Narcissists Are Quick To Take Credit For Other’s Work

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Most of us have likely observed a narcissist who focuses on taking credit instead of getting a job done well – even to the extreme of  taking credit for something they had absolutely nothing to do with.  It’s infuriating when it happens, and makes you wonder if they are intentionally lying or just delusional.  It could be either – most of my experiences have been of the delusional variety.  This is consistent with the fact that their heart drives their mind.

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. 
Luke 6:45
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Because their root heart attitude is “I’m best” or “I’m better than you”, the narcissist’s heart believes that if  something good happens it must have been them, and if something bad happens it must have been you.

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Many times you can’t argue with or fight their assertion, because it’s a “he said, she said” situation that is unprovable.  I once had a lady take credit for an answer to prayer I mentioned.  I was highly suspect, but it was not something to argue about – I just let it go and left it in God’s hands.

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There may be a time that you really need to set the record straight.  But be aware that you’re doing this vs. someone who will pull every trick in the book to not be wrong.  It would be wise to be very, very, very selective on when you fight the battle.  In most cases, it is better to simply trust God to defend you or to make it work all out for your good in the end.  When you bring the sovereign, loving, powerful God of the universe into the equation, it changes how you approach your response.

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You can step back and ask God to humble their hearts, and to enlighten their eyes so that they would see themselves in comparison with God’s greatness (they are small, He is big).  And you can pray specifically that God would help you and deal with, fix, and overcome the specific negative circumstances created by the N’s proud and evil response.  Rather than make your fight with the N, tactically use the circumstance as an opportunity for God to show His love and power and grace in working on your behalf.

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This may sound trite.  Our natural instinct is to fight for our justice and win.  But letting God fight the battle in their heart, and exercising His great power to defend and counteract the effects of their evil action (or better yet to use that evil action for our even greater good), is often a wiser, more peaceful course of action.

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Back to a narcissist possibly taking credit for our work.  Can we toot our own horn if we do something good?  In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) the guys given ten talents and five talents came back with tangible, measurable results.  They didn’t boast of their results, but were pleased to present to their boss tangible results.  Jesus didn’t rebuke their presentation of those results.  He only rebuked the “no results”.  (This was a business reference illustrating investing in God’s kingdom).  There is a difference between boasting and presenting facts.

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Measurable, identifiable results can be one means of countering a narcissists false claim.  Proverbs says,

The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.
Proverbs 18:17

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The narcissist may be the first to plead his case, but if you calmly present your provable, measurable, tangible results, you can let the facts speak for themselves in response – without getting into an unwinnable contest with a lying narcissist.

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Click here for initial steps on how to find peace with God.

 

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Gaslighting

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Gaslighting.  You hear this pop-psychology term-du-jour a lot lately.  It is kind of cringeworthy, often making me wonder, “what do they really mean”?

The term “gaslighting” originated from the British play Gas Light (1938), and its 1940 and 1944 film adaptations.  It is now used in clinical psychological literature, as well as in political commentary and philosophy.

The name of a play / movie is used to describe behavior.  This is similar to the origin of the psychological term “narcissism” which uses a character from Greek mythology in the “science” of psychology.  Hmmm…..

Here’s how Wikipedia defines it.

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Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgement.  It may evoke changes in them such as cognitive dissonance or low self-esteem, rendering the victim additionally dependent on the gaslighter for emotional support and validation. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction and disinformation,  Gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim’s beliefs.

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A shorthand way to get your mind around it is to think of gaslighting as “deceptive manipulation”.   It is a particularly subtle, underhanded, tricky, manipulative form of lying.  Lying is very difficult to detect and guard against.  This “deceptive manipulation” form of lying is even more difficult to detect and guard against.

Of course, the Bible is way ahead on this as well as “narcissism”.  There is nothing new under the sun.

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Satan is the original liar…

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.  John 8:44

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…. and the original practitioner of “deceptive manipulation”.

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness….  2 Corinthians 11:3
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Since deception is one of the primary tools of the narcissist, “gaslighting” or more precisely “deceptive manipulation” can be one of the tools in their toolbox.  Prudently guarding against it is foundational.  We cannot prevent them from lying to us and attempting to deceive us.  They will speak according to their internal nature, and God will hold them accountable for their lies.  However, there are things we can do.

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How can we defeat lies?  With truth.

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Click here for initial steps on how to know God personally

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you might imagine, I have a strong bias toward using Biblical terms rather than the popular secular term of the moment.

 

 

 

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Don’t Let Them Suck You Into Their Drama

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Narcissists are notorious for engaging in self-focused drama, while attempting to suck every one else in.  It’s one of their go-to moves to attract attention.  It might look like this:

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Jesus was well aware of the danger of allowing His narcissists – the Pharisees – to throw Him off His mission.  He engaged with them when they approached Him with a test, but did not make them the focus of His ministry.  He expressed His overall view to His disciples,

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“Let them [the Pharisees] alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”  Matthew 15:14
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“Let them alone” could be considered a version of the pop-psychology concept of “low contact”.  [As stated earlier in this blog, “no contact” and “low contact” greatly depends on the nature of the relationship.]
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One reason that Jesus did not make the Pharisees a focus of His ministry is that they did not feel they had a need, and were not genuinely open to what He had to say (with a few exceptions).   When the Pharisees slyly criticized Jesus for ministering to tax collectors and sinners, He responded:
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Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.   Matthew 9:10-12
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Jesus correctly focused on His true ministry, and did not let the drama which His narcissists tried to stir up to sidetrack Him.
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Let your Narcissist have their drama on their own time and in their own space, and don’t let them waste your time and life by drawing you in.

 

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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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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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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.

 

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder* In The Clergy

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3 John 1:9 – I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.

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Matthew 7:15 – Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

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In a very recent study discussed in the paper FREQUENCY OF NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER IN PASTORS: A PRELIMINARY STUDY“, the researchers found a relatively higher percentage of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (“NPD”) among the clergy than in the regular population.  The study discussed the impact of the NPD pastors’ approach to ministry as well as the negative impact on their congregations.

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Dealing With Narcissists* – Avoid Them, continued

(See here for Avoid Them, Part I)

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Romans 16:17-18

17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

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While not everyone who has this list of traits is automatically a narcissist, narcissists tend to have this list of traits.  Therefore, if we apply to people with the following traits the instruction which is given, we will automatically be responding appropriately to those people who are narcissists.

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  1. they cause dissension
  2. they teach in ways contrary to sound doctrine
  3. they are slaves of their own appetites
  4. they deceive people with smooth and flattering speech

 

The instructions for dealing with them are:

  1. Keep an eye on them (in other words, be on the alert for these kinds of people), and
  2. Turn away from them
    1. individually – avoid them
    2. collectively – do not let them influence your church

 

The reasons it is important to deal with these people in this way are:

  1. It will allow us to avoid the consequences that surrounds and turmoil that surrounds these people.  But, more importantly …
  2. They “deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting”.   In other words, if we do not recognize them and avoid them, we put ourselves at risk of becoming deceived – living according to false ways of thinking which will be disastrous for our lives.

 

Jesus referred to these kinds of people in Matthew 15 (see here, and here for more explanation)

14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”   

In other words, if you allow yourselves to be led by a (blind) narcissist (the Pharisees to which Jesus referred or the deceivers to which Paul referred), you are blind and will fall into the same pit as the narcissist.  (See here for more)

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It is important to understand the context within which this instruction was given – that of relating to other church “members”.   As discussed here, how we deal with narcissists greatly depends upon the nature of the relationship with them.  We need to use the response that is appropriate for the situation.

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*narcissist is the current secular term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”.  See here for more.

 

 

 

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