The loop
[the formula of spiritual abuse in the true,
i.e. with valid sacraments, Church]
 

Several years ago I wrote in my paper ‘The curse of the choice’:

“I am convinced that many disorders have in their very beginning a double bind of the choice between good and evil, life and death presented by the closest attachment figure, mother or her viceroy.

The formula of the “original choice”: a quadruple bind

                        abusive mother

to stay = death                  to leave = death
-----------------------  child  -----------------------
to stay = life                       to leave = life

The upper line: To stay with an abusive mother means to die (it feels like it to a child; it is always the spiritual reality and sometimes the physical reality as well) but to leave her also means death for a child according to her primary instinct. It is the first double bind which forms the basis of the future persistent darkness in the life of an individual, along the line “there is no exit” out of any life situation which involves a relationship with other(s).

The bottom line:  To stay with an abusive mother means to live (the security that a child needs) but to leave her means also to live (this is the voice which grows stronger as a person grows older; a mother will defend herself against it via inducing shame and guilt into her child, crushing her personality and thus keeping her on a “baby level” psychologically). This is the second double bind which is “a fake light of hope” in the life of an individual, the “secure passivity” of never growing aided by the dreams of something better which are never realized.”

Further in that paper and in several others I explored the effect of the parental abuse on the relationships of a grown abused individual with God. I established that in the beginning of her relationship with Jesus Christ such a person inevitably relates to Him as if He was her abusive parent, reincarnating a parent in Christ, so to speak. Paradoxically, the perceived love of God triggers an automatic response, a fear of inescapable doom that is always attached to “the love” she knew before.

If a person perseveres, with time she will gain enough experience of being with Christ to realize that He is Love that cannot contain even the slightest trace of evil or darkness – therefore the quadruple bind in which she has existed for all her life begins dissolving. There is still a choice but now it is a choice between evil and good, between Satan and Christ – not between “good evil” and “evil good”, between “evil God” and “Divine evil”. The accumulating new experiences of Love untainted by the evil will eventually cause the psyche of a believer to make a hundred and eighty degree turn, from the vector of fear i.e. inwards (the habitual mode of relating to others formed by the quadruple bind) to the vector of trust, outwards.

I will note here briefly that it follows from the definition of God as light in Whom there is no darkness that anyone who wishes to be with Him must get rid of the darkness in their own soul. The less darkness there is in the believer the fuller is his union with Christ, the most desirable state for a Christian soul and the sole purpose of her life. Only a desire to be with Christ can enable a soul to endure her “undoing” by Him, from the evil that the abuse had incorporated in her very structure. Words are inadequate to convey what is at stake even if a very legitimate parallel with an attachment to a human person is employed because Jesus Christ, while being a perfect human, is immeasurably more i.e. He is God; His divinity raises this attachment and everything that is involved to the level of the absolute, life or death, all or nothing. It is all about the taste of the meaning of existence of a soul at last – justification, redemption, deification – in one word, it is living through, not just reading, the Gospel story, with Christ, the story being applied to me, the concrete me. It is the experiential knowledge of the truth of Christian revelation, something a believer gets to know in the biblical sense of this word, soul, spirit, and body.  

The objective reality which a believer discovers experientially: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is Love and He cannot change. The believer then is always perfectly safe with Him; this safety is the foundation of her path to Him, something that initiated her restructuring. Christ is the Head of the Church and the Church is His Body, according to Christian teaching. A believer then, abused or not, has all rights to expect the Church of Christ to be the safest place for her or for him.

Unfortunately, it is not always so. I do not mean what is much talked about nowadays, the child sexual abuse within the Church, although its principles and effect in essence do not differ from what I am about to describe. I am interested here in a more subtle manifestation of the same phenomenon, namely a situation when a victim of narcissistic abuse in childhood later in life finds Christ, learns to trust Him, comes to His Church and then one day out of blue suddenly beholds her abusive mother being reincarnated in the Church, in the sight of a priest holding the Eucharistic Cup. I am very interested to understand what is there that makes an adult, a firm believer who knows the Love of Christ on her own experience, to feel as if she was thrown back into her abusive childhood and even further back, into hell devoid of any hope to escape – all those feelings I repeat reaching a pinnacle while she is watching a narcissist priest bring forward the Cup with Christ, her Beloved.

