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The Roots and Weeds of Narcissism: Lynn Roush and Pastor Lutzer

Dr. Erwin Lutzer was recently interviewed by Lynn Roush, LPC on the topic of narcissism—what narcissism is and how to spot it. Lynn is one of the hosts of the podcast With You In The Weeds and she is Dr. Lutzer’s daughter.

In two insightful episodes, part of a mini-series called “Managing Difficult People,” they discuss narcissism from a psychological and biblical perspective, providing clarity and crucial information if we find ourselves entangled with a difficult person in our lives. Below is a summary of a portion of Lynn’s interview with Pastor Lutzer:

What is the driving force of narcissistic tendencies?

According to Greek mythology, a boy named Narcissus looked into a pond and fell in love with his reflection. The term describes an excessive “self-love.” We have go back to the Garden of Eden where Satan promised Adam and Eve to be “like God.”

Like a continuum, all of us have some level of narcissism in our hearts. So, we always have to be evaluating ourselves. Narcistic behavior includes a grandiose self-promotion, manipulation, devaluing of others, and control.

Narcissists process everything through two questions: “How does this make me look?” and “How does this make me feel?” They don’t have to be good, but they have to appear good.

While not a clinical diagnosis, we can identify a cluster of traits that describe a narcissist on a spectrum. What are common traits of narcissism?

  1. A narcissist lacks empathy and compassion for others. Cain is a great example of a narcissist who showed no remorse for killing Abel and walked away from God’s counsel.

  2. A narcissist needs a lot of approval seeking and affirmation. When they’re needs are not met, they react in criticism.

  3. A narcissist takes no responsibility for their actions. Like Cain who didn’t face reality and admit he killed his brother, a narcissist does not see themselves as part of the problem.

  4. A narcissist feels they’re superior to other people. This charming, persuasive self-image is cultivated to make oneself look good to others. The charmer often ends up devaluing or abusing others.

  5. Facts don’t matter to a narcissist. They mislead and warp reality for their own purposes (i.e. “gaslighting”). This is emotional abuse at its worse.

Let us all pray Psalm 139:23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart!

How does a narcissist draw others into their control?

Listen to Series 3, Episode 1 for 5 Traits of Narcissistic Behavior.

How do you manage these difficult relationships and protect yourself?

Listen to Series 3, Episode 2 for Four Steps to Dealing with Narcissists.

As Pastor Erwin Lutzer says, “Honesty before God is the beginning of healing.”

Find more resources at Lynn’s website

Learn more from Pastor Lutzer’s series Why Good People Do Bad Things” and the book The Power of a Clear Conscience (See Chapter 8).

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