At times Christians can be their own worst enemies, when it comes to discerning what is true and what is false in the people they meet. We bend over backwards to be accommodating to almost everyone and anyone, in order not to be perceived as 'not nice' or that we are being 'judgmental.
These kind words and feelings feed the emotional extortionists, who then prey on the kindness of others, in an attempt to control them by using their very kindness against them. These people manipulate the good hearts of those who are trying to help them by playing on the good nature of Christians in full knowledge that these very Christians will try their best to help those who seek it.
The emotional extortionists will use various means in order to manipulate and control those around them. Some will play the 'victim' and expect others to come racing to their defense even if they themselves are at fault, for the victim can see no fault in themselves! The victim takes no prisoners as it endeavours to convince others of their perceived persecutions, even if it means fabricating most of their story so as to gain the sympathy of the crowd.
Another attempt at manipulation are those who have suffered at another's hand, they then proceed to list their litany of woe to all who will listen. They will also match anyone else when it comes to suffering as no one on earth has had to go through their perceived torturous path. These people will feign sympathy over another's serious pain but then turn it to their own advantage by claiming their own suffering is ten times worse than anyone else's.
Yet again we have another level of extortion with the 'champions' of those who are lost or lonely, these manipulators come to the aid of those who are truly hurting not to help them but in order to control them. Once the emotional extortionist has gained the trust of the one hurting they then proceed to control them by denying them their due dignity. They begin by encompassing the hurting individual as they make themselves the 'hero' of the piece but once they have gained the trust of the person hurting they then begin the disintegration process by intimidation and exclusion. These hero's of the hurting will then embark on a mission of playing hot and cold friend, in order to unnerve the unsuspecting victim and gain further control over them, as these hurting souls appeal to them for mercy, only to find none! The 'hero' of the piece eventually becomes the owner of the moment by controlling their hurting friend through gushing praise one day and the next by coldly ignoring them, thereby ensuring the continued insecurity of the wounded and needy.
We also have the spiritual competitor, who turns all things religious into a competition, therefore if you pray 1 hour a day they pray 10 hours. If you are able to attend Mass 3 days a week the competitor will tell you they attend Mass 6 days a week, if you read the Bible everyday the competitor reads the Bible all day long. If you have given to the needy the competitor has given twice as much as anyone else. With the spiritual competitor the only winner is themselves! Everything you say and do is wrong and everything they say and do is absolutely correct, there is no arguing with the competitor, for they can see no wrong in themselves and instead spend copious hours proving how wrong you are in everything!
Then comes the most dangerous of extorters, these are the violators, these emotional extortionists prey on those who have disabilities, are suffering from low self esteem or who are lonely and needy. These emotional violators, will feign sympathy with those in need in order to gain their trust and confidences and once the needy person has emptied their heart and soul of their inner pain and secrets, the violator then blackmails the needy by controlling them to do their bidding by intimidating them into submission. The 'friend' has indeed become the foe! These type of extortionists have no sympathy for those who have entrusted their private lives to them, indeed they instead feel secret contempt towards the more vulnerable, as they deem them 'weak' and 'insipid', therefore these manipulators have no conscience towards using the 'weaklings' for their own devious purposes.
There is also one other element of emotional extortionist, which they play to the hilt and that is by claiming themselves as 'martyrs' of another persons malice. In order to prove their torture they will embellish if not totally falsify their stories, in order to gain the sympathy and the support of all they can appeal too. These self proclaimed 'martyrs' will always make themselves the centre of attention, even unto feigning false weeping as they point the finger at everyone else for their own failures. They will claim that they are the victims and spend copious hours regaling everyone with past hurts and anguish, and then insist that they have been 'persecuted' by others by inferring that these purported 'persecutors' are jealous of them. These 'martyrs' when questioned will become very aggressive as they rail yet again against another's disloyalty, for the martyr is entirely self focused and no one's pains matches theirs!
Then comes the 'toxic' personality this is a person who only focuses on the negatives of their own lives but more importantly your life as well. They see no good in themselves and also fail to recognise the good in others, therefore all the good you do will become fodder for them to criticize for criticism appeals much more to these lazy souls, as their focus is not on helping others but destroying them. These toxic personalities will pick at and minimise all your achievements and belittle your successes. They will also try and do their utmost to destroy your very essence and sense of self-worth in an effort to feel superior to you. Nothing escapes the tentacles of the toxic personality as they feed on humiliating those who are willing to give of themselves to others, for to the toxic personality your failure is their success!
Another aspect of emotional and spiritual extortion is the 'chameleon' personality who in themselves are unable to assimilate into normal society so they then observe the characteristics of those they perceive as stable in an attempt to make themselves more acceptable to others. This behavioural pattern can be dangerous in that the chameleon extortionist will also steal your own life experiences and claim it for themselves. Not only will they steal your lives but they will also claim as their own any experiences they have observed in movies and read in books, in effect their lives shift from the real to the unreal. These extortionists become dangerous when they are faced with looking at who they truly are, they will then become abusive, aggresive and lash out rather than face their own inner demons. The 'chameleon' personality is totally anti-social and lack the ability to communicate in an open and friendly manner, this is why they instead copycat the behaviour of more normal people, in the hopes of fooling the majority into accepting them as equals.
Once again we also have another personality disorder which can be called the 'projectionist', these types of people lack all social graces and find it difficult to fit in with any group. They also have an inbuilt inferiority complex and tend to lash out at anyone they may perceive as 'better than them'. The usual weapons for the projectionist is to accuse those they feel inferior too of the very feelings they harbour within themselves. The warped vision of the 'projectionist' distorts any ambiguous remark as an attack on themselves and they will then with use tactics to try and demolish the person who has made them feel inadequate. They do this by sarcastic humour which lacks the very thing they are trying to display, real humour, instead what is supposed to seem funny looks decidedly unfunny. This group of people will also try and project themselves as socially superior to anyone else in an effort to hide their inability to connect in a cognitive way with normal people. This type though cannot maintain the exterior and their lack of social graces soon becomes evident as they resort to ridiculing and denigrating the very people they wish to emulate. The projectionist then projects their own latent animosity and anti-social behaviour onto their victim, in that they have no understanding that the real protagonist is themselves.
We also need to realise that not everybody who has suffered is a manipulator, indeed many have suffered at the hands of another, but the more emotionally and spiritually stable will prayerfully hand over their hurts to our Lord and move on from the bad experience having learnt valuable lessons. To these genuine sufferers we need to encourage them and support them through their sincere crisis with patient understanding as our Lord Heals them through His Grace.
It is up to the Christian to use the gift of discernment in order to recognise the emotional extortionist, for remember these very extortionist are relying on the best part of your nature so they may infiltrate into your very heart and soul. We are to be caring to all without exception, but we are not called to allow ourselves to be held hostage when it comes to our Christian principles. For if a soul is truly hurting then it is our responsibility to guide them to the Divine Physician, where our Lord and Saviour will heal them of their pain. We are simply mere stepping stones in the healing process, but what we are not called to be is...doormats.
Peace of Christ to ALL
Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.