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What Is Christian Narcissism?

Updated on April 18, 2016
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What is a Christian Narcissist?

Dr. David Orrison, pastor for over 30 years and has a PhD in Theology from Trinity Seminary, describes a narcissistic Christian as follows:

Narcissistic Christians are:

  • Christians saved by Jesus Christ and follow Christ's teachings
  • People who exhibit characteristics or narcissism
  • Uses the church, the Bible, and Christian teachings to fulfill their own emotional and relational significance

Note: Christian narcissism is not a clinical psychiatric disorder. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a psychiatric disorder classified in the DSM-IV or diagnostic the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition.

Christian Narcissism has been termed by non-professionals to give terminology to Christians who display Narcissism along with extreme Christian ideology.

Fanatic Narcissist

What is Narcissism?

To understand Christian narcissism, one needs to understand narcissism.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD, is a clinical psychological personality disorder where the person is overly preoccupied with himself/herself. The narcissist has a distorted self image, intense mood swings, lacks understanding of others, and has a sense of superiority. Narcissists see his/her interests and opinions as the only ones that really matter. Rarely does a narcissist admit they are wrong.

According to Medical News Today a person with narcissistic personality disorder typically shows some of the symptoms listed below:

  • They believe they are special, above others and rules
  • They believe they have a right for special treatment
  • Obsessed with themselves
  • Arrogant
  • Difficulties maintain long term relationships
  • When hurt they feel and act like a victim
  • Responds to criticism with anger, humiliation or shame
  • They boast about their own talents, achievements and importance
  • They have an exaggerated sense of self regarding their looks, intelligence and success
  • They have difficulties maintaining healthy relationships
  • Overly sensitive
  • Seek attention from others and positive reinforcement
  • Lack empathy towards others
  • They may believe their skills in romance are superior to anybody else's

Open Bible

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Religious Narcissism

Some Christians have their ego so attached to biblical teachings they do not know where they end and the truth of God's word begins. A Christian narcissist uses the Bible and teachings of Jesus Christ to fulfill their own emotional and relational significance. They often approach others with rigidity, condemnation and confrontation all in the name of God. They state what they do is for God's Glory, but at the end of the day, it’s all about them. Dr. David Orrison explains Christian narcissism further.

Christian narcissist seems like an oxymoron, a term that has two contradictory parts. Narcissism is a flesh pattern that developed in early life and became the coping mechanism of choice in handling the stresses of life. This happened while the person was very young and has been reinforced constantly throughout life. That means that if such a person would become a believer he or she would almost certainly continue to struggle with narcissistic behavior in relationships. I am tempted to say that there cannot be such a creature, yet I do know some. In fact, many churches have them.

Christian behavior is easy to fake and many in the church are naïve and gullible and are particularly vulnerable to the manipulations and deceit of the narcissist. The church is a prime hunting ground for narcissists, with little real accountability and significant opportunity for attention and promotion.

Profile of a Christian Narcissist:

  • Overly devoted, or extreme devotion to his religious group
  • Places great emphasis and control of others on the proper conduct or rights, rituals and ceremonies
  • Rigid
  • Center of attention at prayer groups, services, and other church functions
  • Feels they have divine providence and a grandiose connection to God
  • Believes they are doing others a service by condemning them, pointing out their flaws and wrongdoing
  • Believes their uniqueness is purposeful, they are meant to lead and reform others

A Christian narcissist knows the Bible through and through. They can use Bible verses to slice and dice others in conversations. When speaking with a Christian narcissist they assert their point of view as right and can usually find a Bible verse to back up their view claiming it comes from God because it is in the Bible. Their dogma and agenda is confrontational with little to no respect to other's point of view, religious thoughts and beliefs. They may even claim they are more biblically scholarly than others when confronted with contradicting Bible verses.

The Chruch

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What do you think?

Have you encountered a Christian narcissist?

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How to Deal with a Christian Narcissist

  • Learn about narcissism and know that even Christians can have personality disorders
  • Narcissists usually win in conversations because they fatigue others, the best option is not to go toe to toe with a Christian Narcissist
  • Try not to engage in a conversation that is going nowhere
  • Try to avoid them
  • Pray
  • Keep your expectations realistic, you probably will not change their minds
  • Set boundaries
  • Half truths are more dangerous than falsehoods. Though they are quoting from the Bible, their truths and interpretations of the Bible can be wrong. If you are confused by their teachings seek wise counsel from a Christian who is not narcissistic.

How to Know you are Dealing with a Christian Narcissist

Have you encountered a Christian narcissist? Tell your story below.

You know you have encountered a Christian narcissist when:

  • In conversation they never get tongue-tied. They can change the conversation in a different direction, or offer a Bible verse to state how right they are and how wrong you are.
  • They are crafty, cunning, sly, and clever to make sure they get their religious point across or their religious agenda completed.
  • They leave little room in the conversation for your point of view.
  • When asking a question, they really do not want to hear your answer, but use your answer to further get their point across and demolish your beliefs.
  • Although they may say they are humble and try to come across with humility, they have an arrogance about them.
  • They lack remorse and rarely would you hear them say, they are wrong or sorry.
  • You feel you cannot 'connect' with them. They seem distant and cold.
  • They are always right, and you will alwlays be wrong in their eyes, there is no middle ground.
  • You feel exhausted, baffled and confused after speaking with a narcissistic Christian.
  • You may feel your personal relationship with Christ and your beliefs do not match with their Chrstian ideology. Their beliefs although, Christian, may seem forgien to you.
  • Their behavior does not always match up with what they preach.
  • They always have the last word.

