Holy Narcissist

holy

The holy narcissist is one of the especially effective members of the narcissistic brethren. The attraction of religion but moreover being a member of the clergy carries with it considerable advantages for those of our kind who manage to install themselves within organised religion.

The holy narcissist is nigh on impeachable. What better authority can there be for always being right, always having the high ground and always being revered than as an instrument of God? The holy narcissist has the supreme power in his corner and a book full of phrases and sentences that he can turn to in support of his wisdom. He is here to do good work and by virtue of his position he is assumed to be truthful, kind, compassionate and empathic. The holy narcissist has one of the most effective facades one might hope to see amongst our kind. His is not a façade which has to be worked at through the careful application of community works, diligent industry at work and all round good guy in the neighbourhood. No, the holy narcissist has centuries of instilled goodness to drape around him in an impenetrable cloak of goodness. He has saints and apostles marching behind him, archangels hovering above him, charitable works to point to, the salvation of the sick, the poor and the needy, all woven into this vast façade.

Once he joins the clergy he can avail himself of this façade in an instant. There is no steady and incremental accumulation of the veneer of respectability like the rest of our kind but instead it is akin to placing a cloak around himself and immediately he has a façade and not just a façade, but perhaps the ultimate façade on which to rely.

He is the embodiment of goodness, God’s word flows through him and as such he can act with unquestionable authority. He has zealots ready to support him and to shout down the heretics. Even though organised religion may not wield the power that it once did, one would be foolish to underestimate its effect still. Even those who do not believe and readily bait and insult those who do, are likely to think twice before attacking a man of the cloth. They wear God’s armour and the indoctrination of people, even those who have rejected the notion of such a being, means they would hesitate before launching some kind of attack against a member of the clergy. I have seen it happen. Those who are vociferous in all other aspects still show a deference to that dog collar.

A position in religion appeals greatly to our kind. You are blessed with an instant authority. You have scriptures, texts and readings which are used as a form of law to castigate mortal man and thus allow the holy narcissist to maintain superiority. There are grand and ornate ceremonies which the holy narcissist is the centre of. He dresses differently from the simplicity of the Catholic black which distinguished from others in the community to the papal splendour of the man (almost) at the top. Decadence, shiny and glittering decadence abounds and he even is able to stand at preach at his fellow man and woman. How does he do so? From the elevated position of the pulpit. Proof, if proof were needed that he is greater than those around him and finds himself part way between heaven and earth.

Where confession plays a part he is able to absorb the sins of his worshippers. The narcissist always needs to know and of course knowledge is power. Being privy to the foibles, sins and vulnerabilities of someone on the other side of that screen (who is of course readily known) vests considerable power in the holy narcissist. He is able to scold and upbraid and is thanked for doing so. He doles out devaluation on a daily basis and is met with the grateful thanks of those who seek absolution.

Should you offend him you are not just discarded but you are banished, made a pariah and few can smear you so darkly as one who apparently operates from the side of light. Step out of line with the holy narcissist and see how quickly the community is mobilised against you. You are snubbed at church (if you dare to appear) and this tarring and feathering leaks out into the community as a whole as the holy narcissist does not just have a coterie but he has a congregation. He does not just have Lieutenants, he has vergers and sextons, he has bishops and archbishops who will close ranks and turn their backs on those who speak ill of one of their own.

Try to speak out and expose the holy narcissist and he will describe you as ‘troubled’ and that he will pray for you, further advancing how filled with goodness he is and there must be something seriously wrong and deviant with you if you are resorting to making accusations against  man of the cloth.

The holy narcissist has a position of considerable privilege. An ancient and powerful institution which resolutely supports him, the commanding word of God to dispense, the impressive façade and always the capacity to exploit a person’s fear of their own mortality. As it has been stated before, there were no atheists in the trenches. When the chips are down you either call out to God or your mother, usually both. When you know that despite all appearances, a person still has that need to call on a higher power when they are in fear, this places you in a powerful position.

This position comes with many benefits but the most attractive of all is the congregation. A loyal, devout conclave of fuel. Those who attend services, hold coffee mornings, raise collections, operate soup kitchens and so forth are the foot soldiers of empathy. They are inherently good people who care, who are honest and decent and they wish to exhibit their goodness through good acts and deeds. How they respond and light up when the holy narcissist moves amongst them thanking them for their endeavours. Their faces turn to the holy narcissist, rapt with delight, fuel gushing for them as the holy narcissist sweeps through his worshippers, drinking deep of their admiration, their love and their compassion. It is these people who are doing the dirty work, standing in the cold shaking a collecting tin, feeding down and outs in the less desirable areas of the city and walking mile upon mile to gather donations for the charity shop or food parcels. The holy narcissist will tap into this collective goodness and bolt it on to his façade. He will front the mission’s work, the output as he receives the earnest thanks of the disadvantaged and yet more fuel.

