When the Narcissist uses God Against You

Read all about the way one woman’s narcissistic husband used religion to abuse and control her.  Comments are disabled for this post; please comment on the original post.

Divorcing a Narcissist Blog

Before I met the Narcissist I pretty much identified as Atheist. I grew up being somewhat forced into the Catholic religion because my mom was raised that way. I think she felt like she wanted to give my sister and I a religious experience in life… but it always felt a bit shallow to me. My dad was raised Protestant was not particularly religious (and generally made fun of the “Heathen Catholic” religion.) My sister and I had to go to CCD classes and go through first communion and confirmation. As a family we went to church together at all of the major holidays… but I never felt a connection to God, and the religious experience was very limited to what happened at church.

I was always the kid who asked “why” and “how” in my CCD classes, constantly challenging the norm. I think most of the teachers didn’t know how…

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“The Duggars: Abuse and Conservative Religion”

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Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar; Josh Duggar (inset)

The article I’m going to post is about half a year old, and was written following the sexual abuse scandal involving Josh Duggar (the Duggar’s oldest son) of the reality show 19 Kids and Counting.   I haven’t watched all the episodes, but I firmly believe that sexual abuse as well as malignant narcissism is a huge problem in the Duggar family.   Josh is probably not the first abuser.  His parents, Michelle and Jim Bob, are both very controlling and both use their ultra-conservative religion to control and shame, and isolate their kids from learning anything on their own.   The fame and fortune from their reality show no doubt provides a ton of narcissistic supply to both Michelle and Jim Bob.  I see many of their kids as scapegoats and flying monkeys.   Josh seemed like he was a Golden Child.

I’m posting this article now because it’s still relevant. Sexual abuse is not going away anytime soon and has been with us probably as long as human beings have been around.  What do you think of the Duggars?  Do you think Jim Bob and Michelle genuinely love their children, or are their children just props in the narrative of moral and religious “perfection” they’re selling to the world?  Will any of them ever dare to break free of the prison of their huge, dysfunctional family and its narcissistic rulers?

The Duggars: Abuse and Conservative Religion

Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea who the Duggar family was. To my surprise, it appears that many people in North America have been following this conservative Christian family. Further, the Duggar’s seem to be very influenctial among various Evangelical Christian lobbying groups. It seems that they have become a sensation because of their reality TV show, 19 Kids and Counting. Even as I read some things about the family in the news in recent weeks, it seemed to me that the Duggar’s were faux celebrities much like the Kardashian’s and Paris Hilton: they never really did anything but yet they seem to be famous.

I received an email from one of my colleagues, a psychologist in another part of the country, who asked what I thought of the Duggar’s and the current sexual abuse scandal. It was her question that prompted me to learn more about the family. While I have clearly never met the Duggar’s nor have I watched their TV show, what I found in the press seemed to fit the pattern of domestic abuse.

Read the rest of Lou’s article here.

“Soulmates in Hell: Religious Narcissists–Evil in Disguise. “

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I stumbled on a new blog and just read this article. Every word the author says is true. I’ve known so many religious types who use religion as a tool to abuse. These are truly the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Unfortunately, such people’s children are often turned off my the whole idea of God and religion because it becomes so triggering.

Soulmates in Hell: Religious Narcissists–Evil in Disguise
By Larry Giddens

If you have had the unfortunate experience of being in a relationship with a narcissist with religious pretensions, you know how difficult and confusing it can be. The narc spouts scripture and postures as “holy”, and they use religion to create a veneer of “godliness”.

Now, I’ve read various articles on the topic that seem to miss the point, which is, that a religious narcissist will just drive you crazy with their constantly letting you know how much better they are than you, or anyone else, for that matter. There is no situation for which they won’t butt in with some scripture quote, and no conversation that won’t soon turn into a sermon, just to let you know that while you have mundane, everyday concerns like whether you need to buy milk, their mind is on “the things of God”.

