Religious Narcia 1–The Second Coming of the Pharisees

16 Nov

Not all narcissists stare into the mirror all day, some stare into the Bible looking for proof texts to straighten out all their relatives. Fundamentalist Christianity, because it teaches Christians to be unique and holier than the world, appeals to the right talking, elitist mindset of the narcissist.

Christianity doesn’t create the narcissist, but the narcissist finds religion and uses it to manipulate others. When the Christian mission to repair the world is infused with a narcissist’s sense of grandiosity it creates a religion of abuse and hate.

“Grandiosity refers to an unrealistic sense of superiority—a sustained view of oneself as better than others that causes the narcissist to view others with disdain or as inferior—as well as to a sense of uniqueness: the belief that few others have anything in common with oneself and that one can only be understood…”-Wikipedia

The people Jesus had the most trouble with while He was on earth are the religious narcissists. The Pharisee were so full of pride they didn’t realize their need of God. The Religious narcissist’s grandiosity is manifested by entitlement, self-righteousness and lack of empathy in how they treat others.

Religious-Narcia-WM

Where you didn’t choose to walk through a wardrobe, but found yourself thrown into the darkness by a narcissistic Christian.

Abusers in Religious Narcia believe they know more than everyone else including their pastor. They can’t handle authority figures of any sort because no one is the boss of them and they have a Bible verse to prove it. Many narcissists live as though they are above the law, but they are judgmental of others.

The religious narcissist often imagines God gives them special knowledge which authorizes them to correct other people. Like a false prophet, they claim to be the watchman on the wall, calling out the sins of everyone else, but you will never hear them tell you of their own spiritual failings.

Such devout looking Christians  can hand you a long list of proof texts, but to become vulnerable and share their spiritual struggles or listen to others from the heart is nearly impossible for a narc to do because it would require trading their pride for humility.

Grandiosity is a form of self-exaltation.  There are many ways religious narcs elevate self above others:

  • Criticism and judgment
  • Shaming and inducing guilt
  • Dire warnings and fear messages
  • Manipulation and control

There is in marked contrast to the steps of Jesus in Philippians 2. For deeper understanding review the Steps of Jesus vs. the Steps of Satan. Notice what Jesus does with His power:

“Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority
over everything and that he had come from God
and would return to God.
So he got up from the table,
took off his robe,
wrapped a towel around his waist,
and poured water into a basin.
Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet,
drying them with the towel he had around him.”
-John 13:3-57

Religious narcissists use their power to elevate self, while true followers of Jesus use their power to serve others. Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples by your love for each other.” The bottom line about religious narcissists is they care more about being right than loving others.

God loves the religious narcissist, but even Jesus lets people go. Someday, when God has done all He can to wake them up, it will be their own choices that separate them from God. We can’t read hearts like Jesus, sometimes all we can do is pray for the religious narcs and let them go.

Religious Narcia–Enter at Your Own Risk

14 Nov Religious-Narcia-WM

Religious narcissism is similar to regular narcissism, but dressed up in snarky, spiritual clothes. Many people have left God, believing it was the church that was hateful–not realizing they were victims of religious narcissism.

A Religious narcissist is a person who was probably a narcissist to begin with, discovered religion and now uses it as a tool to manipulate other people. It’s important to note religion did not create the narcissist, but the narcissist has discovered religion and uses it to control their relationships.

Not everyone who is a little controlling or has needs is a narcissist, but the chances are if you go through the steps of narcissism and find most of these markers in a relationship it is probably better to move on with your own life.

It’s helpful to understand the narcissist’s mindset. Studies have shown that most narcissists rate extremely low on the empathy scale. They view life through the lens of their own feelings and needs and see all other people as existing to serve them.

The McGregors have written a book The Empathy Trap about the narcissistic triad where the narcissist targets empathetic people to use them, while apathetic people enables the situation.  An apathetic person can sometimes end up targeted and used as a flying monkey because they don’t recognize the signs of narcissism. The apathetic person has ideal dreams of everyone getting along. Of course anyone who has ever dealt with a narc realizes such a dream is impossible.

  • Narcissists lack empathy
  • Narcissists use everyone—including the apathetic
  • Narcissists manipulate
  • Narcissists don’t get mad, they get even
  • Narcissists discard you when you no longer meet their needs

In just about everything they do, Narcissists break the golden rule:

“Do unto others as you would like them to do to you.”
-Jesus
 

Religious-Narcia-WM

Where you didn’t choose to walk through a wardrobe, but found yourself thrown into the darkness by a narcissistic Christian.

