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Doesn't play well with others:  

Difficult Personalities in Hardline Churches

Anywhere you have fundamentalist organizations you will find these people. Any severely hierarchical organization or an organization that values extreme commitment, you will find these characters in abundance. These characters are especially found in the old style ICC and other college ministries. Hard line churches of Christ members will recognize these characters as well. My brother believes that every person that he knew in the hard line churches of Christ was one of these personality disorders.

Characteristics common to all of the ones below:

1. You feel like you are walking on eggshells, trying to keep the peace. They are easily offended.

2. These people have difficulty seeing anyone's viewpoint but their own.


I am very, very important, and besides, I'm always right: 

the Narcissistic Personality

1. Believes he or she is more important than others. "Ask me, I'll tell you."

2. Cannot stand to be disagreed with. Often loses temper when opposed. Seldom apologizes except as a blanket salve. Never commits to act differently. "I didn't do anything wrong." "Then what are you apologizing for?" "So you will quit yelling at me."

3. Is authoritarian. Insists on immediate, unquestioning obedience.

4. Prefers movies with cardboard stereotypes rather than complex characters. An action movie, a formula romance or a slapstick comedy are preferred.

5. Loves to rescue those in distress, but

6. Is actually oblivious to their pain. Cannot understand why others are upset with him or her. Cannot understand their viewpoint.

7. Acts haughty and disdainful when challenged.

8. Impatient with weakness. Snap out of it. Get a grip."

9. Admires autocratic leaders and bigger-than-life characters.

10. Loves to sell Amway, QuickStar, Shaklee, Tupperware, Primerica. Is willing to lose all their friends by pressuring them into signing up with them.

11. Is obedient to authority figures, competitive with peers and mean to those down below.

Core issue: Was ignored as a child, but denies it vehemently.

Unconscious Motivation: Wear heavy armor to protect the fragile wounded child inside.

TV Characters: Denny Crane, Michael from The Office, Dwight Shrute

Theme Song: I Did it My Way

How to Deal with:

1. Draw firm boundaries. Then soothe. Affirm their basic abstract needs, but don't give in to their demands.

2. Rebuke them gently, repeatedly for years. Siege warfare.

3. Flatter them whenever possible. If you need to calm a narcissist down just flatter him. He will eat out of your hand within seconds.

The Narcissist usually pairs up with his girlfriend, Echo, who is:

I am very, very loyal, ask my partner, he'll tell you:

the Dependent Personality

1. Has no opinion except the opinion of the person(s) he is dependent on.

2. Has difficulty identifying their own individual emotions. Prefers to say that she is sick rather than say she is sad or angry.

3. Loves to rescue those in need. It makes him feel needed and worthwhile.

4. Can be mean to those she is told to be mean to.

5. Is sometimes self-righteous and may have difficulty apologizing, except to say that he is sorry if you feel hurt.

Core Issue: As a child, was told they did not know what they were thinking or feeling or seeing.

Unconscious Motivation: I will get enough love if I identify with someone powerful.

TV Character: Pam from The Office, Tom Shayes from Damages.

Theme Song: As Long as He Needs Me by Nancy from the musical Oliver!

How to Deal with: Don't rescue them. Don't expect them to be loyal to you when the crunch comes.

I am disgusted with the lack of morality around here:

the Obsessive Personality

1. The rules about the laws are so important that the obsessive can't remember what the main point was in the first place.

2. Constantly criticizes. Cannot relax until all the criticizing has been accomplished.

3. Gives constant unwanted advice. Doesn't matter if you wear the red shirt, you should have worn the green one. If you cook chicken, it should have been beef.

4. Has a really bad marriage. Who would want to be criticized all the time? Their kids won't visit much. Or else their kids move into their basement permanently--they can't function in life because they are always anticipating criticism.

5. Stingy with money, love and compliments .

6. A hypochondriac. Lots of illnesses. Expresses emotion through the illnesses.

Core issue: As a child the rules were constantly changing. They could never keep up and were always in the wrong.

Unconscious Motivation: Need to project their unbearable load of guilt onto others. The speck of sawdust in your eye.

TV character: The Church Lady, Kenneth on 30 Rock.

Theme Song: The Superior Dance

How to Deal with: Draw firm boundaries. Rebuke them gently and repeatedly--for years.

