Remember that the narcissistic person appears arrogant on the outside, but lives with tremendous inadequacy and insecurity on the inside. This is why the narcissist lives on the supply of validation of self and also the degradation or manipulation of others.
Is there any hope for such people?
I received an anonymous email from “two narcissists who married each other.” One of the spouses wrote: “Long story short, we use a combination of plain old Catholic religious practices, health practices, and deliverance prayers. I do not think most people should give up on a narcissistic spouse. Maybe get away for safety if needed, but never give up hope.” On the podcast precipitating that email, I said that God can indeed heal a person of narcissism. But perhaps I didn’t give enough examples of hope. Nor did I give enough instruction on how to be healed of narcissistic tendencies. So, I’m thankful for the feedback. Let’s discuss some other great solutions.
Rebecca Zung is one of the online experts on Narcissism. In this video, she explains that narcissists feel like they don’t have any value on the inside. Their ego-supply comes from creatures outside of themselves. But because those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) have no interior life, they have no interior stability. So, they are easily triggered. They throw themselves into anxiety or rage when they are not the center of attention or when they are called out for their manipulation.
Therefore, the best solution to NPD is to gain an interior life focused on Another. Traditional Catholic mental prayer is exactly that: Meditation focused on Jesus. Meditation starts to heal narcissism for two reasons: 1) You focus on Christ instead of yourself. 2) You obtain an interior life that founds your soul on Christ the Rock, not the ever-fluctuating whims of creatures. Yesterday’s TLM read: More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?—Jeremias 17:9.
One of the best ways to be healed of narcissism is Mental Prayer. “Mental Prayer” is simply meditation on the Gospels. This is one of many reasons why I have offered my free series called VLX (Video Lectio Divina) on YouTube. (Tap that link to watch 30 hours of meditation and Patristic study on the Gospel of St. Matthew.) But notice this is not the same as centering prayer or Eastern religion meditation. Who is the center of Buddhist meditation? You are. Who is the center of Catholic meditation? Jesus is. Therefore, don’t expect to be healed of your narcissism by just any type of “meditation.”
Why does old-fashioned Catholic mental prayer work on the new-fangled epidemic of narcissism? Because mental-prayer gets you out of yourself and focused on Jesus Christ using all of the faculties, from the imagination to the memory to the intellect to the will to even the affections and gifts of tears. It is all focused on the life of Jesus and Mary and the Apostles, not your own problems (at least until the colloquy when you may occasionally discuss your own life towards the end of your daily Ignatian mental prayer.).
Try mental prayer for 15 minutes a day for the rest of Lent. Get out of your own mind and get out of your own ego for a little bit every day. Stabilize your heart not on the torturous ways of other human hearts, but establish your heart on the Sacred Heart of Jesus—which is truly the human heart of the Immutable God. Yesterday’s TLM read: I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds.—Jeremias 17:10.