Overcoming a Narcissistic Husband and a Church that Enabled Him – Podcast
The following is a podcast. The identical episode is available on several different hosts, including iHeart media, Apple, and I forget where all else.
I listened to this podcast, then went back and re-listened to the first ten or so minutes of it, but the podcast did not go into detail in explaining how this woman’s church enabled this (not that I recall), but I’ve seen enough over the years to guess why and how.
Most Christians, and I include church preachers in this, are ignorant about Cluster B personality disorders (under which Narcissism falls), so they actually expect women to stay married to individuals who lack empathy and/or a conscience- this is not a realistic, safe, sane, or compassionate response or perspective, by the way – most Christians, especially preachers, are huge morons on these topics.
(Not that secular culture is great at understanding these topics, either.)
There is currently no ‘cure’ for Cluster B personality disorders, and they are quite therapy-resistant (especially Narcissism and Anti-Social), so it’s quite unrealistic for Christians to instruct someone married to a “Cluster B” person to tell them to just “submit more” to the spouse, or to just “pray and trust the Lord” and to tell them divorce is always prohibited, no matter the situation.
Goodness knows that gender complementarian Christians don’t help matters, in that under the false, un-biblical “complementarian” or “biblical womanhood” teachings they love to spout off, they essentially ask or guilt trip Christian girls and women into adopting Codependent, people pleasing behaviors, to lack boundaries, and to endure abuse or mistreatment.
However, the Bible teaches personal responsibility for each person and does not teach that God wants or expects girls or women to remain in abusive relationships, but to leave them and to avoid them in the first place, if possible.
God gave girls and women discernment and wisdom and expects them to use it – to high tail it out of abusive situations, for one thing, not sit there and put up with it, all because Pastor John Doe has a faulty interpretation of the Bible.
It’s not up to any girl or woman to “change” a man, nor is it possible, certainly not in the case of Cluster B personality disorders. Women are not the Holy Spirit. It is not up to women to sanctify a man. It is that man’s responsibility to fix his own problems.
It’s possible I am misunderstanding things, but by “enabling,” I think the lady interviewed (who was married to a Narcissistic Sociopath named John) seemed to be saying that she was living with John as boyfriend-girlfriend, and he manipulated her into marrying him by continually nagging her with the observation that she was “living in sin,” which her church would not approve of.
They, her church, would expect her to make things right by getting married, and not living together as boyfriend and girlfriend, seemed to be the point.
Her ex, John, was using her religious upbringing to manipulate her into marriage.
She said in the podcast that John asked her many, many times to marry him, but she kept saying “No,” until he finally wore her down, and she caved in.
(I could write a separate blog post on that!
I’ve run into several people via this very blog and/or this blog’s associated Twitter account, who kept pestering me and hounding me repeatedly OVER MONTHS (some were very nice about it) to befriend them further over Facebook or e-mail, they kept saying they wanted to get to know me better, even though I politely turned them down many times.
I finally blocked one guy who kept doing this; he would not respect my boundaries and take “no” for an answer, when he kept asking if we could be friends over e-mail.
I’ve since come to learn that this non-stop pestering and hounding after you’ve said “no” to the person many times (and no matter how friendly and nice they are being about it) is one indication that the person more than likely has a personality disorder, and they are to be kept at arm’s length.)
(Link – to iHeart host, 1.15 hour long): Overcoming a Narcissistic Husband and a Church that Enabled Him
(Link – same podcast episode, but located on Spotify): Overcoming a Narcissistic Husband and a Church that Enabled Him
(Link – same episode but on PodPlay): Overcoming a Narcissistic Husband and a Church that Enabled Him
Sept 8, 2022
Today’s Guest overcame a tumultuous marriage with a narcissistic husband and the Church that supported his actions. Coming straight from a religious college and community, our Guest and her ex-husband met and were groomed by the Church to be together and get married.
After what she thought was the perfect pairing to the perfect man, and that they were going to change the world for the better, everything changed.