Many ACONs* reject their parent’s religion and there is a good reason for this. When you are the child of a parent who is insensitive to your needs and lacks empathy, how can you know God cares for your heart?

People raised by a narcissistic parent struggle with going to church or praying because they see God as a reflection of the people who told them about God. If their parents abused them in any way, they often imagine God is exactly like their parents.

I have a friend who has suffered all forms of abuse at the hands of her father and she often says to me through tears, “What kind of fucked up god is this?” I tell her the God I know looks, acts and treats people just like Jesus.

If only narcissistic Christian parents would own their mistakes and ask for forgiveness then many relationships could be restored. Most ACONs realize this will not happen because narcissists cannot stoop to such humility. Narcissistic Christians lack empathy for other people including their own children.

Below is an episode of The People’s Court where a woman took her mother to court for not paying her back after several years. The heart of the matter is this was not about money as it is about a lack of parental love. This narcissistic mother cannot forgive her daughter for not having her children baptized. As a result she refuses to have a relationship with her beautiful daughter and granddaughters. My heart breaks as the daughter waits to hear if her mother wants to have a relationship with her. Such rejection shows a lack of God’s love.

Here is what God says to all ACONs:

I have loved you with an everlasting love–
therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you
and I will continue My faithfulness to you.
-Jeremiah  31:3


Just as C.S. Lewis’s Narnia is frozen over from the spell of the white witch, the religious narcia landscape is iced over with self. The only hope for those escaping such a situation is for Aslan/Jesus to move hearts.

*ACON — Adult Children of Narcissists

As we embarked on this journey, feel free to add your stories and comments.

 

Religious Narcia 1 – The Second Coming of the Pharisees

Stand Tall in Your Truth

30 Oct

It’s been a busy fall and while I have been focusing on my book, I have not been blogging or painting as much. As we approach the holidays, my heart goes out to all the ACONs who are struggling with family drama. I think the most difficult thing to do is stand up for yourself when people disrespect you, but the truth is the only way to gain self respect and the respect of others is to stand in your truth.

Giraffe-in-Pink-Clean-WM

It won’t be easy to do, but having good boundaries will help you realize when someone is pushing your buttons and you have the right to say thus far and no more. That might look like leaving the building, or not calling or refusing to attend family gatherings. Chances are the people who do not respect you at holiday dinners will also not respect your choice to spend this time with people who do respect you.

When your family doesn’t respect you, the best thing you can do stand up for yourself. Respect is the foundation for every relationship and even if others treat you with disrespect, you can still respect yourself. Sometimes it takes this for others to realize that you deserve respect, but you have the right to treat yourself kindly even when they don’t.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

When you realize how much you are worth,
you’ll stop giving people discounts.
-Unknown

I made this art especially for a reader named “One Escaping Goat” and hope it is a blessing to her and all of you who deserve to stand in your truth. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to say I am worthy of relationship and if you do not respect me, I will go where I am celebrated.

I hope each of you have a wonderful holiday season standing in your truth.

Why I Support Women’s Ordination

14 Oct

The church I am a member of and grew up in is discussing women’s ordination today and hopefully they will vote on it next year at the General Conference. Even if this doesn’t happen, I am not planning on leaving the church, but I do feel it’s important to discuss this and let our voices be known to stand up for not only women pastors, but for women everywhere because the way the church treats women sets a precedence for the rest of the world. I believe this is a human rights issue.

This blog has always been about freedom from dysfunctional families and religious abuse. I believe the way women are treated in church influences the way women are treated everywhere else, but don’t take my word for it, listen to Jimmy Carter and the Elders from all over the world:

“The justification of discrimination against women and girls
on grounds of religion or tradition,

as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority,
is unacceptable.”
-Jimmy Carter and the Elders

 

Annointed-WO

Little Red 23rd–He Anoints My Head With Oil

I believe God created man and woman in his image. Some argue Adam was created first so that means that he should lord over Eve, but the animals were created before Adam, does that mean they should be in charge of Adam?

I believe male headship is a result of the fall. Because of sin, someone had to take charge or they would both fight to lead, but when Jesus came and lived among us, He showed us how a true leader leads by serving others.

Jesus came to set all captives free and restore what was broken in the fall. Despite living in a patriarchal society, Jesus loved and called women.

It was a woman who announced the coming of the Messiah and carried Him in her body for nine months. It was a woman who raised Jesus and taught Him from the Scriptures. The woman at the well was the first missionary. Jesus defended Mary’s right to sit at His feet like a student learning from a rabbi. It was Mary who anointed Jesus before He completed His most difficult task and Mary was the first to announce to the world that Jesus had risen from the dead.

