Is narcissism really a form of possession?


I usually avoid topics like this, because of their obvious religious implications.   I try to avoid getting too religious on this blog, but I must write about it because I’ve been thinking about this topic all day and I won’t rest until I do.    I’m going to try to stay away from religious terminology though.

A young man I know on another site who insists he has NPD (but has no official diagnosis and therefore may not be one) says he can remember when he “chose” to be a narcissist, and now wishes he hadn’t. He’s adamant that it’s too late to change and nothing can be done.   He said he felt as if his false self was “installed” and didn’t actually come from himself at all.

His story got me thinking.  What if narcissism really is a form of possession?  (I hesitate to use the term “demonic,” although it could be).  What if it’s a kind of choice that’s made and that once it’s made, an outside spirit or entity or whatever it is, lets itself in and it begins to obliterate the true self?

We know that people with NPD have a false self, and we know it’s a lie whose purpose is to hide the true self even from the person themselves, to the point that they believe the lie and actually believe the false self is who they really are. But where exactly does this false self come from? How does a child know how to build such an elaborate defense mechanism that works nearly the same from one narcissist to the next? It’s like there’s a rule book that all narcissists follow.   How can that be?   Are they of a hive mind?  Or is it something else entirely?

Installation of the false self.

Let’s imagine this false self is actually not something  you constructed as a defense mechanism to escape from your true self and bury your pain for good. Let’s imagine something else–that it’s something from outside of you, something that’s been installed. Call it demonic possession, if you wish–that’s probably the closest thing we can imagine to what I’m describing.  The false self isn’t created by you because it never was a part of you–it’s probably not even something human. It was installed there at a time when you think you needed it, most often when you were very young and defenseless and were faced with this yawning, vast, terrifying emptiness caused by not being validated, mirrored and loved when you needed it most. A young child or toddler who feels rejected has not yet learned to separate themselves from the parents, usually the mother–so the rejection feels like an annihilation. It feels like you are dying.

At that moment, when you feel this unbearable reality–because it’s real to you even though it isn’t actually real–of being snuffed out of existence–this entity comes along, an entity who promises something better, a way out, a way to feel “alive” again. M. Scott Peck talked about this in his book “People of the Lie.”   The entity lies to you and tells you your life will be much easier and you can get rid of that awful feeling of emptiness if only you let it in.   It doesn’t tell you what it’s really going to be doing to you is destroying your soul and the souls of others by proxy.

There’s only one catch–in order to keep working, the entity must feed off the emotions of others, because when it takes over you, it pushes down your own emotions so you can’t feel them anymore. It obscures your pain and emptiness so you don’t have to feel those emotions, but it throws out the baby with the bathwater: it also obscures any sublime emotions like love, empathy, joy, sadness, and gratitude. If other people aren’t available for this thing to feed off of, the entity will starve and you are back to where you started–feeling like you no longer exist and facing that awful emptiness.

Faced with a choice. 

You have a choice–you can invite the entity in or not. It never forces itself on you. You may remember standing at such a crossroads when you were very young. I know I did.  I “test drove” narcissism for awhile, but ultimately rejected it.   Playing with narcissism is like playing with fire.   It’s not something you want to mess with.

If you’re an empath, you probably will reject it and choose to suffer rather than invite it in, because as an empath, you can feel its malignancy and know it will destroy your soul eventually, and the souls of others by proxy. If you reject the invitation, it will go away and leave you alone, but you might develop C-PTSD or BPD or become codependent, and allow yourself to continue to be abused and rejected without any defenses against the pain and emptiness inside.  But your real self remains intact and you don’t have to walk around wearing a mask all the time and hurting others to keep that mask on.

If you’re desperate enough–or can’t sense how evil this thing really is, you will be tempted to say yes and allow it inside. It probably won’t be a conscious choice.  It’s not something you THINK about and then decide, like what shoes you’re going to wear  that day.  It’s a choice made on the spiritual level so even a very young child can do it. It could happen later in childhood, or during adolescence or even early adulthood.  It’s a spiritual version of “if you can’t fight ’em, join ’em.”   An example might be a socially awkward boy who faces a group of sociopathic bullies every day and is given a dare:  set another kid’s house on fire and be accepted by the group, or continue to be bullied.   So he chooses to do what the bullies say, in exchange for acceptance.  What he doesn’t realize is what that does to his soul.  Faced with cognitive dissonance–unbearable guilt over what he did even though it was against everything he believed in–he resolves this by identifying with the bullies and represses his guilt and shame.   Soon his behavior begins to change and he begins to act less socially awkward and even becomes “cool”–but he also starts to act arrogant and entitled.  He no longer accepts blame for his actions and begins to play mind games with others.  He seems more confident–but he’s actually in much worse shape than he started because he isn’t even himself anymore.   He’s a puppet for the evil entity that used the promise of “acceptance” as the carrot on the stick–and now resides inside him and has no intention of leaving.

