10 observations from my personal experiences with narcissists

"Perfect World" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Perfect World” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

[You can buy a print of “Perfect World” or any of my art with FREE SHIPPING. Use coupon “shipit“!]

I’ve had dealings with narcissists. Christian leadership is polluted with them. These are my personal observations from my interactions with narcissists.

(Even though there are female narcissists, my experience has been with male ones, so I’ll use the masculine.)

  1. He not only wants you to kiss his ass, he expects you will.
  2. He will give you endless opportunities to do so.
  3. If you refuse to kiss or you stop kissing his ass, he will experience complete dismay.
  4. It drives him crazy to see other asses kissed.
  5. He believes you kissing his ass gives him permission to kick yours.
  6. The better you kiss his ass, the higher up the pecking order you may go.
  7. He will try to silence your stories about his efforts to make you kiss his ass.
  8. If you don’t kiss his ass, he’ll try to destroy you.
  9. His friends who believe they support him are actually just kissing his ass too.
  10. He knows there is an endless supply of ass-kissers out there, so you’re disposable.

I have a list of names of narcissists I’ve served, and, yes, kissed their asses for a time. Every one of them fit this list to a tee.

Are you an ass-kissing survivor? I am. And there are more of us! Join us at The Lasting Supper. (Not all of us have been ass-kissers, but some of us have.) We are a seriously happy bunch too. CHECK US OUT!

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22 Responses

  1. Gary W says:

    So, when a church board hires a “pastor” with the expectation that he will kiss their individual and collective backsides, and when that same “pastor” has mistaken his pursuit of narcissistic supplies for a calling, the results can be quite interesting. And quite devastating to many innocent bystanders.

  2. Ducatihero says:

    Although I probably have done my fair share of ass kissing in my time, the thoughts that come foremost to my mind have been times when I have stood up to narcissists, bringing about situations where I have either been banned from work, church or social gatherings, or chosen to leave the same for the sake of my sanity.

    Of course in calling it out in others I have had to make sure I don’t slip into narcissistic tendencies myself. I have a few close friends that keep me in check when inevitably any imperfection I have in this regard shoes through.

  3. Jonn McDaniel says:

    I write a lot about how most pastors and church leaders are narcissists. Your post resonates well with my personal experience with all of the narcissists I know. Great artwork, too!

  4. Angie says:

    I have experienced the drama of a narcissist in my life. The emotional devastation they infect you with is one of the most unbelievable and valuable life lessons I have learned. I was told in the beginning to run as fast as I could in the opposite direction from the narcissist but he had already spun the web and I was willingly trapped for a long time. My advise now is the same as I was given. RUN!

  5. Danica says:

    David this is pretty much the best picture representing narcissism I’ve ever seen. So spot on! A skilled narcissist has the uncanny ability to make you kiss his/her ass (my narci is a woman), while feeling grateful for the privilege of doing so. You even DEFEND your right to kiss the narcissist’s ass to others. You jockey with others for the number one ass kisser spot.

  6. Danica says:

    Also, those lips on the other side of the body … look like they’re fixing to do something else entirely.

  7. joe says:

    Hey interesting thoughts, i checked out something pretty wierd the other day, along this idea of religion.

  8. katewillette says:

    I suppose this means that to a narcissist, each of us is just another pair of puckered lips. Bit players in the movie of his life, in which he has the starring role. That sounds about right.

  9. Unfortunately. I’m not playing the role though. I know you don’t either! 😉

  10. Kpants says:

    I doubt most narcissists know what they’re doing. Raised by narcissistic parents, I have a chronic attraction to these kinds of people. In my world, they tend to be emotionally distant, yet fun to be around. As a fairly deep and serious person, these kinds of friends and relationships sometimes balance me out. But briefly. They eventually exhaust me. As I’ve learned, yet again, with the recent end of a four year relationship.

    Other feelings I’m left with include feeling unheard, dismissed, devalued, and then ultimately like I’m being too selfish. And then I start to feel like the narcissistic one, aching for constant attention and making sure I’m heard. That’s a role reversal I always try to be aware of since observing it years ago with my grandparents. I wonder if this role reversal is common? If others have experienced it? Kissing ass for so long that you go through a period of demanding it for yourself. Often there’s those logs in my eyes that keep me from seeing the truth of myself. I don’t think I’ve ever had someone on equal ground with whom to discuss these things with mutual humility and ownership. Somehow, it never seems to be the other persons fault. I have to be careful in not claiming the same.

    Thanks for posting and encouraging me to see others and myself more clearly.

