Can a Narcissist be Saved?

 Yes, I think it is possible for a narcissist to be saved.  Here’s why: First, I have come to see narcissism as a continuum.  Some are more narcissistic than others; some exhibit more of one characteristic and less of another; some may actually become more narcissistic in certain situations.  So the person you and I might point toward as an example of narcissism may simply be at some point on the continuum, a point that particularly affects us.  I am not suggesting that a “diagnosis” of narcissism is arbitrary, but it does seem to be true that different people see a narcissist differently. 

I wouldn’t presume to be able to decide at what point a person no longer has the ability to see his or her need for a Savior.  It would be difficult to find a more extreme example of narcissism than Ted Bundy, the serial murderer.  Yet, Dr. James Dobson believed that Bundy responded to the gospel and opened his heart to the Lord.  It is hard for me to believe, but I know that the love of Christ is available to all, no matter what the sins have been, and that love is sufficient for all.  Could Ted Bundy have understood that his own life was about to end and that he could no longer hide from the truth?  Could he have finally admitted that he needed forgiveness and life?  No matter how unlikely it seems, I suppose it is possible.

Many believers relate how the Lord took them to a place of brokenness, a place where they finally understood that life didn’t work their way.  That brokenness can range from a simply overwhelming sense of need to the actual loss of almost everything a person believed was important.  The flesh, which is the system that we create to control life and make it safe for ourselves, stands against the Spirit of God.  When the futility of the flesh becomes so obvious, the heart becomes open finally to the Spirit.  Even if the flesh pattern is what we have called narcissism, this process is possible. 

You are certainly right to ask the question, however.  The very definition of narcissism includes the unwillingness to allow that brokenness.  Lack of control, weakness, acceptance of failure—these are the things the narcissist avoids at almost any cost.  It seems like it would be most difficult for a person like this to repent, but maybe those are the places where the love of God is strongest.

The second reason I think a narcissist could be saved is because of the definition of repentance.  Watch for it here tomorrow!

Thoughts?

23 Comments

Filed under Freedom, grace, Narcissism

23 responses to “Can a Narcissist be Saved?

  1. Sue

    Thanks so much. Before I leave any thoughts, I want to wait and read your definition of repentance.

    While I am not new to living with a narcissist and his behavior (almost 20 yrs), I am new to having his behavior defined and officially diagnosed. I am trying to wrap my head around it all and it’s a bit overwhelming. I haven’t found much from a Christian perspective, so I am grateful to have found your blog. So much comes from a non-Christian viewpoint and most of it says…RUN AWAY! As a Christian wife, I struggle with that.

    Praise God for giving you a heart to share your knowledge!

    • I am in the process of writing a book about narcissists in the church, but you are right – there isn’t much from a Christian perspective. Too bad!

      Thanks for the encouragement!

      • Theresa

        Good 4 u, good luck with your book the church is full of them causing much emotional pain to empaths in the church. Starts at the top, many pastors are narcissist I was married to one.

  2. Kay

    I’ve read “Daniel” more than any other book. There is history that King Nebuchadnezzar was one of the worst of the worst….I consider his history to be that of a narcissist. I may be wrong, but I think he was. Daniel obviously was sent there when the Lord moved to turn this monster to bow his knee to Him. It is obvious King Neb fought that turning and built an idol to reflect his self-love, self-worship; God allowed the building to show his need and the future of the then-known World. Neb recognized Daniel’s God. Very long story: in the end King Neb “seemed” to bow his knee to the Lord. And Daniel “seemed” to care deeply for him even from the beginning.

    I also remember Saul/Paul’s transformation to glorify the Lord. Yes, these are extreme cases, but I believe none on the Earth are exempt from the Hand of God. So, the extreme narcissism cases are still under the more
    Extreme sovereignty, never beyond hope and Salvation of God.

    We have several narcissist folks in public life that are obviously believing they are beyond God’s reach. Even
    tho’ I believe my Lord is using these evil ones, they were nevertheless created by God in His image and can be turned against their obvious self-love, self-worship.

