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

.

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

Announcement..

I started this blog in 2013 as part of a personal search for answers on some difficult situations I was facing while working in a tough corner of the world.  My purpose in doing the blog was two-fold.  First, going public would force me to keep at it and continue to dig until I got to the real bottom of things.  Second, I have always had the view that the Bible speaks to literally everything (2 Timothy 3:16), and wanted to use this subject to demonstrate that to others.

While this blog is certainly not the most popular blog on the subject of narcissism, there has been enough positive feedback to encourage me to continue chipping away at it.

Writing blog posts came (kind of) easily when I was working on Biblical descriptions.  When I got to the “why’s” and “solutions”, the answers became more difficult to discuss in short blog posts.  As a result, I decided to swallow hard and attempt to put the entire picture together from A to Z all at one time.

We are pre-announcing the release of a book “The First Will Be Last:  A Biblical Perspective On Narcissism”.  It should be available in the next couple of months.

What are the differences between the book and this blog?  In addition to more clearly and succinctly explaining the topics of the current blog threads, the book “looks ahead” with a much deeper in-depth look at causes and solutions – with an eye toward greater hope and help to those who suffer.

.

If you would like to be notified when the book becomes available, please submit your email address and we will let you know.

.

P.S.   I intend to keep working away at this blog, so eventually the various elements of the book should find their way here.

 

 

Narcissism = Insolent Pride in the Bible

.

Proverbs 21:24

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

.

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.

.

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

Continue reading

Narcissist Traits – They Will Trash You If You Reprove Them

.

As we have discussed previously, “scoffer” is one name to describe those who act with “insolent pride” – the Biblical term for what the secular world calls narcissism.  Therefore, we can learn more about the characteristics of narcissists by looking deeper at what the Bible says about scoffers.

The following table focuses on the fact that narcissists absolutely hate to be told that they are wrong.

.

Level

Scoffer (Insolent Pride) Trait

Narcissism Trait

1

Proverbs 15:2 – A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, he will not go to the wise

A narcissist will first avoid situations where he may be told he is doing something wrong…..no matter how wise the “reprover” might be

2

Proverbs 13:1 – “…A scoffer does not listen to rebuke”

But if a narcissist somehow does find himself in position of being rebuked, he will refuse to listen.  Have you ever tried to rebuke a narcissist?  He will ignore you, verbally fight you, tell you why you are the one who is wrong – anything to keep from admitting that they may be wrong.

3

Proverbs 9:8 – “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you..”

.
.

 

Proverbs 26:24-26 – “He who hates disguise it with his lips, but he lays up deceit in his heart.  When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart.  Though his hatred covers itself with guile, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.”

Not only will a narcissist refuse to listen, but he will also hate you for reproving him.

 

He will disguise his hatred, and even speak graciously to you, but when he has the chance to trash you publicly he will take it.

4

Proverbs 9:7 – “He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself…”

This results in a narcissist trashing your reputation.  A narcissist will not hesitate to trash the reputation of those who try to correct them – resulting in dishonor to you for daring to correct them.

Please see “Putting Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism Into Perspective” for background on what this blog is about.

Is Narcissism = Insolent Pride in the Bible?

.

One underlying premise of this blog is that what is defined as “narcissism” in the secular world of psychology is equivalent to what is called “insolent pride” in the Bible.   The basis for making this assertion is the substantial, but not necessarily  1:1, overlap of traits.

 

TheBibleOnNarcissists

 

As Narcissistic Personality Disorder is still being researched in the formal field of psychology, and is only generally defined in the world of pop psychology, it does not have a clear, official definition  (see here).   Therefore, it stands to reason that there cannot be a complete 1:1 match between the terms “narcissism” and “insolent pride”, when one of the terms is not precisely defined.   But, there is enough overlap of traits that we can use the term “narcissism” as an approximation for “insolent pride”.

.

The reason we are even using the term “narcissism” is that many people who are searching for answers on how to deal with these troublesome people will likely search using the term “narcissism”, as that is the term with which they are most familiar.  But the most precise and real answers will come from the Biblical understanding of “insolent pride”.  That is why we are using the terms synonymously, even though there is not a precise match-up between terms.

.

