The Ultimate Narcissist?

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

Last week I mentioned someone had suggested that God is the ultimate narcissist. I don’t know what kind of relationship this person has with God, but I would so strongly disagree. The writer was glad God was benevolent, because He would make a dangerous antagonist. Yeah, I can see that.

The problem here is this idea that narcissism can be a good thing. Our culture seems to have a hard time labeling anything as evil. We have books that glorify depersonalization and abuse, suggesting that victims could enjoy it. We make movies about murderers and portray the killer as likable and his action as justifiable. We try so hard not to judge that we forget there are things that are just wrong. Evil does exist in our world… and it hurts people.

I would say by definition God is not a narcissist. But by action as well. God created us for relationship. I know there are those who think our only purpose is to sing His praises, but that’s really not the point. In the presence of His love, we can’t help but sing His praises. When we understand the path we were on and the cost of our salvation, we sing because we are filled with joy and thanks.

Any depersonalization I suffered in my life was the result of my own sin and the sin of the world around me. It was God who chose to love me and reach out to me. He initiated the relationship we now have. He paid the price that makes our relationship possible. I didn’t even know I needed it. I just knew I needed something. And, even now, I give Him little of value.

Today, after knowing Him for so long, I still depend on Him moment by moment. I do nothing good on my own, nothing that increases His life. In fact, the little I understand of Him is so far from reality that any image I might worship would be an insult to Him. No, God is not using me to build His image or even to better His life or kingdom in any way.

You see, the narcissist has hidden himself in a safe place while he promotes a false image. He wants the rest of us to think of him as powerful and superior. God reveals Himself in love for us, and we cannot begin to know the reality of His goodness or power. I wouldn’t say that God is humble, but He often is not loud. He is patient and waits for us to desire Him.

There is a narcissist in the Bible story, one whose only desire is to be in God’s place. He is willing to consume and destroy to get what he wants, and he doesn’t care who suffers along the way. The anger, hatred, and abuse of narcissism find their highest point in him.

But God loves us. He sacrificed and worked on our behalf. He wooed us and welcomed us when we could offer Him nothing. And His desire is to be in loving relationship with us forever.

That is not narcissism.


Please pray for those who will struggle with narcissistic relationships over the holiday. Some families are broken, some wish they could break away, others just hurt. Maybe one of the things you are thankful for is your freedom from the narcissist. Yes, the memories still hurt, but they are memories. And, yes, we grieve for what could have been, but it is a wonderful blessing to be apart from it today.
So, think of those who are right in the middle of it over the next week. Pray for them. If that’s you, just know we love you and are praying for you.

18 Comments

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18 responses to “The Ultimate Narcissist?

  1. 2birdman2

    Thank you Pastor Dave for once again showing us the absolute truth and glory and grace of our awesome Heavenly Father and His love for us through his precious son Jesus Christ! The true omniscient omnipresent omnipotent God who needs nothing from us but desires Us… I to praise God that I am set free from a narcissistic relationship! I am broken and many times filled with guilt but I know that my precious Savior loves me Beyond words!

    • The narcissistic relationship makes a mess in our hearts and heads. God is the One who settles our hearts and shows us that we are valued. The whole message is about how He loves us. Yes, He does love you beyond words!

  2. cfeather54

    When I was going through the pain of discard, I wondered if the God of the Old Testament was not a narcissist who could not understand the reality of human suffering. How else could he be so callous about killing civilians, livestock and children of Israel’s enemy nations? I wondered if God had to send his Son into the world so he could experience the human condition and shift his view to seeing the need for all of humanity to come into a relationship with the Father? Did God not have empathy until he experienced humanity through Jesus? A radical and perhaps blasphemous thought, but going through this abuse stretches our minds and hearts to try to understand it all. Nothing I’d want to suggest in a Sunday school class, that’s for certain, for orthodox thought tells us that God never changes. But does he grow? I just know that there seems to be a shift from the Old to the New Testament and it seems to have come as a result of God coming to Earth in the Son of God/Man form, experiencing temptation, suffering rejection and pain unto death. Just some thoughts on the subject, and I would not in any way suggest it be doctrine. We’ll never know until we have entered his presence for eternity.

