When the Narcissist uses God Against You

Before I met the Narcissist I pretty much identified as Atheist. I grew up being somewhat forced into the Catholic religion because my mom was raised that way. I think she felt like she wanted to give my sister and I a religious experience in life… but it always felt a bit shallow to me. My dad was raised Protestant was not particularly religious (and generally made fun of the “Heathen Catholic” religion.) My sister and I had to go to CCD classes and go through first communion and confirmation. As a family we went to church together at all of the major holidays… but I never felt a connection to God, and the religious experience was very limited to what happened at church.

I was always the kid who asked “why” and “how” in my CCD classes, constantly challenging the norm. I think most of the teachers didn’t know how to respond to me… so over time religion felt like something I had to do that I didn’t enjoy. I also really disliked the aspects of a Catholic mass… I used to tell my mom that it felt like a cult being told when to sit, stand, kneel, and repeat. After making my confirmation at 16 years old I was only ever at church for christenings and funerals. I did end up taking a Bible class in college which looked at the Bible as a work of fiction. I found it fascinating and ended up reading the entire bible along with several other religious themed works like Dante’s Inferno. So I feel like I had a very good knowledge of the Christian religion with very little actual spiritual connection to it.

The Narcissist, on the other hand, grew up in a very religious community. Most of his friends and neighbors were actually LDS but his family was Christian. God and morals were something that was a part of his everyday life from the time that he was very young. He also spent a lot of time alone as a young child and he grew up feeling like God was his best friend. By the time we met he had not attended church in many years, but he read a daily bible, said grace before every meal, and regularly referenced God and Jesus in daily conversation. In the beginning I really appreciated those things about the Narcissist and I can honestly say that the way he explained his own personal connection with God inspired me to explore religion more on my own and less within the Catholic experience that I had as a kid.

However, as with many of the things that the Narcissist did he slowly began to use God and religion and in abusive and controlling way with me. Here are just a few of the examples that I can remember:

  • In the beginning, the Narcissist would guilt me and make me feel bad about my own life experiences because in his words I didn’t “appreciate the gifts that God had given me” and I didn’t “think about the vows that I would one day make to my future husband.” The Narcissist claimed that at as young as 12 years old he was thinking about how his actions would have consequences on his future wife, and made me feel like crap for not thinking that way. He claimed that we were soul mates, that God had created us for each other in Heaven and that our mission on this earth was to find each other and fulfill each other. Although he regularly made me feel like I was designed “by God” to do whatever the heck the Narcissist wanted and needed… that I was just here to complement him, not be my own unique person.
  • The Narcissist always claimed to have a deep and powerful relationship with God. He would use this all of the time to point out how God loved him, looked after him, watched over him, showed him the truth, pointed him the right direction, etc. etc. He would use this against me if he thought I was lying to him about something. He would claim that God would always let him know when something didn’t feel right and use that as proof against me. He would also claim to have dreams that were guided by God about things about me and then he would use that against me too. I can even remember a few times where he dreamed things about me that never happened and he would be mad at me for days for them claiming that if God showed him these things then there must be a reason for it.
  • The Narcissist regularly claimed that each person had their own version of the truth but that there was a constant, a “truth of the universe” which was the ultimate truth of every situation… God’s truth. The Narcissist would use this against me in many manipulative ways. For instance, if I was explaining why I was upset with something that the Narcissist did the Narcissist would claim that because I was emotional about the topic, I could not see the “Truth of the Universe.” He would then claim that because he was good at separating emotions from truth, he was more in-tuned to the “Truth of the Universe” than I was. So this became his methodology for proving that he was right and I was wrong in pretty much every situation.
  • The Narcissist once got mad at me at my uncle’s funeral for instinctively making the sign of the cross at my uncle’s graveside service… because “that was a Catholic thing and we were now Christian.” He didn’t speak to me for the rest of the day and claimed that I was nothing but a “Chameleon who would do anything to fit into a crowd.”
  • The Narcissist also tried to push his beliefs onto my family and looked down at them for not being religious. If we went to Thanksgiving at their house, he insisted on saying grace for the table before the meal. This used to irk me because I believe that everyone has a right to whatever they believe, and I do not like pushing my own beliefs on others. My family very sweetly went along with it even though this is not something that they would generally practice themselves.
  • The Narcissist believed himself to be special and unique in many ways, but one of those ways was spiritual. He regularly believed and shared that God has a special purpose for him life. He regularly believed that he was receiving special guidance, messages, dreams, etc. from God and his angels. His ego was fed by his mother who pretty regularly used their Native American heritage as a way to bring Shamans, healers, Reiki Masters, light workers, etc. into the Narcissist’s life. Many of which “told him” that he was special for a number of different reasons. I believe that this has ultimately manifested itself in the Narcissist’s most recent life calling.
  • Even still, the Narcissist pretty regularly claims to be “praying for me” and lets me know that his various healers and other contacts are “worried for my spiritual and mental health.” I have had to specifically tell him that I do not give him or any of his people permission to speak to God or my Angels on my behalf as a way to keep him from messing with me and to just leave me alone.

