Love Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself

“‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:31 

This verse was included in the Gospel reading at church yesterday.  When in a situation with a toxic, destructive person – it’s easy to focus on the first portion of the sentence: “you shall love your neighbor”.  The first though that comes to mind is “Aaag! How can I do that when this person is tearing apart my life??”  This is an important component to this sentence – as it helps a ton to look at the situation with compassion and understanding about how difficult it must be to deal with Narcissist Personality Disorder personally.  I have had many conversations with my ex when we were together where he couldn’t at all grasp the idea of being internally happy and peaceful.  Sure, we all have this problem from time to time – but a person with NPD has this problem perpetually, and will have it into perpetuity.

The second half of this bible quote is equally, if not more important.  Do you love yourself?  How many of us grapple with self-worth and self-love?  How many of us doubt ourselves daily?  How many of us actually start the day looking in the mirror with love and compassion and telling ourselves “You rock” ?  Louise Hay writes in some of her books about the importance of this.  How can we love our neighbor as ourselves, if we don’t yet love ourselves?   When I first read this, I was amazed.  ‘You’re RIGHT!”, I thought!!  I even looked up the bible quote itself.

For years I have doubted myself and my abilities.  For years I have even downplayed strong abilities to feel like I could fit in with others.  But.. God made us all unique and special, and shouldn’t I be thankful for all that he has given me – including who I am and the talents that I have?  If I doubt myself, am I doubting what God gave me?  I believe that this is the case – and that in my faith of God, I need to have faith in myself as well as He is behind me and supporting me.

When we take this a step further… and look back again at the NPD or personality disordered individual who is wrecking havoc in our lives… do they love themselves?  That’s the public way of viewing NPD – as someone who is so in love with themselves that they can’t see the forest through the trees.  However, it is actually just the opposite.  Someone with NPD is infacuated with the image that they portray, yes.. but that is because they are carefully hiding the void that lies within.  Someone who is secure and confident in who they are doesn’t mind what image they portray – because they are comfortable with who they are.  Someone with NPD is focused on image, and therefore also focused on themselves.  They are also focused on themselves because of lack of empathy – they can’t understand how other people feel, so there isn’t a point in being focused on others, is there?

I will leave it at this:  just a thought for the day… Do you love yourself and all the wonderful, unique things which make up who you are?  You should!  It is important that we take care of ourselves so we can love and support others.

11 Responses to “Love Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself”

  1. Heather says:

    So I almost have to “fool” them into thinking I”m not doing well. : ) Bc of course as long as they are better than me, it’s all good.

    I’m really working on increasing excercising, eating better, and dating cool men who treat me like the woman I am. : )

    • res says:

      This is the one thing I am trying to apply in my life. How can you forgive and love your neighbor? My ex has manipulated most of my family into thinking i am the “crazy” one and said i am holding a grudge. My 5 page court report on his abusive behaviors towards me while my son was present was countered to me being “angry” and not to base his parenting with personal hatred towards him. Till this day, he continues say this each time I tell him not to do certain things to our son. I even replied back and said, “this grudge stuff is getting old.” How can you love or even speak to someone who is delusional and is best friends with Satan? I am still struggling with this and have lost all hope with even licensed professionals who recommends “you just need to sit down and talk.” I am to down to my wits end and learned that I can only count on myself and God. Everyone else will somehow discourage you and say “you need to be civil for the kids.” I can’t talk to him because he can blow up or start pouting if he doesn’t get his way. For example, i walked away from a possible argument and as he was holding our son, he said “look your mommy doesn’t want to talk to me.” When I text him about how this is not appropriate for our son to see, he countered it and said, “its your fault for not wanting to talk.” Hmmmm… so how do i love this neighbor again? I feel like i am displeasing god because I can’t but any suggestions?

      • My apologies on this comment – I tried to respond from my phone and it often doesn’t work so well, so my first attempt at it looked so cryptic!
        That said – your comment couldnt be more timely. I am sick thus week with a sinus and ear infection which I feel always shows up when I am having challenges with my ex. He also accuses me of wanting to take the kids from his life, that how he is a loving father and I am filling our children’s heads with manipulated information. I listen to the stuff he tells our kids, twisting reality to them, cps, therapists and the courts. It is like getting caught with a drunk Cheshire cat in Wonderland and very difficult to deal with. I can understand how others who work in the field can also be confused by everything and have difficulty trying to figure out the truth.
        I wish you the best and send you the utmost empathy!

  2. Julie says:

    Nice post! Very good points! So important to observe your own behavior! It took me a long time to realize how despicable my ex feels about himself subconsciously. If he didnt despise himself he wouldn’t disrespect the mother of his child, cheat, betray, lie, and participate in vileness. Lately I have been refecting on why I would pick such a person and I think at the root was the lack of love I had for myself. I don’t think I ever truly knew him or loved him instead it was more care taking and co dependence. It takes a lot of work to forgive yourself and start to love and put yourself first. When I get stressed from having to deal with my custody situation I do tend to revert to not caring for myself and being depressed. Then I make an effort to have a date with myself! Sorry cant take calls to busy spending time shopping/reading a mag/ watching tv/ or eating CHOCLATE!

