BPD : Pride Comes Before Another Fall

If I’m to be honest with God and myself, I need to admit that pride and it’s children arrogance and grandiosity have played no small part in the development of my mental illness.

I see pride as an inordinate belief in my false self, the image I want to portray to others, rather than living out of my true self, the image of myself which corresponds with the way God sees me. It involves acting out of my distorted and largely dysfunctional thinking rather than consulting God – what the 12 steppers call self will run riot.

Pride is a psychological defence I built up in childhood and honed over years in competitive industry. Behind it is a disconnection from my true identity in Christ and the emptiness this brings with it. This has led to deep feelings of inadequacy and inferiority which I try to hide.

As I’ve explained in other posts, I believe that the root of this is childhood emotional neglect. In this article on self esteem, Suzanne Lachlan PhD lists ten possible causes of low self esteem. I can identify with six of them.

After my last major breakdown eight or so years ago, I recognised that pride had played a large part in some of the poor decisions which led to my illness. I had failed to seek the advice of experts when I made my business decision, failed to try out the work first to see if I was suited to it, invested inordinate amounts of money to try to guarantee success, and been driven by the prayers and flattery of others.

After that, I went into 12 step recovery. A big part of 12 step recovery is deflating the false self and learning about the true self. It helped me. I felt I was making real progress on my spiritual development, learning to love others and myself as equals on a journey.

But then, I can now see, I got sucked in by institutional religion. My false self slowly weaselled it’s way back into the driving seat of my life and I began once again living for the approval of others. But this time it was more insidious because I actually believed fully that I was doing God’s will.

I volunteered as a chaplain at the local hospital and that’s when things started to go belly up.

At first I was truly at peace in the role and felt it an honour and privilege to be doing the work. But then people kept telling me how well I was doing, how well I interacted with the patients. Some of the clergy praised me and said that they recognised a calling in me, and that I should go into ministry.

Then patients began calling me Vicar. I of course corrected them, but it gave me a real buzz to think that I was thought of in that way. Rather than give praise to God I slowly began keeping some of it back for myself.

I was doing well in our care home ministry too, and again began to get praised for this work. I even got licensed to deliver home communion which I really felt privileged to do.

I had so far resisted everyone’s suggestion that I should train for the ministry. Time and time again I put it to the back of my mind, knowing that I wasn’t emotionally resilient enough to undertake that role.

But eventually I succumbed to that temptation.

A new curate in our church told me that I definitely had a calling. I explained about my mental illness and my struggles but she felt confident that God would help me overcome these obstacles. I put myself forward for training. Much to my surprise, I was accepted.

What was happening in the background was that I was slowly spending less and less time on the self care and nurturing that’s so important in mental health recovery, and more time chasing goals and impressing others and myself…..a real recipe for disaster.

Although I finally felt that I had found my vocation after being in the wilderness for so many years, I was slowly losing touch with God. In 12 Steps we have an acronym for this – EGO…..Easing God Out.

I became increasingly intense and disconnected.

When I couldn’t sustain the work required in training for ministry I had to give it up, and this failure to reach my goal led to my suffering with ME together with a deep depression in which I became suicidal.

Pride truly had come once again before a fall. Not conscious pride, but under the radar pride. I’m reminded of this scripture again, 1 Peter 5:8

‘Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’

Pride really had almost killed me, and has certainly shortened my life.

So now I am turning to God once again, getting down on my knees and humbly asking him to remove my pride. Maybe in a way he’s doing that already by dragging me through another period of illness.

I have compassion for myself. I’m finding that pride, or hubris, is not an easy habit to break. I cannot do this alone, if I do I’ll get caught up in a vicious circle once again. No, I need to surrender this to God and allow him to work by his grace and mercy to heal me of this if that is his will.

Bible Verse

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 11:2

Prayer of Litany

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,

Hear me, Jesus.

From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being loved,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being extolled,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being honoured,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being praised,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred to others,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being approved,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being despised,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of suffering rebukes,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being calumniated,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being ridiculed,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being wronged,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being suspected,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I go unnoticed,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be preferred to me in everything,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

3 thoughts on “BPD : Pride Comes Before Another Fall

    1. Hi Shirley, thanks for your thoughts. On reflection and having spoken to a spiritual friend I realise that maybe I was maybe being a little hard on myself. This sadly is part of my mental illness. I will draw close to God once again Ian

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for sharing Ian. God has no ego, but love and forgiveness. Be mindful of people giving us encouragement, or just cheering us along, that they are not aiming to fulfill their own egos in the name of God.

    Liked by 1 person

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