Narcissists and predators are everywhere in churches and they destroy faith

Narcissists may assume positions that make them seem trustworthy or become part of a community so they can fit in and receive the benefit of the doubt just for being a member. They especially love churches where they can prey on trusting and forgiving people.

Just a head’s up: this is a post about narcissists and churches, but I am not pushing or attacking religion. I am posting about narcissists and the damage they do by abusing religion, as well as my frustration with the way they manipulate naive people.

I was raised Christian in a family of extremely abusive “Christians” who rival the Westboro Church for hypocrisy and hatred. But, I also attended Christian schools for a while and met some genuinely good people. Because of the good ones, and the things I was taught about Christ being caring and loving, I wrongly trusted that most Christians truly were Christ-like. A while back, I wrote a blog about how this naive belief led me to trust the wrong people who were often very harmful and hurtful to me. Instead of looking at them to see if they were trustworthy, I just assumed they were because of their “Christian” label. Bad idea!

People of Christian or other religion, (or any club,) tend to support each other. Just like women from the same sorority often find a bond with strangers from the same sorority, so do people of faith. Oh you are a Christian too? Well, then we are like-minded people! Oh you are a member of this club? Well great to meet you! Even with people we’ve never met, we have common ground with people from the same organizations, and we let down our guard a bit. If Christy was in Alpha Chi Omega, she must be a good person! (I have no idea of that’s a real sorority, by the way!) We identify with people who share our groups and assume that they have the good intentions we have. This is especially dangerous when a narcissist or another predator realizes what value there is in joining a religious group. A narcissist in a church–especially as a leader–has a ready and willing audience of vulnerable people to choose from.

When I was a kid, my mother would go out of her way to support businesses that self-identified as Christian. There was a car mechanic that consistently ripped us off, but she kept going to him. Even when she spent hundreds of dollars that didn’t fix the problem, and another mechanic alerted her that the expensive part she’d paid for had never been replaced, she still went back to the bad mechanic because he had a Bible in his window. When asked why she kept going back to be conned again, she insisted that the Bible mean the mechanic was a good guy. Later, she had a very bad experience with a realtor. It is a long story, but she got scammed badly and just kept going with it even when more astute people were warning her to stop. All because the realtor talked about being a Christian. I came to distrust anyone who was selling their religion to get customers. It sure looked like a way to attract suckers to me!

And yet, when it came to expecting all “Christians” to be safe people, I let those people misuse and abuse my trust in them. After many, many bad experiences, including with a retired pastor who bullied and attacked me, I have come to believe that the church is crawling with predators–probably far more predators than true Christians. I share this article frequently, because it is such a great explanation of why predators love to take advantage of religious groups, (and groups in general.)

When I was at my lowest point, a retired pastor told me I needed to stop inventing fake problems and airing my dirty laundry. I was stressed out, depressed and suffering from PTSD while wondering if life was worth living when this guy made hateful, blaming comments to me and almost pushed me over the edge. I guess my ex sociopath spouse who violently attacked my toddler, assaulted me when I was pregnant, smeared me everywhere he went, hacked into my accounts, sent people to stalk me, refused to pay child-support while I struggled, and more, was not a “real” problem? Like a good woman I was supposed to shut up and take it? I’d been abused by many Christians through my life, but still assumed that most were trustworthy until that day. It was a breaking point for me when I realized that not everyone who claims to be a Christian is even a decent human being–not even a pastor. When I got to thinking, I realized that pastor bragged about how good he was but never once showed a hint of empathy or kindness for others. He was just extremely self-righteous. That was an eye-opening experience, and a reminder that I shouldn’t trust people for what they pretend to be. Instead, I need to watch and see who they are. Fortunately, the nastiness of the pastor made me so mad, it snapped me out of my suicidal thoughts. If there is a Satan, he is alive and well in the church doing a lot of damage to hurting people through pastors like that one.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who has turned away from the church specifically because a wolf in sheep’s clothing abused or bullied us. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has been violently abused by Christians. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been let down by trusting people who talk the talk then back stab us. There is a lot of destruction done in the name of false Christians.

I don’t blame all Christians or religious people or group members for the actions of the predators who hide among them, but I have learned that, if we want to be part of such organizations, we have to realize that they have a high percentage of predators.

12 thoughts on “Narcissists and predators are everywhere in churches and they destroy faith

  1. Dear Joanna and Friends, which is why Jude wrote that short letter about people “creeping” in amongst the real Christians. He was going to write about something else, but apparently he had gotten word about some bad stuff going on. Yeah, the Church is alot safer for wicked people to play their games, than is a smoky barroom.

