We all know one

We all know one.  The person you try to avoid because they are an occasion of sin.

  • The spiritual bemoaner
  • The spiritual aggressive
  • The spiritual dismisser

How are we being called to deal with them?  In the same way, we are called to look at everything: with prayer and in a spirit of discernment.

If you are a mom with children in their 30’s, then you are very familiar with a parenting program called: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting, otherwise known as STEP.  Now STEP isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it did have an excellent matrix created to help parents understand their child’s behaviour and how to deal with accordingly.  I wanted to use something for the faithful realm.

Every behaviour, whether from an adult or child, has a motive.

The spiritual bemoaner:  Here is someone for whom life just isn’t fair. They see everything as being targeted towards them.  It’s not that they lack empathy; it is that they feel no-one has shown them empathy. They may repeat a story where they felt slighted many times over.  Do not try and solve their feelings of being slighted; that is not the focus of this behaviour.  The focus is self-injustice.  They do not feel worthy. They may have a very low affect: meaning they always look as if they are about to cry.  Spiritually they.  This repeated story has enormous emotional energy for them.  The “slighter” is seen by our spiritual bemoaner as a person of immense authority, one the bemoaner must be associated with.  But for the bemoaner, the authority figure is more than merely human, they are super human. The authority figure is someone who is not allowed to have feelings, troubles, inadequacies of their own.  What the bemoaner is looking for is someone who can take all of the bemoaners painful feelings and make them go away.

How this person is an occasion for sin.

When dealing with a bemoaner we must be careful to not be drawn into the drama of their life.  They are trying unsuccessfully to create solutions without confronting the cause, without finding out why whatever happened, happened.  They look to us to be their saviour. We can not be.  So we must pray for their inner peace while dealing with them and after.

The spiritual aggressive  is someone who knows everything about everything, at least they is what they try and project.  They see themselves as experts on Church teachings, law, practice.  They have no patience for anyone who disagrees with them, or is seen as contrary to established norms.  It is their way or the highway.  Someone may be in full alignment with the Church, but because they are not doing as the spiritual aggressive does they are wrong and everyone will hear about it.  Often a spiritual aggressive hids a deep secret: their fear of being wrong.  Somewhere in their past they learned the only way to be seen as “good” was to be perfect, to know everything, to not be fooled by anything or anyone.  The spiritual aggressive is the bull in the china shop.

How this person is an occasion for sin.

Someone dealing with spiritual aggressiveness is going to have to keep clear of any heated discussion or topic.  Often spiritual aggressive will bring them up so that they can feel significant and important.  It is important that you remember they are trying to make themselves look good, feel better, not in your eyes, but their own.   They can be thought of as modern  Pharisees.  It’s all about the show, not the belief.

The spiritual dismisser:  This person can’t wait until everyone stops sharing their petty little lives and just listen to them: the spiritual dismisser.  It is often hard to tell if the dismisser is truly so arrogant that they don’t care about others, or that they are not aware how insensitive they are being.  Those who are dismissive do not see the relationship that is profoundly in the Greatest Commandment: Love God, neighbour, self.   They relate to the God and self part of the relationship, everyone is just an extra.  They may have been pampered by others.  Pampered to avoid any temper tantrums, arguments, or general, prolonged unpleasantness.  Dismissers use their lack of empathy as a weapon, keeping people away.

How this person is an occasion for sin.

Spiritual dismissers can be charming, even likeable.  It does not mean that their actions will not one day cause you to snap at them, it is that we must be on guard against.  We often leave confronting dismissers until the last moment because we truly hope they are better than they are acting, but this causes tempers to build.

Be upfront with them in gentleness and truth.  Speak to them about how you are feeling about dismissed.  Do not blame, or accuse, just state facts clarly and simply; because often they do not know how they are coming across.




Spread the word. Share this post!

Is a spiritual director working helping moms find God in the everyday. She has been a spiritual director since 1998: worked as a Director of Religious Education for Holy Cross Parish(2000-2005), was Director of Project Rachel, a healing ministry for Post Abortive women(1999-2000). Patty worked a social worker for Catholic Social Services (1988 - 1995) Then studied for spiritual direction at the Dominican Center of Religious Studies, DeWitt Michigan

She is married 20 years and has four children

She has a BS/BA in social work from Aquinas College, CSD Certified Spiritual Director

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: