I believe we have all learned much over the years about the bullies of narcissism in high places. Most people don't have the time and don't run across such personality disorders in their lives but they infest the office, the government and religious organizations. Narcissists, defined below and it should give members and ministers in some of the more bizzaro Church of God Slivers pause if you have never considered just what may actually be going on over your head. While it is not our or my place to diagnose a clinical narcissist, one can observe and compare the common traits and draw their own conclusions about what exactly may be the fuel driving the engine of ministry gone amuck.
Joe Pesci in his Goodfellows role is an extreme example of the problem. Truly one of the more tension filled movie characters ever created. When he entered the room, he was the room. When he spoke, everyone listened or else,. When he got angry, someone died.
Here is what some splinters are dealing with and it is goes all the way back to WCG and some of the men who also rose to the "top" of ministry and never could either take counsel or resist dis-membering those who got in their way. It is also very possible that some of our more energetic and not to be toyed with Biblical characters also suffered from such personality disorders which was viewed back then as both a form of better contact with God and obedience to the voices in their heads. I personally believe the Apostle Paul suffered from some form of personality disorder or mental illness such as schizophrenia or temporal lobe epilepsy depending on who you read. It is possible as well he was a repressed gay man in a culture where you simply never let on and did not practice it. Many of Paul's self deprecating statements and confessions of not being able to do what he should and stop doing what he should not do, along with an undefined thorn in the flesh could lead to this kind of conclusion. He wants to say something but never quite does.
✦ A sense of superiority places them above others
✦ Must be the center of attention, constantly seeking approval, acknowledgment, kudos, accolades, praise
✦ Act like they are the lead character in all things in life
✦ Dominate conversations because they believe they have the only worthwhile things to say
✦ Want others to give into their demands, request for favors, and put their needs first
✦ Have inflated egos, inflated sense of entitlement, inflated sense of importance, inflated need to be center stage
✦ Envious of other people’s accomplishments and will steal, lie, or sabotage others to get attention back to them
✦ Envious of other people’s possessions, they will put such ownership down or minimize it to make themselves look more noble
✦ Search for constant approval and praise to reinforce their false grandiose sense of self, they’re “on- stage,” dominating the conversation, often exaggerating their importance
✦ (Since the self is so fragile — an ever crumbling construction of their ego) — use power, money, status, looks, supposed past glories (or supposed future glories) to boost their image
✦ See criticism as baseless attacks or betrayal and countered with cold-shoulder anger or rage or chilly stares or verbal attack.
✦ Can never accept blame. Others are always to blame.
✦ Feel being center of attention is good, right, and proper
✦ Have a grandiose sense of self-importance
✦ Think they are special, God-touched, or privileged
✦ Think they can only be understood by other special or high-status people
✦ Have unreasonable expectation of favorable treatment
✦ Believe they are beyond the rules. Laws do not apply to them and remorse is only felt when someone catches and confronts them.
However they are upset over any inconveniences they suffer as a result of being busted. They believe they have the right to do what ever it takes to get short term gratification without suffering any consequences.” ~Lynne Namka
TYPICAL WAYS OPERATING OR REACTIONS (blaming, drama storms, etc.)
✦ High maintenance because they need your attention, praise, and deference
✦ Fake sweetness, honor, and good intentions, but deprive them of something they want and look out as they reveal their true selves.
✦ Express grand, exciting plans, but rarely can make them happen
✦ Blame others rather than take personal responsibility
✦ Lack of empathy colors everything they do.
✦ May say, “How are you?” when you meet, but they are not interested
✦ Their blame-shifting creates defensiveness. Then they belittle the defensiveness: “Why are you so angry?”
✦ Since they shift blame so well & seamlessly, your guilt/insecurity issues stay raw and over-sensitive.✦ Lend you a hand up, then subtlety cut off at the knees to keep you indebted & coming back.
✦ If you point out an error they made, they go into defensive mode counter any such notion with anger, venting, rage, cold-shoulder, or withdraw
✦ Give you a metaphorical rug & then keep pulling it out from under you
✦ They are: blowhards, braggarts, blusterers, brow-beaters, bullies, big-headed, and ultimately bogus.
✦ Help you gain certain skills/info/connections, but then forever make you feel beholden to them.
✦ Extremely skilled at making anyone under their influence crave their approval.
✦ Make you feel special & then emotional distance themselves in ways that keep you unsure of yourself.
✦ Use a judgmental “you’re OK”/”you’re not OK” yo-yoing to keep you off-balance & “blameworthy.”
✦ Groom people via manipulation (charm/rage combo) to sell their reality/rationalizations to others.
✦ Virtually all of their ideas or ways of behaving in a given situation are taken from others, people they know and perhaps think of as an authority.
✦ Their sense of self-importance and lack of empathy means that they will often interrupt the conversations of others.
✦ Expect others to do mundane things, since they feel too important to do them
✦ Constantly use of “I”, “me,” and “my” when they talk.
✦ Very rarely talk about their inner life, memories and dreams, for example.
