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What are the Spiritual Roots of Narcissism? There’s More Than You Think!

On the surface, narcissism can just seem like someone who doesn’t want to play by the rules.  They will do anything to get ahead of everyone else, no matter how dirty the tricks.  But, upon closer examination, narcissistic behavior seems to have distinct patterns and terminology, even across time and geography.  Narcissism is eerily similar today to it’s beginning, pretty much with the beginning of time.  So, what are the spiritual roots of narcissism that make it seem like it is all coming from the same source?

The spiritual roots of narcissism are sinful spirits of those who refuse to see their place in God’s economy.  They behave as though they know more than God and are better than everyone else, often to hide deep shame and inadequacy they feel.  Many believe they are influenced by demons as their words, thoughts, and behaviors are strikingly like narcissists throughout history.

Let’s take a closer look at the various spiritual roots of narcissism and their implications in the world we live in.

Where Narcissism Began (Spiritually Speaking)

Narcissism began pretty much with the beginning of humanity.  While I certainly cannot diagnose Adam and Eve’s children and their drama–murder, jealousy, trickery, manipulation, and the gamut of bad behavior–there were undoubtedly plenty of narcissists around.  And their behavior looked just bout the same as it does today.

The Bible, which Christians believe to be the Word of God from the beginning of time, has many names for narcissism.  Some of the most notable ones are liars, proud, traitors, conceited, whitewashed tombs, lovers of themselves, abusive, treacherous, and having a form of godliness but denying its power.  There are many more, but I’m sure you get the idea.

So, as far as the source of narcissism, it is pretty much from the beginning when sin entered the world.  According to the Bible, sin entered the world when Satan tricked Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  This is also a very spiritual event, as mankind fell from grace from God the Father in this same event.  The story of the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is the very event that caused our need for a Savior to defeat Satan and sin and bring us back under God’s loving protection.  When you read this story, you will be able to identify the narcissistic behavior Satan displayed.  Here are some of those behaviors:

  • Satan gaslit Adam and Eve into thinking something different from reality (“If you eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will surely not die and you will have the knowledge of God.”)  These were direct lies to make them believe something different from reality.
  • Satan had a sense of grandiosity.  He believed he could be bigger than even God and would rule over Him.  This eventually got him kicked out of Heaven, along with a third of the other angels.
  • Satan exercises an extreme lack of empathy.  He wants what he wants only for his own selfish ends.
  • Satan is the ultimate manipulator.  He knew God’s words were truth.  But he wanted to manipulate Adam and Eve to do his bidding.  And his success caused the spiritual fall of all of mankind.

Many people believe that narcissists are demon possessed because first, they have so many of the narcissistic traits that Satan himself had, and second, because the words, behavior, and mannerisms of narcissism has been nearly identical throughout all of history around the world.  Honestly, I wouldn’t go so far to say that as a general rule narcissists are demon possessed, although I wouldn’t be surprised that the rare narcissist very well may be.   You can  find out the whole story about that in my article about whether narcissists are demon possessed.

The Spiritual Roots of Narcissism:  “Putting God in His Place”

Also since the beginning of time and starting with Satan’s battle to overthrow God as…well, God, there has always been a sense of “I am the best in the world” attitude among those who do not see Him as God.  They need to be even bigger.  Or they need to feel like they are at least equal with God.

Many narcissists, especially in religious circles, will convince those around them that they know exactly what God is saying.  Therefore, everyone needs to do or be whatever he says because he has a straight line to God.  And you had better not question it!

While these narcissists have been around since the Garden of Eden, they are still incredibly prevalent today.  Pastors will do it to gain authority within their churches.  Elders and other church leaders will do the same.  Men will do it to control their wives and children.  And women will even do it to those they can get control over.

The best defense for this situation is to know your Bible!  If someone is telling you to do something in direct opposition to what the Bible says, then it is the Bible you must believe.  If they are telling you something that isn’t in the Bible at all, you can use your judgment and what the Bible does say generally to guide your steps.  And you can always talk to someone you trust who knows enough about the Bible to help you sus things out!  If the words a potential narcissist is saying don’t ring true for you, proceed cautiously!

