Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Are Spititual people particularly prone to Narcissism?

One way to understand Narcissism, is that a persons sense-of-self / ego is fused/merged with another.

In that situation 'others' are just seen as extensions of ourselves and simply there to serve our needs.

Or, we can feel threatened and overwhelmed by others because they seem to be taking over 'our' sense-of-self.

These Ego distortions may occur after getting a taste of oneness, the ego tries to grab a hold of 'oneness' for itself in a desperste attempt to survive.

I know of at least one person who thinks he's god. He used his son for sex even when he was still a toddler. But hey, that didn't matter because he was god and trancended good and evil (see what I mean).

What do you think?

Update:

This is not a criticism of spirituality, I am spiritual myself.

It is a question about the traps people can fall into.

Another aspect of this is that schizoid people also have a habit of gravitating towards spirituality.

They prefer dreamy, blissful 'heavens' to the hear-and-now.

Update 2:

Yes, numbnuts. The reason we 'hang onto other people' is because of a fragile and distorted sense of self.

It is just that this can get out of control.

It doesn't have to be as extreme as my example but can also be subtle. Like 'using' another person to validate your existence. What happens if that person walks away from you?

I'm not talking about a relationship with a real god, but with a persons fantasy of what god is... a self created fantasy.

Update 3:

Yes, thanks Phil, exactly.

Although, perhaps I'm projecting my own struggles a bit too much... eeek!

Update 4:

Alun

Nobody is suggesting that n'ism is only present in spiritual people.

What I'm suggesting is that spiritual experience can be missused, or misinterpreted by the ego.

This may be more subtle and pervasive than many people are willing to face.

Update 5:

Yes Firebug

Rather than being self-love, it is really thinly disguised self hate and self rejection, A house of cards. A compensation.

If they are not getting the support for that image of themselves, the panic anger and demands start.

You must have seen the people that come along to groups, take up all the time of the teacher, trying to get them to agree with their 'insight' and then they never come again! Some people don't really meditate, they just split off from awareness and 'bliss out'. It's crap, but they think that that is it.

Ego is nothing other than all the images and representations of reality we have in our heads.

Although our 'direct' experience is always there, our focus is largely on our representations, our handle on reality.

That is why it is important to keep coming back to our raw experience without judging it or making a story up.

Body-awareness is important for the same reason, and particularly so for the blissed out ones.

14 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I had prepared an answer based on a person's relationship with a 'real' god - then saw your comment about a persons self-created fantasy of what god is. I agree that spiritual experience can be misused and/or misinterpreted by the ego, but I am not about to speculate on things of which I am ignorant. However, I do know something about how Christianity works in the lives (and on the ego) of believers, and I would like to address some of the comments you made in your original question.

    A truly 'healthy' Christian knows perfectly well that s/he is accountable to God for their actions and whilst they may be eagerly anticipating heaven, their feet are firmly planted on terra firma. Christians also know that they are there to serve others, like Jesus, and take on the role of servant. To follow Christ is to put self aside - to leave behind the desires of our sinful nature and to focus on things that are pure and lovely. I would suggest that Christianity is the perfect antidote to narcissism.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I would say most "spiritual people" recognize the importance of some good ego work, as you clearly do, so I wouldn't generally expect a tendency toward narcissism or egocentricity.

    However, your point is well taken in that ego will use spiritual concepts for it's own benefit, and there are many places along the path where ego becomes threatened by what it finds, since the function of Truth is to dissolve the false egoic illusion. It requires constant attention, and from my perspective is the single most important aspect of spiritual work.

    Until it gives up entirely, ego is always looking for a way to win, and it becomes remarkably imaginative.

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  • 4 years ago

    I rather feel it's more-or-less equally divided,but in differing ways. Males have to compete for attention against other males,who may have more money,success,or physical attributes. Which is why so many men are pumping iron,growing fiddly little beard-lines which they shape and sculpt into lines around their faces,wearing expensive 'designer' watches that tell the same time as a 2-dollar timex, and wearing inserts in their shoes,to look taller. Women,on the other hand,are terrified of aging,and spend ridiculous amounts of money on cosmetics,and shampoos,even undergoing the surgeons knife,in a determined effort to appear young and firm. Women will also join gyms,jog,and wear clothing they consider 'slimming' in colour or design,even if this means intense discomfort whilst in public. So,overall,I think the whole quest to feel/appear more than we are drives many of us,regardless of gender,to do things we would otherwise deem ridiculous.Narcissism? Maybe. Personally,I feel the whole phenomenon of self-image has been been pushed and amplified so much by advertising executives desperate to part the gullible from their money,that it's become part of everyday life,to the extent that only those of us who DON'T join in the fracas are noticed by the painted,sculpted,paranoid masses.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Most of the Narcissists I know are overtly Spiritual actually. =/

    My understanding of this is that Spiritualists define themselves by a certain level of superiority, whether it be conscious or subconscious. The more they perceive that they know about their faith, the more they believe in their correctness and egocentric ideals. Beyond that, they seek others who look up to them and can feed their notion of superiority. I've known several who have distanced themselves from anyone who would say otherwise.