If Jesus allowed women to sit at His feet and proclaim His most important announcements, who are we today to stop women from following His call? If we are truly Christ’s followers will we not treat all women as Jesus does?

Having said all this, I don’t believe women’s ordination should be forced on everyone, but that each conference should be able to decide for themselves what will best meet their local needs to spread the gospel.

I believe women’s ordination is more than church politics. The way the church treats women sets the bar around the world for the value of every woman and girl. Because there are still societies where women are abused and treated as nothing, the church as Christ’s representative on earth should set the standard and proclaim to the world that a woman in the eyes of God is just as important as a man.

When church leaders follow Christ, it brings hope and sets the standard for every woman and girl that someone in this world represents Christ and values her as much as her male counterparts.

Losing My Religion for Equality by Jimmy Carter

Andrews University Statement The Unique Headship of Christ

Here is a great book I just read that answers many questions about Women’s Ordination:

2014-10-06-QA_WomenOrdination

Make Art, Not War

9 Sep

There are two kinds of people in this world–those who make art and critics. Making art is more than just putting paint on a canvas; it’s the way we choose to live our lives.

Artists put flowers from the garden on the table, an extra little gift on a gift and fresh herbs and care into making a meal. Life is art and it’s up to each of us how we will use the tools we’ve been given.

Critics, on the other hand are not as concerned with building life as they are judging what others have created. Critics always find a problem with someone else’s design. They can’t tolerate the freedom of other people to create. They feel they need to correct their theology, adjust the table decorations and tell other people what to wear.

Critics have no time to contribute to the world because they’re too busy complaining about how the art of others should be corrected. Criticism brings pain, discord and ultimately death into this world, while art brings hope, resilience and life.

Peace-WM

Some critics question how can we sit around playing with colors on paper when terrible things are happening in this world. They are concerned about starving children, Ebola virus and terrorists who chop off children’s heads. For a moment I listen to such critics because I too am appalled by the terrible things happening in this world, then I remember how the Nazis plundered art during World War II.

Adolf Hilter was once an artist or at least an artist wanna-be. He applied and was rejected by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, but somewhere Hilter stopped making art and became a critic of the arts. When he became chancellor of Germany in 1933, he began to call art that did not pass his approval “degenerate art.”

Degenerate art included most art that was not from the old German masters. In Hitler’s quest to purify a nation, he started by stealing the freedom of artists to express themselves and eventually stole life from those who did not meet his standards. Perhaps history would have been different if Hitler had focused on making art, instead of trying to sculpt an entire race.

Art represents freedom and individuality. Most critics are not interested in the freedom of others, they simply want to control the outcome of someone else’s art. Whether the art is on canvas, or artful patterns of living, critics feel they need to adjust the freedom of others. We can follow the critical and destructive path of Hilter, or we can offer the beauty of freedom and hope to a world filled with despair.

So what business do we have enjoying life, painting pictures while such horrible atrocities are happening to our fellow humans? The truth is we are not on the position to stop every terrible thing from happening, but we can do something in our own neighborhood. We can express hope through color and individual expression and bring beauty to the lives around us. Making art is a form of resilience to the pain of living in a broken world.

God didn’t create selfishness or sickness. All of this pain is the result of God’s enemy. If this world still operated the way God intended, we would all be making art of some kind. It would be the norm to be designing, decorating, singing and playing. We would craft amazing gardens and compose beautiful symphonies because the pinnacle of our existence is to reflect our Creator. We were designed to add beauty to the universe with our individuality for God’s glory.

Our lives can be summed up by the way we contribute to the world around us–we either do this artfully, or we do it critically. Art is what we do with the tools we’ve been given. Art is what we create out of the chaos of our lives. We might temporarily live in a crippled and dying world, but as long as there is a God and life, we can make art and live artful lives and this is how we honor Him.

Thank you to everyone who participated in my Birthday Week Contest.

Here are the winners of the drawings:

For sharing on Facebook:

Jered Kostenko

For commenting on my blog:

One Escaping Goat

And for leaving a comment on Etsy:

Deborah Stevens

Please comment below or email me at CherilynClough.com with your address and I will put your art in the mail.

To read more about Nazi plunder during WWII:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_plunder

What it Takes to be Brave

5 Sep

This piece of art was inspired by my brave friends. Those who are dealing with relationship problems or a rough diagnosis or struggling to make a living or those who wonder if they will ever find love in this broken world. Whatever our trials, they never seem small when we are going through them. Living and acting on the life we have is an act of courage and defiance to the evil in this world.

