The Holy Narcissist
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.
21 thoughts on “The Holy Narcissist”
Back for another bite of this cherry.
Shia Le Boeuf has apparently converted to Catholicism after finding himself in a very dark place and being privileged to be cast as a well known and well loved Catholic Saint – Padre Pio.
I was alerted by a news article that contained a snippet of a video of Shia in conversation with high profile priest Bishop Robert Barron (whom I also have doubts about).
Being a convert to the Catholic faith myself, I intend to take a look at the YT video where he is discussing his conversion and see what understanding I can grasp of the ‘holy narcissist’ in action. If he is a narcissist, which HG has confirmed, then his conversion is unlikely to be sincere or lasting unless it helps in the creation of a renewed facade which will also help further his career and lift him out of the depths he has found himself in. He mentions shame in the interview, but my understanding is that narcissists are unable to confront their sense of shame and so project, or pass it on, to others. I would love to believe a true conversion was possible, but I fear the narcissism prevents any element of that occurring. In other words, it’s all for show, but perhaps in the narcissist’s mind it is believed. I don’t know what type of narcissist HG has classified him as for now.
Anyway, I want to see how a narcissist describes and perceives their conversion to the Catholic faith. Will a lack of sincerity reveal itself? How convincing will he be? How convinced will I be after listening to it? Knowing he’s a narc, I’m not likely to be convinced, but I’d imagine there are many of Bishop Barron’s followers who will consider it to be true and Barron himself may be none the wiser. Discernment? Dying art.
I have listened to the video, taken some notes and now want to access HG’s assessment, but the bad news is I can’t! YT has shut down your channel, HG, and I have no idea how you feel, but I am more than a little upset by that 🙁 None of your hard work on the newer Ultra channel can be accessed right now and I’m sure I’m not the only one who will mention it here, or on YT for that matter. A couple of channels have reported on it giving people an opportunity to vent, but the sudden closure has left us all in a bit of a quandry. Thankfully, you retain your rights here and can speak freely. I trust the arbitrary shutdown is not permanent and you can overcome the issue that brought it about. Some say copyright is being given as a reason, others that it’s the wicked witch of Sussex and her minions. You’ve lasted this long without interference from her, but there could be a link. It’s a tenuous world we live in right now when it comes to complaints and cancellations. You won’t be the first and likely not the last. My wish is it’s only temporary.
The good news is your work can still be accessed here and on your old YT site. For now I intend to purchase “A Very Pitiful Narcissist” via Gumroad so I can broaden my understanding around Shia and your take on his narcissism.
It’s been an interesting conversation with him on YT, too bad your own work has been withdrawn 🙁
In the meantime you have my support for the work you do and have done xo
Thank you, LET. There will be a blog post addressing this very shortly.
I see many of us are concerned. Hopefully the blog post will be reassuring for one and all and the explanation won’t be too daunting. We can’t lose your voice in a world crying out for the advice and understanding you provide.
Having accessed HG’s insight on Shia LaBeouf, I’m now going to see if I can add a little insight of my own on his conversion experience after watching the Bishop Barron interview.
First off, there are many and varied ways people come to such a decision and I can only view it through my own lens of having made the same decision. This doesn’t qualify me in any way to judge the path or experience of others, but it does allow me to consider the difference in my own experience and that of the alleged narcissist.
One of the first things to take into consideration is the fact that Shie LeBeouf is due to stand trial in April 2023 with regard to abuse allegations made against him. HG has provided the information surrounding the complaint in his assessment of LeBeouf which I was able to access via Gumroad. This, to me, appears to be the first red flag around his conversion story. He is in trouble and needs a way out. What better way out than a glowing character reference in order to escape the consequences of his actions? Who better to have as back up in the circumstances than clergy who can attest to a sincere change of heart? That’s one of my first thoughts.
Another thought is that many people find themselves in predicaments of one kind or another when they finally turn to God. That was my experience, though that was based on a ‘love’ predicament and not a ‘legal’ one. Needless to say, it’s often an occasion of trouble or distress that opens the door to faith.
From what I could gather, LaBeouf was involved in some type or rehabilitation or support group online and someone mentioned Padre Pio to him. This was before the movie offer came his way, but when it did he ran with it. He had been ostracised by everyone who knew him, including his mother, so he saw it as his chance and describes it as his ego showing up. He freely admits he sees it as an opportunity to redeem himself, get his career back on track with his ego being part of that. This type of honesty could also be read as an aspect of genuineness. It’s where I feel the need to be careful in my own assessment as I don’t necessarily perceive them in the same way. Regardless of that, God works in mysterious ways and there have been some very odd calls to faith.