    Underneath it all however, I believe that narcissism is nothing more than a defense mechanism for their own fragile self-images and actual LACK of self-esteem. They need to lift themselves up, so they pamper themselves and surround themselves with yes-men in an effort to feed their inner Narcissist.

    Fortunately I don't know many people who are like this, and don't believe that it is any more exclusive to Spirituality than it might be to say Computer Programming. It's far more about building oneself up to a higher level than the next guy in an effort to feed the ego.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I'm not really sure that we are, not more than anyone else.

    The whole point about Narcissism is that one falls in love with an IMAGE of oneself, not with who one truly is.

    So, even if spiritual people are a bit more that way inclined, isn't there the built-in safety mechanism that we are constantly in the process of stripping falsity away?

    Hmmmm. Thinking. Thinking.

    Actually it could be one of the traps, couldn't it? Wonder workers, self-proclaimed Masters and such? The dangers of getting 'stuck' certainly exist. Maybe this is one of them.

    Really good question, r w. Definite star.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I would have thought that belief in a god would be more of an ego prop. Often a god or goddess is referred to as father or mother, a spiritual super parent (according to Desmond Morris) that helps people get through life. They seem to need something else to validate their self worth, so I would imagine its the opposite in most cases.

    It does look like that person you refer to is insane, but even he had to take on a different persona (god) to carry out his acts.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I am the light, anyone wanting information to the best sights that we have scanned contact the light through.

    GREEN LANTERN - Or any one of the justice league - Please allow 1-2hrs return time inshAllah - We will not be answering any messages during Salat. Khair InshAllah

    its best not to post the links wide open we have a great eye on our dollar its time to inshAllah think about looking out for ourselves Ameen

    Love the Justice League keep up the great work, and yes Spiderman likes to take bus rides anyone that knows him, knows don't let him drive! hahah but it was perfect lesson again for the necromanders to really get opportunity to see the distruction they are causing not upon us, but themselves cause we are slowing down production and loosing time in making things better, curing others, and repairing already needed much repaired systems, we been talking about it for years.

    Quran must be read with pure intetnions and pure heart, its not a book to deal with loosely, I suggest online infomration until you are ready to submit unto thee.

    Seek council at the masjed or mosque as they say in area's but rest assured that your choice is with Allah SWT always and forever amin.

    Khair be Salam wu Salat, in peace we go!

    One eyelash of blessings in heaven, is equal to everything you see on the face of the earth today, that includes this so called Eden that exists in every part of the world good and bad we know that long ago, its just progression slowed down by lack on cooperation and we all need to work together and that is why GREEN LANTERN IS HERE!

    For Truth and Justice for the EARTHLY WAYS! InshAllah we carry a candle everyone tommorrow night for all those who have lost and suffered in our lives and we begin a new future in hopes we will see them again in heaven but not unless we are all together in peace, its not going to happen until every single one of us in total peace and calm and knowledge.

    THAT IS THE FOUNTIAN OF YOUTH PEOPLE! That is what the comics said and that is what Allah SWT said, and that is what everything points to and those of us who can hold on and keep things pushing forward. THEY ARE THE WINNERS IN THIS WORLD AND THE HEAR AFTER - We stay the course we pull together like we always did, I love this country and I will kiss the soil every single time I come back home from anywhere even the store.

    Love Justice and Truth always and you will be loved for eternity that is his promise nothing on this earth! Salam

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  • 1 decade ago

    Rather, people who 'believe' they are spiritual exhibit narcissitic behavior. There is a big difference between actually 'being' spiritual and 'believing oneself to be.

    The correlation you describe is fascinating. Perhaps clinical insanity is only the ego's illusions taken to their logical (when uninhibited) conclusion.

    The most helpful thing I ever read re: dealing with one's ego identity is to accept that the ego is insane, but you are NOT your ego.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Narcissism is not a trait solely for so called 'spiritual' people.

    "I love me, whose your second favourite" comes right across the board.

    It could be that you have confused cause with effect.

    Narcissism easily leads to a pseudo spirituality...as in your friend who thought he was god.

    I have discovered that Y'Shua FREED me from the ego distortion which was my central characteristic before He liberated me.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I was narcissistic long before I got saved. It nearly cost me my eternal soul because I just couldn't give the control over to God.

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