Your Story Matters

There is no greater agony
than bearing an untold story inside you.
-Maya Angelou

Everyone likes a good story. Some people can immediately tell their story, while others can’t. Many of us struggle to understand our stories due to emotional pain, self-deception or pressure from family members who don’t want us to talk about the past. Whether we chose to acknowledge the past or not, we each have a story to tell. Understanding our story is the key to our healing.

Stories Teach Transformation
The Bible is full of stories about people who have gone before us. What would the story of Joseph, governor of Egypt mean if we had not learned the story of how his brothers sold him into slavery? Or the story of Moses if we had not heard how he was miraculously saved from genocide and trained to be Pharaoh before his shameful act of killing a man?

Consider how the story of Saul turned Paul reveals his conversion and gives credibility to his teachings. Moses wrote his story and Paul is recorded telling his story at least twice (Acts 22 and 26). Without the back-stories, Bible stories would have much less meaning. When we discover how God dealt with each person in love regardless of their mistakes, it gives us hope to make better stories with our own lives.

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Our Brain Stores What We Don’t Acknowledge
Scientists have discovered our brains record everything. Famous neurosurgeon Ben Carson once said in an interview that every book we read in the fourth grade is still in our mind, we just have to access it. This also means every slap, every scream and every abuse is stored in our head. At any moment a scent, a sound or voice could trigger us to have a flashback. This is why some American veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some have PTSD because we’ve survived a war in our own homes.

A soldier is prepared and trained for combat, but a son beaten by his father is not. A soldier who comes home might realize at times he is safe, but a young girl molested by her pastor has had her most sacred trust betrayed at a time when she was at her most vulnerable. Home for this boy and church for this girl might always feel like a war zone unless they learn to put their abusive pasts into perspective. When we tell our story we discover we are not alone in our pain.

When we tell our story,
w
e heal ourselves and we heal others.
-Iyanla Van Zant

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Our Stories Bring Healing
The Bible is full of stories for a reason. Hearing the stories of other people helps us understand our own story and knowing  the story of Jesus brings healing. The word for salvation is Sozo which also means healing. When the Bible talks about salvation it is talking about spiritual healing for eternity. We all need healing because we were born into a sin damaged world.

This is what the Lord says:
‘Your wound is incurable,
your injury is beyond healing…
But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds…’
-Jeremiah 30:12-14, 17

The Key to Overcoming the Enemy
We have an accuser who accuses us day and night. His accusations and lies will ultimately kill us unless we tell our story and allow the story of Jesus to heal us.

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb
and because of the word of their testimony.
-Revelation 12:11

To gain a full understanding of this verse it helps to know Lamb is prophecy code for Jesus. Blood is prophecy code for life (Leviticus 17:14). When we understand the life of Jesus by listening to His story, it helps us write a better story for our own lives. In other words our stories plus the story of Jesus is the way we overcome.

When we finally view our own stories within the bigger story of God, we begin to experience hope and healing. When we share our stories and allow the light of Jesus to shine through us, our lives become beautiful like stained glass windows.

We have to trust
that our stories deserve to be told.
We may discover that
the better we tell our stories
the better we will want to live them.
-Henri Nouwen

10 thoughts on “Your Story Matters”

  1. I recently asked my n mother for an apology, she came at me with full force of crazy accusations going back decades, reminding me of what my Dad sacrificed when I was 7 years old. He did a menial job briefly as he retrained.
    She accused me of not being ‘loyal’ for bringing up her recent atrocious behaviour.
    She was a terrible mother, I’ve never talked about her violence towards her children, her jealousy & complete lack of loyalty to her family.
    She has never made a single apology in her entire life, she exposed us to violence, alienated her grandchildren, encourages negative conversations about her family.
    Now she can’t communicate with me for the simple request she apologies for very poor behaviour. This makes no sense at all, why can’t they practice what the preach ? Why are the children considered competition ? What is the prize exactly ?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Passenger of the Road,

    I’m so sorry for your pain. It’s never easy to be the child of a narcissist. Narcs never apologize because they think they are always right. They don’t think like other people, they only think of winning the argument and don’t care about losing the relationship. Perhaps this is due to their lack of empathy but they seem unable to see things from anyone’s point of view but their own. They also believe those of us who speak truth are being disloyal. Sad to say it, but practicing what they preach never enters their minds. The best thing many of us have done in such situations is accept the apology we never got. Here is a blog I wrote called “When They Won’t Say Sorry. I hope it helps.

