Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I'm Praying for All of You

All of the readers here, and also at the Female Bullies blog, are included in my annual Saint Andrew Christmas Novena. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a joyous, happy and healthy New Year.

May the church bullies in your life occupy a much smaller part of it in 2015, than they do now. May be soon become a distant memory.

We hope and pray that God's grace will touch them, so they can use their talents for good, instead of evil.

God Bless you all.

(For my non-Catholic readers, a novena is usually prayed over nine days, in honor of Pentecost.)

Pixabay image top by PublicDomainPictures

Thursday, December 18, 2014

God Doesn't Tell Us to Trust People

God doesn't tell us to trust our neighbor. He only tells us to love one another. So we are supposed to love our neighbor, but we don't necessarily have to extend our trust. Of course, we should always try to assume the best of people, and, if they do something strange, we should first think of the most charitable explanation, instead of assigning the worst possible motives. We need to treat our neighbor with kindness and mercy, regardless of whether we trust them. We also want the best for one another, which is eternal salvation. This is true love.

However, at the same time, we must be discerning. The Bible warns us of wolves in sheep's clothing, false brethren and hirelings. Not everyone we meet at church is worthy of our trust. Sometimes, for reasons known only to God, the pastor sent to a particular parish may have personality issues. This is where love comes in. We need to pray for him, and sincerely hope that he receives more graces to lead his flock. But we don't have to trust him.

One mistake I made was to trust a particular church lady, whom seemed holier than thou. So I shared with her my wants, needs, fears and desires. Knowing my weak spots, she used them against me. Although I did nothing wrong, malignant personalities often use known facts, woven with damaging lies. This is how they get others to believe their largely fictitious accounts. If part of the story is true, everyone will assume the rest is as well. Any bit information in the hands of a narcissist, or socialized high-functioning sociopath will be used to harm.

Eventually, my husband, children and I were forced to relocate. Malignant narcissists are dangerous and destructive, even if their outward appearance resembles a lamb, as it often does with malicious people you may meet at church.

Ultimately, the only one we can trust is God himself. He asks us to trust in him, and not in our neighbor.

Pixabay image top by geralt

Monday, December 15, 2014

Advent is a Time of Joy, Regardless of Church Bullies

Despite the difficulties you may be experiencing at church, this is one time of year we need to remain joyful. Yesterday I heard a great homily about not letting anyone steal your Advent joy. This especially includes church bullies. Focus instead on the little babe who came into the world to save us from our sins. (Eventually, the grown Christ will address the problem of those who mistreat others in His Father's house, in His own way, in His own time.)

This isn't to say that being the target of a church bully, or even a pack of bullies, is not one of the most difficult things you'll ever experience. But remind yourself that this too, shall become just a memory. Eventually, God will fill your life with peace again. Meanwhile, one thing you can do is to find a place in your house where you can pray, surrounded by beautiful reminders of God, Our Lady, the angels and the saints.

Also, being rejected at church might be the impetus you need to reestablish ties with people on the outside. Perhaps your particular place of worship has become a little too clannish. If that's the case, taking a break might be a healthy thing, mentally and spiritually.

Pixabay image top by falco

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Don't Expect Peace in Church Right Now

There's an old Catholic saying, "As the Church Goes, So Goes the World." Perhaps I've mentioned this before. What this means is that when things are not well in the Catholic Church, founded 2,000 years ago by Christ, we can expect to see trouble in the temporal sphere.

The Catholic Church is still in the midst of perhaps her biggest crisis in history. However, the fourth-century Arian Crisis was very bad as well. This is when most of the world's bishops accepted the heresy that Jesus Christ did not have a Divine nature. This heresy was started by an unfaithful priest by the name of Arias, and it spread throughout Christendom. One very brave bishop now known as Saint Athanasius resisted this heresy. He and his followers held the faith during this period.

Eventually, the heresy died out, since Jesus promised that the gates of Hell would not destroy His Church. Other heresies around, but, today, there is widespread apostasy and weakness of faith. We see this in the lack of attendance at Mass.

There are varying estimates about Mass attendance in the United States. But the vast majority, perhaps around 80 percent of people whom identify as Catholic, do not attend Mass every Sunday. This trend is also evidenced by church closing and mergers. In recent years, hundreds of Catholic schools around the country have also closed.

It used to be that nearly every parish had a group of religious sisters (in habit) praying for the priests and for the parishioners. Now, it's rare to see a nun anywhere.

We have wars, famines, epidemics and flagrant violation of God's laws. Everything seems shaky at the moment

So try not to get too comfortable in any one religious setting, because things can change so quickly. We can always expect problems anywhere a group of people gather, but that's much more true today, given what's going on.

Various Church-approved prophecies, such as Fatima and Akita, have warned of these times. We are now living in them.

Stay close to God, no matter what is happening around you. He will see you through this.

Pixabay image top by Nemo

Friday, November 28, 2014

Catholics have had to risk their lives for Mass

In ages past, many Catholics had to risk their lives to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the supreme act of worship that we owe God. During the prayers of Consecration, we firmly believe that bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. (Not all of the people who read this blog are Catholic.) We are obligated, under pain of mortal sin, to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, fulfilling the Biblical command to keep holy the Sabbath. Church bullies do not absolve us of this duty.

As difficult as it may be, we must press on go to church, regardless of what has happened. Of course, if this becomes excruciating, it would be a good idea to move to another parish. However, oftentimes, this is not possible, especially if we live in an area with only one Catholic church. Under these circumstances, we must strengthen our resolve and put up with the situation, as horrible and discouraging as it may be.

In various parts of the world, at various times, including the present era, Catholics could be killed for their faith. The early Christians risked being fed to the lions, which was why they worshiped in the catacombs. Others, such as Saint Thomas More, lost their lives for refusing to compromise. Last year, more than 2,000 people were killed, around the world, for being Christians.

Although most people can now attend church without risking their lives, they may encounter sufferings and persecutions that come from within. These can be very harmful, because they have the potential to kill the life of Christ in your soul. Don't let them.

God Bless you all.

Pixabay image by mamandrews

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mean People Teach us to Forgive

In one sense, if someone is making life difficult for us at church, we owe them some thanks. That's because, as Christians, God wants us to forgive them, so our own sins can also be forgiven. If everything behaved perfectly, there'd be nothing to forgive, and nothing to forgive.

Of course, this is much easier said than done, and it's infinitely easier when viewing a church mobbing from the benefit of hindsight. Our family was driven from our place of worship several years ago, during one of the most difficult times of my life. Forgiveness is hard and it takes time. Eventually, though, it's possible.

I recently read a very insightful post on Pinterest that talked about forgiveness. It pointed out that the people in Heaven have one thing in common. Their sins were forgiven by our most loving and merciful God. Also, these same people forgave others.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Pixabay photo top by skeeze

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Beware of the Nerdy Church Narcissist

It is very hard to discern someone's character, because we are living in an era of deceit, betrayal and entitlement. Unfortunately, given the times, we must always be on our guard, even at church. Actually, I should say especially at church.

There is a type of emotional predator that some psychologists describe as a "covert narcissist." I've written about this before, but I want to cover it again because it is such a serious problem. These predators are drawn to churches and religious organizations for a number of reasons. One is that this is where they will find acceptance and enough people whom are nice enough to overlook their personality quirks. Oftentimes, covert narcissists, whom are extremely dangerous, come across as nerdy.

I have the most experience with female covert narcissists, the church lady types. These gals may look and act like saints, but, deep down inside, they are highly competitive. Because church has become their home away from home, they will fight to the death to destroy any other female they view as a threat. So watch out for these she wolves in sheep's clothing. Under no circumstances, should you share your secrets with anyone you don't know well, even if they have a pious exterior.

