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.

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

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

 

 

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

Dealing With Narcissists – “Avoid Them” Using An Employment Test

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Proverbs 22:3

The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.

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As we discussed here, one way to deal with Narcissists (= “proud, haughty, scoffer”, see here) is to avoid them altogether.  This is especially useful when you’re making hiring decisions.  The best way to deal with a narcissist in the workplace is to keep them from getting into your company or onto your team in the first place.

The problem with avoiding the hiring of a narcissist is that they are especially good at presenting themselves in the best light in an interviewing process.   And the interviewing process is typically brief enough that it is hard to sort out fact from fiction in such a short period of time.

I found a simple 10 question test to administer in order to quickly find out how “narcissistic” a prospective employee or team member may be.  You can find it here.  The test is not exhaustive or definitive, but it may give you some indication as to whether you have a potential narcissist on your hands.

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You need to score the test yourself

  1. Put the number in each box
  2. Add up the total
  3. The “narcissism scale” runs from 10 to 50.  The closer to 50, the more narcissistic the candidate, the closer to 10, the less narcissistic the candidate.

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The Proper Perspective Of God

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Psalm 8:3-5

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!

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When you think about it, both narcissists and their victims underestimate God.  Narcissists, in their overvaluation of themselves and undervaluation of God’s majesty, attempt to take His place.  Their victims underestimate the power and ability of God to act on their behalf and in their defense.

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Begin to gain perspective by getting outside to look up at God’s handiwork in the heavens.  I have been doing it frequently, and it has been very good.

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The following clip may also help.

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Dealing With N’s – Abandon A Quarrel

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Proverbs 17:14

14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.

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This verse brings to mind pin-pricking a balloon filled with water.  It does not just spring a little leak when pricked, but immediately gushes out all the water.  You cannot hold it back once it starts.

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A narcissist is constantly striving to exalt themselves in their hearts – battling anything that gets in the way.  Their pride makes them unable to admit that they are wrong.  Therefore, whenever a fact is in dispute (i.e. – who said what, who did what, etc.) it is impossible for them to concede that you were right and they were wrong.  This is true even if they made up the “fact” in question out of thin air.

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If you directly engage the N in trying to get the record straight, you are walking straight into a conflict.  If you do succeed in proving your point, the N will be angry that you proved them wrong.  They will then attack you on how you approached the issue with statements like:  “Why do you always have to pick on me”, “You pick at every little thing I say”, “I try so hard”, “I can’t do anything right in your eyes”, etc.  Because there is probably a little grain of truth to what they are saying, it will be impossible to defend yourself without continuing the strife.  So they’ve still got you.

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In many cases, the issue about which you are trying to correct the record does not really matter, and you are likely arguing the point simply out of your own pride.  Maybe make your point once.  If the N pushes back out of their own drive to be correct, drop the issue without any final passive-aggressive digs at the N.  Then trust the Lord.  It may not seem right that you have to “concede”, but God will ultimately have the last say.

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This in fact is one application of the general admonition to “avoid them”.

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Please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective to better understand what this blog is about.

 

Psalm 17 – David’s Prayer For Protection Against Oppressors

Psalm 17

Prayer for Protection against Oppressors.

A Prayer of David.

17 Hear a just cause, O Lord, give heed to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips.
Let my judgment come forth from Your presence;
Let Your eyes look with equity.

 

You have tried my heart;
You have visited me by night;
You have tested me and You find nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips
I have kept from the paths of the violent.
My steps have held fast to Your paths.
My feet have not slipped.

 

I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.
Wondrously show Your lovingkindness,
O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand
From those who rise up against them.
Keep me as the apple of the eye;
Hide me in the shadow of Your wings
From the wicked who despoil me,
My deadly enemies who surround me.

 

10 They have closed their unfeeling heart,
With their mouth they speak proudly.
11 They have now surrounded us in our steps;
They set their eyes to cast us down to the ground.
12 He is like a lion that is eager to tear,
And as a young lion lurking in hiding places.

 

13 Arise, O Lord, confront him, bring him low;
Deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword,
14 From men with Your hand, O Lord,
From men of the world, whose portion is in this life,
And whose belly You fill with Your treasure;
They are satisfied with children,
And leave their abundance to their babes.
15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness;
I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

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Continue reading

When Narcissists Ruin Our Plans

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Narcissists (aka those with insolent pride) in our lives may sometimes interfere with our plans.  It can be frustrating and maddening.  We must deal with N’s wisely.   However, it is also helpful to know that God is sovereign even over mangled plans – even if those plans were mangled to due to things beyond our control.  John Piper briefly discusses this in God’s Sovereign Plan Behind Your Most Unproductive Days.  It’s worth a quick look.

