Church Pastor, Wife Sentenced After Using Homeless for Forced Labor, Stealing Benefits – Christian Marriage Doesn’t Improve Society or Make People More Ethical

Church Pastor, Wife Sentenced After Using Homeless for Forced Labor, Stealing Benefits – Christian Marriage Doesn’t Improve Society or Make People More Ethical

It’s more and more difficult for me to want to stick with the Christian faith at all when I see so few people who claim to be Christians actually consistently live out a Christian lifestyle, or who commit such obviously anti-biblical actions.

Also let this serve as yet another example of how “hyper pro marriage, hyper pro Nuclear Family” views put out by Christians simply is not true: Christian marriage didn’t make this couple more godly, mature, loving, or ethical, nor did this marriage improve society.

Further, Gender Complementarian teaching (which includes “male headship” teaching) is clearly false, since so many self professing Christian men are unethical dirt balls.

(Link): Pastor Who Used Homeless as Forced Labor, Three Others Plead Guilty to Benefits Fraud 

(Link): California pastor gets jail time for using homeless in benefits fraud scheme: ‘Appalling abuse of power’

Victor Gonzalez and wife were part of church labor trafficking scheme, according to prosecutors

by Jon Brown

A California pastor and his wife were sentenced to prison time earlier this month after pleading guilty to a charge related to what federal prosecutors described as a church labor trafficking scheme that victimized the homeless.

Victor Gonzalez, the head pastor of California-based Imperial Valley Ministries (IVM), was sentenced to six months in prison and another six months of house confinement after pleading guilty in a San Diego federal court to conspiracy to commit benefits fraud, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

His wife, Susan Gonzalez, who pleaded guilty to the same charge, received a time-served sentence.

Continue reading “Church Pastor, Wife Sentenced After Using Homeless for Forced Labor, Stealing Benefits – Christian Marriage Doesn’t Improve Society or Make People More Ethical”

To Forgive Or Not To Forgive Your Abuser – The Unintended Fallout: Possible Emotional Abuse or Exploitation Of Your Codependent Friend or Family Member

To Forgive Or Not To Forgive Your Abuser – The Unintended Fallout: Possible Emotional Abuse or Exploitation Of Your Codependent Friend or Family Member

I was watching a video today by psychologist Dr. Ramani, who I like very much, and I agree with her most of the time.

I even agree with most of her comments in this particular recent video she made that I will be discussing in this post, but it brought to mind one over-looked aspect pertaining to volatile or abusive relationships.

In the video (link to that video here, and I will embed it below, the title is, “Is there virtue in forgiving a narcissist who doesn’t apologize?”), Dr. Ramani expressed that she pretty much disagrees with the concept that people should have to forgive others, or that forgiving others makes a person stronger, etc.

Dr. Ramani rightly points out in that video that continually forgiving pathologically narcissistic persons is a waste of your time, for various reasons I shall not explain here (you can watch her video for explanations). I do agree with her on that.

If someone in your life keeps hurting, abusing, or mistreating you, no matter how many times you’ve forgiven them and given them a second, third, etc, chance,
you need to accept the fact this person is more than likely NEVER going to change and that they merely view your willingness to always forgive him or her as a weakness to repeatedly exploit.
So cut that person from your life, or limit time around them.

It’s not that I disagree with Dr. Ramani’s comments in the video on the face of things, but, I am concerned for Codependents.

On a similar note, in years past, I’ve also read books or seen videos about how people can help their abused friends.

I’ve seen videos by women who divorced their abusive husbands who reel off a list of tips on how you, the friend, can be supportive towards the friend in the abusive marriage.

These videos, books, and online articles, contain lists of things to say or to avoid saying when trying to help someone who is currently in an abusive relationship or someone who was abused in childhood.

Many of these books, videos, and web pages (most by therapists, psychologists or recovered abusive victims) often stress that you, the friend, should just sit and listen to the friend – just validate the friend, do not give advice, judge, or criticize.

I am a recovered Codependent (I wrote a very, very long post about that here).

I am also an Introvert. Introverts naturally make better attentive listeners than Extroverts.

So, as someone who is an Introvert and a one-time Codependent, I was very adept at giving the sort of emotional support a lot of troubled people seek out and find comforting.

For over 35 years, due to the parenting of my mother and the guilt tripping-, sexist-, Codependent- pushing- teachings under “gender complementarianism” of the Southern Baptist church I was brought up in, I had no boundaries, I was not assertive, and it was implied it is my job or responsibility in life to rescue or help other people, whatever format that came in.

All of that was taught to me as I grew up under the false, gender complementarian assumption (and my mother and father bought into some of this thinking too) that God created women to be more caring than men, it would be un-feminine or selfish for a woman to have boundaries, and I was taught that it was women’s “duty” to be care-takers for the hurting.

For me, most often, the support and care-taking my Mom and church taught me to engage in came in the form of “Emotional Labor,” and it made my already bad mental health in years past even worse.

(I was diagnosed at a very young age with clinical depression, I also had anxiety disorders and had low self esteem for many years. I no longer have depression or low self esteem.)

If you are an abuse victim, or if you’ve been bullied at a job, or you were abused in a marriage, or you were sexually or physically abused as a child by a family member (or by a neighbor, or by whomever),
I know it can be helpful, now, as an adult, to sit and talk to an empathetic listener about it, it can feel so good for that listener to sit quietly while you do most of the talking, and for that person to validate you and your experiences.

