Refer to Step 4: I choose to believe what God says about Himself: that He is good and can be trusted. I recognize that God is not the abuser; rather, people who misuse their authority are the abusers.
He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.
The problem with narcissistic ministry leaders is that, because the success of their calling is so evident, they consider the way they think to be “normal,” which it most certainly is not. They also believe their behavior is acceptable, no matter how outrageous it may be. They are entitled to behave in ways they condemn in others. It’s not that they are simply selfish or obtuse. They really believe they have the right to behave the way they do.
In a generic sense, they will admit that they make a “lot of mistakes,” but they rarely admit to a specific error. This is what makes their mindset a personality disorder and not just a personality eccentricity. It’s who they are.
To those who have been abused by narcissistic religious leaders, the wounds produced by their interpersonal experiences run deep. Co-laboring with a narcissist can be confusing, stressful, and painful. It can debilitate an abused person’s relationship with God for years—sometimes decades. The abused person ends up blaming God as well as the narcissist, creating dysfunction, which spills over into every area of his or her life. It can also lead a person into alcoholism and other self-destructive behaviors—all in an effort to cope with the pain associated with working for a narcissist.
If this has been your experience, you know the depth of disillusionment you’ve experienced. You have a right to be angry, but there’s no value in remaining stuck because of it. You must do whatever is necessary to purge yourself of the poison from your encounter, as you repeatedly tell yourself that your wounds came from the hand of a flawed human and not from God.
For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion and my familiar friend. We who had sweet fellowship together, walked in the house of God in the throng. (Psalm 54:12-14)