Brave-Soul-WM-Etsy

Here’s to the many brave people who get up every morning when they’d rather pull the covers over their head. Here’s to those who walk with pain or carry a painful heart as they go about their work, church and school. These brave souls realize the secret to being brave is not how we feel, but the action we take in response to life’s trials. Whatever happens, brave souls never give up or give in, they keep on looking up for the silver lining.

I especially want to dedicate this to all my friends who have had to deal with cancer this year. I send healing wishes and prayers for all of you! Bravo for fighting a good fight! And sometimes the fight is not about having a longer life, but having a better quality of the life we have today. Today is all any of us really have so let’s make it a good one.

I didn’t use any fancy techniques on this picture, I just painted a brave girl’s face and wrote the truth, but she caught the eye of a therapist friend who just opened a new practice near Seattle, Washington. Congrats to my friend and favorite therapist Lisa Boyl-Davis who will be putting this in her new office!

Talk about therapy–Jason Mraz has a great song that describes what it takes to be brave. Three things to do when your life falls apart. Enjoy!


EXTRA FOR MY ARTIST FRIENDS:

Here is how I package my art. When you sell online, it is all about the buyer’s anticipation. They have to wait to receive it, so it’s nice to make it worth their wait by dazzling them a little. You can do this by wrapping it cheerfully and adding an extra surprise for them.

1. Start with a business card. (These came from Moo. I punched a hole in them and added a string of hemp and a bauble for fun.)

photo (48)

2. Add an extra surprise–I think a greeting card is perfect because it adds very little weight, is valuable for them and shows the great quality in case they might like to purchase some.

photo (47)

3. Write the recipient’s name on the back of the picture and sign it (be sure to ask if it is for them or a gift).

4. Then I lay all of these inside the back of the picture and wrap it in tissue paper.

5. I write a personal thank you on a postcard and attach to the package with curling ribbon.

photo (49)

6. The last step is to wrap it in bubble wrap before slipping it into a US Postal Service Mailer.

photo (45)

Note: By charging $12 for mailing, I can afford the USPS mailer and tissue and insure it for up to fifty dollars.

Feast In Front of My Enemies

4 Sep

When Rose discovered a more loving picture of God, she rejected her parents’ harsh religious views, but her narcissistic mother did everything she could to get Rose to agree as she had been raised. Rose had seen the light and for her there was no going back. After many lengthy arguments, her mother packed up Roses’ belongings and kicked her out of the house.

Shut out and with very little money she had no choice but to rent a studio apartment in a questionable part of town. Rose’s first supper was a can of green beans eaten out of the can with some plastic silverware she bought at a local convenience store. Rose had never dreamed she would be put in this situation and as she ate her green beans, tears rolled down her cheeks. She was lonely and scared and thought of all the things she needed to survive.

A-Table-in-Front-of-My-Enemies-WM

Little Red 23rd–A Feast in Front of My Enemies

Rose had a job, but no iron or ironing board to iron her uniform for work. She had no glasses or dishes or curtains. Her only transportation was a bike and she wondered how she would be able to carry the stuff she needed to outfit an apartment without a car. Exhausted, she said a prayer and went to sleep on the drop down bed in her new home.

The next day her brother showed up at her work. She hadn’t seen him in years because her mother had told him to stay away from the family home. He gave her a ride to the store and helped her buy the things she needed to live on her own.

Once again, the Good Shepherd not only supplied Rose’s needs, but prepared a feast for her in front of her enemies. This feast was not a physical meal; it was spiritual nutrition as her new understanding of the Good Shepherd nourished her soul and soothed her fears.

Rose is not alone. I have experienced such a feast myself and many other people who have been under all kinds of persecution and pain have discovered they can survive on less than green beans when they are fully awake and aware of the Good Shepherd’s protection and provision.

This happened many years ago. When Rose told me her story, she added throughout the decades, the Good Shepherd has never let her down. Even when we feel all alone and the cupboards are bare, we can endure such circumstances because the Good Shepherd has never abandoned us–He always protects, always plans for us and always prepares a feast for us even in front of our enemies.

Be a Giraffe

4 Sep

Many AcoNs* have been awake and aware long before the rest of their family. This causes them to be ostracized and scorned for speaking the truth and trying to help the rest of their family find healing. Often the one who sees the dysfunction first is labeled as the scapegoat, but there is good news for the designated scapegoats.

You might not be a goat at all, you might just be a giraffe. Listen to the video at the bottom where Dr. Karyl McBride explains how giraffes stick out their necks and see the world through possibility and move forward while they can observe the past and the future. This piece of art was inspired by the short video below. Thank you Dr. McBride.

PS If you think you might be the daughter of a narcissistic parent, Dr. McBride’s book Will I Ever be Good Enough–Healing the Daughter of Narcissistic Mothers is a must read.

