Genius Thinking

10 Behaviors That Reveal the Differences Between Self-Righteousness and a Narcissist

Green 85


8. They’re a Moral Cherry Picker

When people try to act morally superior in any religious or secular tradition, they use rules and commandments conveniently. They are experts at taking sacred texts out of context to justify themselves or condemn others. While they’ll get on a soapbox over some issues, they’ll ignore those directives that contradict their words and actions.


For instance, they may quickly lower the gavel on a person who plays the lottery. They’ll raise their noses in holy protest and condemn what they say are the evils of gambling. Yet, they are strangely quiet about cheating on their taxes.

9. Letter of the Law vs. Spirit of the Law

Morality snobs are well-versed in the commandments in their chosen religious tradition. They can quote sacred writings and how they follow them to the letter. In a secular sense, they can be the person who is a stickler for the rules and protocols.

While they may know the rules and regulations by heart, they don’t comprehend why it’s so important. They are so wrapped up in legalism that they forget that religious traditions were meant to foster love, harmony, and compassion. Instead, they use these traditions as weapons to hurt others and elevate themselves.


10. They Become Isolated

Since people with an inflated sense of holiness are so judgmental, they often distance themselves from others. Consequently, they have difficulties in personal and professional relationships. Their toxic attitude makes being around them difficult, so they’re usually lonely and depressed.

Descent from Self-Righteousness into Narcissistic Personality Disorder

People who believe themselves to be righteously superior stand behind their exaggerated holiness. They aren’t as concerned with being the smartest or most attractive as a narcissist would be. However, it can quickly develop into a type of narcissistic personality called a self-righteous narcissist.

These people go beyond the amped holiness to almost making themselves a deity. It’s a personality disorder often associated with leaders of cults. They’ve believed in their moral superiority for so long that they begin to have delusions of grandeur.

Final Thoughts on Recognizing Self-Righteousness

The Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians that if he had all knowledge and was devoted to good works, it was nothing without love. People caught up in their own righteousness don’t have room in their hearts for love, understanding, and grace. They also run the risk of developing narcissism and estranging themselves from everyone in their lives as they continually seek validation.

Green 85

Related Articles

Back to top button