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Mike sent this email as a result of two events: The deliberate and illegal misuse of the flowers he donated in memory of his mother, which w...

Monday, May 8, 2017

Is Your Priest a Serial Bully?

The late Danni Moss published an excellent piece on clergy bullying and I commend it to those of you who may feel like you have you own clergy bully or bullies to deal with. 

Because Danni's family is keeping her blog going in her memory, I'm not sure how long it will be around, so with full credit to the original source, I'm doing a cut-and-paste. Note that I make no claim of ownership over Danni's excellent piece. 

And yes, before you ask, in my opinion all but three or four of Danni's bullet points describe Bob perfectly.


Is Your Pastor a Serial Bully?

This information blew my mind. I’ve known quite a few pastors who fit this description. And there’s a reason it matters. If you can identify your pastor as demonstrating these traits, some of the qualities this person is capable of include spiritual abuse, abuse of authority, embezzlement or misuse of church funds (happens as commonly as sexual abuse), and sexual abuse, among other things.

Please note, as well, this is not a gender-specific problem. The gender of a serial bully can be female or male. The female serial bully may be a Sunday School teacher, pastor in some churches, elder/deacon/board member, women’s leader, etc.

The serial bully:

  • is a *convincing,* *practised liar* and when called to account, will make up anything spontaneously to fit their needs at that moment
  • has a *Jekyll and Hyde nature* – is vile, vicious and vindictive in private, but innocent and charming in front of witnesses; no-one can (or wants to) believe this individual has a vindictive
    nature – only the current target of the serial bully’s aggression sees both sides; whilst the Jekyll side is described as “charming”
    and convincing enough to deceive personnel, management and a tribunal, the Hyde side is frequently described as “evil”; Hyde is
    the real person, Jekyll is an act
  • excels at *deception* and should never be underestimated in their capacity to deceive
  • uses excessive *charm* and is always plausible and convincing when peers, superiors or others are present (charm can be used to deceive as well as to cover for lack of empathy)
  • is *glib, shallow and superficial* with plenty of fine words and lots of form – but there’s no substance
  • is possessed of an *exceptional verbal facility* and will outmanoeuvre most people in verbal interaction, especially at times of conflict
  • is often described as *smooth*, *slippery, slimy, ingratiating, fawning, toadying, obsequious, sycophantic*
  • relies on *mimicry, repetition* and *regurgitation* to convince others that he or she is both a “normal” human being and a tough
    dynamic manager, as in extolling the virtues of the latest management fads and pouring forth the accompanying jargon
  • is unusually skilled in *being able to anticipate what people want to hear* and then saying it plausibly
  • *cannot be trusted or relied upon*
  • *fails to fulfil commitments*
  • is *emotionally retarded* with an *arrested level of emotional development*; whilst language and intellect may appear to be that of an adult, the bully displays the emotional age of a five-year-old
  • is *emotionally immature* and *emotionally untrustworthy*
  • exhibits *unusual and inappropriate attitudes to sexual matters, sexual behaviour and bodily functions*; underneath the charming
    exterior there are often suspicions or hints of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, perhaps also sexual dysfunction, sexual inadequacy, sexual perversion, sexual violence or sexual abuse
  • in a relationship, is *incapable of initiating or sustaining intimacy*
  • *holds deep prejudices* (eg against the opposite gender, people of a different sexual orientation, other cultures and religious beliefs, foreigners, etc – prejudiced people are unvaryingly
    unimaginative) but goes to great lengths to keep this prejudicial aspect of their personality secret
  • is *self-opinionated* and displays *arrogance*, *audacity, a superior sense of entitlement* and sense of *invulnerability* and *untouchability*
  • has a deep-seated *contempt of clients* in contrast to his or her professed compassion
  • is a *control freak* and has a *compulsive need to control* everyone and everything you say, do, think and believe; for example, will launch an immediate personal attack attempting to
    restrict what you are permitted to say if you start talking knowledgeably about psychopathic personality or antisocial personality disorder
    in their presence –
    but aggressively maintains the right to talk (usually
    unknowledgeably) about anything they choose
    ; serial bullies despise anyone who enables others to see through their deception and their mask of sanity
  • displays a *compulsive need to criticise* whilst simultaneously *refusing to value*, praise and acknowledge others, their achievements, or their existence
  • *shows a lack of joined-up thinking* with conversation that doesn’t flow and arguments that don’t hold water
  • *flits from topic to topic* so that you come away feeling you’ve never had a proper conversation
  • *refuses to be specific* and *never gives a straight answer*
  • is *evasive* and has a Houdini-like ability to *escape accountability*
  • *undermines* and *destroys* anyone who the bully perceives to be an adversary, a potential threat, or who can see through the bully’s mask
  • is *adept at creating conflict *between those who would otherwise collate incriminating information about them
  • is *quick to discredit and neutralise* anyone who can talk knowledgeably about antisocial or sociopathic behaviors
  • may pursue a *vindictive vendetta* against anyone who dares to held them accountable, perhaps using others’ resources and
    contemptuous of the damage caused to other people and organisations in pursuance of the vendetta
  • is also *quick to belittle, undermine, denigrate and discredit* anyone who calls, attempts to call, or might call the bully to account
  • *gains gratification from denying people what they are entitled to*
  • is *highly manipulative*, especially of people’s perceptions and emotions (eg guilt)
  • *poisons peoples’ minds* by manipulating their perceptions
  • when called upon to share or address the needs and concerns of others, responds with *impatience, irritability and aggression*
  • *is arrogant, haughty, high-handed*, and *a know-all*
  • often has an overwhelming, unhealthy and narcissistic
    *attention-seeking
    need to portray themselves as a wonderful, kind, caring and
    compassionate person
    *, in contrast to their behaviour and treatment of others; the bully sees nothing wrong with their behavior and chooses to remain oblivious to the discrepancy
    between how they like to be seen and how they are seen by others
  • is *spiritually dead* although may loudly profess some religious belief or affiliation
  • is *mean-spirited*, *officious*, and often *unbelievably petty*
  • is *mean, stingy*, and *financially untrustworthy*
  • is *greedy, selfish, *a *parasite *and an *emotional vampire*
  • is *always a taker *and *never a giver* [Note from Danni: On this one I would say, never a giver unless there is a hidden motive of manipulation to gain.]
  • is convinced of their *superiority* and has an *overbearing belief in their qualities of leadership* but cannot distinguish between
    leadership (maturity, decisiveness, assertiveness, co-operation, trust, integrity) and bullying (immaturity, impulsiveness, aggression, manipulation, distrust, deceitfulness)
  • often *fraudulently claims* qualifications, experience, titles, entitlements or affiliations which are ambiguous, misleading, or bogus
  • often *misses the semantic meaning of language*, misinterprets what is said, sometimes wrongly thinking that comments of a satirical, ironic or general negative nature apply to him or herself
  • *knows the words but not the song*
  • is *constantly imposing on others a false reality* made up of distortion and fabrication
  • sometimes *displays a seemingly limitless demonic energy* especially when engaged in attention-seeking activities or evasion of accountability and is often a *committeeaholic* or apparent
    *workaholic*