    • Good for you! The more you take care of yourself, the happier you are, and the more positive vibrations that you send out to the world and those around you. I think that a lot of us who get involved in abusive relationships have some amount of issues with self-worth at the time of involvement, even if we don’t consciously realize that. This would explain why having someone tell us (in the initial stage) how wonderful we are and to shower us with gifts, etc, would be so appealing. When we are confident in our self and love ourself, we look at relationship differently – more from the perspective of whether that other person would have what we want, are we a good match, etc. It’s the difference of evaluating whether the other person is good for us rather than whether we are good enough to have the relationship with the other person.

      Hurray on chocolate!

  3. JenelleMarie says:

    Yes!!! I do love myself, and it grows daily as I walk further into my faith, further away from my ex and have more trust in God. I have a lot of work to still do, but it is a daily lesson and something i work on.

    I do have to say about this verse, I loved my ex so much I was willing to always put him before myself which in the end chipped away at my self love and faith, even my belief in God. I let him become MORE than any of those. And so when I struggle with this verse ( i do often) i also remind myself that God told us to separate ourselves from evil doers, even Christ says, “Get behind thee Satan”. And our love can be our own stumbling block. So clearly it is a battle i fight.

    I have grown to realize that I cannot love my ex in the way i thought i was suppose to, instead i have to release him to God daily and turn away from him so to speak if that makes sense? But it is not done so in a hateful way. I have grown to believe that those with NPD really struggle with this because they can never understand or comprehend the love God has for them and therefor walk away from any faith they may have been raised with or said to have. Makes me sad in my heart deeply, but again i have to love him enough to say ‘your will be done not mine’ to God about the ex numerous times a day. I still suck at doing this and half the time my words get the best of me, but it’s a work in progress. Thank you for the good reminder

    • It does make sense to release your ex to God – I do that regularly using Louise Hay’s phrase “I release you, I bless you with love and I let you go”. I also do that for my ex’s attorney 😉 The other piece that I try to remember is that everyone has their own journey and free will in life – and that if my ex’s is to chose not to control his temper, that when I seek to protect our children, it’s not something I need to feel guilty about. Like you, it’s not done in a hateful way, it’s simply that my ex is in charge of his behavior and that his behavior will chart his own life course. Regarding NPDs and faith, I find that my ex uses his as part of his image. He professes to be Catholic and raising our children Catholic and with morals & values are important to him. However, if one has a good, deep spiritual conversation with him – there’s really not much there. He can’t carry on that conversation because the Catholic ‘faith’ he has is just a part of his image. It was important to me to have God in my marital relationship, and I once bought him a daily bible. I found that he honestly try – but perhaps to your point he couldn’t make that connection in any meaningful way and so it remained a surface image.

      • JenelleMarie says:

        My ex was the same. It’s how he roped me in. I believed he was a strong, devout christian . . . And i do believe he wants to be one, but has never been able to. It genuinely makes my heart hurt for him and for my children, that is one of the signs for me that I’m not as unhealthy as he tried to make me out to be. I’m not to the point of releasing him with love yet, i’m only 11 months past finding out the worst of the worst. But i am at the place where daily, sometimes every hour I tell God to please take it from me and simply give me strength to face what is to come.

        I greatly appreciate your blogs and sharing your walk in faith, because it is something I walked away from the first time i filed against my ex. I chose to take him back instead of God, so the last 11 months has been my own rebirth so to speak as I have taken back my faith as my own and am starting to relearn of God’s love for the firs time in 5 years. It helps greatly to read another’s journey who isn’t shamed to speak about her faith. You are a great light for us. Thank you

        • Awww… thank you. Actually – speaking about my faith is very new to me. It became more important as I had to explain how I find strength in these challenging situations. I do believe there have been times in my life (and losing the custody trial wasn’t the first) where I felt that God had left me and wasn’t there to support me. I am still working on figuring out what those times were so I can release the believe that he may leave me when I need him.

          When I say “release with love”, what comes to my mind is the wish for my ex to find happiness elsewhere, such that he moves forward to that and leaves us and the need to fight us behind. Wouldn’t that be wonderful??

  4. Heather says:

    Of course coming out of a relationship with a NARC who has multiple personality disordered people supporting his NARC nature (his father – also a NARC, his sister – so BPD that she is now throwing sexual abuse around and “hinting” that I am abusing my kids; his mother – very traumatized and BPD, his brother-in-law – more normal but heavy NARC components), this is a primary goal in my life. I’m trying to balance compassion and (more importantly) not enflaming his NARC tendencies with loving myself and not seeing myself through his gaslighting crap. I did this for years and thought that I was the one who had the problems. Although I certainly had my share of issues in our marriage his continuously bad behaviors and neglecting parenting (and most toxically – his tendency to put HIS issues onto our two young daughters) put me in a position where I hardly ever took care of myself. This is a great post and very timely. I hope you continue to do well and fight the fights you need to fight with strength/grace/dignity…as graciously avoiding the fights you don’t need to fight. As always focus on enjoying your time with your kiddos. Thanks for the blog!

    • Someone once told me that because I was the one who was reflecting on what issues I may have and how that may be contributing to the failed relationship – that this was a solid indication that I was ‘healthy” – as NPD’s can’t recognize that there’s anything wrong with them and will not be introspective! It was a great “ah-ha”. I hate that you have to deal with the whole family in attack mode. My ex’s is the same way, however they do it through him rather than being independently attacking. It makes your battle soooo much more difficult than one npd alone.

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