Please see also

Best Match Between Secular and Biblical Definitions of Narcissism

The Divergence of Secular and Biblical Approaches To Narcissism

Secular Definitions – Narcissism Was Formerly Called Megalomania

 

 

 

 

“The People Of The Lie”

.

John 9:39-41

39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

.

One of the primary traits of the narcissistic Pharisees was their attitude of moral superiority and refusal to acknowledge that they had any sin – even though their inward lives were full of sin.  In this they deceived and lied to both themselves and others.  This can also be seen in Luke 18:9-14, Matthew 23:25-28, and Matthew 9:10-13.

.

M Scott Peck was a psychiatrist whose personal journey ultimately led him to commit to Christianity.  By observation and analysis, through the lens of Christianity, he reached the same conclusion that Jesus had already made clear above.

Following are excerpts from a book he wrote on the subject

. Continue reading

Narcissism and The Progression of Fools – Introduction

.

We have until now focused this biblical study of what the secular world calls “narcissism” primarily on the term “scoffer”, as one of the labels applied to those with insolent pride – the Biblical analog to the secular term.

.

Proverbs 21:24

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

.

While not specifically called by the English term “fool”, the scoffer is part of a progression of foolishness described in Proverbs, starting with the “simple fool” (or “naive”), and moving all the way to the “committed fool”.  Each is a progressively greater degree of turning away from God’s wisdom, and walking an increasingly proud and self-seeking path which is independent from God.   Pride is a primary root to this self-seeking path independent from God, with increasing insolence up to the level of “insolent pride” (aka “scoffer”) and beyond.   Knowing this progression is helpful in identifying at least one of the ways in which someone can become a narcissist.

.

The progression is as follows:

.

(Types of Fool)     naive  ->  perverse ->  scoffing  ->   stubborn ->   committed

(Hebrew word)     pthiy  ->     ewil       ->     luts       ->      kecil      ->      nabal Continue reading

Dealing With Narcissists* – Crying Out, Seeking God – continued

.

James 1:5-8

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

.

When dealing with an N that is driving us crazy, in addition to crying out “God help me!”, God invites us to ask Him for wisdom.  This is HIS wisdom – not human wisdom – including practical  tips, things of the heart, and even things from God’s perspective.  James says that if you ask for wisdom, He will give it to you – generously.

.

But there is an important qualifier to getting this wisdom – “not doubting”.  The doubting here is not so much doubting as to whether you will receive the wisdom, but doubting as to whether you really want it – whether you really want to do things God’s way even if He gave you the clear right answers.   We know this is through James’ statement in verse 7 – ” For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”   Double-mindedness is to have two minds or opinions on the same subject – wanting to do things God’s way, but at the same time wanting what we ourselves want.  With that heart, God could tell us the right answer, and we might not even know we received the answer because we were only looking for the answer we wanted to see.  In order to ask for true wisdom in dealing with the situation, to receive it, and to KNOW that we have received it, we must start with the heart attitude that we will act on the wisdom God gives us without interjecting our own “will” into the matter.

.

This invitation to ask for wisdom is in the context of trials, which James describes as tests (we will look into this later).  Of course, our challenge with our narcissist certainly qualifies as a trial and a test.

.

James 1:2-4

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

.

So go ahead – ask for wisdom in how to deal with your challenging narcissist.  But don’t expect to get what you are asking for unless you are truly serious about doing it His way instead of your own way.  All along being aware of the admonition in Proverbs:

.

Proverbs 14:12

12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

 

Secular Definitions – Narcissism Was Formerly Called Megalomania

.

Megalomania

 .
This article is about a condition relating to grandiosity. For other uses, see Megalomania (disambiguation).   See also: Narcissistic personality disorder
.

Megalomania is a psychopathological condition characterized by fantasies of power, relevance, omnipotence, and by inflated self-esteem.   Historically it was used as a name for narcissistic personality disorder prior to the latter’s first use by Heinz Kohut in 1968, and is used today as a non-clinical equivalent.[1][2] It is not mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)[3] or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD).

.

Etymology

The word megalomania is derived from the Greek μεγαλο- megalo- “large, great”, and μανία mania “madness, frenzy”. Its first attested use in English occurred in 1890, as a translation of the French mégalomanie.

.