Becoming a puppet.

If narcissism is a form of possession, than narcissists are just puppets being operated by an outside force that is not them.   For awhile at least, the true self is still there, but it’s no longer able to emerge at will because it’s been repressed by a more powerful force that keeps it at bay.

The entity lies to you and you begin to believe those lies.  The biggest lie it tells you is that your false self is your true one, and the true self was a lie. It twists things around so black is white, and up is down and day is night. You don’t even know what’s real anymore, and so a fantasy becomes reality and reality is sent down the river in a tarpaper boat.

The NPD spectrum and perfect and imperfect possession.

If narcissism is a form of possession , it’s still possible for it to run on a kind of spectrum, though not the kind of spectrum referred to in the mental health profession.   In “People of the Lie,” M. Scott Peck talked about “perfect” and “imperfect” possession. Malignant narcissists are perfectly possessed–which basically means that the entity has completely obscured the true self, making it utterly inaccessible, or possibly even destroyed it. Such a person cannot become self aware or even if they somehow become aware of their own narcissism, there’s no desire to change, because there’s nothing left of the true self; if it’s not destroyed, it no longer has a voice and there’s no conscious awareness of its existence.  This is a person who has become evil, but they aren’t inherently evil because they’re no longer who they once were–they have become whatever has taken up residence within them.

Narcissists lower on the spectrum are imperfectly possessed–which means the entity hasn’t completely obscured the true self. Such people are not evil–they are victims of an evil entity that is trying to take control over them. If they have realized what they have become and no longer want it, they become engaged in a kind of spiritual warfare.  You may notice some lower spectrum narcissists can be very changeable, almost Jekyll-and-Hyde-ish.    From time to time their true self will appear, sometimes even without a grave loss of supply. That’s when they may admit they want help and when they’d be most receptive to it.   For non-malignant narcissists who are ego-dystonic, therapy could work, but there MUST be a spiritual component in the therapy itself.   M. Scott Peck believed narcissists (even though he didn’t call them that in his book) who are not perfectly possessed (in other words, not malignant) can be cured by exorcism.  It doesn’t even have to be done by a priest or minister–it can be done by a trained therapist too. Peck described the 2 exorcisms he performed in his book, “Glimpses of the Devil.”

Usually I’m very skeptical about supernatural things.  Although I’m Christian, I tend to be analytical and prefer scientific explanations over religious ones.  I also tend to be very suspicious of people who immediately start talking about God and Satan and quoting the Bible whenever the subject of narcissism comes up.  But it does make sense to me that the false self  is really some kind of malicious entity that presents itself during a crisis and makes all kinds of promises to a child or young adult who feels like they’re about to be snuffed out of existence.     It’s all too easy to be taken in by the lies when you’re desperate, but once the choice is made, the thing has too much power to get rid of without spiritual intervention of some kind.   You can see it in the empty, soulless gaze or unnerving, predatory stare some narcissists have, especially if they’ve crossed the line into malignancy (or perfect possession). And it gets worse over time, which may be one reason why narcissists tend to grow worse with age. Unchecked, whatever this thing is takes over more of your original soul until you become perfectly possessed and your true self is either totally eclipsed or obliterated.  If it’s obliterated, you’re nothing more than a walking dead person–a zombie impersonating someone you never were and feeding off the energy of others.

As much as you might want to, you can’t fix a narcissist.  Don’t even think about it because you have no idea what spiritual dangers you might be taking on–but it’s certainly alright–more than alright–to pray for their deliverance.


52 thoughts on “Is narcissism really a form of possession?

  1. Wow, you dared to broach a subject that lurks beneath my subconscious and frightens me at night sometimes. I think it is interesting to note that true theologians don’t believe that possessed people are necessarily responsible or culpable, or intrinsically “evil”. Even if narcissism is possession, this would make sense, because as children before the age of reason, they would not be responsible for the double bind they were placed in, or the intense pain which caused them to dissociate in the first place, subsequently emptying them to a point of vulnerability to what could possibly have been an evil spirit. I imagine narcissism is “chosen” only when someone feels they can’t take it anymore. God would not hold a little child responsible. And God remembers the trauma the innocent child in all of us was placed in, when we become adults. He understands our double binds, and is fair. I believe God alone knows a narcissist’s culpability as an adult. But the theory is confusing to me as well because those who went through trauma can get multi personality disorder and dissociate, yet do not necessarily obtain personalities that are narcissistic, or “evil”. Does that make them less of a possession, even though it is still like other spirits or personalities entered their body? Also, true exorcists such as that the Catholic Church employs do NOT equate any mental illness or dissociation disorder with possession. Indeed, mental illness has to be ruled out as the cause of the preternatural activity, by independent scientists and doctors. Only dabbling in the occult is said to place one in danger of possession, including some forms of intentional, New Age, or Eastern, emptying meditation. However, theologians do acknowledge that evil spirits can tempt a delusional person to do bad things (hearing voices telling them to kill a person or an animal because they hallucinate they are a demon) which they would never knowingly do if mentally sound and are therefore not responsible. I believe trust that God is good, and fair, is the key to mental health. Fear, including fear of evil within, is a delusion and a lie, that does not come from God.

