Narcissists exist in all fields and areas of life and truly, one of the most confusing, insidious and dangerous forms of narcissism is that of the religious or spiritual narcissist.
First and foremost, narcissists seek to gain A-grade supply from their prey, and they know that by placing themselves in a position of spiritual authority, they can easily disguise who they really are and be beyond reproach. Working to gain the trust of vulnerable people with their often vast religious or spiritual knowledge along with feigning empathy and support, they can be very alluring, charismatic and extremely convincing.
My father was a narcissist and a religious fanatic. He physically and emotionally abused my mother and myself while quoting verses from the bible. Many times child protection services would be called followed by him marching off to church with a big Bible under his arm. My mother was highly co-dependent. She later left my father but got involved with a religious cult full of narcissists – abuse on all levels followed and all in the name of “God.” Leaving home at sixteen, I felt desperately unloved and unaccepted. I had no sense of myself. Every time I got into a relationship all of my deepest fears, trauma and insecurities would come to the surface. I continually attracted uncommitted, unsuitable men and it was inevitable that I would have the narcissistic marriage that would bring me to my knees. The narcissist husband was a “Spiritual Narcissist.” Unlike my parents, who were very simple, uneducated and naive in many ways, my husband was highly intelligent and well-read and versed in all things spiritual, which I was attracted to as I was deeply interested in spirituality rather than religion. He set himself up as my “Spiritual Teacher” and would use spiritual principles to manipulate and control. He used his intellect and vast knowledge to twist and turn every conversation to his benefit. He would tell me that the abuse was for my evolution and that it was all God’s will. I experienced mind-bending confusion as the spiritual principles in of themselves are beautiful and hold truth, yet they were used in such a way to abuse. I suffered endlessly not knowing what was real or what to trust. He was highly convincing and had a huge following/standing in the local community, who all thought he could do no wrong. It was a huge wake-up call when I began to make the connections between my childhood and my marriage. I had been completely disconnected from myself and from God and my own sense of what God is.
After coming out of the marriage, it wasn’t until I began to go inside to find and release the original traumas of my childhood out of my body and bring in the light, that I began to experience my own connection with the Divine (God/love/Universal/Source/Higher Self or whatever your version might be). Unlike the God of my childhood and marriage, the Divine is truth, love and kindness. Replacing the trauma with this energy raised my vibration and obliterated all falsehood and darkness. Darkness simply cannot exist in the light. By bringing all of energy and focus onto myself and my own healing, releasing the trauma from my body and replacing it with Divine energy along with forming a whole new connection with my little girl inside with kindness and devotion, I brought her back to health and wholeness.
Now I am free, being my true self and living my true life – the life I born to live.
When I look back I can see clearly that the Divine was with me all along and through it all, lovingly urging me to heal and come home to myself. I am so beyond grateful.
Learn more about Julie-Anne Shapiro and her work at http://loveisalwayskind.com