You are currently viewing When Your Church Believes the Narcissist’s Lies

When Your Church Believes the Narcissist’s Lies

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

There are many reasons why a narcissist can successfully hide in the church (check out this article for more on that).  But what makes their presence in the church even more insidious is the incessant lies they speak as easily as though they were truth.  How do they do this?  They have lied about literally everything.  They lie to gain control, to manipulate, to shift blame, to charm the unsuspecting.  And they lie in order to make their world the way they want it to be.  And THAT is why they are so good and so convincing.  Because it is the life they so desperately want that they actually act it out as though it is their life.

So, what do you do when your church believes the narcissist’s lies?   You can speak to church leadership about it, making sure that you have some form of tangible proof.  Make sure you do not try to do this alone!  Bring a close friend or two along so the communication stays balanced and someone is there to make sure things are handled correctly.  Together you can all work on a plan of action to heal the difficulties. You must also set healthy boundaries for yourself, not only with the narcissist, but also with the church and methods they are using to handle the lying.  Also, the depth of lying must be taken into account.  It is critically important that the church does not minimize the damage being done from the lies.  

Let’s take a deeper look at what this looks like in reality.

when the church believes narcissist's lies

Talk to Church Leaders

By nature, we all give people the benefit of the doubt, hoping they will rise to the occasion.  But when the lies become too obvious to deny and the church chooses not to deal with it, you cannot go along with the altered reality.  Your mental health is too important to be mired down by both the narcissist and the church.  You must act in a way that will promote the truth.

Many times, the church is afraid to call out the lies of the narcissist because they are not 100% sure they are lies.  The narcissist is capable of making any statement sound like truth.  And they will hold to that lie to the end, even if you have tangible proof to the contrary.

The Narcissist is not Invincible

But eventually, that will be their downfall.  They will keep holding to the lies that are so easy to prove wrong.  And the people that are close enough to see that will catch on eventually.  Once the narcissist realizes they have been outed, they will move on to new people.  But they will also keep a handful of people in their back pocket.  They will wow these people with their “amazing kindness and sacrifice.”  But they won’t let them get close enough to see the reality–the act.  And those people will likely never pick up on what is going on.  The narcissist will need those people later.

When his reputation crashes and burns, those people will be the ones that will stand by him to the end.  They just won’t be able to believe that the narcissist could be anything but the Christian they see him pretending to be.  These people are called flying monkeys.  Yep, those flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz.  They did the bidding of the Wicked Witch of the West.  Until the spell was broken and they could see the truth.  Now, I think you should watch The Wizard of Oz for homework after reading this article! Just click on the titles in red to check it out.

All this is to say, if you keep church leaders in the loop and they are willing to truly listen to you, they will see the truth sooner than later.

Make sure you can speak to them in confidence.

When your church believes the narcissist’s lies and you need to talk to someon in authority, make sure you can speak with them in confidence.  If you are not sure that who you are talking to will keep what you say behind closed doors, do not talk to them.

You put yourself in danger by talking to someone that will go back to your narcissist and tell them what you said.  You will be punished for it.  And you probably won’t see it coming to protect yourself.  Again, this is something that you probably will want to have someone come along with you.  Then you have a witness for if something does go downhill.  At this point, all of your focus needs to be on keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.  Eventually you will get to the other side of this.  But for now, safety is the most important.

when your church believes the narcissists lies

Make sure you have tangible proof of their lies.

When the church believes the narcissist’s lies, it becomes a matter of “he said, she said.”  It isn’t even worth the battle at that point.  Church leaders don’t want to be in the middle of the chaos.  The narcissist won’t stop until you are destroyed.  And you are too exhausted to fight.

But there is an easy solution to this.  You must have proof of the narcissist’s lies.  When my counselor first told me this, I thought she was crazy.  How would I ever get my ex narc to give me proof?!  But he did!

I started making all contact in writing.  He could email or call.  But I would not engage him verbally, especially if nobody else was there to witness the conversation.  And sure enough, he would write one thing one day, then something totally different a few days later.  It is as though once they get something in their head, they have to make it their new reality.  I don’t  understand it.  I don’t know what they are really thinking.  It is honestly very sad to see the turmoil that goes on in their brain.  And even if you are willing to walk beside them on their journey to healing, they won’t do it.  In order to heal, they would have to admit to all of the things they have been hiding for so long.

Agree with them on a plan of action.

Once the church no longer believes the narcissist’s lies, you will be able to work on a plan of action with them.  This plan needs to have the following components:

  • It needs to keep you and family members safe.
  • It needs to be done with multiple people so that there is safety in numbers.
  • There should be counselors experienced in narcissism and religious issues.  They will be able to recommend the best course of action.
  • You need to have a clear time frame.  This keeps expectations reasonable.
  • Support needs to be addressed so everyone is on the same page, whether giving or receiving the support.

Having all of these steps in place will make your journey so much easier than trying to play catch up to the narcissist.

Never Try to Take Care of Things Alone

I have already mentioned this a couple of times, but it really is important enough to focus on for a bit longer.

Many times, victims of narcissism feel embarrassed or shameful about how they have fallen for what now seems so clear.  First, nobody should be embarrassed.  We took someone at face value that we should have been able to trust.  It is on them that they deceived us.

But now that we know, we cannot remain in the door mat position any longer.  So we need to have the strength to stand up to the narcissist.  But it is never safe to do that alone.  We must always have someone with us, whether it is a pastor, counselor, pastor’s wife, neighbor, or any person who is aware of what is going on.

when your church believes the narcissist's lies

Note:  DO NOT make your children your person of support.  While you do need to be honest with them about the issues that they are involved in with the narcissist, it is way above their pay grade to have to step between you and the narcissist for the sake of safety and protection.  This is true even if your children are adults.  They will have enough to process without having to deal with the parents’ issues as well.

