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Dissertation Title:

Narcissistic Injury? Narratives from Behind the Pulpit


Dimietri Hollimon

Date, Time & Place:

January 24, 2022 at 4:00 pm


People who believe in a higher power or deity tend to place their trust in these spirits, idols, the church, and those who are “called” to pastor or be the voice of God. These individuals are typically looked upon and reverenced in the eye of the people who follow their leadership (Fosshage & Hershberg, 2014). Although these individuals may be called to minister or preach the unmodified religious texts or recognized by others as the “Man or Woman” of God, they too may have internal flaws that stem from their childhood because of developmental wounds of the primary caretaker. These wounds, though unconscious, can manifest themselves in the person’s behaviors, relationships, and in their place of work, even behind the pulpit as they take on leadership positions within their religious organizations. The position of a pastor is to nurture and tend to their religious community, which is the congregation. However, that task is difficult to accomplish when pastors approach this work with discrepancies that stem from lack of emotional empathy, family deficits, or parental attunement from childhood. These inadequacies merged into the pastor’s adulthood and led into five themes and one subtheme that was identified from interpreting the interviews of these four male pastors: Families Deficits, Father’s Emotional Absence, Addiction and Family Development, Community Mentorship, Flawed: It is not me, but God, and Underserved: Do not call me Pastor.

  • Program/Track/Year: Clinical Psychology, OP, 2015
  • Chair: Dr. Avedis Panajian
  • Reader: Dr. Christine Lewis
  • External Reader: Dr. Tania Hormozi
  • Keywords: Pastors, Narcissists, Unconscious, Pulpit