From sex addiction, to gas lighting, to the Church forgiving all her husbans sins; while not listening to her needs.
Our Guest later realized that she was being loved bombed, betrayed and had to navigate religious enablers who made their relationship a lot more complicated.
— end excerpts —
All in all, a good podcast, I just wish the host and the lady interviewed had invested more time in explaining in more detail how the lady’s church enabled things.
(Link, hosted on Apple Podcasts, about one hour long): Surviving Dirty John w/ Debra Newell Pt. 1 (there is also a Part Two)
Churches advising Christians in what to do or how to handle abusive jobs, abusive friendships, or abusive marriages repeatedly offer harmful or incompetent advice that ends up hurting the person in question – they will always advise the victim to adopt codependent behaviors, which yes, only enables the abuse to continue!
If you’re in an abusive relationship of any kind, whether it’s a job, friendship, marriage, whatever context, if you can, LEAVE!
If you are unable to leave, research how to handle personality disordered individuals; start reading up on tactics such as “grey rocking” or “yellow rocking,” for instance.
In another episode regarding narcissistic abuse, the psychologist advises that if you’re unable or unwilling to divorce your narcissistic partner, one strategy you can use is acceptance.
That is, you need to acknowledge and accept you will never have a deep, fulfilling relationship with your narcissistic partner, your partner will never meet your emotional needs, so you need to look outside the marriage to get those needs met.
That may look like investing more time in your friendships or doing charity work – whatever brings meaning to your life, because your spouse is not going to fulfill that in or for you.
As for my own input (and I am not a mental health professional, but I’ve done a lot of research in these areas and fought, conquered, or still self manage my own issues by myself because the Christian faith didn’t solve them for me):
Never expect a church, most Christian friends, or a preacher to “give you permission” to divorce, or to be assertive, to practice boundaries, or to stand up for yourself.
From what I’ve seen in around 20 or so years in researching these issues from reading books and articles by psychiatrists and psychologists, reading testimonies by divorced Christian persons who divorced an abusive spouse, and knowing firsthand how abysmal and victim blaming Christians are in other regards (eg, in dealing with mental health subjects or bullying in workplaces or in school settings), I have seen patterns in how most preachers, denominations, or churches respond to people in need, whether it’s a believer in an abusive marriage, or a believer with a mental health problem. That is what I am basing the following comments upon.
Too many Christians have skewed, faulty understandings of topics such as grace, forgiveness, or how they think marriage should work – they will always give you incorrect guidance that amounts to them telling you to sit silently and endure the abuse for months or years, whether it’s at a workplace or in a marriage.
If you’re in an abusive relationship or situation of any kind, whether it’s a job, marriage, friendship, or family situation, please do not waste your time with seeking help or guidance from Christians, Christian literature, or churches.
Most Christian resources will only encourage you to stay in your abusive relationship and be super sweet and compliant towards your abuser.
(But taking those misguided approaches will NOT halt the abuse! You can waste years and a lot of energy using those methods.)
Please spend more time researching books, websites, or You Tube videos by secular psychologists or therapists about these subjects.
Many secular mental health professionals are interested in actually helping you find an answer and in navigating and/or leaving your abusive situation, not staying and subjecting yourself to more physical, financial, or emotional damage.
The Christians will be more interested in victim-blaming you, telling you that you must have some personal sin in your life that is causing the abuse, or telling you to stay and put up with abuse in whatever context (marriage, job, whatever), because they have screwy, naive, and terribly misguided beliefs that enduring abuse makes you “Christ-like,” or that it’s somehow good for your spiritual growth – it’s a totally demonic, perverse perspective.
Note that the individuals giving such harmful, enabling advice are not the ones on the receiving end of the abuse – YOU are. It’s quite easy to instruct someone else to stay in intolerable situations if you’re not enduring it yourself.
Jesus already died in your place on the cross so you wouldn’t have to. He’s sure not going to ask you to martyr yourself to keep an abusive marriage together or to stay in an abusive workplace or to spare the pride or feelings of a jerk or an abuser.
