Friday, December 27, 2013
Catholics must attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. There are no exceptions and no provisions for bullying. One option is to change parishes. If that's what it takes to leave the bully (or bullies) behind, then this is usually the best solution.
However, especially in this age of mergers and closings, many people live in an area with only one Catholic church. So staying and praying is the only option.
We all have crosses. Spiritual abuse is a heavy one because it involves our freedom to worship God, without distractions and a lot of nonsense. Spend as much time as you can in front of the Blessed Sacrament. This will give you the peace that only Christ alone can bring.
Flickr photo top by Phil Roeder
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Malignant narcissists are a lot like sociopaths. But there's one critical difference. A sociopath can operate without giving a thought as to how others view him. He doesn't care.
But a covert narcissist is very invested in his social standing. Being an active member of a parish offers the perfect cover, as people seeing him at prayer will assume he's a nice person. Since narcissists also like to run things, it's only natural that they gravitate toward church, where they can find ample opportunities to head steering committees and to assume various other leadership roles. (Remember the Pharisees?)
This explains why you'll find so many covert narcissists cloaked in a veil of sanctity. Church, unfortunately, is not the place to let your guard down. Many potential problems can be avoided by staying in the pews and praying, instead of getting involved with various projects. This is what often leads to trouble.
That's because a narcissist in power doesn't like to yield anything. He or she is threatened by new talent and new ideas.
Flickr photo top by ell brown
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Some narcissists are over the top. They are grandiose. They are blowhards. Their disordered behavior is easy to spot, so most people don't take them seriously.
Then there are covert narcissists. They are the most dangerous, because they appear so nice. They are fun to be with. They are witty. They are charming. They are also very cunning.
If they worked above board, and others could see the destruction they cause, they'd be stopped. Instead, they literally get away with murder because they kill with words. Gossip and slander are their knives and bullets. So adept at destroying others, it doesn't always appear as if they're particularly malicious. Nonetheless, they sow much discord.
At church, if you find yourself targeted by a covert narcissist, start looking for a new spiritual home. Your pastor probably won't help at this point. That's because this type of bully wouldn't strike unless a victory was guaranteed. Angering the pastor, and having him take your side, is not their desired outcome. But they've already taken care of that. By the time you sense trouble, they've filled the pastor's ear with false witness against you.
Underneath the saintly exterior, a covert narcissist is seething with rage and envy. He is playing to win, and he won't stop until the battle ends. Lying and deception come naturally to a narcissist. So it's not going to be a level playing field. There's little to nothing you can gain by staying. God will be right by your side as He leads you to a better parish.
Flickr photo by jans canon
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
As Christians we need to love our enemies, even those people who've hurt us deeply. Even if they don't apologize. We also need to pray for them. I've noticed that as I continue to pray for a particular person it becomes much easier to forgive them.
Bullies are most in need of our prayer. If they hurt us unintentionally, they deserve our pardon. If it was deliberate, they desperately need more grace. They need to get right with God, because they are walking in darkness. He will also demand a full accounting of their actions. Bad behavior doesn't happen in isolation. If someone mistreats one person, they will mistreat another. Most bullies are serial bullies, selecting new targets where ever they go.
Although I have no proof, I believe that if someone mistreats us, our prayers for them are especially efficacious. It might be God's way of helping them get into Heaven. (Don't worry, they will be totally different people once they arrive there.)
Flickr photo top by LenDog64
For a discussion of malignant narcissism that afflicts females, please visit my Female Bullies blog.