Signs, symptoms and how to heal.
© 2021 Dr. Samaria M Colbert
Disclaimer I am a licensed therapist, I am not your therapist. This blog is meant to give you information only it is not meant to be used as a diagnostic tool, or a replacement for the need to seek mental health treatment. If you identify with anything we discuss today, please search out a therapist in your area. www.psychologytoday.com
There is so much information about narcissism. Ironically there are ten different types of personality disorders, yet for some reason we have individuals who are hyper focused on narcissism. The appropriate term is an individual who has narcissistic personality disorder. Unfortunately, there are individuals who are not trained clinicians who are giving misinformation about narcissist personality disorder. For example, I saw one individual who implied that because the parents didn’t agree with their son’s lifestyle, they were narcissist. Another person reported that a person who is hyper religious is a narcissist. This is not true. Hyper religious people and disagreement is not a criteria for the diagnosis according to the diagnostic statistical manual.
I want to give my take as a licensed clinician who is qualified and trained to access for and diagnose NPD. For those who may wonder yes, I have accessed and diagnosed individuals with NPD. My hope is by giving my contribution I can give clarity to the topic. Remember just because an individual has narcissistic traits, doesn’t mean they meet the full criteria for NPD. I believe that society is fascinated by these very clinical terms, nevertheless we need clarity by trained people qualified to give it.
Another thing to consider is that most abusers have traits of narcissist, they don’t necessarily meet the criteria for NPD.
There are two different viewpoints in society about narcissism, that are polar opposite of one another. There is the Christian worldview and the secular worldview. In the secular worldview the mental health field, the general thought is that it is very difficult, near impossible to treat individuals with NPD. However, in the Christian worldview our guiding principles states that nothing is impossible. If nothing is impossible, then individuals with narcissistic personality disorder can recover and be healed. You can believe what you want but as a person who is actively apart of both the Christian community and the mental health community, I believe my Christian values are superior to my training as a clinician. Therefore, I do believe that individuals who have NPD can be healed and recover. I will give you two different perspectives, the clinical criteria, then the spiritual implications. Narcissism is a spiritual issue as well.
Matthew 19:25-26 New King James Version
25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Now let’s talk about who meets the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. Again, what I see online is there are some who have used the term narcissist to describe individuals who don’t meet the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder.
As a warning if you have experienced abuse, before you go start and ministries, YouTube channels etc. Make sure you go to therapy by a trauma therapist. Not a coach, or a counselor who is not trained. A licensed therapist. This form of abuse is considered a trauma and should be addressed by a licensed mental health professional.
According to the diagnostic statical manual that clinicians use to assess and diagnose mental health treatment, there are nine total symptoms that indicate a person has narcissistic personality disorder. An individual needs five or more of the symptoms to meet the criteria for NPD.
If an individual has less than five, they don’t meet the full criteria and cannot be diagnosed with NPD. A seasoned clinician will assess for a co-occurring disorder, that may indicate a more appropriate diagnosis. For example, when a person struggles with an addiction, they tend to be very self-centered while in active addiction to feed their addiction. So, a clinician may not diagnose a consumer with NPD if there is a more appropriate diagnosis. Remember there are close to 300 diagnoses in our DSM. NPD is one of them. Clinicians make sound decisions based upon what is the most appropriate fit.
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated
by five (or more) of the following:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
4. Requires excessive admiration.
5. Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations).
6. Is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends).
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
It is important to note that a child cannot be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. There may be events that have happened and is happening that may contribute to the formulation of the diagnosis. But a child cannot be diagnosed with NPD.
Now let’s look at the spiritual side of narcissistic personality disorder.
Lucifer is at the root of NPD.
With NPD there are multiple types of spirits that are combined together to create NPD. This is why NPD cannot be addressed from a mental health lens only.
The spirit of pride
The spirit of deception. There are three types of deception such as self-deception, deception of others and perceived deception (gaslighting).
Insecurity, that is rooted in the spirit of anxiety and self-hatred. Individuals with NPD, secretly hate themselves as a result took on an ulterior persona. They secretly believe who they are is in not enough.
Remember that individuals with narcissistic personality disorder have an inflated sense of self. Let’s look at scripture:
Isaiah 14:12-15 New Living Translation
12 “How you are fallen from heaven,
O shining star, son of the morning!
