A narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which a person has an inflated sense of self or importance. This disorder can cause challenges in all areas of life—at work, at home, in your health, and in your relationships. A narcissist is often characterized by behaviours of grandiosity. One of the root causes of narcissism is pride and wanting to exalt oneself above others, more on pride here. “Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride.” Quote by DC Robertsson.
It may be easy to spot narcissistic behaviour in someone else, but it can be more difficult to identify that same behaviour within oneself. When we’re looking inward, we often sugar coat our behaviour or deny it altogether.
If you are a narcissist, you might not think anything is wrong with you. That would be an expected response. It can be an insult to a fragile self-esteem to admit your need for treatment, but we want to encourage you to first admit there’s a problem, then seek the Lord in prayer for spiritual healing, as the Lord Jesus is also known as the Great Physician, the healer and restorer of all things. You can also seek assistance from a trusted Christian counsellor. This will help you find other ways to improve your self-esteem and self-worth without these damaging behaviours.
It’s sad to say, but not everyone who claims to be Christian is really a follower of Christ. Many are simply pursuing their own agendas, be it money, fame, or power. These false disciples come in many shapes and forms, but perhaps none is more dangerous as the Spiritual Narcissist. A Spiritual Narcissist is someone who uses the Gospel to build themselves up while they tear others down. If left unchecked, their actions can inflict devastating harm on both Christians and non-Christians alike.
35 Narcissistic Traits
If a number of the narcissistic traits listed below are present in your life, we would encourage to reach out first to the Lord and /or a licensed Christian counsellor.
1. You ignore people’s boundaries
You might not feel like other people’s boundaries apply to you or that it’s not a big deal if you cross them. In fact, you may get a kick out of crossing them and getting a reaction out of the individual. On the other hand, you might not even notice another person’s boundaries or pick up on social cues that something is not acceptable.
When someone communicates a boundary with you, you may be shocked and feel a need for them to explain why you have to follow it and why it applies to you rather than simply respecting the boundary.
2. You feel superior to other people
You might look down on other people and feel like you are far superior to them in intelligence, looks, talent, and more. This superiority typically exceeds narcissists actual abilities or talents and is a defence mechanism meant to protect them from feeling vulnerable or putting a dent in their self-esteem.
3. You suffer from extreme perfectionism
You might suffer from extreme perfectionism and get enraged when you or others don’t perform according to your standards.
4. You have an excessive need for constant validation and attention
If you’re not getting attention or validation from other people, you may feel discouraged, unloved, and depressed. You might be incapable of validating yourself or feeling worthwhile without others telling you so.
5. You blame and shame others and never accept responsibility
If another person makes a mistake, you may intentionally shame them in an effort to damage their self-worth (lest they think they’re better than you). When you make a mistake, you also likely never accept responsibility and pass the blame on to someone else.
6. You get pleasure from putting other people down or causing them harm
You might take pleasure in making people cry or hurting their feelings, giving you a sense of power to have such an impact on that person. It may also make you feel a sense of control.
7. You lack empathy and compassion
You may scoff at someone’s misfortune or fail to feel sympathy for someone who is ill. If someone in your life dies, you may feel very little emotion and lack compassion for those who are experiencing a loss.
8. You have a sense of entitlement
You may begrudge the world and think that people owe you. You might think you deserve more than you’ve gotten out of life or that you deserve a better job, higher pay check, better partner, or more expensive car. You may look to the luxuries of the world and believe you have a right to them.
9. You are arrogant and conceited
Paradoxically, underneath it all, narcissists often have very fragile self-esteem and are hypersensitive. But, narcissists are often at the same time extremely arrogant and conceited. You may believe no one would refuse you, find you unattractive or unqualified, or not choose you for a promotion, partner, project, etc.
10. You exaggerate your skills, talents, and achievements
You may over-exaggerate your abilities or what you’ve achieved in life and truly believe that you are at the top-level when it’s very apparent to others that you’re not. When you and someone else tell a story about the same experience but there are glaring differences and inconsistencies.
11. You are preoccupied with success, power, outward appearances, or status symbols
You may be preoccupied with achieving power through money, authority, position, or leadership. You could be obsessed with obtaining status symbols such as a large home, sports car, “trophy wife or husband,” vacation home, yacht, country club membership, and more.
You might be so focused on your appearance that you spend hours obsessing over what you eat, working out, or undergoing plastic surgery. You might also demand a partner do the same, too.
12. You constantly feel underappreciated or undervalued
If you fail to receive the recognition, thanks, or applause you feel you deserve you might feel underappreciated or undervalued. Even if you do receive it, but not to the level or degree you believe you should, you may still feel this way. You might constantly think people are taking advantage of you or do not understand how lucky they are to have you in their life.
13. You are self-righteous
You may believe you do everything right and never make mistakes. You might believe that you follow all of God’s rules or obey the ten commandments and because of this, you are holier than other people.
