Much of the usual advice about spotting a covert narcissist doesn't apply in church. That's because these predators go to great lengths to mask their disorder.
Covert narcissists are often found in religious settings, which offers the perfect cover, and allows them access to a circle of kindhearted and trusting people. Because of these social dynamics, they can get away with a lot more than they could anywhere else.
It's my personal opinion that covert narcissists are extremely dangerous, which is why it's helpful to spot such a morally disordered person beforehand, so you can steer clear of their charades.
Oftentimes, a covert narcissist will give herself away by subtly putting others down, done so skillfully that you may not immediately recognize it as gossip. This is one clue that you're dealing with someone who can't be trusted. Another giveaway is inability to regulate anger. You may only see a brief flash of rage, quickly followed by a smile, as they collect themselves.
However, a church-based narcissist may display neither of these telltale characteristics. Gossip is frowned upon by Christians, something he or she is well aware of. So they know better not to do this.
Please understand I'm not a mental health professional, but I do have a fair share of experience dealing with covert narcissists, especially the kinds found at church. Probably the best way to spot one of these phonies is to go with your gut feeling that something is wrong, instead of looking for the more obvious signs. The fact that they can hide this disorder from just about everyone means they're very good at masking their malicious side.
Think about how you feel after spending time with this person. Are you anxious, frustrated or confused? Do you get a nagging feeling you can't trust this person, yet can't quite discern why you feel this way? Don't discount these feelings. Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance. Also, make sure you don't share any personal information with this person, even if it's fairly innocuous.
Malignant narcissists take such tidbits and run with them, twisting the truth with outrageous lies in order to destroy your reputation. Although we shouldn't care at all what people think of us, as long as we know we're doing the right thing, in the eyes of God, practically speaking, these folks can and will do all they can to run us out of our place of worship.
Pixabay image top by Nemo