Christians with PDs (??)

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Julian R

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Christians with PDs (??)
« on: October 15, 2018, 02:04:04 PM »
I have seen some debate below about whether it is possible to be a Christian and have a PD, especially NPD.  Theologically I want to say yes it is possible - because God is gracious and merciful and saves all different types of people.  At the same time it is sure that there are many professing Christians with PDs who have not really grasped the gospel and who are not authentic believers.

My question is - has it been anyone's experience or belief that being a Christian has attenuated or lessened the symptoms of PD in a loved one, made them more manageable and less harmful?

I would like to talk about my uPDw.  She is a professing christian, we participate in church together, even involved in Christian ministry together - and yet, whilst she does not show some of the full blown really difficult behaviours that many speak of she does show signs of a disordered personality that have made my life really difficult and miserable and have contributed, I feel, to mental health issues that my daughter has and does face.  I am kind of just wondering whether by God's grace her symptoms are less severe than some, because she is a believer and the Spirit and the Word are maybe putting something of a brake on her, despite her lack of self-awareness.  What do people think?  Have they seen this in others?  In other words, would she be a lot wore were she not a Christian?  (impossible to answer I know!)

Maybe things are just quieter at present and some of the triggers are not around, and I am learning to not JADE and to medium chill and I am beginning to doubt that the problem is there.

At the same time there are some big  inconsistencies between things she says as a christian and the way she can behave, react.

She has something of a victim mentality, is very quick to blame others and virtually no self awareness as to how she has contributed to some of the stuff that has gone on.  She has quite black and white thinking, very hyper-vigilant, can turn quite cross and make quite nasty comments with rather small triggers, is quite bitter to my mind and remembers others offences for a long time and regularly complains about them - can be very negative, very anxious - can present herself very pleasantly outside the home but then at home lets her real character show ...

It is all very wearying.  Our marriage is just an empty facade - it feels hypocritical and loveless.  It is all quite frustrating and wearying and sad and puzzling but I cannot bring myself to conclude, despite everything., that she is not a Christian - after all, I see my own failings and sin and inconsistencies and struggles.  Yes it is hard to know quite what to make of it all.

Will Christians with a PD or PD traits find it harder to make progress in sanctification - not being sufficiently self-aware to see the need.  Will they generally have big areas of immaturity in their faith, greater inconsistencies and contradictions than most others?

And surely God's grace is big enough for all this !?!

Just a little example (I could give far worse) from yesterday of the little niggling things that are quite frequent.  She was working at the computer and dinner time was approaching.  i asked her what time she would like to eat and she replied asking what time I would like to.  So I said how about 7pm.  She replied quite unpleasantly, scornfully that that would be far too late, she wanted to eat earlier.  So I said kindly ok perhaps she could let me know when she was ready to eat and I would prepare everything.  Well I waited and waited and it was 7.15 pm (!) when she at last took herself away from the computer and said she wanted to eat.  I gently let her know that she had been quite unpleasant to me earlier and that she had kept everyone waiting - but no apology ...

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all4peace

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Re: Christians with PDs (??)
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2018, 02:19:14 PM »
I've been reading about the enneagram in the past month. According to this model of explaining personality types, every personality type can exist in a range from healthy, average to unhealthy. Those in the most unhealthy range have PDs.

Anyone can profess to be a Christian. A really healthy Christian, per this model, would be in the average to healthy range.

The underlying premise of the enneagram is that all of the 9 personality types are one facet of God's nature, and the more we are able to let go of our defenses and coping strategies, the closer we get to perfection in our type, or a more thorough blending of all types, having more and more of God's nature within us.

Per my reading of this model, a professing Christian could have a PD, believe in God but for various reasons not yet have found the path to wholeness through Him. Per this model, we were all born perfect, and it is only life with its wounds and wrong messages that have added things to us to mar that perfection.

Just one way of looking at it, but it really resonates for me.

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Julian R

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Re: Christians with PDs (??)
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2018, 10:18:44 AM »
Thank you all4peace.  That sounds interesting.  Can you please suggest where I can read more about it .

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all4peace

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Re: Christians with PDs (??)
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2018, 10:32:33 AM »

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HeadAboveWater

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Re: Christians with PDs (??)
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2018, 02:12:25 PM »
HI, Julian. I'm sorry for your difficulties with uPDw. I've seen you here on the forum, and I know you've been working hard to figure things out in recent months.

Both my spouse and I come from Christian families with PD stretching back at least two generations on both parents' sides of our respective families. It is hard to say if spiritual belief mitigated the harm from PDI's, as we never knew a time when our loved ones were not believers. I can say that belief has appeared to be a comfort to our PD relatives, so in that sense it is beneficial.

