This is a tongue-in cheek look at a very real psychiatric personality disorder that often needs medical help.
Tongue-in-cheek as this is on top of the list of Christians behaving badly, but none of us would ever behave this way would we?
Narcissism has become an accepted phenomenon of epidemic proportion in our culture, and it can creep into the church.
We are so used to narcissistic behavior that when we see a person of success behaving this way, we excuse them thinking it is just the way successful people behave. Some of us even begin to emulate the behavior, thinking it’s the way to our own success…
Symptoms of narcissism…
- a belief that I am better than others, superior, of primary importance, deserving of special treatment, I expect it and act accordingly
- when I don’t get the special treatment I am entitled to, I become impatient or angry
- a belief that I can only be understood by, or associate with, other high-profile or special people
- expect others to go along with all my ideas and plans
- demand automatic compliance with what I want
- frequently take others for granted, even exploitative
- condescending and patronizing of others
- laughing at, belittling, or even express disdain for others who are inferior
- a belief that others are jealous of me, actually rooted in the fact that I am jealous
- a paranoid belief that because of jealousy, people will do things to hurt me
- easily offended or hurt and emotionally overreact to hurt
- overwhelming need for constant praise and admiration or at least, the attention of others
- easily recognize troubling, unhealthy relationships but completely unable to recognize I may be at the center of them
- giving the impression of tough-mindedness or being unemotional
- an outward look of confidence, but internally a very fragile self-esteem, always looking for reasons to talk myself into confidence
- insist on having “the best” of everything–the best car, athletic/gym club, medical care, clothes or social circles
- come across as snobbish, arrogant, pretentious, aloof
- cannot handle anything that may be perceived as criticism, react with rage, contempt, or efforts to belittle the other person in order to make me feel better
- under stress, many of these symptoms are magnified
One further symptom:
- reading the other symptoms, I have a lot of contradictory emotions, primarily, denial. My drive for power, admiration, and perfection will not allow me to ever think there could be something wrong with me.
This is a very real, scientifically documented, psychiatric disorder. The good news is with age the symptoms decrease. So a person in their 50′s or 60′s has really mellowed because they realize the universe doesn’t revolve around them.
The dominant theory most professionals subscribe to is a biopsychosocial model. Passed from parents to children via, genes, environment, early childhood development and learned coping skills through life. So, the narcissist can safely blame their parents!