Spiritual dichotomies--is this where the damage comes from with PDs?

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all4peace

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My thoughts are still swirling, but I will try to be as clear as I can be. Some private conversations, public forum posts, bible passages, present-life experiences are taking shape into something I'd love to have a conversation about.

We know that PD behavior has hurt us, sometimes done deep damage and left wounds and scars. But why? What about that behavior does so much damage? My belief is that God set the rules of relationships, the ways they work and don't work. For example, I didn't decide that lying hurts me. It hurts me because the way we were created makes it harmful for us to be in relationships in which there is lying and deceit (I believe, anyway).

His relationship with us is one of total love, grace, mercy. His wish for us is what is best for us, always. He doesn't trick us, lie to us, force us, harm us. He speaks the truth, always, and keeps His promises. What I have experienced myself, and seen from others, is that the more we get to know Him, the more kind, loving and merciful we experience Him to be. There are no terrible shocks, only good surprises as we get to know Him more.

When I think of times we can read about God or Jesus becoming very angry, I can think of these circumstances:
1. Misusing places of worship for personal gain instead.
2. Hypocrisy.
3. Those who hurt children, the poor or otherwise needy people.
4. Claiming to worship God but actually worshiping idols.
5. Being lukewarm, not committed.
6. Being dishonest--withholding, false image, refusal to see one's self and repent.
7. All types of corruption, sexual, financial, spiritual.

The bible speaks often of light and dark, of righteousness dwelling in the light. When I think of what unsettles me most about our PD families, it is the hidden, dark, unacknowledged, secretive, hypocritical things. If the violence of childhood were openly admitted, it would be different. If uNBPDmil's obvious mental health issues were in the open, we could navigate and cope, maybe even help her. But there is sooooo much hidden, secret, denied, lied about, dark. And that is impossible for me (at this point) to sense and feel and keep that deceit and be calm, content, settled and at peace.

Maybe it's simply physiology--fight, flight, fawn, freeze.
But I see people who haven't been damaged by PDs, people who are good and honest, who are troubled at these qualities also. People who sense something darker lurking and may not even be able to name or identify it, but who sense something not good underneath.

In life lately, in my true friendships, my T, my DH, trustworthy people---when there's a question, when something is unclear or troubling, I ask and they answer. It's very simple.
With the PDs, it's like a labyrinth. Nothing is answered. Nothing gets clearer. It just gets murkier and darker and more frustrating until I have to turn away from it.

The other dichotomies I have thought of:
cold versus warm
light versus dark
truth versus deceit
love versus hate/indifference

I'd love to hear any thoughts on this really vague and not-yet-formed topic!

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142757

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Re: Spiritual dichotomies--is this where the damage comes from with PDs?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2018, 09:57:06 PM »
Quote from: Prov 6:16-19
  There are six things that Jehovah hates;
Yes, seven things that he detests:
  Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
  A heart plotting wicked schemes, and feet that run quickly to evil,
  A false witness who lies with every breath,
And anyone sowing contentions among brothers.

Sound anything like PD?
"Somedays you just can't get rid of a bomb."

Adam West (Batman)
9/19/28 - 6/10/17

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all4peace

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Re: Spiritual dichotomies--is this where the damage comes from with PDs?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2018, 10:48:42 AM »
Yes, it does! And another one: Proverbs 26:24--he that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him. When he speakeht fair, believe him not: for there are 7 abominations in his heart.

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LSK1999

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We know that PD behavior has hurt us, sometimes done deep damage and left wounds and scars. But why? What about that behavior does so much damage? My belief is that God set the rules of relationships, the ways they work and don't work. For example, I didn't decide that lying hurts me. It hurts me because the way we were created makes it harmful for us to be in relationships in which there is lying and deceit (I believe, anyway).


Hi all4peace, I realize you posted this a while ago, but I wanted to tell you that I agree with everything you say and I think all of what you said has tremendous merit. I have asked myself these same questions and can come to only one conclusion. These types of behaviors do inherently hurt us because they are inherently against our creator. We are born meant for unconditional love (God is love), and any one that has studied human beings in any capacity from psychology to science will tell you we are born with a need for love. In my mind isn't this proof of God's existence? I mean victim's of childhood abuse and all of our troubles, is living testament to the fact that when we do not receive the love God intended for us to receive, things go very wrong. It's my belief that we are born with his light in us, but the world and it's evil ways will attempt to put that light out, isn't this one of the greatest themes of the bible? You may be able to convince me through all kinds of scientific arguments that we are all just animals that evolved over time, but the need for love will never (in my mind) be explained by  any other measure in my opinion than the fact that we are all meant and wired for the love of our heavenly father. Unfortunately, this love was never promised to us through other people on earth, and it's horrendous that we have had to find out how unloving and evil people's behavior can be from our very own parents.

