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.