14. You think everyone else is ignorant
You may think that everyone else is stupid or less knowledgeable than you. You may expect them to mess-up, not know what you know, or need your help if they’re going to succeed.
15. You like to control others and get them to do your bidding
You may get a power high from getting others to do your bidding or manipulating them into doing so without them knowing it. You might like to control when a partner can do something and how often. You might also go out of your way to try to control your environment and mitigate risk to your ego.
16. You despise talking about feelings or emotions
Narcissists often struggle controlling their emotions and change the subject any time feelings or emotions are brought up. They may refuse to “go there,” change the topic or huff at the idea of needing to be “sensitive or talk about that kind of thing.”
17. You don’t listen, you just wait to talk
If you’re a narcissist, you may dominate conversations. When someone else is talking, you might not be listening, but rather just waiting to talk or occupying your mind thinking about all that you’re going to say and the points you’re going to make.
18. You are unfaithful in relationships
You might get a kick out of seducing others or getting them to do things they’d never do for you. You might feel an insatiable need to ensure other people are still attracted to you and even hold that over a partner’s head, warning him or her that if he or she isn’t on his or her best behaviour, you can always get someone else.
19. You often have people end relationships with you in less than six months
If you find that individuals regularly break up with you once they’ve got time to know you and all comment on similar behaviours as a reason why you might be a narcissist.
Often times in a relationship, it takes a while for the relationship to reach a level of comfort where an individual starts letting their guard down and showing their true character. If partners have repeatedly brought up troublesome behaviours and left you because of it, you may have some narcissistic behaviours.
20. You are a serial dater or seducer
Since narcissists get their validation from other people, you might be a serial dater or serial seducer, getting your sense of worth from how many people say “yes” to you or find you charming or attractive.
21. You are hypersensitive to slights
If you’re a narcissist, you might be incredibly sensitive to slights or criticism. These slights and critiques can be highly damaging to a fragile ego and may cause extreme rage or depression.
22. You demand special favours and compliance
You may constantly demand special favours from people around you or demand extreme compliance from a partner or children. If you don’t receive those favours or compliance, you might become extremely agitated and aggressive. You will never consider that you might have asked too much, but that the individuals don’t understand your worth, value, or entitlement.
23. You struggle to deal with stress and adapting to change
Because narcissists like to control their external environment and other people, they can struggle to adapt to change or stress, which naturally make a person feel out of control.
24. You get aggressively angry when you don’t get what you want
If you don’t get what you want, you may blow up or fly into a rage that includes threatening others, breaking things, causing violence, and more.
25. You get unusually depressed or upset when you fall short or fail
You may beat yourself up (or physically punish yourself) for not achieving a certain result, making a bad decision, or failing at a goal.
Below are 10 warning signs that you may be dealing with a Spiritual Narcissist:
1. They Constantly Reference their own Achievements
The Spiritual Narcissist loves to self-promote. For them, every conversation is an opportunity to share just how superior they are to the average believer. They typically go about this by listing off their own achievements. You’ll hear them talk incessantly about their upcoming book, their latest blog post, sermon series, missions work, or that time they led someone to Christ. Scripture tells us not seek our own glory and to let our work stand on its own (Proverbs 27:2), but the Spiritual Narcissist will flaunt anything they believe might bring them praise.
The best way for Christians to counter this display is to follow the example of Micah 6:8, live justly, show mercy, and walk humbly with the LORD your God.
2. They Invade Conversations
The Spiritual Narcissist craves control, and their highest authority is always their own self-reference. As a result, it’s not uncommon for them to invade the personal or private conversations of others. They’ll often do this under the guise of “helping” or “correcting” fellow Christians, but they have no real interest in two-way dialogue. You’ll notice they also have a way of injecting their own opinions into situations, and are the first voice their complaints about recent events in the Church. The Bible warns that such people create division among believers and serve only their own appetites (Romans 16:17-18, Psalms 36:1-4).
There’s no good way to speak with Spiritual Narcissists (Proverbs 26:4-5), the best response Christians can make is stand their ground and refuse to be bullied.
3. They Twist Scripture
Someone once said, “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires”. In the same way, a Spiritual Narcissist uses scripture as a tool for their purpose instead of God’s. They approach the Bible with a closed mind, memorizing only a handful of useful verses that will justify their behaviour. Anything else, particularly scripture that conflicts with their actions, gets ignored. Like the men of Jude 1:4, they should not to be trusted.
The best defence Christians have against this kind of faulty theology is to simply read the Bible. The more familiar we become with God’s work, the more familiar we become with God.
4. They Profess Love, but Never Show It
Perhaps the easiest way to identify a Spiritual Narcissist is to see if their works match their words. Many will claim they have nothing but love and compassion in their hearts for those they rebuke, but their actions prove otherwise. Matthew 7 teaches us that we can judge a prophet by the fruit of his labours, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” So, what kind of harvest do they bring to God’s table? Division? Disdain? Cruelty?
