Narcissism is a word that’s been thrown around a lot in my circle this year. Whether it’s close friends with their own experiences with narcissists or my own, I’ve given this a lot of thought.  Narcissists are abusive, manipulative, and deceptive. There’s nothing worse then a person who is all three and claims to be a Christian.

The most dangerous narcissist is a Christian one.

Before I begin, I want to clarify this post isn’t directed at any one person but a culmination of my own or other’s experiences. However, if you’re reading this and think it may be written about you, then reexamine your life and behavior. And if you feel brave enough, contact me and we’ll talk about it.

These five characteristics are all things I witness daily by people who attend Church regularly.

  1. Christian narcissists twist the Bible. Instead of using the Bible as a weapon against spiritual warfare, they use it to call out other people.  Churches, religious groups, pastors, even their own family. No one is safe. They claim they’re speaking truth, but really they’re airing their own opinions and puffing themselves up. There’s no way of understanding in their hearts, only a need to be right.  Proverbs 18:2, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Honestly, I don’t know everything about the Bible. I haven’t read scripture cover to cover but I know the Word of God should never be manipulated by man. We all interpret it in our own way but we should always ask God to give us His wisdom to understand before we go out and try to preach it. Our actions speak louder than quoting scripture ever will.
  2.  The silent treatment is a Christian narcissist’s “love” language. This is the preferred weapon of a narcissist. Pretty much, you’re invisible to this person. The silent treatment is emotional abuse and control. We deserve healthy relationships where both persons involved deal with their issues maturely. Narcissists don’t deal with their issues or any issues at all.
  3. There is no forgiveness in a Christian narcissist’s heart. They can quote scripture about grace and forgiveness but don’t extend either.
  4.  They have a history and pattern of broken relationships. Red flag, enough said.
  5.  They avoid confrontation. Accountability is healthy but Christian narcissists hardly ever allow themselves to be held accountable. And God help you if you try to confront and correct them in an area of their life where they’re not being Christ-like or hurtful. Ultimately, we’re all accountable to God, but Christian narcissists never take responsibility or own up to their own part of the conflict. They’re always justified in their own eyes.

It’s taken me about six months to examine my own life and actions. Earlier in the year, I was probably all five of the above at different times in a month’s span. Thankfully, God has done some hard work in me and my heart.  We’re all narcissistic in some way, but recognizing it and changing are two different things.

So, how do we protect ourselves against Christian Narcissists? I’ve given the below some thought and both have been confirmed. When God shows you something repeatedly, it’s not a coincidence and needs to be addressed.

The most important thing to protect yourself against Christian Narcissists is to create boundaries. Without boundaries we give the narcissists in our life permission to treat us how they want to. What isn’t told to stop will continue.

God wants us in relationships with safe people. Safe people are people we can connect with on a deeper level. In their presence, there’s no fear of rejection. We can speak truth in love to each other, confronting each other when needed. These are the keys to safe relationships and only work when guided by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Setting boundaries and having a safe support system isn’t self-centered, it’s our responsibility.

In your own life, pay attention to the people in it. Examine whether they have deep, meaningful relationships with other people. Gut level relationships, not shallow ones. The people in our life at gut level should know our personal history. If there are parts of our life that are left out, it’s not a deep relationship but a shallow one. There is no side life, everything is out in the open. This is a level of intimacy narcissists are incapable of.

In closing, I’m learning to navigate the relationships (work and personal) in my life carefully. Even with my safe group, there are still boundaries in place. This is healthy. We can’t avoid narcissists completely, but we can educate ourselves.

There are a ton of resources out there about narcissism, but as a Christian, the Bible is always a good place to start. Seek God and His wisdom regarding the relationships in your life. Ask Him to show you any error in you. It’s easy to point the finger, more difficult to focus on the faults in ourselves.

Through God and His grace alone, He will heal and change you.

In Jesus and with love,

Julie