It can be very healing and feel like a tremendous relief for that listener to refrain from victim blaming you, offering advice or platitudes.

It can help in the healing process for another adult to believe you and just offer non-judgmental emotional support as you relate your trauma and pain to them.

I realize all that.

But have you ever considered that the caring, non-judgmental, empathetic person you keep turning to, whether it’s a friend or a family member, might be highly codependent and your repeated use of that person as your emotional support system may be damaging to THAT PERSON?

Because I was that person, for over 35 years.

I was the sweet, caring, understanding, supportive listener that many people – co-workers on jobs, family, neighbors, friends –
would call, e-mail, snail mail, or text with their problems, because they KNEW I would always listen to them rant (for hours on end, if need be, over months and years), I would NEVER put time limits on their rants, and I would ALWAYS respond in a timely fashion to ranting or sad e-mails or texts.

I spent over 35 years giving a lot of non-qualified, no-strings-attached emotional support to a lot of emotionally wounded or abused people over my life.

Some of these people called or e-mailed me over job stress, health problems, troubled marriages, financial issues, or, they were single and were lonely – they couldn’t get a boyfriend (or girlfriend).

None of these people who called or texted me to complain or sob to me ever once considered how their regular, negative phone calls (or letters or face to face chats) were impacting me. For the ones who considered it, I suppose they didn’t care.

If you choose not to forgive your abuser, that is your choice to make, but…

Be aware that if you choose to not forgive but to also hold on to your hurt and anger, and to choose to ruminate on the abuse,
and should you choose to deal with and vent that anger and hurt by regularly calling your Codependent friend to listen to your rants or sobbing – you are abusing your Codependent friend or family member, which is not acceptable.

In all the years I granted emotional support to hurting people (including but not limited to co-workers who’d stop by my cubicle during work hours to bend my ear for an hour or more about their divorce or health problems), I was never once thanked.

The non-stop support I gave was never acknowledged. And giving that non-stop support was exhausting and taxing for me, as I know it can be for other Codependent persons.

A “thank you” once in awhile from these people who came to me to dump their problems on me would’ve been appreciated. I never got one.

Reciprocation would’ve been appreciated and helpful too, but the people who were abuse survivors, or assorted chronic complainers who used me to vent to, very rarely to never asked about ME and MY struggles in life.

Continue reading “To Forgive Or Not To Forgive Your Abuser – The Unintended Fallout: Possible Emotional Abuse or Exploitation Of Your Codependent Friend or Family Member”

Pathologies of Victimhood by R. Gunderman – The Danger of Victimhood Mentality

Pathologies of Victimhood by R. Gunderman – The Dangers of Victimhood Mentality

I wanted to explain a few things before I paste in excerpts from the article about victimhood by Gunderman, so nobody will misunderstand my views upfront.

I do think there are actual victims out there in life, including in the Christian church context. I am not denying that.

I recognize that sometimes painful or unfair things happen to all of us in life, and sometimes those painful things are due to other people’s cruelty, incompetence, negligence, or sins against us, and not due to any personal moral failings or choices we make.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people through no fault of those people. One can be more sinned against than sinner.

A few years ago, there was a guy on Twitter with several accounts (he seemed to be a Christian), all of which were disgustingly used to mock victims of church abuse or of sexual abuse whose churches tried to cover up the abuse.

I think he later deleted these accounts, or his accounts received so many complaints from others that Twitter deleted them all.

One of his Twitter accounts used the name “Victim Princess,” as if to suggest that any and all women who spoke out against abuse they received by their churches or by Christians was nothing but entitled, petty whining with no merit. I was appalled by his account.

This guy would do things like actually tweet rude or nasty comments at Christian women on Twitter who discussed how their church covered up their abuse by other church members.

Politically, I am a conservative, and I do not agree with the vast majority of liberal or progressive “woke,” intersectional identity politics, which is largely based on victimhood mentality.

In progressive identity politics, different identity groups end up competing for “who is the most oppressed and biggest victim in life,” which creates (not solves) all sorts of problems.

However, while I do think that the “woke” go over-board with their grievance culture mentality, that does not mean that people who complain about having been hurt in life are always lying, exaggerating, or trying to get special accommodations.

Out of Knee Jerk Dislike of Wokeness, Among Other Factors, Sadly, Too Often, Too Many Conservatives Minimize Actual Abuse

While some progressives over-play the “victim card” to exploit and manipulate others, it is still wrong for conservatives to deny, minimize, or to reject altogether that churches do usually cover up sexual abuse in their midst or by their members.

It is wrong for conservatives to fail to acknowledge the reality that most pastors and churches do in fact fail domestic abuse victims and constantly enable abusers.

I do think that most churches are insensitive and incompetent at handling abuse among their members, and that should change.

There is such a thing as a victim. People can be exploited, hurt, and abused by other people – that is not something that “woke” liberals and progressives are making up.

I’m a conservative who has been taken advantage of and bullied through my life by school mates, my ex fiance, siblings, co-workers on jobs, etc., and this through no fault of my own.

Victims do actually exist.

Conservatives can and have been abused and mistreated on an individual and group level, whether by liberal and progressive persons and policies, or by their spouses or bosses on jobs.

At one time or another, we’ve all been bullied, abused, harassed, exploited, or on the receiving end of rude or cutting comments, regardless of our identity or political beliefs.