Love is more than words, love is action. That’s what separates the true Christian from the Spiritual Narcissist.
5. They Talk, but They Don’t Listen
Listening can be a powerful tool for Christians. Listening builds trust, creates empathy, and fosters understanding among individuals. James 1:19 even urges believers to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. The Spiritual Narcissist, by contrast, is quick to speak, quick to take offense, and incapable of listening. They enjoy being the loudest one in the room, and the idea of deferring to someone else galls them.
A true Christian listens to others, even when they might not agree with them. Listening requires that we be selfless, which is the one thing a Spiritual Narcissist can never be.
6. They Live in Echo Chambers
In 1 Kings 22, Jehoshaphat king of Judah and Ahab king of Israel join forces to wage war against a neighbouring adversary. However, before they depart Jehoshaphat decides to inquire upon the Lord for guidance. Four hundred prophets’ parade in front of the kings proclaiming victory is at hand, but Jehoshaphat isn’t convinced. When asked whether there is still a disciple of the Lord they can speak with, Ahab reluctantly admits,
“There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”
Like Ahab, the Spiritual Narcissist lives in their own personal echo chamber. They surround themselves with individuals who will always affirm their existing preconceptions or opinions. Don’t make the same mistake. A wise Christian knows the right answer isn’t always the popular one.
7. They Refuse to Acknowledge Their Mistakes
No one likes admitting they were wrong. It’s a humbling (and let’s be honest, sometimes embarrassing) experience, but accepting responsibility for your mistakes is the first step towards real maturity. Naturally, the Spiritual Narcissist will have none of it. Even when confronted with insurmountable evidence, the Spiritual Narcissist will continue to defend their actions as right. For them, it’s not about the greater good, it’s about protecting their self-image.
Humility is a precious gift. It allows us to learn from our mistakes, recognize our faults, and grow into better people because of it. Take some advice from Philippians 3:13, accept what you’ve done wrong and strive to live for what comes ahead!
9. They Lead by Force, Not Example
A Spiritual Narcissist makes for the worst kind of leader. They’re petty, uncompromising, spiteful, and controlling. Heaven help the ministry which falls under their stewardship. By comparison, great leaders have always inspired their followers by example. They correct others without humiliating them, mentor those who need growth, and weigh their words carefully before speaking.
Take David, who despite his faults, showed humility and wisdom for God’s anointed rulers (1 Samuel 24). What about Peter? He spent his life testifying to Christ’s resurrection and building bridges of fellowship between strangers (Acts 10). Unlike the Spiritual Narcissist, a true leader knows their duty is to serve, not be served.
10. They Ultimately Put God Second
An expert in the law once asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. His reply,
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” – Matthew 22:37-40
Many Christians know this verse by heart, but the meaning behind Christ’s words goes much farther than we realize. Not only is Jesus calling believers to love God with all their heart, he’s telling them our faithfulness is affirmed by our love for our neighbours. To put it simply: we can only love God if we’re unselfish. A Spiritual Narcissist will always put God second. Whether it’s by neglecting Christ’s commands, or how they treat their neighbours, pride will always make a person spiritually toxic. Don’t let yourself miss out on God’s amazing plan by being a Spiritual Narcissist.
Some More Bible Examples and Verses
Bible examples of people with one of the variant types of narcissism from covert, overt / grandiose, somatic, sexual, malignant, cerebral and spiritual: Diotrephes, Cain, Laban, Jezebel, King Ahab, Haman, Potiphar’s wife, King Saul, Nebuchadnezzar, Delilah, King Herod, Diotrophes, Ananias & Sapphira, King Sennacherib, The people of Sodom, Herodias, King Ahasuerus, Adonijah, Absalom, Judas, the Pharisees and Satan the devil.
But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 amp)
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)
For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!” (2 Corinthians 11:13-21)
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 1-3)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Christian Counselling to Overcome Narcissistic Traits
If you recognize these narcissistic traits in yourself, getting treatment can help you overcome your internal and external conflicts for a more enjoyable life and better relationships. Reach out to God in prayer for healing (sometimes deliverance is needed) and us, for Christian counselling to overcome narcissism. You were created in the image of God for the purpose of bringing Him glory. Perhaps you are currently in a season in which you do not feel that you are bringing glory to God. Maybe you are even questioning whether you were made in His image. Many people reach a point in their lives when they feel stuck. They want to move forward, but they feel powerless and don’t know where to turn. Using biblical principles, warmth, and patience, I will work with you to seek lasting, positive change that will help you reflect God’s image and bring Him glory.
Side Note: We are all sinners saved by grace, and we all need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. May the Lord help us to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and give us much grace, discernment and wisdom in these last days.
**How to have a relationship with God : The Path To Salvation, please click: HERE
**By Benjamin Deu, MA, LMHC at Bothell Christian Counselling & Ryan Duncan at Crosswalk.com / Photo by Lilartsy at Pexels