The Book Is Here

After an 8 months endeavor, the book based on this blog has been released.

This book goes far beyond the existing contents of this blog – take a look at the table of contents below.  You can get the book at Amazon by clicking on the book image, or this link –>  Get the book

Contents

Let’s Begin.. 5

Who Should I Listen To?. 7

The Biblical Profile of a Narcissist.. 17

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Narcissism = Insolent Pride in the Bible

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Proverbs 21:24

24 “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names,
Who acts with insolent pride.

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You may have found this blog because you have a “narcissist” in your life, or  in the life of someone you care about.   At first, you may not have known that you were dealing with a narcissist, but the pain and damage this selfish, arrogant, condescending, domineering person caused might have driven you to search for answers on what was going on, and on how to deal with this difficult person.  As you went online or to books on  Amazon, you read more about who this person is, and how he operates.  And you likely read some explanations as to how he got this way, or advice regarding how to deal with this “narcissist”.  In the process of trying to learn everything possible in your search for answers, you may have decided to explore what the Bible has to say on the subject.

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While the Bible does not specifically refer to “narcissism” –  which takes its name from Greek mythology – it does speak to the subject.

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Narcissist’s Create “Righteous” Reasons For Their Agenda

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He was also saying to them [the scribes and Pharisees], “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.  For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’; but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.” 

Mark 7:9-13

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The Mosaic instruction for honoring parents was serious, as illustrated by the severe consequence for speaking evil of them.  The Pharisees were caught between a rock and a hard place – in their greed and selfishness they wanted to hoard the money designated to support their parents.  But they also did not want to be seen (by God, or by man) as violating the clear Mosaic law.

Their devious solution created a mechanism that projected an image of “righteousness” while giving them what they wanted.   They would give their money “to God”, but would still control the spending – they would be the recipient of their own “generosity” instead of their parents.

This was not just about the Pharisees giving to a “greater and more worthy cause” than their parents – although they certainly wanted it to look that way.  They were deceitfully hoarding the funds, shirking their responsibilities, and using false “piety” to further glorify themselves while masking their evil behavior.

It is a classic narcissist move – creating an excuse that cannot be criticized or questioned as a smokescreen for their self-centered and self-serving actions.  And, if the smokescreen itself is useful as the means of achieving their goal – all the better.

One Difference Between Secular and Biblical Perspectives

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One of the differences between the secular and Biblical approaches is that the secular psych world is “outside in” – observing characteristics, grouping them, and then labeling them – whereas the Biblical approach is “inside out.”  God alone knows the heart and character of a narcissistic person.  He gives the person with that kind of heart a name and then describes that type of person and the damage they leave in their wake in cascading detail.  Here’s a simple chart illustrating these approaches:

In a sense, the secular psych world is only observing and categorizing the characteristics which God through the Bible has already defined.

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There Is an Evil Underneath

While the descriptions are similar between the secular and Biblical world, God does not view “narcissism” as a mere personality disorder.  He sees narcissistic behavior as an evil that is driven by what is in a person’s heart.

But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 

Matthew 15:18-19

The battle is between good and evil, and it is waged at the heart level.  We can see the outward results of this battle through actions and words, but God sees directly inside.

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“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  I Samuel 16:7

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Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.   Psalm 44:21

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The problem’s source and solution start in the heart.  The mind simply serves the heart.  That’s one explanation for why a narcissist can appear to be self-contradictory by quickly taking the direct opposite position of something he just said.  His mixed signals display the mixed motives of his heart.

People who are casually around narcissists may only find them annoying.  However, those hurt by narcissists are quite aware there is something deeper – an underlying evil.  Call a spade, a spade – it helps when learning to deal with it.  Narcissists typically don’t see themselves as evil – in fact, they usually see the contrary in themselves – but their victims are eventually forced to see them for what they are.

[i] See also Mark 7:21, Luke 6:45

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Narcissist Case Studies – Haman

Haman – Xerxes’ Viceroy

Haman was an Amalekite who became viceroy in the Persian empire under King Ahasuerus’ (Xerxes I) after an assassination plot on the king was foiled (Esther 3:1). He was most likely a narcissist with insolent pride, which we will see shortly. Let’s look at his case study in the order that book of Esther tells it:

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All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage……When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage.  Esther 3:1-5

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Even though Haman had achieved “everything”, he was still obsessed with the one thing he didn’t have – Mordecai’s acknowledgement of his “glory”. So, Haman resolved to destroy Mordecai. Continue reading

Narcissist* v. Narcissist* – A Pure Power Play

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Many of the posts in this blog are about how narcissists (scoffers, haughty, those with insolent pride) relate to non-narcissists, whom they manipulate and push around in order to achieve their “rightful” place of superiority and/or dominance.  But what happens when narcissists come up against each other?