It is therefore unrealistic and cruel for conservatives to act like any and every person who claims victim status is a sensitive snowflake or is lying about it.

Flip Side of Coin: People Who Choose to Stay in Victimhood Status (yes, it’s ultimately a choice), Refuse to Move Forward

However, I have seen people, and groups of people, who – whether they are actual victims or not – wallow in victimhood status and victimhood mentality, and this is not acceptable, either.

Some of those still participating in the “exvangelical” (ex-evangelical) tag over on Twitter in 2022, which has been going on for several years now, are one example of this.

I’ve seen so many people, under that “exvangelical” tag,  as well as non-ex-evangelical people I once befriended online,
or people (including family members I’ve had, real life friends and co-workers) who may have been honestly victimized and wounded in childhood or adulthood, but they remain “stuck” in their rage, anger, and hurt – they still think of themselves as victims, and they want to be viewed as victims.

They want to be endlessly coddled and validated.

These are people who are very resistant to, or who refuse to take, the only avenue out of the pain, regret, anger, and disappointment and into joy, peace, and happiness – which includes, after a period of grieving and anger (that comes to an end and does not go on indefinitely),

  • accepting, once for all, what happened to them,
    realizing that remaining focused on external causes and other people (ie, their abuser or abusive church) is keeping them “stuck,”
  • to make a deliberate decision at some point to move forward, whether they “feel like it” or not
    (i.e., to no longer stew in anger, to ruminate, stew in past wrongs done against them, to dwell on how life is unfair, to dwell upon the idea they are a good person who didn’t deserve the abuse, etc),
  • to realize in order to change their life for the better, they will have to look inwards,
    which will allow them to get to the next healing point…
  • take personal responsibility for their life, healing,
    and realize if you want your life to change,
    you will have to get active and make changes yourself
    – sitting around all day doing things like watching TV or complaining to people on social media about how life, your former church, God, or your abuser, treated you so unfairly
    (even if any and all those things are in fact true, ie, you WERE treated horribly and unfairly)
    – won’t ultimately help you in the long run, it won’t make the necessary changes;
    complaining frequently, and receiving validation that, yes, what happened to you was horrible and wrong, and yes, you were a victim who didn’t deserve abuse, will only offer temporary emotional relief but will not produce long lasting inner peace and happiness

Stewing in anger, hurt, and regret and enjoying or wanting to receive validation that one did not deserve to be abused, is all but a step in the overall journey of healing.
It is the first step… but too many victims want to stay in Step One forever and ever, rather than moving through the rest of the steps.

Yes, there should be time limits on how long you are angry, ruminating, and upset and wanting to receive validation – a lot of therapists and victims (and former victims) get upset when this view point is stated, but it’s true.

Maybe that time limit is different for each victim and should not be rushed – which is fine.

HOWEVER, I do not support any person staying mired in “victimhood land” perpetually.

Staying in step one – never getting over or past the anger and hurt, refusing to let go or from even considering to do so, being addicted to external validation like it’s a drug one craves and needs – is one huge component of what keeps people trapped in depression, anger, pain, and from enjoying the rest of their life.

If you feel perpetually wounded, hurt, or angry, as long as you keep shifting blame towards those outside you (even if yes, those others deserve that blame), as long as you continue to dwell on being angry at your abuser, at God, life circumstances, or former churches that treated you like trash, you’ll never be able to move on and enjoy life again.

You have to look inwards in order to move forward, and that is a choice one has to make, because it won’t instantaneously happen.

Furthermore, your emotions will never magically change on their own; you will never “feel” like getting up, making changes, and moving forward. It’s a matter or choice and self discipline.

So if your mindset is, “I will make changes and move on when I feel like it, when my emotions change,” that is never going to happen.

Moving on is more a matter of will.

While I do think there are actual victims out there (and anti-woke conservatives need to be sensitive to these persons),
I’m also aware of legitimate victims who cannot or who refuse to move on,

-and there are persons with Covert or Vulnerable Narcissism (a personality disorder – more about that on this blog (Link): here and (Link): here), a hallmark of which is holding a life-long self-pitying, victimhood mentality – these people, of their own accord, are mired in depression and misery of their own making, because they refuse to look inwards and take personal responsibility.

Covert Narcissists, for one, prefer to point the finger of blame for their misery at their family of origin, God, and / or their former church, ex-spouses, and so on. They never want to look at how their attitudes or actions keep them in a limited, unhappy situation.

Sorry for that very long intro, but I didn’t want anyone to get to the following link and excerpts and think by posting it that I am in denial that yes, at times in life, sometimes people have legitimate pain and grievances and can be honest to goodness victims.

I do believe there are honest- to- goodness victims out there and that these victims deserve compassion, empathy, and justice,
but – however –
I am also aware that, unfortunately, some people, whether legitimate victim or not, will milk and exploit a “victim” label to lash out at others, to demand special treatment (at the expense of others), and that  clinging to a “victim” identity and view of themselves will cause them to remain stuck in unhappiness.

