A spiritual narcissist is a person who uses their faith and spirituality to manipulate others to boost their ego. It can be your preacher, a family member, a parent, or a romantic partner.
One of the main factors contributing to narcissism is pride and the desire to elevate oneself above others.
We find Paul addressing this as he was concerned about the character and behaviour of leaders within the church, so he warned Timothy to remain alert of those who act out of a “self-love attitude”.
“But know this, that in the last day’s perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away.” - 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NKJV)
In the above scripture, Paul names many attributes associated with a narcissistic personality.
NARCISSISTS IN THE BIBLE:
In the Bible, we find examples of narcissists who were self-absorbed and did not suffer from any pangs of their conscience. Anyone who got in their way they despised. Their ego prevented them from feeling sympathy, and their greed prevented them from seeing other people's rights.
He was Abigail's husband and turned David and his soldiers away when they requested hospitality. He was a narcissist at heart. He could not see past his self-importance, even when his life depended on it.
When Abigail realized this was an insult, she found herself in a classic narcissistic abusive dilemma. They will perish if she follows her husband’s wishes, but disobeying her husband may lead to her death. Nabal keels over from fear, and the “Lord smote him until he died.” He died because he hated any infringement on his money and enjoyment and didn't realize that he could only have them thanks to other people's protection.
She had no qualms about taking what she desired by force of the law. She easily committed murder and was motivated by greed; she had Naboth killed for his vineyard to save herself the expense.
She abused people around her and became obsessed with Elijah when he rebuked her for worshipping Baal. His only crime was to call her out on her issues. Public humiliation or even embarrassment is considered a serious transgression in the eyes of a narcissist. Jezebel was thrown from a high wall and fell to her death then dogs devoured her flesh.
SIGNS OF A SPIRITUAL NARCISSIST:
3. They hijack conversations:
The spiritual narcissist controls every conversation, believing they always know best. They will intrude on your private conversations by leveraging their power and expertise. They will hijack your discussions under the pretext of “assisting” or “supporting” you. The truth of the matter is they lack empathy and are not interested in the exchange of ideas.
4. They behave as though they have never made any mistakes & will criticize others for theirs:
Narcissists never admit their mistakes and reject accountability. Instead, they blame others for mistakes they made and end up making people around them feel wrong about something they didn’t say or do.
They have unrealistic expectations and make unreasonable demands all the time. So, no matter what you say or do, the spiritual narcissist will never be satisfied.
5. They talk - But never listen:
Spiritual narcissists cannot listen or provide genuine support. They thrive on being the centre of attention and are usually loud and outspoken. They are easily offended and angered if you don’t listen to them or follow their advice, making you feel guilty for disregarding them.
6. They are constantly judging others:
Spiritual narcissists continuously criticize and judge others in opposition to the compassion, forgiveness, and love they should encourage. They bolster their ego by degrading others. So, spiritual narcissists will use any chance to blame others for what they see as flaws.
7. They manipulate scripture to justify their actions:
A spiritual narcissist will profess love, kindness, and compassion yet never show it in their deeds. On the contrary, they manipulate scripture to justify their toxic behaviour and gaslight you into doubting your knowledge and sanity.
They will use scripture to prove their viewpoints while ignoring passages that contradict their ideas and points of view.
THE BIBLICAL STANCE WHEN DEALING WITH SPIRITUAL NARCISSISTS:
We must treat them with kindness and mercy and model Christ-like behaviour in all that we do. Understanding that someone is a narcissist gives us clarity. Narcissism often comes from compensating for a deep wound.
THE FOLLOWING STEPS CAN ASSIST BOTH YOU AND THE PERSON BOUND BY THIS SPIRIT:
- Pray and spend time in the Word.
- Have boundaries.
- Take a break or end the relationship.
- Maintain your ground.
- Try to diffuse aggressive behaviour.
- Use your energy on things you can change, and that will make a difference in your life.
- Ensure your values are intact.
- Spend your time on healthier relationships.
- Prioritize your peace.
- Seek wise counsel.