Narcissist and God: Love-Hate Relationship

Uploaded 7/28/2010, approx. 4 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

The narcissist has a love-hate relationship with God. God is everything the narcissist ever wants to be. He is omnipotent, or powerful, omniscient, or knowing, omnipresent, everywhere. God is admired, much discussed, and awe-inspiring. God is the narcissist's wet dream, his ultimate grandiose fantasy.

But God comes handy in other ways as well.

Let us rewind.

The narcissist alternately idealizes and then devalues authority figures.

What greater authority figure is there than God.

In the idealization phase, the narcissist strives to emulate, to imitate authority figures. He admires them. He copies their behavior, often ludicrously. He defends them. They cannot go wrong or be wrong.

The narcissist regards these authority figures as bigger than life, infallible, perfect, whole, brilliant.

But as the narcissist's unrealistic and inflated expectations are inevitably frustrated by reality, he begins to devalue his former idols.

Now, they are merely human. They are small, fragile, error-prone, fusillanimous, mean, dumb, mediocre.

The narcissist goes through the same cycle in his relationship with God, quintessential authority figure.

But often, even when devaluation, disillusionment, and iconoclastic despair set in, the narcissist continues to pretend to love God and to follow him.

The narcissist maintains this deception because his continued adherence to God and his commandments and his continued proximity to God confer on the narcissist authority.

Priests, leaders of congregations and parishes, preachers, evangelists, cultists, politicians, and intellectuals all derive authority from their allegedly privileged relationship with God.

Religious authority allows the narcissist to indulge his sadistic urges and to exercise his misogynism, for instance, freely and openly. Such a narcissist is likely to taunt and torment his followers, hector and chastise them, humiliate and berate them for their sins, abuse them spiritually or even sexually.

The narcissist, whose source of authority is religious, is looking for obedient and unquestioning slaves upon whom to exercise his capricious and wicked mastery in the name of God.

The narcissist transforms even the most innocuous and pure religious sentiments into a cultish ritual, in a virulent hierarchy.

The narcissist, the so-called religious narcissist, preys on the gullible. His flock become his hostages.

Religious authority also secures the narcissist's narcissistic supply. He craves attention, adulation, adulation, admiration, adoration, affirmation, applause.

His co-religionists, members of his congregation, his parish, his constituency, his audience are transformed into a loyal and stable source of this narcissistic supply.

They obey his commands given in the name of God. They heed his admonitions. They follow his creed. They admire his personality. They applaud his personal traits, unblemished and impeccable. They satisfy his needs, sometimes even his carnal desires. They revere and idolize him because he's close to God.

Being a part of a bigger thing is very gratifying, narcissistically. Being a particle of God, being immersed in his grandeur, experiencing his power and blessings firsthand, communing with him, all sources of unending narcissistic supply.

It is to be omnipotent, omniscient and grand by proxy vicariously.

The narcissist becomes God by observing his commandments, by following his instructions, by loving him, by obeying him, by succumbing to him, by merging with him, by communicating with him, or even by defying him.

Even heretic narcissists, the arrived narcissistic supply from God because the bigger the narcissist's enemy, the more grandiosely important the narcissist feels.

Like everything else in the narcissist's life, he mutates God into a kind of inverted narcissist. God becomes his dominant source of narcissistic supply.

The narcissist forms a personal relationship with this overwhelming and overpowering entity in order to overwhelm and overpower others.

Narcissist becomes God vicariously by the proxy of his relationship with him.

He idealizes God. He then devalues God. He then abuses God.

This is the classic narcissistic pattern and even God himself cannot escape it and is not exempt.

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