Tag Archives: narcissistic personality disorder

A Primer on Narcissism

As I’ve mentioned before, clergy with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or even just narcissistic personality traits, can have a devasting effect on a parish and the spiritual lives of parishioners and other clergy.

Dealing with clergy suffering with NPD is a challenge and few of us are equipped to do so effectively. This is why I’m posting Anna Kucirkova’s essay What You Need To Know About Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I found the information helpful and I hope you do as well.

Here’s the introduction:

Narcissism is a word we usually throw around for people who take one too many selfies or double take when they walk by a mirror or a reflective building.

But narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a serious psychological disorder that involves patterns of self-centered thinking–but not quite in the way we think. Instead, people with NPD typically have a lack of empathy and consideration for other people, coupled with an excessive need for affirmation, admiration, or acknowledgment.

These needs may come across as cocky, manipulative, selfish, patronizing, or demanding. This may manifest itself in professional, personal, and romantic relationships, which can lead to problems that are far more serious and diverse than someone being “a little too into” their own selfies.

In order to help you better understand the disorder, we’re going to dive into the what, why, and how of NPD.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

Clergy and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Last week I was in Nashville, TN for the American Association for Christian Counselors World Conference. One of the most interesting presentations I heard was on clergy and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Though the presenter focused on NPD among Protestant clergy (Presbyterian Church of Canada) I think the paper’s analysis has a more general application.

As for why NPD can be a significant concern in pastoral care, Ball and Puls write (citations deleted):

The problem is insidious. Pastors are trusted with our most intimate life details, are invited into our most difficult times, and are seen as trusted spiritual and relational advisors. How, then, can a pastor who requires praise and adulation, who feels no empathy for the people who support him, and who manipulates others for the sole purpose of meeting his own voracious needs be that person? Christ’s example of “you shall love your neighbour as yourself” would be comprehensible only at a dim intellectual level.

You can find the paper is available online. If you have the time and inclination I would encourage you to read it.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

Ball, R. Glen and Puls, D (2015) Let Us Prey: The Frequency of Narcissistic Personality Disorder among Pastors.