Episode #85: Why are Christians so Narcissstic?

Dr. Connie Omari

Hello, hello, and welcome to the Black Marriage and Family Therapy Matters podcast, where we are committed to breaking toxic relationship patterns and cycles in the black community. One black family at a time.

Today’s episode is extremely important because it is about a concept that I don’t think anyone is talking about. Not only are we talking about narcissism, but we’re also talking about religious narcissism. Why do I think it’s important to discuss religious narcissism? Well, let me tell you a little bit about what is happening with blacks and religion. Historically and currently, blacks still identify very heavily with religion, specifically Christianity, and we are seeing the most Baptists and Methodists in the Pentecostal tradition ever. We are also seeing a growing trend towards Islam and non-denominational Christian affiliates. The church also plays a very critical role in social, cultural, and political activities and agendas that are present in the black community. Our faith continues to serve as a source of resilience in the black community, which helps offset many of the oppressive dynamics that still affect the black community stemming from the historical institution of slavery. The church continues to be active in civil rights. And finally, the church serves as a useful tool to help with many of the healing practices that occur within the black community. So why is this a problem? Well, for individuals who are narcissists and religious, they will use their religious affiliation to exercise control, manipulation, and dominance over their victims, thereby qualifying them to be practicing religious narcissism. This is what religious narcissism looks like. Religious narcissists will use religious narcissism to help them with personal gain.

This could include things like financial contributions, luxurious gifts, or anything monetary that will elevate and exploit them. They may also claim exclusive spiritual rights. What this looks like is that they proclaim to have this spiritual insight or spiritual belief that other people don’t have access to. And they find a way to manipulate them and explain to them that they should feel inferior if they don’t hold those same religious values. They might be at a culturally relevant event or a church-related event and do excessive things to attract attention to themselves so that they can be superior, more pronounced, and more dominant than other people. This means that they are practicing religious narcissists; they will have judgmental attitudes; and they will simply look down upon people who don’t hold the same religious or spiritual mindsets that they do. They will use this to exploit, dominate, and control, and sometimes even manipulate and converse with people into either believing as they do or pretending to believe as they do, because the pressure of dealing with their dominance and control can be so overwhelming that they can manipulate others in the same way non-religious narcissists behave. In other words, they will manipulate people with the sole agenda of getting their own way, but they will do so through acts of spiritual manipulation and control. An example of this is sexual practice. Religious narcissism could easily manipulate a child and make the child perform sexual acts of belief if they’re not honoring authority figures. We also see this in relationships when narcissistic men, and as we know, men are more likely to be narcissistic than women, might use their position as a man to control and dominate their wife or significant other, who is female, and utilize religious scripture to justify their religious narcissism.

And finally, we can expect to see religious elitism. In other words, it’s the belief that their religion is the only way to salvation and that their religion, which in this case is more than likely Christianity, is more dominant than other religions. I hope that this was helpful. If you or anyone else could use this information, I kindly ask that you share it so that we can reach as many people as possible. If it was helpful and if you found any value in it, please comment, like, and subscribe. Thank you so much for joining and supporting our community. Peace and blessings, Dr.O.