Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

A Very Helpful Video (only 12 minutes) on the Covert Narcissist

I have found Dr. Les Carter’s youtube videos extremely helpful. I have not seen anywhere so far in which he professes to be a Christian but nevertheless I have benefitted quite a lot from his lectures.

As you will hear in this video (link below), some narcissists are very overt and “out there” in their arrogant, self-absorbed narc behavior. But others, and for the most part these are the kind we face in churches and other Christian circles, are termed “covert narcissists.” That is the kind Dr. Carter talks about here. So give it a listen – most of you will probably recognize your abuser in this description:

Detecting Covert Narcissism


Abusers, Narcissists, and Their Sort all Wear a Disguise


Little gods – the wicked demand worship


  1. When I started watching DrC , I learned that he used to be part of the Minereth-Meyer Clinic, which I had heard on Christian radio as a child, so I connected that to Christianity. IN addition, he shamelessly quotes Scripture as authoritative, he just doesn’t give chapter & verse in his videos. the only thing I find harder to swallow is that he includes “lifestyle” ideas that might be wider than those with which conservative Christians are comfortable. He has been helpful to me.

  2. CLG

    I have been watching Dr. Carter’s videos for about 2 years. Those videos have given me the most insight into what I am dealing with and how to handle myself. Narcissism is his speciality. He is an encourager to anyone that has a narcissist in their life. Jeff, I am so glad you have discovered Dr. Carter and shared this for us to view!!

  3. Rachael

    I found this helpful. Particularly the phrase “setting boundaries”. A covert narcissist makes you question normal reality, till you can’t see so clearly what you would normally consider “boundary lines”. Once those lines blur, the abusive person can step over them so much more easily to maintain their abuse.

  4. Lynn

    Dr. Les Carter is one of the online clinical psychologists who has helped me better understand narcissism. He is a good resource if you are wanting to learn more about narcissism and how to overcome its effects in your life from a psychological lens.

    The other clinical psychologist whose videos have been super informative about narcissism is Dr. Ramani. She is not a Christian, but as a clinical psychologist whose career has been involved with understanding and helping victims of narcissists recover, her insights about the nature of narcissists and the tactics they use have been super helpful to me. I like her videos. She breaks narcissism down into 7 different types, 8 if you count the hybrid narcissist – which is a mix of two or more narcissistic types. She’s got a Youtube playlist with 27 videos highlighting the different types of narcissism, which I’ve found to be super informative. You can check it out here – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3QtnfcMTMhHGiFOlFrd1aid5AqzWxdgI

    Narcissistic Types
    1. Benign Narcissist (Social Media)
    2. Communal Narcissist (Humanitarian)
    3. Covert Narcissist (Vulnerable)
    4. Cultural Narcissist (Generational)
    5. Hybrid Narcissist (2 or more narcissistic types)
    6. Grandiose Narcissist (Classic)
    7. Malignant Narcissist (Dangerous)
    8. Neglectful Narcissist (Apathetic)

    Her insights into narcissism and the different types have helped me understand that while my parents’ behaviors weren’t the same outwardly, they both still operated from a narcissistic core. My mom’s narcissism is a combination of covert (primary manifestation), malignant, and communal. My dad’s narcissism is a combination of neglectful (primary manifestation), cultural, and communal.

    Being exposed to a more covert and neglectful type of narcissism in my childhood and not having insight into all of the types, opened me up to further narcissistic abuse in the church. I hadn’t encountered the grandiose narcissist at that point. So when I met several at church and was love-bombed, it opened me up to further emotional, spiritual, and financial abuse.

    While grandiose narcissists are the ones we most closely associate with narcissism, having awareness of the other 7 types is also super important for our ability to be wise about evil. Not all that glitters is pure gold.

    Communal narcissists are something that I’d also recommend taking a deeper look at. They are the humanitarian narcissists. They use altruistic means in order to get the validation they seek. They want their good works seen by men in order to gain their own glory. They do good works for the purpose of getting the validation and supply they believe they deserve. They volunteer at soup kitchens, sing in the choir, lead Bible studies as a means of showing just how holy they are in order to earn the admiration they seek. They can be very generous, helpful, and seem like the most imminent saint. They seem too good to be true and will do whatever good work is required in order to earn the praise their hearts long for. They are the philanthropists who throw lavish parties to raise money for missions or the new addition to the church. They want their names on buildings, bibles, anything that will exalt how great they think they are and grant them the validation they believe they deserve. They want their pictures splashed all over social media highlighting just how wonderfully pious they are. Then when the focus isn’t on them, or they don’t get the right amount of validation, the fangs come out.