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    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Carly, this is an excellent article and very insightful! Clearly you have done a great deal of research on such an interesting topic. I also thought the points you listed on recognizing a Christian Narcissist were quite enlightening. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Excellent hub. You really have something here! Believing one has greater moral authority, human value, etc. than another is rude and devaluing. I usually just let such individuals bask in the glory of their own rightness and get the hell away. Voted up and more.

    • sparkster profile image

      Sparkster Hubs 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very interesting and entertaining, I'm sure I know a couple of people who may be Christian narcissists.

    • CarlySullens profile image
      Author

      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Rose, thank you. I was inspired by my other religious hub I had written that spun a nasty debate. The term narcissistic Christian came to mind, and then I researched it and found others have indeed been writing about it. I think we all have encountered some, but never had the terminology. Thank you for stopping by and voting up.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      FourishAnyway,

      Yes, Narcissistic Christians can seemingly be rude and devaluing. I too, now, get the hell away and try not to engage because I have learned it goes nowhere. Thank you for the voting up and sharing.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Sparkster, Thank you for stopping by, reading and commenting. I hope you know more Christians who do not display Christian Narcissism than the ones you do. Blessings.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      A great hub for self reflecting. We probably all have some of it in us. Another excellent CarlySullens' hub.

    • sparkster profile image

      Sparkster Hubs 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Isn't it ironic how the bible itself warns about narcissism:

      2 Timothy 3:1-7 - But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      A wonderfully interesting hub and here's to so many more form you Carly.

      Have a great day.

      Eddy.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      New term for me, but it makes sense. It might easily describe some who call themselves prophets, but then I also have to see how much of it describes me. Thank you for sharing this insight.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 years ago from london

      Obviously well written. Still, I do not know the virtue of pointing this out. We are all God's children. Can this help them?

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      Since humility is what underlies Christ's message, hence how he humbled himself unto the point of dying for mankind's sins, it seems strange how one could use Christian and Narcissist together. I think you are either one or the other, and it is impossible to be both, no matter what sort of nice labels a person wants to pin upon themselves. Interesting hub.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      This is so true! I read each point in your article and thought to myself, oh boy do I know a few (in my personal life) who fit this description! I used to call them antagonistic. Now I know the difference! The one thing I always think of when one of these types is engaging me into believing they are more Godly than me and that's why they have a perfect life and I don't (LOL), is the Bible teaches us to Esteem Others Higher than Ourselves. When I see someone knocking someone else out in the name of Christianity, I think of how are they esteeming anyone? They are steam rolling a few, but not esteeming. Haha! Great article! (In all seriousness, it helps to have a sense of humor when you have to live next to or deal with someone like this like I do. Avoiding is always an option!)

    • profile image

      SandCastles 3 years ago

      Good Hub CarlySullens.

      It is also important to note that a bit of narcissism in a person is healthy. A person might have special rights over others. Not everyone has equal rights in your life. Not everyone has an equal say. You should have more rights in your relationship with your spouse than the neighbour. Everyone should believe that they are special because they are but that does not mean they are above the rules. It is okay to want special treatment from your loved one but not from everybody. It is also important to note that most people respond to criticism with anger when it is unfair criticism and not constructive. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back for a job well done but the narcissist goes overboard while they minimize other people's achievements. Some people are overly sensitive but that does not make them a narcissist. It is important not to label people. It is easy to look at a few characteristics and run with them. Most people desire positive reinforcement; they want that raise, they want to be acknowledged and that is okay. One doesn't have to be self-effacing, never acknowledging their strengths while they let others take credit for their work because they don't want to appear narcissitic. The narcissist wants lots of attention and positive reinforcement without having to do any hard work; they steal other people's ideas, they schmooze; they slander others; anything to be on top without having to produce anything themselves.

      Being Overly devoted does not make someone a religious narcissist. I don't think Mother Teresa was a narcissist. But I do believe the religious narcissist is a power tripper who is very rigid, has to be the center of attention (like you said), is grandiose, is very judgemental (pointing out other people's flaws with zeal) and they are NOT humble. And also because they are narcissitic, they don't really care about God; it is all about them. They use God to gain power over others so they can put themselves on top. They are hypocrites and some are perverts too, exploiting their position of authority to take advantage of people. These are not Godly people and your hub was effective in pointing that out. For them it is always about them being right and you being wrong (their ego is at stake). They are crafty because their goals have nothing to do with God. They do not hear your point of view because they don't care. They don't want to hear your answer because it is all about them. They are definitely arrogant. They will never say sorry because they can never be wrong (tied to their ego). You can't connect with them because they have no interest in you; the relationship is completely one-sided. They are distant and very cold even when they smile and appear friendly because it is fake. They have to are always right because they worship their ego. I don't narcissistic christians even like God; he's too powerful. Or they see themselves as equal with God and sometimes even better! They resent your personal relationship with Christ because that means you don't need them to have a connection with God. They are cut out of the equation and they can't have that; it is their narcissistic supply to have you going to them for answers.

      Excellent hub!

      Open Bible

      Source: Doug1021, CC:BY, via flickr

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      mbuggieh 3 years ago

      I think the phrase "Christian narcissism" really get to the heart of the issue of Christian insistence that it is, basically, their way or the highway; that there is nothing but their truth; that there is no room for discussion---and especially, no room for scientific fact.

    • yankeeintexas profile image

      yankeeintexas 3 years ago from Lubbock, Texas

      Yes, I have encountered "Christian narcissism"! Matter a fact I had served in a church for many years run by a family of narcissus. I what ever I said was always wrong, and was quickly told ( not so much in words) that I was not to ever cross them. I watch many good preaches leave that church, and eventually many other Christians left. I finally left and it was the best decision I ever made. Now I serving in a church that really is not stuck on itself.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      A very interesting hub. We shouldn't judge other people, but leave the judging to God, but we do need to be aware when things are not right and Christians allow themselves to get self-centred.

