Christian counseling is a mix between religious and secular counseling the brings in a “God-centered” point of view. However, if you are unlucky enough to have a run in with a narcissistic christian counselor, you are likely to come out of therapy more damaged than when you started. Here is how you overcome narcissistic christian counseling.
Overcome narcissistic christian counseling by realizing that you have been taught by someone you trust, who is not psychologically capable of selflessly helping others. You will need to undo their indoctrination through targeted introspection, and self-development. Preferably with the help of a coach with experience competing narcissistic damage.
Dealing with damage from narcissists who intertwine themselves with religious teaching — especially if you meet them in a time of emotional weakness or as a child — is extremely difficult. I’ll walk you through the steps below.
Determine If Your Christian Counseling was Actually Narcissistic
Before you go any further, it is paramount that you determine with certainty that the counseling you received was actually narcissistic. Some signs of narcissistic christian counseling include —
- The counselor would take personal offense to things you say unrelated to them
- The counselor would compare your behavior to that of other people, especially as means of shaming you
- The counselor seemed to rush to judgment rather than hear your story through to the end
- The counselor seemed to change details about what you told them
- The counselor would bring in other people that you trust to reinforce their interpretation of events
- The counselor was more interested in protecting your faith, church, parents, spouse, or other people than addressing your emotions or psychological state
Narcissistic can be incredibly subtle at times, and their outgoing extroverted personalities often make them well liked by people who only know them casually. However, there are four types of narcissists with different traits. Even introverted narcissists.
For more detailed information on how to spot a narcissist, check out these in depth articles —
- Recognizing Narcissistic Behavior | Unexpected Signs of a Narcissist
- How to Recognize a Malignant Narcissist | In Plain English
- Tell-Tale Signs of a Covert Narcissist | A Fool Proof Test
Address Why You Went to See the Narcissistic Christian Counselor in the First Place
For you who are in a place where they are seeking out counseling, having to deal with the double trauma of encountering a narcissist posing a someone who would help them places immense obstacles in your path to healing.
The first step to healing from narcissistic christian counseling is addressing the reason you went to them in the first place.
People often seek out christian counseling for one of the following reasons —
- Panic attacks
- Social isolation
- Sudden extreme weight loss or weight gain
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, and/or overwhelmed
- Feeling unable to manage your problems on your own
- Out-of-control, irrational anger
- A loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling disconnected to your faith or God
The way you should address each problem varies widely, but usually requires a deep look inward. Also, the help of a experienced and well meaning individual.
Here at Overcoming Toxic People, we keep a list of recommended resources. I recommend you take a look and choose one book or resources to help you get started, depending on what peeks your interest —
Additionally, you should seek out someone to help you navigate through this difficult time. Preferably, this would be a talented coach or counselor that know you and trust.
If you don’t know where to find someone to help you, feel free to reach out to our coaches here —
Divest Your Faith from the False Teaching of the Christian Narcissistic Counselor
The defining method of christian counseling is that they use methods of secular psychology, but mix in element of biblical teaching and religious dogma.
- Elevates God over man
- Uses scripture as a higher authority than man’s knowledge
- “God has spoken”
- Emphasizes biblical values over societal and personal values
The danger of christian counseling in the hands of a narcissist, is that they can circumvent common sense by using the phrase, "God says.
While, christian counseling can be a powerful tool in the right hands, the authoritarian side of religion, that uses morals and conscious as a means of control, also allows for a greater leeway for abuse.
Narcissistic christian parents are also a huge problem. If you have been victim of narcissistic christian counseling, you are likely to also have narcissistic parents. Check out my previous article to see if this applies to you —
No matter if you plan to continuing practicing Christianity or not, you must take steps to put you faith on to a strong foundation.
Humans are intrinsically spiritual creatures, and even as an atheist we act out the basis of our religious upbringing and education no matter if we like it or not. So often, I see ex-Christians continuing to act out a destructive subconscious assumptions that were implanted as children and never address.
We call these subconscious “truths” limiting beliefs.
Here are some power methods to address limiting beliefs and false religious dogma —
- Journaling about your thoughts and emotions
- The Soul Mirror method
- Guided meditation where you talk to your past and future selves
- Imagining your heaven and hell
I also highly recommend that you read some form of discussion on ethics and righteousness. This can be from a great Christian writer of the past, a philosopher, or even books from the eastern traditions of Buddhism or Taoism.
If you aren’t sure where to start, and not interested in continuing as a Christian, I highly recommend the book “Peace is Every Step.” A book of many short chapters, often only a few small pages, it can be digested a little at a time. It is written by a Buddhist monk, my contains no religious instruction, and is rather a collection of small observations about what it means to be a good and happy person. Highly approachable by individuals of any faith or no faith at all.
Overcome Your Christian Counselors Narcissistic Abuse
Beyond the potential for false christian teachings, your narcissistic christian counselor likely also used common narcissistic tactics as a means to subordinate you in to their control.
Their tactics often include —
- Projection or deflection of blame
- Weaving a false story where they are the hero or victim
- Emphasizing your weaknesses
- Triangulation (bringing in other people to support their false narrative)
- Masking their true feelings from others (putting on a false face or mask)
Dealing with narcissism in the case of a counselor should begin by cutting off contact with them. Sometimes, narcissists that are shunned will lash out, and attempt to ruin your reputation and spread rumors about you.
Depending on how connected your narcissistic christian counselor is with your friends, family, or congregation, you may have to take further steps to deal with their attack. This I document in detail in my previous article —
Can a narcissist change with counseling?
While it is possible for a narcissist to reform with counseling, it is very unlikely due to their psychological inability to accept truthful criticism and acknowledge that they need to change. In the end, the narcissist has to want to change for counseling to be effective.
Do narcissists worry about being narcissistic?
Generally a narcissist will not be able to acknowledge their own narcissistic tendencies. They will feel, and continually be hiding from, a deep seated sense of inadequacy, which is the root cause of their narcissistic behavior. But, it is rare for them to feel bad about the damage that they do to other people.