I really think you are hitting the nail on the proverbial head with this post. These thoughts have been swirling in my mind for quite some time too. As Christians I think it's impossible for us to not ask ourselves if what we have been up against is truly evil. I wonder sometimes if I'm being too dramatic about that or why I am so driven to understand if PD's behavior is just mental illness or is it something more sinister. I discuss this with my T and she says either way I know the actions are evil so isn't that enough? But as a Christian am I looking past something more? If I believe what the bible says about evil am I left not to wonder if it's evil I have been up against my whole life. Sometimes this thought freaks me out so much I think, Okay I'm done being Christian...lol...isn't that what the enemy wants? Thanks so much, I loved your post and I think what you say makes a lot of sense. God Bless xx


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all4peace

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LSK1999, thanks for your response! That is a fascinating thought that I've never thought before--needing love being proof of a higher power. That's really profound! Thank you for giving me something to think about.

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LSK1999

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LSK1999, thanks for your response! That is a fascinating thought that I've never thought before--needing love being proof of a higher power. That's really profound! Thank you for giving me something to think about.

Yes, I have spent a lot of time debating this, I have struggled with my faith tremendously considering all I have been through. It's pretty telling to me considering the bible speaks of Christ's love and our need for it. It also speaks of perfect love erasing fear, in my mind we missed the modeling of this perfect (unconditional love) that we desperately needed as children. I have posed this question to other people. If we are just animals how would you explain our need for love? I have heard explanations that it's a biological need....okay....but Why? I have heard theories that we evolved to need love and protection in order to protect us from predators? I suppose that could be argued. If the bible didn't exist I might listen longer to those arguments. The thing is it does exist. So in order for me to believe in the other I have to totally discount everything the bible says. I am not comfortable (nor should anyone be) in doing that. For me I know the only time I have ever felt safe in my entire life was when I began to believe in God and follow Christ. For me the peace and love I felt were not otherwise explainable.

I don't understand for the life of me how so many people just totally discount the bible? Especially when what it says is pretty much true of the way life works and how people are. It isn't just something one person made up, it's based on history and the testimony of many. It's the word of God, it blows my mind how many people are just like NAH...that can't be true...lol...without ever knowing what the bible really is. I started my journey with little faith but the idea I'm gonna read this book and see if there is any truth to it, I was BLOWN away. I used to think people were crazy when they spoke of it's truth and knowing God....all of a sudden it all made sense. Sorry I rambled....lol.. I have the tendency to do that  :)

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1footouttadefog

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Is it evil or not.

This question comes up in discussions I have had with a friend who is coming to terms with growing up in a home with an N father then marrying a narcissist and possibly a sociopath. (Diagnosed)

She asks, is this just pure evil, like demonic stuff we read in the Bible.  She asks if all mention of demonic influence just stopped along the way etc.

I tread lightly with my answers as I am not in a position to say.  It's evil behavior one way or another.

Like with lying, it is avoidable even if you are mentally ill or in great distress.

Being honest could come in the form of not answering at all, or answering in brief, or asking for a later discussion.  But instead of honesty, they will use all manner of deceit and manipulation and distraction etc etc etc.



Instead they could give answers like, I am too upset to discuss this now.

Or , that is a very private matter I will not discuss with you.

Or, yes blank is blank let's leave it at that. 

There is a scripture about sweet and bitter water flowing from a fountain.

What comes from our mouths reflects our hearts. 





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Danden

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Yes I agree.  What comes from our mouth reflects our heart.  It reminds me of a famous quote (I am paraphrasing; I'm not sure exactly who said this)  "Be careful of your thoughts, for they become your words.  Be careful of your words for they become your actions.  Be careful of your actions for they become your habits.  Be careful of your habits for they become your character.  Your character becomes  your destiny."  This has spiritual significance because a person's destiny is their purpose and role on earth. 