The stories of the Saints prove that and this is where LeBeouf finds another inroad into the Catholic faith. He not only visits Catholic sites as part of his impending immersion into his new role, but he also begins reading about the Saints. From my experience, for anyone choosing the become a Catholic this will often provide inroads. It is an overwhelming experience to take in the centuries of notables who turned their lives around and ultimately offered them to Christ and the Church. Here we have to tread carefully as we know that narcissism can’t be discounted from the realms of any institution. I don’t doubt the majority when it comes to the Saints, I do doubt the current Pope.
Study of the Saints is opportune for many who wish to turn their lives around. LeBeouf can see how many led a hedonistic lifestyle before their change of heart came about. Monumental stories of redemption and the possibility of reinventing yourself in the process. I have to wonder if Shia is hoping to reinvent himself for the purposes of his career and the purposes of his upcoming trial.
That’s a lot to begin with and I will be adding more if HG allows. For now, I think it’s time to take a break as it’s also somewhat disheartening to me to have to dismiss the possibility of a genuine conversion experience.
It’s a bit like talking to yourself, but just wanted to continue my observations here.
Shia LaBeouf has been welcomed into the Catholic community. This is obvious from both his current enthusiasm and those who have stepped in to support him. They see his interest and enthusiasm as genuine and hope to enhance his journey of conversion. This mirrors my own experience, and at times the level of welcome and support can be overwhelming. I’ve shared one of those experiences elsewhere here where others enthusiasm for my journey almost made becoming a Catholic a frightening prospect. It didn’t deter me, but I needed the process to slow down.
I read some of the commentary below the YT interview and found many people enthusiastic about LaBeouf and his journey, offering hope and prayer in support of him. This is as it should be in the normal run of things, but all I could think is what if these genuinely caring people are being duped by no less than a charlatan and Bishop Barron is enabling LaBeouf in his quest for fuel, character traits and residual benefits.
I’ve felt the same way here occasionally when new people have arrived, often being welcomed enthusiastically and with genuine warmth. Then, in a moment unforseen, the mask suddenly slips and the narcissist reveals themselves. it happens. Empaths want the best for others and will root for them to succeed. Both aware and unaware narcissists will take advantage of that. It’s where discernment comes in.
My understanding from HG’s assessment of LaBeouf is that he is an unaware narcissist. That means his current walk towards conversion will be believed by him and be presented as genuine. He is ticking all the boxes, going so far as to admit a degree of fault in the case currently pending against him and also in writing a ‘prayerful’ email in response to Olivia Wilde after she made claims she fired him from a recent role. It all looks on the surface like a true change of heart.
I was somewhat taken aback recently when I saw an image a photographer caught of him seemingly putting his hand up his wife’s shirt while they were out in public. I didn’t know of his conversion story then, I just thought that looks inappropriate, even if it is his wife.
HG, I appreciate you allowing me to share my thoughts here. I’m trying to put my understanding of what we have been taught into action. I don’t have much background on Shia LaBeouf’s past as the focus of “A Very Pitiful Narcissist” was mainly focused on the court case and abuse allegations. He did mention some elements of his background in his interview and that might lead to further thoughts here as well.
Apparently news is blowing up everywhere, both within and outside the Church, over the news of LeBeouf’s conversion. There have always been notable divisions between the secular (non-religious) and religious, but there’s are also what could be termed “modernists” and “traditionalists” in the Catholic Church. Shia LeBeouf has set a cat among the pigeons within the church by all accounts, choosing to favour the traditional Latin Mass in his conversion which Pope Francis is currently attempting to quash. There we have the narcissistic dynamic in a nutshell. Division. What better way to orchestrate a level of control.
It could be said that his journey of conversion led him to this place, at this time – he’s playing Padre Pio after all who apparently only ever celebrated the old, or Latin Mass, and not the new Mass, or Novus Ordo instigated after Vatican II. I didn’t know that and just discovered it now. That’s for a bit of background as to how things tie together. Shia LeBeouf finds himself in a position where he is bringing one of the current divisions in the Catholic Church into the mainstream. Though many people choose the Latin Mass, and it has become more popular, discussions around it are not normally held outside of Church circles. Shia LeBeouf has given it a more general profile now, including with the film, which will bring it into sharp relief in many ways with where the Church is headed under Pope Francis.
