Narcissist Traits – They Will Trash You If You Reprove Them

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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.

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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..”

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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.

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Narcissist Tactics – The Shaming Wife

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Proverbs 12:4

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.

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The first line of Proverbs 12:4 is a marvelous, positive example – but since we are studying narcissism in particular we are going to focus here on the second line.

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While a contentious wife may operate in private, a shaming wife operates publicly, putting her husband to shame in front of other people.  There are two ways that a wife could do this.  One way would be inappropriate public behavior that dishonors both herself and her husband.  You can easily think of your own examples, and they are not necessarily the actions of a narcissist / one with insolent pride.

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The second way a wife could shame her husband is through the narcissistic move of denigrating (ie – putting down, criticizing) her husband in public.  Why might she do this?   Continue reading

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Narcissist Tactics – They Mock and Make Excuses (Pharisee Case Study)

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Luke 16:13-15

13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.

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[Please see here and here for more on how we know the Pharisees were narcissists].

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This is one of the clearer examples of how narcissists work.  In their hearts, the Pharisees were focused on money and the “finer things of life” that it would bring.  But in their pride, they also wanted to be highly thought of by men for their piety (including the all-sufficiency of God).  Jesus called out their hypocrisy and created a dilemma for them with His statement that they could not make both God and money number one in their lives – with the clear implication that they had chosen money over God.

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The narcissistic Pharisees had two ways of dealing with this.

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First was to mock (or scoff at) the One telling them they could not have it both ways.  Their intent was to tear down, from a position of “superiority”, and discredit the one getting in way of their greed and pride.

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Proverbs 9:7-8

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

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Amos 5:10

10 They hate him who reproves in the gate,
And they abhor him who speaks with integrity.

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Second was to make justification (in modern terms – making excuses), or to construct a clever series of reasons, for what they were doing for the purpose of making people around them agree with them and continue to think highly of them.

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But Jesus made it clear to them that even though they may get away with fooling men, they were not fooling God.  God could clearly see what was in their hearts, and would judge them based on that – and not based on what the Pharisees had gotten men to believe.

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They might get short term kudos from men for how wonderful they are, but they would ultimately have to answer to God for the evil in their hearts.

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Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective

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Narcissistic* Traits – One Reason Why They Lie

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There is a simple explanation for why (at least one of the reasons, there are others) that narcissists* lie

1  –  They want X – something that is “bad” because

  • It is selfish
  • It is immoral
  • They need to hurt others to get it
  • Etc

2  –  They also want respect, praise, and exaltation from men

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The only way that they can get both #1 and #2 at the same time is to deceive or lie to others about #1.  They need to lie in order to conceal their selfish or evil goals and motives – and the actions that they may take to achieve them.

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Continue reading

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Narcissist* Tactics – They Also Target Their Enemies’ Friends

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One tactic of Narcissists (scoffers, those with insolent pride) is to not only try to destroy their perceived enemy – but they also try to isolate them by driving wedges between their enemies and anyone who might possibly help them.

 

John 9:22

22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.

John 12:42

42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue;

 

see here and here for an explanation on how Pharisees were classic Narcissists.

 

3 John 1:9-10

I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.

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

 

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Narcissist Tactics – Entrapment to Destroy

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Luke 20:19-26

19 The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, and they feared the people; for they understood that He spoke this parable against them. 20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order that they might catch Him in some statement, so that they could deliver Him to the rule and the authority of the governor. 21 They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You speak and teach correctly, and You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 23 But He detected their trickery and said to them, 24 “Show Me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 And He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were unable to catch Him in a saying in the presence of the people; and being amazed at His answer, they became silent.

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We have been using the term “Pharisees” in our depiction of that group of scoffers (narcissists) who were opposed to Jesus, but that was a broader category that also included specific job titles such as “scribes” and “chief priests”.  We can see here and here that the Pharisees were clear examples of narcissists.  There are several lessons on how narcissists operate from the above narrative:

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  1. The scoffers (narcissists) were actively trying to get rid of the threat to their supremacy
  2. The scoffers (narcissists) were trying to entrap Jesus by presenting a no-win situation, on a subject that could get Him in deep trouble with the authorities if He answered wrong
  3. They sent others to do their dirty work (this time)

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Notice the flattery these Pharisees / scoffers / narcissists used as part of their work to ruin Jesus.   In verse 21, “Teacher, we know that You speak and teach correctly, and You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth.”  This is what is discussed here:

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Proverbs 26:28 – 28 A lying tongue hates those it crushes, And a flattering mouth works ruin.

 

 

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Narcissist Tactics – How They Attack

Psalm 56:1-6 (NASB)

 

56 Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me;
Fighting all day long he oppresses me.
2 My foes have trampled upon me all day long,
For they are many who fight proudly against me.
3 When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
4 In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?
5 All day long they distort my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They attack, they lurk,
They watch my steps,
As they have waited to take my life.

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I am still pondering this, so the following is a “work in progress’

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This sounds like a Messianic Psalm – where at one level David is talking about his own situation, but at a prophetic level God is referring to the Pharisees vs. Jesus.  If that’s the case, we saw from

http://biblicalperspectivesonnarcissism.com/2013/12/21/narcissist-case-studies-pharisees-foundations/

http://biblicalperspectivesonnarcissims.com/2014/03/03/narcissist-case-studies-pharisees-how-we-know-they-were-narcissists-part-2/

that the Pharisees were filled with insolent pride, were scoffers, and in today’s terminology were narcissists.    Here are some key traits and tactics:

Fighting all day long he oppresses me.