I have more commentary below this link with excerpts:

Pathologies of Victimhood – the Essay

(Link): Pathologies of Victimhood by R. Gunderman – Victimhood Mentality

Excerpts:

by Richard Gunderman
November 13, 2022

[Piece opens by discussing the late Sacheen Littlefeather, who claimed to be a Native American but who was actually of Mexican descent. She wanted to be viewed as a Native American to depict herself as an undertrodden member of a victim class.
As someone who actually is part Native American, I don’t view myself as a victim, so I find her ploy strange]

…Everyone has experienced genuine victimization at some point in their lives. Some have been the victims of political persecution and violent assault, while others have suffered lesser slights, such as bullying, verbal insults, and interruptions when speaking.

Most of us have also experienced situations where presumed victimhood stemmed from a mistaken assumption—for example, a driver who “cut off” a fellow motorist by abruptly changing lanes might appear to harbor malicious intent, but it might turn out that he was merely attempting to get to the hospital as quickly as possible to be with an ailing loved one.

Some among us, however, have a habit of adopting a posture of victimhood too easily and too often, a tendency that can damage communities, interpersonal relationships, and supposed victims themselves.

Continue reading “Pathologies of Victimhood by R. Gunderman – The Danger of Victimhood Mentality”

No Red Flags: Woman Discusses Discovering Her Seemingly Normal, Loving Husband was a Sexual Manipulator who Committed Adultery Many Times (podcast)

No Red Flags: Woman Discusses Discovering Her Seemingly Normal, Loving Husband was a Sexual Manipulator who Committed Adultery Many Times (podcast)

I listened to part one of this podcast (I guess there is a part two), and the woman interviewed (Jennifer) says she knew her husband (Spencer) for a few years and dated him for one before marrying him.

She said both before and after she married him, he seemed like a genuinely loving, caring person. She never had a clue that the guy was online or manipulating 20-something college students at his job for sex, but that is what he did.

Part one of this podcast is about 35 minutes long. I will see if I can find part two, and if so, I will link to that one as well.

Even though there may not always be red flags in a dating relationship (or in co-workers at jobs you have, or in friendships), it still pays to study these personality disorders and learn what the red flags are, because a lot of these warped or selfish individuals do in fact exhibit red flags.

You can still avoid a lot of jerks, emotional vampires, and abusers because a lot of them do exhibit red flags. Certainly not all, but quite a few do.

I want to emphasize that you can run across toxic people in ALL areas of life, NOT JUST IN DATING OR MARRIAGE!

You can suffer almost as much as, or the same amount, of stress and damage from a toxic boss or toxic friend or toxic sibling or toxic parent as you can from a toxic boyfriend or toxic husband or toxic wife.

My one pet peeve with 99% of discussion online among abuse survivors or psychologists about toxic people is that they regularly feature discussion of dating or romance.

Well, I have never been married (though I was engaged to a selfish guy and broke up with him), but I have had issues over the course of my life with being swindled or bullied by toxic co-workers in workplaces or with verbally abusive, toxic siblings, etc etc.

People who discuss abuse online need to expand beyond discussing unhealthy people only in the parameters of dating and marriage. Believe me, you can (and will) be hosed, abused, and used by non-romantic partners in life, not just boyfriends or wives or husbands.

If I accidentally linked to the incorrect episodes below, you can search for the correct links on the (Link): main podcast title page, “Navigating Narcissism,” on iHeart.

(Link – to podcast, via iHeart (also available on Apple and other platforms)): Secrets of a Narcissist w/ Betrayal Podcast hosts Jenifer Faison and Andrea Gunning Pt. 1 – approx 35 minutes long

October 5, 2022 (description of episode):

Jenifer Faison and Andrea Gunning of Betrayal Podcast join Dr. Ramani to discuss Jen’s marriage to her college sweetheart. What she thought was rekindled romance, led to the most shocking discovery when her husband’s dark secrets were revealed by the police.

Listen to Part 1 of 2 episodes, to learn how Jenifer and Andrea came to collaborate and create their podcast, Betrayal  and how Jen overcame this incredibly difficult moment in her life.

Part 2:

(Link – to podcast on iHeart): Secrets of a Narcissist w/ Betrayal Podcast hosts Jenifer Faison and Andrea Gunning Pt. 2 – 46 minutes long

Oct 13, 2022

Jenifer Faison and Andrea Gunning of Betrayal Podcast continue to share their story in part 2 of their episode. Dr. Ramani, Jenifer and Andrea dive deeper into how Jen dealt with Spencer’s lovers.

Continue reading “No Red Flags: Woman Discusses Discovering Her Seemingly Normal, Loving Husband was a Sexual Manipulator who Committed Adultery Many Times (podcast)”

Why Can’t Other Christians Understand I Am Happy Being Single? by Emily Brown

Why Can’t Other Christians Understand I Am Happy Being Single? by Emily Brown

The essay I am excerpting below is pretty good and contains a lot of truth.

It’s certainly true that a person who wanted marriage but remains single can eventually learn to accept their own single status, mostly make peace with it, but well-meaning friends and family (Christians are the worst, they worship marriage),
can make one of their well-meaning comments, and it can send you spiraling – until you learn to let it bounce off you, develop boundaries, and let that well-meaning person know that their comment does offend or hurt, even if that wasn’t their intent.

I also recall years ago seeing Christian singer Carman, who died in 2021, who was single until he got married in his 50s, say on a TBN program (while he was single) that he would be going along okay in life doing just FINE with his single status,
until he’d run into a Christian friend or family member who’d make those passing, sometimes well meaning, comments or questions like, “Why are you still single? Aren’t you depressed or lonely being single?”