    I think this is where I see no one is beyond the Righteous, Holy God and we should never give up forgiving, praying for, and believing the Lord. Looking at the extreme sinful as hopeless leaves us trying to cope where we cannot. It doesn’t mean the narcissist won’t bring destruction, or we shouldn’t deal with our part to take care of ourselves, but
    it does mean my God is greater than he/she.

    I believe too that we need a Christian support system that gives us God’s Truth through The Word and Holy Spirit wisdom. Ask yourself: Is there ever a time that our Lord God is not in control, or there is anything beyond His healing power, where He is unable to overcome anything? Is there sin that our Overcoming King can’t and won’t forgive? IF we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit Who is forever the same, we are then indwelt by the same Resurrection Power as what raised Christ from the grave.

  3. Kathie

    I have to wonder if when some were children – prior to being crushed emotionally at the hands of a narcissistic parent(s) – if is possible – that God knowing what they would suffer – didn’t possibly bring them to faith in Christ prior to their snapping as children?

  4. Bella

    I think that what you are trying to do is positieve, but dangerous. Narcissits do not feel things like normal people do. The big mistake people make is wanting to determine what the narc should feel, they dont feel. They will mirror your behavior and keep you blinded for years. Narcs feed on people trying to help them, helping means energy and energy is narc supply. You are feeding their addiction. If you want to help,pray for them, but do NOT try to help or fix them. This will make the disorder worse and teach them more about how to manipulate. You will burn your hands. Do not get blinded by wanting to help, sometimes the dear Lord warns us about danger and we do not want to see, we want to help so we can feel better about ourselves. I have been there and many others have and all of them were hurt. If someone was cured, they were not true narcs.

    • Bella, Thanks for the caution. You are right that Ns are just as willing to be the victim as long as they get supply. I would encourage anyone to get away from the N if possible, and certainly not try to fix or help them. Those who can’t get away should still understand that Ns are very difficult for experienced counselors to work with. As far as I am concerned, the jury is still out on whether a narcissist can be cured or saved. I hope to see that happen someday.

  5. Cecilia K

    Personally, I have no problem believing that a narcissist can be brought to repentance by the omnipotent, sovereign God and saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. What I struggle with is whether or not the narcissistic person who claims to be a Christian (and has been for years) is truly a Christian. It’s just hard to believe, because you would not think a true Christian would demonstrate the qualities of a narcissist as a way of life – the fruit of the Spirit should be predominant in a believer. But then I consider that perhaps the narc initially saw his/her need for a Savior, repented, and received the Holy Spirit, but then perhaps he/she just did not spend enough time in the Word to grow and mature in Christ?

  6. Sarah

    My N spends hours in the bible every day and goes to church every Sunday and Awanas on Wednesday. He can spout verses with the best of them. So yes, he does spend enough time to be a believer but is delusional when it comes to being broken and relying on God. How can he be a Christian when that is the very thing it takes to turn your life over? Real repentance turns from sin. I often saw him “act” repentant and then when I would challenge it he would “come alive” again with his pride and indignation in full force. Then he would start the cycle all over again. Still doing it to this day post divorce (he turned physically abusive).

    • Theresa

      Yep!! You know them by their fruits especially they have no love except 4 themselves, and I do think really even call that love.

  7. Penny

    Most of us here have experienced the same, Sarah. Going to church & quoting scripture is part of the image-crafting of many Ns. But going to the Cracker Barrel every Sunday doesn’t make me a biscuit, going to KFC on Wednesdays won’t make me a chicken, visiting the Grand ole Opry won’t make me Dolly Parton, and memorizing the menu at Pizza Hut doesn’t result in free delivery. It is like “they know the words, but not the music”.

