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How to Spot a Narcissist


By Vladimir Savchuk | May 11, 2023 | 6 mins

How to Spot a Narcissist

According to the Oxford Dictionary, “The word narcissism comes from a Greek myth in which a handsome young man named Narcissus sees his reflection in a pool of water and falls in love with it. This gives rise to the perception that narcissists have a big sense of self-importance” (2004).

Narcissism is described as the excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance. Here are the most common signs of someone dealing with this.

9 Traits of a Narcissist

  • Grandiosity

They’ll exude an exaggerated sense of self-importance and believe they are superior to others.

  • Need for admiration

They seek constant praise and validation to reinforce their inflated self-image.

  • Lack of empathy

They may struggle to understand or care about the feelings and needs of others.

  • Entitlement

Narcissists feel they deserve special treatment and may become angry or resentful if they don’t receive it.

  • Exploitative behavior

They manipulate or take advantage of others for personal gain and/or to maintain their own self-esteem.

  • Envy

Narcissists are envious of others’ achievements and believe that others are envious of them.

  • Arrogance

They display haughty or condescending attitudes toward others.

  • Fantasies of success and power

Narcissists fantasize about achieving great success, power, or admiration, without putting in the necessary effort.

  • Fragile self-esteem

Despite their outward confidence, narcissists have a fragile self-esteem that is easily threatened by criticism or perceived failure.

How to Deal With Narcissism

1. You need to know the truth before it can set you free.

In order to be free from this behavior, it’s important to know what the Bible says about the topic. It often warns against pride and arrogance (Proverbs 16:18).

It also speaks about self-centeredness. Narcissists tend to be self-absorbed and focused on their own needs, desires, and accomplishments. In Philippians 2:3-4, we’re told to not look to our own interests but to those of others.

Another thing that the Bible mentions is the need for us to have compassion and empathy (Colossians 3:12), something that comes difficult for someone that portrays the traits mentioned above.

Narcissists may also brag about their accomplishments or possessions. In contrast, the Bible cautions us against this kind of behavior (James 4:16). It also speaks about manipulation and deceit. Narcissists may manipulate others for their own gain, but the Bible emphasizes honesty and integrity (Ephesians 4:25).

When we allow the Scripture to provide the truth that goes against any narcissistic tendencies we may be facing, only then can we be set free.

2. Repent of pride, manipulation, selfishness, and boasting.

If you are battling with these traits, it’s time to take ownership of your problems. Realize that you have an inflated sense of self that needs to be addressed.

The source of your problem lies with a sinful heart that seeks only to please itself.

As you desire to change, rely on the presence of the Holy Spirit to remind you daily to give God first place in every area of your life. Once you know the truth found in the Bible, repentance is key.

Read: Reasons Why Demons Won’t Leave

3. Submit to correction.

Find trusted individuals you can rely on to be your accountability partners like pastors, mentors, or sometimes our spouse. These should be people who truly care about you and have your best interest at heart.

Give these people permission to confront you lovingly whenever you are behaving in a narcissistic manner. I am not saying this will be easy but doing this will bring about great change in your behavior and in your life.

Open yourself up to their constructive feedback and don’t shut down when they point out your shortcomings.

4. Focus on growing in humility. 

Growing in humility is not a gift or an instant miracle that occurs. In fact, change is never automatic or easy. Diligence and focus are required to see change come about.

Due to the fallen nature of man, it’s easy to feel frustrated or envious, but don’t let your missteps discourage you. Stand firm and recommit yourself to growing in to the image of Christ. Jesus said to go to Him and take His yoke because He was the One who offered rest (Matthew 11:28-29). Taking Jesus’s yoke upon ourselves is a constant process as we are continually sanctified.

5. Draw your identity from God.

Spend time each day in prayer, asking God for guidance, confessing sin, and reaffirming your trust in Him.

Center yourself at the beginning of each day by spending time refocusing on who you are according to God’s Word. Remember that He is the source of all good things and He has given every gift and ability that you possess or need in life.

Meditate on the Bible verses that you previously set out to learn regarding the character God wants to form in you. Have those trusted individuals around you to reference those to you when needed. And, ask God to change your heart, transform your character, and make you more Christlike.

The challenge with our identity is when we begin to think that the better we do, we the more our worth increases and we begin to draw our identity from our wealth or our influence. The Bible teaches us that we’re in Christ, meaning that our worth only comes from what God says (Galatians 2:20). The only way to deconstruct this trait is to redirect your mind to draw its sense of worth and value from Christ alone.

6. Deal with the issues of your childhood.

Individuals who are at risk for developing narcissism have typically experienced one or more of the following as children and need to deal with them in order to heal:

— Needs and fears were viewed as unimportant or they were even hated by their parents

— Not given appropriate praise and attention

— Neglected or emotionally or verbally abused

— Given excessive praise and were overindulged by their parents

— Spoiled

— Learned manipulative behaviors from their parents

7. Get deliverance from the spirit of pride.

According to Proverbs 16:18, pride is not just an emotion but can be a demonic spirit that manifests itself through these traits. This evil spirit needs to be renounced and cast out through deliverance.

8. Get professional counseling.

Seeing a Christian counselor is recommended for those battling narcissistic traits, as this can bring much needed inner healing and can also deal with spiritual roots of this behavior.

Sources:
T. Millon, cited in E. Ronningstam, Identifying and Understanding the Narcissistic Personality (Oxford University Press, 2005), eBook Collection (EBSCOhost).

Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Mayo Clinic, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder,” last modified November 4, 2011, www.mayoclinic.com/health/narcissistic-personality-disorder/DS00652.

Tim Clinton and Eric Scalise, The Quick-Reference Guide to Addictions and Recovery Counseling: 40 Topics, Spiritual Insights, and Easy-to-Use Action Steps (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013), 310–311.

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