This congregation will round on transgressors, they will offer up delicious fuel as a host of secondary sources which has the holy narcissist positively drenched in the positive fuel. With firebrand enthusiasm, the holy preacher will set his sights on those who apparently do evil and will contentedly draw their ire and the associated negative fuel. He is unswayed. The Big Man has his back and with that it is ever onwards Christian soldiers. No matter what form this religion might take, there will always be holy narcissists in their numbers. There is so much that appeals and accords with the narcissist that organised religion will always attract our kind. The ready availability of unquestionable moral authority which is plated and welded to the narcissistic mind set of superiority, omnipotence and grandiosity makes for a heady concoction indeed. Many struggle to escape the clutches of a holy narcissist and if they do not comply, they are hammered into submission by one of the master strokes of organised religion, the concept of guilt.

Empathic individuals are burdened by guilt and with a book full of quotations that support this construct, the holy narcissist has a field day as he exploits this inherent trait of those who he deals with. You must never question him but you must question yourself because you are prone to sin, you are weighed down by guilt and therefore it is always your fault. It is manna from heaven for the narcissist. Everything about organised religion either elevates him or provides him with a set of tools and methods for keeping his congregation and worshippers submissive, appreciative and loyal. He is able to call on near total dedication and loyalty and if the occasional member strays out of line he has the means and the clerical muscle to either bring them back under his control or banish them into the wilderness. Exerting such control and being able to reap the fuel rewards demonstrates how supine his congregation becomes when it is in the hands of the holy narcissist.

No wonder it is referred to as his flock.

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10 thoughts on “Holy Narcissist”

  1. I always wondered why my atheist ex-narc would volunteer to be a Lay Reader in the Episcopal Church (during his marriage to his former wife). The pulpit was a perfect performance space, not only for play acting the role of the good husband and some kind of community lead, but for getting attention period.

  2. I think narcs invented religion and the capricious god(s) that go with it.

    The infinite catalogue of torments, wars, and especially victimisation if women and children would tend to indicate that.

    1. My therapist is very religious but I left organized religion a long time ago. We have some interesting discussions about it. To me, the God of the Bible seems very narcissistic — demands total devotion, does not tolerate being second priority, vengeful, picks favorites, throws you into eternal torment and deprives you of his presence if you fail to show him proper homage by a deadline arbitrarily determined by him, created us for the purpose of adoring him. I never thought of much of this until I was at university and joined a quasi-cult where people essentially demanded that I ignore all of my own emotions and inner experiences. I’m still puzzling over how people see infinite love in this image. Maybe something will come along and clarify it for me one day.

  3. Oh yes.. The religious phase he went through was especially fun to behold. Ridiculous and I knew it was nonsense but I just didn’t have a frame of reference for how to understand it. It was so bad he was listening to Christian music and in the choir. I was literally witnessing absurdity and knew it wasn’t quite right. Religion offers quite a platform for a plethora of pathology. Thanks again HG!

  4. In this very dark sectarian religious community I grew up in (all people dressed in black – woman only allowed long skirts and having to wear hats), we had a minister who would start speaking with a calm voice and then all the more he got turned on by himself started screaming louder and louder. He threw himself against the back of the pulpit, then in one move to the front (all people scared he might throw himself off) while yelling at us that we were damned and satan would be waiting for us in hell.
    His wife was a very sad, poorly looking woman, who taught my sister to play the organ and she told my mother she would always secretly smoke because if her husband would find out he would physically abuse her. The man was such a creap, very tall and skinny and looked like a living skeleton straight from a horror movie. No doubt he was a narcissist.

    Loads and loads of narcs in sectarian and religious communities. Sundays front row in church with their sanctimonious, hypocritical faces, at work screwing their secretaries, at home their daughters, abusing their wifes, abusing theirs sons, tying them up and keeping an electric sawing machine next to their head, treatening to cut them to pieces… I could write books. The day I got married was the last day I set foot in a church.
    My sons have no idea how lucky they are to have been raised without any pressure of any religion.

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