Eight years of Spiritual Abuse at the hands of the Narcissist has had some interesting effects on me. There were times were I felt completely abandoned by God… I fully believed the crap that the Narcissist was throwing my way and I was up to my neck in abuse in all shapes and forms. I really believed at that time that God loved the Narcissist and didn’t care what the heck happened to me. There were times that I felt like God was punishing me… punishing me for the decisions I made in my life, punishing me for not being good enough for the Narcissist. There were times that I was extremely angry at God with the “How could you let this happen to me?!?!” mentality… and there were plenty of times that the Narcissist’s behavior made me question the existence of a god all together, because the Narcissist’s actions just confirmed the craziness of it all to me.

The Narcissist’s belief put me in a weird predicament of not wanting to be negative, not wanting to damage his own belief system and not wanting to personally be wrong. I mean who wants to tell someone that their spiritual connection with God could really just be a result of their crazy personality disorder? Or who wants to be the one to claim that “No you aren’t really special” because how the heck do I know?!?

I still struggle with religion today… I struggle because I had a lack of a spiritual connection as a child and then I was abused with religion as an adult when I desperately tried to open up and let it in. I think I find myself feeling the most spiritually connected when I am connected in nature. I believe in a wide range of spiritual beliefs and I would be the last person to claim that any spiritual belief is “wrong.”

I’ve just seen first hand how the concepts of religion can be used in a very wrong way and I can only imagine how someone who is deeply rooted in their religious beliefs could be controlled and abused even more severely than I was. I am not even slightly surprised that the very first target my Narcissist chose after me was a young and naive “good Christian girl”… I think he thought he would be able to easily manipulate and control her, and win her over with his “special connection to God.” I mean I was a skeptic and even I believed him.

For more interesting takes on Religious Abuse by Narcissists:
15 Narcissistic Religious Abuse Tactics by Christine Hammond
Narcissism & Religion: A Perfect Match @ Esteemology 
What is Christian Narcissism by Dr. David Orrison
For the Love of God: Narcissists and Religion by Dr. Sam Vaknin

20 thoughts on “When the Narcissist uses God Against You

  1. We’ll be discussing something about the kids and he’ll throw in a text that says “I’ve been praying about this and this really isn’t what God wants for us.” And “What is happening to us is from the devil! Keep praying and we’ll get through this!” This is coming from the same man who told me a few months ago that he didn’t care about God or attending church but he expected me to raise the kids in the church he chose whether I liked it or not. I’ve just stopped responding. I feel like there is no way the peace I feel without him isn’t what God wants for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sadly the experience you had is characteristic of a great deal that gets foisted on people as religion or in some cases spirituality. Some of the worst narcissists I’ve met in my life were deeply admired in their churches. They used the bible and religion and male authority over women ( a popular theme in reformed churches) to make women completely dependent and erased as a person. It is no wonder that domestic violence in rampant. Reading the Quiverful movements survivors blogs is very eye opening about the abuse of spiritual “authority” and the desperate lives of those imprisoned by it.

    I think that the vast majority of what we call Christian does not in any way, shape or form represent Christ in this country. I’m sorry you experienced this sort of spiritual abuse I lived in it for decades. The blog A Cry for Justice is for survivors of patriarchal religions abuse and domestic violence. It exposes the anemic and enabling response of the “church” to victims of domestic violence

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Katiesdream, thank you for reading and sharing the A Cry for Justice blog, I will definitely check it out. The more I learn about Narcissism the more shocked I am to see all of the ways that it can play out in abusive scenarios. I never wanted to be a part of this community of narcissistic abuse survivors but I am very glad to know that I am not alone on this journey. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I found this, thanks to Lucky Otter’s reblog. Oh, boy, do I ever relate! You have really been through hell, haven’t you?