Most Christians are more interested in defending and promoting the institution of marriage than they are in assuring that the people WITHIN the marriage are both safe and healthy.
If you’re in an abusive relationship and you’re a Christian, please don’t look to your church, church group, church elders, Christian books about marriage, or your pastor to give you sound, compassionate advice, because 99.9% of the time you will receive damaging or victim-blaming input instead.
Related, off site:
(Link – warning: auto play video at top of page): John Meehan’s first wife recalls how ‘Dirty John’ terrorized her in new podcast: ‘I was scared for my life’
Before Debra Newell, Tonia Bales was a victim of “Dirty John.”
John Meehan’s first wife has teamed up with Audible to help share her story in a new podcast titled “The First Wife: John Meehan’s Reign of Terror.”
She details her relationship with the serial predator and unveils never-before-released recordings of Meehan’s “long-held secrets” from former friends and acquaintances, as well as personal accounts from colleagues, close family members and the former couple’s adult daughters.
… Meehan’s case is best known from the popular true-crime podcast “Dirty John.” That series explores the tale of Newell, a California woman who had already been married multiple times and had grown children. After Bales, she later met Meehan, a seemingly charismatic doctor who had just returned from volunteering his services for Doctors Without Borders in Iraq.
… While Newell initially thought she hit the jackpot on a dating website by meeting the man she had always been looking for, her kids immediately didn’t trust him. As they made their concerns known, Meehan succeeded in driving a wedge through Newell’s family.
… But few people knew about Meehan’s first wife and how her seemingly idyllic marriage also quickly turned into a living nightmare.
…Still, Bales admitted that she noticed red flags from the start.
“John had a way of talking you out of anything that your gut was telling you,” she reflected. “Although I may have been naive, I wasn’t shy. I would ask about things that I noticed, like his driver’s license.
The night we met, it had a different age than what he was saying, but he talked me out of that.
He said he altered his birthday because he wanted to get alcohol in college and get into bars. I thought, ‘Well, I know about people who do that.’ He just had an answer for everything and he was confident about it.”
According to Bales, she later discovered that Meehan was having an affair.
“I was blindsided,” she said. “John was basically leading a double life throughout our whole marriage. When I learned about the affair, I also learned he’s diverting narcotics. I helped him become a nurse [after changing professions], a very sacred profession. It was just sickening to me. Here I was, trying to help him gain this prestigious degree and title. And this is what he was doing with it.”
Harper’s Bazaar reported that after 10 years of marriage, Meehan told Bales he wanted a divorce. While she was forbidden from contacting his mother, Dolores, the outlet noted Bales tracked the matriarch down.
It was Dolores who revealed that Meehan lied about his birthday and full birth name and that he had a drug charge against him in California. When Bales found Meehan’s hidden supply of surgical anesthetic drugs, she contacted police, who launched an investigation into Meehan in 2000.
…Bales said that after Meehan learned she discovered his “con scheme,” his demeanor immediately became dark.
“I had to get a protection order,” she said. “He was leaving these threatening voice recordings. I was scared for my life. I just felt paralyzed by him. You’re always looking over your shoulder when someone is threatening you and saying, ‘Enjoy the time you have left.’ He was a terrorist.”
Related (on this blog):
(Link): Supposedly Woman-Honoring and Pro-Marriage Focus On the Family Group Wants Wives to Blame Themselves If or When Their Husbands Commit Adultery – Re: Book: ‘How God Used the Other Woman,’ by Tina Konkin
(Link): Pastor charged in wife’s murder was headed to Europe to marry boyfriend, prosecutor says – Single Xtian Ladies: Kick that Be Equally Yoked Teaching to the Curb! Also: Marriage and Parenthood do not make people more godly or mature or loving or ethical
(Link): When You’re in Imbalanced, Unfair Relationships – You’re the Free Therapist, The Supportive, Sounding Board Who Listens to Other People’s Non-Stop Complaining, But They Don’t Listen to You – re: The Toilet Function of Friendship