Carman said on those occasions, his thoughts were, “You know, I WAS doing okay with being single UNTIL you had to rub my single status in my face and act like I SHOULD feel inadequate about it.”

The following is from Relevant, which only permits a person up to around five free articles per month:

(Link): Why Can’t Other Christians Understand I Am Happy Being Single?

Excerpts:

by Emily Brown

As a lifelong single person, I’ve had a lot of time to come to terms with my singleness. And not even just come to terms and begrudgingly accept it, but truly learn to enjoy and love being single.

So when people ask how I feel about being single I don’t have to fake a smile. I excitedly share the happiness and joy I feel about being single.

That being said, there are still moments where I do feel sadness or shame or embarrassment about my singleness.

Do you know why? It’s because of the response people give me when I tell them how I feel about being single. Because when I tell people that I’m single they often respond with some iteration of:

“I’m sure you’ll find someone soon!”

Uh, thanks?

Nowhere in my explanation of my relationship status did I mention I was upset or worried.

Yet why do people — and let me be clear on which people I am specifically talking about: already married Christians — always assume I am sad about being single?

It has been a long, long journey to finding happiness. I worked really, really hard to unlearn the lie that being with someone would make my life complete and replace it with the truth that God is all I need.

I had to realize that there isn’t anything wrong with me and being single is not a curse.

…But it can take just a few words from well-meaning, ultimately misguided people to crack holes in my happiness.

Continue reading “Why Can’t Other Christians Understand I Am Happy Being Single? by Emily Brown”

Overcoming a Narcissistic Husband and a Church that Enabled Him – Podcast

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.

Continue reading “Overcoming a Narcissistic Husband and a Church that Enabled Him – Podcast”

They Put Their Faith in a God-Fearing Man Selling Them Tiny Homes. Now They’re Suing Him For Fraud – Christians: Please Learn the Red Flags, Research Cluster B Personality Disorders

They Put Their Faith in a God-Fearing Man Selling Them Tiny Homes. Now They’re Suing Him For Fraud – Christians: Please Learn the Red Flags, Research Cluster B Personality Disorders

Before I get to the links way below about a self-professing, devout Christian man who was allegedly swindling customers out of their very expensive purchases:

For any of you super trusting people out there – especially if you consider yourself kind, decent, empathetic and/or a Christian (though what I say below is also applicable to kind-hearted Non-Christians as well):

Please, please educate yourselves and accept reality.

There ARE people out there with what are called “Cluster B” personality disorders (such as NPD, malignant narcissism, or, they’re on the narcissism spectrum, or they are sociopathic or psychopathic) who cannot, or will not, have empathy (and on top of an empathy-deficit, sociopaths lack a conscience, too).

Not all of these Cluster B personality disordered persons are serial killers, as is often assumed(*) – but they all lack remorse and empathy and will use and abuse those in their paths, even their own spouses and family members! (*Some Cluster B personality disordered persons love to financially scam other people or financially exploit them, for instance.)

The primary drivers and motivations of Cluster B persons are control and dominance of other people.

These people can be your neighbor, sibling, parent, spouse, a friend, your boss, or a co-worker.

These dangerous persons can work as church pastors, doctors, school teachers, veterinarians, psychologists, therapists, plumbers, IT professionals, UPS delivery persons, mailmen, hair stylists – any and every occupation, even “care based,” charity based, or church ministry related ones!

These people have learned to “pass” as normal. They will pretend to be normal. Many will act as though they have compassion and empathy for others, but they do not.

Just because someone is working in a care-based occupation doesn’t mean they have empathy and are warm, nurturing, and have your best interest at heart.

Some narcissistic or sociopathic persons who work as therapists or as social workers INTENTIONALLY undermine their patients or others in their care. That’s one reason you must be careful when shopping around for a mental health professional, should you want to see one for treatment.

Some of these personality disordered persons will do things like say they are a “Jesus-follower,” a Christian, they will even volunteer for charity work, attend church regularly, and “play act the part” of loving, devoted Christ follower while simultaneously committing financial fraud (or other sins and crimes) against you or others.

And they do NOT CARE AT ALL how much it hurts your feelings or hurts you financially.

They are not sorry, and they never will be. They do not experience remorse or sorrow for how they hurt others.

Even the non-personality disordered abusive persons out there have very large entitlement attitudes, so their view on relationships is that being mean, lying, nasty, and controlling of or to you is getting THEIR needs met for them, their abusive behavior of you is working well for them, so why bother to care about you and your needs and how YOU are being hurt by them in the process?

They feel they have no reason to change for the better (this is from their perspective).

There is nothing you can do to fix, change, save, or help such persons (even most therapists agree such persons are beyond help or fixing), nor is it your responsibility to fix or change them.

Avoid them as much as possible. No amount of compassion, love, attention, pity, or empathy from you or someone else will change or fix such persons.

No amount of church attendance, Bible reading, or exposure to the Gospel or the teachings of Jesus will heal, change, or fix them.

This includes the marriage context: a wife being “more submissive” or “loving” towards a narcissistic or sociopathic husband will not “heal,” change, or fix the husband and cause him to stop hurting his wife.

Please do some research, and stop allowing people to take advantage of you! Look for the red flags.