    • HDG

      Great posts Sarah & Penny! Happened to me too. N’s seem to love to talk the talk making sure EVERYBODY hears and sees THEM.When it comes to walking the walk as soon as their “fans” aren’t around to impress it doesn’t seem to matter to them what they do or who they hurt. Sad isn’t it…

  8. My husband attends church every Sunday and most times, bible study on Wednesdays. His arms crossed, head straight and attention scattered, I doubt he takes in anything being said, but who am I to judge? I simply watch his actions and attitude after service and know that nothing is penetrating this man’s mind to make him change. I promise you, this past Sunday was for every soul in God’s house and I thought for a moment that he may actually make his way to the altar. Nope. I could tell he was struggling and I started praying but he fought to the end and did not budge. I needed him to follow through, admitting that he knows he needs to change. When he denied that opportunity, like so many others, I realized that he’s not gonna change because he can’t and won’t admit to himself that he needs to. I’m leaving him at the end of the month when our lease is up and somewhere in his mind, he thinks it’s not gonna happen and now he does everything I’ve been needing him to do since we’ve been married. I’m not buying anything anymore. I feel confident that God is leading me out of this situation, finally.

  9. Robert New

    Yes.
    I am proof of that.
    I got my narcissist supply from sales and singing on stage for Jesus.
    Never anything bad.
    The Holy Spirit counter attacked the really bad or malignant parts of it But I still needed to fulfill the fantasy world of grandiosity.
    God healed me of the whole disorder through a trial leading to a meltdown.
    But I promise you the Holy Spirit can even use a pathological narcissist.
    There need for the fantasy world they live in can include ministry even.
    Hey, I am on stage, people are admiring me, and even winning souls can be a supply of some sort.
    Any questions just ask.

    • Barbara

      Robert, thank you for sharing your experience! I have looked multiple times online to see if there are any testimonies of narcissists being saved. My soon-to-be ex is on the far end of the continuum now and literally nothing is beyond his capabilities. He has truly fallen into the deep depths of depravity. I don’t know if he ever really was saved but he was the one that brought me to church when we first met. We read the Bible and prayed together. Now looking back over the past 27 years I have to admit that my entire marriage was more than likely a complete farce. I was just a prop in his imaginary script.
      But praise the Lord, God used this relationship to bring me to faith and gave me two amazing kids that I love with all my heart.
      The problem is that my son, who has Down syndrome, is desperate for his father to be saved. He prays constantly for him but to no apparent avail. We pray together but I have to admit that I have really doubted that it was possible. He no longer even believes that there is a God and completely mocks our faith. Thankfully, he left over 3 years ago! I say thankfully because our life was a living hell the last few years before he left. He hated me with such venom. :’-(
      Now he is pretending to be the interested father and wanting to have a relationship with the kids, who are adults, although my son is developmentally still a young boy. My daughter bore the brunt of so much emotional and verbal abuse and towards the end, it was escalating to physical abuse. She wants nothing to do with him whatsoever. My son weeps over the thought of his dad going to hell. I don’t want to believe that God is not capable of saving anyone, but my ex’s pride and arrogance are so monumental I can’t believe that he would ever see his need of a Savior. Even if God took everything away from him to break him he would only blame me for it and not see that it was a result of his sin.
      But I have a glimmer of hope now, Robert! Perhaps the fact that it might have been even harder for you to see your need for a Savior since you were not living in the depths of depravity, but up on the Christian worship stage makes me believe that there is a ‘remote’ possibility for God to reach my children’s father. Thank you. 🙂

      • Robert New

        I am sorry about his newly rejection of God.
        Can you describe they symptoms that led you to believe he was a total pathological narc?
        I can tell you from experience of je truly was one or just a mean control freak.

  10. Sally Craig

    Thanks for your encouragement that this gives me…….I have prayed for my mum since I became a believer at 18.My mum is now 85 and I have experienced much abuse yet I have always forgiven her….longing for her to cry out and repent.

  11. danette

    There is no limit on what God can do. Even tho’ we may just see insanity and crazy behavior, there is weird reasoning that comes from a wound on the soul in there somewhere, usually rejection. God can do anything, if He can create from dust, he can heal the deep wounds of a narc.

  12. Lea Anna Curtis

    Amen! I know He can!

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