I am the former President of the Association of Former Pentecostals. I was a Oneness Pentecostal for about 20 years and am now a Lutheran. It usually takes from 7-10 years to recover from the bad effects of extremely emotional religion. Hopefully this blog can help out with a few ideas. Furthermore, it appears that there are similar problems with the Charismatic movement as there are with the Pentecostals. So, Charismatics might find similar problems and hopefully a helpful discussion here.
healthy person has to prune his social circle about once every 3-5 years.You will discover the depressed person (who
relishes in their depression), the narcissist, or the coward.Sometimes it takes time to learn these
important things about people.But, you
will have to delete these people.We
usually cannot choose family or blood, but we can choose who we hang out with regularly.
be a winner, you will have to do what winners do.Sometimes winners do things that ordinary
people find difficult impossible, or uncomfortable.
Ferris once said that success is directly related to the number of
uncomfortable conversations you are willing to have.This sounds true to me.In his book, The 4 Hour Workweek, this
section jumped out at me for the truth value it carries and the ageless wisdom
Exact numbers aren’t needed to realize that we spend too
much time with those who poison us with pessimism, sloth, and low expectations
of themselves and the world. It is often the case that you have to fire certain
friends or retire from particular social circles to have the life you want.
This isn’t being mean; it is being practical. Poisonous people do not deserve
your time. To think otherwise is masochistic.
The best way to approach a potential break is simple:
Confide in them honestly but tactfully and explain your concerns. If they bite
back, your conclusions have been confirmed. Drop them like any other bad habit.
If they promise to change, first spend at least two weeks apart to develop
other positive influences in your life and diminish psychological dependency.
The next trial period should have a set duration and consist of pass-or-fail
If this approach is too confrontational for you, just
politely refuse to interact with them. Be in the middle of something when the
call comes, and have a prior commitment when the invitation to hang out comes.
Once you see the benefits of decreased time with these people, it will be
easier to stop communication altogether.
I’m not going to lie: It sucks. It hurts like pulling out a
splinter. But you are the average of the five people you associate with most,
so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized
friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.
Remove the splinters and you’ll thank yourself for it.
The question will come about enemies and
swords sharpening swords, and conflict being good for the soul.This is very correct.Here is the problem.
Many Americans think that being positive is
the absence of conflict or discomfort.This is false.Being positive is
exactly what it means in science: forward movement.You are in a positive environment if you are
growing and moving forward, despite conflict and stress.Eu-stress is good: biking for one hour or
lifting weights is good stress.Distress is
bad: being injured or having a conversation with a person in despair is bad
written from some personal experience, and from experiences of some of my
closest friends.This stuff really
happens, so be on the lookout!
Most of us psychologically “normal” people feel
pain when our friends and family feel pain.Not the narcissist – they are not happy unless others around them are
suffering.And, this is what you need to
understand.You must prepare yourself,
because chances are you will have to deal with this sooner or later.
They will invade your social circle.They will appear normal, but they will hide a
mask of trying to make others miserable.Once they invade your social circle, they will begin to isolate a
target.They will attack the target
under the radar.The target will defend herself.But, the narcissist will turn it all around
and make the target look bad and mean.The narcissist will turn the entire social circle against the target.The others in the social circle will never
know this until they are the target of her rage and secret hatred of
happiness.This can go on years
undetected.Researchers at places like
“Anonymous Conservative” suggest that you cannot deal with a narcissist with
her own tools, because she will win – they are experts at manipulation.You will have to cut off all ties to this
person and completely avoid them – they are poison, and they are making you
miserable.All your precious memories of
the narcissist are merely illusions – who you thought they were, is not real –
they hid their hatred from you like an expert until you were ripe for attack.There is a slight chance that you can get rid
of the narcissist by being a clever “detective” by not leaving any stone
unturned and delivering a “coup de grace” in a potentially kamikaze social
strike.This may or may not work, since
the narcissist has built many allies who are equally fooled as you are, but are
not yet targets of the narcissist.You
will probably lose until the others figure out just how nasty the narcissist
What are you to do?You must take action.You cannot allow these people to continue in
your life.You have to figure out a way
to completely break contact with them, even if you risk losing friends in the
trust of the dangerous narcissist.Get
away.Get as far away as you can.