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    • Hi Judy, there are many ways a person can react to trauma and DID (dissociative identity disorder) is a fascinating one where one or more “alters” take over the main personality when a trigger is present. The difference between the alters and a false self is the alters are actually part of the person–they are real personalities, not just a mask. The fact that someone could develop more than one personality or “alter” as they are called, shows what complex creatures we are! Maybe the false self is actually created by the mind, we don’t know–but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s an outside force.

      I happen to like Buddhism and meditation, but I don’t engage in it too much (other than just sitting and appreciating nature or whatever) because I do think, like you said, that it leaves you “empty” which could let in something you don’t want and that could be dangerous. So you have to be careful with that. Whenever I meditate on the chakras (about once a month or less), I always pray first and ask God for protection, and I feel like he does just that.

      I think that for any mental illness, faith in God is important and your healing will run more smoothly and happen faster than if you have no faith at all. That isn’t to say atheists can’t benefit from therapy, but I think a spiritual component or at least prayer in conjunction with therapy (my therapist isn’t religious, but I always pray first that I get the most out of it) seems to have an exponential effect on the positive impact of treatment.

      It’s true that the Catholic church doesn’t recognize any mental illnesses or disorders as being demonically driven anymore, and only reserves exorcism for extreme situations after a battery of psychological tests and MRIs and brain scans are run and nothing else is found. Even in the movie “The Exorcist,” which is over 40 years old, the girl Regan was put through all that first before any exorcist would touch her. So if you need an exorcist, contrary to popular thought, the Catholic church probably isn’t the best place to go to find one. I honestly have no idea where you would go to find an exorcist! LOL!

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      • No, Lucky Otter, the Catholic Church is still the only place to go to find a true spiritual exorcist, although they are extremely rare and actually despised or mocked by insincere or liberal prelates. The movie The Exorcist contained A LOT of errors. The priest who did that exorcism in real life and the man who wrote the real account in the book is from the DC area and I know a close personal friend of the author. Also, the Catholic Church rules out mental illness only as the cause of the observed preternatural phenomena (unusual strength can be obtained from a psychotic state, but not the ability to rise up in the air) but of course, mental illness can co exist with possession. I imagine it can be completely intertwined like a spider web. But just because a person’s mental illness has erroneous religious themes such as scrupulosity or obsession with the occult it does not necessarily follow they are truly possessed, or can rise up into the air off a bed. It does not necessarily follow at all. Many legitimate cases have no mental illness. I would hope God would protect innocent traumatized children from ever becoming fully possessed, as what they went through as children was not their fault. But the Church does not refuse to exorcise possessed persons who also are suffering from mental illness, nor does she state that possessed persons are “bad”. The Church’s teaching on mental illness vs evil spirits has actually never changed.

        Satan uses any bodily or mental weakness to tempt people to “do bad things” but one should note that weakness is not a person’s fault, therefore God will judge according only to the intentional evil we commit and obstinately persist in. He is not a mean man with a stick like our abusers were, nor is He our inner critic. I believe in the bible, most of the references to people being afflicted by devils were just being tortured through their affliction or mental illness, but it was not necessarily all these people walking around “possessed by the devil” in the way the Church means it literally.
        The mentally ill get more of an excuse, to put it simply. But that’s fair and just. The Thomistic psychiatry of the early Church fathers and doctors (see Thomas Aquinas) always understood and addressed the concept of complex post traumatic stress syndrome from childhood trauma being the real root cause of most mental illness.They always differentiated this from possession. It was when most of our western psychiatrists split off from the Thomists and adopted the Freudian atheist bias that the mental health community lost their understanding of CPTSD. This came at a time when leaders of the Catholic Church were also disproportionately focusing on guilt, whereas now they commit the opposite error, as if truth doesn’t matter at all. But what the leaders of the Church swing back and forth misinterpreting and saying should not be confused with the unchanging dogmas and official Church teachings.

        Also, just because terms like “altar” and “exorcism” are used by therapists does not have anything to do with the spiritual concept of true exorcism. That’s nonsense. True exorcisms should never be attempted by anyone than a trained Catholic priest. (See “Priestfield” aslo nearby to where I live.) It is kind of like saying a symbol on a computer is called an icon, therefore there are false gods or demons (viruses) hiding in one’s computer. These words are great as analogical terms, even to understand how our brain works or even our soul works, but it is actually spiritually and mentally dangerous to take them too literally. We need to ground ourselves in reality and trust in a good God who will take care of us, because we were all created innocent, and in His own Image and Likeness.

