting in an attempt to spin an abusive childhood into some great gift narcissistic mother gave you because after all you had a roof over your head while you were being abused.  Even though I would have rather grown up naked with a pack of wolves in the wilderness, I was to be grateful to have clothes on my back and a roof over my head while my narcissistic mother and alcoholic pedophile step-father used and abused me.   

In my experience, this guilt trip is also used for attempted blackmail.  After all she's done for you, how could you?  A more accurate description is how could you seek healing and validation when it will cause her such embarrassment for you to tell the truth about her?  Then, even if she has to reach back a decade to think of something she did for you, she will spin it into an accusation of you being ungrateful.  Notice it is never the abuse itself that is considered the problem in this scenario, but you for speaking the truth and exposing it.

How Can You Be So Selfish?

The utterly self-absorbed narcissistic mother loves to redefine selfishness, especially for her scapegoat children.  For narcissistic mother your most basic, dire need pales in comparison to her every whim.  In the rabbit hole of the narcissistic mother this is in no way selfish for her.  Like everything else she has double meanings assigned to selfishness.  One meaning for her and a much different one for you.

Being accused of being selfish is often an intricate part of being a narcissistic mother's scapegoat, so all she may have to do is imply you are being selfish and she gets her way.  If she managed to convince you of her definition of selfishness for you, she will pull this accusation out of her bag of dirty tricks every chance she gets. 

The Scapegoat's Conscience 

Guilt trips are most effective in the relationships we value most, such as a invalidated and abused scapegoat child still desperately trying to gain their narcissistic mother's love and approval.  Guilt trips also work best on those trained in carrying and responding to false guilt.   Who could be more trained in that than a scapegoat child of a narcissistic mother.

If having no conscience or a seared conscience is at one end of the spectrum, our scapegoat consciences are often at the other.  Neither of these two extremes are healthy.  Of course, when you are blamed for everything in a narcissistic family for years, the logical result is to expect everything to be your fault.  Besides that scapegoats often want to do the right thing, not hurt anyone's feelings, etc.  So the mere implication that we have done something wrong or hurt someone's feelings can trigger guilt.

If our consciences are overactive it is because they have been trained to be that way, so do not beat yourself up about it.  You can learn new information to retrain your conscience.  We have to learn to distinguish between true and false guilt.  We want our conscience to kick in when we truly do something out of line with our morals and convictions, not when someone else decides we should feel guilty.  

Dealing with an Overactive Conscience

One of the ways to begin working on an overactive conscience is to realize it is a form of pride to continue to hold onto true guilt for something that you have repented of and asked forgiveness for. You really have no right to continue beating yourself up for something God has forgiven you for, and neither does narcissistic mother.  If narcissistic mother continues to try to beat you with something you have true guilt about, recognize the purpose is for manipulation and control.  

False guilt is purely an instrument of needless suffering, manipulation and control.  However, in order for us to distinguish between true and false guilt we have to get to know ourselves.  We have to know what our standards for ourselves are in order to analyze whether we violated our own conscience with our behavior or whether narcissistic mother is manipulating us by intentionally inducing false guilt.  

Lack of Conscience or Seared Consciences

Both psychology and the Bible tell us our conscience is a gift not everyone possesses.  In The Sociopath Next Door, Martha Stout, PhD reveals a startling statistic.  "One in 25 ordinary Americans secretly has no conscience and can do anything at all without feeling guilty."   

Romans 2:15 says, "They show that the word of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them."  However, in 1 Timothy 4, Paul talks about seared consciences, cauterized or seared as with a hot iron.  This means their conscience is no longer bothered by their behavior.  A seared conscience is the result of continual, unrepentant sin.

Extraordinarily Different Consciences

As adult sons and daughters of narcissistic mothers, we can not afford to lose sight of the fact that everyone does not have a well developed conscience. In fact, there are millions of people walking around with a seared conscience or no conscience at all!  Do not let someone without a conscience use your conscience against you by sending you on a guilt trip.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

6.b. Honor Your Abusive Narcissistic Mother?