The following can take place:

1 – Initially they play a game of flattery with each other.  At this point, they’re not really engaging in a contest for dominance, although in the middle of their flattery each narcissist is likely dropping hints to the other narcissist about their “greatness”.  Even though each N may know that the flattery is fake and a possible trap, they accept it because it appeals to their pride.

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Psalm 12:2-4 –

They speak falsehood to one another; With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.  May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, The tongue that speaks great things; Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail; Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”

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Proverbs 29:5

A man who flatters his neighbor Is spreading a net for his steps.

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Proverbs 26:28
A lying tongue hates those it crushes, And a flattering mouth works ruin.
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The N’s are (most likely) knowingly allowing themselves to be baited, probably thinking they are smart enough to escape any consequences.
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2 – They may attempt to use their standard tactics, but this is not likely since they both know the game each other is playing.  Therefore, since their normal schemes won’t work to gain an advantage, they would either

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2A – Avoid each other, and avoid an outright conflict – based on both N’s not seeing much value in winning that particular power play (see below) vs. the effort required.  In other words, their greatness means they have bigger fish to fry, and this “little” skirmish is not worth bothering with

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2B – Engage in a pure power play.  In this case both of the N’s feel compelled that their position is inherently right either based on its merits or their personal “worthiness”.   Therefore, in their mind and heart it is correct and right for them and their position/goals to prevail.  As it is right for them to win/achieve dominance, they are unwilling to cede any ground to anyone.  And, since to an N anything goes in the pursuit of their superiority, its a fight with no “rules” .   A pure power play means a fight until one of the two N’s comes out victorious.  It could be a simple fight where the N with the strongest position easily prevails and vanquishes his opponent, or it could be a protracted contest of equal power that focuses on tactics.

There may be a lot of collateral damage in the fight (ie – others getting hurt in the process), but the N’s absolutely do not care about that.  The only thing that counts is their winning.  If you see 2 N’s in a fight, get out of the way so that you do not become part of the collateral damage.

You’ve heard of “power politics” – it’s one example of a pure power play.

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Even though we need to understand scoffers and their tactics, we are not to be like them

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Matthew 10:16 –
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.
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God has a different way of dealing with N’s than merely engage in a human vs human power play.  HE is in the equation with us, which changes everything.    We will dig much deeper into this in the upcoming book, as well as future blog posts.
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Narcissistic Traits – They’re Impossible To Please

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Matthew 11:16-19

16 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, 17 and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

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The linkages between these verses and narcissism are a bit more difficult, but “this generation” is epitomized by the Pharisees.  And as we discuss in other posts, Pharisees as a whole (there were individual exceptions) were classic narcissists (those with insolent pride).

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Narcissists are never happy with how others do things.  They “sit in the seat of scoffers”, sitting in judgment over others (see Sitting In The Seat Of Scoffers / Narcissists As Judge) – and their standard is based on whatever standard they decide at the moment.   Because their main goal is being superior, not achieving justice.  They often set their standards in such a way that they can declare those they are judging to be in the wrong.  So, you can jump through their hoop to meet the standard they set for you, only to find them change the standard so that they can still criticize you.  That is behavior Jesus described for “this generation” in the words above.

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There are various permutations of how this trait can be described:

  • Narcissists want everything both ways
  • Narcissists are never happy with what you do and/or how you do it
  • You “can’t win” in your dealings with a narcissist (you can rarely even “win/win”)
  • Narcissists consistently complain

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How do you deal with people who are impossible to please?   As Jesus said, “wisdom is vindicated by her deeds”.   In other words, put your focus more on “doing the right thing” than on pleasing the person who is impossible to please.   That way, whether the narcissist is happy with you or not, at least you can stand before God as having acted with integrity.

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  • Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here

Hypocrisy & Judgmentalism – Two Unmistakable Marks Of Narcissism – Part 2

Please see here for part 1

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Jesus further highlighted the link between hypocrisy and judging others in Matthew 7:1-5:

 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.  Matthew 7:1-5

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The word “judge” in Matthew 7:1 has the same root “krino”[1] as in the word hypocrite.  The hypocrite has a “log in his eye” – a euphemism for a “big problem” or “big character flaw”.  But, out of pride the hypocrite minimizes his own log to be “nothing” – saying to himself “I’m OK”.  He then pretends helpfulness by offering to take the speck (a little problem) out of his brother’s eye, but in fact is acting as a proud judge, setting himself up as superior.

His judgment is proof that he has a problem in the same life area in which he is trying to “help” his brother.