 Are their mean words just a habit which they do automatically and they don't think about it?  Are they emotionally immature?  Are they unable to reflect on the consequences of their words for their relationships?  Do they not care about the feelings of others?  Are they unable to empathize with the feelings of others?  Probably some or all of these things are true, but they are not necessarily "evil", in and of themselves.  I think they are "evil" when they hurt others.  A person who damages the soul of a child has done an evil thing.  They can claim they are unaware and they may be unaware (consciously), but they have done it nonetheless.

The N person doesn't have a sense of how their words affect others.  While I can forbear this and not take it personally, I cannot ignore what it tells me about the other person, and I cannot ignore how it makes me feel.  I cannot place myself in that situation which disrupts my equilibrium and my own well-being.  What the N person's words tell me is that they are out of touch with normal social norms and with fair and honest ways of interacting with others.  They are untrustworthy and unstable, and I have a responsibility to protect myself from this.   So yes, in that sense I think they are evil, as I would protect myself (and others) from evil as far as I am able.  This principle applies to life in general; I would do the same if my employer asked me to do something illegal or that would hurt others, for example.  I would do the same for my young children when they go on the internet, as another example.  I would always strive to protect myself and others from evil, as far as possible.
     

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Adria

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Are they evil or mentally ill? Do they know the pain they cause others or are they unaware? These are great questions. One thing that always comes to mind when I think about this is, they seem to know how to target one or two people whilst portraying the nice guy to their boss, or extended family members.  They usually pick out one child, i.e. the scapegoat to take out their vengeance on while lavishing praise and adoration on the golden child. So, I'm leaning toward they are dumb like a fox. They know exactly how to lawyer up when they feel threatened or need to cover up some dastardly deed. They are very capable of plotting and planning someone's demise and destroying lives.  Yes, I am sure they are damaged severely, but they have also damaged us severely, and we made different choices.  I don't have all the answers. In the end, only God decides.

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Danden

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Very good question:  Are they evil or mentally ill?

Some people are mentally ill but they do not hurt others.  They are willing to acknowledge their own mental illness, go to therapy, take medication, modify their behaviors, etc, and deploy various mechanisms to compensate and understand themselves and to not hurt others.  PDs don't do that.  I think you are right, they are dumb like a fox.  Another animal analogy I've come to understand more deeply:  Crocodile tears.  The crocodile eats their prey and cries afterward, just like the PD.  The crocodile looks forward, with great anticipation of pleasure, to attacking and eating their prey.  As long as they have that anticipation they are in a happy state.  They are looking to something pleasurable and satisfying that also makes them feel powerful.  Then after that is done, they don't have that "rush" anymore, that state of being.  They have done the deed and so they go looking for the next rush.  Just like the PD.

Conversely, the mentally ill person who is not PD I would not necessarily call evil (although they may be evil).  They are just difficult and hard to understand make life difficult and hurtful for others.  They may be a burden but are not necessarily attacking you, although they may hurt you.  I have known someone like this too.  Maybe the PD person is like this too, mentally ill, hurting others.  It's just that it is much more difficult to tolerate the PD person and to not take it as a personal attack.  At least that is my experience.

An evil person would almost always have some type of mental imbalance, I think. 

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Adria

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Re: Spiritual dichotomies--is this where the damage comes from with PDs?
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2018, 10:04:51 AM »
Danden,

Quote
Another animal analogy I've come to understand more deeply:  Crocodile tears.  The crocodile eats their prey and cries afterward, just like the PD.  The crocodile looks forward, with great anticipation of pleasure, to attacking and eating their prey.  As long as they have that anticipation they are in a happy state.  They are looking to something pleasurable and satisfying that also makes them feel powerful.  Then after that is done, they don't have that "rush" anymore, that state of being.  They have done the deed and so they go looking for the next rush.  Just like the PD.

I love your crocodile tears analogy. It is right on the money. So true!

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Danden

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Re: Spiritual dichotomies--is this where the damage comes from with PDs?
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2018, 12:21:47 PM »
Yes, it doesn't just mean phony, insincere tears, as most people believe.  I have learned this through experience and reflection.