Let us consider again the dilemma of an abused child, a Quadruple Bind-I:

                       abusive mother [biologically, a source of life]

to stay [with mother] = death                  to leave = death [without mother]
------------------------------------------ child  -------------------------------------------------
to stay [with mother] = life                       to leave = life [without mother]


Compare it with Quadruple Bind-II:

                narcissist priest [“source” of Life (communion=Christ)]

to stay [with Christ]= death                        to leave = death [without Christ]
---------------------------------------  believer  -----------------------------------------------
to stay [with Christ] = life                            to leave = life [without Christ]

They are identical, with one small difference: in the first case it is the mother who is considered and named and the actions of a child are in relation to her; in the second case a narcissist priest is considered but the actions of a believer are in relation to Christ. In the case of a mother it is “staying with mother – separation from mother”; in the case of a narcissist priest it is staying with Christ – separating from Christ (we are considering here the case of a believer whose primary reason for coming to the Church is to be united with Christ, in the Eucharist; he feels that he cannot live without communion with Him).

The way out of the Quadruple Bind-I (mother), the diagonal lines:

to stay [with mother] = death                  to leave = death [without mother]
------------------------------------------ child  -------------------------------------------------
to stay [with mother] = life                       to leave = life [without mother]

i.e.:

to stay [with mother] = death   and  to leave = life [without mother]
or
to leave [without mother] = death   and to stay = life [with mother]   

Those two lines are representations of two mutually exclusive realities, “an abusive mother, a murderess” and “a good mother, a life-giver”.

The way out of the Quadruple Bind-II (narc. priest), the diagonal lines:

                 narcissist priest [“source” of Life (communion=Christ)]

to stay [with Christ] = death                              to leave = death [without Christ]
--------------------------------------------  believer  ---------------------------------------------
to stay [with Christ] = life                                    to leave = life [without Christ]

i.e.:                      

to stay [with Christ]  = death and to leave = life [without Christ]
or
to leave = death [without Christ] and to stay = life [with Christ] 

Those two lines are representations of two mutually exclusive realities, “a narcissist priest, a murderer” and “a good priest, a Life-giver”.

Compare now the first and second lines of the two binds, of mother and of priest.                

The second lines are identical and straightforward; they represent normality:

to leave [without mother] = death   and  to stay = life [with mother] – “a good mother, a life-giver”
to leave = death [without Christ] and to stay = life [with Christ]  – a good priest, a Life-giver (Christ)

But the first lines present different pictures:

to stay [with mother] = death  and  to leave = life [without mother] – “an abusive mother, a murderess”
to stay [with Christ]  = death and to leave = life [without Christ] – narcissist priest, a murderer

It is possible to come to the conclusion that the mother is a murderess so the line makes a sense (albeit unbearably painful).
It is impossible though to reconcile oneself with “to stay with Christ in communion – death and to leave Him – life”. Impossible. It would be very straightforward if we connected death with the one who spreads it, not with Christ:

to stay [with a narcissist priest]  = death and to leave = life [without a narcissist priest] – narcissist priest, a murderer

makes a perfect sense and there would be no question whether to leave or not if there was no Christ involved – not just “a good priest”, a mask a narcissist priest wears, but Christ in communion, the omnipotent God.

To a believer, Christ is huge and overweights a priest (and a mother as a matter of fact; this is why the healing is possible). Yet, they are joined via Holy Communion (the priest as consecrator and distributer); the bind works in proportion to the faith of the believer in the Real Presence of Christ in Eucharist. The more a believer is attached to Christ the more she is likely to stay. The more she believes in His omnipotence the more she is likely to disregard the narcissist abuse and its effect on her. Paradoxically, in the mind of an ardent believer, to leave is “to make Christ smaller than a narcissist priest”. Ultimately, to leave means to betray Christ.

