You are currently viewing Can You Maintain a Relationship With a Spiritual Narcissist?

Can You Maintain a Relationship With a Spiritual Narcissist?

Reviewed by Karis A. Williams, MSMHC, LPC,   December 1, 2023

Most of us that fell in love with and marry a narcissist, spiritual or otherwise, had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  They knew exactly what words to say to make us feel loved and special.  And for a while, their actions seemed to back up those words.  But once they had us, it all changed.  So, once you find out what is going on (sometimes it takes years or even decades), can you maintain a relationship with a spiritual narcissist?

As a general rule, you can try to maintain a relationship with a spiritual narcissist if certain criteria are met.  Many strong professionals (courts, counselors, church leaders) would need to be involved who understand narcissism. But the chance of the narcissist staying once they realize you are no longer a good source of supply is 100%.  And it will not be a productive and healthy life for the victim.

Let’s take a look at what it would look like to try to maintain a relationship with a spiritual narcissist.

Communication With the Narcissist Would be Limited to What Can be Proven

Everything a narcissist says is a construct of the world they WANT to live in rather than the world they actually live in.  That means there are many lies being told.  Narcissists keep things chaotic until their partner can’t tell up from down.  Additionally, spiritual narcissists make themselves equal to God, which makes it impossible for their partner to speak out against wrongdoing.  It is a vicious circle.

The are only a couple ways to keep communication clear.  One is to keep it all in writing.  You can write in the form of emails, texts, or handwritten letters. The other way to keep communication clearly documentable is to only speak when there are witnesses to corroborate.

This really doesn’t work in the vast majority of relationships.  In order to be in relationship with someone, there must be trust.  And if every conversation has to be documented in some form, there clearly is no trust.

If your spiritual narcissist is willing to stay in relationship with these conditions, it is likely only until he can get someone else who will trust him implicitly.  And he likely won’t agree to those terms anyway unless there is court-ordered counseling or some other method that forces him to be accountable.  He will never submit to accountability of his own accord.

It would still not be healthy communication.  The narcissist would still be lying, twisting truth, creating new realities.  The only benefit here is that when he does that, you will have proof that will allow to to return communication back to reality.  For the moment.  It will never become healthy communication.

Can you maintain a relationship with a spiritual narcissist?

There Would Still be Constant Chaos When Trying to Maintain a Relationship With a Narcissist

Even if you are verifying every conversation with your narcissist to keep the facts above board, constant strife will still abound.  After about 2 years of counseling, my marriage had eroded down to only talking through email and texts.  But yet, every time we had a joint counseling session (about once a month), the facts were always misconstrued.  I would have to pull out the written proof to bring the truth back to the table to work through.

It still never went well.  My ex would say that he misunderstood or misremembered.  And then he would feel like everything was solved.  It was all about what he could say at that moment to deflect what was really going on.

He would never admit to actual wrongdoing or ulterior motives.  He would always say he was just trying to do the best thing for everyone involved.  That may not have been totally dishonest.  As a narcissist, he saw himself as the only relevant person in the room.  So sure, he was looking out for himself.

At the end of the day, even if you could get them to admit wrongdoing, it would be short lived as the next crisis looms on the horizon.  The more chaos and craziness they can whip up, the less balanced you can remain.  Until you learn how to work through the chaos.  More on that later!

Every Day Healing With a Narcissist Would be Like Starting Over

I alluded to this problem in the last section.  This issue becomes a problem when you put out one fire and your next communication with the narcissist is just as crazy.  Sometimes he brings up the same issue, like it was never resolved.  Once he makes the point that you were the offender, he may not change his dialog.  Even when you have tangible proof that he has seen and he has admitted you were right.  The very next conversation can  go back to how wrong you were again.

If by chance he doesn’t bring up the same tired arguments again, he can just start with a new issue.  I will admit right here that life with your narcissist will NEVER be boring!  There will always be some sort of drama.  And no matter how boring you are, that drama will be blamed on you!  Once he puts the chaos out there, he will then project the source of the drama from himself to you.  By that time, if you don’t have a good handle on what is going on, you will be so confused that you won’t have a leg to stand on.

And every day he will throw something else out there.  Or even later that day.  The crazy could start with every next conversation.  The one guarantee about choosing to maintain a relationship with a spiritual narcissist is that the chaos will not stop, no matter how many fires you put out.

The Narcissist Will Probably Discard You Sooner Than Later When They Can’t Control You

Even if you have decided you want to try to maintain a relationship with a spiritual narcissist, you can’t control what they decide to do.  And they will not keep pursuing you if they know they can get more out of someone else.

They also will not be able to handle your lack of support for their narcissism.  It will be too hard for them to be constantly trying to get back on top of things.  And as they feel like they are losing control, they will become more angry and unhinged.