The Pharisees (narcissists) made their fight against Jesus almost a full time occupation.

For they are many who fight proudly against me.

The fight was a fight to gain supremacy

5 All day long they distort my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They attack, they lurk,
They watch my steps,
As they have waited to take my life.

This describes pretty clearly how the narcissistic Pharisees approached things in their fight against Jesus – distorting his words, thinking “evilly” on how they could take him on, lurking and watching until they could see an opportunity to destroy him.  So, to summarize traits and tactics of a narcissist who has decided to destroy you:

  • He will totally obsesse about destroying you
  • He will distort most of what you say
  • His thoughts toward you will only be evil thoughts on how he can destroy – he will not think any positive thoughts toward you (part of his obsession to destroy you)
  • He will attack you when he can, but he will also lurk, watch, and wait for the right opportunity to stick in the proverbial knife

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But, as we will discuss more in the future, ultimately we have to trust Him for protection from this kind of attack

Psalm 56:11 – In God I have put my [a]trust, I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me?

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Psalm 127:1 (NASB) – Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.

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Narcissistic Traits – They’re Conflict Creators

Proverbs 21:24 – “Drive out the scoffer and contention will go out, even strife and dishonor will cease.”

For “contention”, “strife”, and “dishonor” to stop when a scoffer (narcissist) leaves the scene means that they were major sources of the conflict to begin with.

Being a conflict creator is a narcissist trait, but is also a tactic a narcissist uses to get what they want.

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From http://narc-attack.blogspot.ae/2008/03/narcissists-and-conflict.html

Narcissists and Conflict

One simple but easy-to-forget thing about narcissists is that, unlike normal people, they don’t mind conflict. They enjoy it.

Conflict makes normal people uncomfortable. We try to minimize it in our dealings with others. Oddly, we love it in fiction (Conflict is the gunpowder of fiction, and it’s near relative – controversy – is the gunpowder of journalism. Maintaining constant conflict is the secret to storytelling success). But note that this is “safe” conflict. In real life we hate what we love to see characters go through in fiction.

Narcissists have a whole different attitude toward conflict. They use it strategically to manipulate. They seek conflict. They become impossible people, flying into conflict with you over anything you think, say, do, feel, or wear. As if THEY have the right to determine what you say, think, do, feel, or wear.

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Narcissism Case Studies – the Pharisees, Overview

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One of the prime examples of narcissists in the Bible are the Pharisees.   Over many, many entries we will not only look at their narcissistic traits, but also how Jesus dealt with them.  We’re looking for clues for how to successfully identify and deal with narcissists (insolent pride), but will also gain some heavenly insights in the process.
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But, it would be good to read a key passage in its entirety, before we start parsing it.  I have highlighted some key phrases which tip us off that we’re looking at narcissists when we look at the Pharisees.   Of course, we should understand that a Pharisee was a type of official position, not a person per se.   So, not every Pharisee was a narcissist – and there are examples of Pharisees who came to Jesus as genuine seekers.  But many, if not most, were.
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Matthew 23

23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 4 They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.

[This is an example of a scoffer – Psalm 1 “sitting in the seat of scoffers”.  Narcissists’ (insolent pride) goal is to lord it over others, to make others jump through hoops in order to prove that the narcissist is King, numero uno.  The best way is to be the one to set the rules and then judge others as to whether they follow the rules or not.  Secular literature describes the narcissist trait of believing rules are for the “little people”, and not for them.  This is a classic example of that.

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But it goes further than that.  Narcissists (insolent pride) don’t really care about what rules they’re setting up for others – the more important issue is that they are the King who makes the rules and others are to follow.    But this is why dealing with narcissists is so dangerous – their actions are totally arbitrary.   Even if you do jump through some hoop (rule) that they set up and get to you to jump through, as soon as you have done that they can easily set up a different, even opposite rule and have you jump through that.  Because their main point is getting you to jump through their hoop, whatever they decide it to be at that moment.]

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 5 But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.

[Narcissists’ (insolent pride) whole goal is to be number 1, honored and glorified by others.  So, to get there they MUST look good in the eyes of others, and have that rewarded by receiving the honor due them.]

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8 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

[Jesus tells us God’s way – humility vs. pride, serving vs. being honored.  More on this important key to successful living in other posts]

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Eight Woes

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

[Narcissists put on a show.  The Pharisees’ long prayers was all about the show, it had nothing to do with actually communicating with God]

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15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

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16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the [i]temple is obligated.’ 17 You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar,that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’ 19 You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? 20 Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.

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23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

[One of the secular comments on narcissists is that they lack a sense of proportion – for example, they will work through the night on something that isn’t very useful.   Jesus was confirming this about the Pharisees, but the above statement also implies that their focus on the little details was a means of avoiding obligations and escaping responsibility for the larger, more important moral requirements.]

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25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.   27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

[Narcissists (insolent pride) make it look good.  But what’s going on their hearts is a whole other matter.  Ultimately, of course, what’s in their heart will come out.  “The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart”.  (Matt 12:34)]

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29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’

[This is a classic narcissist (insolent pride) approach…… with comments like “well, I never would have done that”]

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31 So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

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