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        • Thanks for this information, Judy. I had no idea about the early church fathers knowing about C-PTSD and acknowledging the existence of childhood trauma. That makes me like my chosen faith even more!


          • Hi

            Been reading your blog just today. So I found new insights. Im a catholic and do pray in tongues with my group. God healed and heals most of the stuff that I suffered. The chief person said she asked the Lord, when will you heal all my wounds? Lord told her, 2 hours after death. Funny.
            So, Lord told for my person that he gave me such a very bad father in order to get me to Him. I wasnt quite sure when sister told me once, I thought it was just dark, in one of my superdaddys violent rage fits, his eyes did go black. I saw I didnt see much color in there. But seeing that others experienced it, makes sense. That was months ago.

            His rage weakens when I pray in the Spirit. Attempts at manipulation by false accusation, making me responsible have no effect, they only try to keep me close and under control that I resist. I only obey when my needs arent walked over and that causes some deranged tirades that I try not to listen to when Im home. In work, I also have or hopefully have had a room with one. The pride and superiority complex are strong with that one. Father missed church for 4-5 years and his state isnt improving. He liked looking into a dreambook that I burned, his newer obsession is so-called evil eye craft, basically he suffices with that. He hates me once God set me free, he lost control and I became an alien at home. Especially when drunk, the man blasphemes when a problem is found. He effectively killed my progress from circa 12-th year, since bro and sister were away and his evil degradation took its toll. Whoever I was friends with he sreamed he would kill, all of them. I started playing games so I became a mess really, looking at girls or women I didnt know why was eeevil. The man killed all the normal confidence I had. He never cared for whether I had any problem, couldnt tell mother because she spilt everything, so it wasnt good. He hated my gaming it seems because I didnt give him any attention or praise, when he asked for it I gave him opposite as payback. I wasnt taught mercy. I was taught extreme obedience denying myself everything. Otherwise that I was all sorts of things. And details of violence, of ordering people to bow in front of that evil entity, oh he tried that, I never did. He was a strongman physically so his strength was the measure of his madness. He was shot once in the guts, in 94, he went home drunk bled for 4 hours till police came, his superiority didnt want to bow down… After 2 months bullet went out, he came home and it didnt help. Evil others were responsible.

            Basically, God told me that I have to love him, quite a difficult task, second, I actually have a promising real first job, but some 450 km away on the other side of our country, God has indirectly shown me that Im to live there even though I dont like it there too much. God is not religion. My bro is a priest and has had no experience with the love of God. He says religion, I say, Living Word. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. I was taught I was worth as much as they say, but my worth is beyond what men see as having worth. Blood of Jesus is that gives me worth.

            Yes, trusting the Lord is an interesting thing when you say to Jesus, take care of everything. And trust Him, Will of God be done as in heaven so be on earth. I never read the bible until my problems made me seek Jesus personally. I myself was a heavy duty hypocrite, had no empathy, no mercy toward others or myself. It was pain. I hated my supadaddy, yet I was so much like him yet I thought differently. I needed to be ordered to do anything. I became basically reliant on orders because personal initiative was wrong. I asked everything twice so I completed the order exactly as was told, because bad words and violence was available. Even if I did exactly as was ordered, it still wasnt good enough.

            This kind of behavior is evil. He says he never hurt anyone, at least not without them causing him to do it xD. Instant justification on oneself vs instant judgement on others. God loves them too. God is God of all creation, nothing is impossible to Him. He wants these perverted people to come to Him, who else will save them from the eternal fire?
            Regardless of what they did, Misericordes sicut Pater! Very hard sometimes, but forgiveness plays its part also in the healing proces☺ sorry for the wall and a lack of organization in the text. Jesus bless you.


            • Thank you for commenting. I will have to go back over this and read it more carefully when I’m more fully awake. I’m interested in what you have to say.


          • Also, I would advise against any diy exorcisms. It is not just some ritual, you need the Lord to protect you. And unless youre one with God, His child, He would tell you that you do it. But even then it wouldnt be a very pleasant experience. Only people living the Word of God day and night and with permission from those in the know should one do it. Normally you dont do it, normally you pray for people. Seek gifts of the Holy Spirit. Devil isnt really weak at all and he is crafty, very highly intelligent. The Most High is more powerful and knows and sees all. Without direct action from God, exorcism would cause you trouble, because theres a thing called authority… I didnt try it vut I know a person who is more experienced than I and she witnessed evil spirits leaving a person she prayed for. And it was inhuman screams. She said she didnt want to do any such thing in their house. Remember, spirit is immaterial, including the black ones. Even thousnds can be in a single person. They work in unison.