    • profile image

      MysticMoonlight 3 years ago

      Wow, Carly, you really nailed this topic! I have encountered Christian narcissism many times and afterwards I'm always left absolutely confused by the conflict in their words verses their actions. I'm literally at a loss for words at how over-bearing and contradictory they can be at times. I'm almost embarrassed for them sometimes because they often do not see how negatively they come across to others.

      Great Hub here, one of the most honest I've seen. Great job.

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      christiananrkist 3 years ago

      Good hub. I thought the list of what a narcissist is was funny because its seems as though 99.9% of people in the world fit this description. lol. jk. but only a little. The list of what a Christian narcissist looks like is also interesting. This list makes it seem as though if a Christian is confident and knowledgeable in his/her views they could be a Christian narcissist. What would be the difference between a Christian who is confident and knowledgeable and a Christian narcissist? How could you tell the 2 a part?

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I have followed and watched and read comments to this hub. I have learned much. I always tell my Christian Students to question what I say. Question first with their heart and then with scripture. I sure hope my great oratory skills and dominate persona do not keep them from this path.

      We of any faith must stay vigilante to guarantee each person finds their own way to a peace with what they know as a Deity. Our task must never be to convince but always be to open hearts and minds to possibilities.

      I am taking time off from preaching and teaching to pray and meditate on my role. We who are heard must remain open to the fact that we have become Christian Narcissists. If I have. Then I will learn that and repent.

      Thank you sweet Carly for giving me pause for thought and being the beautiful you.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Eric, I think you said it perfectly,

      "We of any faith must stay vigilante to guarantee each person finds their own way to a peace with what they know as a Deity. Our task must never be to convince but always be to open hearts and minds to possibilities."

      Wow, that is beautiful. What if we all listened more? To each other, to the hurts and pains behind the words, to the dreams the love and devotion to God. What if we listen with our hearts instead of our agendas, that is when we can hear each other with Agape Love.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      christiananrkist,

      You ask:

      "This list makes it seem as though if a Christian is confident and knowledgeable in his/her views they could be a Christian narcissist. What would be the difference between a Christian who is confident and knowledgeable and a Christian narcissist? How could you tell the 2 a part?"

      You have a great question, causing me to pause and think about adding more to this hub to clarify this topic further. Being confident, knowing your bible, and preaching does not make you a narcissistic Christian. It is not the knowledge but how the knowledge is presented and offered.

      As quoted from above in the hub, "Some Christians have their ego so attached to biblical teachings they do not know where they end and the truth of God's word begins." Narcissitic Christians have a huge ego, there is now humility in their words and actions. They leave little to know room for anyone else's point of views, they rarely listen to others and always want to be in the center of attention. They are always right.

      I hope that helps clarify it better.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      MysticMoonlight,

      I think you said it right when people are with a narcissistic Christian, there is this sens of confusion and a loss for,"how over-bearing and contradictory they can be at times." I think you stated it very clearly. I do not think they realize how negatively they come across to others either.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      BlossomSB,

      I agree we shouldn't judge people, and writing this I can understand why people would think I am judging or causing people to judge others.

      However, I work with adults who have personality disorders like Narcissism. It is important for other's to be aware of people who may be dangerous even in the Christian church. People with narcissistic personality sometimes exploit others. If we are not aware of them, they can easily pray on the weak. And this is often done wrongly and very sadly in the name of God.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      yankeeintexas,

      I am sorry to hear that happened to you. Usually those who portray narcissistic characteristics do have a hard time forming long term relationships. People move away like you did.

      I am glad you are now serving a church that is stuck on God and not themselves.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Eric, my friend. Yes, I think all of us has some narcissistic tendencies. Just like all of us get sad and have similar symptoms of depression. True depression last much longer than just feeling blue, even though the symptoms are quite similar, and true narcissism is way more than having a strong self esteem and knowing your bible and faith. Blessings.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Sparkster,

      You found a great bible verse for this. Thank you for commenting and adding the Word to the hub.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Eddy, thank you for stopping by and commenting, always appreciated.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      MsDora,

      People of the faith, prophets and strong believers, are not necessarily narcissistic. It is when they preach or use the word of God to better themselves God's love is what makes them seem more narcissistic.

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 3 years ago from Georgia country

      Thank you for sharing this interesting hub. I have never come across term. So this was very educational for me.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Oh, thank you for the explanation. Yes, it is important to be aware.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      janewrites, I never came across the term until I started to research it. It is very educational and something to be very aware of. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Blossom, you are very welcome. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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      christiananrkist 3 years ago

      that does clarify. Thank you. I agree completely. Many people find it difficult to actually listen to what is is you may be trying to get across.

    • mabelhenry profile image

      mabelhenry 3 years ago from Harrisburlg, Pennsylvania

      This is a powerful hub on narcissism. Yet, narcissism is a symptom of a character or personality disorder a Christian may be operating in, and is a symptom of that disorder. I would have to concur with "Mel Carriere" comments, "Since humility is what underlies Christ's message, hence how he humbled himself unto the point of dying for mankind's sins, it seems strange how one could use Christian and Narcissist together. Scriptures expose narcissistic behavioral patterns, and counsel us to put on Christ and to conform into His image and likeness. The term narcissism would have to stand by itself, because it is derivative from sin. Christ has no sin, but a Christian can possess a narcissistic attitude because of sin, but they can't not be a narcissistic Christian, because the Christ they represent can never be a narcissist.