The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
Proverbs 14:1

© by Gail Meyers 
Narcissistic mothers love to attempt to use the Bible, and even God, against you. Then, time goes by until there comes a day when you get so angry and frustrated because you are doing what you think is right, that you walk away and the narcissistic abuser has caused further destruction by destroying your spiritual life. 

In order to prevent this from happening, or to begin healing the damage already done, we first established earlier in this chapter:

  • The Bible warns of false believers, false apostles and false prophets.
    • They may masquerade as an angel of light.
    • You shall know them by their fruits.    

  • While Scripture is called the Sword of the Spirit, it may be misused as an abusive weapon. Satan himself quoted Scripture out of context in order to use it as a pretext while tempting Jesus in the desert.

    • Christ had no stronger rebuke for anyone than for this bunch of arrogant individuals who were turning people away from the faith while masquerading behind a cloak of false piety. 

Strikingly, while the Bible instructs us to love God, our neighbor and the stranger, it does not specifically instruct us to love our parents.  It instructs us to honor our father and mother.  The following are some of the ways abusive, narcissistic mothers attempt to use and misuse this commandment to honor your father and mother. It is often presented by narcissistic mothers as if it is a blank check given to her by God requiring you to honor her with no responsibility whatsoever on her part, even to the extent of acting as if it requires you to allow her to destroy you, your life and everything you love while worshipping her as your mother. A narcissistic mother may:

  • Say honor, but the reality may be for you to worship her (while she destroys you). 

  • Expect you to obey her even once you become an adult.

  • Demand to come first in your life.
    • Interfere with your marriage.
    • Teach your own children to dishonor and disrespect you.

  • Expect you to enable or engage in her narcissistic or evil behavior.

    Once again narcissistic mother redefines the terms and takes this scripture out of context in order to use it as a pretext. So, the first thing we are going to do is more accurately define the terms and look at the context.


    Fifth Commandment in Context

    Moses has led God's people out of Egypt after 400 years of Egyptian bondage when God provides the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai.  The commandments are given to establish the foundation of a moral society for the millions of Israelites in their new found freedom.  

    • Thus, the first important fact learned from the context is that the commandments were given to Christian parents and children to establish order and protection in a moral society.  They were not given to facilitate evil or abusive behavior by ungodly parents masquerading as Christians or to trap, torture or brow beat Christian children.

    The Ten Commandments were given on two tablets, the first concerning our love for God.  The second, which begins with the command to honor your father and mother, concerns our relationships with one another.  This signifies God is the foundation of it all, while the parental authority is the foundation of a moral society.  So the children honor the parents who are in turn honoring God together.  

    There is a great deal included in the balancing instruction to parents:

    • Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

      • "Fathers" is inclusive of mothers, to whom the practical administration of the household and training of the children so much belong. Pulpit Commentary

     The first half is a negative instruction, what not to do:
    • Neither by words; by unjust and, unreasonable commands; by contumelious (meaning contemptuous or humiliating) and reproachful (meaning expressing disapproval or disappointment) language; by frequent and public chidings (meaning to scold or rebuke), and by indiscreet and passionate expressions: nor by deeds; preferring one to another; by denying them the necessaries of life; by not allowing them proper recreation; by severe and cruel blows, and inhuman usage; by not giving them suitable education; by an improper disposal of them in marriage; and by profusely spending their estates, and leaving nothing to them.  (Parentheticals added) Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

    The second half is a positive instruction, what parents are to do:
    • Instructing them in the knowledge of divine things, setting them good examples, taking care to prevent their falling into bad company, praying with them, and for them, bringing them into the house of God, under the means of grace, to attend public worship. Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible


      • Proverbs 6:16-19 provides an exceedingly clear disapproval of the classic, persistent narcissistic maneuvers:

      • There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.


    Honor is Not Worshipping Thy Mother 

    In the most fundamental sense narcissism is a tendency to self-worship.  Narcissistic mothers love to so broadly define honor as to actually be worship, attempting to perch themselves up on the throne of their children's hearts and lives.  This is idolatry and certainly not what God intended as the very first commandment is to have no other gods before Him.

