Over the last few years, I have heard the term “Christian narcissists” used repeatedly. It is used to describe people who are either active in their church or professing to be Christians, yet they also exhibit narcissistic behavior. Most commonly, these people are covert narcissists who revel in appearing martyr like in their life, giving to & doing for those who are “beneath” them somehow. They even can be leaders in their church who are perceived as good people, yet are subtly controlling church members & possibly even abusing their own families.
The problem is there is no such thing as a Christian narcissist. There are narcissists who pretend to be good & even Godly people, but they truly aren’t Christians. Labeling these people as such turns people away from Christianity.
These narcissists may be a bit hard to spot at first. They are busy doing for others, even sometimes at their own expense. They may donate large sums of money or spend great amounts of time volunteering. People speak highly of them for all that they do for others. Yet, if you look just below the surface, you can see hints that show these people aren’t the saints they portray themselves to be.
First & foremost, true Christians openly trust in Jesus as the Messiah, their personal Savior, & their behavior reflects that. “Christian narcissists” may claim to trust Him, but their behavior says otherwise. They don’t readily admit that they have a need for a Savior. They don’t talk much God & his goodness. They turn the topic back to themselves. They don’t have any interest in doing God’s will for their lives.
“Christian narcissists” see themselves as more special to God than other people. They don’t credit answers to their prayers to God’s love or kindness, but instead imply or even say outright it’s because He loves them more than other people. They make it sound like the only reason God answers their prayers & loves them is because they are such wonderful, special people. The Bible says that God doesn’t show favoritism in Romans 2:11, so clearly they’re wrong about that.
Another sign of a “Christian narcissist” is that this person doesn’t brag about God, only themselves. If you listen to these people long enough, you will see that their so called humility is peppered with bragging. They subtly mention how they have been such a blessing to someone else by taking them food or giving money during their times of need. They even may brag about the accomplishments of someone else in a way that makes them appear to deserve credit. But, they definitely don’t say things like, “You won’t believe what God has done for me!” “I am so grateful that God did this thing for me!” “I couldn’t have done that thing without God helping me or showing me what to do!” The Bible says that we are to brag not of our wisdom or other things, but only about God. Jeremiah 9:23-24 in the New International Bible says, “This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, 24 but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.””
If you speak to someone who claims to be a Christian yet demonstrates narcissistic behaviors like this, it’s certain you are dealing with a narcissist, not a Christian.
24 responses to ““Christian” Narcissists”
Cynthia, there is a great book written by Bob Lupton, a former minister, based on his efforts to avoid pitfalls of helping someone in need. It is called “Toxic Charity.” The theme is true charity should be reserved for emergencies, while what we should be doing for others in need is help them do for themselves. Lupton decided to live among the people he was helping. What he observed is well-intentioned religious groups would come to help, but not recognize how faithful the people they were helping are. Those in need wished the helpers would ask them about their faith.
In my volunteer work, I worked with an agency that helped homeless working families. We used to ask our religious volunteers to sign a statement not to witness while helping. What we soon realized is that was unneeded, as those in need were often more pious than those helping. The only thing those folks had was their faith.
In the book “The Rich and the Rest of Us” by Dr. Cornell West and Tavis Smiley, some folks think people in poverty are there because they are less pious. That is simply untrue. Poverty is the lack of money – period. Those who think people are less pious have a condescending bent that does not serve them well. It is shy of narcissism, but still facilitates making them feel above those they are helping.
Mind you, not all are like this. I have witnessed the most unselfish and wonderful outreach to help people. But, we always must guard against perceptions before we get there to help. Lupton’s point is we overdo for some with charity, when the better approach is help folks climb a ladder. A social worker who offers tough love, says I walk side by side with the client, which is a good analogy.