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Romans 8:28-29

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

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A blog update:  I am working on an extensive review on how Jesus dealt with the narcissists of His day (the Pharisees).  If you would like a sneak peek at my raw incomplete notes you can see them at How Jesus Dealt With The N’s.

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For an overview of what this blog is about, please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective.

In Whom Are Hidden All The Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge

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Colossians 2:2-3

that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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Continue reading

While I’ve Been Gone

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In my “Who Am I” post at the start this journey, I explained that one reason I am doing this blog anonymously is that I have been involved (for more than a decade now) in a missions work in a sensitive part of the world.  That “sensitive area” is North Korea.  I was recently invited to submit an article on North Korea to a prominent Christian publication, and felt a strong burden to share the conclusion of some key lessons learned along my particular journey.   The article is below.  If and when it comes out, my actual name will not be attached because doing so would put some other people at risk .

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I am sharing it on this blog for two reasons.  One is t0 partially make up for my absence while I was pressing to get this article done (writing does not come easy for me).  The second is that the North Korean culture has certain narcissistic tendencies, so some of the following lessons provide a bit of broader context in that respect.

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Here’s a draft of the article:

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A Manifesto For North Korean Missions

A Call to Grace Through Faith

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A Summary On How To Live With A Contentious Woman (And Still Be A Real Man)

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[Note:  This blog entry is intended for men.  It was a difficult blog post to write, and I’m still working through it.  But it was far enough along to push the “publish” button and provide you with a launch point for your own search into the subject.  It may seem as though I am just focusing on narcissistic women, with men as victims, but I hope to write a similar post on the reverse relationship – a wife living with a narcissistic husband – in the near future.

Underneath this entire blog post is the view that marriage is a human illustration of a divine relationship]

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Romans 12:18

18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

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1 Corinthians 16:13-14

13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

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How is it possible to be peacefully married to a a contentious woman and still be a real man?  A tough question.  Her modus operandi is to dominate you, which leaves you the seemingly impossible choices of either fighting back and creating a war at home, or submitting, neither of which is appealing (or correct).  This post summarizes a range of things to consider for dealing with the situation.  Your contentious woman could range from one who is merely annoying to one who is “impossible to live with”.

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Continue reading

Psalm 91 – Security Of The One Who Trusts In The Lord

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Psalm 91

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91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”

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For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

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You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.

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A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.

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For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.

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11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

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14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”

Counseling Seemingly Impossible Situations

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2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

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I am reading an excellent book called “Counseling the Hard Cases:  True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God’s Resources in Scripture“.  This book provides case studies on how Biblically based counselors successfully counseled seemingly impossible counseling situations – including situations which secular-counselors had previously been unable to resolve.

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The book starts with a discussion on whether the Bible is sufficient to help people with their problems….

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“Is Scripture sufficient to inform all the possible counseling situations in this fallen world? The implications of such a question are massive. Continue reading

God Will Put An End To Pride

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Isaiah 2

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Now it will come about that 
In the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it…..

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And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples…..

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11 The proud look of man will be abased
And the loftiness of man will be humbled,
And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day……

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12 For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning
Against everyone who is proud and lofty
And against everyone who is lifted up,
That he may be abased……

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17 The pride of man will be humbled
And the loftiness of men will be abased;
And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day…..

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22 Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?

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In the middle of our day to day grind of dealing with people with insolent pride, it is occasionally helpful to step back and see the end of the story.  In the end, God will put every proud and haughty person into their proper place, and will show that He alone deserves to be exalted.

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Having a proper view now of that future state of affairs can give us the perspective needed to see the proud and haughty narcissist as they really are – and through that to give us a measure of freedom from the control they seek over us.

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Please see Pride’s Hindrance To Salvation for some additional perspective.

Dealing With Narcissists – Fact Check Everything

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As a narcissist is notoriously unreliable, it is important to fact check (at least to yourself) what comes out of their mouth rather than accept they say at face value.

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Proverbs 14.15 – “The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps.”

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Proverbs 18.17 – “The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.”

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Matthew 18.16 – “so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.”

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2 Corinthians 13.1 – “This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”

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1 Timothy 5.19 – “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.”

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Narcissists / those with insolent pride tend to exaggerate their skills, accomplishments, track record, commitment to the cause, etc.   They also will stretch the truth or outright lie in order to get what they want.   And they do not hesitate to trash the reputation of those who get in their way.  So while this basic biblical principle of confirming things instead of believing every thing you are told is always appropriate – it is especially applicable when dealing with narcissists.

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