      2 Timothy 3, opens up with in the last day, perilous times shall come; it exposes the narcissist absolutely and doesn't advocate this type of character as being Christian conduct. However, narcissism is a quality to be on the lookout for. Your hub inculcates why it is extremely imperative to judge ourselves for every trace of narcissism. Thanks for sharing, this hub is truly an exhortation and admonition which shouts beware and take heed!

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      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      A very interesting view of Christian self-love and the effects of narsissism on others. If they truly know Christ, they will love others as themselves -- as God intended.

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      Daniel 3 years ago

      Hey! Thanks for your response!!After catnemploting your words this is what I came up with. I'd love to share it with you:So the past day or so I had develed back in to the concept of nurturing, also reading up on babies, preemies, touch and how when a child receives these things from a parent they grow up to be healthy, happy, stable adults that are better able to handle stress and crisis.Also reading up about preemies and how touch helps them grow an heal.So some kids don't receive that.If the mother herself did not receive love from her mother she wouldn't be able to pass it along to her kids. So sometimes these patterns get passed down generation to generation. (Until someone learns something different.)Also came across a video about tribes that are affectionate and spend a lot of time with their children also are basically free of violence.I woke up from dreaming two dreams and decided that I was going to experiment with maternal feminine touch towards myself.I observed feelings of wow, this is embarrassing, I feel stupid. I continued and then after that the hurt inner child came to the surface. I was able to caress myself, and calm her down and nurture her.After I woke up I was able to look at myself in the mirror and observe that feminine glow.This helped me let go of feeling victimized. I opened the door of giving to myself again.I realize my mother couldn't not give that to me because she wasn't giving it to herself. When I gave myself the love and self-affection it wanted the anger towards my mom for not receiving love from her dissolved. So something about giving the inner child the love it needed helped her to let go of being angry.I had been storing this stuff in my abdomen my whole life.When I lost touch with love seven years ago it was because I lost touch with the ability to love myself. In reality my body was asking me to step out and learn more about love and nurturing because it didn't receive it in the external world.A mother who doesn't know how to give herself love won't be able to give it to her children.The mother is giving the children what she gives herself. Anything that anyone offers you is because they are giving it to themselves as well.Unconditional love, forgiveness, generosity, wisdom, affection, kindness.Also I have thought quite a bit about shame and where it stems from for me, and I think I that after experiencing what I did with my parents, that I wanted to act in a better way, from a higher more loving perspective.Having that desire and also having the skills to do that when you had been taught different are two different things. The process that a human goes through to go from point a to point b can create shame and stress. I'm working on being less hard on myself for my imperfections and failures that come up on a day to day basis, but still challenged with the shame a bit.Thank you Joeseph.

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      Karen Fritzemeier 3 years ago

      Excellent hub.

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      Bill Akers 3 years ago from Bakersfield,Ca.

      I think that the hardest thing for Christians to do is love the sinner and hate the sin. If you hate the sinner and the sin, you appear as narcissistic and pompous. If you love the sin and the sinner, you're seen as a hypocrite. The road is very narrow, and I fail to stay on it often. An excellent hub and food for thought,thank you.

    • Pamela Mae Oliver profile image

      Pamela Mae Oliver 3 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you for this well written, well thought out article! I have been dealing with narcissistic Christians all my life. I have horror stories, from the time I was a child, of "Christians" who confused me, frightened me, damned me, and judged me. Thank God, after many, many, horrible experiences with those who have sanctified themselves, I finally know the true meaning of being a Christian.

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      Seiboi Misao 3 years ago from India

      This is great..i found it interesting, informative and useful.

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      runkalis 3 years ago

      How can a NPD be a christian when being one is to love and serve and submit to others and their needs first and foremost. This is utterly impossible for the N has zero ability to love anything but themselves. I am fresh out of nearly a four year relationship with one who I met at church. Her love for herself, the wearing of provacative clothing, not only in public but to work being , get this, a first grade teacher! She drinks, smokes pot, and has to have her way every time or theres hell to pay. Her controling, manipulating, self centered needs to devalue and discard finally made me say enough. And the crazy part is, it hurts me.

      The last time we spoke she had just returned from dinner with a friend and called to let me know how awesome it was. Drunk and slurring her words she told me about how her long time friend wants to come to Christ all while citing only the feel good passages like phil 4:13. I have recently had a lapse of faith in my life due to unemployment and my dealing with her, basically tending to her every needs as if she was God. So when she asked me what I thought about her friend I said that was great but the Bible isn't all fun and games but not just choose the feel good verses and ignore the others that warn of wrong doing. I was in spirtual need, condemnation was working on my heart for I knew what I was doing was wrong being with her. I was reaching out for a hand and thought her being my girlfriend and a so called devout Christian she would be there for some words of encouragement. In the middle of my response she hung up on me out of the blue. I tried calling back to her phone turned off. When I finally got in touch with her she again hung up on me, then after one last effort of numerous calls to her she answered, said she loved me and hung up again. That was it, haven't heard from her since.

      Dealing with a non believing NPD partner is one of the hardest things to do in your life, combine that with one who procalims to be Christian, bible studies daily, listens to sermons and praise on the radio all day, it does something to you not only as a person but as a Christian that is un fathomable. I don't want this to cast a shadow over my realtionship with God and evern more so the church but its hard not to think about the saying that Gandhi said ' I like your Jesus, but not you Christians'.

      The amount of pain it creates has no words to express it and I am so full of anxiety, self doubt, fear and confusion as a result is almost unbearable.

      NPDs can not truly be Christians, no matter what. No way, no how, impossible. Its all just another piece for their morbid minds to elevate themselves with of all things, narcistic supply from GOD. If that's not crazy I don't know what is.