    Peace and freedom to you!
    Cherilyn

    https://littleredsurvivor.com/surviving-narcissim/we-can-forgive-but-never-forget/forgiving-even-when-they-wont-say-sorry/

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  3. Cheryl your artistry, articles, video selections and poems are amazing!

    As for a tiny chunk of my story: I have older siblings, and a BIL who are all narcissists and/or tyrants to one degree or another. It has been a very difficult long haul vis-a-vis my geriatric parents, since 2009. My mom passed on a few years ago, but now its my dad whose health has been seriously declining since about two years ago, and that too is taking a huge toll. His case has been constantly mismanaged by my stupid sibs, and they barely listen to my input (its the only son who was assigned as primary caregiver).

    I have become very chronically ill due to my stressful life. I’m only in my 50s, and my foot and leg are like an old woman’s, with spider veins and discolorations constantly developing. Excruciatingly painful, perhaps due to my borderline Sjogrens. Also painful eyelid gland atrophy. Add to that my siblings undermining me constantly in front of the aides – causing one of them to in turn be openly contemptuous, sulky and tyrannical toward me, turncoat-style, and it’s a nightmare. That’s aside from the heavy-duty physical exertion (despite my excruciating pain) of helping maneuver my dad in the bed, due to his constant shifting into odd positions, his developing a nosebleed perhaps due to the careless aide not inserting the oxygen tubing carefully, and you get the picture.

    now for an example of narcissism:
    A few years ago, I was chatting by phone with one of my sisters when she was at my dad’s apt. Suddenly out of the clear blue, she starts exclaiming in a screechy way “Judy penname, what’s the problem, I just L-L-LOVE visiting with Daddy, he’s SO sweet…” and she proceeds in a non-interruptable monologue in that vein. When the fact is, I never had even mentioned anything about finding it a burden to visit him. Quite the contrary! I felt myself clenching inside, while picturing who might be overhearing her misleading monologue at her end.

    Each one of them has his/her particular permutation of slippery-slope foibles. Two of them, to my mind, are “smooth-voiced operators” one of whom has, what Kemp describes, as a “Musical Temperament”. To say that the going has been rough would be an understatement. I’m now in my 50s, and never did manage to escape my trap-within-trap circumstances, for reasons beyond the scope of this post.

    Thank you so much for portraying the nature of narcissism so accurately, thereby providing us with validation of our own experiences in a way that we can relate to.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Judy,

    Reading your comment reminds me how a dysfunctional family is so complicated. Every tree that falls in the forest affects the other trees around it through the crashing and breaking into others or the absence once fallen due to the empty space. In this same way, family members cannot help but affect each other positively or negatively.

    So many ACoNs struggle with telling their stories because of siblings and flying monkey relatives, but if a family is built with lies, then every lie is part of a web holding that family together and if one decides to disconnect and tell the truth it brings the entire web crashing down and instead of acknowledging the truth, they turn on the messenger and make then the scapegoat.

    You do not deserve to be the scapegoat. And when we are false accused or attacked for who we are, it really does affect our health. I hope you can regain your equilibrium.

    Peace and freedom to you!

    Cherilyn

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  5. Hi Cherilyn,
    My husband and I are new to this world. Our story is unfolding in chunks. It is his parents, and even him a little bit (to his mortification and realization–more by culture of childhood, not by nature). I’ve enjoyed perusing your website as we piece together what is going on. I’ve started a blog http://www.musingsofamiddlywed.com that addresses bits and pieces as they come and as I learn about them. I’ve been researching so much to try and heal as an individual and as a family. Is it ok if I link your site occasionally? Or would you prefer that I not? Thank you for your story. It helps so many.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Musing Middlywed,

    Of course you may link to my blog!

    I am sorry you have to deal with narcissism in your family. I know how hard it is especially in the beginning when you first discover it. I am glad my blog has helped.

    Peace and freedom to you!

    Cherilyn

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  7. By the way, when those of us who grew up with narc parents sometimes act like them, it is called “having fleas.” It just means we learned bad habits from the narcissistic people who raised us. But like Maya Angelou said, “When we know better, we do better.”

    Blessings,

    Cherilyn

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  8. Goodness, I LOVE reading your blog! I can identify with so many of the posts dealing with narcissistic parents, but not for myself. For my husband. I want to print so many of the articles so he can read them!