Female malignant narcissists, especially the covert ones, are very dangerous creatures. It's my personal opinion that you're more likely to find them at church than anywhere else.

Pixabay image by Nemo top

Monday, November 17, 2014

Being Mobbed Makes You Stronger

We know that God will always bring good out of evil. The Old Testament account of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, tells of Joseph later telling his brothers, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."

Joseph being forced to go to Egypt, where he later rose to a position of prominence, and he was able to help many people, including his own family members, when a famine struck the land. Joseph correctly prophesied a seven-year famine, following seven years of plentiful harvests. Because he had gained the trust of the Pharoah, Joseph was able to go about the country, and order that grain be stockpiled, preventing mass starvation.

So we can trust that in our own trials, God is overseeing everything and allowing it to happen for a reason. Perhaps it is your prayers that will make a difference, and the church bully, or bullies, will eventually convert as a result. (Church bullies are in serious need of conversion.)

No doubt, there will be great benefits for your own soul as well. For one, a church mobbing will make you stronger. Once things settle down, and you relocate (probably the best thing to do), you will no longer care as much what people think of you. This is very liberating. If this happens when you have young children, you will learn to trust more in God, and to realize that nothing anyone can do, to drive you from a parish, will ultimately affect the eternal salvation of your family.

This whole experience can be one big lesson, of learning to trust in God. When I look back upon the time my family was driven from our spiritual home, it all seems so inconsequential now. At the time, it seemed larger than life. Now I can smile and shake my head, and think, "Did that really happen?"

In any event, please don't let what's happening shake your relationship with God. Lose the bully, but don't lose your faith.

Pixabay image top by cegoh

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Benefits of Not be Too Attached to a Parish

One of the things church mobbing cures you of is being overly attached to a place of worship. I had come to regard our spiritual home as a second home. I loved it there, and the thought of leaving was unthinkable. It's hard to fathom how someone with a personality disorder, working behind the scenes, was able to conduct a hate campaign that resulted in our family having to flee this somewhat irregular setting, which wasn't a parish, but was still subject to Rome.

However, just as in a workplace mobbing, this couldn't have happened without the full cooperation of the priest who had just arrived, and whom seemed to be highly invested in being accepted by some of the laity. In an office, management either turns a blind eye to the bullying, or participates more actively. A mobbing can happen only if management cooperates.

In retrospect, however, this entire experience was a blessing. Being terrified by the thought of having to leave our spiritual home meant I was too attached, and too concerned with preserving what I had. This means, in a sense, that I was imprisoned by all the trappings of Catholicism found there.

Now I don't care as much what happens in church. God is there and He's all that matters. Nothing here on earth is permanent and everything is passing. This is a lesson I think God was trying to teach me.

Pixabay image top by skitterphoto

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Church Bullying Situation Might Change with a New Pastor

In the Catholic Church, priests tend to be reassigned to different parishes every six or seven years. Although there's no hard-and-fast rule, this is often a typical length of time for a pastor to stay in one spot. However, sometimes, a pastor could stay in a parish for two, three or more terms, which could equal about 20 years.

I strongly suspect that bullying and mobbing are highly dependent upon the pastor, how strong he is and whether he is willing to tolerate spiritual abuse of any members of his flock. However, there is also the possibility that he is a very holy man, who is trying to do the right thing, and is simply outnumbered by a pack of bullies, who may be giving him a difficult time as well.

Or, the pastor may have strong narcissistic traits, and is not a good shepherd. When our family was mobbed, and driven out of our spiritual home, much of it, in hindsight, appears to have been orchestrated by a "friend," working behind the scenes. However, I don't think she would have gotten very far if it hadn't been for a new priest who suddenly arrived from a different continent, and immediately took over, even though he had no legitimate authority to do so. No bishop had sent him there, which, in itself, was a highly irregular situation.

This priest seemed to have issues of his own, and he seemed to have a strong need to be accepted by some of the lay people. Upon his arrival, it seemed as if a switch had been flipped and a dark, hateful mood descended upon the community.

There is an old saying "Like pastor, like parish." This means that if you have a holy priest at the helm, the flock will behave in a more Christ-like manner. Kindness and charity will flourish.

However, the opposite is also true. If you have a troubled priest, expect trouble in the pews.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that things can change suddenly in any congregation, depending upon the pastor. If you're being bullied at church, it's possible things could improve the next time your bishop moves priests around.

In any event, don't let a pack of narrow-minded people (or even one or two) keep you out of church and away from God.

Pixabay image top by Nemo

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Being Driven from Your Parish May Mean Driving Miles to Mass

Part of the reason church bullying is so devastating for Catholics is that we don't have the option of not going to Mass. No matter what is happening, we must attend, under pain of mortal sin, in order to fulfill the Biblical command to keep the Sabbath holy. When a church mobbing gathers steam, the object of the game is to drive you from your parish, as well as the CCD program, if you happen to be a teacher, or the choir, if you happen to sing.

A hate campaign such as this probably means you'll need to change parishes. Because there may be so few parishes in a given area, especially with church closings throughout the United States, doing so many mean a lengthy drive to attend Mass, especially if you live in a rural area. However, this may still be your best option, especially if you have children. If this is bothering you, your children have likely picked up on the situation. After prayerful discernment, you might come to the conclusion that moving to another place of worship is your best bet.

Although it may now take an hour or more to get to Mass, this may be a small price to pay for the peace you will likely find someplace else, away from the bullies, whom are a major distraction.

Remember that previous generations of Catholics may have lived far from their church, and they needed to walk miles, often in inclement weather, to worship God. Be thankful you have a car. Turn to the saints and ask for their Heavenly help in this time of spiritual distress.

Pixabay photo top by skeeze

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Getting Bullied at Church? - Ask the Saints for Help

Today is the day the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of All Saints. We believe in the Communion of Saints, which means that anyone who died in a state of grace, free from mortal sin on their soul, and is now in Heaven with God, is a saint. We celebrate these men and women who submitted to God's will when they lived on earth, and are now enjoying His company for all eternity.

The Church has canonized many people, formally declaring that they are in Heaven. However, the Feast of All Saints has a much broader application, as it includes everyone who lives in Heaven.

It's also a pious belief that the prayers of the saints are especially strong today. They can intercede for us throughout the year, but today is a special day, and we can ask for their help, especially if we are being bullied at church.

All of these holy people, undoubtedly, had their trials. Some of them were intensely persecuted, such as Saint Joan of Arc. Actually, she is a patron of those specifically targeted by malicious people, for their piety.

A mystic who had visions from Saint Michael the Archangel, Joan experienced extreme opposition and betrayal from her local church leaders. In a tribunal headed by a bishop, she was found guilty, after being trapped into making statements that proved damaging. She was burned at the stake in May of 1431.

Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us.

Pixabay image top by FeatheredArtStudios

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Covert Narcissist Might Not Gossip in Church

Much of the usual advice about spotting a covert narcissist doesn't apply in church. That's because these predators go to great lengths to mask their disorder.

Covert narcissists are often found in religious settings, which offers the perfect cover, and allows them access to a circle of kindhearted and trusting people. Because of these social dynamics, they can get away with a lot more than they could anywhere else.

It's my personal opinion that covert narcissists are extremely dangerous, which is why it's helpful to spot such a morally disordered person beforehand, so you can steer clear of their charades.

Oftentimes, a covert narcissist will give herself away by subtly putting others down, done so skillfully that you may not immediately recognize it as gossip. This is one clue that you're dealing with someone who can't be trusted. Another giveaway is inability to regulate anger. You may only see a brief flash of rage, quickly followed by a smile, as they collect themselves.