Here is one likely scenario.In your usual circle of friends, you begin to
get a loss of eye contact.Select people
begin to avoid you.The firm handshake
gives way to the “no handshake” and even you may not get a greeting at
all.Then, you wonder what the hell is
going on.Suddenly, someone normally
passive toward you, does something passive aggressive – like, takes one of your
trophies (symbolizing success and happiness) and marks all over it with a
marker.You ask this person about the
incident.They reply with aggressiveness
of which shocks you immensely coming from this person who had previous little
interaction with you.You ask for an
apology, but do not get it, and you shrug it off as someone who is just
socially inept or perhaps depressed.Then, you notice other forms of passive aggressive behavior from this
person, but they recruit someone close to you to unknowingly participate in
Now, you are in a situation where a person who is
virtually invisible to you has committed passive-aggression against you, and
has embedded themselves into a family member and is committing nasty acts, and
this family member is unwittingly participating.You wonder “Who in the hell does this person
think she is?”You perform
investigations over a period of time and discover that this narcissist has
turned a substantial portion of a social circle against you with lies.The investigation is clear.The evidence is clear.But what do you do?
You must take absolute control over the
situation.Do not allow this to continue
more than one week after you have identified the Narcissist, and have resolved
to take action.
(1)Break all contact.
Those who are your close friends and family – you
will have to tell them you are breaking all contact with the narcissist and
also breaking all contact with associates of the narcissist.If you do not break contact with the
narcissist’s associates, you will be involved in a poisoned social circle,
which nobody needs in their lives.
(2) Make it absolutely clear to the Narcissist
that you will not compromise on the ultimatum.
Do not even allow them the possibility of ever
renewing any kind of relationship with you or your family.They are programmed robots and will merely
resume their poisonous and destructive behavior.
(3) Do not hesitate in breaking off friendships
with allies of the Narcissist.
This may be painful, but you cannot allow a
narcissist in your life.If this means
breaking friendship with others, so be it.This is where people may go wrong and hesitate.YOU CANNOT HESITATE ON THIS POINT!Remember, this social circle is already
poisoned, and you are probably being negatively affected by this person anyway,
so new friends will be a breath of fresh air anyway – or rekindle old relationships
you have neglected.Again – DO NOT
HESITATE or you will be sorry.
There are of course, savvy ways of dealing with
nasty people, which involves getting nasty yourself.If you need details, feel free to send me an
email, and we may be able to speak over the phone about some very effective
weapons you can use.This is only if you
are willing to get your hands dirty.
When studying the Seven Deadly Sins, as traditionally taught by Christianity for over 1000 years, which were probably inherited from moral teachings from the Greek philosophers such as Plato and Socrates, I was struck by common Pentecostal practices that not only violate these traditional “deadly” sins, but actively encourage these deadly sins.
In browsing some Pentecostal websites with pictures of gatherings and meetings, I was struck by a strange sight of obesity. Now, we all know that some people are fat or bubbly somewhat. However, when it gets to the point of not being able to perform basic functions without undue stress, I think we need to take a closer look at what is going on. Are these people just a little big large or are they gluttons at the table, consuming food like wild hogs? Are they having some medical problems, or do they have a problem with self-control? And, let me be clear that I probably have been guilty of this myself.
Traditionally, one can commit gluttony in several ways, according to Thomas Aquinas (reference Wikipedia):
(1) Eating too soon (2) Eating too expensively (3) Eating too much (4) Eating too eagerly (5) Eating too daintily (6) Eating wildly
Now, look at this list again, and tell me that Pentecostals regularly violate several of these guidelines. I would say I have always seen Pentecostal meetings where they (a) Eat too soon, (b) Eat too much, (c) Eat too eagerly, and (d) Eat wildly. I was among Pentecostals recently, and I was struck by something I never noticed before: they were devouring their food as would a hungry dog or a hog. Being away from that crowd for several years, and seeing this activity struck me as memorable.
What is wrong with all this gluttonous behavior? Who is being harmed? Well, in most ethical systems, we are taught how to be good to others, but also we learn forms of self-control because an extreme lack of self-control in one area almost always signals a moral problem in many other areas. It is an outward sign of an inward disorder. Why do we become gluttons? Are we substituting food for socializing? Are we substituting food for not confronting undesirable situations (cowardice). Are we eating because we are lonely? Are we devouring food because we lack meaning and spirituality in our lives (I think this is the piece de resistance, myself)?
Also, think about the prohibition of alcohol among some of the more extreme fundamentalists. Well, do they prohibit and police gluttony? Well, drunkenness is only a subset of gluttony! What is drunkenness? Consuming too much alcohol to the point of neglecting our duties. Again, lack of self-control is the key.
What do you remember about the hoggish consumption of food in your Pentecostal experience?