✦ Lie, using subterfuge and deception as tools
✦ Are stuck in one level of maturity where growth is not an option
✦ Only have eyes for “me, myself, and I” instead of “we”
✦ Don’t understand empathy, except to fake it as a tool
✦ Play “Give to get” by being nice or helpful only to expect reciprocation
✦ Put on the air of “having it all together” and will not readily admit failure or weakness
✦ Jump to defensive mode readily and frequently
✦ May apologize, but it doesn’t mean a real change in behavior
✦ Run from their own problems rather than tackling them
✦ Demand your trust rather than being transparent and earning it
✦ See you as extensions of themselves and resist your freedom
✦ Create stories, euphemisms, sayings, definitions, rules they hold up as Truth. Their world is false.
✦ Must talk about themselves & be in control. They want you to just be an ego-stroking entity for them.
✦ Find personality weaknesses & exploit them as easily as you & I ride a bicycle.
✦ Will rarely listen to or respect your “No”
✦ Take advantage of others to reach his or her own goals
✦ Appear tough-minded or unemotional
✦ React to criticism with anger, blame-shifting, shaming or humiliating others
✦ Fail to recognize people’s emotions and feelings
✦ Exaggerate achievements, personal history or talents
✦ Are unpredictable in mood and behavior
✦ Become aggressive, hostile, verbally vicious, or withdraws when threatened
✦ Can vocalize regret for a short time when found out, but soon rationalizes it away
✦ Appearance is important, so primping or fastidiousness is common
✦ Withdraw or a cold shoulder is used as a tool to make you do what they want
✦ Rationalize everything to make sure they always come out on top
✦ Will steal an idea, quote, lesson plan, piece of wisdom — call it their own
✦ Groom underlings and create organizational or business environments to suit their need for ego stroking
“Crazymakers thrive on drama, and melodrama requires a sense of impending doom. Everything is an emergency, a deadline, a matter of life and death, or something they will get to eventually. Read ‘never’ … Nearly any situation can be cast as melodrama to support a crazymaker’s plot lines …
- “A crazymaker is someone who makes you crazy by constantly stirring up storms.
- “‘Normal’ doesn’t serve their need for power.
- “Everything is always their problem, but nothing is their fault.”
This is serious stuff folks and it IS a problem with in the personalities of the few who are the most decried for their strange, weird and ridiculous rules and behaviors for those who seem bent on sitting before them every Sabbath believing every word they can come up with and every title they can bless themselves with.
So what can YOU do? What steps can you take to protect yourself and family from such people and their behaviors? Realize it is much more difficult to resist, confront and put up boundaries between you and a minister type because it seems the minister has the weight and backing of the entire BIBLE behind him. He can show you dozens of scriptures where the "Men of God" were exactly the same way and thus imply that his behaviors are GOD behaviors or being just like Abraham, Moses or Paul. He may be right but not for the reasons he thinks. Resist anyway.
A couple examples of Diehl family ministerial resistance. A certain not to be named current COG minister of the Joshua type was my family pastor for a few short years. In Spokesman Club this minister was chiding the men for not learning their scripture cards and knowing them well. My dad raised his hand and pointed out that the men generally had five day a week jobs and family and did not have the time the minister may have had to devote to memorizing scripture cards. Uh oh....the Joshua like minister told my dad he would talk to him outside during the break. My dad said "no you won't." LOL. Love ya dad!
On another occasion, this Joshua type minister was informing my recently Deacon ordained brother in law , done so by the new minister that replaced the Joshua type minister, that had he thought my brother in law was deacon material HE would have ordained him when he was his pastor. Get ready....my brother in law looked at the Josh and said..."well ___________, (Josh), if I didn't think you had shit for brains, I'd care what you thought." Excellent! Josh went to the new minister but got nowhere. The new minister was Leslie Schmedes whom everyone just loved and was a kind and gentle spirit.
If you are going to stay, pay, pray and obey with such a man as this at the helm of your version of the One True Church at least take some advice on dealing with such men in your church lives.
Oh No You Didn’t Say That To Me…Dealing with the Adult Bully
If “the bully” is someone you call a friend, you must reassess the relationship and why you are in it. If you are being bullied by anyone within your definition of family or friends, seek help to remove yourself from the relationship
- Assess the relationship
Remember, you will not change another’s actions, only your reactions to them. Keep in mind you are able to be empathic. Understand that “the bully” is acting out of their own insecurities, fear and pain. It is not about you. It is about them.
- Ignore “the bully”
Set those boundaries and limits. Be clear, calm and firm. State the behavior you do not like and state what is expected instead. Remember, “the bully” will typically target people who do not stand up to him/her.
- Do not enable “the bully”
Be sure to monitor “the bully’ once you have defined boundaries. Often, this setting such limits and stating your disapproval can escalate the bully. Think about the young child who has a cookie each day after school. Suddenly you give him a carrot. What happens? Tantrums. Whenever we set boundaries with any dysfunctional relationship in our lives, the person may react badly. If “the bully” physically threatens you in any manner, seek help and report this to the authorities immediately. Remember, you are dealing with an emotionally challenged person who lacks social skills and impulse control.
- Be careful
Contact Dennis at DennisCDiehl@aol.com