    Keep up the good work. You are a voice for the victim, and I appreciate that so much. Sometimes I wonder if I really was a victim or just in the wrong place and wrong time. Then I go back and read all the love bombing letters and emails, and I am reminded that I was a victim, this person was evil and an instrument of Satan or possessed by the Spirit of Jezebel, or both. Again, things only God knows. I can only see what I can see from the perspective God has placed me in. We see dimly, and do our best with the image we are given to work with. Thank you for being a light.

    • Carl, thanks for the kind words. I understand the thoughts you talk about. Just quickly, I did a search for the word “fatherless” in the Bible. Seemed to me to be a category of need, both physical and emotional. There are forty uses of the word in the NKJV – all of them in the Old Testament. So many of them are statements of God’s compassion. I think it is not God who is different in the NT, but the message. Before Jesus there was only a message of striving and sadness; after Jesus there is life and hope. But Jesus reminds us that the Father Himself loves us. (John 16:27) Anything we receive from Jesus, even patience and forgiveness, come from the Father. What an amazing message! Thanks for making me think, Carl.

  3. DB

    God does everything possible for us to come into a knowing of our true identity as His children. He calls out our giftings and gives us destiny and purpose to walk in. His desire is that we would be empowered, secure, and fully released into who He says we are and were created to be. That would would know our authority in Him.

    The Cross is the expression of the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of love. God freely gave us Jesus, expecting nothing in return (although fully desiring it). This love relationship is the very OPPOSITE of narcissism. I can’t think of a more stark contrast, or a model of what tue Fatherly and spousal love should look like.

    I pray for those out there who, like myself, have been hurt, abused, and used by a N spouse or parent (or both). Perhaps you still are. It’s the ultimate violation of love and trust, and it cuts deep. The enemy does NOT want us to have a healthy picture of what true sacrificial Love looks like. If you see Father, Son, or Holy Spirit as cruel, angry, or “narcissistic” in any way, just know that it’s a lie from the pit of hell. Healing WILL come but it takes time. Truth will replace lies. Jesus is the only way that your healing will be both lasting and redemptive. I’ve been there and walked through it. So much goodness and LIFE on the other side. His love never fails.

  4. Yesterday I had an epiphany during my prayer time that really hit me right between the eyes. But before I get to that, I need to back up a bit and explain what I was praying about.

    Early yesterday morning, I drove an hour to pick up my husband’s 24-year-old granddaughter and her 20-month-old son, and then I drove them back to our house so they could spend the day with my husband, their grandfather, as he ran some errands in the city. During the hour long drive back to our house, my step granddaughter said some things that really irked me. Basically, she was talking as if she already knows everything, at the ripe old age of 24, and I don’t know anything at all. She seemed to have zero respect for her elders and zero humility. Which surprised me, because she and I had gotten along fine, before.

    After they left with my husband, I took my frustration and irritation to the Lord. “I don’t know what to do, Father,” I prayed. “I am almost 3 times her age, I have a Mensa IQ, and yet she believes that she knows more than I do!”

    In my spirit, I heard the gentle voice of the Lord say: “How do you think I feel?”

    Wow.

    Great and awesome beyond measure? Yes, God truly is. But, narcissistic? He’s not even in the realm of what that word really means.

    The universe that God has created out of nothing is mind boggling. His grace, mercy, and perfect love are unfathomable. But how many times have I doubted His wisdom, His righteousness, His power, His purpose and His plan? How many times have I grumbled, doubted, and wondered why God allows this, or why God has done that?

    But even so, He loves me! He inclines His ear to me, every day when I pray. And when I grumble about a young millennial disrespecting my “great wisdom”, He ever so gently reminds me of all the times that I have disrespected Him.

    Just….. Wow.

    • God doesn’t have to pretend to be great, He is great! (And, fwiw, I have noticed how many young people think they know so much. Were we that cocky? As I have grown older, the Lord has shown me more and more I don’t know. Pretty soon it will be true that I have forgotten more than the kids know!)

