The Controlling, Narcissist Leader/Pastor

The Controlling, Narcissist Leader/Pastor

Ungodly, controlling pastors have hurt many people. The phrase “ungodly pastors” seems to be an oxymoron. These two words shouldn’t go together in the same sentence, but the sad truth is there are pastors and leaders who are only in the position for their own lustful desires.

These dictating leaders can be described by many words – controllers, manipulators, narcissists, psychopaths, cult leaders, false pastors, and dictators, to name a few. There are varying degrees of this type of leadership and some are more damaging than others, but I have seen the negative effects these type of leaders can have on people. Some pastors are just strong leaders, while others are narcissitic psychopaths. If you haven’t ever been around a person like this it may be hard for you to imagine that there are people who go to these extreme measures. But for those who have suffered under this type of heartless leadership, you know all too well how deep the wounds go.

Here are some signs and characteristics of a narcissist, unscriptural leader…..

*Resembles the same attitude Diotrephes had in III John verse 9. He is proud, carnal, demanding, overbearing, impatient, uncompassionate, “loving” only toward those who submit to him, but mean-spirited toward those who do not agree with him.

*He develops doctrines from pet verses that appear to support his view.

*He makes people feel that they cannot make important decisions and know God’s will without him.

*He exalts himself before the people.

*He ridicules his associates, making them look small in the eyes of the church members, thus increasing his own prestige and authority and decreasing theirs.

*He treats men who leave as fools and evil men. All kindness and friendship is withdrawn by the leaders. People are only treated kindly when they submit to his doctrines and “authority.”

*He contradicts himself a lot.

*He is accountable to no one.

*He provokes and intimidates people to get what he wants.

*He demands respect instead of trying to earn respect.

*He wears a phony grin and acts like everything is all right even when things are falling apart in his church.

*He acts as if he knows everything, but he really doesn’t know how to handle problems he has caused.

*He is a captive storyteller and exaggerates the truth all the time. He is able to spin a web that intrigues others and pulls them into his life.

*He has the capacity to destroy his critics verbally and disarm them emotionally.

*He does not recognize the individuality or rights of others.

*He is extremely self-serving and thinks he deserves royal treatment.

*He has no checks on his behavior – anything goes.

*He has tremendous feelings of entitlement. He believes everything is owed to him as a right.

*He presents himself as a genius.

*He has an insatiable need for adoration. When others aren’t praising him, he will praise himself.

*He gives the perception that he lives a grandiose life, but paranoia rules him. He creates an us vs. them mentality because of his perceived hostile environment.

*He lies coolly and easily, even when it is obvious he is being untruthful. It is almost impossible for him to be consistently truthful about either a major or minor issue.

*He is a plagiarist and a thief. He seldom gives credit to the true originators of ideas.

*He is extremely convincing and could more than likely pass a lie detector test.

*He does not have friends.

*He doesn’t not have feelings of remorse, shame, or guilt. He feels justified in all his actions because he considers himself the ultimate moral arbiter. Nothing gets in his way.

*He is unmoved by things that would unset the normal person, while outraged by insignificant matters.

*He is cold, with shallow emotions, living in a dark world of his own.

*He can witness or order acts of utter brutality without experiencing a shred of emotion.

*He casts himself in a role of total control, which he plays to the hilt.

*He is tragically flawed in being able to either give or receive love.

*He despises community and emotional intimacy, and so he is profoundly lonely. On the one hand, though, there is something about his loneliness that he likes; for he can attribute it to his unique and superior nature.

*He constantly tests the beliefs of his followers, often with bizarre behaviors.

*He readily takes advantage of others, expressing utter contempt for anyone else’s feelings. Someone in distress is not important to him. Although intelligent, perceptive, and quite good at sizing people up, he makes no real connections with others. He uses his “people skills” to exploit, abuse, and wield power.

*He will favor and offer help to people who are down as long as he thinks they will be useful to him later on down the road. Such favors might include offering employment, loaning money, or offering personal counseling. He may call in his favor if he sees you slipping away. Also, such opportunities help the narcissist persuade himself that he is good, despite the gnawing awareness of the dark cellar at heart.

*He has an inflated sense of superiority which propels him to recklessness; for he is subject to fantasies of omnipotence and unequalled brilliance, and he feels that he is above the law. And it is this sense of superiority that allows him to underestimate the intelligence and determination of his adversaries.

