Dealing With Narcissists* – Healing Their Victims

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There is much to learn from how Jesus dealt with the narcissists of His day, the Pharisees (see here and here on how we know the Pharisees were narcissists/scoffers filled with insolent pride).  It is instructive as to what He did and said in His dealings with them, but also what did not do, and did not say.   It is very interesting that in some cases, rather than trying to defend against the narcissists’ actions, He put His focus on ministering to those whom the narcissists “hurt”. Here are a couple of examples: . Continue reading

Dealing With Narcissists* – Case Study on “Let Them Alone”

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How Jesus handled His encounters with the narcissistic* Pharisees are very instructive.  The following encounter is a case in point.

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Matthew 15

15 Then some Pharisees and scribes* came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:

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This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”

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10 After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11 It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”

12 Then the disciples *came and *said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement? 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. 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.”

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There are several things to consider here:
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  1. The narcissistic* Pharisees (see here and here) were doing a classic indirect attack on Jesus – criticizing Jesus by criticizing His disciples.  The Pharisees’ goal was to weaken their competition (Jesus).
  2. The Pharisees were using another classic narcissistic* move of setting up a standard of their choosing (the tradition of the elders) as the basis for acting as judge over someone else (see here for more on this classic narcissistic tactic)
  3. Jesus decided to challenge the narcissists* (scoffers)  in this instance.  It could be that (as discussed here) He took them on in order to defend His disciples.
  4. His challenge to the Pharisees was not a direct defense of the Pharisees’ accusation.  That would have imputed some credibility to their accusation.  Instead His challenge went straight to the heart of the Pharisees’ real issues
    1. They transgressed God’s law in order to uphold their “own law” (the traditions of men)
    2. They were being hypocrites (see here for more on that), saying the right things (“honor Me with their lips”), but with evil in their hearts (“their heart is far from Me”) (see here and here and here for how narcissists are outwardly righteous but inwardly rebellious)
  5. Jesus did not respond to the Pharisees regarding their accusation, but He did make sure that the other listener’s were not deceived or confused by what the Pharisees had said.  So, HE did provide them with the clear truth (defilement comes from the heart, not from what you eat), in contrast to the Pharisees’ self-centered “doctrine”.
  6. The result of the narcissistic* Pharisees being actually challenged by Jesus was that they were offended.  No surprise with that.  Narcissists hate being reproved (see here).  “Normal” people would have cowered in fear over the Pharisees’ displeasure, but Jesus did not.
  7. Jesus used the Pharisees’ offense at his statement to make 3 points to the disciples
    1. The Pharisees were not of God, and as a result would ultimately be uprooted
    2. The Pharisees were “blind guides” – they were not qualified to point the way for others.  (The “blindness” of narcissists is discussed here)
    3. Those who followed the Pharisees were also blind
    4. As a result, the best course of action is to “leave them alone” – ie – don’t try to fight them, but also don’t seek to follow them.  Jesus was saying “get on with doing the right things yourselves, and don’t worry about what the Pharisees are or are not doing”

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So, one key way of dealing with narcissists is to “leave them alone” to live in their own little world, knowing that God will sort it all out in the end.  (See here for other discussions on the how “avoiding” is one way of dealing with narcissists.)

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

Narcissist Tactics – Creating Rules , But Acting Above Those Same Rules

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Matthew 23:4

They (the Pharisees) 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.

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(See here and here and here on how we know that “The Pharisees” were narcissists).

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The Pharisees used their limited co-opted authority as an opportunity to lord it over those whom they could.  One means they used to do this, as well as to prove their superiority, was to create performance requirements which they could then hang on people.  Of course, due to their own exceptionalism, the Pharisees did not bind themselves by those same rules.  That’s for the little people.

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This is a typical narcissist approach – constantly maneuvering, manipulating, and creating situations where they can exercise their rightful position (in their own mind) as top dog – both by creating requirements for others, and by hypocritically and arrogantly thinking they are above those same requirements.

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Please see https://biblicalperspectivesonnarcissism.com/2013/10/21/narcissist-case-studies-in-the-bible/  for an introduction to narcissism case studies in the Bible.

All The Reward They Will Ever Get

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Matthew 6:1-18

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

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“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

Continue reading

Narcissism Case Studies – Diotrephes

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3 John 1:9-10

9 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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The tip-off to Diotrephes’ narcissism / insolent pride was his “love to be first among them”.   His insolent pride resulted in

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  • Not accepting what the apostle John was saying.
  • Accusing John with wicked words
  • Not receiving (ie – providing the opportunity) others who might challenge him
  • Getting rid of those who might possibly side with others

Classic narcissist behavior.

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Tragically, there are too many pastors and leaders of ministries who have the “Diotrephes Syndrome”.  Their core purpose is self-exaltation instead of shepherding the flock of God.  They construct their “ministries” and message around what will best serve their delusions of grandeur.  These are some of the false prophets whom Jesus warned us about

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Matthew 7:15-16

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits.

