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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A Narcissist’s Layers Of Defense

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As we have seen throughout this blog a scoffer is the Biblical analog of a narcissist.  The Bible outlines how, in his pride, a scoffer creates layers of defense to prevent being proven wrong – as that would be an affront to his position of superiority.

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The Scoffer Fights against Being Wrong

A scoffer (“luts”, aka narcissist) actively fights against anyone who attempts to criticize him, give him advice, or tell him that he is wrong in any way.  These actions may be based on their strong determination to get their own way, their belief that they are fundamentally always right, or a strong drive to refuse anyone else telling them what to do (resistance of any authority over them).

In fact, a scoffer will actively push back against anyone who attempts it – even going as far as trying to destroy at least the credibility, if not the reputation of anyone who dares to diminish him.  There are layers to the narcissist’s resistance.

First

First, the scoffer (narcissist) will not seek counsel from someone who might see through him (“the wise”) or might possibly tell him he is wrong.

A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, he will not go to the wise. 

Proverbs 15:12

In my own experience, I can think of cases where a narcissistic, insolently proud scoffer was on a course of action that was both not helpful to them and damaging to someone else.  In each case, many people advised them that they were off-course and needed to change direction.  The narcissist refused to listen and refused to change course.  He thinks:

    • “I want what I want, and no one is going to get in my way.”
    • “My vision/faith/etc. is superior, and others just don’t get it.”
    • “Everyone talking to me is inferior/stupid/wrong/etc., so why should I listen to them?”

The result was that the narcissist pushed ahead and ran into a set of negative consequences – which, among other things, further isolated them.  Of course, even then, they were unable to learn from what happened.

Second

If the scoffer does receive a rebuke, he will not listen – out of a prideful self-delusion that he knows that he is right, and out of a total refusal to admit being wrong.

A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. 

Proverbs 13:1

The scoffer not only refuses to listen but may even attempt to shut down even the slightest objection to their plans or actions.  This may include pushing back disproportionately hard against any hint that what they are saying or doing is not correct.  Or it could mean impulsively dismissing a suggestion out of hand, with a bit of a condescending tone (hence the term scoffer).  The phrase “will not listen” could be somewhat passive, but it could also take a very aggressive form.

Third

In his battle to never be wrong, the narcissist further escalates the fight by looking to take you down.

He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself.  Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you.

 Proverbs 9:7-8

In his prideful refusal to be wrong, the scoffer secretly hates anyone who challenges him and his image of self-perfection.  A narcissist hates anything or anyone that gets in the way of their “glory.”  He will look to take down or trash (i.e. – dishonor) the person challenging his image, because if he succeeds, he is able to maintain his superiority.

He might do it by direct confrontation, in an aggressive attempt to get you to say you were wrong – making him correct and leaving his image intact.  While he may on occasion respond with an immediate full-frontal assault, he might also keep his feelings hidden until such a time that he can do the most damage.  In this case, he will try to disguise his hatred, speaking graciously even while hating you in his heart.  But don’t believe him.  He still fully intends to “trash” you or undermine you – waiting for a better time or opportunity to maybe even thrust the proverbial knife into your back in front of an audience of his choosing.

Like an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross are burning lips and a wicked heart.  He who hates disguises 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.    

Proverbs 26:23-26

One reason that dealing with narcissists is so tricky is that they do not play honestly.  They readily employ deception to accomplish their purposes.  But, as Jesus said, what is in their heart must ultimately reveal itself.  Jesus said,

“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

The following illustrates the layers of protection which the scoffer puts in place, driven by his proud heart at the core.

 

 

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Narcissist Tactics – They Conceal Their Hatred

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One reason dealing with Narcissists is tricky is that they do not play honestly.  They readily employ deception to accomplish their purposes.

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N-Laying Up Deceit In Their Heart

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A Narcissist hates anything or anyone that gets in the way of their “glory”.  (Yes, hate is a strong word, but if you consider things on a spectrum of love vs. hate, they are on the hate side of the spectrum.)   While they may respond with an immediate full frontal assault, they might also keep their feelings hidden until such time that they can do the most damage.    They will try to disguise their hatred with their lips, by speaking graciously even while they hate you in their heart.  But don’t believe them.  They still fully intend to “trash” you (Proverbs 9:7 – “he who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself”), or undermine you – they’re just waiting for a better time or opportunity. Continue reading

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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 Traits – They Contradict Themselves

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Luke 6:45

45 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.

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We read in Psalms 5:9 of a narcissist (aka one with insolent pride*), that “there is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself.”   And we read in secular sources (and have experienced) that narcissists can say something in one sentence, and contradict themselves in the next sentence (or even in the very same sentence).  It seems crazy when they do this – they seem crazy when they do this – and they have no clue that they are even doing it.  What’s going on?  

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Ultimately, as Luke 6:45 indicates, it is our heart that drives our words and actions. Continue reading

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