      • I asked myself this too, yesterday — was I that cocky?

        In truth, I don’t think I was, because I was far too beaten down by narcissistic abuse back then. Plus, it was hard not to respect my maternal grandparents! My grandfather was the associate warden of Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. He and my grandmother lived in the huge warden’s mansion, right on the grounds of Leavenworth — you can see it in the foreground of the picture of that prison on Wikipedia. My grandparents had servants and they both had the attitude to go along with thei lifestyle. So yeah, when Grammy and Granddad spoke, I listened!

      • Hah! When I was young, I feared my dad more than I respected him. I never had a chance to get that cocky because I was always ducking and picking myself up off the ground. Actually, he was the smartest uneducated man I have ever known. Today, it’s respect.

  5. Thank you for that last paragraph, Dave! Last week, I was reading aloud the story of the rich young ruler in a Bible study group. When I read Luke 18:29-30 “Truly I tell you, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come, eternal life.” I suddenly knew what that meant and started weeping. Leaving my N father has meant losing my whole family. Holidays often are a time of dread for me. Holidays were often more joyful than painful (lots of buffer relatives), and facing them often alone or with just my husband can be a bit bleak. (yes, we volunteer on holidays, yes, sometimes we spend them with friends, but it’s never quite the same feeling of belonging) You might question whether I could say leaving my N father really is “for the sake of the Kingdom of God”. Because the Kingdom of God is mentioned by Jesus so often, I’ve started really delving into what is meant by that term. First of all, it means that I allow God as rightful King of my life, not me, not my father. If you have left someone in your life who has tried to usurp the place of God by setting themselves up as the King or Queen of your universe in order to be free and find wholeness in Jesus the true King, then you are promised this blessing as well! I confess I have a much harder time believing the first part (receiving many times as much in THIS age??). Lord, help my unbelief in that promise. I have a much easier time believing that in Heaven, you and I have a special place set for us. Instead of a kid’s table, maybe an “extra feeling of belonging you missed out on” table! You’re not alone in this even if your friends, co-workers, and sadly -church members aren’t able to understand why you don’t “reconcile”. Pray for me estranged brother or sister. I’m praying for you!

    • The Lord bless you, Britt! We live today in the new light of the kingdom, after living so long in the old darkness. We squint to see glimpses of what is ours. The light is strange and overpowering, and it is a constant temptation to close our eyes and return to the darkness. But even when we close our eyes, the reality in the light remains. It is all ours now, later we will see it clearly. But the darkness will never return. We are praying for you!