The rest of this article can be read here.
http://soulmateinhell.blogspot.com/2015/10/religious-narcissists-evil-in-disguise.html

To My Non-Christian Friends: What You Should Know

This is one of the most intelligent articles I’ve ever seen written by an evangelical Christian. I don’t have much more to say, just read the article, because everything I could say is already said here.

I’m a Christian, but so many Christians disappoint me because they cannot tolerate the fact that my Christianity isn’t exactly the same as their Christianity. I wish all Christians would think more like the person who wrote this article.

non-christian

I am a Christian. As a Christian- particularly one of the Evangelical bent- mine is a tradition that has a reputation for abrasive condemnations of those who aren’t Christians: screaming brimstone and judgment from street corners, condemning alternate viewpoints and pushing legislation in an attempt to perpetuate our own beliefs. We’ve not exactly painted ourselves in a good light.

But the flag under which Christians are called to die isn’t one of religious propaganda, nor is the heart of our gospel a ‘turn or burn’ story. That said, there are things I- as a Christian- hope, want, pray, desire and truly want all non-Christians to know.

Here’s a few of them:

1) You are a person, not a project.

When I look at you I don’t see a box to be checked, a sinner to be saved, a victory to be won or a task to be accomplished. I see…

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Whatever happened to the Golden Rule?

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I remember as a child, always hearing the Golden Rule–“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” It’s a staple of kindergarten life, and it’s a good lesson in how we should treat others. It teaches children the concept of empathy. It would be a much nicer world if more adults followed it.

Some religious people are so quick to judge others and they pull out Bible quotes to justify giving those they disagree with a hard time. This leads to discord and disharmony and walls of hate between individuals. In the larger world, the same attitude leads to wars and killing. Many narcissists hide behind a cloak of piety. It’s possible to find quotes in the Bible to justify abusive behavior and narcs do it all the time (I am not referring to any specific individuals here, it’s just something I’ve noticed a lot). Do they forget the Golden Rule is itself from the Bible?*

Matthew 7:12
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do
to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Luke 6:31:
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

Galatians 5:14
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Leviticus 19:18
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:34
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

* King James Version.

A culture of abuse.

It looks like these are the “official” attitudes toward women by fundamentalist Muslim men in places like Afghanistan.

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I realize not all Muslims believe this, just the most fundamentalist sector. It’s like they live in the 14th century. It’s been speculated they ARE living in the 14th century–Islam is a young religion, compared to Christianity, which held similar attitudes toward women during the Middle Ages. I can’t even imagine survival in such a culture.

Even people who are not psychopathic can embrace such attitudes if they are led to believe a certain group of people aren’t really human. In fundamentalist Islam, women are thought of as objects, not human, which justifies the men’s abusive treatment of them.

Serial killers and abusers in general do not think of their victims as human. In war, soldiers can be brainwashed into thinking of the enemy–even women and children of the enemy–as something other than human, and that justifies killing them. It was attitudes like this that led so many Germans to embrace Hitler’s beliefs about the Jews and other targeted groups, such as homoesexuals and the mentally deficient.

“Children of God”: demonic cult disguised as Christianity

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David Berg, founder of the Children of God.

Talk about wolves in sheep’s clothing! David Berg, a malignant narcissist extraordinaire, who believed himself to be the Last Great Prophet of God and called himself “Moses David,” founded the hippie-like Jesus cult, the “Children of God” (a/k/a “The Family”) in 1968, as part of the well-known “Jesus movement” of the late 1960s. The Children of God (from here on, abbreviated CoG) believed in millennarianism, the “last days” and Biblical prophecy. Like almost all Christians, they worshipped Jesus Christ as their lord and personal savior. What’s so bad about that, you say? It’s just garden variety fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity, right?

Well, yes and no. Berg gradually began to incorporate very un-Christian, unbiblical principles into his cult and even re-wrote the Bible as he interpreted it. He believed sex was a God-given tool meant to be used by humans to get closer to Him.

