6. The "Christian" Narcissist Mother

The Scapegoats of a Narcissistic Mother book by Gail Meyers
The Scapegoats of a Narcissistic Mother book by Gail Meyers

© by Gail Meyers 

As discussed in Chapter 3, no one really knows what causes pathological narcissism. Some believe it is purely psychological, others believe it is wholly spiritual or a combination of the two. In Chapter 3, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder is discussed.  

In this chapter narcissism is framed spiritually in accordance with the Bible. This is both because my mother masqueraded as a selfless Christian mother, and because the maneuvers and entanglements discussed in this chapter involve spiritual abuse. So regardless of whether one believes narcissism is wholly psychological or a just a new name for a spiritual malady in existence since the dawn of man, this discussion is very much applicable to untangling oneself from the deception of a "Christian narcissist" mother's web.  

Part of my narcissistic mother's routine was convincing her scapegoats everyone, yes, even God, was on her side. This involves more manipulation tactics, but employs the use of the Bible as a destructive weapon.  This can be a devastating form of abuse as narcissistic mother redefines terms and twists Scripture in an attempt to justify her abuse and enhance her facade.  

This can result in the spiritual devastation or destruction of a child who may be convinced even God is against him or her. Regardless of the specific religious affiliation, the techniques are often the same. Biblical text is taken out of context in order to use it as a pretext.  The motivation is not to lovingly instruct or protect.  It is to manipulate, control and destroy with the intentional infliction of fear, toxic shame and false guilt.  This is no different than what cults do. The similarities between the two are remarkable. 

Personally, I grew up thinking of God as a cosmic Grandfather who was sitting up in heaven just waiting for me to make a mistake so He could clobber me. I was so angry at God in my early 20's that I told Him I was done with it. This can so easily become the result of spiritual abuse at the hand of a professed "Christian narcissist" mother. 

Then, the narcissistic mother succeeds in poisoning yet another relationship and aspect of your life by inflicting profound damage to your spiritual life. In order to address and recover from such abuse, this chapter begins with the introduction of some basic ideas taken directly from the foundation of the Christian faith, the Bible.  

False Brethren, False Apostles and False Prophets

The Bible clearly articulates the free gift of salvation and provides clear instructions on how to become a Christian.  

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

However, many of us have learned the hard way that just because someone professes to be a Christian does not necessarily mean that is the case.  The Bible warns that everyone is not who they claim to be. There are those who profess to be Christians for the very reason they use the church and a facade of piety to conceal their consistently treacherous intentions and behavior. There are examples in every religion from parents to church leaders. 

The Bible speaks of false brethren, or those who profess to be Christians but are not, in Galatians 2:4 and 5:

But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondageBut we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.

The Bible warns of false apostles in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15:

For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

The Bible warns of false prophets in Matthew 7:15 and 16

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You shall know them by their fruits.

My Narcissistic Mother Is Always Quoting Scripture

While it is easy to conclude that someone who quotes Scripture is a Christian, the Bible itself makes it exceedingly clear that is not the case. There is no better example in the Word of God of biblical text being quoted and misapplied with sinister motives, than when Satan tempted Jesus in the desert in Matthew 4. However, to begin laying the foundation for this chapter, we will turn our attention to the Pharisees.   

The Narcissistic Pharisees

During the biblical account of Jesus Christ's 33 years on this earth, there are many instances of forgiveness and healing. However, Jesus strongly rebuked the Pharisees of His day, calling them a brood of vipers (video enactment) in Matthew 23 (Scripture text).  Their pride and tyrannical behavior masquerading behind a cloak of religious piety is in direct opposition to the message of the Gospel.  Each verse is provided followed by a brief commentary.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.  So you must obey them and do everything they tell you.  But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. Matthew 23:1-3

To sit in Moses' seat is a position of authority. The Pharisees, who considered themselves the authorized successors of Moses as teachers of the law, were influential and admired by the people. Jesus is instructing his disciples and the people not to follow the evil example of the Pharisees who do not practice what they preach.   NIV Study Bible

They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. Matthew 23:4

The Pharisees loaded people down by adding rules and regulations to the authentic law of Moses and doing nothing to help others keep them, while inventing ways for themselves to circumvent them.  NIV Study Bible note on Luke 11:46.

