Disarming the Power of Injustice

  1. Message:  Proverbs 31 is often thought of as a chapter written to teach godly women how to act. It is actually the writing of King Lemuel sharing what his mother taught him about being a king, what kind of woman to find, and how her virtuous behavior reflects well on him. Verses 8 and 9 popped out like bold letters on the page because of the current flare up of division occurring in our country after we all saw video capturing the death of an innocent black man under the knee of a police officer. “Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of those who are dispossessed (vanishing). Speak up, judge righteously and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy”. As I read this I realized that those who have no voice are often not weak, but ignored. Those who are needy are not necessarily lacking finances, but are in need of support. I recently commented on a Facebook post expressing that in the past I had seen acts of injustice and mourned for the tragedy, but never realized how personally this injustice impacted friends of mine who saw their own lives or the lives of their family members in that very place. Though I grieved the loss and injustice, I saw it as something terrible that happened to someone far away. I didn’t see the personal connection that was felt by my friends, so I didn’t know they needed my voice to support them, comfort them and approve of them in those moments. I have always believed in speaking up for those who are oppressed and unable. I have done this in situations where I was present and witness to things, and my husband and I raised our kids that way also. I know some strong, powerful people and since I don’t see them as weak or powerless in any way, I didn’t realize they needed my voice or my support. I heard them, so I didn’t realize how much their voices were being ignored and invalidated by others. I didn’t realize how much they needed to know they are heard, that they are valued and that they are supported. I relate this to someone who has been the victim of a narcissist or an abuser. Narcissists have an interesting pattern of doing blatant outrageous things and then denying it and making the victim look and feel crazy. Other people are unaware of the narc’s behavior so when the victim cries out, the narc masterfully spins out an explanation that sounds pretty logical. The victim feels invalidated and the people assume the narc is just a very nice person who was misunderstood. The narc continues the same behavior so many times that the victim feels both crazy and invisible. The narc thrives over this emotional control and uses both devastating things and very trivial things to wind up the victim until the victim reaches a breaking point and reacts over one of the trivial things. Other people see the reaction, evaluate the trivial act which the narc explains away, and now everyone else believes the victim is crazy. The victim has now lost credibility and feels crazy, invisible, powerless and alone. This pattern continues on and on and silences the victim. If the victim doesn’t get out of the situation the pattern will continue for years and drive the victim to hopelessness. All it takes is for someone else to see through the narc’s behavior and tell the victim that they see it. The outsider can’t necessarily fix the narc, but the narc loses power by someone simply telling the victim that they see it. This validates them and removes the layers of crazy and invisible. It empowers the victim to stand strong and take action with the support of others who see it and will back them up. Please don’t read this as a metaphoric way of labeling people or leaders in the role of the narcissist. That only fuels things and diverts the attention from the behavior. Let’s label the situation as a whole as the narc because this is bigger and far more complicated than a leader, a political party or a people group. Let’s stop hunting for a villain to blame. You can’t fix a narcissist any easier than we can narrow down and fix a broken and complex system. You can set boundaries with a narc but you can’t change their mind or behavior. The most powerful way to disarm a narc is to empower the victim. Let them know that you see the behavior, that you support them and stand with them. The most powerful way you can do this is by saying “I believe you.”

Leave a Reply