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Is your priest a serial bully?
Posted by: Eric..Bonetti ()
Date: June 10, 2021 05:44PM

One of the givens of change management is that conflict is inevitable in a declining organization. With the Episcopal church now in a state of precipitous decline in almost every aspect of its fortunes, it seems that there is a rapidly increasing level of infighting, bad behavior, bullying, and more within every level of the church.

With that in mind, I am reprinting the late Danni Moss's article in full below, which was originally titled, "Is Your Spouse or Pastor a Serial Bully?" This piece, together with the rest of her excellent work, is maintained in her memory at https://dannimoss.wordpress.com.

I'd add that I've observed these qualities in many Episcopal clergy, as well as signs of covert narcissism. Inevitably, parishes served by a serial bully do not recognize the toxic nature of their rector, nor the toxic but often friendly culture he engenders, which left unaddressed may linger for generations to come. And while the vast majority of persons suffering from NPD and anti-social personality disorder are men, thus resulting in my use of male pronouns, it's worth noting that there are plenty of women as well.

Finally, successfully responding to the damage wrought by a narcissistic or sociopathic priest requires outside, professional resources. Simply getting a charismatic and skilled successor without more invariably results in the friendly but toxic culture continuing, usually leading to the failure of the rector or bishop who follows.

This information blew my mind. It describes my ex-husband so precisely, it’s just spooky. I’ve known quite a few pastors who fit this description as well.

Please note, this is not a gender-specific problem. The gender of a serial bully can be female or male. This applies in marriage – the bully could be a wife rather than a husband. It also applies in church leadership. 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*
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Re: Is your priest a serial bully?
Posted by: Dumbestmovethusfar ()
Date: June 10, 2021 06:45PM

Got that pic backwards.

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