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      mythbuster 3 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Wow, this article explains an old roommate perfectly! The roomie felt he was literally God's son on earth, equal to Jesus... just remembering the experiences I had with the roomie as I read through this hub has been uncomfortable. Thanks for presenting religion+narcissist information in some detail and simply explained.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 3 years ago from Great Britain

      Excellent article, but l am afraid l'm a bit late coming to it. Everything has been said.

    • CarlySullens profile image
      Author

      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Thank you Dim.

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      This article on Christian narcissism is quite a revelation and rings quite true. Thanks for the clarity I've gotten from your article.

    • CarlySullens profile image
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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Thank you grand old lady for stopping by, reading and commenting.

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      Former Bible Student 3 years ago

      One Christian sect that most mainstream Christianity considers a cult are the Bible Students a 19th century group following the beliefs of Charles Taze Russell. Their core win doctrines focus on the member's special and unique relationship with God as elite, being selected as one of only 144,000 who will obtain the "high calling." This calling they claim for the faithful followers is to aspire to a resurrection on the plane of God, to be equal in nature to God. This sets Bible Students apart from the "world" (i.e. everyone else including the whole of professed Christianity) Thus all who belong to this group fully believe they God's sole elect and thus special. Such doctrines attract those with selfward focused tendencies. Narcissism is rife amongst them. Heir Especially among those who are the elected leaders of this sect. Having grown up in such a religious environment I experienced first hand the shame they inflict within their laity. To be a member they demand full concecration to "god" but really in effect it is the sect's culture which one's actions are measured against and shamed if one is not in alignment with cultural expectations. An outward show of humility is demanded but it is a facade that overlays a more deeply rooted arogence. The sect is a filter for narcissists more so than any other form of Christian belief. They espouse excessive independent Bible Study with Biblical interpretations guided by the religion's founder's interpretations. Being out of the main stream gives license to each member in their own minds to be equal or superior in Biblical interpretation than professionally educated clergy. Except their excessive emphasis on " independent Bible Study" must not deviate from the sect's founder's interpretations. So each one consider's themselves a scholar and are very cautious /wary of giving consideration to any outside interpretations or understanding since Satan infiltrated and polluted all other Christian doctrine. They , this relatively small group of several thousands worldwide , alone of all people on Earth, have the truth. The majority of members, especially their elected elders , tend to be smug, self satisfied people, intolerant, even harshly antagonistic, towards any dissenting viewpoint. Nonconforming members soon find themselves ostracized ... A defacto shunning. With "disfellowshipping" (the official shun) being reserved mostly for overt immorality such as adultery, or homosexuality (of which they of all sects are most intolerant).

      If one were to congregate regularly for a while one could clearly observe that most of the NPD criteria would readily apply to a large proportion of the membership if not a majority. The remainder are often those who have some kind of inferiority complex that causes them to believe the deserve to be humiliated and thus tolerate a significant amount of abuse. The sect's history is tumultuous with splits over ego clashes. It has not been a smooth road for the sect . Most members feel they are holding up God's standard in defense of the truth . The religion is a filter for narcissists and there is glut of them since there are few main stream congregations who'd either tolerate them for very long or who would feed enough praise into their egos to sate their insatiable appetite for recognition . Often the Bible Students is the last stop for disaffected narcissists who can't find what they need elsewhere.

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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Former Bible Student- wow! You have some first hand clear knowledge about this subject matter. I really liked the line you wrote- "An outward show of humility is demanded but it is a facade that overlays a more deeply rooted arogence." This is also my experience and many others who have been confronted by Christian narcissists. Thank you for stopping by, reading and detailing a well written response.

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      Musu Bangura 3 years ago from Nation's Capital

      Carly, you hit the nail on the head with this topic. This is the mindset mainly so-called Christians carry in the church. It's one of the many reasons why people don't go to church and don't want to be bothered with hearing about the Bible and you can't really blame them. They've lost focus on the point of being a Christian. They are so caught up in themselves they no longer reach out to the community. Instead they form a bunch of social clubs that collect money every week to do who knows what with it. You made some great points. Thanks for sharing.

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      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Thank you Zainab for commenting. Sorry, you had to deal with Christian Narcissim.

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      NoNonsense 2 years ago

      I've dealt with a Christian Narcissist all of my life but I didn't realize this until recently. It seemed that every time that I had an opinion, it was met with a Scripture to prove that I was wrong. As I became older, more and more things became prohibited. At first, I was prohibited to date because Christian were not supposed to date, they were just supposed to wait for the Lord to send them a husband. Supposedly, he would one day knock on the door and after about three dinners, you would instantly get married. As I grew into my twenties, any type of date or calling anyone a 'boyfriend' was prohibited. Thus, the Lord did not approve of marriage, so I was supposed to turn every man down, even the one that knocked on the door to ask for my hand in marriage. Finally, as I grew into my thirties, to even wish for marriage became a sin or to move out of the house. My 'purpose in life was to take care of (her)' - the narcissist. At this point, I began to resist and I moved out of the house. Now, I am the scapegoat, I am blamed for everything that has gone wrong since I left, etc.

      This has been a rough life, but I am coming up...

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      CarlySullens 2 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      NoNonsense, I am at a lost for words. That upbringing sounds like a very difficult and an impossible situation to be in. I am glad you are out. I know it is difficult, especially when the blame and the scapegoating continues. Be strong and know you are not alone. There are others who have dealt with this too and can possibly be there to continue to support you.

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      Kari 2 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      My husband and I were just talking about this behavior the other day. I can totally resonate because I have had my fair share of dealings with Christian narcissism. "You feel exhausted, baffled and confused after speaking with a narcissistic Christian," especially rings true for me. They can twist and turn your words and make you question yourself if you let it get to you.