    • Judy, I agree that eastern meditation religions can lead to demonic possession. As I explain in a long comment further down on this post, my dad was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder back in the 1960s, before the name of that psychiatric disorder was officially changed to dissociative identity disorder. My dad himself believed that he was demon possessed, and I believe that, too, as I have already explained in my other comment. My dad was a Christian minister of a small nondenominational church. He said he became possessed when he tried unsuccessfully to cast demons out of a man.

      After becoming possessed, or having a mental breakdown, whichever it was, my dad quit the ministry and declared he was no longer a Christian. Then he became a Buddhist, which only seemed to make his scary crazy multiple personality condition even worse.

      I also agree that occult practices can open a person up to demonic possession. That happened to me at the age of fourteen, when I stupidly got involved in spiritism, seances, and a Ouija board. There followed years of hell on earth in my life, directly because of that. If I could go back in time and change just one thing in my life, it would be my occult involvement at age fourteen!

      By the way, because of my personal experiences, I believe that true demonic possession and mental illness can coexist in the same person at the same time, as can physical illness. If anything will make a person lose their mind and their physical health too, the extreme trauma and stress of battling with demonic entities can do it! The Bible says the enemy, Satan, comes to steal, kill, and destroy. His assault in an all-out war on everything in your life. It is the mental, physical, and spiritual equivalent of a nuclear bomb going off in your home.

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      • To clarify, I did not become possessed like my dad when I was fourteen and I got involved with the occult, but I was definitely oppressed. My life was a living hell until I was finally set free. I am writing about it in my memoir now.

        Today, I know that the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, my Savior, is with me constantly. I know that no weapon formed against me shall prosper, and nothing can ever separate me from God’s love. I have no fear of demons, today. 🙂

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        • Linda Lee, I am so happy for you. I share your joy. Part of my recovery was when I realized how innocent I was, how even the sins I “committed” were in a large part caused not by me intentionally, but by my traumatic upbringing. I know, with a certainty I feel no compulsion to explain, that God has a special love and protection for ALL traumatized children. The miracles of His care and Presence for me, the proof that He was there all along, are so evident I would be “crazy” to deny Him now. It is so key for all of us to divorce this idea that God is the voice of our inner critic, and divorce negativity, condemnation and possible erroneous interpretation taught to us by our parent even about their own religion from what that religion actually teaches. Catholicism, for example, does NOT teach guilt. Guilt just is, IF we are truly guilty of something, but not if we’re not, or didn’t knowingly and intentionally offend God. We should not assume a narcissist parent would teach whatever faith they taught us correctly or accurately! No, the voice of our inner critic in our subconscious is a trash tape on repeat put there by our abusive, narcissistic parent.

          Liked by 3 people

          • That “Catholic church teaches guilt” thing is a huge misunderstanding. As a recently converted Catholic, I find the theology actually very comforting and their understanding of suffering and its meaning is head and shoulders above everyone else.


      • OMG, Ouija boards. They scare the bejeezus out of me. I had a terrible experience with one when I was about 17. I will never go near one again. Read my post, “Me and Ouija.” My daughter tried to bring one home once, I wouldn’t let it in the house.

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  2. I really have pondered a lot over these things. Psychological, impotency, upbringing, peers, sexual abuse there can be umpteen reasons why people behave the way they behave! At the end, it has boiled down to one core thought, ” why did we behave as we behaved?”. So try to remember the lesson, work on it in present so that it does not happen again and try to forget the episode.

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    • That’s what mindfulness does. I think in almost all case, it can help. I don’t know for a fact that anyone who is mentally ill, including people with NPD, are possessed, but it’s an interesting theory anyway so I wanted to write about it and see what people have to say about it. If demons are involved, I think NPD would be the most likely candidate.

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      • I do believe luckyotter that if demons are involved, narcissism and sociopathy would be the most likely candidate. I’ve always thought that. I’ve also wondered of the meaning of “the sins of the parents” visiting the children. I keep a lot of holy water in the house, not as a superstition, but because I believe in the value of sacramentals and the comfort these things provide. There is nothing like splashing one’s face with water to have a grounding effect, and chase away any possible paranoia or fear.

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  3. Lucky, you keep surprising me, the way you think, what you come up with, and it makes sense. That’s interesting that a therapist can do exorcism. I wonder, are BPD’ers possessed too until they ‘get better?’ Is getting better an exorcism?

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    • Well, I’ve gotten better and I never had an exorcist. But I was thinking about this–the rage attacks I used to have were like being possessed by some kind of demon and they used to scare me and everyone else. Maybe the demon doesn’t like DBT, which has helped a lot with those. In fact, I don’t even get them anymore.
      But the creepy thing is this. The rage attacks started during y teens and early 20s, which is when I probably developed BPD. These were accompanied by severe dissociation and feelings of being literally disconnected from my body. It was very weird and quite terrifying.
      I don’t know of any therapists who do exorcism. But Peck apparently has trained other therapists to do it. There are probably only a few who are trained in it or would dare even try it.

