Narcisstic Personality Disorder
Narcissism is defined as a "pattern of traits and behaviors which signify infatuation and obsession with one’s self to the exclusion of all others, and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one’s gratification, dominance and ambition."
Although we commonly associate religious behavior with altrusim and self-lessness, the polar opposite of narcissism, it is impossible to avoid the fact that many religious leaders, particularly those of totalitarian groups, exhibit strong traits that could be classified as Narcisstic Personality Disorder. In fringe groups, it is frequently an absolute necessity for such leaders to be narcissists to be able to maintain power and to manipulate the group's adherents.
In such cases, the spirituality of the group itself becomes tainted with the need to vindicate the leader, members may strive to provide anecdotal evidence that they are part of the "elect" following God's unique apostle, and there is extreme social pressure to "toe the line" of the group and it's theology. The victims of a Narcisstic leader can themselves, become the victimizers of other members, all for the sake of the leader's narcissim.
Author Sam Vankin has contributed significantly to the study of this phenomenon, and are indebted to much of his research.
Section 1: The Cult of the Narcissist
Section 2: Personality Disorders and the Destructive Group Leader's Personality
Section 3: Collective Narcissism: Can Groups be Narcissistic?
Section 4: Tales of a Victim's Life
Section 5: Children Raised in Cults