Narcissist Case Study – Deflecting Responsibility Through Technical Loopholes

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Luke 10:25-37

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”  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.”  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

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Narcissistic Traits of the Man of Lawlessness

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A previous post  “The Most Narcissistic Person Ever” describes a person on his way whom the book of Daniel calls a despicable person and Jesus calls the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24.  The person is described as a beast in Revelation and is also commonly known as the anti-christ.   He is sometimes called the “man of sin”, although New Testament scholar Bruce M. Metzger argues that “man of lawlessness” is the original reading even though 94% of manuscripts have “man of sin”.[1]

This person will be the embodiment of insolently proud rebellion against God and the ultimate seeker of dominance over man – having the ultimate goal of people worshiping him (as a proxy for Satan) instead of God.  He will be far worse than any despot who has ever lived – including modern examples like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, etc..  In ancient times there were many more.  Daniel 9:27 describes him briefly this way,

and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate

What does this mean?  He will come on the scene acting abominably in every way, leaving destruction in his wake.  This sounds like how a narcissist rolls, and brings to mind one of our previous descriptions.

The scoffer [aka narcissist] is an abomination to men  Proverbs 24:9

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What other narcissistic traits and tactics does this despicable man show?  He:

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  • Is insolent (8:23)
  • Is skilled in intrigue (8:23)
  • He leverages other power bases, especially Satan (8:24) 
  • Is shrewd and causes “deceit to succeed by his influence”  (8:25)
  • Magnifies himself in his heart,  (8:25)
  • Destroys many while they are at ease.  (8:25)
  • Is a despicable person (11:21)
  • Takes control through manipulation (11:21)
  • Practices deception (11:23)
  • Speaks lies at the negotiating table (11:27)
  • Becomes disheartened at opposition (11:30)
  • Gets angry at opposition (11:30)
  • Recruits others against his opposition (11:30)
  • Uses smooth words to recruit others (11:32)
  • Magnifies himself above everything else (11:36)
  • Speaks monstrous things about and against God (11:36)
  • Honors those who acknowledge his position and greatness (11:39)
  • Gives high positions to his acolytes (11:39)
  • Turns part of his conquests into cash (11:39)
  • Lashes out against any possible challenge (11:44)

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The good news is that even though man cannot defeat this guy, God can and will – suddenly and completely

And he will destroy many while they are at ease.
He will even oppose the Prince of princes,
But he will be broken without human agency.   Daniel 8:25

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[He will destroy] even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”  Daniel 9:27

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but it will not succeed, for the end is still to come at the appointed time.   Daniel 11:27

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he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.  Daniel 11:36

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yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.  Daniel 11:39

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This insolently proud person, this narcissist of all narcissists will appear to succeed (as they all do), but God will step in with the last word, judge, and completely destroy him.  As we see storm clouds rising, it is important to know what’s coming – but that, in the end, God and those who love Him, prevail.

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Narcissist* Traits – They “Put On A Show” Of Their Deeds

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Matthew 23:5

But they (scribes and Pharisees) do all their deeds to be noticed by men…..

As we mentioned here, here, and here, the scribes and Pharisees are a case study in narcissism / insolent pride.

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In the Narcissists’* drive to be exalted by others, their focus is completely on what other people think of them, rather than on the genuine substance of things.  In fact, they will go out of their way to even suffer some pain – such as with fasting – if the end result is the praise and recognition of man.  To a narcissist, wickedness in their heart does not matter as long as things look good to others.  They particularly will focus on “putting on a show” of their “goodness” so that others will see it and think well of them.

Some examples are:

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Narcissist* Traits – Creating “Righteous-Sounding” Excuses To Get What They Want

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Mark 7:9-13

He [Jesus] was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.  For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’; but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother;  thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.”

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Jesus was speaking here to the “Pharisees and some of the scribes”  [See herehere, and here for discussions on how we know the Pharisees were narcissists*].

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The Mosaic instruction for honoring parents was very serious, as illustrated by the severe consequence for speaking evil of them.  So, the Pharisees were caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place – in their greed and selfishness they wanted to keep and use for themselves the money that they should rightfully use to support their parents.  But they also did not want to be seen (by God, or by man) as violating the clear Mosaic law.