    My dad was a minister. He preached in a little non-denominational church in the Ozark Hills of Missouri. In my dad’s religious views, almost everything was a sin. He got rid of the TV when I was four years old, because the “dancing girls” in shows and commercials were sinful. Secular music was sinful. Movies were sinful, even movies made for kids. Playing any kind of card game was sinful because it could lead to gambling. Saying gosh, golly, gee, darn, and heck was sinful, because it was a disguised way of swearing and taking God’s name in vain. Swimming in mixed company was sinful. Dancing was sinful.

    We lived in a split level house and my bedroom was above the garage. One day when I was about nine, I was hula hooping in my bedroom, all by myself, with my door closed. My dad heard the commotion from down in the garage, ran upstairs, and gave me a hard spanking because he believed he had heard me dancing! I showed him the hula hoop that I had been using, which my parents had given me for my birthday, but he would not believe that I had not been dancing… by myself… with my door closed.

    As a little girl, I believed in Christ because I believed whatever my parents taught me. My number one constant goal was to be as perfect as my parents, and God, expected me to be. Every time I sinned the least little bit, I felt enormous guilt, and I would pray over and over again, begging for forgiveness.

    When I was twelve, before I knew anything about sex yet, my dad grabbed me one day and said “I don’t care if it’s wrong, I love you anyway.” Then he kissed me hard, on the mouth. Then he said “Don’t tell your mother!” I was confused. I had no idea what that was about.

    A few weeks later, my dad tried to murder my mother. He came so close to killing her that I thought she was dead. My dad was arrested the next day.

    My mother, whose favorite thing was quoting Bible verses at people to condemn them and try to lead them to Christ, was even more abusive than my dad. The woman I call my momster tried to gas us all to death, among many other horrors, after her marriage to my dad ended.

    I got married at age 16 to a narcissist, who started beating me and cheating on me within a couple of months of our marriage. He beat me for things like over cooking the sausage, under cooking the beans, and unwittingly ironing a double crease in his welding uniform pants.

    Less than a month after we married, on his 19th birthday, I got him the fishing equipment he said he wanted, with the money I had been given as a wedding present, and I baked him a cake. A month and a half after that was my 17th birthday. I woke up all excited and happily suggested that, since it was his day off from work and he just gotten paid, we could celebrate the day by doing what we had done while we were dating: go to a movie and get a hamburger and a milkshake. I thought he would enjoy that as much as me!

    Without war, he shoved me into the wall mirror, shattering it. He then knocked me to the floor, where I lay on the broken glass, and he kicked me over and over. As he was kicking me, he yelled that he worked his a$$ off to put food on the table and a roof over my head — the $35 a month, one room efficiency we lived in — and that was more than enough, I didn’t deserve to have more money spent on me. Then he ran out of the house.

    I spent my birthday huddled under the blanket on the bed, crying.

    Hours later he came home, smelling of booze. He threw a big heavy Bible on top of me. “Here,” he said, “your mom says you need to read it to find out how a wife is supposed to act.”

    Just then, a car pulls up outside. A minute later, my mom staggers into the apartment. She crunches her way across the broken mirror glass and stands in front of me, where I am sitting on the bed. She hovers over me and points her finger in my face. She also smells of booze.

    “You are going to lose this wonderful husband if you don’t start acting like a Christian wife should,” she screeches.

    “Mom,” I cried,, “he beats me!” Silly me, I had thought she might care.

    “I know he does, he told me so himself!” she yells. “And I told him that I don’t blame him one bit! You always did bring out the worst in people. The Bible says that the man is the head of the house. The Bible also says that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child. If you are going to act like a spoiled brat child, your husband, as the head of your marriage, has every right to beat you!”

