Some people are likely very far from God, despite the fact church occupies a large part of their waking hours. It appears as if certain individuals, who rise to a position of prominence, and who try to run everything, don't have much else going on. They may not work and they probably have few friends. They may not be on speaking terms with their adult children.
They are undoubtedly very miserable inside. But church is a place where their personality quirks are overlooked.
Unfortunately, difficult people are also territorial. If they sense that someone else is enthusiastic, and wants to participate in parish life, they may feel threatened. This is their turf, and they don't want anyone else encroaching upon it. In a healthy environment, everybody should be able to contribute their time and talents. Not so in a dysfunctional one, where one or two lay people may rule the roost.
Much of the time, church bullying appears to be a power struggle. One way to prevent becoming a target is to not get involved in parish projects. By staying on the sidelines, you can still participate in the congregation and use the church for prayer. But you won't get caught in the fray. You can spend all your time and energy focused on God.
Flickr photo by bterrycompton