However, a church-based narcissist may display neither of these telltale characteristics. Gossip is frowned upon by Christians, something he or she is well aware of. So they know better not to do this.

Please understand I'm not a mental health professional, but I do have a fair share of experience dealing with covert narcissists, especially the kinds found at church. Probably the best way to spot one of these phonies is to go with your gut feeling that something is wrong, instead of looking for the more obvious signs. The fact that they can hide this disorder from just about everyone means they're very good at masking their malicious side.

Think about how you feel after spending time with this person. Are you anxious, frustrated or confused? Do you get a nagging feeling you can't trust this person, yet can't quite discern why you feel this way? Don't discount these feelings. Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance. Also, make sure you don't share any personal information with this person, even if it's fairly innocuous.

Malignant narcissists take such tidbits and run with them, twisting the truth with outrageous lies in order to destroy your reputation. Although we shouldn't care at all what people think of us, as long as we know we're doing the right thing, in the eyes of God, practically speaking, these folks can and will do all they can to run us out of our place of worship.

Pixabay image top by Nemo

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Church-Based Mobbing is Similar to Workplace Mobbing

An angry mob behaves the same, whether it's in the workplace or at church. The dynamics of workplace mobbing and church-based mobbing are remarkably similar. What typically happens is a chief instigator misleads and influences a number of others. The target becomes the scapegoat and he or she is blamed for a variety of things that he or she is not guilty of and had nothing to do with. The mobbing gains momentum as vicious rumors swirl.

Mobbing can happen where ever a group gathers, and church is no exception. However, there is very little information about church mobbing, which can have devastating emotional consequences for the target. The goal of the chief bully is to drive the scapegoated person from the group. When this happens in church, the target is faced with finding another place of worship. However, there may not be another church within a reasonable driving distance. If the target has children, it also means moving them to a new spiritual home, which can have serious implications if they are teenagers or preteens.

In order to understand what's happening, it may help to read some literature on mobbing. This will give you coping skills, or help you see that staying in a toxic spiritual atmosphere is a losing battle and possibly a danger to your soul as well.

Pixabay image top by Nemo

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Looking for the Good in Others

I'll admit that it's difficult to try to look for the good in others immediately after experiencing a church-based mobbing. (Yes, believe it or not, mobbing, similar to what happens in the workplace can happen in a parish.) However, it's important to our spiritual progress to assume that people do have the best motives, while still maintaining a degree of vigilance, so that we don't get taken in by another con man (or woman.)

Oftentimes, the trouble is started by a highly deceitful individual with a moral disorder. He or she then manages to draw other people into the drama, in an effort to drive the target out of a particular parish.

Trusting people in the aftermath of a mobbing becomes challenging, because we certainly don't want to end up becoming a target of another narcissist. But it's something we still need to strive for. One way to protect ourselves going forward is not sharing personal information with people we don't know too well, even if it's fairly innocuous tidbits. Someone with a character flaw will run with anything and use it to discredit you. They can also twist the truth and incorporate vicious lies, which makes their stories more believable.

There are still many more good people in the world than there are predators. However, when you're in the midst of a mobbing, it certainly doesn't seem that way. Once you recover from the mobbing, you will start to see humanity in a much more positive light. And, once you establish much stronger personal boundaries, you seem to attract healthier people.

Don't let your faith be shaken by a pack of church-based bullies. God is in control and good will always prevail over evil.

Pixabay image top by Nemo

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Listening to Gossip is Sinful

Many Catholics seem to have forgotten something. We must not gossip about other people, nor must we listen to gossip. Both are sinful. Someone trying to ruin the reputation someone else would not get very far if they didn't have sympathetic ears to listen to their dirt. The listener has all the power in the world to stop the gossip, but he or she chooses not to do this. Walking away, or quickly changing the subject, would send a strong message. Smiling, nodding, rolling your eyes and other types of actions that show interest also mean you condone this behavior.

Obviously, there's a lot of gossip going on in God's house, or so many people wouldn't be trying to find out how to deal with church bullies. The only way a hate campaign can gather steam is if others join the instigator. Gossip and backbiting are what convinces them to align with the bully to gang up on a target.

Pixabay image by PublicDomainPictures

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Church Bullies and Infighting

You can rest assured that a pack of church bullies (wolves) will eventually begin to fight among themselves. All of their plans and schemes will be for naught. They may have banished you (and your family) from your place of worship, but the fact that this was allowed to happen means disorder had taken root, and more upheaval will follow. This pack of wolves will eventually turn on themselves.

Church bullies are thieves, because they steal your peace, joy and happiness. They steal your thoughts and ideas. They steal your good name and they steal your relationships. They are thieves, and, as we all know, there is no honor among thieves. They have no loyalty to anyone, including members of their own pack.

The only thing they can't steal is your relationship with God, which is the most important thing in the world, and, in the end, all that matters.

Don't forget to pray for these poor deluded souls who don't have the grace to understand what they are doing to themselves. Ask their to enlighten them.

Pixabay image top by 258817

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Life is So Short - The Folly of a Bully

Pondering the ebola outbreak that is devastating parts of West Africa and has now spread to Europe and the United States, you cannot help but realize that life is short and fragile. Many of the people who've died were healthy and in the prime of life just a few weeks ago. Prior to their infection, they probably had no idea they'd be meeting Our Lord so soon.

We also do not know the time when He will call us home. Life here is so short, and if we keep that in mind, it will carry us through a church-based mobbing. Mobbing, or people ganging up on one person, in order to drive them from a faith-based setting is something I know happens, because it happened to me and my family. Some of the people who've found this blog have entered the search term, "church mobbing," so I know my experienced is not an isolated incident.

Even under the best of circumstances, if we're reached middle age, we only have a few more decades left on this earth. So, really, there is absolutely nothing to be gained from bullying another person. If only a church bully could understand this, and see the damage they are doing to themselves. In the end, they are only harming themselves because with each act of aggression they are moving further away from God. At our particular judgement, when we meet Christ face to face, we will be held accountable for everything we've said and done to hurt another.

Pixabay image top by miauleno

Pray for your bully. He or she desperately needs your prayers.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Relational Aggression at Church

Adult women can be very mean to one another. They use what's known as "relational aggression" or "social aggression" to undermine someone they don't like, or someone whom makes them feel threatened. This is how women bully one another. Relational aggression is a form of bullying. It's insidious because it's extremely subtle and hard to prove. You may even question yourself as to whether it is happening at all. Oftentimes, especially in the beginning of a hate campaign, the social aggression happens intermittently, so you feel badly for assuming that someone may not have your best interests at heart. Eventually, though, you realize with great certainty that they don't.

Churches, unfortunately, attract their share of difficult people. Although we are all sinners, and in need of God's mercy, there are people who sin in a way that makes them inflict great emotional harm upon others. It is very unfortunate when this happens, in God's house, because many of us are seeking a spiritual refuge, in order to follow Christ more closely in such a secular world. We do not expect to find rivalries at our parish.

Some church ladies, in particular, can be as territorial as male tomcats. Unfortunately, it appears as if churches attract people with personality disorders, who like to run things. They may not have any authority elsewhere, but they seize it at church, when the opportunity presents itself. It may come as a shock to realize that not everyone you meet at church is honest. Not everyone is nice. You still need to protect yourself from emotional predators, just as you need to do elsewhere.

Some of the most destructive people, I've found, are the proverbial wolves in sheep's clothing. They appear meek and mild. They may have some strange personality quirks, and act a little bit strange. (We tend to overlook eccentricities at church.) Female covert narcissists (the kind you may find in church) may even dress frumpy. So they're the last people you'd expect to be competitive and manipulative. This is precisely why they're so dangerous.