      My husband strongly feels that people use the bible and make it work for them. I just had an encounter with someone who read me a passage from the bible and then explained to me what it meant (not surprisingly, to her, it meant what she needed it to mean to justify some of her actions, and not what I actually thought it meant.)

      I wonder how a Christian narcissist would interpret your hub?

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      PMARTIN 2 years ago

      Interesting considering I just left a thread about Why Christians should consider themselves as Great. Anyway, is this narcissism when speakers say of how often God talks to them.... a lot. Seems like sometimes more than He talked to Moses.

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      CarlySullens 2 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Relationshipc,

      "I wonder how a Christian narcissist would interpret your hub?" Well, I don't think they will like it very much. I find, most people who show these tendencies often do not see it in themselves. They seem to lack introspection and self evaluation. I have had the same experience of feeling exhausted, baffled and confused after speaking with a narcissistic Christian. It can get exhausting. Now, I just walk away. I no longer want to waste my time in a labyrinth that gets nowhere.

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      CarlySullens 2 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      PMARTIN,

      "Anyway, is this narcissism when speakers say of how often God talks to them.... a lot. Seems like, sometimes more than He talked to Moses." That is a great question. I am not sure if it is narcissism or something else. Maybe God talks to them frequently.

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      jake 2 years ago

      I am very wary about anyone who claims to have private conversations with the Creator. Has anyone noticed that every single time they speak with God,He tells them exactly what they want to hear?

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      CarlySullens 2 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      "Has anyone noticed that every single time they speak with God, He tells them exactly what they want to hear?" Yes, I have noticed. It is interesting, Jake. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Really enjoyed this hub. It's true that many folks only hear God saying what they want him to, but you can tell the truly Godly person by what they do when either God is silent or he says something they don't want to hear!

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      CarlySullens 2 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      "...but you can tell the truly Godly person by what they do when either God is silent or he says something they don't want to hear!" Well stated Lawrenceo1. Thank you for posting your comment and adding to the dialogue.

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      Tim Smith 2 years ago

      Christianity, as commonly represented by its believers as the one and only Truth and/or "true" religion, seems in that sense inherently narcissistic. But Christians are hardly unique in this regard. Adherents to all the major religious faiths can be heard proclaiming a similar monopoly on the truth, sometimes with murderous fervor. The same label might apply to any one of them with ample justification.

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      CarlySullens 2 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      This is true Tim Smith.

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      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Carly....Thank you for sharing this information and presenting the knowledge of Dr. Orrison on The Narcissistic Christian...Interesting to say the least.

      In the scenario of the chicken or the egg, suffice it to say the Narcissism comes FIRST. The vast majority of those referred to as "Born again Christians" are born again as adults, coming over from a former Religion or none at all. Thus, you may like to note that the Narcissistic Christian will have the unpleasant habit of pointing fingers, attaching labels, insulting others, & damning to Hell those who disagree with them, as a method of "Transference."

      They feel a need to punish themselves for a former lifestyle and/or behavior, but lack the humility to be forthright....so once they can claim their "Superiority via Christianity," they "go forth and punish others." I didn't mean this to be funny although I see that it may appear that way.....just because it displays the foolishness of the Narcissist....using the Christian as a punching bag....pushing the pain outward....

      Hope I didn't confuse anyone. I enjoyed your well-written hub, Carly...UP ++++

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      Jon Peloquin 23 months ago

      Very well thought out hub, I'm sure the majority of us have felt this way but couldn't describe the encounters in this in-depth fashion.

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      CarlySullens 22 months ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Thank you Buck. Yes, I agree. I think many of us have felt this way, but couldn't describe it. Learn about Christian Narcissim helped me understand the encoutners better and what to do next time.

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      rdsparrowriter 15 months ago

      Interesting article. Happy 2016!! God bless you!!

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      CarlySullens 15 months ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Thank you rdsparrowriter, you too!! Happy New Year.

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      Jennifer Mugrage 14 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

      This narcissistic mindset can be caused by what St. Paul describes as being "under the Law, not under Grace." For those who believe that being wrong even once is equivalent to being damned to hell with no possibility of recovery, they are sure as heck never going to admit to being wrong! That's what it's like to be under Law.

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      CarlySullens 14 months ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      That is a great point Jennifer. "Under the law, not under grace."

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      Lily 13 months ago

      This is my mother. I moved interstate to start a business which she told me repeatedly that I will fail and I would cry and feel depressed however I did it anyway and my business is going fine. I haven't seen her in 6 months since she hasn't visited me, I always travel back to visit her. So as soon as I landed that day, we began arguing about my wedding she wanted to plan. I told her I'm not going to do a catholic wedding so she went ahead and said that no one in my family will attend my wedding, I will be punished in hell and I wasted my time in university because I'm so stupid not to believe in my own religion. Also that my wedding is for everyone else and not myself and I am selfish to believe that it is.

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      CarlySullens 11 months ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Wow, Lily, that is intense. I wish you the best in your upcoming wedding and your relationship with your mom.

