Friday, July 24, 2020

Watch out, some sheep have claws

 
"It is not the wolf who looks like a wolf who is most dangerous...it is the wolf who looks most like a sheep." Herald of Gospel Liberty




Friends. Dating later in life is no joke. I knew it would be hard but nothing has prepared me for this minefield. It's more important than ever to know my values, know my worth, and know my boundaries. 

When I began this blog in 2011, I wanted to focus on faith, family, the church. I wasn't a writer, just a mom looking for an outlet for all the words swirling in my head. It became a way for me to make sense of what I thought and felt. I'm a processor so writing is a natural fit. 

Now, almost 10 years later, I'm a divorced mom of two writing in stolen moments of time venturing into the dating world and wondering if things can really be different a second time around. 

Is there a man who is honorable and trustworthy in his ways?

Mehhhh. lol

I've done a lot of work on myself in the last two years (with a lot more to go). God's been healing old wounds and I'm reaffirming my identity in Christ. 

After the divorce, I wasn't so rooted. I was lost. I hope this story helps someone else from making the same mistake I did and know a wolf in sheep's clothing (a narcissist in this case)from a real man of God. Even (especially) if they are professing Christians. 

This man taught me something I had yet to experience at this level and added new words to my vocabulary. 

Narcissists are hard to discern at first but trust me the more secure and discerning you get the easier it is to spot them!

Here's my story...

***
A few months after the divorce I tried to date. 

It was not good. I'm just gonna be honest. It was a flat out train wreck.  

(First, let me say this, I was not ready to date. It was too soon.)

In my desperation to end the sadness and have hope that someone good was being brought into my life, I thought he could really be the one. I did a background check. And by that I mean I thoroughly scoped him out on social media! Ha! 

I thought my conclusions from what I saw online were accurate (Right?! Because everything you see on social media is accurate! ;)) 

People aren't who they "post" to be ;) 

I had talked to friends and asked questions to those who knew him (I thought they knew him. Turns out it was a couple in-passing conversations and from that, they gathered he was a great guy...sheesh).

On paper, social media, and word of mouth, he was the man!

He has a master's degree in Theology, he was on the worship team at his church, he seemed to be a good man and dad (his kids looked so happy to be with him on social media). He appeared to be mature and grounded.  Everything I was hoping to find...

Anatomy of a Narcissist
This graphic is a great way to describe who a narcissist is. 


He said all the right things that made me fall hard fast. He asked a lot of deep questions (some that made me uncomfortable) but I love swimming in the deep end so I welcomed the questions. He appeared to be the total package inside and out. He said words my heart had been longing to hear. I felt seen. 

My heart lept and all common sense went out the window. 

In the beginning, he always wanted to see me, he texted all the time, was very attentive and flirty. He paid lots of compliments and really built me up. I loved the attention. And it was A LOT of attention! I was gaga over this guy.

(Little did I know, I had been love-bombed. The first step in a narcissist's cycle.)

For the first time in a long time, I was smiling and laughing. I had hope for a better future with a good and godly man.

Buuuuut, when your good sense goes and your spirit isn't in control anymore you miss a lot of red flags. 

Or rather I saw them and chose to ignore them. My sister says I drove through them like I was in the Indy 500 race, lol. Not a lie, I did.

If I would've taken the time to heal, I believe the relationship never would have taken off. 

I would have seen the red flags and immediately told him it wouldn't work. 



(The second stage of the cycle- The Devaluation now begins...)

What I thought would be a happily ever after turned into over a year of mind games, manipulation, lies, emotional abuse, and control. I think it made him happy to upset me and give me the silent treatment.  Once a narcissist knows they have you hooked they turn. It starts slowly. Little digs or insults played off by, "I'm joking." Gaslighting, making you think you misheard them, remembered wrong.

Or my favorite- saying he didn't remember. Amnesia of events and conversations are the best, wouldn't you say? How can you call out a person's bad behavior if they don't remember??


My worth and dignity were in the ditch and weren't getting out unless I made a different decision. 

God removed him!

I began the new year fasting and praying about the relationship and moving on. I knew it was time but I was struggling to let go. 

If I'm being completely honest, I was hoping God would intervene and heal him. 

But that wasn't meant to be. 

However, he began his new year, and maybe even sooner, by seeing someone else without a single word to me. In fact, he was at the time giving me the silent treatment. (This is the Discard phase)

I believe Jesus stepped between us and separated us, I saw this in my spirit during the fast. Jesus was standing between us with his arms stretched out. One arm towards me and the other towards him. He stepped between us, for my good.  

He's not for you and can't go where you're going, I heard God say.

When you're in the middle of chaos you truly don't see how toxic a situation is.

It was crushing and yet for the best. He was not the one for me. And he's definitely not the good and godly man he portrayed to me in the beginning and the one he shows the world (think Jekyll and Hyde).

I broke the promise to myself to let God lead and to choose better. 



I've had to give myself a lot of grace. 

I sit here writing this after many months of prayer, reflection, receiving forgiveness from God, and extending forgiveness. An apology from him is one I know I will never receive, so I forgive anyways knowing I want to be better and not bitter. Otherwise, he wins. 

I've had to do some soul searching and asking some hard questions of myself-Why was I willing to settle for this kind of behavior?

I spend my days chasing down healing like it's my full-time job, and writing out my story here is a part of that. I don't think a lot of people know or understand narcissism. And yet it's thrown around like the latest fad word. 

***





Sweet friends, a godly man will not only know God's word but he will live it out. His words and actions will show you his fruit. His heart will overflow into his actions and his intentions will be clear. 

There won't be chaos and confusion.
"Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

A godly man will help you heal and make you better. He will lead you to God, not away. The questions to ask if you're unsure...is he kind? is he loving? is he patient? is he self-controlled?  is he easily angered? is he prideful? is he selfish? is he list keeper of your wrongs? (1Cor 13)

Wolves are an imitation of the light because they know the darkness within themselves.

They look good, they smell good, and their words are like honey to your heart. They will make you think you are their soul mate and no other relationship before you could have worked out because YOU are the one. 

But wolves come to steal, kill, and destroy. And that will happen with every single one. They are silver-tongued and know quickly what you want to hear before they turn on you and blame you. 

It's easy to get sucked in and be deceived. 

Don't make excuses and ignore your gut feeling. Intuition is a gift from God. 

I'm glad I have finally come to a place of thankfulness for this relationship. It showed me where I still needed healing and where I failed so that next time I can do better. 
Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." Amen.
My friends, if you are single this is your second chance and your time.

Heal and don't settle!

You have all that you need within you to make a good decision, don't let fear and insecurity rob you of that.

No man is worth sacrificing your dignity and worth. 

Please, learn from me. Even if we fall down and fail a hundred times, grace will be there to pick us up a thousand more. Every time. 

You are LOVED. 

As for me and dating. I'm hanging that up for a while. God will have to drop that man on my front porch if He wants me to date him! lol!!! 

Seriously though, I'm going to take this sabbatical to heal, rest, dive deeper with God, and love on my children. 

All good things. 

Love you, friends. 


P.S. Jesus is the only man worth chasing. Period. 

Praising Him,
Alecia 





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