The best advice I can give you is not to get too involved with the personalities of a particular parish. Remain detached and prayerful. Be careful with what type of information you share about yourself. A covert narcissist will file this away, for future reference.

Image top by Pixabay

For a discussion of female malignant narcissism, please visit my Female Bullies blog. Above all, remember that Heaven is our true home. On earth, we can expect many trials and difficulties. So don't be too surprised when the devil causes dissensions at church.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Malignant Narcissists are Unstable

Although it may seem as if the wicked prosper, it's only for a season, and a very short one at that. The Bible is filled with verses that tell us what becomes of evildoers, even if this life. Take, for instance, the Book of Proverbs. This is just one book in which we're assured the wicked will not flourish. In Chapter 11 of Proverbs, we are told about "false scales," or people who cheat others. This not only applies to those who swindle others out of material goods, but, I'm assuming, other goods as well, such as a good name or the ability to maintain relationships.

These readings in Proverbs also assure us that with pride comes disgrace. There are few creatures on earth more proud than a malignant narcissist. We are also told that the "faithless are ruined by their duplicity" and they are also "caught in their own intrigue."

There are many, many verses throughout the Bible that warn us not to follow the path or the counsel of the wicked. We can trust in God that He is watching everything and that He will make things right. Meanwhile, we need to pray for the narcissist in our life, as it's entirely possible that our prayers for someone who is being hateful to us are all the more powerful.

A church bully is in a very bad state spiritually, and the very fact that he or she doesn't have the graces to not act out in church could be a chastisement (for them) in itself. At the time of our deaths, as you know, we will be held accountable for all of our actions. For some, this will be a time of regret.

Pixabay image top by OpenClips

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Wicked Will Stab Each Other

Church bullies try to exclude people they don't like. They may even work to drive someone, or even an entire family, out of the congregation. They accomplish this by forming a pack of like-minded individuals, who offer no resistance when they see someone else being mistreated.

It's likely these flying monkeys have swallowed some of the lies spread about the target. These stories are usually started by a morally disordered person, who either views the target as a threat, or accurately perceives that he or she will not have the necessary social supports to prevent a narcissistic abuse campaign from getting off the ground.

It is very painful to experience narcissistic abuse at church. It often means leaving a spiritual home that you've become accustomed to, and where you've put down roots. It also begs the question of where you're going to worship in the future, especially if you live in a small town that may only have one church. It may mean you have to drive miles on Sunday, or during the week, if you attend daily Mass.

It's also hurtful that people you once considered friends do not have your back, and have aligned themselves with the bully by allowing this behavior to flourish. (People are weak,) You may feel hurt that you're now left out of a church-based social group, which once brought a lot of meaning to your life. However, don't be. The fact that this group acted disorderly means it's going to fall apart. People who abuse one person will abuse another, and the next target will likely be chosen from the ranks of those who watched another suffer, without lifting a finger to help.

It's also possible one or more of the flying monkeys wants to be the ring leader. Things will get very ugly as they jockey for this position.

God will take care of things. All you need to do is watch and pray. Church bullies desperately need our prayers.

Pixabay image by PublicDomainPictures

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rivalries in Church

Many cases of church bullying seem to arise from rivalries. Someone may want a particular volunteer position, or they think they can do a better job than the person already in place. Or, someone may receive some special recognition that doesn't sit well with someone else. Or, there may be jockeying for friendships, since people in church also form cliques.

Of course, the devil is behind all of this, and he must delight in watching the infighting. It is my personal belief that eventually we'll see the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and there will be a period of peace, reigning in our hearts. The devil is very well aware that his time is short, and he is doing everything in his power to create divisions right now. There is so much disorder, even among the clergy.

Not getting too involved in a parish is one way to avoid these dissensions. However, some people are called to be more active, so they need to be careful not to draw too much attention to themselves.

As faithful Catholics, we need to ride out this turbulent time in the Church and in the world. God and Our Lady are with us, and, in the end, Mary's Immaculate Heart will triumph and Satan will be defeated. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

I realize some of my readers are not Catholic and may find some of the Marian terminology foreign. (However, you are more than welcome here, as church bullying happens in other denominations as well.) The book Hail Holy Queen is written by Dr. Scott Hahn, a protestant minister who converted to the Catholic faith after he found it supported by Scripture.

Pixabay photo top by PublicDomainPictures

Monday, September 22, 2014

Justice for Church Bullies

Being a target of a church bully, or a pack of them, is an unenviable position. As you endure this trial, the bullies seem larger than life and invincible. Yet, this is only an illusion. First of all, even in a temporal sense, a bully's power has an expiration date. A chief instigator will be surrounded by flying monkeys, some of whom, typically, trade off on doling out some of the abuse. None of these people have the moral fortitude to stand up for the innocent target. A number of them also have their own personality issues that make them crave power and attention. Since these folks are of weak character, a bully cannot depend on them when the going gets rough.

Things are eventually going to come undone for the bullies. They've formed a group that won't be held together by God, and their plans and projects will not have His assistance. (Church bullies love projects.) It is only a matter of time until these come crashing down, since a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Then, there is the justice that will happen in the afterlife. People who abuse others at church, unfortunately, have squandered their time and talents. One day they will have to appear before God. We hope they repent beforehand. People who are just do not mistreat others, especially at church. Nor do they sow discord and put enmity between friends. These are the actions of fools.

Meanwhile, arm yourself with prayer. Hold your head up and carry on. God is with you. The bully's reign will be very short lived.

Pixabay image top by Monelgonel

Friday, September 19, 2014

You Might be the Means of Their Salvation

As hard as it is to do, try to have mercy and compassion on a church bully, if you find yourself a target. They truly don't know what they are doing, and they have no clue they will be held accountable for all of their actions after they die. If they did, they would conduct themselves much differently.

There is a true story of a very holy nun who lived in the Middle Ages. She was tormented by another religious sister in her convent. The saintly sister undertook severe penances for the conversion of this wayward soul, whom, even though she was called to be a Bride of Christ, slid deeply into sin. Yes, she did get some people to turn against the saintly sister. Her actions and lies also resulted in the saintly sister being severely punished.

However, the virtuous sister acted with great love and compassion, and through the means of a private revelation, agreed to take on severe penances to save the soul of this poor sister. Through many charitable works and prayers, the sister eventually repented and converted. Then she died, after a prolonged illness. Later, it was also revealed that the soul of this sister was saved, but she would also be in Purgatory until the end of the world.

Catholics believe that only a soul whom is perfected may enter Heaven, and most of us need a little more time purging our faults until we can see God face to face.

As you endure the trial of confronting a church bully, whom wants to make life miserable and possibly drive you from your place of worship, just because he or she can, have mercy on them. Pity them. This life is very short, and they will soon face a just judge who has seen everything.

Pray for them. Your prayers may very well result in their eternal salvation, although, perhaps, they will need spend time in Purgatory. Perhaps, because you are suffering, your prayers are all that more powerful, and God will use them to bring this soul back to Him. (A just and righteous person will never conduct a hate campaign against someone else.)

For a discussion of female malignant narcissism, please visit my Female Bullies blog. One thing that helped me forgive the person who instigated a church mobbing, which resulted in my family fleeing our place of worship, was picturing her standing before God, the just judge who rights all wrongs. I sincerely want God to have mercy on her soul, as well as my own poor soul. Our time on earth is very short, and we must use it wisely. Yes, a church bully, who likely suffers from a character flaw that psychologists call malignant narcissism,will eventually see justice.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sin Makes You Stupid

Someone once said something that I thought was very astute. She said, "Sin makes you stupid." This is precisely what happens when someone doesn't have the smarts, or the grace, to avoid abusing someone else in a church.

