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.)

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,
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) was 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”

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”

Life Lessons After Recovering from Codependency – I Can’t Save You, and I No Longer Want To

Life Lessons After Recovering from Codependency – I Can’t Save You, and I No Longer Want To

This will be a repetitive, somewhat rambling (and very long) post, because this involves a huge pet peeve of mine.

I very much resent any one lecturing me or accusing me of not being compassionate enough, or not giving enough “emotional support” in some situation or another, when they refuse to factor in what I’ve been through in my life and why I now do what I do.

I refer to this highly pertinent fact:

I spent over 3 decades of my life being very codependent. I was pathologically un-selfish, giving, and supportive of and to others to my own detriment.

It’s absolutely perverse and demonic to accuse a recovering codependent (such as myself), who has finally begun developing healthy boundaries, of being selfish or not being “giving” enough in relationships.

You’re accusing a former codependent of the very opposite things she spent decades doing, behaviors which caused her setbacks and harm in life. timeClock

I have since learned what a huge mistake that is (to live codependently), how toxic it is, and how much harm it caused me over my life.

I am now more picky and choosy about when, to whom, for how long, and under what conditions, I will grant other people non-judgmental emotional support or other types of help.

And it took me into middle age to figure out – just upon thinking things over, noticing patterns in my relationships, and from reading some books by psychologists  – that a big reason I kept attracting so many damaged, depressed, hurting, self absorbed, strange, or angry people is precisely because I was so giving, loving, and I didn’t put limits on anyone in any fashion.

For years, I was a very shy, people pleasing, undemanding, compliant, kind hearted, sensitive, caring person, and by my late 20s to early 30s and older, I kept wondering why when I did finally make a friend or two, that I seldom attracted normal, mentally healthy, fun, well-adjusted individuals who would meet my needs in return.

Attracting Disturbed, Angry, or Miserable People for Over 35 Years

Instead, I kept attracting selfish people, abusers, bullies, constant complainers, pessimists, self absorbed people, people with personality disorders, or people who were depressed, and while I was giving all these people a lot of my time, attention,  affection, emotional support (or sometimes money), they never thanked me for this, and the vast majority never met my needs in return.

It took me years to figure out why I kept attracting so many mal-adjusted or emotionally injured people into my life.

Continue reading “Life Lessons After Recovering from Codependency – I Can’t Save You, and I No Longer Want To”

Not All Narcissists Are Grandiose – the ‘Vulnerable’ Type Can Be Just as Dangerous by Joanna Briscoe

Not All Narcissists Are Grandiose – the ‘Vulnerable’ Type Can Be Just as Dangerous by Joanna Briscoe

In my reading on narcissism, I’ve learned that some narcissists can also have depression or anxiety.

Psychologists and psychiatrists say that narcissists never realize they are narcissists on their own.

Narcissists will never go into therapy for Narcissism. They will never go into therapy to have a psychologist or therapist help them stop or lessen their narcissistic ways (ie, extreme entitlement, always demanding or expecting validation, going into rages at people, etc).

I have heard psychologists say that a lot of narcissists, by the time they get into maybe middle age, begin becoming depressed, or they began experiencing anxiety.

Why? Well, they begin noticing the unpleasant (for them – they don’t care about all the people who they have hurt) ramifications of their narcissism.

They have been divorced, say, six times by the age of 45, and they may be unable to snare a new mate. So, they get depressed and waddle into a therapist’s office for help. So, they visit a psychologist over their depression (which is an outcome of the consequences of their narcissism).

So… anyway… while not all depressed or anxious people are narcissists, some narcissists are capable of having depression or anxiety and being diagnosed with one or both.

(Link): Not all narcissists are grandiose – the ‘vulnerable’ type can be just as dangerous 

Excerpts:

by Joanna Briscoe
August 1, 2021

With covert narcissists, their focus on meeting their own needs is masked by more subtle manipulation and control techniques. They can come across as sweet and innocent, even shy and introverted, and can also seem very caring and helpful.

They can be the shoulder to cry on, but will use what you share with them against you further down the road, and ultimately, with the aim of manipulating you to feel indebted and grateful. Thus providing them with admiration and gratitude – narcissistic supply.”

So what other features distinguish these subtly appealing types with their silent weaponry?

While psychologists agree that the underlying pathology is the same, the different presentation can include other aspects – guilt-tripping, generosity as a means to control and feigning illness to gain sympathy.

As Davies says, the covert narcissist can be a “silent intruder and silent seducer.”

A sense of victimhood appears to be primary, in which the narcissist will persecute from the victim position, often denigrating themselves and thereby fishing for reassurance.

Continue reading “Not All Narcissists Are Grandiose – the ‘Vulnerable’ Type Can Be Just as Dangerous by Joanna Briscoe”