Narcissism: A Religious Perspective on Healing and Hope

How to Identify a Narcissist

Many narcissists are pathological liars, but since they do not believe in an objective truth that applies equally to everyone, and since their whole existence is based on a projection with no relationship to reality, a lie is merely a creative strategy employed to fortify an image.

This image is typically one of perfection, fully equipped with all the trappings of moral superiority.

the new-narcissist

Many populists, cult leaders, gurus, and dictators fall somewhere on the narcissism spectrum and they lie with such impunity that our perception begins to accept them as truths.

Our minds cannot reconcile the confidence and moral stature of a powerful giant with that of a petty sniveling little liar. Instead of questioning the narcissist we then begin to question our own perceptions.

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Narcissists also have an insatiable need for power. They will fake intense emotions of love, anger, disappointment and approval with their employees, spouses and children, only to suddenly and randomly withdraw their affections or switch emotional gears. Unwilling to experience real emotion, they validate their reality by sadistically exercising power over the emotions of others.

Whenever a meaningful emotion does threaten to surface they will desensitize themselves to it by subjecting themselves to the pain of others.  The more you clamor to appease them, the more random their requests.

They are control freaks because control is how they are able to reinforce the reality of a false self.  Its real they believe, because it has an impact on those who are real. In other words, those with real emotions.

But the narcissist is anything but real, The false ego is a mirage. And although the lack of emotional friction allows narcissists to get far in life, it also leaves them bereft of joy. 

Their entire existence is indentured to the insatiable appetites of the false self or mask that they wear to maintain appearances.  They manipulate others but they are the ones being manipulated; by their own inner demons.

Prevention is the Cure

When we fight for social justice, we are eradicating the conditions that breed these personality types. Those conditions are either childhood deprivation and/or abuse or political realities that grant unjustified and unearned privileges to some at the expense of others.  

Every time you fight for social justice or alleviate someone’s pain through acts of kindness, you are quite literally fighting evil.

Wherever you see evil in your own life, the best way to deal with it is by withdrawing from the scene. Evil cannot survive without extorting your energy. It will naturally self-destruct provided that you do not invigorate it through retaliation and revenge. 

Negative drama or positive praise are equally empowering to a narcissist.

Without your cooperation and energy, the false ego will demand  more and more fortification. If the narcissist decides to resist the demands of his false ego, he will find himself acting in uncontrollable ways.

Compulsive shopping, promiscuity, kleptomania, and hoarding, are just some of the symptoms of a raging inner battle. Although a false self can infect anyone who is going through a difficult and traumatic time, most people resist by ‘acting out’ as a first measure. But for a narcissist, acting out is the last battle cry of a dying false self.

The attempt to heal from a life of spiritual trauma at the hands of a demented parent or a demented society can lead to even great sociopathic tendencies. 

True healing and genuine emotional restoration is always an act of divine intervention. And without a spiritual orientation and understanding of this, we cannot even approach the topic of healing.

A moment of humility and surrender by the afflicted soul is all it takes to usher in the healing process. But this requires a total and sincere surrender to God and faith.  Not an orchestrated surrender, but a genuine collapse of the ego before the almighty.

It seems easy enough, but it is impossible for a narcissist to admit vulnerability. And surrender of any kind is a painful reminder of the helplessness they felt in the hands of their oppressor.

But they must surrender. For only when we relinquish our false self and embrace the power of authenticity over the delusion of a perfect and powerful self, can we be brought back into the light of a forgiving God.

First published: January 2017

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