Another website on toxic people in the church
Ingrid Schlueter writes about toxic relationships on her blog.
From this post on enablers:
The trial of child molester Jerry Sandusky gave the public a glimpse of how desperately evil enablers can be.
Jerry’s wife, Dottie is Exhibit A. Despite cold, hard evidence of her husband’s brutal sexual abuse of children, some of which took place in her own home, Dottie stood by “Jer.” She stood by him even when it meant throwing their own son, Matt, under the bus.
Matt had the temerity to testify about his own father’s abuse. This, to an enabler of a toxic spouse, is unacceptable. Truth telling children must be abandoned and demonized.
“Jer” was more important to this pathetic excuse for a woman than the fact that her man had destroyed the lives of countless children to satisfy his depraved lust.
When a father or mother turns on adult children and behaves in reprehensible ways towards them, and the spouse and sometimes adult siblings hunker down in silence, refusing to stand by the victim, they are part of the team of destruction. For professing Christians to behave in this way beggars belief.
A number of times, I have seen pastors or Christian leaders go under for behavior like gambling, adultery, porn or other kinds of abuse, with their enabling spouses clinging to their arms.
These women, nearly always, were aware that things were going on, but rather than stand boldly and firmly for truth and for the victims, clung to their “Jers” and watched innocent people go down instead.
This also happened to me, when my best friend Richard told me all about the emotional, verbal and physical violence committed by his wife Tracy against him and the children, and I witnessed some of it.
But because I believed him, and spoke out, Tracy became my enemy, smearing me to him, until he finally threw me under the bus and stood against me.
Now he is my enemy, too, because he enables her when she does this to people (not just me but many others), and stands behind her even when she verbally abuses, damages and chases away his closest friends.
Because I spoke out, he turned against me, even though I spoke out against the things she did to abuse him. (The whole story is here and here.)
Ingrid also writes that the enabler of an abuser should be like Abigail in the Bible, who refused to do what her evil husband demanded, and
That is the only right response of a spouse to a toxic person. Failure to do this is to become complicit with the Destroyer. It really is that simple.
Evil triumphs when Christian spouses enable sin instead of taking a principled, godly stand. Standing for what is right is never easy, but if we really follow Jesus, we have no other choice.
This is exactly right, and what I tried to express to Richard. But because he continues to enable her, he is also an abuser.
This is also why I felt a prick of conscience every time I clammed up over some instance of abuse by Tracy, and why I felt led to speak up about the abuse.
This is also why I was finally scapegoated by them, and psychologically and verbally abused until I finally said ENOUGH. Because I was the Abigail who spoke out and even reported them to CPS, I became their enemy.
It does not have to be this way: They could repent. But they choose not to.
Toxic people are defined and ruled by their Luciferian pride. They will never humble themselves and admit wrong because, in their own minds, they have no problems. The problem is always, always with everyone around them who fails to meet their expectations and insatiable desires.
Toxic people are known by the turmoil they create around them. Whether it is a family member, spouse, co-worker, fellow church member, neighbor or someone else, these people are able to inflict considerable pain in the people they hurt.
They are not happy unless there is drama and intrigue and strife in progress. They seem to take pleasure in creating chaos where there is peace, and in hurting those who are otherwise happy by finding their weakest, most vulnerable area.
In my experience, there is sometimes almost a supernatural ability to sniff out an area of insecurity and to put the knife into that tender spot with glee.
…..When we give abusive and vicious people permission to repeatedly sin against us without consequence, we enable them to sin.
There are some times when the best thing we can do for that openly sinning person is to part company with them.
When we do this, we deny the person the further opportunity to sin against us. This helps us to forgive them and cut off further chances for the enemy to take advantage of the situation. —Dealing with toxic people
The hallmarks of this kind of ministry are unbalanced messages (much Law and no grace) and a track record of destroyed relationships.
Anyone in any kind of church or para-church ministry is going to make enemies. I am talking about a consistent pattern of unreconciled personal issues with others that results in persistent, malicious conduct. (In Phelps’ case, outright Satanic hatred for others.)
Attempts at reconciliation with such people are greeted with contempt and further attacks. Years ago, I sent one such individual an apology over my tone in our disagreement.
An hour later, my fax machine spit out two full pages of personal attacks that were way, way below the belt. (I guess the man wanted me to have a hard copy, so he faxed it.)
I realized that moment 10 years ago what is confirmed today: He doesn’t want reconciliation.
In fact, these toxic religious people consider it a sign of their own rectitude that they DON’T reconcile with their antagonists. That would be unbiblical compromise. And so the self-delusion goes…
As Christians we are told in Scripture not to “strive”, to live as much as possible in peace with all around us, and to be “tender-hearted, forgiving one another.” So how, with this biblical teaching in view, do we handle things?
I will start answering this question and continue it over into my next post. When you are in a situation with a professing Christian who has engaged in a pattern of abusive and malicious conduct, without remorse and without willingness to reconcile, you need to protect yourself from them. It’s that plain.
When your heart craves peace and reconciliation with someone, and you take that humble heart to the other party only to be effectively cursed and further abused, you are taking what is precious and casting it before dogs. —Dealing with toxic people part 2
This is precisely what happened when I tried to initiate peace and reconciliation with Richard and Tracy.
And this is why I walked away again–and was accused by Tracy of needing to “grow up” because I refused to take any more of this abuse.
Even worse happened when they threatened a lawsuit (see here).
Ingrid also explains how Christians MUST walk away from such people, because engaging them, even trying to get them to see the error of their ways, disturbs our peace in Christ.
Another helpful post on dealing with toxic people is here. It goes into more detail on steps we can take to reduce the toxins, even when forced to continue dealing with such people.
This post speaks of narcissists in ministry. It reminds me of what I’ve seen over on Julie Anne’s blog: She wrote about being spiritually abused in Beaverton Grace Bible Church, only to get sued by the pastor there–who then began his own blog when he lost the suit.