Narcissistic abusers are common in society even though not everyone uses the term “narcissist.” Many classic movies feature a war of good against evil with an antagonist who shows clear narcissistic or sociopathic traits. For example, Gollum in Lord of the Rings, or Palpatine in Star Wars. These characters are manipulative, sneaky, two-faced, and evil. They behave just like the narcissists who frustrate us in “real life.” We aren’t the first to encounter these types of people. They are all through movies, literature, stories and religion. From a scholarly point of view, we can look at the characteristics and see behavior that fits mental health diagnoses, but in popular culture, the same behaviors are explained in different ways.
***Warning, this post is going to turn religious. I come from a generic Protestant Christian background, and I’m not a typical Bible-thumper, but I do believe. The book and ideas I’m going to refer to are unusual in some churches, but gave me something to think about.***
Online, I have read various pages and articles about narcissists as people with a “Jezebel” spirit. I will admit, the idea of demons and spiritual warfare is a bit out there for me, but I can relate because I think they are describing the same types of people and the same types of struggle in a different way. Here is one brief webpage that compares what we call narcissism with what others call the Jezebel spirit: http://dianarasmussen.com/2014/08/28/jezebels-are-androgynous-narcissists/
In my opinion, what we might call evil is the same attitude that runs in certain personality disorders. What we might call a demon is one and the same. These are all the same cruel, disordered behaviors no matter what we call them. I have posted before that I have struggled with my Christian faith because of the horrible things that have happened to me. My narcissistic mother is religious in public, but cruel and manipulative at home. She will trash people in private but flatter them to their faces. She will lie, lie, lie to get what she wants, and people are fooled every time. I just watch with my eyes widened wondering how someone can get away with being such a manipulative two-face! And I see similar in my ex narcopath. He doesn’t play sweet and vulnerable like my mother does because he is so aggressive and dominant, but still, he can fool people into believing his lies even when there is clear evidence that he is lying. How DO they do that!?!?!? Arggh! Sometimes I literally ask myself, am I really dealing with spiritual warfare? How is it I can scream the truth, but no one hears me? How do the bullies in my life keep trampling on me? Do they have some kind of supernatural help? But then I think, “no, that is crazy talk. This can all be explained by science and psychology.” Maybe there’s really a mix here. Yes, we know how narcissism works, but maybe some of what the Bible would call evil is the same thing?
The other day, I found a book that I would not normally read. I grew up in a very average, normal Christian school that didn’t really teach the “weird” stuff. There was very little talk of demons, spirits or anything like that. No speaking in tongues, no miracles. Just day-to-day living and trying to be good. But, I picked up this book because I had read the theory of the Jezebel spirit online, and wanted to see more of what others had to say. It is called Jezebel by Bob Larson. Jezebel The writer is literally a self-described exorcist, so I read the book with a grain of salt. (No offense meant to other beliefs, but this is not normally what I would believe.) But, despite my reluctance to look for demons and exorcisms, I found that much of what the author described in spiritual terms were things I could relate to in academic terms.
For example, he describes Jezebel in terms that remind me greatly of my mother: seductive, willing to commit adultery, religious to serve her own needs, two-faced, hypocritical, looking to destroy reputations, lying, self-centered, and more. He also describes inter-generational abuse. He describes mothers who abused their children because their parents abused them. That is the cycle I am breaking in my family! To me, it is a learned bad behavior, but to Larson, it is a demon attached to the family members and “invited” in by sin. I underlined many sentences in the book–including one section about how girls whose fathers abandon them grow up not knowing how a good man should behave. (Been there, done that!) The author described so many of the struggles I have endured–abusive mother, generationally abusive family, missing deadbeat father, abusive husband….
While I’m not going to go look for an exorcist for my mother, and I don’t literally believe everything in this book, I found that it makes a lot of sense figuratively. If we think of abuse and narcissism as a “demon” to overcome, it makes much more sense. Even though I cannot relate to every word, I did get a lot out of this book, and I think it can be beneficial to read it as a parable or an example of the “evils” we deal with while trying to escape abuse. If nothing else, Christians need to be strong and bold in their faith to overcome the cycles of abuse.
7 thoughts on “Spiritual warfare as an explanation for narcissistic patterns and families”
Thank You Joanna Moore for writing this! I would have thought I had written this. I have the same NMom as you describe..and the 2 husbands I had were the same. Only difference is the 2nd husband used the church and the Bible extensively to abuse. I was convinced by him I was the Jezebel and had the demon spirit..I turned so many people in the small church against me..he even would lead Bible studies and a mens Sunday School class when the pastor was unavailable. But leave the church and my life was hell. So many instances I could give. I would think I was the one that was nuts…it wasn’t me, it was him. He even had the pastor in his corner, although I suspected the pastor was the same as him. I tried to talk to the pastor, and he instructed his wife to avoid me, and that I was bringing a toxic element to the small church. I eventually stopped going, and shortly after was abandoned for the 3rd time in 3 months with my family in another state, which I was thankful for, although it was with my 84 yr old mother (out of the frying pan into the fire??) and then my step dad passed away 2 weeks later, so I have to balance my life with work in a normal? world and helping/looking out for my mother, who still reverts to her ways. Thank You again for such a wonderful article..I will make a special effort to get a copy of this book. Lynda
Wow!! This so much reminds me of a narcissist in my church…she says horrible things to people, refuses to acknowledge any wrong doing, blames the victim, and THEN uses her column in the church bulletin to fire back at her enemies, all under the veil of being a ” Christian”. Of course, no one can really call her on her behavior because she never has the guts to name names, but those who know her for what she really is know the truth.