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      Glorie Hoerth 9 months ago

      I am late finding this but am so glad I did! I have been learning a great deal about narcissism in the last several years and am beginning to heal finally after several years of no contact with my narcissist parents. I have often wondered how many narcissists are in church leadership as I knew several while I was growing up. My father was a pastor for 10 years of My childhood. My mother currently has a theology blog. Both are narcissists. Yes. Both parents are narcs. Lucky me I know ;) The spiritual abuse I have encountered is something that has hurt my spirit in a way that at the age of 38 I am still trying to heal from. I got away from my parents churches when I was in my early 20's after I became pregnant by an abusive boyfriend and they and thier pastor had me write a letter of apology for my "sin"and read it in fromt of 200+ parishioners as I prematurely contracted from the fear and shame. This began pre term labor that lasted through my pregnancy and at 20 weeks I was in full blown labor. We were able to stop it and my baby made it miraculously but no thanks at all to the emotionally violent reponse from my parents when they found out I was having a baby and then the events which occurred right after with thier church. This all on top of escaping an abusive 5 year relationship. Why I insisted on an abusive boyfriend from the age of 15 was another story also linked to narcissistic abuse from my parents) I gave up on church after the church insider with my pregnancy. But church abuse was something that all began years before. See having been raised a narcissistic pastors kid, our family experienced excruciating pain at the hands of my dads parishioners yet it was never enough for him to quit his position to protect his family. His need to be a pastor was believed by us kids to be a sacrifice we had to make in order for my dad to serve the Lord. The awful things that happened to us,( my baby sister got the worst of it and I will not put in to words here how horrific her life was during my dads time as a pastor as it is too much for a public blog) are now the things that I look back on and know now (as I am a mother now) that I would never ever put my kids through. The second the first awful event happened to my 2 year old sister, my father should have moved us back to the city we were from and continued his lucrative sign business to support us. We were poor as dirt as a pastors family as well. Which it is not a crime to be poor but the point being my dad had a great paying career before he gave it all up and moved us out in to the middle of the desert away from family and friends to be a pastor and allow the abuse to begin. We could have moved back to the city and my dad could have supported us better and protected us from this church community that had hurt us all so severely. Instead we moved from the tiny town but only to go start another church in another town where we knew no one after extremely traumatic events had already just happened. All for the sake of my dad's "service to the Lord" We waited for more abuse from a new set of parishioners and it eventually came as well. Not as severe but still there and still not enough for my dad to quit and protect us. The way in which both of my parents portray thier faith is exactly as described in this above blog. EXACTLY. Narcissistic Christianity damages the spirit and body of believers in such a profound way that I cannot put in to words an accurate description of how much hurt and spiritual confusion I felt growing up. My narcissistic mother has written me emails telling me I am headed to hell and she uses the bible to do it. I will never ever go back to thier twisted sense of Christianity. I am very proud to say that despite my horrible upbringing, after a radical conversion, I serve in my local church parish. I swore off church ministry and church all together after my upbringing. The Holy Spirit gently called me back and showed me what His love really looks like without the cloud of narcissism I was used to seeing Christianity through. I could write a novel here but I am so glad I found this blog. One more big step in my healing and understanding of narcissism plus Christianity. God is so good. He continues to point me in directions of healing. He was with me as a child I know for sure and never let me go even when my parents discarded me and my children like yesterdays trash.

      Thank you for sharing these words of healing!

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      Glorie Hoerth 9 months ago

      I wanted to add something for Lily ❤

      First off I am so sorry. Your mother sounds like mine. Just the opposite in her religious choice.

      My parents are Protestants and used my marrying a Catholic as part of the reason they did not come to my wedding. They also spread around that we were having pre marital sex so no one should attend my wedding. It was NUTS! (Even though they themselves were guilty when they married. That is also between God and us. Not mommy and daddy and grown children) We even got married by a non denominational minister hoping maybe they would come. I greatly regretted bending my wedding plans for them. Not only did they not show up, they made sure to get my siblings to boycott it by making them feel they would be sinning if they came to my wedding. My daughter gave me away and the traditional father daughter dance was replaced by my daughter dancing with my husband. Which was beautiful because she got the daddy she always wanted. However I am still brought to complete tears when I watch father daughter dances at other people's weddings. The knife in my heart my dad left by not being there for me is still a pain I cannot bear at weddings. I have to excuse myself to the restroom for the father daughter dance. I regret not having a big traditional Catholic wedding so much. I converted right after my wedding and still did not do a Catholic wedding and all for nothing because they didn't show up anyway. So later we had a Catholic ceremony to celebrate our anniversary and had our marriage blessed through the church.

      The point of all of this is is that when your time comes for YOUR wedding, (if you have not already had it) you need to do what you want to do because it isn't your mothers wedding and I know now that I sacrificed a the wedding I wanted for my narcissistic parents but it didn't matter because just as it was when I as growing up, there was never anything I could do to be exactly what they wanted me to be because the problem lies within them. Not me. This is a problem within your mom. Not you. Make your life how you want it. Look to God who does truly love you because He will love you unconditionally in a way that your mom does not. Enjoy your chosen path and be sure that you give yourself plenty of love and affirmation for all of your accomplishments. I am still learning how to do this. Have the wedding of YOUR dreams!! Plan it exactly how you want it and let them decide if they want the regret of not going. I know my parents and siblings will stand before God one day for how they have treated me over the years. Not attending my wedding is going to be something they will have to answer for. I pray your mom will do the right thing but if she doesn't you carry on and enjoy the new life you and your husband are creating together. Many blessings to you both

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      Mark 4 months ago

      My father was a missionary and a covert Christian narcissist. When I was very young he converted to Calvinism which is an especially authoritarian brand of Christianity. He moved our family to a very strict Reformed Baptist church with an abusive narcissist pastor. This pastor was widely thought to be abusive and controlling, even by other churches in the same denomination.

      My father idealized the abusive pastor before devaluing and discarding him after a couple years. Then he made us go back to that church 5 years later to replay that narcissist abuse cycle all over again.

      There never seemed to be a church that met my father's standards. We attended dozens as a kid and he would always find fault with this or that. I now understand that he was unwilling to put himself under the scrutiny and authority of anything bigger than his narcissistic ego.