Remember that PD, just like many disorders, exists on a continuum. So It's possible for your wife to be PD and not exhibit the severity of symptoms described by others on this forum. It's also quite possible, as you note, for symptoms to ebb and flow.

Remember too that what's diagnosable or provable does not matter. Can you tolerate your wife's behavior? Can your daughter? (If you feel it is damaging her health, I'd say she is not tolerating it at all.)

You seem to be struggling with what the label Christian means. I wonder if you can examine the importance of that. Would you trust your wife more if you felt she were truly a Christian? Would you have more hope for your relationship? Could it feel ok to let the label drop and let her past actions and their effects on be the determining factor for your feelings? 


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Julian R

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Re: Christians with PDs (??)
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2018, 01:05:13 PM »
Thank you all4peace for the link.  I will look into it.

Thank you HeadAboveWater for your input.

I will mention my daughter first.  Remarkably, at the moment there has been a huge improvement in her relationship with her mother, my wife.  She is now a young adult away from home studying most of the time.  But her pre-teenage and teen-age years were terrible - we discovered she was self-harming and that she had mental health problems (anxiety and depression) - there was a lot of conflict at home - mostly between her and my wife; they seemed to bring the worst out of each other.

I know that the causes of mental health problems in teenagers is complex and I don't want to blame my wife for everything - nevertheless I am convinced that her PD behaviour over my daughters childhood years contributed to the problems and then when the crisis years came they just seemed to keep triggering each other (my wife and daughter), a kind of vicious cycle, and I just felt so helpless and lost.  Even health care professionals got involved - we were put into family counselling, but my wife would not take seriously any advice or suggestions on how her behaviour might be contributing to the problems, she just saw herself as a victim once again.

Well a few years on and remarkably my daughter got into higher education and in many ways has matured and flourished and seems to have found a way to cope with my wife's behaviours without reacting in the ways she used to.  My daughter is still on medication but at least seems to know how to take care of herself and is self-aware about her issues, in a way that my wife has not really been.

It is true that my wife is in a lull at present and her PD traits are less intense and frequent but can still flare up in various little ways, and maybe I am on my guard waiting for whatever will next trigger it all - but looking back this is perhaps the calmest I have known her for a very long time.  Perhaps I have not really recovered from the rough years.  I regret not protecting my daughter better from all that she has been through.

Hmmm... I have digressed from my original line of thought!

HeadAboveWater  you ask some very searching questions at then end of your post and perhaps I need to give them more thought.  I cannot bring myself to say that my wife is not a christian but at the end of the day God knows our hearts - and he is gracious and merciful.  At the same time, I hold out little hope for any real improvement in our relationship, I just feel resigned to things going on as they are and I feel lonely and disappointed.  I managed to get her to accept marriage counselling a few years back but it didn't really change anything and whenever she mentions it now it is with resentment and accusations of why I ever wanted to waste money on it.  One or two at church, (very few in the know) - have tried to help but to no avail. 

I guess some people have to live with physical ailments much of their lives that God chooses not to heal, and apparently we will have to live with a somewhat disordered personality the best we can.


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LSK1999

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Re: Christians with PDs (??)
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2018, 07:20:31 PM »
I think anyone can believe they are a Christian without giving a second thought to their own behavior...many many PD parents have abused their children using scripture and using religion as a weapon. So anyone can say I'm Christian actually living as one is a totally different thing. Christ knows his sheep and his sheep know him....I can't imagine someone that actually knows Christ could behave in a way PD's do. I think many believe they are Christian without actually knowing him...PD's are not alone in this. I have no idea how that works really either to be honest..I have always considered myself Christian...with the exception of a few times in my life with lost faith....but it wasn't until I was 39 that I really realized I had to know him and open my heart and mind fully to him and ask for his truth to guide me...I had never really done that....but I don't think that didn't mean I wasn't Christian at all before....good question really...I wish I had a better answer it's a tough one  :stars:

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Julian R

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Re: Christians with PDs (??)
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2018, 10:09:05 AM »
I think anyone can believe they are a Christian without giving a second thought to their own behavior...many many PD parents have abused their children using scripture and using religion as a weapon. So anyone can say I'm Christian actually living as one is a totally different thing. Christ knows his sheep and his sheep know him....I can't imagine someone that actually knows Christ could behave in a way PD's do. I think many believe they are Christian without actually knowing him...PD's are not alone in this. I have no idea how that works really either to be honest..I have always considered myself Christian...with the exception of a few times in my life with lost faith....but it wasn't until I was 39 that I really realized I had to know him and open my heart and mind fully to him and ask for his truth to guide me...I had never really done that....but I don't think that didn't mean I wasn't Christian at all before....good question really...I wish I had a better answer it's a tough one  :stars:

Thank you for commenting LSK.  I appreciate your posts and admire you for pressing on despite all you have gone through.