The momentary "thrill" they may gain from dominating another person, or driving them out of the parish, is a very temporary high that they'll undoubtedly pay for, either in this life or the next. This is why they are so stupid. Because they have become spiritually blind, a church bully does not even consider the consequences of his or her actions.

The Bible tells us that someone who relishes in evil will either die suddenly (probably the worst thing that can happen to them), or they will end up miserable in this life. Actually, the second option is preferable, so they would have time to get things right with God.

If you are the target of a church bully, do not lose hope. God is very close to you, and He is watching everything. Do not seek revenge. Forgive the bully. Pray for his or her soul. Your prayers and sufferings might very well be their means of salvation.

Although this is a tall order when you are being emotionally abused in a place of worship, which should be a refuge, it's still something you need to do, in order to more closely imitate Christ.

Trust in God. In his time, He will end your troubles in a very beautiful way. Later, you will look back and thank Him for this trial. You wouldn't be where you are now without it.

Pixabay picture top by kropekk_pl/675 images

Monday, September 15, 2014

What Do Church Bullies Accomplish?

It's been several years since I left a toxic church situation. The root cause of my troubles seems to have been a particular female, whom I thought was my friend. There was so much ensuing chaos that it was difficult to know just where it was coming from. Actually, I'm still not sure exactly what happened, and I'll probably never know the entire story, at least while I'm living here on earth.

The perspective of hindsight is a gift. From that vantage point, I can see much more clearly that God had a plan, and that His plan is perfect. I'm out of that particular situation and my home schooled children, and my husband, survived the move to another parish. God was with us, so I had nothing to fear. (Why didn't I trust Him more then?) We've put down new roots and we're happy where we are. But I'll never get so attached to another place that it would be excruciating to leave. If something similar happened again, it would hit me like a mild breeze, instead of a hurricane.

Which brings me to the point of this post. We're fine. We survived. But what about the church bullies? What have they ultimately accomplished?

Yes, they made life miserable. But only for a season. And all of this was under the watchful eye of God, whom allowed all of this to happen, for a greater good. The main point is, when God is in control, He won't allow the bullies to prevail in the end. With God, evil will never prevail in the end.

Part of the reason I'm writing this blog is that it seems so unbelievable that a mobbing, similar to what happens in the workplace, could take place at church, among people who considered themselves good Catholics and who followed some of the rules of the faith meticulously. I want others who find themselves in a similar situation to know that this happens, and that they're not alone.

My heart now breaks for these people because they put so much effort into something that will give them no benefit in this life, or in the next life. Also, if you can mistreat one person, you will likely mistreat another. Before cutting ties, I also watched them go after someone else. Leading the charge was the same person I seemed to have the most trouble with as well.

So to anyone who's reading this, remember that this struggle is temporary. The bullies will ultimately gain nothing from it. Do not lose hope. Do not lose your faith.

Pixabay image top by Nemo

For a discussion of female malignant narcissism, please read by Female Bullies blog.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Managing Difficult People at Church

If you become involved in a parish, you stand a very good chance of running into a difficult person. People who like to control things gravitate toward religious settings and volunteer groups, which afford them ample opportunities to seize leadership positions. Controlling people like to give marching orders. Typically, they'd rather have you do the heavy lifting while they tell you how to do it.

As Christians, we know that we need to bear with one another. However, this is much easier said than done. I recently wrote an article on another venue about managing tricky personalities. One suggestion, which I originally heard from a therapist on You Tube, was how to respond when a controlling person tells you how to do things. In order to avoid conflict, but not to the point where you become a doormat, you can smile sweetly at the individual, thank them for their suggestions, and then do things your way.

Here is an example. Usually, especially with volunteer work, there is no right or wrong way to do something. Someone may want the tables and chairs set up a certain way for a parish event. But, in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter if they're facing a little to the left or the right. This is when you can "thank" the micro-manager for his or her suggestion, and then continue to line up the chairs how it seems to make sense. (In this case, the pastor probably doesn't care how the chairs are arranged, as long as everyone has a seat.)

In a church, no one should be pushing anyone around. But it happens. This is to be expected, and managed. (However, if multiple people are ganging up on someone, and it becomes ugly, this is more like mobbing, and the best thing to do is to move on.)

However, if you're only dealing with one or two difficult people in a particular parish, being kind, while standing your ground, is probably the best approach.

Pixabay photo top by natclegg

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mary Take Over with Church Bullies

There is another beautiful Marian devotion known as Mary Take Over. This is when you ask Our Blessed Mother to take over your problems, so you don't have to think about them. Since being a target of a church bully is a spiritual crisis, since you may very likely be required to flee your spiritual home, it's a good time to turn to the Mother of God.

Anyway, being run out of your parish by a pack of church bullies is something I don't recommend, but I know it happens, judging from my own personal experience, as well as that of some others. It's also something people generally don't talk about, but I want to shine some light on this subject for those currently having difficulties at church.

One of the many prayers I said during this trying time was the Mary Take Over prayer. If you repeat this prayer every day, Our Blessed Mother will listen. She will work things out for you in a most miraculous way, all in God's time, of course.

Pixabay image top by piper60

For a discussion of female malignant narcissists, please read my Female Bullies blog.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jesus, I Trust in You

Being mobbed at church is a horrifying experience. When it's taking place, you don't know where to turn, because staying in the same setting is excruciating, yet moving away is frightening. These feelings are intensified if you have children, because you worry about uprooting them, and what this move will do to their faith.

However, if things become so bad, you will need to move. Don't forget that God is watching everything. He sees the big picture, and he has a plan to deliver you from this evil. I'm now several years removed from a church mobbing. I've regrouped and I'm here to tell you that God will deliver you out of this mess. You will land in a much better spot and you'll eventually look back on the entire experience with nothing but pity for the poor souls (the poorest of the poor) who didn't have the graces to not act up at church.

What do church bullies gain from their actions? Maybe a short burst of "pleasure" that they had the authority to make life miserable for someone else. However, in the context of eternity, what they did was extremely foolish.
Pixabay photo top by Hans

For a discussion of female malignant narcissists, please visit my Female Bullies blog.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Having a Healthy Detachment at Church

Part of surviving as a Christian today, I believe, means lowering our expectations of what a church is supposed to be. Yes, in an ideal world, it's meant to be a place of peace, love and refreshment. However, in reality, that's not the experience many people have today.

With the Church in crisis and the world in flux, the healthiest response, I believe, is to maintain a certain detachment with your place of worship. By all means, settle in as best you can and don't go looking for trouble. But don't view it as a near-perfect haven on earth, because that will inevitably lead to disappointment.

Since the world and the Church are in disarray, we can expect to encounter difficulties in a church setting, especially if we get too involved. That's because domineering personalities have taken over many parishes, something especially noticeable if there's a change in leadership. If the new pastor is has weaknesses himself, this can mean difficulty.

Remember, nothing on earth is permanent and nothing is perfect. Heaven will be. However, we just have to persevere until we get there.

For a discussion of female narcissism, please read by Female Bullies blog.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Suffering Can be Redemptive

I once heard a homily in which the priest said, "There is no such thing as cheap grace." He then went on to talk about suffering, and how suffering can help save your own soul, as well as the souls of others. Sometimes we need to be purged of our faults, and suffering is a way in which that happens. Or, we may undergo tribulations for the sake of others. When we encounter trials, and we unite our suffering to Christ on the Cross, we can gain great merit.

