There is a great Facebook page that I like to visit and read about others’ experiences. Recently someone wrote, asking if anyone else’s ex had “found God.”
Sweet Jesus – mine’s not the only one?
After reading through something like 78 comments, I started to understand that this is one of those “common” things that Narcissists do.
I am not into organized religion – not for me, at least. (Sorry if this offends.) But, I have absolutely no judgments about others’ beliefs. I live in a fairly right-wing, conservative, religious community, settled by Mormons, and am friends with folks whose religious beliefs range from Atheist to Buddhist to Mormon to Catholic, to Evangelical Christian to Jewish to Muslim. I really don’t judge.
What I do judge is hypocrisy and being false to put on a good show.
So, when we married, we were on similar religious pages, although he was more outspoken and less tolerant than I, of anything that even hinted at Christianity, Religion or God.
No minister at the wedding. No baptisms for the children. These choices were fine with me – I fully agreed. We did, however, run into trouble as the kids grew up a bit and it came time to make decisions about Christmas and a few other holidays.
He wanted to celebrate the Solstice because Christmas is a “God” holiday. We gave it a go, but when everyone around you and the kids is talking about Santa Clause and you grew up with Christmas and love Christmas carols and lights and nativity scenes, it’s hard to break the habit.
Sometimes I would even argue that I actually do believe in Jesus, (although maybe not in the same way as others do,) and liked to celebrate his birth. That got me into so much trouble including, “What happened to the person that I married? I would never have married a Christian.”
Which was always followed by hours/days of me frantically trying to reassure him that I was the same person and then begging for his forgiveness.
We ended up going with Christmas, but only in the Santa sense.
Needless to say, Easter also presented problems. The compromise there was that we called that rabbit the “Spring Bunny” and he had nothing to do with God and everything to do with the changing of the seasons. That worked for me.
I was really relieved when the kids figured out that neither Santa nor the Bunny exist.
As the kids grew up, the religious “issues” turned from holidays to who they were allowed to choose as friends. Nicest family on the face of the earth and neighbors: Mormon – you’d think they were asking to play with the Devil himself. My best friend, lapsed Catholic – “But she was an active Catholic at one point – what if she still believes? What if her kids do?” The ultra-liberal preacher’s children…no way. The kids whose parents go to the Episcopal Church (with a congregation of 13) – oh no, that’s way too devout. And then, there is the woman who, saint that she is, runs shuttles to youth group every week so that kids have somewhere safe to hang out. The church is revivalist, in a tent, and the kids have a blast.
No. No. And no again.
Personally I love the idea of my kids being exposed to many different ways of life and belief systems and learning to accept everyone around them no matter the differences.
Aren’t we supposed to be teaching tolerance?
And then, he left us – in every way.
He fell in love with the gal who had said that she would ALWAYS vote “right” because of the abortion issue. The girl whom he almost didn’t hire at work, because she went to a Christian college and he didn’t want to hear about God all the time.
The 25-year-old virgin.
Next thing I know, he’s prosthelytizing to the kids, reading Bible verses aloud, saying grace, getting on the kids for swearing and listening to rock n roll and preaching abstinence.
He now goes to one of those churches that meets in a school – always super sketchy – if the “Church” hasn’t been around long enough to have an actual church then it often will reek of cult or at least fanatical.
He’s telling one child that the only friend he approves of is the preacher’s kid.
She: born and raised very religious and God-faring. Lives the life, walks the walk, talks the talk. The Real Deal.
He has rattled the worlds of all of his family – even his Unitarian father is frightened by the intensity of his faith. It is all-consuming.
And my therapist says, “Not surprising at all.” Which, I guess, is true since it seems like so many other Narcissists out there have done the same thing. My therapist also says that when a person starts out with such a morally narrow view of others (which Ns do) then it has to keep getting smaller and more narrow and rigid for the N to protect himself. And religion is one of the easiest ways to support a reduction of acceptable behaviors.
He uses it to judge. “Of course” says the wise therapist.
So now the kids’ music is offensive (which, granted, some of it is, but how much good did it do anyone when parents protested against Elvis?). No more swearing. Only respectful talk and thoughts about women (which really gets us into a weird place since his idea of “respect” stems from male-dominated religion and in my mind isn’t “respectful” at all.) No sex until you are married and therefore, your mother is a whore.
And so on, and so on, and so on.
I wouldn’t mind AT ALL if this was who he always been. But he’s been just the opposite.
The craziest piece to all of it is this: When the kids started questioning his new-found piety, his response,”I’ve always had my faith, but your mother wouldn’t let me express it.”
It’s takes a lot to render me speechless, but that one did. It shocked the hell out of the kids too – at least they could see that he was totally full of shit.
Since his transformation he has Tebowed on top of a mountain, become best friends with his minister, practiced abstinence until his wedding night, gotten married in front of a 20 foot hand-hewn cross, switched to Christian Country, been baptized in the river and condemned me to hell for my wanton ways.
Apparently, besides running a brothel, my parenting choices are putting the children at risk – spiritually – because I let them watch inappropriate movies, listen to degrading music and, here’s the worst, kiss girls.
Little does he know I just made the smart and realistic choice to buy them condoms.
And about the inconsistency of his faith, he lets the kids watch any sort of violence that they want – it’s morally okay to go on a killing spree, but you’d better not get a blow job when you put your gun down.
So what it all boils down to is hypocrisy and putting on a show. Sure, he can go to church and wave his hands in the air, tears streaming down his face (and yes, this has been witnessed), and he can tell his students how much proof of God there is in the natural world, and he can talk to the kids about the evils of premarital sex, but he only follows through on this stuff when it’s convenient or makes him look good.
Behind the scenes, when he deals with me or certain others, he is just as mean and vile and unforgiving as he’s ever been. He lashes out, says horribly cruel things, only looks out for himself and lies like a madman.
He recently quoted the Golden Rule – if how he treats me is how he wants to be treated, then he’s more of a masochist than I ever realized.
He’s no more Christian than the neighborhood feral cat. But he sure loves to think he is and REALLY loves the rest of the world to see him as sitting at God’s right hand.