It is so true that at the end of the day Christ knows who are his - and we, having such imperfect knowledge cannot know what is truly in peoples hearts.  Our first concern shoudl be our own relationship with Christ and then after that to be grace filled and as non-judgemental as possible.

Having said that I do agree that where PDs or others are being very abusive and showing no sign of repentance then whatever they may profess it is hard to accept or believe they are truly christian.  But then on the other hand there may be those with less extreme PD traits who, despite all their contradictions and harmfulness and struggles, well there may at the same time be signs thatthey are genuine Christians.  It is just so hard to tell - and yes it can be confusing at times.

May Jesus help us all to find joy and peace and strength in Him - wisdom and discernment also, as we try to make sense of what has happened to us and of those people around us who cause such great difficulty.  God bless you!  :)

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LSK1999

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Re: Christians with PDs (??)
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2018, 04:44:04 PM »
Thanks Julian, you know the funny thing about all of it as I have spent my life trying to figure everything out and now at 43 I realize I have no clue as to much of anything...lol...maybe this is true wisdom after all of it...all I can do is believe that God has a reason and pray that he will guide me. God Bless xx

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Julian R

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Re: Christians with PDs (??)
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2018, 07:08:35 AM »
Thanks Julian, you know the funny thing about all of it as I have spent my life trying to figure everything out and now at 43 I realise I have no clue as to much of anything...lol...maybe this is true wisdom after all of it...all I can do is believe that God has a reason and pray that he will guide me. God Bless xx

 :yeahthat:   :bigwink:

LSK thank you. I agree that when young we can tend to think we have everything sorted and have strong convictions about this that and the other - but like yourself as years have gone by (into my fifties!) I am less sure and more perplexed by many things.  In a sense this is a good thing, true wisdom as you say.  It is right to have a sense of humility about the limitations of our knowledge and understanding which, the more i think about it the more I see are limited ... 

But in our limitations we humbly turn to God and His Word - and we find there rock solid truths - yes much that we struggle to fully grasp and understand, many mysteries and perplexities that escape us still,  but enough that is clear enough to be a solid foundation to build our lives upon, as I am sure you will agree.

Prayers and God bless

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Mary

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Re: Christians with PDs (??)
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2018, 01:33:31 AM »
Julian R, I completely agree that faith does mitigate PD behaviors. I have seen it in both my uNPDh and my PD sister. When they are truly seeking God's input in a situation, it can calm and settle them. Its disappointing when it doesn't last though, or they have to relearn the hard way. It is a relief to be able to release their well-being to God. On occasion, my h will share some song or scripture God has shown him, and I'm shocked. Then other times in the ugliness and malice I wonder how on earth he could be a Christian. Sometimes I think he's being pestered by a demon. At any rate, even if he were not saved, I am duty-bound to experience the best life I can with him and live in thankfulness joy. I "see through a glass darkly" and therefore am not qualified to judge. I just want to say that I really agree and resonate with your post.
Mary
For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. (Isaiah 54:5)

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Christians with PDs (??)
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2018, 11:53:42 PM »
I'm not sure about all the PDs. The one I have direct experience with is Narcissism. And I would think it's very, very hard for an N to be in fact a Christian. I've struggled with this question too, and I've seen lots of people write stuff about how their NM had this image of a "good churchgoing woman." That is my Nparents, for sure. All the rebukes Jesus hurls at the Pharisees seem to apply to them. Maybe the Pharisees really did believe in God, but their idea of him was so twisted and distorted that God became made in their own image instead of the other way around. Their religion was all about making themselves look good. And Jesus hated that. Seems to fit with the passage about the people saying, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy and cast out demons in your name?" Did we not go to Mass and run the church bazaar and sing in the choir? And He says, "Depart from me, I never knew you."

Step 1 of being a Christian is "Repent and be baptized." Well, if you're completely unwilling to entertain the notion that you have done many, many wrong things... that's awkward.

Necessary disclaimer about how I won't put limits on the mercy of God. He can offer grace for salvation to all and glory Hallelujah! But I also believe in free will and in the Bible. And the Bible indicates that many will not be saved. There could also be a question of are PDs really responsible for their inability to accept responsibility for their actions. That's for God to judge individually.