Someone may feel that is unlikely to have the word ‘spiritual’ and ‘narcissism’ together. As unlikely as it sounds Spiritual Narcissism is common. For the sake of this article I will keep this generic and not apply this subject to a singular practice or religion. Spiritual Narcissism can be found everywhere from Christianity to New Age to Esotericism and any Indigenous tradition. It is recognizing spiritual narcissism that we will be able to limit our interactions and distance ourselves from people of this nature and focus on our own growth.
Narcissism by definition is an individual that exhibits one or more of the following characteristics:
an inability to accept criticism
excessive need for admiration
belief they’re special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
excessively preoccupied with themselves, includes their feelings and needs and will not consider the advise of others
a sense of entitlement
There are many other characteristics that attribute to narcissism, but the key factor here is when a narcissist will use spiritual concepts to justify their actions, way of living, thinking, and believing. That is primarily what Spiritual Narcissism entails. Spiritual narcissist have a way of taking spiritual concepts and twisting it to justify the things they wish to do. They will remove logic and reason and do what they want, when they want, and justify their actions behind “intuition” and “spirituality” claiming it as the guiding force to their decision making. The issue with this type of behavior is the effects it has on the individual, the people around them, and the spiritual practice they say they uphold. I do wish to note that their are many degrees to Spiritual Narcissism. Some may suffer a minor form and those individuals are salvageable. Then others are so far gone that you need to leave them where they are. What makes the minor form salvageable is the possibility of change. They have not gone far off the wagon.
Many people who suffer the minor form are naturally intuitive and do showcase spiritual gifts and a love for spirituality, the issue is when they do not grasp the ignorance and stubbornness of their ideas. Furthering they as mention place themselves into position of hard lessons. They will mold any situation to appear in their favor as if it was “divine” all along working for their desire. So even if they end up not doing what they fully desired because the situation landed differently they will justify their poor decision as being correct all because they received what they want. They will focus on the outlook that will not make them acknowledge the opposite route they should have taken and ended up needing to do all along. Now some may think “how are people like that have a chance of saving”. It’s slim chance but possible with the right conditions. Ultimately these people are consumed by their own world. They don’t showcase the worst form of narcissism which is envy. People with the minor form are wrapped around helping but on their terms and their ways and to their comforts. It is just a heavy dose of selfishness but not to the extreme that they won’t acknowledge the good deeds and accomplishment of others. I think we all know people of this nature which is why we can continue to show unconditional love to them.
At an individual level, Spiritual Narcissism feeds the ego of a person & increases stubborn nature. A growing ego will make anyone feel they can do as they please. Spiritual narcissist are the first to do that and then hide behind “the universe” or “God” or “my intuition” is guiding me. They are gun hold to the point of excluding valid opinions that can advise differently. Consistent pursuance of not allowing criticism only breeds stubbornness. As the saying goes, “A stubborn head makes a soft ass”. The hard lessons that are met will be tough blows. If a person has a minor form of spiritual narcissism they can potentially become mindful of their stubbornness flaw. One who has a larger form will suffer. The irony is that a spiritual narcissist will seek out lessons intentionally and place themselves in uncomfortable situation. They will do so to prove a point that they are “spiritually evolved”. Follow by sharing their uncomfortable experience to their peers to prove that they have triumph and as a result be admired by their peers for their experience. To place yourself intentionally into situation to learn a lesson is folly because not everything is a lesson.
Authentic spiritual people do not last long or resort to trying to change a spiritual narcissist. The reason is because a spiritual narcissist will suffer mentally because of their own choices. Spiritual narcissist have a hard time keeping relationships and only have long term relationships with people who reflect them. Like attracts like so spiritual narcissist will hang around with people who are “like minded” and can only be understood by other “spiritual people” that live and believe the things they do. For authentic people, eventually catch on to facade of a spiritual narcissist. It catches on because the spiritual narcissist will always commit an act of betrayal in one form or another to a suppose friend, or partner. Authentic spiritual people will soon see that the the spiritual narcissist not only betrayed their trust but projects nothing but envy towards the authentic spiritualist.
A spiritual narcissist can not help but envy and desire the natural connection, love, and discipline relationship with spirituality that an authentic spiritual person has. An authentic spiritual person will grow and come to see the lack of authenticity in individuals and begin to distance themselves. It is at this point the spiritual narcissist will attempt to justify within themselves why they are better off without you, but before that they will have a growing anxiety and bouncing back and forth in their minds. They will ask themselves if they have been unveiled because a spiritual narcissist doesn’t love themselves enough to change, they fear change. To change you have to accept criticism from others and Spirit. To change you have to be willing to put to action to work on your faults. Remember the spiritual narcissist won’t accept criticism not even from Spirit because they believe they are Spirit.
People who suffer from spiritual narcissism are perturb individuals. Perturb individual suffer from degrees of anxiety and paranoia which are the energetic consequences of their actions. They will hold on to the idea that they spats of anxiety are part of the burdens of being “spiritual”. So they will neglect applying proper care which can include real professional help. They reject criticism of professional help because again how they feel, believe, and govern is lead by Spirit, or so they say but it’s Ego. These are clear signs of not acknowledging authority. Rebels are heart they have a fear of being controlled. The fear of being control makes them detrimental to society. How is that so? A person who preaches on wanting to no boundaries and total freedom will not be able to respect the boundaries of others. A wild man or woman who is unable to learn to live in society and balance their own spiritual nature is a detriment to themselves and others. They are the spiritual narcissist whose detriment of themselves and others comes in the form of self sabotaging behavior and decision making. This all goes back to intentional choices of placing oneself in uncomfortable situation to seek a lesson.
This article is not intended to help point out that ultimately these types of individuals are driven either by an idea of self importance or a sense of shame they need to surmount. The point is for you to be able to spot it within yourself and others and then do something about it. Make the change, wall away from individuals of this nature. They do not serve your highest wellbeing. Nor becoming a spiritual narcissist will help your well being either.