Being the target of a church bully involves a unique kind of suffering. It means your spiritual home is no longer a refuge, and you need to view it in a new light by lowering your expectations. Or, perhaps, it's time move on and find a new place to worship. This means leaving old friends behind and striking out on your own in a new setting. Or, the bully may have turned enough people against you so that you have very few friends left at church, and the situation becomes akin to a workplace mobbing, only it's playing out at church.

When this happens, usually God is calling you to a new place.

Never forget that suffering can be redemptive. God is very pleased when accept our cross and we give Him our sufferings as an offering. Living on earth, we have the free will to make this offering. The Holy Souls in Purgatory do not have this choice, and they can no longer gain merit for their trials.

(Purgatory is a place of purification, because only souls that are perfect may enter the Kingdom of Heaven.)

Pixabay photo top by PublicDomainPictures

Monday, August 11, 2014

God Will Send Trials

It's now been several years since I was the target of a church mobbing, most likely started by a woman I considered to be a friend. God is good. Since then, He has filled my life with peace and happiness. Yes, I needed to uproot my children and leave our spiritual home. Fears and concerns about what this would do to their faith prevented me from acting sooner. However, looking back, I believe cutting our losses and heading to another parish was the best thing I could have done for them.

Now, from the perspective of hindsight, I know that God watched this all play out and He didn't stop it as soon as I would have liked. That's because He allowed it to happen, for a reason, because He knew of a way to bring a greater good of out this whole mess.

If you're reading this blog, perhaps you too are dealing with a church bully. They are certainly out there. Every parish probably has one or more, kept in check if there's a strong leader. However, if this isn't the case, or the poor pastor is outnumbered, these narcissists in sheep's clothing will seize the moment.

Sometimes, they even gain the power to spiritually abuse other members of the congregation. Or, unfortunately, the pastor has a disordered personality and he is very difficult to deal with. Unfortunately, it seems as if we're living in a time and an age in which malignant narcissism is hard to escape, even in church.

But anyway, regardless of the times we're living in, we do know that God to test our faith. These too shall pass. If you're a target of a church bully, you have my utmost sympathy as well as my prayers. Keep the faith.

Pixabay image top by geralt

For a discussion of female malignant narcissists, please visit my Female Bullies blog.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Finding Well-Adjusted Friends at Church

The Church is a hospital for sinners, something all of us are guilty of. Really, no one is better than anyone else. The only difference between us is that we sin differently. We are all in need of repentance and mercy.

However, our parish should also be our refuge. We should be free to pray there without any distractions. No mind games should be played in God's house, and no young children should ever be marginalized or excluded because someone doesn't like their parents.

Unfortunately, we are living in the world. We are also living in very sinful times. Sometimes, in a parish without strong shepherd, or a pastor greatly outnumbered by wolves, a very unhealthy form of lay leadership evolves. Since the parish is a community, it becomes difficult to isolate ourselves. Isolation may also not be good for your soul, because it can shut you off from the various devotions and practices that help you grow in your faith.

The trick is to stay involved, but not too involved, and to limit your dealings with highly disordered people, who may have their own agendas. Our Lord tells us to be both wise as serpents (discerning) and gentle as doves (trusting). This is a balancing act. On the one hand, we must assume the best possible motives of everyone we meet. On the other, we need to be realistic. Not everyone we meet at church can be trusted.

I've found that the holiest people are the ones who appear the most normal, and not overly pious, which may be a smokescreen for deeper issues.

Monday, July 28, 2014

God Made us For These Times

No doubt about it, these are very difficult times. There have been a number of Catholic prophecies that have mentioned that the present age is a very challenging one. For instance, our Lady of Fatima appeared in 1917 to tell us that God was very much offended by how we were living, and that the fashions we were wearing were not to His likinig. Things since then have only gotten worse.

I realize that not everyone who reads this blog is Catholic. However, what happened at Fatima was a public miracle witnessed by about 70,000, and reported in newspapers throughout the world. On October 13, 1917, a crowd of people had gathered in Portugal because three children had been receiving visits from Mary, the Mother of God. She had promised that something spectacular would happen, which is why so many people had gathered in a particular field. Much to their horror, the sun seemed to break away from it's regular orbit, and appeared to move in a zig-zag motion in the sky. They could see a trail of rainbows left by the "dancing" sun. (If you want to read more about it, just Google "Fatima Miracle of the Sun.")

Anyway, we are living in times in which all social order has broken down. There is no peace anywhere in the world, and we don't always find it at church either. Given the crisis in the Church and in the world as well, this isn't too surprising.

One thing to remember is that God created us to live in these times. We have to stay faithful, no matter what.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ignoring the Wolves

Jesus told us we'd encounter wolves. At one point, there were many more than I ever imagined I'd meet, at church of all places. Our family was literally driven from our place of worship when a mobbing ensued. While this was going on, we stuck around longer than we should of, hoping everything would change. When it didn't, we made the fortunate decision to leave for good.

One of the priests seemed to know what was going on, but he was rather limited in his capacity to put an end to it. He was always very nice to us, and I'll always appreciate the fact he tried to do something. One of his homilies sticks in my mind. He told us that he was disappointed in some of the things he was seeing, and if anyone was confronted by wolves, to just ignore these beasts. "You don't even see them," he said. "Don't even look at them."

This advice was so right on because difficult people with malignant personalities were acting out. They were like unruly children, who needed to be ignored.

Although, back then, these individuals were larger than life, they are so insignificant now. So if you find yourself having to deal with church bullies, the best thing you can do is to carry on and not pay any attention to them. However, if the toxic environment is affecting your faith, or the faith of your family members, you probably need to think about leaving. In this case, don't try to fight it. You'll be much happier anywhere else.

For a discussion of female malignant narcissists, please visit my Female Bullies blog.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Heaven is Our True Home

No matter what happens in your parish, just keep telling yourself that "this too shall pass." Those were the very words I distinctly remember a priest talking about while immersed in a church mobbing. For those who are unfamiliar with this concept, it seems very strange that something like this could happen, in a house of God, of all placed. But with all the disorder in the Church, and in the world, it shouldn't be too surprising. Even in Biblical times, there were disputes in the early Christian Church. They continue today.

One new twist, though, is that much of the commotion seems to be driven by women. In the years following Vatican Council II, lay women have assumed a greater role in parish life. This can be a decidedly mixed blessing if one of them happens to have strong narcissistic traits, and she chooses you as her target. (This is what happened to me.)

Looking back on my experience, I now realize that God was trying to teach me a few lessons. One is not to become overly attached to any parish or faith community. That's because everything can change in an instant. Another is that God is with you no matter what. He is watching everything and your time of trial will be short lived, although it seems like an eternity while you're waiting for things to improve. There was another lesson I think God wanted to reinforce as well. Heaven is our true home, which is why things don't seem quite right here on earth.

When the trial is over, you are happier and, hopefully, strengthened in your faith. God was brought you out of the darkness once again.

For a discussion of female malignant narcissism, please visit my Female Bullies blog.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mary, Undoer of Knots Devotion

Catholics have great love and affection for Mary, the Mother of God. She was chosen from among all women to bear the Son of God, and she did so at great personal sacrifice. It's for this reason that we try to give her the honor and respect she deserves. We also believe her Son cannot refuse her requests, as evidenced by His first public miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana, when He turned water into wine. Now that Mary in Heaven, she continually presents our petitions to Jesus. From personal experience, this is a very effective way to have your prayers answered.

We call upon Our Blessed Mother in our times of need, under a variety of titles, often associated with a Church-approved Marian apparition. One particular devotion known as Mary Undoer of Knots is favored by Pope Francis. Originally a German devotion, it is also popular in his native Argentina.

If you targeted by a malignant narcissist, especially at church, life can get very complicated. Many, many knots will be tied up, so numerous that only God can straighten out this mess. This is the devotion I turned to when things became very tangled in my own life. I am amazed at the miraculous ways they've been untied.