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  4. It is a very interesting theory which you propose here and given the fact the the narcissist feels no remorse it is definitely a possiblity. I am BPD and as a young adolescent my mum took me to the local priest convinced I was possessed. She was very catholic and I was only diagnosed at 38 so she had no way of knowing my terrible rages came from being BPD. Recently I have begun to see BPD as a demon that resides inside, as an entity within that loves nothing better than to make me sabotage myself and all the good things in my life then let me drown in the emotions of the aftermath of the damage I cause. Sometimes I think all mental health could be put down to possession or at the very least total spiritual desalignment. I hate BPD and what it does to me and the ones I love and I fight it but sometimes I get scared and overwhelmed by it. It seems to get better than boom I have a huge episode. Sometimes the anger feels like something has taken me over. Re narcissism…it is like BPD without the sadness and remorse.

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      • It could be! I think all cluster B disorders are at least partly spiritual illnesses. I don’t know when exactly I developed BPD, but I know that during my early 20s I suffered a lot of panic attacks and dissociative episodes which were very frightening.

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    • MIndfulness training (DBT) and other things have helped me with the rages and yes, they could be spiritually influenced. The rages I used to have scared others and they scared me. I was also dissociating a lot when they were at their worst (teens and early 20s). It was like something took over me. I think of NPD as like BPD only with a false self. Borderlines don’t ahve a false self but are chameleons instead. If it’s possession, it’s a rage demon rather than a false personality that installs itself. IDK. The only thing that makes me question this and think it’s not a demon or entity is the fact the rages and acting out can be controlled or even eliminated with DBT and other mindfulness practices, also with prayer (but prayer would make sense if it’s a spiritual disorder).

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  5. As I have told you before, Lauren, my dad was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder in the 1960s, before the name of that disorder was changed to dissociative identity disorder. A couple of years prior to the MPD diagnosis, my dad was diagnosed with schizophrenia. But after my dad had been in therapy for awhile, his psychiatrist decided that he was a multiple personality, not schizophrenic.

    From my earliest childhood memories, I saw clear evidence that more than one distinct personality lived in my dad. Although he did have some symptoms of schizophrenia, the multiple personality diagnosis definitely fit him a lot better than schizophrenia.

    One of my dad’s personalities was pure evil. When that personality was in control, my dad was homicidal to the max. His face looked like an evil mask. His voice sounded evil. And the pupils of his eyes glowed bright red. I saw my dad’s eyes glowijg red. My mother saw my dad’s eyes glowing red. And other people, including my paternal grandmother and my dad’s girlfriend, saw his eyes glowing red.

    At those times, my dad’s eyes looked exactly the way an old fashioned flash camera can make a person’s eyes appear fiery red in a photograph. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of scary things in my 60+ years.

    The personality that I think of as my dad’s true personality, was kind, caring, loving, faithful, self-sacrificing, and good. He was the pastor of a small nondenominational church, from the time I was six until I was twelve. Then he quit the ministry and became agnostic.

    Soon after my dad quit the ministry, he flipped out one night and nearly murdered my mother. I thought she was dead at first, that’s how terrible it was. That was when my mother and I first saw my dad’s eyes glow red.

    He was arrested the next day, then taken to a hospital because he had severe type one juvenile diabetes and was going into a coma without His insulin. After his blood sugar was brought under control, his doctor committed him to the psych ward, where he was initially diagnosed with schizophrenia.

    Later, after my dad was out of the hospital, during one of the last times that my dad seemed like his original, true personality, the one I thought of as the good daddy, my dad told me that he believed he was demon possessed. He told me that he had quit being a minister because one night, when mom and us kids had stayed home, while my dad was preaching the regular evening service, a demon possessed man had come into the church, screaming and swearing and threatening people. My dad had tried to cast the demons out on the spot, but could not. Then the man yelled at my dad, “you don’t have the power to cast us out, but we are casting YOU out! Soon, you will be gone from this place, but we will still be here!”

    Immediately, my dad said, he felt a demonic entity latch onto him. Although he tried to fight it off, he could not. My dad told me then that he had no memory of almost killing my mom. He had “blacked out” that night, he said. It felt like going to sleep. And when he woke up he was being arrested.

    Over the years I have done a lot of reading on the subjects of schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder, and demonic possession. I have come to the conclusion that in my dad’s case, it was not an either/or situation, meaning either he was mentally ill OR he was demon possessed. I believe my dad was both. I believe that his poorly controlled blood sugar also had a lot to do with how “crazy” he ultimately became.

    In the end, a few years before my dad died of a heart attack at the age of 53, I believe my dad had become what Scott Peck called “perfectly possessed”. I believe this, because there did not seem to be anything left of the “good daddy” personality anymore. I was 34 when he died and I was devastated, because I had been waiting for so many years for my good loving daddy to come back, and now that was never going to happen.

