disobedience to parents

What Does The Bible Say About Narcissistic Behavior? – Part Two

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Disobedience To Parents

This past Sunday, I started a series based on the work of Christine Louis de Canonville that contrasts and compares what St. Paul says to Timothy two thousand years ago with today’s psychological understanding of narcissism.

People Will Be Lovers of Themselves

Narcissism is addressed in the Bible in Paul’s second pastoral epistle to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:1-7) in the fall of A.D.67.  Paul seems to be concerned about the character and behavior of leaders within the church, so he warns Timothy to beware of those who act out of a “self-love attitude”.  He says, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away.” 

Here Paul names many of the attributes associated (in psychology) today with the narcissistic personality we are all becoming so familiar with.  Today, I illustrate the Narcissist’s refusal to respect authority, even that of his or her parents.  Let’s see what St. Paul had to say in comparison to today’s field of psychology:

St. Paul says: Disobedient to parents.

Psychology says:  In the context of the Bible, the parent represents “authority”.  The narcissist does not bow to any authority; they see life in terms of self-entitlement in the pursuit of serving their own needs.  For that reason, their inner drive is not driven by community values, actually they sneer at them. They do not respect an authority that endeavors to constrain them and make them accountable for their actions; on the contrary, they prefer to live by their own flexible laws and rules of engagement where they are the “authority”.  They dedicate their waking time to the constant pursuit of acquiring their own personal authority, and this can be achieved by any means available to them: through their immediate family, the workplace, friends, collogues, peers, etc.  Indeed any type of relationship that guarantees their flow of Narcissistic Supply will suffice, and in the procurement of their much-needed supply, the narcissist will gladly misuse their authority in order to reach their goal. 

Furthermore, the narcissist sees himself as a guru, and therefore is inclined to encourage a personality cult following from all their relationships.  Then like all cult leaders, they demand total obedience and control over their dominion.  ** Written by The Roadshow for Therapists

If you haven’t come in contact with a Narcissist, you may wonder how anyone can disrespect their parents or what that might look like.  As for myself, I’ve never raised my voice at my parents, nor cursed them, nor blamed them.  In fact, I would never even consider it.  I’d bet you wouldn’t, either.  A Narcissist not only considers it, they put all the above into action on a regular basis.  They have no qualms about consistently lying to their parents, raising their voice to them, and even cursing them.

There are many different religions, but there is absolutely no doubt as to how we are to deal with our parents.  However, even The Word of God holds no meaning to a Narcissist.

**Parents are often narcissists, themselves.  In that case, their adult children are simply living out what they learned growing up.  The fact is, narcissism does run in families.  If you have a partner, new or otherwise, who displays these behaviors, you can expect the same treatment, if you aren’t getting it already.  

See Part Three: What Does The Bible Say About Narcissistic Behavior? Part 3 – Traitors

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navigator1965 says October 8, 2013

Another interesting post with a great thesis. I should point out that the little old lady who never misses a Sunday church service and who is always well dressed for church could be a narcissist. Building on what you’ve written, she would want to be seen as being devoted as opposed to genuinely caring about spirituality.

    Kim Raya says October 9, 2013

    Absolutely. It’s all about image to them. Sadly, the people who aren’t in their inner circle of misery fall for the false image, and are often pulled into the Narcissist’s web of deceit, becoming sympathizers.

      navigator1965 says October 9, 2013

      Indeed. They are the great deceives.

New Beginnings says October 8, 2013

This does not apply if one of your parents is a narcissist. It is very confusing to grow up in a house with a narcissistic parent and spend a lifetime trying to apply the truths that you write here. The parents are the first people in a child’s life that they learn to trust.

    Kim Raya says October 8, 2013

    Good point. I should add this into my post.

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