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Who Are Narcissists?

by Dr. Sidney W. Langston

Narcissism is a personality trait and/or disorder which involves destructive vanity and self absorption. It is generally a defense mechanism to conceal unresolved emotional wounds such as repeated shamings and feelings of inferiority. Narcissism is found with equal frequency among men and women.


Narcissistic people love to talk about themselves, displaying unrealistic opinions of their talents and abilities and exaggerating their accomplishments. They are usually outgoing; ingratiating; exhibitionistic; and preoccupied with fantasies of wealth, power, love and beauty (Psalm 73:3-9).


In spite of their seemingly high self esteem they require constant attention, even worship, from others (Isaiah 48:11b). Although they pretend to be self-sufficient, and often feel they are, in truth they depend on others for their good opinions of themselves. They always want to know how other people view their performance and what others think and feel about them (Col. 10:12). They have a powerful sense of entitlement which causes them to implicitly assume they deserve affection, praise, attention, affirmation and support regardless of their behavior (Gal. 6:3-8). They boast about their talents and abilities (sinful pride) without testing them against reality, thus often failing to develop their true aptitudes (Psalm 34:2, I Cor. 1:31, II Cor. 10:17). These self-focused people believe others should “fall at their feet” just because of who they are. Beneath this mask of self assurance they often suffer from envy, anger, boredom and frustration (Gal. 5:19, James 3:16). Some narcissists never come to know salvation through Jesus Christ because they can’t let themselves become subservient to the Lord and bow their knee to Him (Psalm 10:2).


They find protection in denying the truth about themselves and blaming others for their difficulties (Prov. 16:18). They view their problems as unique and extraordinary and believe family and friends should take pleasure in meeting their needs. At the same time they are completely oblivious to the needs or feelings of others (Gal. 6:2). For example, they might place their own minor health needs above someone else’s more serious illness.

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