Early Freudianism

Sigmund Freud commented of the adult neurotic’s sense of omnipotence that “this belief is a frank acknowledgement of a relic of the old megalomania of infancy”.[4] He similarly concluded that “we can detect an element of megalomania in most other forms ofparanoic disorder. We are justified in assuming that this megalomania is essentially of an infantile nature and that, as development proceeds, it is sacrificed to social considerations”.[5]

Edmund Bergler also considered megalomania to be normal in the child,[6] and for it to be reactivated in later life in gambling.[7]Otto Fenichel states that, for those who react in later life to narcissistic hurt with denial, a similar regression to the megalomania of childhood is taking place.[8]

.

Object relations

Whereas Freud saw megalomania as an obstacle to psychoanalysis, in the second half of the 20th century object relations theory, both in the States and among British Kleinians, set about revaluing megalomania as a defence mechanism that offered potential access for therapy.[9] Such an approach built on Heinz Kohut‘s view of narcissistic megalomania as an aspect of normal development, by contrast with Kernberg‘s consideration of such grandiosity as a pathological development distortion.[10]

.

Everyday

As well as a symptom of pathology, a degree of megalomania is a way of defending against loss in everyday life—a manic defense against the experience of separation and loss.[11] When linked to a position of power, whether military, political, orcontrol-freak bureaucratical,[12] it is likely to lead to miscalculation as a by-product of the subject’s conceit.[13]

.

Therapy

Because the megalomaniac tends not to be particularly interested in examining or changing the self,[14] talking cures may be less effective than medication in their treatment.[15] The transference in a talking cure may also be compromised by the patient’s enhancement of any megalomaniac tendencies within the analyst him/herself.[16]

Best Match Between Secular and Biblical Definitions of Narcissism

By Mayo Clinic Staff

 .

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you’re not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.

.

The phrase above “inflated sense of their own importance” is the key linkage between the secular and Biblical definitions.  It has echoes of

.

Romans 12:3, 16

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith……. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but[n]associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

.

“Inflated sense of own importance (Mayo) is approximately = “haughty in mind” (Romans 12:16) = “insolent pride” (Proverbs 21:24).  Therefore, Mayo’s definition (of narcissism) is approximately equal to the Biblical term (insolent pride).

 

Another Narcissism Test

.

Narcissism (Insolent Pride) can take many forms.  He (or she) can be the obvious extroverted center of attention, but he can also be introverted and reserved.

The essence of narcissism is not the outward style, but “selfishness and empty conceit” instead of “humility of mind” – as Paul admonished against here……

.

Philippians 2:3 – “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…”

.

A good secular discussion of this can be found in the following article

.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/23-signs-youe28099re-secretly-a-narcissist-masquerading-as-a-sensitive-introvert/

.

This article includes an interesting test for “introverted narcissism”.  Its worth a look.

.

.

Note:  Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible describes as “insolent pride” – see here

 

 

Status Update

.

.

I have been very very busy with other responsibilities for the past six months, and as a result have not been able to write nearly as much as I would like.  I have a window in the next four months to hopefully begin writing on the more difficult questions of how to deal with narcissists in family relationships and why God allows these people to wreak havoc.

HE has provided some Biblical perspective on those difficult questions, and I am now wrestling with how to discuss those perspectives in this blog format.  The reason I am wrestling is because those subjects need a comprehensive discussion with the key points being made together at the same time.  This blog’s current format of short quick snippets is not currently conducive to that kind of comprehensive discussion.

Anyway, that’s the challenge – we’ll see how it get resolved!

And there are also lots of case studies to dive into, as well as looking much more closely at how Jesus dealt with the narcissists around him.  Should be fun……

 

Progress Update – Searching For Wisdom on Biblical Perspectives on Narcissism

Dear readers,

To give a quick update on the recent “period of silence”……

I have had a spike in other responsibilities for the past 5 months, which has greatly hindered my time, energy, and mental space for writing.  But, during that time I have continued the wisdom search on Biblical Perspectives on Narcissism, and have become more clear on a few things even while I am still searching on others.