    Because of these and many other horrible experiences, I remained staunchly agnostic, almost an atheist, for most of my life, until right before I turned the big 5-0. That was when I decided to be a Christian, in spite of all the abusive people who claim to be Christian but clearly aren’t. I gave my life to Christ, not to any church or doctrine. The reason I made this decision was because I felt, in the marrow of my bones, God’s reality, and his goodness, and his immense, unconditional love and compassion for me, sinner though I was. (I did a lot of sinning, searching for love. But I never found real love in any affair.)

    In short, I became a Christ follower, because the preponderance of the evidence in my life compels me to believe..

    Today I am in my sixties. I have a granddaughter in nursing school, and another granddaughter in Harvard. I continue to believe in Christ, although I still have more questions than answers. I have read the entire Bible several times, and parts of it really seems crazy to me. I think men wrote those crazy parts, not God, which makes me a heretic in the eyes of many church people. But it’s ok, because I worship God, not a collection of ancient books.

    I recently read an amazing book called Cold-Case Christianity. The author was a life long atheist. He was a police detective who solved several murders that had been unsolved for decades. He was on Dateline and other TV shows for this.

    Then he took his renowned detective skills and read the New Testament Gospels, expecting to prove them wrong. Instead, he became a Christian believer. He explains why, very brilliantly, in his book.

    I wish you the best. I just said a prayer for you to be healed of your wounded heart. I have had some amazing answers to prayer lately.

    I hope you can stay away from the religious nuts and narcissists now. I have gone No Contact with my malignant momster, who is in her 80s and still beating people over the head with a Bible. These people get worse with age!

    Take care of yourself. ((HUG))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that was a long comment, wasn’t it? I need to get off blogs and get ready for a medical appointment, then I need to work on my memoir.

      I just noticed that the tenth paragraph I wrote in my very long comment, begins “Without war”. I meant to say, “Wiithout warning”. Sigh. The art of writing is rewriting. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Linda Lee, Thank you so much for sharing your story. It has really been amazing to me to hear the stories of the other women (and men) who have experienced narcissistic abuse. I am so glad to hear that you made it through and are living a no contact life… and it is inspiring to hear that you were able to find your way to God also. Thank you for reading and for the sweet words. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OMG you poor people! I am so sorry so many horrid things have happened to you in the name of religion or God. You know there is a verse in the bible Mathew Chapter 7 verse 15 that says “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” I would say all of the self-proclaimed followers of God that you have all mentioned that have caused you pain, to be ashamed, were abused by and generally turned you against God were nothing but Satan’s minions or ravening wolfs in sheep’s clothing!
        It is so sad to hear the uncertainty and pain I hear in you all’s words. Perhaps you will allow me to shed a little light in the darkness of your experiences.

        First not one person who commented, or the author herself is to blame. You are all wonderful people!. I knw that because God Believes it and he loves you. God does not want you to follow rigid rules and be told what to eat, listen to, dress, or say. God will never give another human control over you and he hates what religion has become. That is why God & Jesus are not a religion more a faith & following. Religion gives us the strict rules and judging looks not God. His rules are simple. Follow me & my son & love one another

        God gave us freewill. He didn’t want us to robots he wanted us to think to make decisions for ourselves. He hoped and I am sure he still does that we make good decisions. Unfortunately as humans in general we have really done some doze’s.

        I’m so sorry you all have had such issues around the issue of religion & God. But, I hope you can believe me when I say no one has done or said anything that would cause God to hate you. Hate is in Satan’s vocabulary not Gods. God loves each & everyone of us so much that he’s here for anyone who wants to talk to him he’ll meet you wherever you are.
        Gods Blessing to all,
        I hope this helps someone. Feel free to message me on my blog.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been a closet atheist for at least a decade, now. By closet, I mean my family would probably disown me if they knew and I’m uncomfortable telling anyone else because I don’t want to make them uncomfortable or fear me for [insert fear of the unknown here]. I told my ex husband this when we went for our first getaway while we were dating because I felt he knew me well enough to know I wasn’t some monster and our relationship was moving forward so I thought it was only fair that he knew because he kept talking about his religion. He’s pretty much the same as the Narcissist you speak of, hiding behind christianity as an excuse to be a controlling bastard. It was almost a deal breaker but he chose to “accept it”…. Later, I found out that meant he thought I would (he could make me) change my mind. I have The Getaway scheduled to post Oct 17th, if you want the full story.