For a discussion of female malignant narcissism, please visit my Female Bullies blog.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dealing with Clerical Narcissism

The Catholic Church has been rocked by sexual abuse scandals. But another very sinister problem has been brewing as well. This is the issue of clerical narcissism. It's a terrible thing, because it has driven many people out of the pews. I'm convinced it's a contributing factor in the plummeting Mass attendance and shuttered churches.

A priest who suffers from narcissism, or any type of personality disorder, is not a good shepherd. Instead of focusing on his flock, he is wrapped up in himself. Prone to mood swings, he may angrily lash out at parishioners over trivial things. Unfortunately, this type of treatment is something many Catholics in the United States have gotten used to.

The majority of priests are kindly souls who love their flocks. But a significant minority are difficult to deal with. They act extremely bothered by the very fact that we show up for confession, as if it's putting them out to absolve our sins during the scheduled time slot. In most parishes, confession is scheduled on Saturday, about an hour before the Sunday vigil Mass.

They don't do well with sick calls. They aren't good at comforting the sorrowful. For instance, right after my grandmother died, I realized someone from another state had called a certain priest to see if he would anoint her. The caller was unaware she had already passed.

I telephoned Father to tell him not to come. (My grandmother, fortunately, had already received her Sacraments.) However, the priest was unhappy with the request. The caller meant well, but she'd made a couple of odd, but innocuous, statements. So, immediately after losing my grandmother, I had to calm this priest down. I was only somewhat successful. Apparently, he was so perturbed, and put out, that he neglected to tell me he was sorry my grandmother had just died.

When a priest has a personality disorder, the entire parish suffers. People tiptoe around him, living in fear of setting him off.

The crisis in the Church, seen mostly in First World countries, has only exacerbated the problem. Faced with a dwindling number of priests, bishops may keep an ill-tempered priest in his current assignment, instead of removing him from active ministry and making sure he gets help.

The problem may bot be as acute in parts of the world, where the faith is stronger. The men called to the priesthood there may have better formation, and a more sincere desire to serve God.

Psychologists describe narcissistic personality disorder as a fixed condition that can never change. I believe it can, but only with God's help. The problem is driven by pride, and, as we know, pride goes before the fall. Disordered personalities also tend to have substance abuse problems. This is something that can be treated. By one estimate, about 10 percent of the American Catholic clergy have a drinking problem, a figure seen among the rest of the adult population.

If a member of the clergy has narcissism, we have to hope it's not the malignant variety. Otherwise, he will likely find one parishioner (at a time) to single out for emotional abuse.

Don't get me wrong. I have no plans to leave the Catholic Church and I hope by writing this I am encouraging others to stay as well. We need to stick with the Church and receive the Sacraments in order to get to Heaven. This is the Church founded by Christ himself in the year 33 AD, so leaving is not an option. And, where would we go, anyway?

Although we need to stick with Christ, and his Church, nothing prevents us from seeking spiritual nourishment in a healthier setting. We may want to join a prayer group or a Bible study, led by a different priest. Perhaps we could go to confession at a monastery, or with a religious order priest. We may have to drive a bit, but it's a small price to pay for good spiritual direction.

The overriding message I want to leave is that clerical narcissism is not acceptable. Emotionally abusive priests are not acceptable. If you run into one, I suggest you give him lots of space, so his aberrant behavior does not harm your soul.

For a discussion of female malignant narcissism, please visit my Female Bullies blog.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Holiness and Being Nice to People

Years ago, a priest said something that opened my eyes. He mentioned that people who aren't nice to others are not holy. Of course, he's right, but I had never looked at it that way. We can do all kinds of devotions and even rigorous fasting and penance. However, all of this means very little if we aren't kind to our neighbor. This same message is also found in the Bible and in the Ten Commandments. The first three Commandments concern our relationship with God. The other Commandments deal with how we relate to the people that move in and out of our lives. In other words, if we love God, we will love the other people he created. And, if we don't love our neighbors, we don't really love God, despite the fact we may say we do.

This same priest also opened my eyes to another fact, which is that some people who look holy are not. Inside, they are filled with hate and rage. They take offense very easily, and they are unable to forgive. But we don't see this side right away, because it's covered with a cloak of piety.

I write about malignant narcissism on this blog and another, and I refer to it as a personality disorder or a moral disorder, a term I prefer because it brings the element of free will into the mix. Adults who commit evil deeds make the choice to harm others, even though they know it's wrong. As a Catholic, who realizes the actions of a malignant narcissist are very sinful, I firmly believe that what we're seeing is a spiritual disorder.

For a discussion about female malignant narcissists, please read my Female Bullies blog.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse With Prayer

Prayer is your best recourse when you become the target of a church mobbing. You need to pray both for yourself and for the people who are so spiritually blind that they see no problem with acting out in God's house. Anyone who willingly and knowingly doles out emotional abuse in a religious setting does not have their heart and mind set on God or on Heavenly things. They are still very much fixed to this passing world. They are also in very great need of conversion, probably even more so than most of the folks who never set foot in church.

It's now been a few years since I've removed myself, my husband and my children from a toxic place of worship. Even after things turned ugly, I had convinced myself that this setting offered some sort of advantage, in terms of eternal salvation. Now I know the opposite is true. Staying in a poisonous atmosphere would have harmed our souls. Church bullies are very frustrating and distracting.

Leaving this setting was the best decision we ever made. I had prayed hard for things to improve where we were, but God answered my prayer in a different way that turned out to be miraculous. Living through a church mobbing can bring many blessings, although these are typically apparent only when you look back upon the situation.

So, when you're under fire, in church of all places, turn go God. He's listening and He's walking closely with you during this trial.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

God's Plan in All of This

When a church mobbing begins to unfold, it's hard to understand why this is happening and what good could possibly come from it. But God would never allow such a bad thing to happen without bringing a greater good from the whole experience. It might be for your benefit, as He'll use this situation to draw you closer to Him. Your prayers for the difficult personalities involved may be what gives them enough graces for them to convert. Anyone who abuses others is in great need of conversion, despite any displays of outward piety. They may look holy , but their bad behavior gives them away. If they can treat just one person with contempt, this can and will extend to others. If they don't love their neighbor, then they don't really love God either.

A big part of God's plan might be to lead you to another spiritual home where the environment is not toxic. Once a mobbing ensues, it means the atmosphere is irrevocably poisoned, at least until the chief troublemaker or troublemakers either convert or depart. Usually, it's their departure that brings peace. Conversion may take much longer.

Although you may be reluctant to leave a familiar parish, you may not find peace and happiness until you do so. Making the decision to change parishes is extremely difficult. Your new place of worship won't feel like home until you've been there for awhile. It almost reminds me of dying and going to Heaven. We fight hard to stay alive because life here on earth is all we know. But once we get to Heaven, our true home, I don't think we'd ever want to leave, and relive the pain and suffering we can't avoid in this life.

For a discussion of female malignant narcissism, please visit my Female Bullies blog.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Church Mothers Who Ignore their Children

I find myself walking a fine line between being judgmental and being discerning, and I really need to stay on the side of just being prudent. One of the tripwires a Christian may encounter is difficult people in a parish setting. Although we are all sinners, and in need of a spiritual hospital (a church), there also seems to be an epidemic of personality disorders in our society. Churches seem to attract a lot people with difficult personalities, whom, once they get in, can act as a destructive force. If we make the mistake of confiding in them, they will run with this information, twist it by adding some lies, and making it very difficult for you to worship in a particular setting. This is especially the case if you happen to be raising young children, and need a solid and secure spiritual home.

