It’s Narcissist Friday!
(This blog continually attracts new readers. With somewhere around two hundred posts on narcissism and narcissistic relationships, it can be challenging for anyone to really use this material. The search function works very well, if you know what to ask for. Otherwise, we will all have to wait as the blog posts are sorted and categorized in preparation for a new (and exciting!) website. So for the next few weeks, I want to dig back into the archives to pull out some of the posts that seemed most helpful over the last few years. Please feel free to comment.)
I am well aware that I am the ‘umblest person going. . . . My mother is likewise a very ‘umble person. We live in a ‘umble abode. – Uriah Heep (From Dickens’ “David Copperfield”)
It seems obvious that narcissists would have trouble with humility. After all, their goal is to make you think highly of them. They usually have to be the best, the smartest, the most desirable, etc. But what if you are in a culture where humility is a virtue, something the “best” person would be sure to have?
This is where many narcissists are able to pass themselves off as something else, particularly in churches or service groups. By being humble, perhaps a little more humble than others, the narcissist tricks people into opening themselves to his manipulations.
“‘When I was quite a young boy,’ said Uriah, ‘I got to know what ‘umbleness did, and I took to it. I ate ‘umble pie with an appetite. I stopped at the ‘umble point of my learning, and says I, “Hard hard!” When you offered to teach me Latin, I knew better. “People like to be above you,” says father, “keep yourself down.” I am very ‘umble to the present moment, Master Copperfield, but I’ve got a little power!'”
Humility, in the mind of Uriah Heep, was the path to power. It was the way he could cope with the world and come out ahead. But it was a deception. Today there are politicians, preachers, teachers, and many others who appear to be humble and gracious people, but really only do so to have “a little power.”
Yes, humility may be just another tool in the narcissist’s box. Those who are fooled get hurt.
9 responses to “The Humble Narcissist”
I really appreciate this post. This describes my anti-husband very well. He gives off such an appearance of humility, calls other men “sir,” serves wherever he can at church, asks “how high?” when anyone says jump – except for things the kids and I need/want, of course. And he admits he is a sinner – just like the rest of us – generally speaking, a sinner – but what his own sins are anyone could guess – and don’t you dare expose any of them. As soon as any aspect of his character is questioned – however slightly – or a lie he told is confronted, look out! It is very offensive to him for any one of us to doubt him in any way. When I told him that I thought he wasn’t healed from the difficulties of his childhood and that counseling might help him, [side note: I had tried counselors off and on throughout the course of our marriage trying to figure out what was wrong with me since our relationship was so dysfunctional – so counseling was acceptable as long as I had the problem], his face took on such a look of contempt. He can be arrogant and rude with us, then the next moment without skipping a beat, someone can show up or call, and who can he serve? who needs help? Humble, respectful man is here to fill the need. He is an actor playing out a script.
Hey – Seeing, how are you doing? Yes, it is the false persona they all construct and carefully craft and tweak through the years. How miserable a life it must be…not able to possess any honesty, compassion, love, stability and most important, peace.
I just saw this here, AlonewithGod. I am hanging in there. It is a constant search for the wisdom of God and discernment in how to handle one situation after the other. The kids struggle so much. The hardest part is whenever I notice a child – especially one of them – taking on any of his traits and characteristics. What a life! But God is faithful and I never lose the sense that he is involved in what will eventually turn out for deliverance. How are you?
I am in a very similar situation with my Good guy, humble, willing to go to counseling “christian” husband” ”
17 years inx although at year 15 I began emotionally and in all aspectsx detaching…. I have healed muchx yet still under same roof and with three daughters. He is pretty decent w/my daughters and of course all his church supporters, but has a deep hatred toward me (for exposing and confronting his deceptions, lack of love and years of pornography use) that he denies of course b/c then he wouldn’t look as good.
I could go on and on, but to sum it upx I am “married” to the most well read, duplistic, intelligent, and extremely humble christian narcissist one could ever meet…it’s so thick, I (from years of experience) can actually see the deep sickness in him.
Sad. I am needing to divorce (b/c naturally he won’t leave and look like the bad guy), but I am still dealing with some fear… especially for my daughters since they are manipulated and confused, but too young to realize or process that/why they are.
Oh, R. Page, how close our situations are. Mine has a profound contempt for me for calling out his lying, deceptions, and hypocrisy.
“I could go on and on, but to sum it ups I am “married” to the most well read, dualistic, intelligent, and extremely humble christian narcissist one could ever meet…it’s so thick, I (from years of experience) can actually see the deep sickness in him.” Yes, yes, yes!
I understand the fear, especially with minor children of my own. It is a daily walk through a minefield.
You are not alone. You are describing my N husband (a former visitation minister who often sat with the sick and dying). I could not point out so much as the smallest thing without him punishing me in some shape or fashion. If his playing with humble service (always to control me) went unappreciated he would attack as well. Yet to everyone else within the church he was as humble as could be. Now, in the secular work place, he is known to be cocky. Except when doing business with a church or charity, when he will put on truthful humility to make the sale or get the bid. He knows where to put on what act. Humble where humility brings him power and supply and cocky where it serves his purpose. His new supply is feeding off of his humble service right now, but she won’t be for long.
Seeingthelight, I just read your words again to be sure I wasn’t the one who originally wrote them. No it was you….not me. Really! You’ve so written my experience. I have lived in an unfinished house for years. He just wouldn’t finish it. I was too demanding for wanting things like hot wires to be capped and put behind an outlet cover. I could live without basics finished or, even better, I should finish it for him. Now that his new supply is going to get the house he is beginning to work at completing some things. Her family is getting his time as he repairs stuff for them and finishes their projects. A bad storm strikes and he will fix a roof (for free) in one afternoon, so the family can sleep in their dry home, his father (who will leave him an inheritance) calls and he is on his doorstep the next available opportunity. His mother (who has no money to give him, because his N father took it all when he left her) calls and my husband won’t even answer his phone. Oh, how hard the humble service works when it serves to give them more power and money. Oh, I just want to be sick over it. Be the grace of God we are in process of divorcing, but I am so antsy. It just can’t be over soon enough.
God bless you, Stephanie. I know just how you feel, but it WILL be all over one day and you will heal. I, too, was nervous about the divorce proceedings (never wanted this; he discarded me for new supply), but I prayed for favor and trusted God. It does hurt to know your ex is being charming to a new woman, but she has no clue as to the evil in store for her. Soon you will be free; please know and trust that God has something much better for your future.
I’m doing great. Divorce will soon be final and I am starting to think about dating (have been separated a long time and needed to heal). Have received a great deal of education from sites like this one which I appreciate very much. Sharing our experiences in a constructive way is beneficial for everyone. Staying connected to God is what life is all about. Our struggles keep us in close contact with our Creator. But this evil world is passing away and soon we shall see the King! God bless you and your children.