This blog started as a result of a situation with a narcissist which led me to cry to God for “Help!” God’s process of answering that prayer began with leading me first to the secular definition, traits, and tactics. I thought, THIS is what I’m dealing with. After that I thought, “surely God says something about it”, and the research for this blog commenced.
The secular world does a good job of observing and describing narcissistic traits – as those are readily apparent to everyone to see. The difference between the secular and Biblical perspectives lie in 1. what is the cause, 2. what are possible solutions, and 3. how do you deal Biblically with them?
In some cases, the right answer is to “avoid” them (where this applies is discussed in the post Dealing With Narcissists – It Depends on the Relationship).
This is particularly appropriate in dating relationships. We have a friend who was recently badly hurt dating a narcissist. This friend constantly felt bad, and did not know why. I just shared with him an article I found @ https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/am-i-dating-a-narcissist.
Here are some highlights
11 Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist
- They were charming … at first
- They hog the conversation, talking about how great they are
- They feed off your compliments “Narcissists use other people — people who are typically highly empathic — to supply their sense of self-worth, and make them feel powerful. But because of their low self-esteem, their egos can be slighted very easily, which increases their need for compliments,” adds Shirin Peykar, LMFT.
- They lack empathy – Does your partner care when you’ve had a bad day at work, fight with your best friend, or scuffle with your parents? Or do they get bored when you express the things making you mad and sad? Walfish says that this inability to empathize, or even sympathize, is often the reason why many, if not all, narcissists’ relationships eventually collapse, whether they’re romantic or not.
- They don’t have any (or many) long-term friends Most narcissists won’t have any long-term, real friends. Dig deeper into their connections and you may notice that they only have casual acquaintances, buddies they trash-talk, and nemeses. As a result, they might lash out when you want to hang out with yours. They might claim that you don’t spend enough time with them, make you feel guilty for spending time with your friends, or berate you for the types of friends you have.
- They pick on you constantly Maybe at first it felt like teasing…. but then it got mean or became constant. Suddenly, everything you do, from what you wear and eat to who you hang out with and what you watch on TV, is a problem for them. “They’ll put you down, call you names, hit you with hurtful one-liners, and make jokes that aren’t quite funny,” Peykar says. “Their goal is to lower other’s self-esteem so that they can increase their own, because it makes them feel powerful.” What’s more, reacting to what they say only reinforces their behavior. “A narcissist loves a reaction,” Peykar says. That’s because it shows them that they have the power to affect another’s emotional state. A warning sign: If they knock you down with insults when you do something worth celebrating, get away. “A narcissist might say ‘You were able to do that because I didn’t sleep well’ or some excuse to make it seem like you have an advantage that they didn’t have,” Tawwab says.
- They gaslight you. Gaslighting is a form of manipulation and emotional abuse, and it’s a hallmark of narcissism. Narcissists may spew blatant lies, falsely accuse others, spin the truth, and ultimately distort your reality. Signs of gaslighting include the following:
- You no longer feel like the person you used to be.
- You feel more anxious and less confident than you used to be.
- You often wonder if you’re being too sensitive.
- You feel like everything you do is wrong.
- You always think it’s your fault when things go wrong.
- You’re apologizing often.
- You have a sense that something’s wrong, but aren’t able to identify what it is.
- You often question whether your response to your partner is appropriate.
- You make excuses for your partner’s behavior.
- They dance around defining the relationship. There are thousands of reasons someone might not want to label your relationship. But if your partner is exhibiting some of the other symptoms on this list and won’t commit, it’s likely a red flag. Some narcissists will expect you to treat them like they’re your partner so they can reap the intimate, emotional, and sexual benefits while also keeping an eye out for prospects who they deem superior. In fact, you may notice that your partner flirts with or looks at others in front of you, your family, or your friends, says therapist April Kirkwood, LPC, author of “Working My Way Back to Me: A Frank Memoir of Self-Discovery.” “If you speak up and own your feelings about their disrespect, they will blame you for causing a fuss, call you crazy, and use it as further reason not to commit fully to you. If you don’t say a word, [that also gives a] non-spoken message that you don’t deserve to be respected,” she says. If it sounds like a lose-lose situation, that’s because it is. But remember that you deserve someone who is as committed to you as you are to them.
- They think they’re right about everything… and never apologize. Fighting with a narcissist feels impossible. “There is no debating or compromising with a narcissist, because they are always right,” Tawwab says. “They won’t necessarily see a disagreement as a disagreement. They’ll just see it as them teaching you some truth.” According to Peykar, you may be dating a narcissist if you feel like your partner: doesn’t hear you, won’t understand you, doesn’t take responsibility for their part in the issue, or doesn’t ever try to compromise.
- While ending the relationship is the best game plan with a narcissist, Weiler advises on avoiding negotiation and arguments. “It will make you feel crazy. The thing that drives a narcissist crazy is the lack of control and the lack of a fight. The less you fight back, the less power you can give them over you, the better,” she says. And because they never think they’re wrong, they never apologize. About anything. This inability to apologize could reveal itself in situations where your partner is obviously at fault, like: showing up for a dinner reservation late, not calling when they said they would, canceling important plans last minute, like meeting your parents or friends. Good partners are able to recognize when they’ve done something wrong and apologize for it.
- They panic when you try to break up with them. As soon as you back away, a narcissist will try that much harder to keep you in their lives. “At first, they may love-bomb you. They’ll say all the right things to make you think they have changed,” Peykar says. But soon enough, they’ll show you they never actually changed. And because of this, many narcissists find themselves in on-again, off-again romantic relationships until they find someone else to date.
- and when you show them you’re really done, they lash out. If you insist that you’re done with the relationship, they’ll make it their goal to hurt you for abandoning them, Peykar says. “Their ego is so severely bruised that it causes them to feel rage and hatred for anyone who ‘wronged’ them. That’s because everything is everyone else’s fault. Including the breakup,” she says. The result? They might bad-mouth you to save face. Or they might start immediately dating someone else to make you feel jealous and help heal their ego. Or they’ll try to steal your friends. The reason, says Tawwab, is because a good reputation means everything to them, and they won’t let anyone or anything interfere with it.