  2. Unfortunately, you speak the truth about these predators in the churches. I was married to one of them. In addition we “counseled” with an elder who sided with the narcopath. (probably one himself) When I said that I couldn’t go any farther unless the narcopath got help and stopped drinking (he is a raging alcoholic), I was told “what if he put demands like that on you?” I was basically told to just go home and submit and make the narcopath happy. So, yeah.

  3. This article is just fantastic. More people, whether Christian or not, need to read it. Thank you for writing it. of course narcissist and psychopaths love churches and target them, where else would people put up with them?

  4. I’ve known one who speaks at Churches about Ultra Sound. He lies and says his Sons. Died of a heart attack.There were two Sons who died but a heart Attack is far from the Truth. Try Drug overdose and complication from a surgery, but it puts money in his pocket. He doesn’t. Care it you know the truth.

  5. I really needed to read this. I grew up in the Church and a Christian school, and I agree with you 100%. I have been bullied throughout my life by so called believers. I feel completely broken and discouraged by my experiences. I also feel like a failure for being angry at them, and not trusting people. I need help and I need encouragement to push forward in my faith.

  6. This is an old post but I am glad to have found it. I am a believer who was raised by “christian” narcissists – and it is a daily battle to gain a sense of self. I have no doubt that it was God who gave me the strength to question and work it out – in spite of pastors, etc. who said otherwise. So many people not wanting to accept the truth! Even those who know the truth are willing to spread lies for their own agenda. Very sad. I often wonder how to help those of us who were trained (seriously, our parents or other caretakers trained us) to be used by these NPD people. We put up with a lot. My prayers are that the abused find freedom and wholeness. But absolutely, we need to be diligent about who we trust anywhere we go, and yes, there are many of these types of people in the church. Pretty sure they will be shocked when they have to stand before God and explain themselves! (Kinda can’t wait…)

  7. No Joanna, you are definitely not the only one who has been abused by these vile, malicious bastards. Oh I’ve been hurt like you wouldn’t believe. They didn’t want to hear anything about the abuse I’d suffered by my family as well as so many other bullies, and the terrible PTSD I was suffering. They sided with my abusers instead and told me I was hateful and unforgiving and condemned by God. They also told me I wasn’t even a Christian to be having these “disgusting” thoughts. This sent me off the deep end. How I didn’t end up in the mental home amazes me. I just despise people who call themselves “christians” ha! They are crueller than the devil himself. But then I realised they feared me because I could see through their bullshit
    and now I just laugh in their faces and take the piss out of them.

  8. thank you well worth reading. I believe we need to be vigilant especially when these people want to be close to us. I think I’m getting better a spotting them now. they can be very charming, quick to anger when exposed, always talking about them selves, put everybody else down, and always somebody else’s fault, never their’s because they think they are perfect. they cannot take constructive criticism. there is some great stuff on youtube, Richard Grannon Spartan life coach is the name of one of the, who is helpful. good work

  9. Even in the early Church there were people who had their own agendas in mind. St. John the Apostle wrote in his third epistle about one Diotrephes, who seemed to be really full of himself and gave John and other Christians a bad time. (Sounds like a Narcissist to me!)

    So you’re going to find your Ns and your “fakes” in so many circles, even in our houses of worship—where we should LEAST expect to find such behavior, but sadly, we do. As a victim of N-abuse myself, I know it too well. But then, this is when we (eventually) learn to discern the real believers from the “fakes”. To quote Matthew Chpt. 7: “You shall know them by their fruits.”

  10. I noticed that most of the interest in this article is from females but males are just as susceptible. My local catholic church had a ‘rosary group’ which I thought would be filled with well-intentioned people… little did I know that a narcissist was lurking. I didn’t pick up the signals as I hadn’t been exposed to anything like it before, but once I realised that this narcissist was spreading rumours and false accounts about myself and a young lady who was part of the group, I distanced myself from him and the group. I had no idea that this would trigger even greater amount of rumours and abuse from the narcissist. This went on for about 6 months until I confronted him..violently.. to tell him to shut his mouth. 3 years on, basically nobody from the church will talk to Im thinking of finishing up on what I had started, this time out of sight from any people to ensure he gets the message. I do realise however that this would do nothing as these sick people have no ability to learn. The best way I realised to bring these people down is to criticise them, it drives them crazy. The smallest bit of criticism, anything that comes to mind will put them down and force them to look inside themselves and face their shame. They will not help themselves and they will hold onto their false belief of themselves for dear life, so be prepared if you want to take them on. They are ruthless, with no conscious and basically would prefer to kill you and your reputation if they realise that you know what they are. Do your research and assess them from afar, then decide how to deal with it. If anyone needs any advice Im happy to assist.. Cheers, and stay out of trouble 🙂

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