Perhaps start out by reading books such as “The Sociopath Next Door” by Stout

(though, caution: in an otherwise very good and educational work, I think she sugar coats her descriptions of narcissism in her book too much – narcissists, especially at the moderate to high end of the spectrum, are essentially watered-down sociopaths, so far as I am concerned,
but, in her book, Stout makes narcissists sound more lovable, redeemable, reachable, and friendly than they actually are,
which contrasts what I’ve read in a lot of research by other mental health professionals and accounts by narcissistic abuse survivors who all specialize in the topic of narcissism),

or “Husband, Liar, Sociopath – How He Lied, Why I Fell for It & the Painful Lessons Learned” by O. N. Ward,
or “Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself” by Shahida Arabi.

There are many other books – and free online articles and videos – that describe all these issues.

Just because someone claims to be a Christian and acts really sweet, caring, and nice does NOT mean they will NOT abuse you financially, or will not abuse you physically, verbally, or sexually in private.

Because such people do exist, and they will abuse or exploit you.

Stop thinking the best of people, stop being so trusting, stop assuming that because someone talks favorably of Jesus that this must mean they are trust-worthy, and stop giving people third, fourth, and more chances if they’ve already hurt or lied to you twice!

Stop rationalizing their behavior, stop excusing it on the basis they told you they are having a bad day, they’re under stress, or they were abused as a child (whether they were or not still does not excuse their abusive or dishonest behavior).

Such attitudes and behaviors on your part, where you keep forgiving, pitying, trusting, and grant repeated chances and do-overs, is what enables alleged frauds like the guy in the article below to scam you in the first place.

I am not victim blaming anyone who has been abused or targeted by any of these abusers or scammers.

Here is where I am coming from:
I just want to pull my hair out in frustration in particular at how Christians, in their sermons, books, social media, blogs, and their attitudes, frequently encourage or pressure behaviors or attitudes in believers that encourage them to be very susceptible to attracting abusive people or con artists, or from eliminating them from their lives once they encounter them.

Christians are setting other Christians up to be attractive and easy targets and prey for sociopaths, narcissists, and other troubled and dangerous people.

Misguided Christian teachings about grace, forgiveness, compassion, helping one’s neighbor, turning the cheek, the “no divorce for any reason” teachings, and giving second chances, and Christian complementarians especially are really bad about this.

Christian gender complementarians promote “gender complementarianism,” where they strongly condition girls and women to adopt beliefs and actions that are indistinguishable from Codependency (ie, which includes things like lacking boundaries, being passive, etc), which makes girls and women reluctant to engage in perfectly healthy and normal actions, such as standing up to abusers or bullying behavior, and leaves them vulnerable from recognizing abusive behavior as being abusive in the first place.

Secular culture of course also re-enforces such harmful beliefs and behaviors in girls and women as well, via traditional gender stereotypes (see the book The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker for some examples; research by others has also been done in this area going back years with the same results being shown).

(Link): They Put Their Faith in a God-Fearing Man Selling Them Tiny Homes. Now They’re Suing Him For Fraud

People around the country who have paid Matt Sowash thousands of dollars for the small dwellings after seeing him on TikTok say he never delivered on his promises.

by Sept 20, 2022

By Deon J. Hampton

DENVER — A man who had been convicted of bilking investors out of thousands of dollars and who professed his love for God while selling tiny homes online swindled homebuyers out of their life savings for dwellings that were never delivered, three alleged victims said in lawsuits filed in federal and state courts.

Developer Matt Sowash, founder of the Colorado-based nonprofit Holy Ground Tiny Homes, promoted the small residences on social media, including to his 80,000 TikTok followers, with short videos portraying an upbeat, God-fearing man selling the American Dream — affordable homes with financing and no credit checks.

“For people that can’t pay for a house all at once, we can finance you. Holy Ground Tiny Homes. Get yours today,” Sowash said in one TikTok video.

“Great house, available now, around $45,000 is what this goes for. Come in and take it away,” he said in another video, wearing a T-shirt adorned with “Faith Over Fear.”

Sowash said in an interview that he never set out to take advantage of homebuyers, but he’s not sure he’ll be able to build the 250 homes already paid for, in full or in part.

…A plaintiff in one of three lawsuits filed against Sowash said in an interview that the builder’s persuasiveness and Jesus-loving persona convinced her to part with her hard-earned cash.

“That’s part of what sold me. He’s charming, convincing and I believe in God,” said Clara Virginia Davis, 24, an elementary schoolteacher in upstate New York.

Continue reading “They Put Their Faith in a God-Fearing Man Selling Them Tiny Homes. Now They’re Suing Him For Fraud – Christians: Please Learn the Red Flags, Research Cluster B Personality Disorders”

I Hate Looking After Ill People So I’m Removing ‘In Sickness’ From My Wedding Vows – via AITA and The Sun 

I Hate Looking After Ill People So I’m Removing ‘In Sickness’ From My Wedding Vows – via AITA and The Sun 

This one below is a tough one.  My opinion sometimes goes one way and then the other on this subject whenever I see it turn up every so often in advice columns.

I don’t think it’s as clear cut as some of the people screaming at this lady think it is.

I was a caretaker for one of my dying family members for over a year, and it was physically and mentally draining – no, I wouldn’t want to repeat that, either, not with a spouse or someone else, so I can understand where this woman is coming from.

I am also a recovered codependent, and in the 35 or so years I was a codependent, I ran around ignoring my own needs to take care of other people – and I don’t just mean in caring for physically ill people, and driving car-less neighbors to doctor’s appointments and things like that – but I frequently listened to troubled friends, co-workers and family complain for hours over YEARS about the same problems repeatedly.