    Obey Thy Mother

    Next, is the idea that an adult son or daughter of a narcissistic mother is to obey her. As Christian psychiatrist Dr. Paul Meier points out in his book Free to Forgive, the Bible commanding us to "obey" our parents is a command to little children. This can be found in the Greek, little children obey your parents. 

    Obeying your parent when you are little is for the safety of the child, among other things.  Honoring their parents is also good for children and society because psychologically children need to be able to honor their parents. Otherwise, the parent is but a peer or the parentification (role reversal) occurs that is so classic with narcissistic parents. However, adults need not obey their parents at all, which is especially true if the parent is leading an ungodly life.   

    The Biblical Order of Relationships

    Narcissistic mothers notoriously interfere with their children's marriages and the raising of their grandchildren. This is often reinforced as a part of honoring thy mother.  However, the Bible is clear about the proper order of things.

    When you become an adult you come out from under the authority of an ungodly or evil parent and place yourself under the authority of God.  If you marry,  Genesis 2:24 states:

    • Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
    Once a son or daughter marries, God comes first, then your spouse. This provides biblical guidance for setting boundaries even with godly parents. Should there be any question regarding a narcissistic mother meddling in her children's marriages, it is answered by Matthew 19:6:
    • So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.
    We are responsible before God to instruct and protect our children. This includes all of the instructions previously discussed, but applied to us as the parents to our own children.

    Honoring a Narcissistic Mother 

    While a narcissistic mother masquerading as a Christian may make every effort to use the commandment to honor your father and mother as a requirement for you to actually worship her, while she on the other hand destroys you, this is idolatry and certainly not what the Bible teaches.  

    We are not required as adults to obey our parents at all.  We are to leave our parents and become one with our spouse. Only our relationship with God takes priority over the marital relationship. If we remain single adults, we are to remove ourselves from the authority of an ungodly parent and place ourselves directly under the authority of God. 

    In turn, when we become parents we have all of these same responsibilities toward our own children.  This includes protecting them from known dangers and bad influences, which may include their own grandmother.  As we will continue to explore, there are abundant examples and instructions on rebuking, shunning or fleeing evil, but not one for honoring it.  



    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    6.a. Judge Not Your Narcissistic Mother?

    The Scapegoats of a Narcissistic Mother by Gail Meyers

    © by Gail Meyers 
    This is a favorite of narcissistic mothers and flying monkeys as they do everything they can to invalidate your thoughts and emotions while attempting to derail your recovery in order to maintain the status quo. My narcissistic mother, and grandmother for that matter, sat on the phone gossiping all day, everyday, for their entire adult lives. There was no judgment too great or small for them to issue regarding virtually anything.  

    Now as long as you are listening to and agreeing with narcissistic mother's delusional, partially accurate or even accurate but hypocritical judgments of everyone and everything, then judging is fine with her.  It could even be considered a sport in some cases. They were prolific gossips, forever engaging in smear campaigns.

    How Dare You Judge Me! 

    Of course, judging only becomes a problem when you draw any contrary conclusion or speak the truth about your narcissistic mother or the dark, dysfunctional family history. This is the time, according to the narcissist and flying monkeys, when you should judge not lest you be judged.  It is usually some form of how dare you judge her when you are far from perfect. Here, judging is broadly defined to include any sort of use of your brain for assessment purposes.

    This is a little shaming guilt trip smack down designed to short circuit your logical thought processes and truth telling.  It redirects the focus onto you while attempting to validate the whole maneuver using God or the Bible.  This is so you can be manipulated and distracted, doubting yourself as you turn your attention to the fact that you are not perfect either.  

    Society reinforces this notion of not judging, which is great in many instances.  However, taken to an extreme our entire society would fall apart following this motto.  This can be taken to such an extreme as to have some adult sons and daughters believing they must be accepting of everyone and everything, lest they be judged.  If the devil himself knocked on the door are you to invite him in for tea lest you judge or be a hypocrite?  