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Rose1

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Re: Spiritual dichotomies--is this where the damage comes from with PDs?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2018, 02:14:37 AM »
We all, and I include pds, have the ability to moderate our behaviour and this fits with the Bible's instruction to make our mind over and put on a new personality. Is it easy? No. Are we expected to do it perfectly? No. Are we expected to do our best? Absolutely.

Are we trying to overcome personality traits including issues gained through living with pds? Some of us are putting in extraordinary efforts in this respect. Would we cut the pds in our life slack if we saw an effort being made? God is no different and he absolutely understands the underlying damage and capability of the pd.

Is it possible? I believe so. I have seen the pds in my life hold it together in public and with those they wish to impress. Exbpdh could hold it together for years but from what I saw decided eventually he didn't like being told what to do, neither from man or from God.  He has not benefited from that position imo but proclaims himself happy. Ok, everyone has free will and everyone will reap consequences, good or bad.

I know of people with possible pd who are trying to live by Bible standards and good for them. Is it perfect? No but then neither are we. I have for a long time felt that a pd who knows what is right but refuses to do it and hurts others feels some guilt and that ccontributes to their depression and bad behaviour. Psychopaths I'm not sure about but some recent studies seem to indicate there is a hereditary factor but not all those who have this become psychopaths.  So how much is choice and how much is out of their control? I don't know and I'm glad I don't need to judge that.

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SonofThunder

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Re: Spiritual dichotomies--is this where the damage comes from with PDs?
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2018, 03:19:04 PM »
Good post.  Here’s my brief take on some topics within this discussion.  I believe the original post is correct that we are built in the likeness of God and God embodies the very best of masculine and feminine, friendship, love and all things good and right.  Since we are built in his likeness, the opposite behaviors we experience from PD’s are so emotionally hurtful and like a thorn in our flesh (look how your body reacts to foreign matters/conditions within its harmonious design-PD’s traits are foreign matters).

I do believe these hurtful traits of PD’s is indeed evil, as sin is evil.  But, throughout Jesus’ teaching, he always loves the sinner but hates the sin.  When we see Jesus angry at sin (some examples provided from original post), he is actually loving the sinner(s) by his angry actions and rebukes, but confronting the sin head on.  For me, I have had to explore what ‘love’ really means and since Jesus is it’s architect, I purposefully set out to notice how he loves.  I had to redefine my understanding of love to “desiring and potentially facilitating what is ‘best’ for a person”.  ‘Best’ would be determined (my choosing of Christ/Christianity as the truth) by Christ’s design for the world and humanity and with him and his teaching/example as the cornerstone of principles. 

So when Jesus rebukes, it is actually love.  When Jesus is angry it is love.  When Jesus heals, comforts, befriends, listens and all those other wonderful traits that align with his original design, it is love.  So therefore, in my dealing with my uPDw of 27 years, I will ‘love’ my wife but I will hate the sin/evil.   I will also love myself.   Loving myself and loving my wife (wanting what is best for both of us) in most occasions, creates a chasm between us and therefore incompatibility, like oil and water.   I am also a sinner and must deal with sin in my own life while protecting myself from her PD traits.  All of that is draining work indeed. 

I once read on ootf, a comment from a person who said “I love my wife, but I’m not in love with her”.  That fits with me.  I will love (want/facilitate what is best) my wife, but I would rather not be her affectionate husband/partner (in love) in life.   Even if we divorced, I would still care about her and her wellbeing and would still want what is best (love) for her, until I depart for Heaven.

SoT
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 03:26:58 PM by SonofThunder »
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

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midnyteblu

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Re: Spiritual dichotomies--is this where the damage comes from with PDs?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2018, 07:30:54 PM »
This is a great discussion with many good points! I hope to see more responses on this topic!

My thoughts? I think looking at dichotomies is so appropriate in these situations. Being in close relationships with PD's, we start to live in such polarity with them. We're inevitably forced to look at the extremes. I think the chief dichotomy would be God and Satan. Everything that God is, Satan is the exact opposite. Everything that God has created and designed, Satan replicates it, but it's the antithesis of what God intended.

Are they evil?

The Bible explicitly lists the words and behaviors of evil and wicked people. It explicitly describes wolves, and wolves in sheep clothing. Throughout the Bible, the descriptions of these types are - almost verbatim - the same descriptions that are used in the DSM for personality disordered individuals. The DSM, however unknowingly, is a compilation of the characteristics of evil/evil people/wolves that are listed in the Bible, like a concise list for modern-day use.

