Narcissistic Traits – Inflated View, No Follow-Through

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Proverbs 25:14 – Like clouds and wind without rain Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.

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Rain was considered a good thing in the Bible – especially in the region in which the Bible was written (the arid Middle East).  It was a source of the most  important physical component of life.  So, when clouds and wind kicked up, it was anticipated for rain to follow – as a good thing.  As a result, clouds and wind without rain without the resulting rain would be a significant disappointment.
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Out of their inflated view of themselves, narcissists will boast about how good they are at _____________ (fill in the blank – basically, whatever they’re trying to impress others with at that particular moment).   But more often than not, their boasts are not supported by reality.   So anyone who relies on a narcissist’s inflated claims is going to get hurt in some way.
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When dealing with people that focus on telling you how great they are, you might be dealing with a narcissist – make sure you get outside verification of their claims, rather than just accepting the (possible) narcissist’s claims.

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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Consequences For Narcissists*, Continued

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Psalm 31:23

23 ……. The Lord preserves the faithful
And fully recompenses the proud doer.

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Galatians 6:7

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

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Jeremiah 17:10 – “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.

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While narcissists* (those with insolent pride) often do seem to “get away with” their actions, God says that ultimately they will receive everything they deserve.  While we discussed here and here the timeless consequences which they will receive, narcissists will also consistently and repeatedly receive consequences in their current lives as well.  These consequences are partly the natural consequences of straying from God’s perfect design for successful living, but also are God’s way to get the narcissists’ attention in order to avoid the much more serious timeless consequences.  (Of course, narcissists tend not to listen.)
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Some of the consequences include:

He Does See What They’re Doing

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Proverbs 15:11 – Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord, How much more the hearts of men!
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Psalm 94:8-11

Pay heed, you senseless among the people;
And when will you understand, stupid ones?
He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
10 He who chastens the nations, will He not rebuke,
Even He who teaches man knowledge?
11 The Lord knows the thoughts of man,
That they are a mere breath.

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As we said here, one fear that we may have in our dealings with a narcissist (one with insolent pride) is that the narcissist might be “getting away with it”.   Holding on to this fear prevents us from releasing things to God and turning our focus to our own heart, actions, and responsibilities – rather than on what the narcissist is doing.  Our fear that the narcissist will receive no consequences is based on two separate fears:  1.  That God does not see what’s going on, and  2.  That even if He does see, He is not going to do anything about it.

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Even though a narcissist / one with insolent pride may work very hard to conceal their true goals, motives, and tactics for achieving what they want – and even though they may fool most people most of the time – God fully sees what they’re doing and the evil in their hearts that is driving their actions.  And He will not let them get away with it, but will judge them and provide the exact consequences needed.

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Letting God do His job frees us to learn and do a much wiser and more peaceful way of dealing with the narcissist.

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Psalm 131

 

131 O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Intimacy of Being Consoled

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Psalm 94:18-19

18 If I should say, “My foot has slipped,”
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
19 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.

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Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
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Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

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 For those who have been hurt by a narcissist*, a serious amount of comfort and healing are needed.  While a certain amount of comfort can be provided by friends, there is a limit to what a friend can provide.  Even if your friends have not also been fooled or tainted by the narcissist’s deceptions, they friends may not really understand the damage the narcissist has done.  But even more fundamentally, no other human can truly feel everything you’re feeling.

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Can Narcissists Change? – Introduction

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A big question for those who are dealing with a narcissist / those with insolent pride is often “Is there any hope”?   They are hoping in the midst of their despair that somehow things will change.  While hope can come in different forms,  what they often mean by this is “Will this person (narcissist) ever change?”.   The short answer is …… it IS possible:

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Matthew 19:26 –And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

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Daniel 4:37 – Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”
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In the case of Nebuchadnezzar, God spent 7 years taking the proudest, most powerful person in the world and humbling him – clearly demonstrating His ability to do it.   “All things are possible with God”, and if He could humble Nebuchadnezzar, He can humble anyone.