I am sorry for the diatribe. Thanks for letting me share. Keith
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Your “diatribe” as you call it is very interesting & applies well to this post so share on! 🙂
There are plenty of people who try to help others less fortunate out of the goodness of their hearts, but there are also plenty who are as you describe. Everyone needs to be aware of both types of helpers so if, God forbid, they end up in the position of needing help, they know the type of person who is helping them. My opinion anyway.
Cynthia, thanks. In general, the helpers who are more concerned with being perceived well usually have a higher sense of self. Their help is appreciated even if it is less altruistic. The ones who just want to help usually do so without fanfare. Keith
That’s very true. You reminded me of my granddad. He owned a lot of land & a few years before he died, he donated enough to build two schools on. Those who built the schools wanted to name them after him because of his donation, but he refused. In fact, his stipulated that he’d only donate the land if they kept his name private. I thought that was so wonderful & humble of him
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Great story. He was a person of substance.
Thank you. I totally agree.
Funny thing.. we were close, but lived about 90 minutes apart. Clearly I wasn’t there for his day to day life. One of my cousins & his now ex wife were though. The ex told me this story. She just happened to be there when someone from the school board was talking to Granddad about the land. He told her not to tell anyone about this. She didn’t, beyond my cousin & I. So as close as I was to him, I might never have known about this. Granddad was very open with me, but even so, had no desire to brag about himself. I’m so glad she told me though.. one more reason I have to be proud of him. 🙂
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What a great story.
Thank you. I think so too. I am so grateful to be his granddaughter 🙂
Dear sister🕊️🙏. Of all the based posts you sent out, this ( for me the most based ) one is the ” for real “. I was married to a covert with a ” christian mask “. She hated me all the more when I was asked to serve as a deacon. My day of anointing in front of all my brothers an sister whom where filled with smiles for me, (with the exception of the covert) was a very humbling experience for me. Then a very unsettling feeling engulfed me when I looked at the devil covert narc.
She squirmed in the pew, with hatred on her face and could not look at me being ushered in. Well, a bio being made short, she got the leadership of the church as her ” flying monkeys” to judge me and agree to her un-Godly excuse to through me to the garbage.
Narcissisism has infiltrated many of church’s in the last few generations. They love her, because she’s a tither. I tith in secret to lose in need. A ( career pastor don’t need 80k a year). Oh well!!! I was the Deacon that ” rocked the boat and confronted what needed to be confronted”. I was not happy to do it. I even tried once to go against my own conscience, but God tormented me with an inability to sleep, until I performed my responsibility He called me too. I finally surrendered to the Lord an did His bidding.
I noticed not long after that, I began to feel
” Brushed off “. I know now, that the desires of the covert wife was just what the eldership needed to get rid of me. It was a double whammy for her and them. We can’t make this stuff up😂😂. I believe it’s all part of the falling away our Lord speaks of. Yet there are a few I admired in that congregation, and all but one abandoned me. She was an elderly woman and wise.
Thank you for your sincere posts sister. Life is wonderful when we are doing that which our Lord has called us to do. Many blessings.
Wow.. I’m so very sorry you went through all of that! How terrible!
That does seem to be the case in many churches. Not all are bad & full of narcissists of course, but still, there are many narcissists in many positions in many churches.
Being the one who rocks the boat is a tough position for sure! It doesn’t make friends, but the few who do stand by you prove to be invaluable & such blessings like the lady you mentioned.
Thank you so much!
You are correct there.. life is good when doing what we are called to do, even when it is hard.
Well we all know now, that narcissists love positions of what they perceive as power over another. They will ” tolerate ” each other to accomplish an agenda to crush what they agree to be a treat. Other than that, they could care less of each other. Among them than can only be one god. Their coming together for fellowship, is just for image to show the congregation.
Thank you for the compassion through your response. I’ve learned much from that time 4 years ago. It’s been slow to heal, but with the help from so few like yourself, ( Christian experience) I move forward in a better light of it all.
That is so true about them. Funny.. even knowing that about them, it never fails to amaze me they are that way.