Those of us trying to follow our faith are in a difficult position. It is very edifying to be around others who believe the same way we do. A friend in the faith is such a beautiful gift, especially since we're living in a world that's so secular. However, in church, we often let our defenses down, because we assume everyone else is of good will. This can be a big blunder.

Learn about malignant narcissism and other personality disorders, and listen to your gut when something seems off. It often is. Realize there is a such thing as false piety. People can look very holy, but may not be nice people. Places of worship tend to draw what's known as "covert narcissists." Folks who fit this description are exceedingly dangerous. It's hard to detect such disorder beneath a pious persona, but they do give off some clues. For too many of us, though, these were apparent only in hindsight.

What to watch for? Since many covert narcissists are women, one dead giveaway is how someone treats her family. Has she pretty much abandoned her children, to dedicate herself to church projects? This is not a good sign, and it's similar to what you see when a morally disordered woman operates in the workplace. She's never home, and her children suffer dearly. Oftentimes, they are farmed out to whomever will agree to watch them, because narcissistic mothers have better things to do.

If you are married, you have a duty to take care of your husband and your children, if you have any. There is nothing holy about never being home, no matter how "good works" you are doing at church. Even animals don't tend to ignore their young.

Although we don't know the particulars of anyone's life, and we really can't judge what's happening at home, we do need to exercise caution when disclosing information to anyone who fits this description. As one who was once targeted by a female church bully, I can assure you it wasn't a pleasant experience, and it's one I recommend avoiding.

To read about female malignant narcissists, please visit my Female Bullies blog.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Church Bullies - The Poorest of the Poor

One morning, when I was at church, I had a thought that made me realize that I need to pray more for some of the people at my former place of worship. Although I am a very flawed individual, and a very unworthy servant, no one should make it difficult for another person (in my case it was my entire family) to practice their faith. If someone is of the mind to do that, they must have a very broken relationship with God. This is very sad.

While I was reflecting upon this, it struck me that the behavior I witnessed was because these people did not have enough grace to treat others with respect. Without this grace, we are literally capable of anything. They are nothing more than adult bullies, a behavior probably carried over from childhood. Only now that they've "matured," they've gotten even meaner and even more destructive. Each time they push another person around, their souls become more hardened. Ultimately, they are hurting only themselves. They need to amend their lives for their own sake, not for ours. If you're reading this, and have become the target of a church mobbing, it can't hurt to keep reminding yourself of this fact. I know this is a very difficult experience, and it's hard to remain hopeful when a battle is raging.

God will allow a storm to rage against a soul only for a limited time. Then, the storm suddenly abates. You are no longer being kicked around, and you emerge from this tempest with a stronger mental outlook and a closer relationship with Our Lord. The bully has only wracked up a long list of misdeeds.

This is why these folks truly are the poorest of the poor. They are spiritually blind, and waging an all-out war on a fellow parishioner is not going to help them see the light, at least not without our prayers.

I am truly frightened for some of the people I've encountered. God chastises those He loves. The fact that someone has gotten away with so many despicable acts must be a punishment in itself. Each one of these incidents they will have to account for.

For a discussion of female malignant narcissism, please visit my Female Bullies blog.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Role of the Enablers

As Christians we are called to forgive one another and even to love our enemies. Although this is a tough task when dealing with church bullies, we still have to do it. Anyone who abuses another desperately needs our prayers. So do the folks whom form the team of enablers.

These partners in crime are as guilty as the main instigator. There would be no bullying without them.

Because the bully gives the enablers a lot of power, they could decide to step in and stop all the commotion. The fact that they don't implicates them as well. The nature of any type of mobbing, whether it happens in the workplace, among a group of friends or even in church, is that there are multiple players, working together. It's the enablers who are responsible for the collateral damage, which is extremely devastating. That's because the target realizes that all, or most, of his or her so-called "friends" in this particular setting are not living up to that title.

Since there's so much blame to go around, I've found, it's easier to just forgive everyone. You can't direct your anger at just one person for long, because it's not just one person. None of this would have happened without the cooperation of many moving parts. Also, none of this would have happened if God didn't allow it to happen, for a greater good.

Of course, it's easier to forgive in hindsight, rather than in the heat of battle. But we need to always move toward forgiveness. Anyone who chooses to willingly hurt another, in God's house, are among the poorest of the poor. We need to keep reminding ourselves of that fact.

In case you begin to doubt that the enablers are guilty, put yourself in their position. What would you have done differently? The answer is probably plenty. These "innocent" bystanders missed many opportunities to help. Try not to pine for them, because they are not your friends. Forgive them all, but, if you begin to direct any anger at the bully, keep telling yourself that the enablers allowed it to happen.

To read about female malignant narcissists, please visit my Female Bullies blog.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Spirit of Jezebel at Church

When you hear the Old Testament story of Jezebel, it's very hard not to think about what psychologists now call malignant narcissism. Her name is often used to characterize a manipulative and deceitful woman, who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

When morally compromised people see something they want, they decide to pursue it. This could be someone else's job, their volunteer position on a church committee, a friendship or even a marital partner. In the case of Jezebel, she wanted her husband to acquire a vineyard, which the owner didn't want to sell. So she devised a scheme to get that land, which involved having the landowner put to death.

Because Jezebel was married to a king, she was able to follow through on her desires. The owner of the vineyard was brought before a court of law on false charges, and sentenced to death. This left Jezebel, and her husband, Achab, free to seize the property.

You will find all types of people at church. The vast majority are good. They want to serve God and serve their neighbor. However, in some parishes, or communities, the spirit of Jezebel has gotten the upper hand. Oftentimes this happens because an over-involved woman, or even a small, but tightly knit, group of them, has gained too much control. Because the resident Jezebel is so conniving, the pastor is virtually powerless to stop her.

I could be wrong, but it's my firm belief that we're seeing more and more of the spirit of Jezebel in these times. God is watching everything. He is allowing this to play out for a greater good, known only to Him right now. Eventually, whatever's going on at your parish will stop. All Jezebels eventually meet their own end, and we have to pray they find a way to order their lives according to God's plan, not theirs.

Meanwhile, if a Jezebel is running the show in your church, and she's making life difficult for you, think about leaving. You'll be much happier in a new parish.

For additional reading on female malignant narcissism, please read my Female Bullies blog.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Your Eternal Salvation is All That Matters

We are living in very challenging times. Those of us trying to remain faithful to Christ encounter many obstacles. It seems as if the vast majority of people have rejected God, or at least have put him far away. They appear to live with nary a care toward eternity. It's so easy for all of us to get distracted from the big picture. The most important thing we have is our relationship with God, and where we will spend eternity. But saving our souls seems more difficult than ever.

Churches are closing and the ranks of people who attend church are thinning, at least in the Western World. The Catholic Church is growing rapidly in African and in Asia, however. But those of us who live far away from these areas must persevere. When we encounter bully behavior at church, it puts our faith to the test. Because we're in the world, but not of the world, we try to remove ourselves into spiritual enclaves, only to find hardships there as well. But we still need to worship God regardless of what's going on.

Catholics are bound, under penalty of sin, to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, in keeping with the Commandment of observing the Sabbath. We also receive graces from the Holy Eucharist, which we believe is the Body and Blood of Christ. This is Biblical, recorded in the Gospel of Saint Chapter 6, which we call The Bread of Life Discourse. Jesus told us several times that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood or we will have no life within us.

If you are the target of a church bully, stay rooted in your faith and close to Christ. Above all, do not turn away from Him. Find a way to lose the bully. But keep your faith in the process.

For addition reading on malignant narcissism, please read my Female Bullies blog. Here is another article that discusses why narcissists like to join volunteer groups and organizations.