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God will ultimately deal with these guys.  One way of protecting against them is to use a Biblically-based church leadership model of shared leadership.
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Narcissist Case Study – Self-Justification Through Technical Loopholes

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Luke 10:25-37

25 And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”

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As was made clear by his answer, the lawyer already knew the Biblical answer to his question, implying that his question was not a sincere inquiry.  Luke called it a “test” – the lawyer was simply asking the question to see what kind of response he would get, with the chance perhaps that Jesus would say something that the lawyer could use against him – or possibly to show that he was somehow better than Jesus.  This is a typical narcissist tactic. Continue reading

Dealing With Narcissists – Jesus, Simon, and the Woman

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While Jesus often taught about how to respond to life situations from a “Heavenly perspective”, He also frequently demonstrated it.  One example that is relevant to our study on how to deal with narcissists is when Jesus was invited to dinner by the Pharisee, Simon.

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Luke 7:36-50

36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”

40 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” Continue reading

Narcissist Case Study – Simon The Magician

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Acts 8:9-24

Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; 10 and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God.” 11 And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. 13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, Continue reading

How Can I Heal? Psalm 56

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Psalm 56

56 Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me;
Fighting all day long he oppresses me.
My foes have trampled upon me all day long,
For they are many who fight proudly against me.

When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise, Continue reading

Narcissist Tactics – Fake Repentance (Case Study)

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From Cain, the very first narcissist*, narcissists have used incomplete and fake repentance as a tool to avoid consequences of their actions, while not actually giving up their quest for what they want.  It is a tactic for taking off the immediate heat, while avoiding any genuine heart change.

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The Fruit of Weakness – David and Saul

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David to Saul (a narcissist) – I Samuel 24:10-12

10 Behold, this day your [Saul’s] eyes have seen that the Lord had given you today into my [David’s] hand in the cave, and some said to kill you, but my eye had pity on you; and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 Now, my father, see! Indeed, see the edge of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the edge of your robe and did not kill you, know and perceive that there is no evil or rebellion in my hands, and I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life to take it. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you.

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Saul to David – 1 Samuel 24:18-20

18 You have declared today that you have done good to me, that the Lord delivered me into your hand and yet you did not kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safely? May the Lord therefore reward you with good in return for what you have done to me this day. 20 Now, behold, I know that you will surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand.

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As we discussed here, purposefully allowing ourselves to be weak, rather than resisting, in the face of an attack from a narcissist, allows God to act and provides a stronger testimony to the narcissist and others.

David was a prime illustration of this in allowing himself to be weak in the face of the narcissistic onslaught from Saul.  Even though God had anointed David King, and David had done nothing wrong, and even though he had the strength with his “mighty men” to take Saul head-on, David allowed Saul to chase him, and trusted God to 1.  protect him, 2.  deliver him from Saul, and 3.  establish him as king in God’s time.   Even when David had the chance to kill Saul – which would end it all and fulfill by his own hand God’s declaration that he would be king – David chose to let God act and fulfill His word, rather than taking things into His own hands.

David’s testimony spoke volumes to Saul, with Saul admitting to himself and publicly what he probably already knew in his heart, that David would surely become the King.  David’s allowing himself to be weak and leave things in God’s hands, ultimately showed God’s strength to the nation of Israel, and was a testimony that Saul could not refute.

And, in the end, God dealt with Saul and David became king.

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Additional reading:  “Saul Hunts David”

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Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective

David’s Prayer For God To Shame Those Who Magnify Themselves Over Us

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Psalm 35

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Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of buckler and shield
And rise up for my help.
Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me;
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”

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Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life;
Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.
Continue reading

Narcissistic Groups, Cultures, and Nations

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Just as there can be narcissism / insolent pride within an individual, there can also be entire cultures and nations that have narcissist characteristics.

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What is a narcissistic culture?  A culture where the preponderence of the people are narcissists and act in narcissistic ways.  Or a culture (or nation) where the entire group acts toward other groups with the heart and behavior of a narcissist.

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Two such cases in the Bible were the nation of Moab and the nation of Edom.  Moab was the nation which came from the incestuous relationship between Lot and his older daughter.    Edom was the nation which descended from Esau, Jacob’s twin brother.

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Referring to Moab……

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Isaiah 16:6

We have heard of the pride of Moab, an excessive pride;
Even of his arrogance, pride, and fury;
His idle boasts are false.

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Jeremiah 48:29-30

29 “We have heard of the pride of Moab—he is very proud—
Of his haughtiness, his pride, his arrogance and his self-exaltation.
30 “I know his fury,” declares the Lord,
“But it is futile;
His idle boasts have accomplished nothing.

Continue reading

“HE Stands At The Right Hand of the Needy, To Save Him From Those Who Judge His Soul”

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Psalm 109

O God of my praise,
Do not be silent!

For they have opened the wicked and deceitful mouth against me;
They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
They have alsosurrounded me with words of hatred,
And fought against me without cause.
In return for my love they act as my accusers;
But I am in prayer.
Thus they have repaid me evil for good
And hatred for my love. Continue reading

Narcissist Case Study – Absalom

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In the case of Absalom, there is not a clear statement in the Bible about his insolent pride / narcissism.  However, there are clues regarding Absalom’s drive for self-aggrandisement, which ultimately led to his own death.   Absalom’s quest for exaltation resulted in his destruction, and in the process was a tool used by God to chasten David for his sin in the case of Bathsheba and Uriah.

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