Hence here is the real “hook” of the whole situation: if I leave I will give to a narcissist priest (a human) more importance than to Christ (God); if I stay I will reinforce that a narcissist priest (a human) does not matter and Christ (God) can nullify every evil. If I leave I deny the omnipotence of God.

Staying though erodes a soul and a body and works as a “proof” that faith in Christ (God) is futile. From here it follows that the phenomenon of a narcissist priest in the Church of Christ turns upside down all Christian teaching without altering anything dogmatically: staying in the Church for the sake of Christ, because I love Him, inevitably ruins a believer and his faith.

[I consider here the situation when there is no other church around available (i.e. a place where one can receive communion). Yet, the same dynamics work when there is a choice because of the very nature of the narcissistic abuse i.e. invisible, mind-clouding, gas-lighting and so on (as I stated before I am not considering here the sexual or physical abuse but emotional and spiritual abuse which a narcissist seem to radiate naturally; this phenomenon was explored in ‘Antipriest’ and ‘The heart of the New Testament’). For example, a believer may reason that “Christ will protect me – why should I leave my congregation?” or “to run away is cowardice, Christians should not be cowards”, etc.]

To add blur:

to leave = death [without Christ] and to stay = life [with Christ]  – a good priest, a Life-giver (Christ)
to stay [with Christ]  = death and to leave = life [without Christ] – narcissist priest, a murderer

are in fact not two entirely opposite realities. To leave Christ, the Ultimate Life, is always death regardless who is a priest, good or evil. To stay with Christ is always life, regardless who is a priest, good or evil. It is so metaphysically speaking. Psychologically speaking, it is death to stay with Christ if the evil (a narcissist priest) is a compulsory attachment to this staying – not because Christ “is not powerful enough” but because a believer, a human being, is not strong enough to withstand the evil without consequences. Contrary to the Church’s teaching about the validity of the Sacraments, the evil priest is capable of destroying communion – not metaphysically but in the mind/soul of a believer. Or, better to say, he is not destroying the One Whom he gives, Jesus Christ in communion – he destroys the receiving end, a human being so eventually there is no one to receive. Hence the Church’s teaching is true, nothing changes the validity of the sacrament per se, objectively speaking – if the communion was not to be received, not to be related to – but then of course it would not be called communion.

I would like again to highlight the quite unthinkable: the more ardently a believer (abused when he was a child) wishes to receive Christ the more damaged he will end up. The more vivid and conscious is his communion with Christ, the more damage from a priest he will suffer. The argument, that the holier is an individual the easier for him to withstand the evil, does not work in this particular case in my opinion because of the perceived “impossible mix”, of the good and the evil (shadowy, zero)  distributing Good (infinite, the Source of all). It is akin to the shiver and shock one experiences when one reads about a murderous mother. If the evil was scattering the Hosts on the ground and pissing on them it would not be shocking at all. So it is the perception of the unthinkable what screws up a believer’s mind and soul returning him back to the beginning of his life, but this time the abuse is multiplied by the infinite component, God, attached to it. I propose that “the unthinkable”, the perceived mix of the good and the evil is the real trigger of the emotional flashbacks and the most powerful weapon the evil can get, over a soul.

Hence the formula of re-traumatisation in the narcissistic true i.e. possessing the true Holy Communion church:


An abused child:

to stay [with mother] = death                  to leave = death [without mother]
------------------------------------------ child  -------------------------------------------------
to stay [with mother] = life                       to leave = life [without mother]

a conclusion:

to stay [with mother] = death  and  to leave = life [without mother]


An abused adult who found Christ and now is in the narcissistic church:

to stay [with Christ] = death                              to leave = death [without Christ]
-----------------------------------------  believer  ---------------------------------------------
to stay [with Christ] = life                                    to leave = life [without Christ]                      

a conclusion:

to stay [with Christ]  = death and to leave = life [without Christ] – narcissist priest, a murderer

I will put them together:

to stay [with mother] = death  and  to leave = life [without mother]
to stay [with Christ]  = death and to leave = life [without Christ] – narcissist priest, a murderer

And, if one tries to engage in “a rational action” of separating Christ from a priest it becomes even more all-embracing (all things are coming together here making a perfect parody), especially if one recalls the normal Christian definitions, theological as well as psychological, of a priest as a father and the Church as a mother:

to stay [with father, narcissist priest]  = death  and  to leave = life [without father, narcissist priest]
to stay [with mother, the Church] = death  and  to leave = life [without mother, the Church]
to stay [with Christ, God]  = death and to leave = life [without Christ, God]

What is left then?
 