Narcissism and the “Jezebel Spirit”

Narcissism and the Jezebel spirit are often linked together, especially in Christian circles.  Of course, most people outside of Christianity aren’t even aware of the term Jezebel spirit.  And honestly, most people in secular circles are actually referring to Jezebel spirits as narcissists based on their circle of influence and knowledge.

Some people believe that a Jezebel spirit is actually a live demon spirit that inhabits people.  This could actually be the case, but I think that much more often a Jezebel spirit is referring to the cold-hearted, abusive treatment that people use resembling the original bad behavior of Jezebel herself.

Let’s take a closer look.

Who is Jezebel Anyway?

Ironically, the name Jezebel actually means pure or virginal.  But Queen Jezebel in the Bible was anything but pure.  She was a queen in Tyre and Sidon whose husband was Ahab.  Ahab was the seventh king of Israel and said to be the most evil of kings thus far.

The Bible indicates in 1 Kings 16:29-33 that he was already known as the most evil king when he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal (meaning “Baal is alive”) of Sidon.  We know that Jezebel was an evil person from an evil household herself.  So, to align with Ahab would have made them something of a power couple.  Against God.  1 Kings 21: 25 tells us that Jezebel actually incited most of the evil things Ahab did.

We know that Jezebel had killed many of God’s prophets, so the prophet Obadiah had gone into hiding with 100 other prophets of God for safety. The prophet Elijah is sent by God to deal with Ahab and Jezebel.  He ends up killing all of the prophets of Ahab and Jezebel’s gods.  And that makes Jezebel very angry.

Additionally, Jezebel killed a man and his sons just because she couldn’t persuade him to sell his land back to her.

Jezebel told Elijah that she was coming after him and he would be dead within 24 hours.  So he fled for a while but then God called him back to Ahab to give him a message.  All the men under Ahab would be killed.  And Jezebel would not only be killed, but eaten by dogs within the city walls of Jezreel.  And that is exactly what happened.  She couldn’t rebel or run away from God.  And she will forever be known for her evil dealings and how she provoked her husband to do even more evil, affecting the lives of literally everyone in their kingdom.

There is so much more to this story.  You can read it all in 2 Kings 9:31-37.

Here are some other articles that are closely related to this one and spiritual/narcissistic that you may be interested in:

What Does the Spiritual Narcissist do When You try to Leave?

When the Church Doesn’t Recognize Narcissistic Abuse

Will the Church Support Divorcing a Narcissist?

Are Narcissists Demon Possessed?

Can a Spiritual Narcissist Heal?

What is Spiritual Narcissism?

What is the Jezebel Spirit?

So, now that we know the background information on Jezebel and what a heinous person she was and will always be known for, let’s take a look at what a Jezebel spirit is.  While there is no universal definition, generally speaking, a Jezebel spirit is someone who provokes others to do inappropriate things, from mild to wild.  It also doesn’t have to be a woman just because Jezebel was.

Some examples of things a Jezebel spirit would entice people to do are:

  • Spread vicious rumors about other people.
  • They may seduce people themselves or convince others to.
  • Talk other people into doing unethical things, including getting Christians or other religious people to do things that are against their religion.
  • They may even coerce people to kill others, either by force or willingly.

There is no limit to what a Jezebel spirit will try to get someone else to do.  Whatever it is will be damaging to a wide range of people.  And it will cause life-altering devastating consequences.

And that is why people think a Jezebel spirit is narcissistic, evil, or even demonic.

How is the Jezebel Spirit related to Narcissism?

So, we talked about how a Jezebel spirit is pretty downright evil.  But how does that relate specifically to the spiritual roots of narcissism?  There are several ways.  Let’s actually go through each of the nine tenets of narcissism as lined out in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Edition 5, which is the American guideline for psychiatrists diagnosing mental health issues.

Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements, expects to be recognized as superior without actually completing the achievements).  The Jezebel spirit certainly has a grandiose sense of self importance.  They expect everyone to listen to, adhere to, and obey everything they think, say, and order others to do.
Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty, or perfect love.  The Jezebel spirit, like Jezebel herself, wants to be seen as the queen or other prestigious positions.  This gives them more authority and control.