    In learning to be wise, we must learn what evil looks like. Knowing what faces it can wear is one step we can take to help us better equip ourselves so we don’t become easy prey for the enemy. Narcissism wears many faces, but its root is pure evil. It loves the visible church because much of what’s set up empowers them to flourish. They can get access to all kinds of power and control, which they desire more than anything. They are of their father the devil and are on a one-way course for eternal destruction. Their god is themselves. They will reap the eternal consequences their wickedness demands. So educate yourselves on what evil looks like so that when it shows up in your life, you can recognize it, and respond as Christ instructs.

    In Jude 1:12-13 we see a description of these deceptive narcissists. These men [and women] are hidden reefs in your love feasts, shamelessly feasting with you but shepherding only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried along by the wind; fruitless trees in autumn, twice dead after being uprooted. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

    Depart from them, if you can safely. If not, place strong boundaries around yourself until the day comes for you to be free. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

    • Z

      Does anyone have a recommendation for an online/YouTube person who focuses more on HEALING after narcissistic abuse and going No Contact? I’ve done much cognitive behavioral therapy and learned all about narcissism and abuse from it. So intellectually, I don’t need to learn more about my abusers right now. Also I’ve learned so much from Pastor Crippen.

      EMDR didn’t help me. I’m looking for gentle Somatic Experiencing practical exercises to calm down my nervous system when it gets dysregulated.

      Though I’ve come a long way, I still have difficulty when my injured nervous system gets triggered. I am looking for a good expert who can demonstrate exercises to calm the dysregulated nervous system down after multiple traumas/CPTSD. I can’t afford to join up the many online expensive “coaching programs” many offer. I can’t find a counselor in my area who does Somatic Experiencing counseling.

      Thank you. Z

      • Lynn

        Hey Z, take a look at this YouTube channel, therapy in a nutshell. https://youtube.com/c/TherapyinaNutshell. It may give you more support in dealing with the disregulation of your nervous system.

        Hope this helps.

        • Z

          Thank you so much, Lynn, for the recommendation and the link. I know some of what you’ve been through and I admire how far you’ve come. And I know it hasn’t been easy.
          A lot of work has to be done to regulate the injured nervous system after so many years of toxic poison takes its toll. It seems the “body does keep the score” as Bessel van der Kolk’s book says. That’s what I need some help with. Body symptoms. Panic/anxiety attacks.
          I thank the faithful Lord for His help in getting me this far into my healing. I just need to know how to calm my body’s reaction to occasional triggers and its dysregulation. Hard info to find! Even among “trauma counselors”. And so many charlatans in this field peddling pagan practices for big money! So I appreciate the free link. I trust your good judgment and discernment! God bless you.

          • Gb

            Hi Z, please let me know if you find anything helpful. I’m looking for the same thing. I had 20 yrs of Narcissist abuse and just found myself entangled with a Christian covert narcissist which reopened so many wounds, I was getting really triggered by him and now I’m questioning myself so much. I only see my therapist every other week so I need something I can do in between to help heal

    • Be free….

      Thank you Pastor Crippen for mentioning the video and this additional source of information. Dr. Carter is definitely informative and I too found he is a good ease into the whole entanglement… particularly for those that are not sure what they are dealing with – or may need a refresher on what to expect. I very much appreciate his upbeat but still candid approach.

      Lynn, your details were really helpful, thank you.

      Dr. Ramani has been a blessing and she helped immensely when it came to the violent and stalking choices of the abuser and how horribly, dangerously toxic my family of origin is in their covert support of the abuser. Her insight at the core evil at the root of the narcissistic abusers has been priceless. She too knows the abusers do not change and isn’t afraid to tell you.

      Departing from the abusers is the hardest part…. satan does not like to lose his choke hold on you. But once you unclench his/their grasp, departed is incredibly life-breathing. You don’t realize how draining wicked / abusers / toxic family etc. are until you depart … and stay that way….. it’ll take time, but at some point you start to breathe freely again…… and life is a new level of beauty in every such breath that God has so graciously granted.

