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How to Heal From a Spiritual Narcissist

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

The psychological wounds from a narcissist are often recognized as more damaging than physical abuse.  A common diagnosis from someone who has spent significant time with a narcissist is C-PTSD.  You can read more about that here.  It doesn’t matter if the abuser was a parent, sibling, friend, coworker, partner, or spouse.  The damage is significant regardless.  But when you are the victim of a spiritual narcissist, the pain can be even worse.  Your spirituality is a very personal and deep part of you.  And when someone uses it to abuse you, it cuts deeper than most other kinds of abuse.  

So, how does one who has been so hurt heal from a spiritual narcissist?  Getting support from counselors who are experienced in narcissism in conjunction with church leadership, a few friends and/or family members that you know will keep confidences, and a good lawyer–also experienced in emotional abuse are all instrumental to healing.  But while all of these things can be exactly what you need for healing,  any of these components not on board with healthy healing practices can be incredibly destructive.  

Let’s take a look at how all of these options work in alignment with each other. 

How to Heal From a Spiritual Narcissist

Healing From Spiritual Narcissism With Experienced Counselors

This may be the most important component in the team of support that you or your loved one will need to heal from a spiritual narcissist.  The counselor you choose must be experienced in narcissistic issues.  I was very fortunate that when my ex husband dragged me to counseling to make me be a more obedient wife, he chose a counselor that clearly saw what was going on.  The agency I was with had extensive experience in narcissism.  

Narcissism is now a pretty common theme in counseling agencies now.  That means you should have no problem finding someone who understands the narcissistic abuse you have experienced.  When the court ordered counseling for my son and his dad to try to form a healthy relationship, his dad refused to share his previous counseling records with the counselors so they could work with him.  Honestly, that alone tipped the counselors off that he had something to hide.  It didn’t benefit him at all.  Within a few sessions, my son’s counselor consulted with other counselors in the agency and they all agreed that narcissism was the biggest issue.  

At this point in time, it should not be difficult to get a narcissistic diagnosis and begin treatment for the victims very soon.  While there likely won’t be healing for the narcissist, healing for the victims can begin immediately.  

Healing From Spiritual Narcissism With Church Leaders Who Work With Counselors

I am going to take the last point one step further.  If you are a church member and working with a counselor, know that many counseling agencies are willing to work with your church leadership.  This works well for a couple of reasons.  First, narcissists tend to get away with their behavior by isolating their victims and playing different sides for different situations.  For the church he is likely playing the holiest person he can be.  For the counselor he is probably trying to be the sensitive responsible person.  And in the home he is the person you don’t mess with or you will pay.  

When you go to the counselor and start working through issues, the counselors will start pressing in to make progress.  The narcissist won’t be able to hide from their attempt to expose the issues causing strife in your relationship.  Then adding the church into the conversation allows the church to see what he is hiding from them.  

In my case, my ex husband realized he couldn’t play three different sides at the same time with all of us in the room.  The narcissism came out raging.  And at that point, I had documented proof of what he had been doing behind closed doors for decades.  

Further, your church will have a hard time seeing all of this if all they see is his behavior in the church.  It took my church nearly a year of the counselors trying to help them to see what was wrong.  They spent much of that time trying to give my ex the benefit of the doubt.  Until the meetings started happening with everyone together.  Then they finally realized the chaos was happening by design.  

Healing From Spiritual Narcissism With Lawyers Who are Experienced in Legal/Narcissistic Issues

This third component was the icing on the cake for me.  My ex husband had done what is called conflicting out.  He went to all the top lawyers in my city and interviewed them for our separation/divorce.  By the time I started looking for a lawyer, they all knew my story because they had already talked to him.  And that meant they couldn’t talk to me.  The third one I talked to  knew what was going on as soon as I started answering her questions to get to know me.

She said the moment he started talking to her she knew he wasn’t going to use her or any other female lawyer based on how he interacted with her.  And that’s why she knew he was conflicting out.  She was kind enough to spend some time giving me pointers on how to deal with him going forward.  

Then all of a sudden one of my daughters suggested that I use her lawyer because she had been amazing when she went up against the state of Virginia for an adoption issue.  I contacted that lawyer and set up a time to meet.  At the meeting I explained that my pastor had told me to get a lawyer because I was separated and likely divorcing.  I explained some of the church government issues and some of the issues that caused me to be separated.  

Within 15 minutes she said she totally understood the ins and outs of the church government issues because she was raised in a similar church with similar church government.  And she had been married to a narcissist and knew exactly what I was going through.  My husband’s manipulation didn’t matter.  I ended up with the best lawyer I could have ever gotten.  

How to Heal From a Spiritual Narcissist

The Lawyer My Narcissist Chose

After conflicting out to try to make my search for a lawyer ineffective, my ex actually hired a lawyer that was a former partner of the chief judge of juvenile court.  And we were in a custody battle.  (As a bit of background, my ex was very minimally involved with our kids until we were separated and he could  use getting custody to get to me.)  That was an incredibly scary time, but I kept my attention focused on the fact that  my lawyer knew my situation well and was an award-winning lawyer.  

They did make some ground in the custody department initially, mostly because I was so intimidated that I gave in.  After that first court hearing, I realized if I didn’t stand up for my son, I would not get him where he needed to be.  So from that time on, I was on track.  I needed to keep my focus and that is exactly what I did for his sake.

In Spite of Feeling on the Downside…

Also, in an incredibly blessed turn of events, my ex, who has never been very good with money, ran out of money and had to let his lawyer go.  Once he was representing himself, my uphill battle became more of a molehill.  I still had to fight with everything I had.  But I was far less intimidated.  And I still made sure that everything I was working for in court was documented with proof of the abuse, progress (or lack of) in counseling, and where my son was at that point in time. 

Honestly, much of what I did was just document how badly my ex was relating to his son, how little he acknowledged him, and how every decision he made took no regard for how my son felt.  Some of the biggest deciding factors in our last court hearing were the fact that my ex remarried 6 days after we received our divorce papers without even telling our son about it.  Our son had only met her once for a brief time at that point.  And he moved away without acknowledging how hard it was for our son. 

His behavior made it clear he wasn’t looking out for his best interests.  And that (in addition to 3 or 4 other major events) is what eventually helped me to win against the odds in court.

To Heal From Spiritual Narcissism, Find a Good Support Group

The final piece of advice I have for you in order to heal from spiritual narcissism is to find a support group that understands what you are going through and can give you the support you need to move forward–both in your new life and in your spiritual life. 

While most people that are abused spiritually realize that it wasn’t God that got them in that position, it can still be very difficult to get back on a healthy path spiritually.  Being in a church that has a divorce support group that also helps you to get back on your feet with God will be instrumental in your healing.  

This was a lifesaving event for me.  I found out about Divorce Care at a local church near me.  I think it may have been the single most important thing I did, after hiring the perfect lawyer and having the perfect counselors for me.

How to Heal From a Spiritual Narcissist 2  

If you are still in need of a support group, please look into Divorce Care and find one near you.  It was such a life-changing event for me that I am now the leader of our church’s group!  

The remarkable story of Joseph in the book of Genesis talks about what man meant for evil God meant for good.  And that is exactly how I feel about my divorce.  It was such a devastating loss for me.  But now it is a way that I can minister to many other hurting people in a way I never could have had God not brought me to where I am.

While there are many more things you can do to help you heal from a spiritual narcissist, these are probably the most important ones to get you going.  Please let me know in the comments how God brought you through this difficult time in your life!

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

Can You Maintain a Relationship With a Spiritual Narcissist?

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?

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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.

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