It is draining to be a constant care-taker for people, whether it’s caring for a physically ill and dying person, or providing a lot of Emotional Labor for negative or depressed friends and family.

So I don’t know if I can totally view the woman in the post below as being a selfish person. She already cared for one of her sick parents for years, and she understandably doesn’t want to re-live that with a spouse, should the spouse develop a chronic health condition.

But then, I can also see how, at first glance her position does come across as grating.

I wonder how much sexism plays a role in this – American culture expects that women will be care-takers and nurturers, where-as men are not expected to take on that role.

(Link): I hate looking after ill people so I’m removing ‘in sickness’ from my wedding vows

Along with the big white dress and booze-up with friends, the most important part of any wedding is seeing two people commit to each other for the rest of their lives.

Although plenty of couples opt for personal vows to express their love, the most important moment of any ceremony is arguably the bit where they declare to look after one another “in sickness and in health”.

But one bride-to-be has caused uproar online after she explained why she wants to remove this important line on her big day.

Posting on Reddit’s “Am I The A—-le” forum, the woman said she wants to replace “in sickness” with “in happiness”.

She explained: “This is harsh, but I hate taking care of sick people.

“My siblings and I were always taking care of our parents whenever they get sick and I just hate it.

“I’m sick of it and I hate feeling bound or obligated to take care of somebody.

Continue reading “I Hate Looking After Ill People So I’m Removing ‘In Sickness’ From My Wedding Vows – via AITA and The Sun “

Experts Can Sometimes Be Wrong On Their Topics of Expertise, and Experts Sometimes Disagree with Other Experts in the Same Field – It’s Okay To Disagree with Experts

Experts Can Sometimes Be Wrong On Their Topics of Expertise, and Experts Sometimes Disagree with Other Experts in the Same Field – It’s Okay To Disagree with Experts

People or organizations who are regarded as being experts in one field or another can be incorrect at times; therefore, one should not uncritically accept anything and everything “experts” have to say.

Sometimes, experts disagree with other experts in their field on the same topic.

When such situations arise, which expert should I believe, Expert 1 or Expert 2? And who is to say?

If you say I should listen to Expert 2 on topic Z and ignore Expert 1, why should I take your word for it?

What makes you the final arbiter on who is right or wrong on an issue, and why should I automatically bow the knee to what Group X says on Topic Z, just because you believe that Group X are experts or that Group X are even generally regarded by others as being experts?

One has to use critical thinking as one goes through life.

I do respect giving some amount of credence to people who have higher education and/or life experience regarding a topic, so I am by no means an advocate for applauding ignorance or for totally ignoring and disregarding what “experts” have to say on whatever subject matter they have chosen to specialize in.

Experts Sometimes Have Political (or other) Agendas and Will Use Their Platform and “Expert” Credentials to Lie About, Distort, or Omit Facts

I am not opposed to taking into consideration what so-called “experts” on a topic have to say, but I’m old enough, with a college degree and enough life experience accumulated, to know that sometimes experts are wrong – and sometimes, experts have agendas.

An example or two here:

Covid-19 Virus

Progressives and liberals often slant scientific news and findings to bend to the will of the Democrats and progressive values and causes: Covid is a good example of this.

Progressives have politicized science and medicine to determine how and who should wear masks, should schools be closed and for how long, who should be vaccinated (they press even those who are not likely to get or die from Covid to get vaccinated).

Continue reading “Experts Can Sometimes Be Wrong On Their Topics of Expertise, and Experts Sometimes Disagree with Other Experts in the Same Field – It’s Okay To Disagree with Experts”

Victim Blaming Codependents, or Victim Blaming People Who Exhibit Codependent Behaviors

Victim Blaming Codependents or Victim Blaming People Who Exhibit Codependent Behaviors

The concept of Codependency is not victim-blaming.

The concept of Codependency does not pathologize domestic abuse survivors,  targets of narcissistic abuse, or other victims of other types of abuse, contrary to a lot of online rhetoric I have seen, and I don’t care what psychiatrist with what degree behind his name has stated things like, “Codependency is victim blaming and pathologizing!” – that psychiatrist, despite his eight years in medical school, is wrong.

He is wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong.

I disagree with him entirely. And I do not have to have a medical degree to see where he’s wrong, and to know that he’s wrong.

I am a recovered codependent, and I remain astounded at people, especially therapists, psychologists, and abuse survivor advocates, who should know better, who never-the-less keep peddling this trope that the concept of Codependency is victim blaming, or it’s too broad in scope to be of much use.

(There are actually other mental health professionals out there who do not believe that Codependency is useless, too broad, or that it pathologizes anyone.)

A few months ago, when news stories about Anna Duggar were more prominent – she’s married to convicted child pornography user Josh Duggar, former reality television show star
– and then, a little later, when so-called abuse survivor advocates, such as Ashley Easter started commenting on that and victim blaming Anna Dugggar, and Amy Smith of Watchkeep began attacking journalist Julie Roys, I kept seeing these people, and others who follow them, showcase a very stunning misunderstanding of, or in some cases, a lack of awareness of, Codependency.

I may in the future do more posts – ones specific to Ashley Easter, Anna Duggar, and the Amy Smith – Julie Roys fiasco from months back – but for this post, I wanted to address this topic via at least two videos I saw on Dr. Ramani’s You Tube Channel.