I don’t think there is a narcissist anywhere that would submit to that for any length of time.  So if you find yourself in that position, just know that it is probably temporary.  The relationship in that condition will not last much longer.

When I Decided It Was no Longer Possible to Live With my Spiritual Narcissist

I was very blessed to have support everywhere I went.  My ex was not able to hide his narcissism once the documentation came out.  So for a while, we were able to combat the craziness.  But it was exhausting.  Not just for my supporters and me.  It was just as exhausting for my ex.  He was having the hardest time coming up with new excuses because his old standbys were no longer working.

Once my church leadership and counselors realized that instead of getting better things were getting worse, they supported my decision for separation.   They actually did one better than support.  They assisted me in telling him about my separation plans so I wouldn’t have to be alone with him and vulnerable to his anger.

The intent of the separation was for healing and restoration.  But both my counselors and church leadership made sure I realized that it was a slim chance at that point.  I did want to do everything I could do to save the marriage before walking away.  And I am grateful for that to this day.  I always tend to play the “what if” game.  And I don’t have any what ifs regarding the end of my marriage.  There was nothing more I could do.

What my ex did as was immediately go to another church that supported his narcissism as authority over his family.  They gave him grounds for divorce because I would not let him back into my house with no acknowledgment or healing at that point.  He then got his new supply in the form of another woman.  And filed for divorce after they started dating.

While his actions were hurtful because he wasn’t willing to put in any work to heal our 31-year marriage, I can say I am relieved to no longer be walking on eggshells and sifting through the daily craziness.

How To Gain Balance When You Maintain a Relationship With a Spiritual Narcissist

My separation and divorce came a long time after trying to work through all of the narcissism.  I spent 20+ years struggling in silence.  When I decided I had had enough, I still had no idea what narcissism was.  And I thought because I was a Christian who didn’t believe in divorce I would have to stay married.

I didn’t start counseling until 2016 when my ex dragged me there to force me to obey.  My counselor calls that the best worst day of  my life.  I thought it was the worst day because my ex was going to destroy me.  But it ended up being the best because the counselors saw what was really going on!  My healing journey could begin!

Even at that point, I spent a few more years trying to work through the narcissism.  We didn’t just get the diagnosis and walk away.  We sincerely tried to see if there was any chance of healing before walking away.  And during those years my counseling was focused on how to live a healthy life while in relationship with my narcissist husband.

Was it totally healthy?  Definitely not.  But it was healthy under the circumstances until I could get to a totally healthy place in life.

Two Things You Can Do to Defuse Narcissistic Attacks

If you are dealing with a narcissist, you will most likely need to learn how to gain balance until you can get your freedom.  Doing the suggestions mentioned above will help.  But there are a couple more things you can do.

First, don’t get emotionally spun up by his tactics.  You getting spun up is victory for him.  Secular psychology calls it grey rock.  And when you first start doing it, your narcissist will be mad!  He can’t figure out why he can’t get you stirred up anymore!

And probably the most important thing you can do is walk away before the conversation turns into a circular argument. When he realizes he can’t drag you down the rabbit hole, it will frustrate him.  But you will start to get your clarity back!  And you are going to need that going forward!

Can you maintain a relationship with a spiritual narcissist?


This will be a great start to get your head where it needs to be with your narcissist.  If you are married and have kids together, even divorce will not free you from being in relationship with him.  But doing these things will be incredibly helpful.  Make sure you find a counselor who is experienced with narcissism.  This will be the most valuable thing you do to regain your health.

When I started my counseling journey, my counselor shared the book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage with me.  It dealt with exactly how to determine if your marriage is difficult or actually destructive.  And once you determine that, the rest of the book talked about how to gracefully maneuver your way to emotional health, whether your partner does or not.  This book was a lifesaver for me.  I think it will be a game changer for you as well!



If you liked this article, I think you will also love the following articles:

Can Narcissists Have a Spiritual Awakening?

How Will God Judge a Narcissist?

When the Church Says to Move Back in With Your Narcissist

What Can We Say to a Friend Who’s Divorcing

23 Reasons Why Narcissists are Drawn to the Church

When the Church Doesn’t Recognize Narcissistic Abuse

Will the Church Support Divorcing a Narcissist?

What Does the Bible Say About Narcissism?

Can a Spiritual Narcissist Heal?

Can a Narcissist Be a Christian?

What is Spiritual Narcissism?

What Does the Spiritual Narcissist Do When You Try to Leave?

Follow me!


Hi! I am the founder of Navigating Religious Narcissism after being raised under a narcissistic mother and married to a narcissistic man for 31 years. It is my prayer that I can be as valuable on your journey to healing and peace as were so many who crossed my path of healing.

Leave a Reply