Shaming It is very difficult to deal with problems with the narcissist because they will not admit to anything. They will say, “I don’t remember that”, or try to convince you that you are mistaken or misguided in your thinking somehow. The narcissist will say, “you’re accusing me of something I didn’t do”. This denial effectively shuts down any avenue to resolve issues with them. A favorite tactic of the narcissist is shaming the victim. The victim is denied validation and truth. During the relationship the narcissist gathers information about the weaknesses of the victim or other types of vulnerable information and will make a plan to attack these weaknesses if the victim gets out of hand. One that a narcissist spouse used against me toward the end of our marriage was “you’re crazy just like your dad”.
What I am noticing as I work with children in my workplace is the very young narcissist child. Some narcissist patterns that I am seeing is dominant attention getting behavior, the repeated testing of individuals, the pushing of boundaries, and the request for feedback. One example is the young narcissist repeatedly asking another child “do you like me?”. If the other child finally says ‘no’ the young narcissist will change their behavior a little and ask again “do you like me now?”. In this way the narcissist child is learning about what it takes to manipulate the thinking of others. The narcissist child will dominate interactions with adults to the exclusion of other children. They will talk constantly, repeatedly ask questions of the adult, or do something that the narcissist child has learned will force the adult to turn their attention onto them. I am noticing that this child is very capable and has a high intelligence for their age. When I initially began to identify this child as a narcissist personality I was surprised to find the disorder in someone so young. My thinking now is that some people are born with this personality disorder.
The information that I am reading online states that the narcissist personality disordered individual does not have guilt, conscience, or normal emotional feelings. Often times they deal with internal anger over some perceived offense. The narcissist can interact and show little emotion. They can be seething inside and display little or no telltale signs. Our current culture in the West admires this trait and likes to label it ’emotional intelligence’. This allows the narcissist to climb the ladder to positions of authority and power in society. We admire people who can handle themselves ‘properly’.
Looking at the church I don’t think that the proportion of narcissism disordered individuals in the congregation is much different than in secular society. These individuals will likely gravitate to positions of power or influence in the church. They are not easily spotted or identified by someone who has not had their eyes opened to this disorder. Churches need to be aware that this personality disorder exists especially if they engage in the counseling of individuals, families, and marriages.