It could be pure happenstance these events are occurring, LeBeouf is not a Greater according to HG, so unable to plan his actions in a way to have any great influence. Then again, if we look at HW who is also unaware, she consistently sets the cat among the pigeons causing distress and mayhem. How does the unaware narcissist do it? HW has created an enormous amount of division among people. Shia LeBeouf’s decision is also highlighting aspects of division both within and outside of the Church. Both secular and religious organisations are picking up on his conversion story.
One, a magazine called “Slate” with an article headlined, “Why Shia LeBeouf’s conversion to Catholicism is So Scandalous” by Molly Olmstead states “The Latin Mass, which the actor claims attracted him to the practice, is deeply controversial.” One lay (not involved with priestly ministry) Catholic tweeted “I wonder what was Bishop Barron’s response against this contemptuous caricature of the liturgy of the Church celebrated in the vernacular language by 99% of Catholics around the world every day.”
A final tweet I will share came from the editor of a Catholic magazine who said “It’s super cool to hear about Shia LeBeouf’s conversion to Catholicism and the TLM (Traditional Latin Mass) connection, but I hope people can leave him alone about it for a bit. Conversion is an intimate thing and people should give him time for the mustard seeds to grow before calling for his testimony.” The voice of reason and my sentiments exactly. There is no need to be up in arms about Shia LeBeouf’s impressions, what Mass he attends, where he goes from here. It is a deeply personal journey, one that takes time to embed and not everyone stays the course. There is a story in the Bible about seeds falling to the ground and how they grow, whether they grow. This ‘storm in a teacup’ mentality gets a little wearing after a while. HW likes to create storms in teacups as well. If it’s not deliberate, what is it?
Narcissism and its effects are truly insidious.
I hope you see this response to an older article from 2020 – way back …
I reread the conversation around Pope Francis and I’m intrigued to see HG has commented on your comment as well. I haven’t listened to the Chuck Bastie interview yet, but I’ll look forward to checking it out with the new evidence which has obviously come to hand. Wow! That would be one Holy Narcissist indeed.
Thanks for alerting me and MommyPino <3
Perfect description of Rev. Carus Wilson, who founded the school for clergymen’s daughters four Bronte sisters attended. Charlotte and Emily survived it.
This is my dad. And my covert mom as his faithful wife, herself a preacher’s kid who hated growing up under the microscope but chose that life to raise her own children under. After my Biblical timeframe of 40+ years trying to placate the madman, I have my freedom at long last.
Hellfire Caves spring my mind as I re-read this article.
You must be thinking of the Unholy Narcissist, AspEmp 😉
LET, laughing. 😉
Orh me god, yas! We gotta lurve a bit of A Very Narc History Special by the delectable HG Tudor 🙂
Oh, please, HG, I know this would be a masterpiece!
The fooking holy narcissist, my arse!
Dearest Asp Emp,
My young innocent radar sensed something not quite right at Sunday school 😇
I left the flock 😂
Luv Bubbles xx 😘
Bubbles, I remember having a copy of the ‘Holy Bible’ as a child (it ‘lived’ on my bedside table for a while), I honestly do not know where it went (LOL), nor know where it came from in the first place (LOL). And, no, I never read it either. Boring, no pictures 😉 There is a very large, old family one – massive thing, that I think my sister has (I would have liked to have had the opportunity to look at it properly, no, that was never ‘offered’). I am glad that I never ‘belonged’ to a flock either. Lovely to hear from you, Bubbles xx 🙂
Dearest Asp Emp,
There’s the difference, I had a copy of “What they don’t tell you in the Bible” 🤣
My best two girlfriends are Catholic and break all the rules, I’m atheist and follow all the rules …..how the “hell” does that happen ? 🤔
Luv Bubbles xx 😘
Bubbles, hilarious! You have reminded me of those letters I got from a ‘bible-reading’ “club”. Naturally, I did not reply, either time 😉
Well, I cannot answer your question, Bubbles. I am a “rule” breaker / ‘abider’ myself 😉 It depends, I decide, as appropriate, of course 😉
This makes so much sense it’s scary but in a good way.