Paul wrote the following New Testament verses to Timothy; concerning the character and behavior of leaders within the church, not in the world. He warned Timothy to beware that some will act out of a self-love attitude. Paul says, “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NLT)
In 2 Timothy 3 Paul named many attributes associated with today’s modern psychology term; narcissistic personality disorder. Our world is quickly becoming familiar with this disorder in record numbers.
Today we will take a look at why a narcissist uses slander.
(We are not talking about a narcissist in general, but specifically someone with narcissistic personality disorder.)
Narcissists tend to worship the fantasy of who they are in their mind. Larger than life is a good description of how to view the narcissist. They have built themself up to be greater than reality. They believe their own hype and therefore feel intrinsically superior to everyone around them. Their inflated false view of themselves (huge ego) is the foundation of their misinterpretations of reality; I refer to this as the, “I am and there is none besides me” mentality.
They feel superior in every way to everyone. This is a source of pain and envy for them whenever they feel out talked, out worked, out smarted or out done…by anyone.
Envy and jealousy are integral parts of narcissism (envy is a desire for what another person has, while jealousy is the fear that something can be taken away). Narcissists are envious of anything in others that they themselves lack (i.e. beauty, possessions, knowledge, personal qualities, power, skills, achievements, qualifications, relationships, money etc). Envy can consume them, and the list of what they covet can be endless. Envy is a feeling which can range from mild to severe, from healthy to unhealthy, from positive to negative. For example, healthy envy has positive qualities. Healthy envy acts as a valuable guide. You may see something you admire in another person and decide you will grow in wisdom or character to achieve that quality—you use it for personal growth. Healthy envy is empowering because it brings you nearer to your life’s goal, or closer to the likeness of Christ. Unhealthy envy is disempowering because it keeps you bound to a fantasy, making you blind to your own true nature. Because the narcissist is a grand actor who acts out of a false self, they suffer from a twisted heart, leaving them at the mercy of their unhealthy envy—envy that can trigger their feelings of vulnerability, shame and self-loathing. Any of these feelings can result in narcissistic injury, to which the narcissist almost always reacts with rage. In order to free themselves of such emotional turmoil and recover their equilibrium, the narcissist mirrors those intolerable feelings onto the person of their envy. Once you become the object of the narcissists envy you are in serious trouble. In order to improve their own self-image they are likely to make false allegations about your integrity, lie about your motives, or paint you as a fool. This is not innocent gossip, rather it is an intentional and premeditated character assassination that is aimed at defaming you in order to destroy your reputation and make them feel better about themselves. Be warned, they are cold, ruthless, malicious, aggressive, self-serving, uncompromising in the pursuit of their objective, and do not care about your feelings. This can be dirty politics at its best.
If your narcissist is a family member you may wonder how they can love you and destroy you at the same time. Remember: They are and there is none besides them! Although narcissists are grand actors they have a difficult time sincerely bonding and loving unconditionally; even with their own family members. Their grand acting keeps people on the outside from seeing the inside truth.
No amount of love, logic, accountability, discipline, or reasoning will get through to the narcissist. Trying to gain their understanding, attempting to bring them to repentance, or hoping for an apology is not an outcome based scenario in the life of someone with this personality disorder. In the end you will be increasingly frustrated over the time, energy, emotion, and/or finances you spent in vain. And here’s the real kicker…all your efforts simply reinforce to the narcissist that you are the irrational one.
Let me leave you with this: You are not crazy. What you’re experiencing is real. It’s wrong, it’s harmful, and it messes with our mind. Don’t allow the narcissist to place blame on you.