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  6. Whew! Ever read “Hostage to the Devil” by Malachi Martin? Fascinating study of demonic possession by a conservative Catholic. He even talks about perfect possession as opposed to partial. I read “People of the Lie” but I don’t recall his talking about “perfect possession.” So he performed “exorcisms?” A “therapist” performing an exorcism gives me the wiggins. One of the things that impressed me in reading “Hostage” was the clean distinction made between so-called mental illness and demonic possession. The first case in the book, Marianne, saw a shrink. “I did go to a psychiatrist – really to find out how far I had traveled from the ordinary idea of being normal. As he spoke, I realized that all he said, the terminology and concepts he used, and the theories he relied on were such claptrap, all this was only halfway house to where I had arrived. He was treating me as if I were a sick human animal- concentrating on the animal part of me. But he did not know anything about spirit: and so I knew then he could not understand the spirit part of me, could not understand me. He smothered me in words and methods.
    Even tried some amateur hypnotic business. He finished up talking more about himself than me. … I always saw the therapist as if she were stalking around me fascinated by images and surfaces and terminology; and I saw my psychic self, this partial, puny mechanism in me, responding to her. All along, the real me, my very self which doesn’t deal in images or words at all, was untouched. Its area was never entered by the therapist. No psychiatrist could fit in through the doorway because of the load of images and emotions and concepts he carried about with him. Only the naked I enters and lives there.” Although I’m not convinced that there really is a distinction between the spirit and the psyche. Aren’t they really different ways of examining the same thing?

    I have written a blog post about my own spirituality, and I see in it influences of gnosticism, Hinduism, Taoism and Crowley. I never thought to separate my psyche and my soul. They are one and the same as far as I’m concerned.

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    • Good points. Malachi Martin is excellent. Richard Grannon also speaks of clap trap vs reality. The true religion is based on Truth, i.e. reality itself. Mental illness is not possession by the spiritual realm. The only thing that irks me about Grannon is he hasn’t figured out yet that his parents taught him an erroneous interpretation of Catholicism (he thinks Catholicism teaches us to eat a “dead” God and teaches disproportionate guilt). He rejects Catholicism in one of his you tube videos based on these errors he was taught, which is really sad, considering the ancient Catholic Thomistic psychiatrists knew and taught all this complex post traumatic stress theory long before the rest of the world discovered it. Grannon is a genius, but his coaching skills would be perfected if he clipped off the remaining freudian we-are-just-evolved-animals bias.

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      • I actually converted to Catholicism in April 2015, at the Easter vigil. Maybe the Church has changed, but I don’t find it teaches guilt at all. In fact, I find it very humane and gives meaning to suffering, instead of some of the Protestant denominations, which teach that if you suffer it means God hasn’t blessed you because you’re not one of his favorites (Calvinistic religions beleive this). The Catholic church also teaches that scientific concepts like evolution and the “old earth” are true, and while the Bible is used, it’s not interpreted literally. Personally, I find the sacrament of Penance to be a relief to my soul rather than forced guilt. My priest is very compassionate, and it helps me get things off my chest. The “penance” is usually one Hail Mary or one Our Father and a heart to heart talk. The priest no longer sits in a box where he can’t be seen–now it’s in a little room where he faces you–it’s not much different than therapy!
        I know some churches are better than others, but overall I find Catholic doctrine very appealing and it dovetails nicely with the things I already believed.
        As for Grannon, I love him to death, but I definitely know what you mean and chafed just a little over his dismissal of Catholic theology. Maybe he’s a disgruntled ex-Catholic. I think things used to be very different, and the Catholic church was a lot more punishing and intolerant until Vatican 2.


        • I agree with you about Calvinism. They seem to be putting Christianity on it’s head. People who suffer deserve judgment instead of compassion. According to Calvinists, God created people knowing some of them would be damned. Why would such a god die on the cross for people’s sins? Doesn’t make sense.
          Did you ever see “The Song of Bernadette?” This bitter nun persecuted Bernadette because she was jealous that Bernadette had been chosen instead of her. She believed one is justified by suffering and she had imposed great austerities on herself so why wasn’t she chosen? Of course, Bernadette had enormous physical suffering from her illness but she was such a high soul, she didn’t perceive it as suffering.

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          • That said, I do think the Catholic Church has historically placed a good deal more emphasis on guilt and suffering than now. And there are old-school priests who still think this way. In fact, one of the great strengths of the Catholic Church is the enormous diversity. There is room for just about everyone.

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          • These people forget that the people Jesus valued the most in his day were the poor, the sick, the sinners, the prostitutes, and the vulnerable of all kinds.


    • Yes! I did read that book! I thought it was fascinating. I wish I still had my copy, but I think I loaned it to someone and they never returned it. Time to order another copy.