  1. The traits and tactics of narcissists / those with insolent pride are becoming increasingly clear.  Once you learn to recognize these traits and tactics, its pretty easy to understand what’s going on.
  2. Narcissists’ big advantage is their ability to “win you over quickly”.  I still need to get a better handle on “early warning signs”.
  3. One BIG issue is how to deal with these people once you recognize them and what they’re doing.  The best way to deal with a narcissist / one with insolent pride varies greatly depending on your relationship to them.  In fact, you could make a major mistake if you apply the wrong tool in a particular situation.  More later on this.
  4. It is becoming increasingly clear how God uses these people for our good and His glory, even though He will also deal with them in the end
  5. I still do not have a very good handle on WHY narcissists are they way they are, how they got that way, and what the “fix” is.  But, I am quite sure that the Bible addresses those issues as well and will continue searching.

 

More to come…………

 

 

The Divergence of Secular and Biblical Approaches To Narcissism*

.

When we are discussing traits and tactics of narcissists*, there is not much difference between secular and biblical perspectives.  This is because narcissist traits and tactics are basically observational and/or descriptive – focused on “facts”.   The secular world “observes” the traits and tactics of narcissists* (those with insolent pride), while the Bible “describes” them.

.

But it is as we dig deeper that the secular and biblical perspectives on narcissism will diverge.  This is because the biblical perspective brings God into the equation (of course), while the secular perspective does not.  Bringing God into the picture will affect our understanding of why narcissists do what they do, how they became narcissists, how we should relate to and deal with them, and how God deals with them.  Bringing God into the picture will also impact our understanding of whether things in our “relationships” with narcissists can ever change or improve.

.

We will try to explain as we progress both how and why bringing God into the picture changes things.  And we will also occasionally highlight the differences between the secular and biblical approaches.

.

I am mentioning this now, because while we will continue to discuss traits and tactics of narcissists, the emphasis is going to shift over time to a much deeper search into what is really going on with these “difficult people”.

.

.

* Narcissist/narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”.  Please see here for an explanation.

Reflecting On The Reflections

.

.

I have been at this for a few months now, and have enjoyed and personally benefited from this path of learning on this particular subject.  I feel that we are 30-40% down this road of understanding of the Biblical perspective on narcissism and narcissists, described as “insolent pride” and “scoffers” in the Bible. The emphasis so far has been on identifying the traits and tactics of narcissists, or (scoffers/those with insolent pride).   In the future will be discussing much more about:

  • How to deal with narcissists / scoffers, from both a practical and “heavenly” perspective
  • How narcissists can be healed
  • How narcissists’ victims can be healed
  • God’s redemptive purposes in this subject
  • How some societies have narcissism deeply embedded in their culture and national character
  • How God “deals with” narcissists
  • and more

……

Once we have gone through this first round of putting a lot of individual facts and perspectives from the Bible about narcissism on the table, we will go back and start to better organize and synthesize them into a more integrated understandable picture. As I have been working through this, I have noticed that while there are some similarities and overlaps between the secular approach to narcissism and the Biblical approach to narcissism, there are also some differences.   The secular approach to narcissism does a good job of discussing narcissistic traits, and the narcissist’s tactics.  And it provides a few practical means of dealing with narcissists, such as “low contact”, “no contact”, lowering expectations, setting boundaries, etc.  In some cases, these are very helpful and match up with the Biblical approach to the subject.  But the secular approach to the subject of narcissism does not dig very deeply into the “heart” side of narcissism, the causes of narcissism, or the distinctions in handling narcissism depending on the relationships.  The Bible talks much more about these and other similar subjects. We’re going to keep digging until we’ve reached as close to the bottom of this subject of narcissism and narcissists as possible.

…….

One final note.  I have tended to use the modern terms of narcissism, narcissist, narcissistic rather than the related Biblical terms.  This bothers me a little bit to do this, as I would generally prefer to use Biblical language to discuss Biblical topics.  However, to reach those who are looking for answers on narcissism, but would only search on that term rather than on the search term of “insolent pride” for example, I have tended to more heavily use those terms which people would more likely use for their Google search on the subject.

One final, final note.  I have two main purposes for doing this project.  One is that I am in a situation that is highly motivating to learn everything I can about the subject of narcissism, but from God’s perspective.  The other is to demonstrate that God has far superior wisdom than anyone else on every subject, including narcissism, and that this wisdom is “there for the taking”, right out of the Bible.  All we have to do is look.

.

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