Many religions accept sex as a good and beautiful expression of love within the confines of a marriage or a close and committed relationship, but in this cult, promiscuity and “free love” was okay, because it was a way to commune with the Divine. It was okay for a woman to masturbate and “come” for Jesus. They were encouraged to be “God’s Love Slaves.” Baby Boomers and younger members of the Silent Generation who had already become used to the idea of free love and sex with multiple partners were at first attracted to this “understanding” guru who loved Jesus but encouraged them to indulge in their carnal desires.

But it was their Generation X children who were about to really be exploited.

Illustrations in CoG literature and its Bible were cartoon-like (in the Jack Chick style of cartooning) and sexually explicit. Some involved children and S&M scenarios. Some of the illustrations are shown in this documentary series, so if you’re offended by sexually explicit drawings or pornography, you may want to be aware of this before you watch the videos.

Families were regimented, children were raised separately from their parents and raised by nannies (similar to the way the Hebrew kibbutz is run). Children were raised communally by nannies, while their parents spent their time focusing on their spiritual (sexual) relationships with one another and most of all, with Jesus.

But things got even worse. Eventually children themselves were drawn into the depraved sexual activities of this cult, and were encouraged by Berg to be used sexually by adults, even as young toddlers, to “connect” with one another and in the process become closer to God Himself.

Survivors and especially the adult Gen-X children who grew up in this destructive cult were badly damaged and suffer from PTSD and other serious mental conditions, and in some cases committed or attempted suicide.

Here is the video series–it’s in seven parts, but I have only posted the first installment. From there, you can click on the rest. This is very scary stuff.
The cult still exists today under their new name, “The Family International.”

Here’s another video that focuses more on Berg and the cult itself, rather than survivors who are trying to cope with the aftermath.

Scientology: a cult of psychopathy

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Scientology, like most cults, uses exactly the same brainwashing techniques the narcissist does to recruit and retain its members. Here’s a video I found on the Ex-Scientologist Message Board, where Sam Vaknin talks about the “cult of the narcissist,” and even though it’s not specific to Scientology, it’s spot on in describing the mind games narcissists use to trap their prey (sorry, I was unable to embed the video). The same techniques apply to most cults. Scientology is one of the most dangerous.

In 1978 and 1979, I flirted with Scientology. This happened when I came across one of its books (one of the only ones not written by its founder L. Ron Hubbard, who was not only a malignant narcissist of the highest order, but also a very bad writer), an easy to read and humorous “self help” book called “How to Choose your People,” by a writer named Ruth Minshull. The book was discontinued many years ago, probably because it wasn’t written by Hubbard and therefore not acceptable “scipture.” “How to Choose Your People” was entertaining and well written, and I found its idea of something called “The Tone Scale” intriguing and it seemed to make sense. I liked the idea that emotions ran on a sort of continuum, with one logically leading to the next. Every human being can be placed somewhere on this “tone scale.” Although most people move around on the scale according to their mood, everyone can be placed at a “home” tone, where they will be most of the time. The “tones” ranged from Apathy (the lowest you could go–this would be where severely depressed and suicidal people are) to Enthusiasm (very happy and contented people). Each tone was assigned an arbitrary number, although no one ever explained what those numbers meant.

There were two “emotions” around the middle of the scale, called Covert Hostility (1.1) and No Sympathy (1.2, making it slightly “better”). Although not at the bottom of the scale, while I was involved in Scientology (and the related Dianetics, the mental “technology” that is similar in some ways to psychoanalysis and serves as a tool to brainwash its members), Covert Hostility and No Sympathy were considered by most Scientologists to be the two worst places to be on the Tone Scale. No one wanted to be labeled a “1.1.” Because if you were, it meant you were a Suppressive Person–that is, a psychopathic person who could harm the Church and its members. If you were pegged a “1.1” or a “1.2” you could be excommunicated or punished by a cruel form of shunning (which I was subjected to at one point).

The traits of someone with a “tone” of Covert Hostility or No Sympathy are exactly the same of those of the malignant narcissist. Here is a picture of the tone scale as it appeared on the cover of Minshull’s 1976 book. (There is an expanded tone scale too, which has additional levels, but for our purposes this one is sufficient).

minshull1

Click image for larger view.