      I remember the part about Marianne and the shrink she saw. He sounds a lot like a lot of shrinks, who dismiss the idea that we have a soul and are more than a body and a brain. I’m lucky that my therapist is not like that at all. He practices a type of therapy called “contemplative psychotherapy” which is based on both eastern and western psychology (it’s not Buddhist, but is based on Buddhist principles of the mind and spirit). Mindfulness is considered very important. But it’s mixed with western techniques for specific symptoms (as opposed to disorders). Most important, my therapist is very compassionate and seem to have a high level of empathy. This combined with my faith is working wonders.

      I will read your post.


  7. A very well written and thought provoking post that raises lots of questions. I don’t have a complete conclusion formed on this but I shy away from blaming evil spirits for everything. I’ve seen that get really out of balance and people spend their full time accusing anyone that opposes them as having a demon. Jesus himself was accused of being demonic by narcissists and in a cult I was if you didn’t go along with the narc leader you were influenced or controlled by dark side. Of course only the leaders had the discernment to detect this. It is quite a mind control trick

    On the other hand in the biblical passage about spiritual warfare it refers to not wrestling against human beings, that the real battle in life is against spiritual powers. It lends credence to the idea that a dark entity influences evil behavior. I don’t believe that we are puppets of good and evil but I do think darkness is attracted to darkness so habitually choosing evil is going to result in attracting evil entities.

    Mostly I think about narcissism in terms of addition. An addict is in control of the substance initially, he thinks he is choosing his alcohol or cocaine and that it doesn’t own him. This changes though in time and the substance now controls him. I believe there is an additive quality to interacting to the world either as a narcissist or a victim of one. Whether it is the neural system of the brain that gets stuck in some feedback loop or an entity I still believe the answer is spiritual.

    We know inside when something is beyond human and the reports of face changes in someone going off on an abusive rant is something I’ve seen. It is a complex subject. I don’t know what I think of the exorcism piece but I’ve certainly seen that used by narcs to harm people. I think you have to discern the work of the spirit by the fruits attached to it. True spirit has peace, joy, love, gentleness as its fruit. The other has rage, malice, lying, greed, turmoil.

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    • I like your balanced comment, Katie. Yes, I have also seen people get way out of whack, blaming everything on demons. I believe that ultimately each person is responsible for what they do, regardless of whether they were influenced by demons or not. We each have the free will to choose whether to open our heart to God, or to evil.

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      • I agree. It’s important to stay balanced. It’s easy to “get away” with doing bad things and treating people badly because “the demons made me do it” instead of taking responsibility for your own actions.

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        • Demons never, ever made me do anything. I don’t believe they made my dad do anything, either. I could be wrong, but he had periodic terrifying rages years before he had the experience of the demon possessed man who came to his church. His eyes just never glowed red prior to that, is all.

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          • I remember my father telling me about a phone conversation he had with my ex. He said he heard a voice emanating from him that sounded exactly like the demon’s voice in The Exorcist. He realized then and there how evil my ex was (if he was possessed, I’d say he was perfectly possessed). But he never saw it in mu mother, even though I could. He always wanted to think the best of her, and told me it made him sad that “we could never understand each other.” I think he was still secretly in love with her until the day he died, because her malignant narcissism was so obvious to me–and is now so obvious to my son, who can also see through her mask.

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    • Good points, Katie, and I don’t believe all bad or even all narcissistic behavior is caused by evil spirits or demons. People need to take responsibility for themselves and their own actions, instead of blaming demons for everything.

      I agree with you about narcissism’s similarity to addiction. In fact, it is a kind of addiction, the drug being narcissistic supply. They trajectory of of how addiction progresses and how narcissism progresses are similar too. Also, active addicts and alcoholics can act very narcissistic – everything takes a back seat to getting their next “fix,” just as for a narcissist, everything takes a back seat to getting their next “fix of supply.” I’ve even joked that there should be a 12 step program for narcissists.
      I wrote a post about it called “The 12 steps of Narcissists Anonymous.”

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      • Yes, 12 steps for narcissists and, I’d like to see something like Narc-anon for family members. I think the family members would get the most help and in fact, I think we are actually sort of a narc-anon group spontaneously arising on line

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        • I actually think something like that could work. It wouldn’t cure the narcissism, just as AA doesn’t cure someone of alcoholism, but the steps themselves all address narcissism itself (because addicts and alcoholics can be so narcissistic) and as a bonus, are spiritually based and acknowledge there is a God or Higher Power and the alcoholic isn’t the center of the universe, as they often think they are.
          Of course, there are real narcs who abuse these programs too, and use them to feel superior to others, the same way so many use religion.

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  8. This hits excruciatingly close to home. Someone very close to me is suffering from severe mental illness, and I just said to my husband not long ago that I wasn’t sure whether she needed a therapist or an exorcist (maybe both). I pray all the time to God and to St. Michael to free her from the malignant spirit(s) that seem to have taken up residence in her. (I’m not Catholic, but I love the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and I use it all the time… because let’s face it, we need all the help we can get.)

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