Post Scriptum: Notes on metaphysics

“When I see the heavens, the work of Your hands,
the moon and the stars which You arranged,
what is man that You should keep him in mind,
mortal man that You care for him?

Yet You made him little less than a god;
with glory and honour You crowned him,
gave him power over the works of Your hand,
put all things under his feet.”

(Psalm 8)

As it was said above, a narcissist parent makes her child to partake the knowledge of “evil good and good evil”, “evil is always a part of good; good serves to trap” etc. incarnated in her own person. I tend to think that even when God is healing the soul this knowledge remains present (albeit consciously rejected), hugely in unconscious, breaking out in the form of irrational fears and nightmares which lessen with the progress of healing.

When such a person comes to a narcissistic parish, a narcissist priest activates this unconscious knowledge just like the ancient mysteries did it, using symbols. Or as Christian sacraments, the Baptism for example: we are buried with Christ (the immersion) to rise with Christ (emerging from water to the new life). Similarly, in the Eucharist we receive the Body and Blood of Christ to become one with Him. In the case of a Church with valid (true) sacraments and the faith in the Real Presence the communion is not just a symbol – it is the real Christ. An extreme narcissist priest then, being flesh and blood = the en-fleshed (incarnated) evil = being totally controlled by the evil holds the Body and Blood of Christ = the Absolute Good = God, in the Cup and distributes them. He thus, in his action, is acting out = activates the rejected and now unconscious knowledge of an abused, by a narcissist parent, parishioner that the Good exists only to trap him. Hence Christ, in his mind, being in the Cup, is a trap. It is impossible however, for a believer in God, to think that Christ, God i.e. the pre-existent, is being used by the evil (a shadow) hence the natural end of this activation of the unconscious is “Christ = God made evil to trap me” – that, of course, destroys the Christian knowledge of God. Hence a believer is presented with two unthinkables: “God is a tool of Satan” and “God uses the evil” – all this while approaching the Cup with a firm conviction that “it is truly Christ, my Lord and my God Who sacrificed Himself for me”.

This is how the childhood experience of narcissistic abuse is raised, in the narcissist church, onto the metaphysical = eternal level and acted out, the believer being forced – not by God of course – to participate in the upgraded “mystery”, of symbolic undoing of everything the Incarnation of Christ has done (if the Incarnation is understood as an event which enables humans to choose between good and evil and to resist evil, being free from ancestral sin).

An important development:  while the abuse in childhood is overwhelming there is typically a hope, a dream about “a rescuer figure”. Hence there is the now, of the torture, which is clouded/obliterated by habitual depersonalisation/derealisation but there is also hope of an escape in a dream about the future.

The sacraments and the Mass in Christ’s Church are beyond time, they are eternal. The Sacrifice of Christ, on Golgotha, happens now, during Mass and in eternity. It is the eternal now and a believer is included in this eternal now, of the Kingdom of God which, in Eucharist, is already now, the eternity now. Hence the power of a narcissist priest: by the means of his inclusion into that eternal now of the Church – the inclusion which is not due to God but to human perversion – he adds to each of his actions the dimension of eternity. Thus the re-experiencing the childhood abuse now has an eternal dimension. A believer is reliving his abuse in eternity, having the full impression that God ordered it this way and there is no escape, ever. It is not the eternal Kingdom of God but eternal hell, Christ being swallowed by Hell. The “rescuer figure” of a childhood is a fake. And, if a believer already has some experience of Christ being omnipotent and a Rescuer indeed he is even more broken, unable to reconcile the two.

 

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