So I finished Minshull’s book and was intrigued enough to go to the local Scientology Center (on New York’s upper west side–I was living in Queens, NY at the time) and find out more. They gave me a “personality test,” that was supposed to identify what my issues and weak points were. There were 200 questions on the test, but when I was done, someone sat down with me and went over my results and convinced me I needed Dianetics auditing or classes in Scientology (much cheaper than Dianetics auditing) to overcome these weak points. The recruiter was very convincing and friendly, and assured me I would only be set back $15 to sign up for the HAS course (Hubbard Apprentice Scientologist aka “Communication Course”), which was really training in something called Training Routines (TR’s) which were used as brainwashing techniques.

At first the TR’s were very seductive–they were fun and actually seemed to work. They did help me be able to “confront” people better, or at least seemed to. The TR’s themselves involved things like sitting in a chair staring at someone as long as you could without reacting, laughing, or looking away. After this, the ante was upped to something called “bullbaiting,” where the person could try to get you to react and “lose your Confront” by insulting you, trying to make you laugh, or calling you names. There were higher levels of TR’s that involved walking across the room, touching things, asking if birds could fly, and reading passages from “Alice in Wonderland” of all things.

All these things were supposed to help you communicate with others better and raise your “tone,” but in actuality, these were all brainwashing techniques that would eventually result in giving you the infamous blank stare that many Scientologists seem to have while under the cult’s thrall.

After I “passed” the Communications Course (by getting a “floating needle” on a lie-detector type of device called the E-Meter), I was convinced without too much difficulty to sign up for the next course, the HQS course (Hubbard Qualified Scientologist). That one set me back $250. (The prices are probably much higher today). By this time of course, I’d been sufficiently indoctrinated that $250 for further “processing” and “training” didn’t seem that bad. It didn’t take much to convince me to hand over the money.

In order to help pay for the course (because in those days $250 was a lot of money, especially for a 19 year old) it was suggested I work at the Center part time, answering phones and opening and distributing mail. The position paid nothing, but I got “credits” to help pay for the course. Of course, by now I was spending most of my free time at the Center, because right after “work” it was time for the classes, which ran about 4 hours a night (5 days a week).

Students were closely monitored and every class ended with a session on the E-Meter. If you were caught yawning or daydreaming you were told you had a “misunderstood word” and had to go back and re-read Hubbard’s unreadable material to try to find the word you did not understand. You were not allowed to move on until you found the word and “passed” on the E-Meter. I began to realize I wasn’t having much fun anymore, but if you criticized Scientology or its “teaching technology” in any way, you would be sent to Ethics.

e_meter
Scientology E-Meter

No one wanted to be sent to Ethics. If you were sent to Ethics, it meant there was a problem and you were considered a “Potential Trouble Source” and disciplinary action would be taken. I was sent to Ethics about three times, all for very minor transgressions such as minor criticism. The punishments ranged from having to re-read material (and be “passed” being connected to an E-Meter), to cutting off friends and family members who could be potential “Suppressive Persons” or enemies of Scientology (you would be required to write them a letter telling them you were cutting them off), to shunning, to excommunication.

I was once subjected to shunning. I was told although I would still be required to fulfill my job duties and attend classes, no one would be allowed to speak to me and I was allowed to speak to no one (unless it was directly related to my job or something I was learning). It was horrible. This torment on for several days, until I was “passed” up a level and allowed to be spoken to again. But before that could happen, I had to go up to every high level member and employee, make amends to them and “re-introduce” myself.

Toward the end of the HQS course, you are told to recruit other people into Scientology. I had to go outside, no matter what the weather, and try to talk people into coming up to the Center to take its personality test. The more advanced TR’s taught in this class became increasingly bizarre. These sessions could go on for hours, and as part of the training, I was also required to “audit” other students and conduct TR’s on them. If they proved difficult or uncooperative, I was the one who was blamed and was not allowed to stop “running the TR’s” until my student had passed on the E-Meter. If it went on all night, then so it did. You were not allowed breaks to eat or rest, and neither was your student. I remember once being so exhausted from lack of sleep and hunger that I burst into tears in the middle of running a session, and was immediately sent to Ethics and that’s how I got the “shunning” punishment. I was stunned by their total lack of empathy.