We tend to think everyone is good, or has good somewhere inside of them. It's hard to grasp that there are people around us, that live and sleep with us, who are mimics, deceivers, and have evil intentions toward us. It sounds sci-fi, but it's true. The Bible plainly and repeatedly states it, and we have lived it first-hand.

It feels unchristian or unforgiving to call someone evil, but God does it. The Bible does it. And God advises all throughout the Bible to watch out for these people, stay away from these people, have nothing to do with these people.

Yes we forgive when someone sins against us, but even here, God makes a distinction between "sin" and "evil". In general, giving and receiving forgiveness of sin requires humility, acknowledgement, confession, admission, repentance, reparation, restoration (I know that things aren't always restored between people). Evil doesn't go through any of these steps. It persists in it's own way, despite the destruction it's caused. Isn't this another descriptive of the personality- disordered (here, I'm thinking more of NPD/ASPD)?

I think the distinction between sin and evil is like the distinction the Bible makes between lost sheep and wolves. They are dealt with quite differently. If you're dealing with a lost sheep, we can get close, communicate, resolve issues, to whatever degree. With a wolf, or an evil person, if you get close, you're annihilated. Period. Our interactions in these two scenarios are like our interactions with God and Satan.

Sorry if I'm way off-base of what's being talked about (?) In my (still-foggy) mind, this somehow  fit...   
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 07:45:24 PM by midnyteblu »

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SonofThunder

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Re: Spiritual dichotomies--is this where the damage comes from with PDs?
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2018, 09:06:07 PM »
This is a great discussion with many good points! I hope to see more responses on this topic!

My thoughts? I think looking at dichotomies is so appropriate in these situations. Being in close relationships with PD's, we start to live in such polarity with them. We're inevitably forced to look at the extremes. I think the chief dichotomy would be God and Satan. Everything that God is, Satan is the exact opposite. Everything that God has created and designed, Satan replicates it, but it's the antithesis of what God intended.

Are they evil?

The Bible explicitly lists the words and behaviors of evil and wicked people. It explicitly describes wolves, and wolves in sheep clothing. Throughout the Bible, the descriptions of these types are - almost verbatim - the same descriptions that are used in the DSM for personality disordered individuals. The DSM, however unknowingly, is a compilation of the characteristics of evil/evil people/wolves that are listed in the Bible, like a concise list for modern-day use.

We tend to think everyone is good, or has good somewhere inside of them. It's hard to grasp that there are people around us, that live and sleep with us, who are mimics, deceivers, and have evil intentions toward us. It sounds sci-fi, but it's true. The Bible plainly and repeatedly states it, and we have lived it first-hand.

It feels unchristian or unforgiving to call someone evil, but God does it. The Bible does it. And God advises all throughout the Bible to watch out for these people, stay away from these people, have nothing to do with these people.

Yes we forgive when someone sins against us, but even here, God makes a distinction between "sin" and "evil". In general, giving and receiving forgiveness of sin requires humility, acknowledgement, confession, admission, repentance, reparation, restoration (I know that things aren't always restored between people). Evil doesn't go through any of these steps. It persists in it's own way, despite the destruction it's caused. Isn't this another descriptive of the personality- disordered (here, I'm thinking more of NPD/ASPD)?

I think the distinction between sin and evil is like the distinction the Bible makes between lost sheep and wolves. They are dealt with quite differently. If you're dealing with a lost sheep, we can get close, communicate, resolve issues, to whatever degree. With a wolf, or an evil person, if you get close, you're annihilated. Period. Our interactions in these two scenarios are like our interactions with God and Satan.

Sorry if I'm way off-base of what's being talked about (?) In my (still-foggy) mind, this somehow  fit...

Excellent addition to the discussion and agree with your examples from the Bible.  I especially liked this paragraph.

“I think the distinction between sin and evil is like the distinction the Bible makes between lost sheep and wolves. They are dealt with quite differently. If you're dealing with a lost sheep, we can get close, communicate, resolve issues, to whatever degree. With a wolf, or an evil person, if you get close, you're annihilated. Period. Our interactions in these two scenarios are like our interactions with God and Satan. ”.

So true.

SoT
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.