*He is indifferent to injustice and it’s victims, but he rages against the person who is a threat to his charade and/or who refuses to cooperate with his underhanded schemes.

(I have taken a few of these statements from an article I have been reading, entitled Narcissism and the Dynamics of Evil. I decided just to add the link instead of continuing to add to my post. It’s a very informative article.)

All material above quoted from:

9 thoughts on “The Controlling, Narcissist Leader/Pastor”

  1. Thanks for this great article.

    I escaped from an abusive bible cult a few years ago. It hasn’t been easy, but we are moving forward. Articles like you have posted are very helpful to people who are trying to make sense of it all.

    Thanks Again & the best to you!

    1. April,
      Thanks for your comment. I agree it’s not easy, which is part of why I decided to share my story. No one had spoken (publicly) about the abuses of this particular group and a lot of my friends and I had talked privately about how unhealthy our experiences were. My hope is that through this site others who’ve been in that group (and other groups like it) will find resources and hope so they can move forward like you have.
      With Respect,

  2. “He has the capacity to destroy his critics verbally and disarm them emotionally.”


    Well Lisa…it looks like some people, such as yourself) are not so inclined to let it keep happening, huh?


    A good resource I have found are folks who’ve overcome the same thing but with different people who have not been conditioned by the same “controllers, manipulators, narcissists, psychopaths, cult leaders, false pastors, and dictators”. They are adept at playing us just like they used to if we let them and IMO wounds take time to heal. Just like a victim of domestic abuse can fall into the same trap even after they think they should know better.

    I am thankful you seem to have abundant support of folks who are not prone to falling for this bull. But even more so that you take the time to put information like this out here!

  3. Dear Lisa,

    KUDOS to you for blogging your experiences. I would imagine it’s not easy when you are just about the only person who has spoken out (publicly/blog) against what happened in the abusive group you were in.

    I believe there are MANY ‘under the radar’ type of abusive bible cults around. I’m sure it helps struggling people, who stumble on your blog & they can read your experiences & relate to it. It is validating.

    The cult I escaped is small, under the radar…people have left bruised & bleeding over the years. Yet nobody speaks up about it. Someday I may blog about my whole experience, but not yet. 🙂 Too much happening right now…..

    Wanted you to know I think you have a lot of courage to speak out against the religious abuses Lisa!
    Thumbs up to you

    1. April,
      Shortly after I started blogging, I sure did regret it. It’s opened up a whole new world of “haters” and internet trolls.

      However, for every dozen of those idiots, there are some people who it really helps. It also really helps ME to feel empowered and to feel like I’m doing something to educate others.

      Thanks for reading and joining us. Feel free to contribute anytime, or even share your story. I’ll be happy to post your story.

  4. ((Lisa)) I can only imagine the “haters”. 🙁 For sure, people like you, myself & others who have walked away from the deception & abuse, will continue to have the ‘true believers’ condemn & slander us. Especially when we speak out & no longer continue to obey the ‘code of silence’. I can only hope that people will have their eyes opened & see the system for what it is.

    I can hope, right? 🙂

    Thank you for your offer to share my story. I have a friend who also blogs & she offered the same to me, just haven’t done it yet. I do appreciate it & may take you up on that someday. 🙂 If you would like, please feel free to email me (you do have access to my email, I think??)
    Take care & I’ll be around cheering you on. 🙂

    1. April,
      A friend of mine and I were talking about the “code of silence” the other day. She shared with me the idea that when you enter a relationship with a manipulator, you enter into a kind of unspoken rule that you won’t speak of the things you see, hear or experience there. Thus, by me breaking the “code of silence” I’m breaking all of that.

      In this sense, it’s GOOD that I’m breaking it, though. But, you’re right. There’s so much about all of this talking that the “true believers” hate. lol

      No pressure on sharing. Trust me, when it feels right, you will. And if not, no worries.

      1. Lisa, SO TRUE! I think the code of silence is destructive in many ways. One way is because many times, not always, but many times those who choose to speak out & speak the truth, are made to feel guilty, as if somehow they have done something wrong, when they haven’t. Those who speak out are made to be the bad guys, when they are only saying & exposing what the bad guys have done.

        It seems so demented. I never would have believed it before the cult experience. I could never understand why a person would stay with an abuser & keep silent & not leave…….now I know.
        Been there, done that…I will NEVER GO BACK. 😉 🙂

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