Remember to Set Boundaries to Keep Yourself Safe From Narcissism

When your church believes the narcissist’s lies, it is important for you to set and keep boundaries.  The narcissist will not ever respect your position.  And he also won’t respect your boundaries.  But the sooner you set them, the easier your life will become.

The reason why boundaries at this time are so important is because you don’t know how long, if ever, the church is going to finally stop believing the narcissist’s lies and start heeding the truth.  You can’t wait for the church to defend you.  You must take steps to get back to a healthy you right now!

My counselor was instrumental in teaching me about boundaries.  I actually thought that because he was my husband he deserved to have full access to me.  I didn’t think I was allowed to say no at any time to him.  That is because he pushed the verses in 1 Corinthians 7 about the wife belonging to the husband so much every time he wanted something out of me.  He used the Bible to force me to do his bidding in nearly every difficult circumstance.  His reasoning was that I could not argue against the words of God.

After many years of this, one day he told me, “I know if I ask long enough you will always give in.”  At this point, I realized that I had pretty much given up any autonomy that I had ever had.  Which was basically none.

Besides my counselor, the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend was nothing short of amazing.  It changed my world.  Please take a look at it if you haven’t yet.  It could save you or a loved one so much grief and put you on a path to healing so much faster.


Choose to be Happy and Healthy Regardless of the Narcissist

Even if your church still believes the narcissist’s lies after you have done what you could, it is still important that you are no longer under his thumb.  You must be able to stand on your own (with support from other sources, of course!).  In my case it took over a year for my church to understand what was going on.  I was lucky to be in the care of a counselor that whole time.  It is shocking to me to look back at that time and see how different things are now.  But it took me so long to take those first few steps.  I was so afraid.

So for you–DON’T BE AFRAID!  You’ve got this now!  It does eventually work out if you are heading in the right direction.  Do you have to be perfect?  NO!  Do you have to have some incredibly good support?  Yes!

Even More Support for Healing From Narcissism

One of the best things I ever did was join a local Divorce Care group.  It was a life saver for me.  For the first time, I was around other people who understood what I had been through and was still going through.  It isn’t just for those divorcing, though.  It is also for people who are separated and still trying to work things out.

Divorce Care gave me and the others in the group such clarity.  And now, a few years later, I am the leader of the group!  God took my messy, crazy life and gave me a heart for ministering to others who are going through separation  and divorce.  It has been absolutely amazing to be able to share my journey with others, knowing that they will be encouraged and strengthened, and hopefully grow in emotional maturity and love for the Lord.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to join a Divorce Care group near you.  Just click on the red words to find out more information.

Understand the Depth of the Narcissist’s Lying

The final thing I want to say here is that you, your counselors, and your church must all realize the depth of the narcissist’s lying and deceit.  He will stop at nothing to make things the way he needs them to be.  My narc told me once when cornered in a lie that he realized there was no way out of that the reason he told the lie was because that was what he wanted reality to be.  I always say that may have been the most honest thing he ever told me.

Narcissists have an insatiable need to be seen as good and positive.  They cannot bear the shame of being seen as less than perfect.  All while knowing they are less than perfect.  So their defenses will always kick in and they will always have a story to cover up the shame.  As they get older, that penchant for telling the perfect, most believable story becomes a great skill.

So give yourself some grace if your church doesn’t come around quickly but chooses to still believe the narcissist’s lies.  You can only be responsible for your own reactions and how you handle things.  And that brings me to my next and final point:  if all else fails, walk away.

If All Else Fails, Walk Away

Sometimes, no matter how much proof or support you have, your church will still continue to believe the narcissist’s lies.  They want to believe the picture they have in their head rather than reality.  And there isn’t a thing you can do about that.

The church is in an imperfect world, and pastors are not perfect.  Only Jesus could relate perfectly to people.  So with that in mind, realize that there are some churches in the world that are simply not equipped to act based on learning about the pride, arrogance and deceit of the narcissist.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t become healthy and disentangle yourself from the narcissist’s mess.  When you realize there is no more you can do, sometimes the best thing you can do is what Jesus told the disciples to do in Matthew 10:14–shake the dust of your sandals and move on!  And don’t forget Matthew 7:6, where Jesus says, “Do not cast your pearls before swine.”

Finally, I would like to share with you a book that was so incredibly helpful to me.  It helped me to realize that I am not the only person experiencing the evil constant lying of my ex narcissist.  There are people out there that understand what we were subjected to.  And they have some great answers regarding it.  This book is called People of the Lie.  It was written by M. Scott Peck, a doctor who graduated from Harvard, and was a writer, thinker, psychiatrist, and spiritual guide.  He understood narcissism, even though when he wrote the book, the word narcissism was not in vogue.  Check it out!  You will find great peace in knowing that others truly do know what you are going through.


It is very difficult when your church believes the narcissist’s lies.  And it is already hard enough to rise above the attacks of the narcissist.  But you must also rise above the ignorance of the church.  And you will most likely need to give them some grace because they don’t realize the harm they are doing.  They have been fooled.  We need to pray for their ability to see through the act and the lies.  And we need to stay strong for the sake of our emotional health and the health of our families.

If you liked this article, I think you will love the following ones as well:

23 Reasons Why Narcissists are Drawn to the Church

When the Church Doesn’t Recognize Narcissistic Abuse

Will the Church Support Divorcing a Narcissist?

Are Narcissists Demon Possessed?

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