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Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge[2] another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  Romans 2:1

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Isaiah called them “scoffers”, Jesus called them “hypocrites”.  With both terms, the root cause of the hypocrite’s behavior is insolent pride.

As we saw earlier in Proverbs 15;12 the scoffer in his insolent pride does not want to be, or to considered to be, wrong or flawed.  Neither does the hypocrite.  He minimizes or does not want to even acknowledge his own flaws, while at the same time sets himself up as a superior judge over others’ flaws.

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Hypocritical Judgmentalism = Projection

What the Bible calls passing judgment on others, the secular world of psychology calls projection.  One secular definition of projection[3] is…….

“Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.”

What the secular literature calls projection – as a defense mechanism – is in fact a heart issue of pride.  So, while outwardly it appears that the narcissist is “projecting” in order to “defend himself” (which sounds innocent) – he is in fact simultaneously doing two things – minimizing his own flaws while judging others’ flaws – from a single root motivation (pride).  While the outward actions may appear the same, and while the outward results may be the same, the root causes are different.

Those who have dealt with narcissists* most likely have experienced a situation where the narcissist accused you of a negative character trait or action, while at the same time they were far more guilty of the very same trait.  Yes, there may have been a speck of truth in what they said, as none of us are perfect and “we all stumble in many ways”.   But you may have been dumbfounded that someone who had the same issue in multiples would feel justified in attacking you for your little speck.

[1] https://biblehub.com/greek/2919.htm

[2] https://biblehub.com/greek/2919.htm

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

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Please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective for an overview of what this blog is about

Hypocrisy & Judgmentalism – Two Unmistakable Marks Of Narcissism – Part 1

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Jesus called the narcissistic scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites” seven times in Matthew 23.  There was a reason He emphasized it – He was making clear to them that even though they may have fooled people with their outward appearance of faux-righteousness, He clearly saw through to their proud, greedy hearts.  Hypocrisy is a prime trait of a scoffer/narcissist.

“The word hypocrite ultimately came into English from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor” or “a stage player.” The Greek word itself is a compound noun: it’s made up of two Greek words that literally translate as “an interpreter from underneath.” That bizarre compound makes more sense when you know that the actors in ancient Greek theater wore large masks to mark which character they were playing, and so they interpreted the story from underneath their masks.”[1] Continue reading

Narcissist Case Study – Eliab, David’s Oldest Brother

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Psalm 19:7

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

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A “testimony of the Lord” is a Biblical account of God’s dealing with someone in accordance with His nature and His ways.  While those accounts often do not specifically outline the Biblical principles at play, they are excellent illustrations of truth gleaned in other parts of the Bible.  A “case study” or a “cautionary tale” might be modern ways of referring to these accounts.  And as Psalm 19:7 and I Corinthians 10:11 state, these accounts can provide wisdom to those who are naive (or simple).

One such account is that of Eliab, David’s oldest brother.

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1 Chronicles 2:13-15

13 and Jesse became the father of Eliab his firstborn, then Abinadab the second, Shimea the third, 14 Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, 15 Ozem the sixth, David the seventh;

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Continue reading

A Biblical Perspective on “Narcissistic Projection”

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Those who have dealt with narcissists* most likely have experienced a situation where the narcissist accused you of a negative character trait or action, while at the same time they were far more guilty of the very same trait.  Yes, there may have been a speck of truth in what they said, as none of us are perfect and “we all stumble in many ways“.   But you may have been dumbfounded that someone who had the same issue in multiples would feel justified in attacking you for your little speck.

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Secular literature in the field of psychology has termed this behavior “projection”. Continue reading

Narcissist* Case Studies – Satan’s Narcissistic Traits

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Satan is the original and most clear example of a Narcissist / One with insolent pride.   (See here for an explanation on why Satan was the original narcissist).  By understanding Satan’s insolent pride and his narcissistic traits, we can get another glimpse into the characteristics of narcissists.  Here is a partial list of Satan’s narcissistic traits:

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His primary goal is to be exalted and worshipped

 

Isaiah 14:12-14

12 “How you have fallen from heaven,
O star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who have weakened the nations!
13 “But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’

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Luke 4:6-8

And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”

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I Timothy 3:6

and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.