I thought about leaving, but didn’t dare–because they threatened you with something called “Fair Game.” No one ever explained exactly what that was, but in Hubbard’s indecipherable scripture, “fair game” appeared to imply the Church reserved the right to stalk you, torment or even kill you if you “blew” (left). I’d also paid so much money into it by this point and spent so much time with them that I was hesitant to toss in the towel.

Shortly before I was to graduate from HQS (which I never did finish), I was sent to talk to a recruiter about my next “step up the bridge.” I was told I should sign up for “Life Repair,” which cost $6K. I told the recruiter I did not have that kind of money. The recruiter turned to the hard sell at that point. He told me to get a bank loan or ask my parents for the money. Neither was possible. There was no way I could pay back the bank, as my other (paying) job was part time and paid only $2.75 an hour (minimum wage at that time), and my parents were not the type to hand over large sums of money, even for something legitimate.

Finally, after two hours of unsuccessfully trying to get me to sign up for this $6,000 auditing package, the recruiter gave up and was quite hostile to me after that. He not only told me that I must not really be interested in moving up the Bridge, but that I was probably a Suppressive Person and an enemy of Scientology because I would not put myself in huge debt to continue to be brainwashed.

It was at this point I left the Church. I just didn’t care anymore. I had gradually come to realize that the “emotional tone” of the organization was somewhere around Covert Hostility and No Sympathy–which was quite interesting since those were the tones that were the most hated and feared and were the realm of the dreaded Suppressive Person. In other words, Scientology was a psychopathic, narcissistic cult, founded by a psychopathic malignant narcissist (1.1 on his own Tone Scale) whose ravings (and fabrications as a “war hero” among other things) are legendary. What they were really doing was projecting their own emotional tone (malignant narcissism) onto those who disagreed with them.

I also realized how I had been gradually seduced into this psychopathic organization through misrepresentation, manipulation, threats and lies. The personality test and the inexpensive and fun HAS course that promised to help me feel happier and more confident was merely the “love bombing” phase before the abuse that would come later and increase over time. I did NOT want to become one of the upper-level Scientologists, with their blank, weird stares, creepy smiles and total lack of empathy. Just look at Tom Cruise today: does he even seem human anymore? Hell, I’d rather be a Suppressive Person any day than one of them.

I didn’t get nearly as far up the “Bridge” as many other people, and therefore did not experience some of the trauma and torture inflicted on members who are more deeply enmeshed with this psychopathic cult. Eventually they WILL take over your entire life. For anyone interested in finding out more about the evil mindgames this cult plays, its psychopathic paranoia about both government agencies like the IRS and its hatred and fear of traditional psychotherapy and psychiatry, and the horrific (and sometimes fatal) punishments inflicted on many of its members and their families, I highly recommend either of these two websites that call out Scientology for what it really is.

The Ex-Scientologist Message Board: http://www.forum.exscn.net/ (This is where I found the Sam Vaknin video posted at the beginning of this article).
Operation Clambake: The Inner Secrets of Scientology: http://www.xenu.net/

Oh, and this is my 300th post!

Narcissists who use 12-step programs to further their agenda

mindfulrecovery

Today I was reading a couple of new blog articles by Dr. George K. Simon, which can be found here and here. Dr. Simon has written a number of books about psychopathy, narcissism and other “character disorders” (his term for the DSM “Cluster B” personality disorders, which are in part characterized by a lack of empathy or capacity to feel remorse). The two articles I was reading focus on narcissistic/antisocial behavior and addiction.

Indeed, many disordered individuals have a concurrent alcohol or drug problem, but unlike neurotics (people with anxiety issues who have the capacity to feel shame, empathy and remorse–usually so much that they sabotage themselves), the character-disordered are not very likely to seek treatment for their addictions. This really isn’t any surprise, since Cluster B types (especially Narcissists and people with antisocial personality disorder) aren’t likely to seek any kind of psychological treatment or therapy because they’re not the ones suffering–they’re more likely to cause others to suffer. Narcissists and those with APD also think they’re superior human beings who don’t need any help. Instead, they blame their victims for being the ones with the mental or emotional problems.