Healing: Jesus asked the man at the Pool of Bethesda, "Do you want to get well?"John 5

I am in need of lots of attention: the Histrionic Personality

1. Prima Donna. Loves to be dramatic.

2. Likes to push the boundaries of what is appropriate to wear to church. Enjoys being sexy, and interprets everything as a sexual issue.

3. Always has the latest gossip.

4. Loves to rescue victims, or better yet, loves to be the victim.

5. Very sensitive and often takes things personally.

Core issue: Extreme loneliness arising from feeling abandoned as a child. Dad only paid attention when she was cute or sexy.

Unconscious Motivation: The real me is unlovable, so I will do anything to get you to love the mask I wear. Unfortunately that makes me angry to have to do all that, so I have to get revenge on you at the same time that I accept your love.

TV Character: Bette Midler, Jack from Will and Grace

Movie: Mommy Dearest

Theme Song: You are the Wind Beneath my Wings

How to Deal with: Draw firm boundaries. Give them attention when you can. Don't be seduced.

How to Heal: The woman at the well. Jesus said God was seeking her and that she would change from an empty well to a fountain.

I have the power to drive you crazy

the Borderline Personality

1. Impulsive: he might decide to move out of state.

2. Has attempted suicide--usually in a dramatic way.

3. Never asks for her needs to be met, but throws a temper tantrum that you did not know what her needs were beforehand.

4. No matter what you choose you lose: If you buy me flowers, I'll ask where the chocolates are. If you buy me chocolates, I'll ask where the flowers are. If you buy me both flowers and chocolates, I'll ask you why you never did this before.

5. Loves to be the Victim and get everyone to feel sorry for him and Rescue him from the big mean Boundary Enforcers.

6. Has addictions to porn or alcohol.

7. Gets into intense relationships with people that inevitably blow up in one's face.

Core issue: Overwhelming abandonment feelings arising from severe (often sexual) abuse in early childhood.

Movie: Fatal Attraction

Theme Song: Hit the Road Jack

How to Deal with: Draw firm boundaries. Don't get drawn in by the suicide/catastrophe language. This person lives on being a Victim to be Rescued. Never rescue this person, ever. Always have witnesses present.

How to Heal: Needs a professional stable boundaried relationship for 2 to 5 years. The professional therapist needs to have had years of experience.

Stay away from me

the Avoidant Personality

1. A loner.

2. Odd or eccentric.

3. Does not enjoy talking to people or sharing intimate joys and concerns.

Core issue: Severe abuse in childhood makes this person expect everyone to be dangerous.

Theme Song: I am a Rock by Simon and Garfunkel, Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles.

How to Deal with: Leave them alone. Respect the boundaries they set. Let them know you are available and gentle.

I smile when people suffer

the Antisocial Personality

1. Extreme narcissist. Needs attention and extreme obedience all the time.

2. Sadistic: Gets a little grin on his face when announcing sad news. Enjoys others' pain.

3. Loves to control others, just for the sake of control.

Core Issue: Almost no tenderness or empathy as a child.

TV character: Ben on Lost, Glenn Close in Damages

Movie: No Country for Old Men

How to Deal with: Dangerous to deal with. Don't oppose this person openly. Guerilla warfare. Jump out of the bushes, fire off a few rounds, run and hide. Flatter them.


You may find that you know people who have lots of these symptoms, but don't fit into any one category. These people still belong on this page, but are a combination of several symptoms.

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Character Disorders:

Narcissistic Personality: Loses temper, insists on having own way, brags

Obsessive Personality: The rules are far more important than relationship, critical, complaining, stingy

Histrionic Personality: Sexy, dramatic, demanding, needs constant affirmation.

Borderline Personality: Impulsive, suicidal, demanding, manipulative, hot and cold

Avoidant: A loner

Sociopath: Enjoys hurting others, has no conscience, can be a leader

The Rick A. Ross Institute lists symptoms of abusive groups.








Here is a support board for people who live with, or have lived with a narcissist.





For a website on the Victim-Rescuer-Persecuter Triangle click here.



























Ceramic sign in the
Royal Palace of Seville, Spain



































Here is a support board for people who were raised by borderlines.

For a website on the Victim-Rescuer-Persecuter Triangle click here.