      We moved at least once a year and my sister and I were home-schooled with no outside friends. Neither my mom or dad ever had more than a couple friends. Other than that, it was just the 4 of us isolated and controlled by my father who worked at home.

      Our whole family walked on egg shells, especially if he had a headache which happened a lot. He often gave us the silent treatment, along with a deep flow of toxic, angry energy.

      When I gently tried to tell him about how deeply some of these things had affected me, he told me I had made a straw ogre of him and asked me to sign his end of life papers so he could be done with me forever. Narcissists will discard you rather than face their own shame.

      I think many covert narcissists are attracted to the more controlling denominations because they feel powerless on their own. By using the authority of a set of strict beliefs, they enforce their own will without it looking like it's them being selfish. They are given power to rule over their wives and children and nobody holds them responsible for their own psychologically abusive actions in the home. They are the ultimate hypocrites the Bible warns us about.

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      Fluffiness99 2 months ago

      I'm married to a Christian Narcissist. He's very active in his small-town non-denominational church. A few of the pastors in the area tend to come together, so he circulates among several small, country churches in our rural county. He's generally very well-respected. He's a regular tither and his pastor deliberately strokes his ego. He's actually so selfish, when my daughter, her husband &n their baby were renting the house next door to us, we all decided to go into town, 10 minutes away, for dinner. He made them take their own vehicle because he doesn't like anyone riding in his. He says everyone makes messes in his car. But he went miles out of his way taking a young woman and her son to church. Nothing romantic, I'm more than positive. But he got a lot of praise from the pastor and others in their small church for helping her even though she'd fail go to church and he'd wind up sitting outside her house until he was almost late. He says her son slapped him while he was driving. She broke his arm rest twice. But, he was a hero at church.

      He's extremely verbally abusive to me, saying me, my family, my friends, and my pastor are all "devils" and that I'm going to hell right along with all of them. He talks bad about me behind my back to my friends and family, thinking they won't tell me, but they do. He's called my job & tried to get me fired. He's racist and thinks he's better than everyone, except his pastor and the people at his church. They're all okay. His family and his family's spouses and boyfriends/girlfriends are all perfect, better than me.

      I could go on, but you get the point. I came here because as a Christian, it's so hard for me to find Biblical grounds for divorce, not that I can afford to divorce him. No matter how hard I try to succeed, I fail. I'm poorer than poor. He's wealthy and has never had to worry about money a day in his life. He tells me God is pleased with him, that's why he's blessed with money and God is displeased with me, that's why I'm poor and have nothing.

      It's frustrating that the church is no help, especially around here where everyone thinks they know him. He's been faking Christianity in this area for many decades. I've only been around for a few years.

      Thank you for writing this article. It is helpful, but it does not answer my question. Can a narcissist be a Christian? Not a fake poser, but a true, going to Heaven Christian?

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      Paula 2 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Fluffiness.....I'm stunned at your comment. Your husband is beyond a Narcissistic ~~~as well as being no Christian at all, but rather a brutal psychopathic abuser. The man has incredibly serious issues.

      It does not matter how "poor" you are. My dear woman, you must break free from this person....run and do not look back.

      This is like a horror story! Please do NOT remain in this degrading, destructive relationship and environment one more day!!

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      Fluffiness99 2 months ago

      I've tried to leave him every day for the past 4 years. I work 7 days a week. I get nowhere. I used to think I'd rather be homeless, out on the street or living in a shelter, but when actually really and truly faced with that as my only option, I couldn't do it. I'm in my 50's. I'm afraid I'll be raped or killed. I'm afraid if I fall that far down I may never get up. After all, I've been failing at making a living so I can afford to leave my abuser for so many years. We are actually separated but due to my health, lack of job training and any decent recent work experience, all I can do is work online. Where I rent a room there's no internet, so I have to work at his house which means I basically live here but only as a wife at his whim. I live out of a suitcase and must do half or more of the housework, including cooking and laundry. One important thing- I have two 20+ year old horses here which I have owned for about 23 years. People say I should sell them but they are so old, they'd only go to slaughter if not now then soon when their health fails. He's caused all my cats to die. He's caused my blind doggie to die. He's taken my real estate career, damaged my relations with family and friends and as I said, with all the churches around here. He's taken everything from me but those horses and I will not let him have them, especially knowing their fate if I do.So, back to my living situation: He pays for all my food. Over Christmas he planned to fly to Florida to visit his mother for a couple of weeks. He said I'd have to leave and not have access to work on the internet while he was gone, plus I'd have to drive to his house twice daily and sit outside in my cold car while the horses ate (about an hour and a half). I told him that wasn't going to happen since I have a drivers license with his address on it and we are legally married, I would break a window and come stay here anyway. So he went to his closet and decided it was time to fiddle around with a rifle in there for a while. I took his picture and put it on Facebook. People freaked out. In the end, no one had a place for my horses and no one could take me in who had the internet. Everyone wants me to leave but no one can give me the help I need to do so. I think people often wonder why the abused does not leave. It's easier said than done. That's why I do all I can to steer younger women away from possible abusers. I don't want anyone getting stuck in a living hell like I am. :-(

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      lamar 2 weeks ago

      Thank you for this my parents are very much like this and often forced their beliefs me and never looked to find the truth of a situation always going to the pastor for advice ever conversation is about god or the enemy how the the devil is or was using me always treating me as a disrespectful child cause i did not want to have their beliefs god always first family last pay tithes and offerings before a bill give every time they go to church putting the family last and the saying god will make a way im sure not all Christians are like this but meeting so many like this has left a bad taste to the point i genuinely hate Christians and the belief itself.

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