Everything they do is done for men to see; they make their phylacteries wide and the tassels of their garments long. Matthew 23:5

Phylacteries; strips of parchment, upon which were written passages of Scripture, and worn ostentatiously upon the forehead or arm.--Borders of their garments; as directed in Numbers 15:38, 39. The Pharisees made them very large, to impress the people with an idea of their great sanctity. Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

They love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues, Matthew 23:6

Our Lord here explains the motive of all this display of external holiness and ultra Judaism. They desired to establish and enjoy the privileges of a religious caste or hierarchy. It was not the holiness of the people, or their salvation, or benefit they sought; but a self-exaltation into power. Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

they love to be greeted in the marketplaces, and to have men call them Rabbi. Matthew 23:7

Perversions of the ordinary tokens of social respect to the purpose of establishing an abject submission on the part of the people and a spirit of man-worship.  Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

But do not be called Rabbi; for you have only one Master, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth father; for you have one Father, and He is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. Matthew 23:8-10

For him that is taught in the word to give respect to him that teaches, is commendable; but for him that teaches, to demand it, to be puffed up with it, is sinful.  Matthew Henry's Commentary
But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. Matthew 23:11-12

It was there said to the apostles alone; here it is spoken more publicly to emphasize the contrast between Christian humility and Pharisaical pride and vanityPulpit Commentary


Seven Woes of the Pharisees

A hypocrite is defined as:

  • a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
  • a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

- See more at: http://scapegoatsofanarcissisticmother.blogspot.com/#sthash.uU3oxKrl.dpuf
Matthew 23 then continues with seven woes of the Pharisees, but first a definition of a hypocrite. 

A hypocrite is defined as: 
  • a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. 
  • a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.
  • But woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces.  You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to
  • Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.
  • Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.' You blind men!  Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?  Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and everything on it.  And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it.  And he who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it! 
  • Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices - mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law -- justice, mercy and faithfulness.  You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
  • Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside of it will also be clean.
  • Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. 
  • Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of  the sin of your forefathers. You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?


The Bible not only fails to support narcissistic masquerading, but Jesus Himself gave no stronger rebuke to anyone than to the Pharisees. There is nothing new about the phenomenon of people masquerading as false believers, false apostles or false prophets.  There is also nothing new about someone who is not a Christian quoting Scripture out of context, as the Bible informs believers even Satan himself quotes Scripture.    

Next, we will build on this foundation by examining and dismantling some of the traps and entanglements I experienced at the hands of my narcissistic mother.  Each entrapment my narcissistic mother used is articulated, followed by a discussion of untangling the web of deception used to set the trap.  


  1. That is what so scary about my mom, she has others believing she has a direct pipeline to God and his will for whoever she wants to manipulate to her will. She gives a thumbs up/thumbs down to every individual and for some reason they submit to her "insight".

    1. My mother does the same thing. She even told me once that disagreeing with her was the equivalent of disagreeing with Jesus. God "reveals" things to her all the time, including my lack of spirituality. It is very hard to argue with someone who considers herself the voice of God.

    2. The Devil also made himself an "equal" of God. (In his own heart, that is). Funny the similarities between Satan and Narcissists.

  2. The most evil people I have ever met and the most damaging in my life are my N-mother and N-ex-mother in-law, they attend the same church and my step-father was a deacon for many years, because of them I don't attend church but I am a christian. I believe they are the tares the bible talks about.

    1. You certainly are not alone in that experience. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    2. I also believe they are Tares and the spiritual Sons and Daughters of Cain (Cainites)

  3. My malignant Nmother went to church each and every Sunday - without fail. People thought she was so devoted and had a direct line to God ( I relate to Kim McBrides comment).
    The thing was she didn't go to praise God. She went because she prided herself in having a lovely singing voice. She would sing hymns the loudest, had to be the first to stand to sing and fumbled with the hymnal throughout the sermon so she would be ready to "led" everyone. According to her the Music Director and choir knew nothing - only she did.
    If someone commented that she had a lovely voice, it would be a good couple of hours living with her. If not - the rage began before we left the church parking lot.
    My mother did not go to church to praise God. But, rather to have people praise her.
    Contrary to to her families, church goers and pastors belief, God did not live in her house. There is no room for God when a narcissist is present. But, as she does with all her victims, she will present Him in a good light when it suits her and then discards Him until she needs Him to gain attention again.

    1. "There is no room for God when a narcissist is present. But, as she does with all her victims, she will present Him in a good light when it suits her and then discards Him until she needs Him to gain attention again." Hmmm, that's exactly they way my Covert Malignant "Selfless Saint" CAINite Narcissist Mother treats my poor, cowardly, enABELing father.