Good for you learning & healing! Congratulations! It’s not an easy road, but it sounds like you’re doing quite well!
Thank you Cynthia. 🌻. What I’m about to share, is only my personal thoughts, yet based on research and experience. Most the secular, approach to narcissisism is grounded in psychology. Though they do a good job describing it’s character.
If had 4 years to study and observe both sides of this ( biblical/secular). Through biblical, I’ve come to perceive that it’s demonic, not psychological. You and I both had narc parents, mine was just my dad.
Yet, here you and I are. Narcs don’t create offspring. The narc child willfully harbors the character in their soul. They invite the demon. And over time it matures and becomes better at wear masks.
This subject character goes deep Cynthia.
Anyhow. It’s my understanding, and I don’t try to push it on anyone. I just had a strong need to understand the things I’ve seen, heard, and felt, and there was only one true way to get it. God Himself, but I had to do the work being led by His Spirit.
I believe you are right in that narcissism is demonic. If you read about what Lucifer said before being cast out of Heaven, his speech certainly is narcissistic. Since Lucifer became the enemy of mankind, he tries to destroy us & what better way than with narcissism? It destroys the narcissist & their victims until they turn to God. I’m not saying all narcissists are demon possessed, though I believe many are. But, they are at least under the influence of demons. It’s done by choice, too, seeing that their behavior gains them things they want. The more they do, the wider they open the door to Satan & his demons. Just my theory anyway.
Your spot on sister. Nice to talk to a clear minded person who understands the spiritual things in this. Our pain and suffering from such is not in vain sister. God used the evil for our good and His Glory. He brought you to be a help, comfort and teachers to those that experienced this horror.
I totally agree. There is a purpose in all the pain, for all of us. God truly wastes nothing.
Thank you for what you said.. I firmly believe that but even so, it’s nice to be reminded of it.
Good morning Cynthia. I like your theory. It leaves no room for debate😊. Our saviour/redeemer is the answer for all man kind to seek. March on sister, with all you do.
Happy thanks giving.🌻🦃
P.S. I do read all your posts. Been following you for a long time. Yet I rarely comment. I’ll try to do more, now I can see I have freind in Christ🕊️✝️🙏😊
Good morning to you too! 🙂
Thank you. It all makes sense to me. Besides, so many narcissists act very similarly. Even ones in different countries with different beliefs, financial standings, religious beliefs.. how else could the similarities be explained other than demonic??
He truly is!!
Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!
That’s so cool.. thanks for following me for so long! Feel free to comment as much or as little as you like! 🙂
I enjoyed your reply. Also humbled by it. It brought to mind ” God uses the simple to confound the wise “.😂😂😂. That is a fact. I’ve read much from many pastors and psychologists about what we and thousands of others have went through with only a result of ” what the heck !!! ” 😂😂😂.
And since when have preachers been putting “Dr……” In front of their name.🙄.
My best spiritual doctors concerning this demonic character have been people like yourself. Just hands on , and God’s word led the way to see, and understand it’s reality. My church, as I’m concerned, let me down and would listen to my pain and perplex mind and soul. Though it was hard for me to explain the inner spiritual condition of my person. Emotion vampirism defines the condition perfectly. I’m glad we fellowshipped through texting. You and a few others are learned more than the “wise”.
And yes……. This is global.
Yes, He sure does!! 🙂
It’s astounding at first when you start learning about narcissists & find so many other people have similar experiences!
There do seem to be a lot of “Dr” pastors out there these days. I hadn’t thought about that before.
I’ve learned similar.. most in the mental health field, even with training, don’t really understand what these people are like. Those in the church or elsewhere don’t have the training & without personal experience, don’t understand either. There needs to be so much more awareness of this problem in every area so people really understand what they are dealing with.
Emotional vampirism is a great description for sure!
Truly global. I have members in my Facebook group from all around the world, & their stories are remarkably similar!
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They wouldn’t listen*****
I could not agree w/ you more.
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