I’ve been reading so much about borderline personality narcissistic disorder lately.
I grew up under the ruling abuse of two n-personality parents- a Jezebel dominant n-mother and a passive Adam/Ahab n-father.
The result became exceedingly distanced relationships between them and most of their family and friends (although n-personality types view the problem as belonging to everyone else and seldom seek psychological evaluation, care and/or repentance).
By Grace, I was delivered far from the toxic grip and mental health issues that others in my family could not. I remember hearing from so many friends and their families, church members and co-workers from age eight through adulthood that would ask me what was wrong with them- I now have the answer that has clearly defined every characteristic of n-parent abuse that had plagued me for years!
Although I have been assertive enough to confront my n-mother, the clear denial and demeaning behavior she’s exhibited only furthers the clear definition of the n-personality!
The weight had been lifted long before now, but being able to finally identify the root diagnosis gives me the ability to more easily forgive someone who clearly has little to no control over the spiritual and psychological function of their own lives.
Keep in mind- forgiveness from a distance is still far safer than trying to rebuild relationships with the n-parents. Keeping a safe distance from these types for my own spiritual, mental and emotional health and the health of my OWN children (as n-personality types have been shown to deliberately damage the relationships of the perceived “escaped” adult children/victims from their OWN children and influence the grandchildren to rebel against the alienated adult children) is an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY!
Good stuff (and best regards to all who are in all stages of relationships with n-personality types- there is hope in freedom and freedom in hope- don’t look back)!
Have you read psychiatrist M.Scott Peck’s “People of the Lie”? I think that will completely convince you (as it did this secular thinking psychiatrist) that narcissism is definately a “jezebel spirit” or what the Bible refers to as “the wicked” and “workers of iniquity” all throughout scripture. Also Genesis 3:15 specifically states that there are two different “seeds” of human kind on the earth. (One with a conscience and empathy and other without). Psalm 58:3-5 speaks of a group of individuals who are “born wicked” and Jesus spoke of toxic persons in the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew Chapter 13. I think society is controlled by these intra-species predators, churches included and that’s why the “play dumb” and keep this sort of predatory abuse covered up and re-victimize the victims instead. Because parasites need hosts. Without them they will be forced to turn on each other until they become extinct. Narcissists/sociopaths/psychopaths have a reptilian amygdila. Secular science has proven this in x-rays. They are pure evil masquerading as “human beings.” And their evil is contagious so that those with a smaller amount of the “satanic seed” or dna in their blood have to choose whose side they will be on and they usually choose the side of the bullies, thus becoming flying monkeys with seared consciences, which the Bible also describes. The short 2-3 page Book of Jude describes these beasts perfectly.
Hello and thank you for these texts and for sharing your experience.
Excuse my english, is not my mother language. I have a pshycotherapy degree even though I don’t practice it, just like I do whit my catholic background. Eventualy in my life I abandoned faith, totally. But then I was a victim of one of these narcissist characters and then I start to read, think and study more deeply about psycopaths and narcisists, and slowly in time and almost unaware of it I return to faith. The christian teaching about mercy and forgiveness is very helpfull for recovery. But faith not only helped me but show me a different picture about these matters and that is about evil, the devil and the psicopath behavior. We know that there is no cure for narcissism, phycopaths and manipulators because it’s not a desease, it’s just a choice; a way to relate to others and the rest of the world. So, what the devil have to do whit it? Well, I think, everything.
Acording to christian theology (or catholic teachings at least), Lucifer was originally the most powerful angel of God but he, jealous of the God’s salvation plan for the humans, intoxicated with pride and arrogance considers himself equal to God and defy Him; then fall with other rebel angels from Heaven. Then his purpose become to drag humans into desobedience and sin through lies and deceit. Isn’t all those characteristics exactly the same as the narcissist/psychopats? Aren’t those their ways? Didn’t he tricked Adan and Eve to commit the original sin by a lie and a manipulation? So that’s why I think this dissorder can’t be cured. It’s just not a psychological illness, it’s a spiritual one. They are sinners of the wors sin possible, the original, the one of Satan. It’s known too that you never have to send a psychopat to therapy, it’ll make him/her worst! If somehting may be usefull, I think, it could be an espiritual work, maybe it can’t cure them but moderate them wich could be a good thing for a lot of people. The battle is not pshycological, it’s as you said, a spiritual warfare. After all, they won’t change, they can’t be cured; they need to convert from themselves idolatry.
Sadly we know the only solution for us the victims is always the zero contact rule, in the words of Saint John in 2 Timothy 3:2-5:
“3: 2. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3. unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4. traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5. having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
Jackpot! Eureka! Hallelujah!!