On Narcissism

“Samuel…  said, ‘…thou [Saul] shalt go down…  to Gilgal; and…  I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings…  seven days shalt thou tarry till I come to thee and shew thee what thou shalt do.’  …And he tarried seven days…  as soon as he [Saul] had made an end of offering…  behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him that he might salute him.  And Samuel said, ‘What hast thou done?’  And Saul said, ‘Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed…  I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.    Samuel said to Saul, ‘Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God…  But now thy kingdom shall not continue…  And Samuel arose, and gat him up from Gilgal unto Gibeah…’

1 Sam. 10:1, 8; 13:8, 10-15



Order of Contents

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Traits of Narcissists & Narcissistic Groups & Churches

Kristen Hamling, PhD

1. Considers themself intelligent, confident and self-assured
2. Believes they are unique and special
3. Is unable to empathize
4. Has a grandiose sense of self
5. Always thinks they’re right
6. Manipulates, blames and gaslights
7. Has an excessive need for praise and admiration
8. Displays a sense of entitlement
9. Uses criticism and bullying to acheive their goals




Kristen Hamling, PhD

“Know a Narcissist?  Learning how to self-advocate and set boundaries is critical for your well-being.

I’ve been a psychologist for over 20 years, and I have a Ph.D. in the field of psychology, and yet it took me two years of therapy to understand that I was in an unhealthy relationship.  Constantly trying to rescue a relationship by apologizing and surrendering your needs to take care of the other person can leave you exhausted—especially if the person has a complex personality such as narcissim.  The trauma bond, or the narcissistic abuse cycle that accompanies narcissism, often results in post-traumatic stress symptoms, anxiety, and depression.

Sometimes you will have to walk away from the narcissistic relationship because the short-term pain of ending the relationship will result in long-term gain for your health and well-being.


What Is Narcissism?

When someone displays extreme narcissistic characteristics, such as the case with a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), then problems can start to arise.  People diagnosed with NPD consider themselves as self-assured, intelligent, confident individuals, with a strong sense of right and wrong. However, in reality, someone living with NPD is often a deeply insecure person who has a profound lack of confidence and self-esteem.  This is often a result of childhood trauma, genetics, and an insecure attachment style.

For example, someone born with an anxious temperament who has self-absorbed and emotionally unavailable parents grows up fiercely independent, believing that they have to take care of themselves and prove to the world that they are worthwhile and special.

NPD is a serious mental health condition with complex symptoms such as an inability to empathize, diminished self-reflection and insight, and an excessive need for praise and admiration. Although there are different types of narcissism (e.g., covert/vulnerable or grandiose) the root cause of the problem is often the same.

Narcissism does not allow people to fully understand or regulate their emotions. You might know some people who must control their environment or avoid feelings such as shame or rejection.

Narcissists are less interested in team harmony and success, and more interested in using others to pursue their own agenda.

Many narcissists will take responsibility for others’ accomplishments.  They set perfectionistic standards and are often workaholics.  They may even use bullying tactics to achieve their goals.  For example, withholding information to sabotage coworkers’ performance, persistently criticizing, and spreading gossip.  The covert and vulnerable narcissist is more likely to act vindictively—make sure you keep records of conversations and limit information provided to them.

Narcissism can lead to serious mental health issues such as burnout, compassion fatigue, depression, and anxiety.  A narcissistic boss can erode your self-esteem, make you feel incompetent, and cause you to lose trust in yourself and others.  If you are not careful, narcissism can also damage your career.

Narcissists aren’t just confined to the workplace—often, the people we love the most display tendencies…


There Is Nothing Wrong With You

Truthfully, having a relationship with a narcissist can make you feel like there is something seriously wrong with you. But you’re not the monster they make you out to be.  Elinor Greenberg, therapist and author of the book Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration and Safety, explains that when narcissists feel good about you (or more accurately that you are making them feel good about themselves), they see you as special.  Then you do something “wrong” (e.g., say “no” to one of their requests), and suddenly you’re bad and worthless.

Therefore, people with NPD only see people (including themselves) in one of two ways: Either they are special, unique, perfect, and entitled (High Status); or they are defective, worthless, garbage (Low Status).  Boundaries are your best friend if you want to stay connected to your truth when in a relationship with a narcissist.


Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries

Maintaining boundaries can be particularly challenging when communicating with a narcissist. Narcissists are masterful at blurring boundaries. Paul Mason and Randi Kreger, authors of the top-selling book Stop Walking on Eggshells, developed what they call the broken record technique to help people maintain boundaries when communicating with difficult personalities.

The broken record technique helps you avoid the white noise (gaslighting) produced by the narcissist by staying focused on the issue at hand.  Going back to Barry and Fiona, you can see how Barry could have used the broken record technique to enforce his boundaries.

Fiona: “You always do this; you never make me a priority in your life.  You’re so selfish.  You knew I’ve been looking forward to tonight.  Why are you choosing to go out with another woman on our date night?”

Barry: “I know you’re disappointed and I’m hearing that you want to spend time together.  We will have our date night tomorrow night, but right now it’s important to me that I see my friend.”

Fiona: “But you’re choosing to go out with another woman on our date night.  Are you having an affair with her?”

Barry: “It’s concerning that you think that, and we can absolutely discuss these issues later if you want.  But as I said, right now it’s important that I see my friend.”

Fiona: “You’re not listening, I don’t want you to go out with her.”

Barry: “I know you’re disappointed, but as I said, it’s really important to me that I see my friend and we’ll have our date night tomorrow night.”

No matter what Fiona throws at Barry, he’s going to repeat the same thing, just like a broken record.  Barry doesn’t get caught up in the white noise and he remembers “just because they say it doesn’t mean it’s true.”  Fiona is triggered and stressed, and she is struggling to manage her own emotions.  By staying calm, respectful, and assertive, Barry has a greater chance of getting his needs met.


Safety & Self-Care

When your boundaries stop the narcissist from getting their needs met, it can result in a high level of stress and hurt for them.  Self-care is critical when dealing with the narcissist because as the saying goes, hurt people hurt people.  If the narcissist is someone in your family or close circle, be sure to spend time with other people, go to yoga, go to therapy, eat well, and remember, you are not responsible for their emotions.  Sometimes you will have to walk away from the narcissistic relationship because the short-term pain of ending the relationship will result in long-term gain for your health and well-being.

Julie Hall, author of The Narcissist in Your Life, argues that the narcissistic mentality of superiority and entitlement results in scapegoating people who are different.  Scapegoating increases conflict and tribal thinking and reduces diversity, collaboration, and cooperation…

Remain objective, don’t approach the narcissist with high emotions, and choose your battles.  For example, know when to play the game and know when to stand up to the narcissist.  You may benefit from aligning yourself with people you trust and who will support you if the narcissist tries to undermine you or steal your ideas.

Recognizing narcissism will not only protect your mental health, but it can help to protect your career as well.

No matter how much hurt we cause each other, we should default back to compassion, but with boundaries.  Narcissism is actually a front for deeply vulnerable and insecure people.  Boundaries and self-care are paramount when dealing with narcissism, but anger and retaliatory behaviors serve no one well in the long run.  It is possible to have a healthy relationship with people who have complex personalities and maintain compassion for their pain, but awareness and boundaries are advised.

Get away if you can, NOTHING will ever be enough for them and everyone around them is seen as existing just to meet their needs and extravagant demands.  They are the center of a web in which anyone close gets sucked in to cater to them.  Woe to everyone around them if they aren’t the CENTER of attention.

It will drain you till there is nothing left and you often loose everything else in your life, even your own self.”




“Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep…  And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.  But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen…

And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, ‘Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.’  And Samuel said, ‘What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?’  And Saul said, ‘They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.’  …And Samuel said, ‘…Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?’  And Saul said unto Samuel, ‘Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord…  But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen…’  And Samuel said, ‘…For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.’  And Saul said unto Samuel, ‘I have sinned…  because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.  Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.’

And Samuel said unto Saul, ‘I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.’  And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent.  And Samuel said unto him, ‘The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.  And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.’

Then he said, ‘I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God.’  So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LordAnd Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

1 Sam. 15:3, 7, 9, 12-35




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