Dr. Ramani is a psychologist who specializes in treating victims of narcissistic abuse.

I actually like Dr. Ramani quite a bit, and I’ve seen and listened to many of her videos. I like her on a personal level, and I think she’s quite astute.

I do  not feel comfortable being critical of someone who I usually agree with often, and who I find to be personable, but Dr. Ramani made a few comments in some of her videos here and there, pertaining to codependency, which I didn’t entirely agree with.

And no, I myself do not have to be a psychologist or have a mental health degree to form opinions or conclusions based upon what I hear and see!

While I do not have a mental health degree, I am college educated, and I did spend the past several years researching mental health topics. I did take psychology courses in college, but that is not what I earned my degree in.

So, I may not be an “expert” on mental health topics (in a degreed sense), but I am not an entirely uninformed person.

Continue reading “Victim Blaming Codependents, or Victim Blaming People Who Exhibit Codependent Behaviors”

Guy Cheated On His Girlfriend After She Gave Him One Of Her Kidneys To Save His Life 

Guy Cheated On His Girlfriend After She Gave Him One Of Her Kidneys To Save His Life 

What an ingrate. What male entitlement. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a narcissist or sociopath.

I’d be seething with rage if I were her. – At least for awhile, but in situations like these, if you stay in that anger and rage, it can end up eating you up inside and you can waste precious time that way.

In the long run, it can be best for your mental health if, after you allow yourself time to grieve or feel enraged, to eventually let it go so you can move on.

It’s also stories like this one below that make me feel better about walking away from codependency a few years ago.

Back when I was a codependent, (because my mother and gender complementarian church I was raised in encouraged me to think that being a “godly woman” meant being a doormat, so they instilled all sorts of codependent behaviors into me and my thinking), I was taken advantage of constantly, by so many people – by my ex fiance, co-workers, family, friends.

I could totally see myself having done something like donate a kidney to a friend or boyfriend I knew years ago. These days? Nope. No way. Good luck with your dialysis!

The following story comes from the Bored Panda site, which has a bad habit of telling the main part of their news stories by embedding images (screen captures) from IG, Twitter, texts, and e-mails. I am not going to type all that, so if you want the full context of this story and see the comments this man and woman made to one another, click the link and view the screen caps on the page.

I think the guy in this story claimed to be a Christian – this is another strike against the Christian “equally yoked” rule. Your average Non-Christian guy is apt to treat you better than this so-called “Christian” one.

(Link): Guy Cheated On His Girlfriend After She Gave Him One Of Her Kidneys To Save His Life 

July 15, 2022

by Robertas Lisickis and Saulė Tolstych

… Donating an organ is considered one of the most altruistic things anyone could do, so you’d think there’d also be a high degree of gratitude in response, right?

Meet 30-year-old Colleen Le from Yorba Linda, California, with whom Bored Panda got in touch. Not too long ago, Colleen shared a video in satire form with the caption “excited my boyfriend gets a second chance at life after getting my kidney”. Plot twist, the last fraction of the second part of the video shows Colleen planking on the bed with the caption “cheats on me”.

Oof.

Well, there is context, so let’s rewind.

Continue reading “Guy Cheated On His Girlfriend After She Gave Him One Of Her Kidneys To Save His Life “

When Narcissists Fake Being Sick to Manipulate You – Re: Boundaries, etc

When Narcissists Fake Being Sick to Manipulate You – Re: Boundaries, etc

I just blogged about this very topic just yesterday, June 25 (today is June 26) when I saw this video on You Tube today! Talk about coincidental timing!

So this psychologist, Dr. Ramani, made this 11.54 video (I’ll embed it below, you can also watch it on You Tube here) who discusses a letter by a woman married to a guy who uses (fake) illness as an excuse to leave social functions early.

The woman said her husband has a habit of faking sickness to get out of social obligations or to depart them early.

Well, the woman’s kid sister was turning 18, the family was throwing a birthday party / dinner for the young lady, and this married woman had her husband go with her.

The husband said he didn’t want to go, but the wife wouldn’t take No for an answer on this one – the husband never wanted to go to parties, and she seemed to feel like the husband would or could make an exception for this, since it was for her kid sister.

So they go to the party, the husband vomits on purpose while at the party but makes it look as though he’s sick – all so he can leave the party early and force his wife to go with him.

The psychologist who is discussing this story (she’s reading from a letter the woman wrote asking for advice) points out that so many people are quick to tell people like the woman who wrote this letter “to have boundaries,” which the woman tried on her (probably narcissistic) husband, but he didn’t heed her boundaries and instead actually doubled down on his obnoxious behavior.

I’ve seen several of Dr. Ramani’s videos before, she’s quite good, and I like her, but I always cringe a little when I hear mental health professionals who specialize in narcissism (as she does) sort of denigrate the concept of having boundaries, which she sort of does in the video embedded below.

Boundaries Usually Work And Are A Good Thing To Have

I spent 35 or so years (Link): as a severe codependent.

I believe boundaries are very important and can be life-saving and can improve one’s mental health.

Boundaries may not work in all situations or with all people, true enough, but by and large, boundaries DO work with most people and most situations and can save your self esteem, energy, mental health, and possibly your bank account in the long run.

Continue reading “When Narcissists Fake Being Sick to Manipulate You – Re: Boundaries, etc”