But there are some character disordered people who do join 12 step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. They may be aware they have a substance abuse issue, but that’s as far as any insight into themselves goes. These are the “recovered” addicts and alcoholics who lord their recovery over others, and treat their 12-step program like a religion that allows them to believe they are superior to everyone else.

12steps

My mother falls into this category. She’s a Narc who, back in the early 1980s, decided she was an alcoholic and became involved with AA. Speeding through the 12 steps at a pace that was most likely unrealistic for most people trying to recover, she went from being merely abusive to intolerably, infuriatingly abusive. While her drunkenness had been mostly unpleasant, at times she could almost be “fun,” or at least so out of it that she handled her abuse of me clumsily and sometimes forgot she was supposed to be abusing me and would shift into treating me as a younger woman she could party with. But after discovering AA, suddenly she became a self-righteous, judgmental, rigid you-know-what who lorded her new “religion” over me in particular. Mind you, I am not dissing AA or any other 12 step program, as they have helped many people turn their lives around and free themselves from addiction. But when narcissists find these programs, they use them to further their own agenda, and as they do with everything else, turn the steps of recovery into weapons to be used against others. Narcissists in recovery programs are as bad as the worst kind of religious zealots and treat the program as if they alone discovered it, seeming to equate themselves with Moses being hand picked by God to discover the Ten Commandments.

They also turn the various slogans associated with these 12 step programs into handy justifications for being even more self-centered, arrogant and unempathic than they already were. My Narc mother, for example, now had handy canned excuses for her horrific treatment of others. For example, if you called her out for a hurtful action or comment, she’d respond with “your feelings are your own responsibility, not mine” or “stop taking my inventory.” If she wanted to belittle you, she’d say “you’re on a dry drunk” (actually she was the one on the dry drunk) or “that’s your addiction talking.” (she thought everyone who wasn’t a teetotaler or occasionally indulged in a little pot was an alcoholic or drug addict).

The 4th step of AA is “taking a fearless moral inventory” and a later step is “making amends to those you have harmed.” While these two steps would seem like holy water is to the devil for a Narc, sending them off flailing and screaming, some narcissists can and do take these steps (others get “stuck” at step 4, and may quit the program), but if they do, they work these steps in a shallow, glib manner, usually only addressing the substance abuse itself, while glossing over any pain they caused others. This is how my mother handled these steps, and when she “made amends” to me, I didn’t feel any sincerity there at all. Her “amends” seemed as phony as an mass-mailed Christmas card from your local bail bondsman. I suppose I’m guilty of “taking her inventory” but that’s how it felt to me. She was never one to apologize for anything, ever. No narcissist is.

addicts

Another interesting thing about Narcs who join 12 step programs is they don’t dig any deeper. Many non-narcissist alcoholics and drug addicts come to a point in recovery where they want to learn more about themselves, what makes them tick, and perhaps what led them to self-medicate in the first place. They realize that the addiction, while it very likely has a genetic component, can also be caused by psychological factors and they want to dig deeper to find out why they drank or used in the first place. A Narc will never do that, because any sort of therapy requires introspection into their own behavior and that is terrifying to them–because even they know that all they’ll see when they look into the mirror is….an endless black void of nothingness. As I’ve talked about in previous posts, for whatever reason, narcissists don’t have a true “self”–instead they wear a series of masks meant to dupe others into believing there is something there when there isn’t anything there at all.

So beware of the recovered addict or alcoholic who treats their 12-step program like a religion and uses it as a pedestal to make others feel deficient–you’re almost certainly dealing with a narcissist. And as you might expect, many narcissists are active in churches, especially those that are autocratic, evangelical or fundamentalist in nature, because it allows them an easy way to feel superior even if they haven’t achieved anything notable in life: they’re “saved” and you’re going to hell. Narcissists in 12 step programs use the program’s tenets almost exactly the same way.