You have been thrown down to the earth,
you who destroyed the nations of the world.
13 For you said to yourself,
‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars.
I will preside on the mountain of the gods
far away in the north.[a]
14 I will climb to the highest heavens
and be like the Most High.’
15 Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead,
down to its lowest depths.
Narcissism is rooted in the spirit of jealousy and envy. The spirit of witchcraft, power and control. Remember I said that anything that wants to subdue you against your will is witchcraft.
Now let’s discuss how this relates to Christian narcissism. Technically by definition a person cannot truly be a narcissist and a Christian. However, for the sake of our discussion let’s talk about why individuals with NPD are often attracted to Christians in the Christian community.
Remember look at again at Isaiah 14, Lucifer is saying, “I will.” Traditionally in Christian communities we have great respect and admiration for our Christian leaders. The individual with NPD, looks at this admiration and is secretly driven to be put in that position to receive that admiration. In Isaiah 14, lucifer looks at God’s position, and thought to attempt to overthrow God himself. Technically that is impossible but to the delusional deceived person nothing is off limits.
Disclaimer I am in no way suggesting that a minister or pastor within the Christian church by default is someone who has NPD. I am saying that person’s with NPD are attracted to titles. This is why I tell single women don’t get excited because some minister is winking his eye at you and shows interest. Due your homework. Look at this person’s friends, what do they talk about. Is it solely on them? What is his relationship with his mother? For guys look beyond the surface. Yes, a woman can be beautiful, and attractive. Nevertheless, remember the spirit of Jezebel is also narcissistic personality disorder. A woman with this disorder will be attracted to you because of your position or platform. Yet, Jezebel seeks to emasculate you and put herself in your position. Watch women who have very bold opinions that are rooted in feminist theory, or she calls herself a feminist. This is a mask for the spirit of pride, that has its roots in the spirit of Jezebel. A whole emotionally healthy woman doesn’t see a man or anyone for that matter as someone to demean and compete with. We don’t have to go low for you to go high and you don’t have to go low for us to go high.
The individual with NPD studies their prey. They will study the individual in the church. They will seek platforms, positions, and titles within the church. It then becomes easy for them to fulfill their perverted desire. Unfortunately, the church is one of the few places where you can have little to no experience, resume, references, or skill and be given a title to lead others. In some churches the training is very minor and can be completed in weeks or less than a year.
If someone with NPD has decided a Christian or church is their prey, they will do things like read their Bible, teach the Bible, shout, and speak in tongues but they aren’t really worshiping God. They are doing it to be seen and to impress. It is a wonderful thing to see a man of God praising and worshipping. Persons with NPD are using admiration to lure you in.
Remember individuals with NPD become what you want them to be, that’s why it is important for you not to reveal your whole heart to someone you just met.
Proverbs 4:23 New King James Version
23 Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
Remember deception comes through conversation. Don’t open your heart to anyone, observe first. Pray to God and get wise counsel. Persons with NPD appear to be natural leaders, remember the word appear. They are not real leaders; they have studied great leaders in order to try to conform themselves to be them. Remember what we read in Ezekiel 14.
Watch conversations where the other person focuses on me, myself, and I.
Persons who have been victimized by person with NPD often struggle with low confidence, fear, insecurity, self-doubt, they may have had abusive childhoods, or previous unhealthy relationships, codependency, and isolation.
Finally let’s talk about how to heal.
Go to therapy to unpack the effects of this form of abuse.
You can forgive but don’t return.
Take an inventory of underlying wounds that may have led you to being in this relationship. For example, if you were raised by parents with NPD, you may need to attend therapy to process through childhood abuse as well.
Remember the scripture:
1 Corinthians 10:13 The Message
13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.
John 16:13 New Living Translation
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.
If you identify as a Christian, you have to be honest to heal. What red flags did you ignore? What wise counsel did you not take? You can’t say nothing because the scripture clearly says that the holy spirit will guide you into ALL truth and will NOT allow you to be deceived. Go back to God and repent for moving forward without hearing his voice.
As you heal, you will take your authority back.
Luke 10:19 New Living Translation
19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.
If what you have gone through has caused you to waver in your faith, recommit your life back to Christ.
Your identity will be reaffirmed as you meditate on the word and worship. Healing is a process, but you will get there.
© 2021 Dr. Samaria M Colbert