    Like the previous commentor, I married into a HIGHLY toxic family. I had no idea. My family was healthy, loving, and normal. His family seemed that way. I loved them and was pretty sure I’d won the inlaw jackpot. Obviously, our story is far more complicated than I could ever sum up in a few words, but the short of it is after we got married his mom took a disliking to me and began accusing me of horrible things. It got worse and worse as time went on. We tried to reason with her and my FIL. We apologized for “misunderstandings” over things I never did in the first place. But since we refused to accept the blame they insisted I deserved, they treated us terribly. They ignored our kids and accused me of turning the children against them. My husband’s dad used to threaten to fire him everytime his mother got upset about something they had completely assumed, even if it had nothing to do with us. They told his siblings distorted versions of our offenses and their interactions with us, but his brothers never believed them. Obviously it eventually destroyed his relationship with his parents. Whenever we defended ourselves or his brothers defended us, his mom took it all as a personal attack, and his parents got mad at all of us. My husband started his own business, quit working for his dad, and they quit speaking to us. We have had the most peaceful two years of our 13 year marriage since then. It took me nearly a decade to put all the pieces together. His mom was emotionally and verbally abused as a child, and as a result, she exhibits almost all the traits of a covert maternal narcissist. She’s the perpetual victim of everyone, even if she’s the one accusing and the “offender” does nothing more than deny what she is accusing them of. The unusual thing about this toxic family is, ALL of my husband’s brothers agree and think their mother has severe emotional problems. They all get along well. But their father enables her and demands that everyone else coddle and allow her unreasonable behavior, or they shun the offending party (which is currently us). The youngest child, a girl, is the only one who goes along with the parents, but she doesn’t take personal responsibility for anything, either. The parents are extremely conservative “Christians” – long beard, dresses and headcoverings. They constantly play the martyr card, as in, the only real reason we all have a problem with them is because of the spirit of the world within us striving against the Spirit of God in them. So they can’t be reasoned with. They’re right, everyone else is wrong. End of story. They maintain that we will all be apologizing to them profusely if we ever “get right with God”.

    I’m a Christian woman who has struggled with the guilt of this failed relationship, even though I have done my best to be kind and loving in the face of it all. (My husband and his brothers are all very nice, decent people, but they are bitter and angry toward anything religious). Your blog has reaffirmed that I have handled this as well as I can, in the most loving way I can. Thank you for sharing your story and your wealth of knowledge! It certainly DOES help!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi April,

    Thank you for sharing! Wow! I am glad your husband is a good guy who is wise enough to step back from this dysfunctional family. And it sounds like his brothers are great guys too. I think the kickback from victim mindset narcissistic controlling parents is often for men to let go of God. The reasonable thing for them is to reject what seems unreasonable and they imagine God is like the parents who misrepresented God to them. And one can hardly blame them! If they don’t know any other God but one that is so obsessed with our external dress and hairstyles have can they imagine a God who cares more about their hearts? And yet the Bible says humans look at outward appearances but God looks on the heart.

    God cares about your heart and your husband’s heart and all of our hearts! Here are some of my favorite verses about God caring about our hearts for future reference and encouragement:
    https://littleredsurvivor.com/truth/love/god-cares-about-our-hearts/

    That said, I think as Christians we do want to save relationships but we often forget we are only one half of the relationship. The other party has freedom of choice too and if they do not chose to call us or treat us with respect and kindness, then they are letting us know they don’t value the relationship or care about our hearts as Jesus does. in such cases, we have to let go just like God does when people chose other than what he would have for them.

    As for who has the Spirit of God in them and who has the spirit of the world in them, that is really up for God to determine in the end, but meanwhile we can observe the fruits of their lives. if lvoe is not the motivating factor and right talking or proving someone wrong is more important than love, then we have the answer. It is sad of course but you can’t reason with unreasonable people. As long as people are convinced in their minds they are better than us because of some belief, then they won’t listen to the truth.

    This is why Jesus said to walk away and shake the dust from our feet. This is not in hate or anger, but rather to not push them when they already have made their choices.

    I am glad you are blessed by my blog. I pray for the Spirit of Truth to touch your entire family and bring healing and hope and love into this mess. We know they have choices, but sometimes God has a new plan up his sleeves. In Isaiah, He says I am doing a new thing. Hang on and see what God can do. Meanwhile, take care of yourself and don’t let this affect your health or your marriage or children if you have them.

    Peace and freedom to you and yours!

    Cherilyn

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