FAQs – How could he ever be abusive, when he just seems so “nice”?

The following is a comment I made on Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: Which came first, the thug or the theology?

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@Lost Voice said, [[“I have always found it interesting and frustrating in the conversation about spiritual abuse and/or other type of abuse within the Emergent circles of how women and men in the “inner circle” use “they have always been nice…..” “They have always been up standing….”]]

I edited a friend’s book on her experiences surviving domestic violence. She took inspiration for her title from an incident where she was at a gala community function. As the husband of the woman seated next to her rose and went forward to the podium, the wife turned to my friend and whispered, “He hits.” The man was receiving the mayor’s Citizen of the Year Award.

@Brother Maynard said, [[It is very characteristic of some types of psychopathy, including NPD, that the affected person would portray drastically differing personalities to different people in different contexts. This is not a form of MPD at all – it’s wilful. Once the individual has no further use for or finds they can no longer manipulate someone, their treatment of that person can change to polar opposites. Basically, once they can’t get what they want or no longer need anything from someone, there’s no longer any need for a charming front]]

Wow, was that a trigger to some nasty flashbacks … I went back to the survey I filled out in 2008 for Barb Orlowski’s doctoral research on church and ministry leaders who’d been subjected to authoritarian control/abuse by other leaders. I found the notes I was looking for, where another co-leader and I (both of us were the brunt of severe treatment) eventually got back together to talk. He’d been kicked out and shunned about a year before I finally felt the freedom to leave.

My friend said, “[PASTOR’S NAME] kept people around as ‘options.’ ”

I said, “He treated staff like okay-for-now, but always kept his eye out for ‘upgrades.’ ”

No one really seemed to see that early on but us … because he mostly had his nice/happy face on. Gradually many others saw his not-so-happy face. He went through at least 3 or 4 children’s ministers and 6 or 7 worship leaders in just the first 3 years — most of them leaving because they were creeped out, burned out, or sold out. Those, he brutalized as he had us two. Meanwhile, I learned that good people, bright people, nice people can be quite taken in by someone with no conscience, no compassion, and no remorse.