*ACoNs-Adult Children of Narcissists

UPDATE: This picture sold as soon as it was posted, but if you want a giraffe picture of your own just let me know and I can make you one and give you the sale price of thirty bucks–which is a good price for an original handmade piece of art.

Giraffe-WM-Etsy

He Even Sees Me in the Dark

3 Sep

This is one of my latest works* which is very personal to me, but I just listed it in my Etsy shop in case there is someone out there who would like a reminder that God always sees them no matter how dark it seems.

Writing about my childhood this summer has reminded me of how much I used to be afraid of the dark. It might have been because we moved so much, or it could have been the fact that I am near sighted, but whatever the reasons even as an adult I used to sleep with a flashlight.

As I grew up, I began to see there are worse forms of darkness than not being able to see while you are supposed to be sleeping. Ignorance is always a form of darkness which in many cases leads to the even greater darkness of racism, prejudice and hate.

 

Dark-1000-WM-Etsy

While darkness comes in many forms and can be related to our spiritual condition. We all go through times of darkness. Sometimes people refer to depression as a darkness, but I think the worst darkness is to know what is true and right and shut out the light.

As Eugene Peterson so beautifully recaps in the words of the Psalmist to God in the Message Bible, “Darkness isn’t dark to You.”

This is true because there is no darkness where there is light. Jesus is the LIGHT who comes into all of our darkness.

May you always know you are seen and safe in the Light no matter how dark it seems.

Thanks for stopping by,

Cherilyn

*I am still learning to find my own artistic footprint and so I am experimenting with different styles.

Just a reminder, I am having a drawing for all who add a comment to my blog.

And also another drawing for all who share this on FaceBook and  tag me.

And if you should buy a piece of art from my Etsy shop and leave a comment there, I will enter you into a drawing for a five pack of Little Red Survivor Cards.

Provides All I Need–Little Red 23rd

2 Sep

Each day this week I am highlighting one of my art projects. Today I am going to share another piece of art from my series Little Red 23rd. I’ve mentioned this before but it is worth repeating. Many ACoNs have been abused and used by their fathers. This makes it hard to trust our Heavenly Father. Jesus came to show us what God is like and He is more loving and kind than any earthly father. And the good news is Jesus tells us that He and the Father are one. He even says if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Still, for many ACoNs even the words of Jesus are not enough to trust God.

This is because many ACoNs have a very tender place in their hearts where they have been beaten or ridiculed or slammed by their earthly parents and their ability to trust any parent has been damaged. This is where some of us have found comfort in the 23rd Psalm. Even if we can’t relate to the thought of a parent caring for us, we can relate to the kindness of a shepherd who cares for his lambs.

He-Supplies-All-I-Need-WM

If you believe in a God, but struggle with trusting your Heavenly Father, consider the Good Shepherd. As we read Psalm 23 we see there is nothing narc-like in the Shepherd’s behavior. The Shepherd guides and protects his sheep. He also cleans out the wounds of his sheep to bring healing. He provides food and water and a peaceful place to rest. He literally provides everything we need.

Many fundamentalist Christians like to use the verse about sparing the rod and spoiling the child, but the gentle shepherd does not beat his lambs or his sheep. He uses the rod to bring them to safety when they have fallen over the edge and are hanging on a cliff. He uses the rod to guide his sheep and beat off the enemy wolves that prey on a lone lamb. So if someone is using the rod for an excuse to beat their child they have misapplied scripture. God does not support people beating their children.

Yes, he has brought us through the valley with the shadows of death but He also brings up out the other side into a place of peace. The Good Shepherd provides everything we need and we can rest in Him because He never sleeps.

“Provides All I Need–Little Red 23rd” is for sale right now on my Etsy store. This original, handmade piece is selling for thirty bucks if you use the coupon code–which is a pretty good price for original art.

I am having three drawing to kick off my Etsy shop and say thank you to my faithful readers–

1. For anyone who shares my blog this week, I will enter your name into my drawing to give away “Let the Sun Shine.”

Let-the-Sun-Shine-1000

2. For anyone who comments on my blog this week, I will enter your name into my drawing to give away the “We Need More Heart” Flying Monkey picture.

More-Heart-WM

And for anyone who buys a piece of Original Art in my Etsy shop and leaves a comment, I will enter you into a drawing for a free 5 pack of my Little Red Thrive cards.* (You can read the quotes on my Etsy page.)

Shine set

Thank you for sharing, commenting and reading. Have a wonderful week!

Cherilyn

*Cards are not in the half price sale, sorry.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 735 other followers

%d bloggers like this: