Narcissistic sociopaths, especially “spiritual teachers” are among the most cunning, compelling and psychologically corrosive individuals. Many of them build large movements. Some of them develop into cults that involve mind control. The leader is often highly attractive in every way: physically, intellectually, has tremendous charisma, even psychic powers. They have command of themselves and know how to determine if a person is “ripe” to be brainwashed into their movement or special community. There are spiritual groups that are very sincere and have a high consciousness. I am talking about the newly imaged, hip, smart bearer of truth, insights and epiphanies. They are often announced with great fanfare. There closest devotees treat them with reverence. Their eyes glow with true believer allegiance. They smile their ways through the perfect trance of their newest delusion—the belief that their leader is divine. They are hooked and fused with this person. Many have paid thousands of dollars numerous times to attend weekend retreats with their holy teacher. They don’t blink an eye at the expense they are in such a state of bliss. Some sociopathic spiritual teachers present themselves in an ego dropped, simple manner–just plain old me. Don’t be fooled. This is convincing act that can be irresistible to many who are spiritual seekers and feel that something vital is missing in their lives.
Those who become deeply involved with the sociopathic spiritual teacher lose themselves and their identities chasing after the empty promises of this very disturbed individual. The psychological fusion that the devotee has with the “teacher” is very unhealthy. A deep dependency can develop and the person is unable to dis-identify from this person whom he views as savior. When the member finally leaves the group, he or she is psychologically damaged and financially compromised. Some members sign over their valuable possessions to these sociopathic leaders. After leaving the cult or sociopathic spiritual leader it is essential that the person receive highly skilled psychotherapy to help them sever their relationships and dependence on this person.
There are certain red flags that will tell you if a “spiritual sociopathic teacher” is in your midst. Ask yourself what is the money motive. Are they charging inordinate amounts of money? Are they insist that you return for the next group of sessions to get to a higher level? Is the teacher highly grandiose and making impossible promises about your healing and divine gifts that you will automatically receive if you sign up. Do they isolate people who attend their retreats so that they become more emotionally vulnerable. If you don’t go along with their program, are you shunned or verbally criticized and humiliated. How much money is changing hands.I say always follow the money. True spiritual teachers are not focused on money but on helping you reach higher consciousness, deep mental focus, a strong sense of inner peace and deep empathy.
Pay close attention to you intuition and it will always tell you if you are dealing with a narcissistic sociopathic spiritual teacher.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life