  6. Z

    Dear Brittgreenland,
    I want to thank you for your kind prayers for me-a suffering sibling in Christ. I will pray for you as well.
    I felt for most of my life I was born to be abused. Abuses-physical almost daily, sexual, verbal, emotional, spiritual..-were my normal since as far back as I can remember. By BOTH professing “born-again christian” parents. I also witnessed domestic violence of the most vicious kind regularly between parents. All fully known of, heard, seen, witnessed, told of by us children, after many of the beatings when we ran out of our house screaming, to all my other relatives who lived in my same apartment building. Upstairs, next door. Heard the screams of us children all the time. Had to walk by our door to enter and leave building. These relatives also were professing “born-again christians”. They walked by our door, often with Bible in hand headed to church or Bible studies!
    I felt so alone, helpless, hopeless, voiceless. I thought God didn’t care.
    I kept as “invisible” and separate as possible to cope. Spent time away from my house as much as possible. Friends’ houses, library, in my room alone reading dozens of books a week,..I wasn’t allowed to go away to college as was my “escape dream”. So filled with despair that I had to live their 4 more years of in-state college, my focus turned to “getting out”. I was forbidden to leave home until I married. So I married 2 weeks after my college graduation. To my first boyfriend-as I’d never brought anyone home to meet my family. He was another abuser. Common occurrence with childhood abuses and DV. Abuse is our “normal” even when we KNOW it’s abuse and don’t want it to continue. It’s a cycle.
    Ten more years of physical abuse and all the other kinds that go with abuse until I broke free of the condemnation of all my “christian” family and relatives, telling me I couldn’t divorce my abuser unless he committed serial adultery. I got professional counseling by an abuse specialist. With his help, I finally broke free of my whole family and relatives too, with my counselor’s help with setting firm boundaries and distancing myself. I also rejected their false teachings on Christianity. I had minimal to no contact with all of them. And unfortunately minimal contact with Jesus too. I’d been so spiritually abused, twisted and falsely indoctrinated. I couldn’t feel Jesus’ love or protection. I felt so let down by Him. Abandoned and unseen.
    Then I met my husband of 21 years. We accepted Jesus-the REAL Jesus-together. We’ve been happy and content. Very supportive and loving. This seemed to make us “targets” of my whole, still-abusive family. My adult siblings, also abused as children, are now severely codependent and enablers of parents abuses. They too targeted me and my husband with abuses. Verbal and mental abuse. We had minimal contact with them. We set clear boundaries and often had long periods of no contact as a result of abuses.
    A couple of Christmases ago, during a “No Contact” of months and continuing indefinitely after worsening abusive behaviors by my family even with the rare contact we’d had, my parents called us crying, apologizing, begging us to come to spend Christmas with my family. I’d gotten these calls often when we instituted a no contact consequence for their abuse. It always turned out to be false. Once we returned to contact with them, the abuse returned.
    We declined to go there for Christmas this time for that reason-fake tears and apologies and promises to stop the abusive behavior we’d described as our reason for not being in contact with them. But they were relentless. Super-apologetic, copious tears..Now we are Christians and we thought we HAD to keep forgiving them. We didn’t know the difference between “forgiveness” and “reconciliation” at that time. (We do NOW after reading all these blogs and those by Pastors Jeff Crippen, Sam Powell, Jimmy Hinton and Rebecca Davis, and others about abuse in the visible church by professing “christian” WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING.)
    So we agreed to go but with he firm condition that we’d leave if there was any abusive talk or behavior towards us. They “agreed heartily”.
    We went and the dinner and day went by without incident. We prepared to leave their house. As we tried to exit, we were attacked with a weapon by a family member hiding at the exit we tried to use. From a hidden place we were ambushed violently and viciously. My husband pulled me away from the weapon being swung at my head, threats screamed that “I’ll )@$% KILL YOU!!” My husband bore the brunt of the attack and was seriously and permanently injured. He lost vision permanently in one eye among other serious injuries for life. Incurable.
    My parents stood by and watched. Did nothing to try to help us not call the police to help us. I believe truly they were all in on a conspiracy to attack us as a “lesson” to us. Retaliation for our boundary-setting and consequences on them for our protection. (All other siblings have never gotten professional help and are extremely enmeshed and codependent enablers of parents’ abuse. And in many ways, they have abusers’ mindsets themselves.) So we are the only ones who do not allow ourselves to be abused by them. We are the only ones who limited their access to us for our mental and physical protection. And they ALL hated us for this!
    Our intentions were God-honoring to try to be peacemakers and forgiving. It nearly got us both killed.
    We had to call the police that Christmas night. And we had to go full, permanent “No Contact” with my family. Necessary when it’s clear they want to destroy us. And now my extended family-same “christians” who knew and still know of all the abuses by my parents and my siblings’ unhealthy enmeshing/codependency..yet keep silent and enable/cover it all up, have abandoned me and my husband for holding my family’s criminal attack with a weapon with screamed “intent to killl us” accountable by calling police. They believe we are to forgive and forget “It’s family” they say. But the attack to kill us was OK by “family”!
    So prayers for the excruciating emotional scars that are exacerbated during the holidays are MUCH NEEDED. While we are at peace with our decisions, knowing my entire life of abuse ended this way-with everyone siding with evil abusers-is beyond my comprehension.
    Reading these blogs though are comforting because I see that this “phenomenon” is not uncommmon to me. It is all to prevalent in the “christian” church.
    So we spend the holidays with each other and Jesus. Sometimes with in-laws. But it’s not normal by any means. Or easy no matter how necessary it is.
    May God especially bless each one who has a similar horror story.