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He is a liar – he lies all the time

 

John 8:44

44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

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He is lawless (rebellious)

 

1 John 3:4-8

Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness…….. the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

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He is a schemer

 

2 Corinthians 2:11

11 so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

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He sometimes acts with a false appearance of righteousness

 

2 Corinthians 11:14

14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

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He tries to portray a (false) image of power

 

2 Thessalonians 2:9

that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

[The antichrist and false prophet will come with a show of power as satan’s agent, “empowered by satan”.  They will try to deceive the world with counterfeit acts.  But its a false image of power.  God will show the real power when His top angel grabs satan, binds him with a chain, and tosses him into the bottomless pit]

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He is a destroyer, and will take as many people as he can down with him

 

Revelation 12:9

And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

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Revelation 12:12

12 For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”

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He seeks out “targets”

 

1 Peter 5:8

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

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He flees when resisted

 

James 4:7

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

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He tries to ensnare his targets

1 Timothy 3:7

And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

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He looks for opportune times to make his moves….

Luke 4:13

13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

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* Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”  please see here for an explanation
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Satan is the original narcissist who demonstrates the narcissistic traits of 1.  having a primary goal to be exalted and worshipped, 2,  being a liar who lies all the time, 3.  being lawless and rebellious, 4.  being a schemer, 5.  sometimes acting under the guise of “righteousness”, 6.  trying to portray a false image of power, 7.  being a destroyer who takes as many people down with him as possible in his defeat, 8.  seeking out his targets, 9.  waiting for an opportune time to go after his targets, 10.  trying to trap his targets with snares, and 11. fleeing when resisted.

Narcissist* Case Studies – Satan, The Original Narcissist

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Isaiah 14:12-14

12 “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! 13 “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’

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The above passage is well-known as referring to satan, the devil, lucifer, beelzebub, or one of the other names used for the top angel who out of pride thought he could be be like God.  To be in such close proximity to God like satan was, to see God’s power and His glory, and to think that you could be like God — and then attempt to do it – was the height of arrogance.   (See here for how according to the Bible, narcissism = insolent pride.)

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Luke 4:6-8

And the devil said to Him [Jesus], “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”

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Satan also showed his true colors when one of the 3 temptations he presented to Jesus had the goal of Jesus worshipping him.  Satan could have offered any other temptation, but was was so proud / arrogant / haughty that he took the moment of Jesus’ physical weakness due to His fasting to take a shot at getting what he really wanted – he wanted to be the #1 being.  He wanted somehow to be above God.  Narcissists will NEVER stop trying to exalt themselves until they are the #1 in the entire universe.  They will use whatever opportunities they are presented with to continue working toward that goal.

Notice in the above passage that satan was claiming that the earth was his to give.  It was not in fact his to give, even though he was arrogantly claiming it to be so.  Satan knew Psalm 24:1 – and that ultimately the earth and the world belonged to God, not Him.  This is a classic Narcissist trait – to co-opt other’s work, authority, rights as their own – as part of their self-aggrandizement and self-exaltation.

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Psalm 24:1

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.
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Further confirming that satan was the original narcissist / one with insolent pride, was the direct link which Jesus made between the Big narcissist (satan) and the earthly examples of narcissists in His time – the Pharisees.  (See here and here how we know that the Pharisees were narcissists / filled with insolent pride).
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John 8:44

44 You (Pharisees) are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He (satan, the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

 

* Narcissist is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”  please see here for an explanation

 

 

Dealing With Narcissists – Boundaries and Consequences, Not Rebukes

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Proverbs 9:7-8

7 He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, Reprove a wise man and he will love you.

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Proverbs 19:29

29 Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And blows for the back of fools.

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As we saw in a previous blog, if you rebuke a scoffer (aka narcissist) he will simply try to “trash” you in order to totally discount your validity and therefore the validity of what you’re saying.    They do this to make sure that they can stay on the pedestal which they have created for themselves.

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So what can you do?  Even though they may not respect you, they may respect (or rather, try to avoid) enforceable boundaries.   “Preparing Judgments” implies setting up consequences for violations of some clear standard.  So, rather than reproving a narcissist / scoffer, try the following:

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  1. Define a clear standard or boundary for the narcissist
  2. Explain to the narcissist a clear consequence (“judgment”) if the standard or boundary is violated
  3. Clearly and consistently execute the consequence if or when the standard is violated

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The narcissist will likely test this a few times to see if you’re serious.  But if you consistently apply it, and if the consequence or “judgment” is painful enough, the narcissist will learn over time to avoid triggering the consequence.

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It is important to understand this is one possible tool to use in dealing with narcissists, and how you apply it will depend on the situation and the relationship.

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Please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective for an overview of what this blog is all about

 

Psalm 10 – David’s Prayer Asking God To Act Against Proud, Wicked Men

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Psalm 10

Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.

For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire,
And the greedy man curses and spurns the Lord.
The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance,does not seek Him.
All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

His ways prosper at all times;
Your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them.
He says to himself, “I will not be moved;
Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.”
His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression;

Continue reading