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The devious solution they came up with created a mechanism that projected an image of “righteousness” while at the same time giving them what they wanted.   They would give their money “to God”, but it would still be under their control as to how it would be spent – they would the recipient of their own “generosity” instead of their parents.

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This was not just about the Pharisees giving to a “greater and more worthy cause” than their parents – although they certainly wanted it to look that way.  This was a deceitful move  – ignoring the requirement to take care of their parents by acting pious while simultaneously being the recipient.  They were keeping the money for themselves, shirking their responsibilities, and using the false “piety” to further glorify themselves while covering for their evil behavior.

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This is a classic narcissist move – they create an excuse that cannot be criticized or questioned as a smokescreen and cover for their self-centered and selfish action to get what they want.  And, if they can use the smokescreen itself as the very means of getting what they want – all the better.

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Narcissistic Traits – They’re Impossible To Please

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This blog post is a cousin to the previous post on narcissists’ tendency to complain a lot.

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Matthew 11:16-19

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”   Matthew 11:16-19

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The linkages between these verses and narcissism are a bit more difficult, but “this generation” is epitomized by the Pharisees.  And as we discuss in other posts, Pharisees as a whole (there were individual exceptions) were classic narcissists (those with insolent pride).

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Narcissists are never happy with how others do things.  They “sit in the seat of scoffers”, sitting in judgment over others (see Sitting In The Seat Of Scoffers / Narcissists As Judge) – and their standard is based on whatever standard they decide at the moment.   Because their main goal is being superior, not achieving justice.  They often set their standards in such a way that they can declare those they are judging to be in the wrong.  So, you can jump through their hoop to meet the standard they set for you, only to find them change the standard so that they can still criticize you.  That is behavior Jesus described for “this generation” in the words above.

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There are various permutations of how this trait can be described:

  • Narcissists want everything both ways
  • Narcissists are never happy with what you do and/or how you do it
  • You “can’t win” in your dealings with a narcissist (you can rarely even “win/win”)
  • Narcissists consistently complain

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How do you deal with people who are impossible to please?   As Jesus said, “wisdom is vindicated by her deeds”.   In other words, put your focus more on “doing the right thing” than on pleasing the person who is impossible to please.   That way, whether the narcissist is happy with you or not, at least you can stand before God as having acted with integrity.

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….Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here

…. Click here for initial steps on how to know God personally

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The Most Narcissistic Person Ever

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This blog post is provocative, but true.  The original Narcissist is Satan (see here).  A person is coming who will be the human protege of Satan, and an obvious candidate for the most narcissistic person ever.  When you consider all of the top N’s in the history of the world, that’s saying something.  The book of Daniel calls him a despicable person, and goes on to describe him this way:

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Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land.  It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down.  It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host;

“In the latter period of their rule,
When the transgressors have run their course,
A king will arise,
Insolent and skilled in intrigue…..

“….”And through his shrewdness
He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence;
And he will magnify himself in his heart,
And he will destroy many while they are at ease.
He will even oppose the Prince of princes,
but he will be broken without human agency.   Daniel 8:9-26

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This description which the angel Gabriel (same angel who announced Jesus’ birth) gave to Daniel declares him full of insolent pride, the Biblical analog of the secular term narcissism.  Self-exaltation will be at the core of everything he does.  The book of Daniel also describes him this way:

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“Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.  He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all.      Daniel 11:36-37

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Paul describes him this way:

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Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish,      2 Thessalonians 2:8-10a

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This is not someone you want to be around.  But, the good news is that God will deal with him directly and suddenly – in the same way He will ultimately deal with all those who have unrepentant insolent pride.

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See here for the first steps on how to know God personally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Can A Narcissist Change? Nebuchadnezzar Case Study

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One of the most frequently asked questions is whether a narcissist can change.  To answer this properly we need to know what kind of change we are talking about.

It is possible for people to modify their behavior for a period to accomplish a short-term goal.  And it is possible for people to moderate how they handle certain situations to avoid consequences.  However, in both cases, when under stress the narcissist will revert to “type” and reveal what is really in his heart.