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The Biblical Perspective on Narcissism* = Hearts + Relationships

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Another way to view our dealings with narcissists* is as a 3-way relationship.  Yes, it mostly feels as though it is “us vs. them”, and that we need to struggle through dealing with these difficult people on our own.  And while there is some truth to that, we will not be able to have full success in dealing with them until we understand God’s involvement in the equation (see here and here).    So, while we may succeed on our own in applying solid tactics in our dealings with the narcissist – which may definitely help us maintain sanity – we will not be able to achieve the full level of “victory” in our lives that is possible without bringing God into the equation.

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The following diagram illustrates the 4 relationship dynamics involved in our dealing with narcissists:

  1. Us with the narcissist
  2. God with the narcissist
  3. God with us

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Dealing With Narcissists* – David’s Prayer for Justice

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Psalm 94

94 O Lord, God of vengeance,
God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O Judge of the earth,
Render recompense to the proud.
How long shall the wicked, O Lord,
How long shall the wicked exult?
They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly;
All who do wickedness vaunt themselves.
They crush Your people, O Lord,
And afflict Your heritage.
They slay the widow and the [d]stranger
And murder the orphans.
They have said, “The Lord does not see,
Nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.”

Pay heed, you senseless among the people;
And when will you understand, stupid ones?
He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?

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Dealing With Narcissists* – Understand That They (And We) Will Give An Account To God

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Romans 14:12 – So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
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1 Peter 4:5 – but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
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Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
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Hebrews 10:30 – For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.
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One of our biggest struggles in dealing with narcissists (those with insolent pride, see here) is when we see them “getting away with it” – “successfully” dodging responsibility, blaming others, sliding by without receiving any consequences for their destructive actions and the pain they are inflicting on us and others.
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Narcissist* Traits – Don’t Rely On Their Inflated, False Claims

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Proverbs 25:14 – Like clouds and wind without rain Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.
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 “Clouds and wind without rain” may not mean much to today’s urbanites – its a word picture from an agrian time.  But to a farmer looking for the crucial rain needed for a successful crop, clouds and wind are signs that the necessary rain should be coming soon.  Then, if does not come, the farmer is let down that the promise of rain did not result in actual rain.
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Dealing With Narcissists* – David’s Reminders To Himself

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Psalm 62

62 My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

How long will you assail a man,
That you may murder him, all of you,
Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?
They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position;
They delight in falsehood;
They bless with their mouth,
But inwardly they curse. Selah.

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Dealing With Narcissists* – David’s Prayer for Protection

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As with all other Bible topics, the Biblical perspective on narcissism (aka insolent pride) is interwoven throughout the Bible.   Therefore, the full picture is obtained through stitching together many pieces from many places in the Bible.  Searching this out in blog form has the disadvantage of being worked through in “real time” and therefore pretty raw and disjointed, but it has the big advantage of being able to link back to other blog entries as part of the process of weaving things together and providing better explanations.

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Proverbs can be considered more the wisdom of God (see here), and Psalms more the heart of God (see here).  To not interrupt the flow of this Psalm while still providing details that help to further understand narcissism, I have embedded links in key words, and provided notes.  So please click on the BOLD words and refer to the notes below for additional discussion on a particular insight related to narcissism.

 

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Narcissist Traits – Creating Rules That Become “Doctrine”……

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…….Or “How Cults Are Created”

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Matthew 15

You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:

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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Jesus was quoting Isaiah 29:13 as he spoke to the hypocritical, narcissistic Pharisees (see here and here about how we know that the Pharisees were narcissists / those with insolent pride).  The Pharisees are a good case study on the behavior of religious leaders who are narcissists:

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Narcissist Traits and Tactics – As Described in Psalm 12

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There are several Psalms that describe and address those with insolent pride (aka narcissists – see here).  Psalm 12 is one of those Psalms.   It describes them strutting about with the insolently prideful attitude that no one can tell them what to do (“who is lord over us”).  They flatter and speak lies , believing that they can get what they want through manipulating people and situations by what they say (“with our tongue we will prevail”).  Classic narcissistic approach.

But it also invites the Lord to cut them off, and describes how, ultimately, God will protect His people from these evil people.

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Psalm 12

12 Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be,
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak falsehood to one another;
With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
The tongue that speaks great things;
Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”
“Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.”

The words of the Lord are pure words;
As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
You, O Lord, will keep them;
You will preserve him from this generation forever.
The wicked strut about on every side
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

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* Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible describes as “insolent pride” (see here)

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