Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Religion and the Narcissist
As the Jewish people just ushered in the year 5774 on the Hebrew Calendar, we are at the time of year when we celebrate, as well as repent for any sins during the previous year. The Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah is followed by the Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur. During the synagogue service, as we chant the prayer asking for forgiveness, we gently pound our heart as a symbol of sincerity of the intentions of our prayer. I chant all the prayers as well, but have a real problem with forgiveness, but only toward my former husband, who has abused my children in the name of vengeance.
You often hear of the parents of slain children forgiving their child’s murderer. Whether an accident or a single criminal act caused their demise, the offense could be deemed bad judgment or attributed to mental illness. In most cases the perpetrator did not wake up that morning and announce the name of the person he was planning to murder. I am certainly not condoning a killing, but there is a difference between a horrific spur-of-the- moment or nameless choice versus a premeditated and purposeful act of cruelty. As the convicted perpetrators sometimes apologize to the family professing their remorse, one can only hope the sincerity they are conveying is genuine. As their admittance does not give them a lesser sentence, I would tend to believe they are sincere.
It is with that same tone of sincerity that the father of my children uttered the lies he has fabricated endlessly throughout the years. Sometimes I will be questioned about his side of the story, and I reply that I cannot answer, as I never know what he is going to say, as his accusations often change, and are always untrue. It is difficult to determine if he really believes what he says, or if he is internally gloating as to the way he has manipulated and brainwashed my children. Another part of me wonders why I am so important to him that he has carried out this constant alienation since our 1997 divorce. He did not find himself homeless. He did not lose his job. He did not have to pay child support. He was already in another relationship. He did, however, lose me. I guess that was enough to anger him and vent his anger to the children. They would tell me, “Dad says he cannot stand the sight of you.” Or when I was pregnant, they would repeat the sickening utterances from their future stepmother, “Mariann says that the baby is going to be born blind and deaf.”
Trying to justify the lack of importance of forgiveness is unnecessary, as these are two soulless people and beyond repentance. I do not know much about Mariann’s religious upbringing, only the fact she brashly ignored many of the Ten Commandments and brazenly flaunted her marital indiscretions. My ex was raised by his adopted Jewish family. As his birth mother was Jewish as well, he was recognized as a member of the tribe. But, as a narcissist, he could never fit in with the Jewish community. As a narcissist, he wanted to be viewed as omnipotent, but Jews believe there is only one God. Catholics believe in the trinity, not the quartet.
So he had to find other individuals who would treat him as a God, as the leader of their pathetic little group. He fit in by being the one with the best weed, the one with the cocaine, the most successful fornicator, and the daring rule breaker. He laughed off every indiscretion, every arrest, and every discarded woman. He found his mass love outside of the societal norms. Still, the nagging knowledge that he was not renowned within the Jewish community became a personal affront, so he would mock the Jewish faith. He could not respect the religion that would not view him as a leader, and would go against each tradition as retaliation. Marrying a woman who embraced her Judaism, enabled him to often taunt and devalue the traditional beliefs, raising him to the standards he considered higher, and more important. When he mocked his religious and its values, it made him feel as if he was on a larger playing field, and above those who followed an organized religion.
It seems as if an individual with outspoken sacrilegious actions, belief and words, and motivated with bad intent should be met with swift and complete punishment. But it appears that God has a bigger plan. Upon the day we are finally judged, I do not believe forgiveness will be shown. I do not believe I will share my eternity in the same place as my ex. A narcissist finds it hellish when people do not put him in a position of power, and do not listen with rapt attention to his words, or laugh at his pathetic attempts at humor. Hell for a narcissist is a room where the audience is bored with his performance. Hell is a lack of attention and applause, and perhaps even leaving the narcissist to perform in agonizing solitude. Something about that vision is deliciously just and almost worth a peek. But I have already walked out on that show.