While a narcissist’s short-term tactical behavior modification may provide temporary relief for those suffering at his hands, the narcissist has not truly changed.  Since the source of his thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions is the insolent pride residing in his heart, true and lasting change can only come from his heart.

The conventional wisdom is that narcissists rarely, if ever, truly change.  However, that does not mean it is not possible.  Continue reading

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Narcissistic Projection – Part 2, An Example

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Please see A Biblical Perspective On “Narcissistic Projection” for Part 1

To recap Part 1*, scoffers are hypocritical judges who accuse others of the very things of which they are guilty.  This action is the Biblical equivalent of what the secular world calls “projection”.  From Wikipedia:

“Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.”

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An example of this is in Mark 3: Continue reading

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Narcissist Case Studies – Haman

Haman – Xerxes’ Viceroy

Haman was an Amalekite who became viceroy in the Persian empire under King Ahasuerus’ (Xerxes I) after an assassination plot on the king was foiled (Esther 3:1). He was most likely a narcissist with insolent pride, which we will see shortly. Let’s look at his case study in the order that book of Esther tells it:

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All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage……When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage.  Esther 3:1-5

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Even though Haman had achieved “everything”, he was still obsessed with the one thing he didn’t have – Mordecai’s acknowledgement of his “glory”. So, Haman resolved to destroy Mordecai. Continue reading

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

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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

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Narcissist* Case Studies – Satan’s Narcissistic Traits

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Satan is the original and most clear example of a Narcissist / One with insolent pride.   (See here for an explanation on why Satan was the original narcissist).  By understanding Satan’s insolent pride and his narcissistic traits, we can get another glimpse into the characteristics of narcissists.  Here is a partial list of Satan’s narcissistic traits:

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Narcissist* Case Studies – Satan, The Original Narcissist

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Isaiah 14:12-14

12 “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! 13 “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’

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The above passage is well-known as referring to satan, the devil, lucifer, beelzebub, or one of the other names used for the top angel who out of pride thought he could be be like God.  To be in such close proximity to God like satan was, to see God’s power and His glory, and to think that you could be like God — and then attempt to do it – was the height of arrogance.   (See here for how according to the Bible, narcissism = insolent pride.)

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Luke 4:6-8

And the devil said to Him [Jesus], “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”

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Satan also showed his true colors when one of the 3 temptations he presented to Jesus had the goal of Jesus worshipping him.  Satan could have offered any other temptation, but was was so proud / arrogant / haughty that he took the moment of Jesus’ physical weakness due to His fasting to take a shot at getting what he really wanted – he wanted to be the #1 being.  He wanted somehow to be above God.  Narcissists will NEVER stop trying to exalt themselves until they are the #1 in the entire universe.  They will use whatever opportunities they are presented with to continue working toward that goal.

Notice in the above passage that satan was claiming that the earth was his to give.  It was not in fact his to give, even though he was arrogantly claiming it to be so.  Satan knew Psalm 24:1 – and that ultimately the earth and the world belonged to God, not Him.  This is a classic Narcissist trait – to co-opt other’s work, authority, rights as their own – as part of their self-aggrandizement and self-exaltation.

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Psalm 24:1

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.
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Further confirming that satan was the original narcissist / one with insolent pride, was the direct link which Jesus made between the Big narcissist (satan) and the earthly examples of narcissists in His time – the Pharisees.  (See here and here how we know that the Pharisees were narcissists / filled with insolent pride).
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John 8:44

44 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.

 

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

 

 

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Narcissistic Traits – They Want To Be The Center of Attention

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Matthew 23:1-7

23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 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. 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. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.

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.
As mentioned above, Narcissists / those with insolent pride want to be the center of attention.  While they would prefer to have it come by being exalted – as with the Pharisees and Diotrophes – sometimes they will “play the victim” in order to be the center of attention.  A narcissist’s victim status can take the form of  “woe is me”, or “my (usually little) problems are far worse than your (usually much bigger) problems”.
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Please see here and here for background on why the Pharisees can be called Narcissists, and here for background on why Diotrophes can be called a Narcissist.
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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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