Showing posts with label narcissism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label narcissism. Show all posts

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Some Free Advice to Grace Church

As members of Grace Church, you have some interesting times ahead of you. During the coming year or so, you’ll begin the search process for a new rector. That’s a daunting proposition, especially given that Dysfunctional Bob managed to settle in for 30 years. So, here is some advice for you, worth exactly what you paid for it.

To begin, it’s important to approach the future without bias. A great many of you think Bob Malm’s wonderful, but if you are able to take a step back from the superficial charm, Bob really has not been a great rector. Whether it’s his costly decision to buy a personal residence, the ludicrously generous compensation package he jammed through the vestry, his interfering with the operation of the vestry, his lack of interest in the administrative side of his job, his sense of entitlement, or his stupid decision to drag the church into litigation, all have been profoundly damaging to the church over time. Yet few within the church recognize this, and it’s going to be hard for parishioners to gain perspective.

It’s also true that the church is damaged goods. Real leaders left the parish long ago, and behavior that you all consider normative is profoundly unhealthy. This includes the belief, seen on many fronts within the church, that if you don’t get your way, or you don’t like something, it’s appropriate to bully others. Both the choir and the altar guild have repeatedly shown this behavior, and the way people talk to and about each other is just ugly. The mere fact that folks at the church think it’s okay to urge others to commit suicide reveals just how toxic Grace has become. And Bob Malm’s courtroom perjury is so over the top that outsiders likely can’t even comprehend how troubled the church really is, let alone believe that a priest behaves like this.

With that in mind, it’s very important that your next priest not be a narcissist. Self-absorbed, with a sense of superiority and entitlement, narcissists often exhibit great charm. They are often very articulate, and great actors, adept at saying just the right thing at the right time. They also invariably lack real empathy for others, and believe that that the ends justify the means.

The problem is that such behavior is profoundly toxic and counter to Christianity.

Instead, your next rector needs to be someone whose primary goal is servant leadership, someone who is focused on healing, reconciliation, health and wholeness. 

Churches being what they are, you’ll be tempted to fall for the so-called shiny new penny—the man or woman who visits the nave and says in a seemingly sincere voice. “ a holy place.” That person will deliver a great sermon and come with legions of admirers.

Unfortunately, those also can be hallmarks of a narcissist. So your job will be find the rector who’s articulate, friendly, but also compassionate and service oriented. The right candidate may not be the rock star that the narcissist seems to be, but instead will be solid, steady, hard-working, and loving.

There also will be a tendency to want to draw on those already known to the parish. This would be a mistake. Thus, following Bob’s retirement, folks will be quick to suggest pulling in David Crosby and others in close orbit. But David, of “Bobby Malm, You’re Amazing,” fame is nothing if not a Bob Malm fanboy. As such, drawing on David and similar sorts as supply clergy all but guarantees that you’ll get a heavy dose of what I’ll term “Bob Malm light.” That is the very last thing you need right now.

A final observation: Things have reached the point that if you flub the selection of the next rector, Grace Church will be gone within the next five years. You simply cannot get it wrong. So take your time, pull in lots of data points, and set aside the petty bullying and bickering. And consider actually praying and attempting to listen, versus propounding your own views.

You have a long, hard row in front of you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Bob Malm: Is He Dangerous?

Bob’s repeated assertions that I am dangerous raise an important question: Is Bob Malm himself dangerous?
Before we go further, let me say up front that I don’t know the answer to that question. But I believe there is reason to be concerned, and both friends and family members think Bob may be dangerous. Here’s why.
As I have said before, quite some time ago I concluded that Bob Malm, aka Dysfunctional Bob, is a malevolent narcissist.

Bob appears to be very focused on obtaining ratification, attention, and adulation, while simultaneously believing he doesn’t need anyone else. At the same time, Bob’s own needs seemingly come before those of anyone else — just look at his relationship with Grace Church. Bob is sure to get every last minute of leave and every last dollar of compensation permitted under his letter of agreement, but for many years he has been indifferent to his overall job performance. All of these observations, if accurate, would support the conclusion that Bob is a narcissist.

At the same time, Bob appears to manifest the classic “narcissistic rage,” when he feels he’s criticized, cursing, yelling, carrying on, and trying to intimidate others, despite the fact that such behavior should be unacceptable for any clergyperson. 

Coupled with this is Bob’s seeming sense of being special, of entitlement, his apparent ability to manipulate others and their perceptions, and his lack of accountability—all hallmarks of narcissism.

So, assuming I am correct that Bob is a narcissist, it follows that Bob likely manifests other aspects of narcissism. This includes projection, which is intrinsic to narcissism and at the very core of the disorder.

What is projection? It’s the behavior and thought process by which a narcissist attributes his or her own feelings, behaviors, and inadequacies to others. This allows the narcissist, who is outwardly confident but is inwardly very insecure, to avoid dealing with these uncomfortable thoughts. Indeed, this behavior is so much a part of narcissism that experts regard it as a way that narcissists “out themselves.” Or, as one author puts it:

All narcissists tell on themselves. Projection is the process through which they reveal who they are and what they’re doing...through projection, they call you what they are. They accuse you of doing what they are doing or planning on doing.” See:

So, in light of Bob Malm’s claims that I am “violent and threatening,” (his exact words) and that our conflict is a “case of domestic terrorism” (from his court pleadings), one has to ask the question: Is Bob Malm violent and threatening? Is he possibly contemplating conduct that would place me and my family or members of Grace Church/School in danger?

I don’t know the answer, but my suspicion is that, if Bob thought he could get away with it, he wouldn’t be above a violent act. That said, my bet is that he would be more likely to pursue me, versus members of Grace, which appears to be a major source of narcissistic supply for Bob. If nothing else, Bob’s courtroom lies and decision to pursue an elderly dying woman in court speaks to his sense of boundaries, and what they say is not good.

My advice: Be very, very careful of any clergyperson who refers to current or former members of his church as “terrorists” and thinks it’s okay to pursue elderly, terminally ill individuals in court. No matter how you parse it, and no matter the underlying cause, there’s a serious issue afoot.