STEP4: I recognize that God is not the abuser; people who misuse their authority are the abusers.
Ambition fortifies the will of man to become ruler over other men: it operates with deception, cajolery, and violence. It is the action of impurity upon impurity.
—T. S. Eliot
Not everybody who has been abused by a narcissist goes away quietly. Although most simply bow their heads, tuck their tails, and withdraw to live out their days wounded and scorned, not everybody is willing to be a martyr for sake of the religious leader—for the sake of “the cause.”
Many, who are convinced they are right and that the narcissistic leader is wrong, refuse to walk away without putting up a fight. Convinced of their position, wounded, abused people like these become eager to go public to make their case. When this happens, an interesting phenomenon occurs.
If the abused person “has the goods” on a narcissistic leader, and the ministry is forced to face an unpleasant truth, it’s never followed by an act of open repentance. Genuine humility is never an option. The leader never comes forth publicly to admit how he or she has wronged another. That only occurs when they are forced to do so. It’s never their immediate reaction. Instead, like sleazy politicians, pampered athletes, and lascivious celebrities, they choose to either cover up their wrongdoing or minimize it.
Reasoning that an open admission of guilt would make too many followers “lose their faith in God,” leaders like these do everything in their power to hide the truth, or to “spin” reality in the least detrimental way.
The only humility they have is forced upon them by a negative consequence—nothing else. It’s never genuine and heartfelt. Such an attitude goes against core Christian values, which requires confession of wrongdoing by everyone—especially leaders.
The reason narcissists refuse to humble themselves is because they don’t believe they need to follow the same rules as everybody else. It’s how entitled people think. Narcissists believe they are above mundane, petty acts of contrition, which impede their noble, exalted purpose. This attitude of superiority—rather than of service—is a clear indication of someone who is capable of abusing those he or she has been called to serve. Because they are so good at camouflage and spinning the truth, if you ever recognize their narcissistic tendencies—even a hint of it—leave and never return.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. (Matthew 23:25-26)