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I Promise to Hate, Despise, and Abuse You until Death Do Us Part: Marriage in a Narcissistic Age by Andrea V. Oelger and Troy W. Martin (Bourbonnais, IL: Bookend Publishers, 2010).
Overcoming the Spirit of Narcissism: Breaking the Destructive Patterns of Self-idolatry and Self-exaltation by Patricia King (Maricopa, AZ: XP Publishing, 2010).
See the chapter on religion in The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement by Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell (New York: Free Press, 2009).
Since most religions teach the giving of oneself and narcissism involves the opposite, narcissistic religion would seem to be an oxymoron. Nevertheless, control is an important characterisitc of narcissism, and religion provides the narcissist with one of the most powerful means of control. Not surprisingly, narcissists seek out religious institutions and religious positions and use them for their own ends. Many of the most notorious narcissists have been religious leaders or at least have projected a religious facade.
Three Christian teachings in particular have been misunderstood and used to support narcissistic religion. First, there is the Christian teaching that the husband is the head of his wife and that she is supposed to submit to him. This Christian teaching fuels narcissistic men's feelings of superiority, entitlement, and control. This Christian teaching has resulted in toxic narcissistic relationships of the worst kind that really arise from narcissistic religion and are a perversion of Christianity. In reality, this teaching establishes a narcissistic religion that is only cloaked in Christian garb.
Second, many churches teach that divorce is prohibited or only permitted when a spouse is unfaithful sexually. A narcissistic spouse eagerly brings his or her family into such a church and uses this teaching to keep the other spouse bound without hope of escape. As long as the narcissist does not commit adultry, he or she can perpetrate the worse kinds of emotional, psychological, social, and economic abuse imaginable. If the non-narcissistic spouse should try to leave, the narcissist counts on the church's sideing with the narcissist because of its prohibition against divorce. This Christian teaching perpetuates narcissistic relationships and plays into the hands of narcissistic religion. Read one woman's real life story.
Finally, Christian teaching holds out hope for change and expectation of a miracle. While such optimism is desirable in many aspects of life, it is almost always a recipe for disappointment when dealing with a narcissist. A common theme in the literature on narcissism is how hard or impossible it is for a narcissist to change. Christian teaching holds that God can change anyone, and that is true but only if the person wants to change. The narcissist blames everyone else and refuses to take responsibility so it is almost impossible for a narcissist to desire change. Narcissistic religion co-opts the Christian hope for change and expectation of a miracle to maintain toxic narcissistic relationships.
For further discussion of these misunderstood Christian teachings and how Christianity really differs from narcissistic religion, see pages 57-103 of the book I Promise to Hate, Despise, and Abuse You until Death Do Us Part: Marriage in a Narcissistic Age.