  5. HealingInHim

    Thank you for posting Dr Carter’s video. I shall have to explore more of his ministry.
    Thank you also to the other commenters. Your insight has been affirming to me, although painful at the moment.
    Feeling very isolated and betrayed.
    Thanking the Lord for His daily strength.
    As I complete my comment I can’t help but think how perfect the timing was for this post.

  6. Bridge

    Thank you for this informative video, which is validating & affirming, just what I need in my abusive current situ, for 4 years!! Why stay I hear you ask, believe me I’ve left twice & I hear you say again & you returned?

    I got sick last year lost so much weight, I know it is all the stress, & ended up in hospital for a while. I believed what he said he was very convincing (as narcissist are) yet I know in my heart it wasn’t going to be, & he was the cause of all my “sickness”. It can never “be right” or “good” or “equal” or “loving”, they have no idea of what love actually is, & have no capacity what so ever.

    Remember you are not dealing with anything normal with a narcissist, the behaviour tells you that, their thinkings is so far removed from anything that even familiar. Don’t kid yourself, don’t be fooled. Oh they want you to be fooled, as we all were initially. Believe what you are hearing in this video, ever word, absorb it all, write it all down & memorise it, but then again if you’ve any doubts about the narcissist in your life this video gives you all the information you need, so stop the doubting because deep in your hearts you know. Get out leave, before you find yourself in my situation.

    I have no job, I’m isolated, I have little funds, I have no family here, & I also now believe why this narcissist made me a target. I was alone. Housing is at a high cost & low availability, otherwise I’d move tomorrow. I have a cat & dog who I just couldn’t bear to be parted from. I have all my house contents spewn over the house & garage since I first left in 2020. I’ve got onto agencies to help but all they’ve done is give me counselling contacts. I’m past talking about this, I need help to get out of this, and I’ve no idea how to begin because it is so difficult (I’m older) but have a spirit of never giving up. I avoid my partner as much as I possibly can, fortunately he goes to work 5 days a week. His boss is the man he also used to lived with & wife for decades. A sense of entitlement you might say. Never stood on his own two feet, codependent to the full. It was all very toxic indeed & I was told more than I ever wanted to know! It was very sick very abusive & very insane.

    I just want to leave, I can barely look at this pseudo character, who only went to church because I suggested a church. But now he just uses that as his platform to meet his supply, & they all pat him on the back & give him praises, especially when he cooks for his bible study group, & runs a weekly soup kitchen!! I only ever received condemnation from those in the church I introduced him to. What I read in your books is so true I know as I’ve experienced daily. I think I’m coming to terms with this rejection of the seniors minister & other ministers who have been so blinded by this wolf even from the women in the church. He has caused as much division as he possible can. Of course he is the saint, & I’m the sinner.

    He is a camilion who changes around people to use them because he has no personality of his own. They can’t, they don’t because they’ve become the mask!

    He tells me I’m the problem (naturally) & as a Christian I should forgive him! I’ve done that so many times to my detriment. I forgive him but for myself. I don’t trust him, I will never trust him again. He is totally untrustworthy, living behind his masks.

    I struggle so much at times for every allowing myself to fall for such a fool, I struggle with the sense of stuckness I feel. Yet when I spend time in Gods word in prayer & meditation I am comforted greatly. I just needed to share with those who can identify with my situation.

    I live in rural (area) which makes my situation even harder. I came here because I was asked & I could never have believed what a hell I was coming to. I’d appreciate your prayers, & for the day I will find freedom, find peace, & known Gods loving care was always with me. I could do this without my Lord, my saviour. Amen

    I send all my loving kindness to all people who have experienced the toxic narcissist. We can only get through with Gods love & grace, & bold generous people like Jeff & others who look evil in the eye & say enough is enough for narcissism is pure evil.

    (editor’s note: some details removed to protect commenter’s identity)

    • Noka

      Praying for you to be able to escape! 🤗🥺

    • R

      Have you contacted your local domestic violence shelter? They might be able to help you plan. Also, you can go to calledtopeace.org, scroll to the bottom, and sign up to get an advocate who might be able to help you (and it’s free).

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