  4. Our most prized possession is freedom of choice

    The most wonderful of gifts is to be reminded by someone that we have the key in our own hands
    Thankyou :)

  5. My Narcisstic mother was a missionary child, a missionary, is a women's speaker and a christian councelor. The only people who know the true other side are myself and my two brothers and our spouses. Recently my Dad told me he was woken by God to pray for my emotional and mental health. After that he just left the house for a walk with my mother, he just vomited it out at me and left. My mother then was literally on a high after he'd delivered the message until several days later when I told him I didn't receive his message. Too bad he didn't tell me he loved me throughout my life or show me any affection at all just like Jesus would do. My honest prayer is God help me make something of my life at 38 years old. I feel like I've wasted my life on all their lies and believing all they thought of me. They had a great kid but she was just never great enough for them.

    1. The truth has set you free. Like a bird that has just escaped its cage, you are still finding your wings... but it wont be long, you will be soaring with the eagles. I, also, am still learning to fly but after removing the baggage I am now looking for the highest mountain to fly over!

  6. it is amazing to read the line above about using the bible as a "destructive weapon." if that is not my mother to a "T" currently, i dont know what is. my mother become a born-again christian roughly 6-7 years ago. since then, she has not been the same mother who raised myself and my 2 other siblings. to give you a bit of insight, my sister is a lesbian (currently engaged) and my brother is a recovering alcoholic (currently 2 years sober, and also a born-again christian). i myself for a long time was the "golden child". i was a honor student, involved in sports, and was the only one in my family to go away to college and graduate. it was until i decided to move out with my boyfriend 1 1/2 year ago (whos now my fiance), did everything really change. i have now become the scapegoat. my mother uses her religion as weapon against me to condemn my lifestyle, my fiance, and my living situation. ironically she did the exact same thing to my sister when she moved in with her girlfriend before me. she has labeled me as selfish, dishonorable, and disrespectful multiple times, because i refuse to give in to her ridiculous demands and insane guilt trips (shes the queen of quilt trips). and she uses the bible and God against me, using it to cast judgement and blame me for everything. as of now, i have no healthy relationship with my mother. i cant have one with someone who is so irrationally and truly believes she is not to blame or to be held responsible for any of her mean hurtful words. everything is on me. it was so refreshing to read this blog, and i will continue to do so. thank you for your words, they have hit me to my core.

  7. I asked my mom to move in with me after my father died. I'm 49 years old and a widower as well. My mom is a born again christian for 35 years. Through her I don't want to hear of Jesus or God, because I always felt that he was never on my side and that I always question myself if he really loves me. She would always tell me that God is on her side, and that what I am doing to her was also done to Jesus. I don't understand what she's talking about when infact she started the arguments with hurtful words and expect me to be quiet and just take it. I am 49 and feel like an idiot and small around her, but with woman younger then me she has the greatest respect. This is what I don't understand. She will always make comments about how God gives your daughters to make me feel bad. I just wish she had that kinda respect for me, that she gives to others outside. She would always tell me that when they? not we including me goes to heaven this and that is waiting for them. Why would you exclude your daughter from heaven if you a loving mother. I would never disrespect my daughter of 26 and son of 24 the way my mom does with me. When I tell her that, she says that is what you think, still do not understand because I know for a fact I never treat my kids bad but she will make me feel like it. She talks to my daughter and my son about me all the time. I feel sometimes that I am going crazy and maybe I'm bad to her and then I question myself constantly. When something good happen to me every time she tell me that she was praying for this to happen. Always want me to think she is the cause of my success or my kids. I also pray to God and I know it's because of me and not my mom. She told me once that she doesn't love me because she hated my dad from her previous marriage. She loved my brothers father and worshiped him even thought he was a bad father. When I told her that in one of her arguments with me, she told me I was always a difficult child, i would always stand one side if she hugged my brothers. It's like she blames me for her not loving me, I was only 5. When she argue she wants to win, even thought i keep quiet all the time it never stops it just goes on and on and on. The hurt just keeps coming, she wants me to believe I was a terrible mother even though we never seen each other, she lived 1200km from me. I could never tell my mom anything about my live because when I do she will use it against me. I have learned. Now she tells me I never talk to her ever,, I would only talk to her about the weather. I don't like her and she makes me not like God as she makes me feel he is on her side and not mine.


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