In the last several posts I’ve discussed narcissism/psychopathy and codependence. There is a distinct relationship between the two. A codependent either by nature or by nurture doesn’t know where s/he ends and another begins. They don’t recognize boundaries.
Codependents also seek out security. They find individuals who are or appear to be confident, positive, and self-assured very attractive. With an air of superiority, grandiose visions, and elevated an elevated estimate of self-importance narcissists fit the bill. Narcissists crave admiration and codependents want someone to admire and look up to.
Narcissists can’t handle their superiority or their authority being challenged (sound like any preachers you know?). They need relationships with individuals who are ready and willing to be and remain subservient to them. Codependents find it difficult to make their own decisions, for whatever reasons (nature or nurture) so they commonly defer to the narcissist. This plays to the narcissists ego and makes him/her feel important.
Over time the codependent takes on the defensive characteristics and survival behaviors of the narcissist so that the narcissism is extended beyond themselves. If the narcissist experiences some kind of “injury”, like having their authority challenged, having their superiority questioned, a codependent will go to battle to defend their amour by any means necessary including lying, among other insidious behaviors, to “protect” them. Anything that angers the “leader” also angers the “follower”. Eventually the codependent feels they cannot live without or survive without the narcissist. They are their world. That is a lot of power for an individual to wield. And s/he knows how to use it. Anywhere outside of religion that is called exactly what it is – a sickness. In any religion besides your own that would be called a cult.
This would explain why people feel a need, not just to defend their god, but attack anyone who would dare to question him. And, according to the religion, would feel justified in doing so, calling it righteous anger. Because god has received some perceived injury to his ego or reputation his people go on the defensive and vile behavior is the result. All of this, mind you, under the guise of love. The codependent is convinced this is what love is and what love does. What kind of god needs defending or protection? If he is so great and so mighty and so strong why would his ego be hurt at all by a few questions? But the problem is his followers don’t know where they end and god begins. Any assertion that he might not be all he’s claimed to be is a personal affront to them.
It is also why people, like me, feel or felt we could trounce on the personal boundaries of others. We think we can see so plainly what someone else needs to “fix” them, because god told us so, that we bulldoze right over them. They’re swimming along perfectly fine, but because they decide not to follow one or more of god’s rules we decide they need to be saved. We look at them and see them as drowning. So we dive in, tell them their drowning, and try our damnedest to drag them to shore. All the while they’re looking at us like we have three heads, kicking against us, while both go under. Looking like lunatics people, in defense of their chosen deity, hold signs up in protest of homosexuality and abortion and burn Qurans. It’s why Rick Santorum thinks he should be able to tell women that they cannot take birth control.
Most of us, some more than others, have experienced this backlash from the codependents of the
pastor/leadership of their church lord when we voiced our questions or had the nerve to question the Bible or the audacity to challenge church leadership. Even if we didn’t leave the faith entirely, but just decided on a more progressive, friendly form of the faith we have been maligned. Family, friends, neighbors either were angry and retaliated in defense of whatever the perceived injury occurred, or they tried to guilt us into staying, or they tried to rescue us, or they shunned us.
This is a god who supposedly created the heavens and the earth, by whatever means. This is a god who supposedly controls the universe. And yet he also orchestrates the most ridiculous of scenarios so that we, his beloved, get to serve him(sometimes in evil ways like killing entire nations of people), then tell him how wonderful he is for allowing us the opportunity, praise him all the day long, and go to bed feeling worthless. We behave in completely unethical and sometimes criminal ways and feel completely justified in doing so because we have based our ideas of right or wrong on a literal, inerrant reading of scripture.
The only way to break free from this illness of codependence is to somehow, pardon the pun, miraculously discover that that god doesn’t exist and even if he did he wouldn’t need us to slay people in his name.
Thank the gods I’m recovering.