    Once again, there is redefining of terms and twisted Scripture. So, we will start at the beginning by defining hypocrite, then look at what the Bible says about judging.

    Hypocrite Defined

    A hypocrite is defined as:

    • a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
    • a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

    This is exactly what a narcissist does when she masquerades as a selfless Christian mother! 

    "While a narcissist has no interest in being good, they intensely want to appear good."
    Dr. M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie.

    Judge Not:  The Most Twisted Scripture of All?

    To judge is "to infer, think, or hold as an opinion; conclude about or assess." There are a multitude of verses admonishing Christians to judge various behaviors and people, rightly.  However, the focus is on the following verse that is quoted and used to justify this snare.  

    Matthew 7:1-2 says, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."  The broad strokes used in applying this verse can have you wondering if you can ever infer, think, or hold as an opinion; conclude about or assess anything or anyoneHowever, the Bible makes it exceedingly clear that passively accepting evil behavior is far from being the virtue this trap presents it to be. 

    Including some of the context from Matthew 7:3-5 provides some clarification:

    Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. 

    Jesus rebukes hypocritically judging, but obeying the commands in this chapter does not preclude assessing another person's basic character, whether it is a dog (v. 6) or a false prophet (v. 15), or the fruit one's life displays (v. 16).  The Bible repeatedly commands believers to evaluate carefully, to choose between good and bad people and things.

    Luke 6:37 -  Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  This instruction is not relieving followers of the need for discerning right and wrong, as it again addresses the plank in your own eye analogy in verses 41 and 42.  He condemns unjust and hypocritical judging, which may be exactly what a narcissistic personality disordered mother is doing by accusing you of being a hypocrite! 

    To see how Jesus dealt with hypocrites, read about the Pharisees.  These pompous teachers of the law, who were only concerned about outward appearances, were turning people away from the faith.  

    • As Dr. Paul Meier points out in Free to Forgive, "The biggest sociopaths in Jesus' day were the Pharisees - religious leaders whom the culture of the day would have considered very moral outwardly."   
    • Matthew 23 adds, "They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.  Everything they do is done for people to see."


    Judge, Rightly!

    The Bible contains a vast multitude of instructions to guide us in discerning, testing, evaluating, and, yes, judging people and situations.  Here are just a few:

    • John 7:24 - "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make right judgments."
    • Titus 3:10 - "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time.  After that, have nothing to do with him.  You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful."  This is a stubborn person who refuses to listen to correction.
    • Proverbs 20:19 - "He who goes about as a slanderer reveals confidences, Therefore do not associate with a gossip."
    • 2 Timothy 3:5 - "Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."

    Each one of these situations require one to judge, rightly.


    Determinations Regarding Brothers

    2 Thessalonians 3:6-14 - We are commanded to stay aloof from every brother who is idle, which requires a judgment.  This is not to withdraw all contact, but to withhold close fellowship.

    Matthew 18:15 - Treat the brother previously discussed during the forgive and forget discussions as you would a tax collector, if he sins against you but refuses to listen to you or the church.

    1 Corinthians 6 - "If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!"


    Evaluating or Assessing Elders

    1 Timothy 3:1-12 - Instructions on evaluating the lives of potential elders to determine if they are qualified.  "Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach."  It appears my alcoholic pedophile step-father failed this test, had it ever been administered by the leaders of the church prior to making him a deacon.       

    Titus 1:5-9 - Instructions on evaluating the lives of potential elders to see if they are qualified. 

    Discerning or Judging False Teachers  

    1 John 4:1 - Determination of a false teacher requires an evaluation or judgment.

    Matthew 7:15-16 -“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You shall know them by their fruits," which requires a judgment.

    Evaluating Your Narcissistic Mother

    Tolerance of abuse or abusers is not a virtue! If your narcissistic mother is abusive and cruel without repentance or remorse, assessing and responding to that fact does not make you judgmental, unloving or unforgiving.   

    This trap is so often effective because while the narcissist absolutely refuses self-examination, the scapegoat is quick to self-examine and feel guilty.  This is a result of having been invalidated and trained to accept the blame and often false guilt.