  7. Patty

    cfeather54, I very recently asked The Father those same questions about the God of the old testament, “The God of this World” and here’s what He showed me.

    When you read the old testament you will find many contradictions and hypocrisies having to do with the Father’s nature. One minute He’s kind and forgiving and the next he’s lopping off people’s heads, because they don’t do what he wants. Well the reality of it all is, that there are two Gods in the old testament, the evil vindictive god is satan himself, “The god of this world”, which he named himself after Adam and Eve gave all dominion and authority over to satan in the garden of eden.

    All the animal sacrificing and killing was commanded by satan, not the Father. You’ll see in Psalm 40:6 – that David said; “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.” That was satan that the people were listening to, not the Father, about sacrificing animals, look at Isaiah 66:3 – “But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who sacrifices a man, and whoever offers a lamb, is like one who breaks a dog’s neck, whoever makes a grain offering is like one who offers pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense, like one who worships an idol. They have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations.” You get the point, the Father wasn’t the one that asked for any of the killing.

    In John 6:46, Jesus said “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God. only he has seen the Father.” John 14:9 “Have I been among you all this time and you don’t even know me, Phillip? He who has seen me has seen the Father.” Lastly, John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.”

    So you see, the Father didn’t send Jesus to see what it felt like to be human, he came to show people the real Father, and how much He loves us unconditionally. To show us a more abundant life. Jesus never at one time condemned anyone, he just healed them, loved them and gave them peace. You must see that the “God” of the old testament that was killing babies, judging and cursing people was not the Father, not the One that Jesus came to represent.

    It took me a while to wrap my brain around that, but it just makes all the sense in the world. I pray this helps,

    • I would have to say that I disagree with this idea of two OT gods. The Jews held this mystery in tension, and so must we. There are things we don’t like to think about in the OT story, but there is so much we do not understand now. Perhaps we will understand the whole truth one day. But if you travel much farther on this path you will come either to an uncaring god or an incompetent god. If Jesus came to reveal a God of compassion, where is that compassion today? Babies still die, sometimes at the hands of their own mothers (or their mothers’ doctors). People still suffer hunger in a world with abundant food. We war over what we believe and what we want. Does God not care? Does He only love some? Is He too small?

      Instead, I would prefer to allow the mystery. I don’t have the answers for some of the questions. Yes, there are things that are uncomfortable for me. But nothing of that changes the love God has for us… and for the whole world. The way to God is through His love in Jesus, a way He provided for any who will come.

      I am not free to dismiss certain Scriptures I don’t like or don’t understand. Nor am I in a seat where I can judge God. Instead, I will just trust Him and know that He is good.

      • Patty

        Ok, fair enough.
        I prefer to believe in a loving, giving God, instead of a baby killer that’s portrayed in the Old Testament. The scriptures I quoted were right from the Bible, if the Scriptures about killing babies are all from the Father, then the Bible truly is full of hypocrisy at describing god

      • Not going to argue this here. I can’t figure out if you are judging the Scriptures or God.

        If you have read anything here, you know that I also believe in a “loving, giving God.” One who lifts the broken-hearted and deals with evil. I only want to proclaim that goodness to hurting people, not to try to judge Him and His ways.

  8. Mark

    While I’m not going to say that I have the answers, either, I think that there is a strong sense throughout history that there are different ways that God deals with different groups of people. For example, how God judges an individual is going to be different than how God judges a church, or a city or a nation. So, when Jesus writes letters to the seven churches in Revelation, it is not to each and every last person in the church, but to the church as a separate entity (perhaps why a “church” can be narcissistic?)

    So, for example, we know that not every last German in the 30’s and 40’s was fully subscribed to the anti-semitism and nationalism of the government, but they were all judged, in that sense, for being Germans. Their cities were bombed, their children were killed.

    We also see that in some way, the land cries out for judgment. The Israelites were sent into captivity because they oppressed the poor, and that is why, it is said, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Remember that God said to Abraham: “Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”

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