Friday, May 1, 2009

A Cyber Reminder About Monday's Cyber Guest on a Cyber Book Tour Stop

On Monday, May 4th,
Margaret Jones, PhD
will stop by for a cyber chat to discuss her book
Though I have written a general review of the book (scroll down!), there are many aspects of the book that caught my attention. I identified with several of the topics and with the experience of the author, her autobiography through spiritual abuse. Along the way, the reader introduces many related themes that are not limited to:

  • Self-injury, molestation in childhood and suicidal behavior (Self-injury is often associated with sexual trauma or psychological trauma which is related to dissociation and , though it can also be found in any condition that causes a high level of activity in the basal ganglia within the brain. This can be found in some ADHD/ADD cases where the basal ganglia is usually under active, for example, and OCD where there is overactivity in the basal ganglia.)
  • Dysfunctional family of origin
  • The untimely death of a trusted professional counselor (abandonment)
  • Interracial marriage and prejudice
  • Searching for connection with God through religion, a saga where the author takes us through her journey through several religious traditions
  • Church politics
  • Negative reinforcement (social punishment) in several church settings for failure to observe the “unwritten rules”
  • Unprofessional conduct of pastoral counselors who disclosed private and clinical information to other parishioners for the purposes of maintaining milieu control
  • Trust issues related to improper conduct among clergy and pastoral counselors
  • Dishonesty on the part of ministers to cover their own errors at the expense of parishioners (scapegoating)
  • Triangulation among individuals and also through interfering in discipline situations with a foster child brought to the US from the Sudan
  • Manipulation of the system by the church board to maintain the status quo
  • Manipulation of the system and the Matthew 18 process by a minister who utilized the system to the minister’s advantage at the expense of the parishioner
  • Discussion of research of bullying behaviors in children and adults
  • The process of seeking legal mediation that resulted in a favorable outcome for the parishioner
Please stop by and chat with Dr. Jones. I've plenty of questions for her, too.


Blogger Rebecca said...
Dr Jones,
I was really moved by your book. It made me aware of the more subtle forms of bullying that go on in most organizations including churches. I want to share a recent experience at my church and how I handled it because reading your book helped me determine my response. A friend of mine from church called me to say that someone else from church told her (see how this is going?)that someone else was upset by someone who made her feel uncomfortable. I was asked to ask my husband who makes the usher schedule to remove this person (I'll call him Mr D.) from the list. Mr D. is someone who at times has made me feel uncomfortable too. He tends to stand too close, move in a slightly effeminate way, sometimes make what many would deem too personal comments. I've heard it said by the person who called me that some people worry about his daughter (BTW, he is a recent widower) implying that he may be a pedephile. The story goes that he stopped a recent widow from our church in the aisle during one of the Holy week services and "demanded to know when she would go to lunch with him". The woman began to cry, pushed past him and returned to her seat. The friend of my friend became angry and after the service approached Mr D. and threatened him with bodily harm if he ever bothered the woman again. Then, so goes the story, he told our rector everything and (he says) was told by our rector that he had done the right thing. When I expressed concern over the shunning of a member of our church, my friend hastily told me to have my husband call our priest. I responded that if our pastor needed to talk to my husband that he should call him himself. So, then I left a message with my priest and I called Mr D. and left a message with him. To Mr D. I said that I was glad to see him at church on Sunday and that I had been thinking of him and his daughter and that I hoped they were both well. I left my # in case he wanted to call back. When I finally caught up with my priest he was alarmed and deeply concerned. He assured me that though he knew of the situation with Mr D and the widow he had never said that threats to Mr D were acceptable and he was glad to hear I had reached out to Mr D. He planned to work his way back with all the players in the scenario and to address it promptly. He assured me that taking Mr D. off of the ushers' list was not his idea nor was it ok with him. I have since talked with the person who contacted me to clearly state that I would not be a party to shunning anyone and that feeling uncomfortable around someone may just mean we need to look a little closer for the reasons and that it was a pretty big leap to suggest someone may be an abuser because she feels uncomfortable with his poor social skills. I was also clear that I am reaching out to Mr D. and will continue to do so. Anyway, I'm not sure how it will ultimately play out but I know too much now to do nothing. I believe, as you have said, that there are no innocent bystanders. When we see an injustice it is part of the problem if we turn our heads the other way. Your book has made it impossible for me to ignore the "innocent" comments I sometimes hear or to turn away from shunning because it "has nothing to do with me". If I see it, hear it , know about it then it has everything to do with me.
Thank you, Dr Jones for your courage to help the bystanders act.
May 4, 2009 2:00 PM