Believes that they are “special” and can only be understood by or should only associate with other special people (or institutions).  Jezebel spirits have no time for the “little people.” They are only for the purpose of doing their bidding.  Therefore, to be seen with lowly people will cause spectators to see them as lowly too.  They have to only be seen with the most elite.

Requires excessive admiration.  Of course, Jezebel spirits won’t take criticism well.  There is only room for praise and admiration.   They must be seen as perfect in the eyes of everyone else.
Has a sense of entitlement, such as an unreasonable expectation of favorable treatment or compliance with his or her expectations).  Only someone with a huge sense of entitlement would be able to ask or demand people do the things they do.  It is outrageous to those who are on the outside looking in.  Unfortunately, it is usually not as visible to those who are under the spell of the Jezebel spirit.
Is exploitative and takes advantage of others to achieve their own ends.  This may be the very definition of the Jezebel spirit in its functionality.  If they can get someone else to make someone take the fall, then they won’t have to face the music themselves.  Jezebel used the power of her husband’s throne to get away with unspeakable crimes, against God and man.
Lacks empathy and is unwilling to identify with the needs of others.  When you read the story of Jezebel in the Bible, you will see that there was not an empathetic bone in her body.  The more she “accomplished,” the more dastardly her behavior became.  She spiraled out of control, and her heart hardened more with each event.
Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of them.  I believe that Jezebel had as many of God’s prophets killed as she could because she knew God’s power was greater than the Baals or Asherahs.  If they were killed, they couldn’t be shown as more powerful.  And Jezebel and her gods would look superior.
Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors and attitudes.  
Everything the original Jezebel did was arrogant and haughty.  And likewise, everything the Jezebel spirit does will be in the same vein.  They will need to be seen as someone who will immediately take down anyone who dares to cross them.
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It is pretty clear that the spiritual roots of narcissism go straight back to the beginning of time and the Garden of Eden.  It didn’t stop there.  It went straight through all of history to the present day.  It includes all countries and nationalities.

There are so many similarities between a Jezebel spirit and narcissism that it is an easy conclusion to draw that they are the same.  But in scientific/psychological terms, no firm conclusions can be drawn.  This is mostly because while narcissism is an actual condition, a Jezebel spirit is a spiritual comparison and not an official religious doctrine or psychological diagnosis.
That being said, you can definitely compare the similarities of the two.  But you cannot necessarily say that all narcissists are Jezebel spirits or the reverse.  They are merely similar.
Are you familiar with the term Jezebel spirit?  How was it manifested to you, either by learning or experience?  How did you handle it?  Did you see it as narcissism?  We would love to hear your thoughts and experience.  Feel free to share in the comments below!
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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.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Tanu Oberoi

    Wow, this article was incredibly enlightening! 😲 I’ve always been intrigued by the spiritual aspects of narcissism and the comparison between the Jezebel spirit and narcissistic traits is eye-opening. It’s fascinating how ancient stories can still have so much relevance in today’s context. 📖✨ Great read, thanks for sharing! 😊👏

  2. Marie

    Thank you, Tanu. I was amazed at how much the Bible talks about narcissistic behavior, even though, of course, we never see the word “narcissism.” When I found the research on the Jezebel spirit I found it fascinating as well. And it has always amazed me how much narcissism has been exactly the same in the way it manifests no matter when in history or even what part of the world the stories come from.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Cris

    Something is definitely “off” with narcissists. It seems they all have the same playbook, and were schooled to behave the same way. That alone is very scary and creepy despite one’s country, background, or culture as it’s a worldwide parasitic mind virus. You summed it up well, where I hadn’t t heard it worded like this before, and it’s so true:
    “Many people believe that narcissists are demon possessed because first, they have so many of the narcissistic traits that Satan himself had, and second, because the words, behavior, and mannerisms of narcissism has been nearly identical throughout all of history around the world.”

    1. Marie

      Hi Cris! You are right that something is definitely off with narcissists. I find it so incredibly creepy that they all have the same playbook, literally since the beginning of time and everywhere in the world. That is what leads many to many to believe that narcissists are demon possessed. While I don’t believe most narcissists are demon possessed (surely a few may be), I do believe they can certainly succumb to demonic influences in their behavior.

      I have an article about this here if you want to know more:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


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