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  5. Thank you for writing this. I grew up Catholic, turned Protestant in high school, became a Fundamentalist when i got married, and lost my faith completely after becoming a father. Seeing how much I loved and cared for my children, and then holding that up to God’s treatment of humanity, both in the Bible and in modern times, did not square with me. The Bible showed God as a bully, modern times make him look like an absent parent, and after my separation and the loss of my children, I felt that if God exists, he must not like me very much.

    Now I think I would describe myself as a very skeptical Agnostic.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am exhausted by your ex person just reading your blog this morning. Sadly this is one of the worst weapons a narcissist can use-God, a being intended to be a source of unconditional love and safety. I’m glad you got out. I’m sure that sharing your insight will be a gift to many going through the same thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have experienced a situation of sorts like that only I suppose i’m sort of on the outside. I began dating a man going through a divorce. No matter how many times he told his “wife” or ex wife or whatever you want to call her, that he wasn’t coming back, she would continue to use religion as some sort of tool to justify her behavior of not accepting his choice to leave. He had moved out when I started dating him. She labeled me as a whore and found my family and friends and copied them on messages to me, calling me a mistress and quoting biblical texts. She said God put them together and would keep them together. She said that there were signs from God that they were meant to be. She would send him daily prayers bombarding his phone with prayers to God, she would send him quotes from the Bible constantly. She began using social media to prop up her own self image as a wonderful “christian woman” going through an intense battle I suppose of good vs evil. Apparently I was evil because a man wanted to date me after leaving someone. So I automatically became this scarlet letter, a woman shunned. She posted my photo online as a homewrecker and justified her behavior as she’s “fighting for her marriage” in the name of God. Last time I checked, people made their own choices. IT didn’t help that his mother and sister are very religious and so they have not been supportive of his divorce attempts. Ever since I started dating him she has campaigned against me, used her religion as a tool, and her children as a tool as well, to make herself appear as an innocent, self-righteous holy wife, and me as some sort of devilish temptation. It’s been a nightmare. I grew up Catholic. He and I go to Church, a Christian church. We are just now coming out of this storm. But I can tell you, that religion, when abused, can be horrific and ruin people’s lives. Don’t use religion as a means to your end.

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  8. I was unhappily married for 10 years to a narcissistic pastor… a very gifted speaker, who had passion to climb the ladder of success of pastors… which didn’t feel right in my gut in and of itself. But I knew I had made a mistake in marrying him while on the honeymoon but gVenit all I had for 10 years. After much fighting and dysfunction for 10 years, I began talking to him about needing a separation to help prevent a divorce. He refused, and the things that he began saying in a controlling rage, clear as day, 2 inches from my face, is what gave me my clarity that it is time to go straight to divorce. His words were “you know you can’t leave me, since I am Gods chosen!” “If you separate from me, the whole church will find out and then I’ll be fired, so the whole church will go down hill and you will be responsible for all of those people losing their faith, and then, their life. I know you can’t handle that burden on you, so you’re doing the wrong thing”. Then the threats came in of what he’d take from me if I left, and what he’d do if I left… and the torture hasn’t stopped, 6 years later. But I’m a single, struggling mom of three with many regrets, but leaving him is not one of those regrets.

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    1. I still get weekly messages from him, once I’ve started a conversation with him about something that one of he kids needs… his response is never about whether or not he can take them to the dr when they’re sick, his response is always “you chose this life, you did this, thank God I don’t have to answer to Him for all of the sins youve committed, you’ve forever given our children emotional, behavioral, and financial struggles for the rest of their lives because you left me.” But there’s never ever an admission or acceptance of how terribly awful he was to me in the 10 years that I lived with him, and kept trying to save the marriage. It’s as if he doesn’t even remember the 10 years of hell that caused me to leave him, all he cares about is stoning me to death, publicly, because I ‘left a man that was gods chosen’. And his flock groom him as their little victim, people that have never heard my side of the story. But because I’m dealing with a narcissist, I know to not even waste my energy to explain myself…. he’s so good and vengeful that he will go on a tirade, to quickly dismiss everything I said, turn it all around to where I don’t even remember what my point was in speaking… He is just complete toxic, never admits his faults, attacks the mother of his children at any possibility, but still is preaching the word every Sunday morning.

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