  11. Kpants says:

    Also, it’s interesting to think about the narcissistic spectrum. While we can easily talk about narcissists as being “them”, I think it’s a tendency we all have at some point. It’s easy to put that label on some people, but I also find that different people bring out different characteristics in each other. Those dynamics fascinate me.

    One of my favorite characteristics of narcissistic behavior is when a person shares their opinions or beliefs and does so in a way that implies that I’m already in total agreement with them. They make no room for differing thought. They just want confirmation and affirmation that they are right. As usual.

    I find this behavior all around me. It often leaves me feeling unheard and alone. So much so that I find myself needing to scream my opinion back. Or at other times just losing my thoughts about things altogether.

  12. Really good points Kpants.

  13. Kpants says:

    Thanks 🙂

  14. SJ says:

    David (Naked dude) 😀
    I’m assuming this is your butt pictured, then? (JK)

    The word “Narcissist” is bandied around a bit – since it’s in our vernacular lexicon. Are you actually attributing real NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) to a number of (male) pastors/leaders you have worked with in Christian church ministry?

    I ask because I myself have wondered if the pulpit makes a convenient place for someone with NPD to affirm themselves as right and to give themselves the constant control and me-centered affection they are dependent upon. Not to mention the moralistic high ground…..

  15. SJ says:

    Kpants

    I think your feelings of “Role reversal” sound like some of the “Triangulation” dynamics I’ve read about in research on “Narcissistic headed households.” Have you read anything about that? There’s three general categorizations of how children/siblings tend to be impacted by the abusive relationship, and affected as adults. Perhaps you’ll recognize yourself in there….please let me know on this thread if any of it was helpful for your making sense of yourself.

    They say that NPD households are one of the least researched because there’s usually a code of silence in the family as a result of emotional manipulation. Im very proud of you for voicing what’s going on inside, on this blog.

  16. SJ says:

    Ok, thanks for the clarification.

  17. Kpants says:

    SJ: I suppose triangulation was a small part of the dysfunction I experienced growing up. I never knew there was an actual term for that. After identifying and processing my childhood for many years, It is a behavior among many that I won’t tolerate much these days, and have lost relationships because of it.

    Athough my mom did do some indirect venting, she never really had a problem being direct as well. She was normally pretty good at letting each person in the family know what they were doing wrong, and when we didnt meet her standards. My father, a narcissist as well, although a passive one, would tend to bow to her. The family rotated around my mom. She’d use other emotionally manipulative ways of controlling us to get what she wanted. Have you heard of the Karpman Drama Triangle? This fits my mom to a tee. It’s a dynamic that sucked me in for a very long time, since I thought my mom was always right. The moment I saw what was happening was the moment I finally felt the power to choose. And freedom. The Karpman triangle is what I would consider literal triangulation: strangled by an emotionally unhealthy triangular dynamic. It’s a tactic I’m extremely sensitive to these days, and another behavior that’s low on my tolerance scale. It’s still very difficult for me to raise my voice, since I’m not always sure of what to say in protest of someone who is playing this game, and more often anything I do say merely perpetuates the drama cycle. But I’m definitely recognizing it and setting my boundaries by stepping back and not participating. Which is why my mother and I have been estranged for many years, unfortunately.

    Thanks for inquiring and listening. 🙂

  18. SJ says:

    Kpants:

    Yeah, I was surprised to find about the term as specifically applied to NPDs. What I found especially interesting is the specific roles assigned in the household. I urge you to look into it. It might give you some peace.

    Oh and the estranged thing….you might be doing the right thing. I bet you feel guilty, but know your instincts might be right. You’re not a bad son/daughter – not at all. Gods got a place for you- I bet you’re meant to be a spiritual son or daughter to someone who has lost someone they love – you are worth it. I can’t say for sure but I would bet that’s a plan – it seems to be Gods MO…..Happy Easter

  19. Kpants says:

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    I don’t feel guilty anymore for loving my mom from a distance. Though, I did for a long while. There are still people in my life who try to guilt me occasionally, most of which do not know the whole story, nor understand (or try to understand) the parts of the story I have shared, and therefore do not have the right to speak their opinions or controlling agendas into my life. So I see their guilt trips as their problem. Not mine.

    I’m pretty much at peace with my childhood dysfunctions and the person I am these days…it’s been a long and strenuous process of identifying and releasing, but I’ve been very welcoming of that process over the past decade or more. And I’m very thankful for my process because it has, like you said, allowed me to be an affirming and hopeful voice in many of my friends lives.

    I will do more research into this topic though, as I’m always fascinated by new angles for understanding myself and my past.

    Happy Easter to you! I’m thankful for chance to share my story with accepting, understanding, and encouraging people like yourself. 🙂