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5 Indicators Of An Evil Heart

As Christian counselors, pastors and people helpers we often have a hard time discerning between an evil heart and an ordinary sinner who messes up, who isn’t perfect, and full of weakness and sin.

I think one of the reasons we don’t “see” evil is because we find it so difficult to believe that evil individuals actually exist. We can’t imagine someone deceiving us with no conscience, hurting others with no remorse, spinning outrageous fabrications to ruin someone’s reputation, or pretending he or she is spiritually committed yet has no fear of God before his or her eyes.

The Bible clearly tells us that among God’s people there are wolves that wear sheep’s clothing (Jeremiah 23:14; Titus 1:10; Revelations 2:2). It’s true that every human heart is inclined toward sin (Romans 3:23), and that includes evil (Genesis 8:21; James 1:4). We all miss God’ mark of moral perfection. However, most ordinary sinners do not happily indulge evil urges, nor do we feel good about having them. We feel ashamed and guilty, rightly so (Romans 7:19–21). These things are not true of the evil heart.

Below are five indicators that you may be dealing with an evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart.  If so, it requires a radically different treatment approach.

They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information. (Psalms 5:8; 10:7; 58:3; 109:2–5; 140:2; Proverbs 6:13,14; 6:18,19; 12:13; 16:20; 16:27, 28; 30:14; Job 15:35; Jeremiah 18:18; Nehemiah 6:8; Micah 2:1; Matthew 12:34,35; Acts 6:11–13; 2 Peter 3:16)

2. Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words.

But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors. (Psalms 50:19; 52:2,3; 57:4; 59:7; 101:7; Proverbs 12:5; 26:23–26; 26:28; Job 20:12; Jeremiah 12:6; Matthew 26:59; Acts 6:11–13; Romans 16:17,18; 2 Corinthians 11:13,14; 2 Timothy 3:2–5; 3:13; Titus 1:10,16).

3. Evil hearts crave and demand control, and their highest authority is their own self-reference.

They reject feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules to live by. They use Scripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance. (Romans 2:8; Psalms 10; 36:1–4; 50:16–22; 54:5,6; 73:6–9; Proverbs 21:24; Jude 1:8–16).

4. Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the grace card.

They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust. (Proverbs 21:10; 1 Peter 2:16; Jude 1:4).

5. Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse.

They do not struggle against sin or evil—they delight in it—all the while masquerading as someone of noble character. (Proverbs 2:14–15; 10:23; 12:10; 21:27,29; Isaiah 32:6; Romans 1:30; 2 Corinthians 11:13–15)

If you are working with someone who exhibits these characteristics, it’s important that you confront them head on. You must name evil for what it is. The longer you try to reason with them or show mercy towards them, the more you, as the Christian counselor, will become a pawn in his or her game.

They want you to believe that:

1. Their horrible actions should have no serious or painful consequences.

When they say “I’m sorry,” they look to you as the pastor or Christian counselor to be their advocate for amnesty with the person he or she has harmed. They believe grace means they are immediately granted immunity from the relational fallout of their serious sin. They believe forgiveness entitles them to full reconciliation and will pressure you and their victim to comply.

The Bible warns us saying, “But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord (Isaiah 26:10).

The Bible tells us that talking doesn’t wake up evil people, but painful consequences might. Jesus didn’t wake up the Pharisee’s with his talk nor did God’s counsel impact Cain (Genesis 4). In addition, the Bible shows us that when someone is truly sorry for the pain they have caused, he or she is eager to make amends to those they have harmed by their sin (see Zacchaeus’ response when he repented of his greed in Luke 19).

Tim Keller writes, “If you have been the victim of a heinous crime. If you have suffered violence, and the perpetrator (or even the judge) says, ‘Sorry, can’t we just let it go?’ You would say, ‘No, that would be an injustice.’ Your refusal would rightly have nothing to do with bitterness or vengeance. If you have been badly wronged, you know that saying sorry is never enough. Something else is required—some kind of costly payment must be made to put things right.”1

As Biblical counselors let’s not collude with the evil one by turning our attention to the victim, requiring her to forgive, to forget, to trust again when there has been no evidence of inner change. Proverbs says, “Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips” (Proverbs. 25:19). It’s foolishness.

The evil person will also try to get you to believe

2. That if I talk like a gospel-believing Christian I am one, even if my actions don’t line up with my talk.

Remember, Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13–15). He knows more true doctrine than you or I will ever know, but his heart is wicked. Why? Because although he knows the truth, he does not believe it or live it.

The Bible has some strong words for those whose actions do not match their talk (1 John 3:17,18; Jeremiah 7:8,10; James 1:22, 26). John the Baptist said it best when he admonished the religious leaders, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (Luke 3:8).

If week after week you hear the talk but there is no change in the walk, you have every reason to question someone’s relationship with God.

Part of our maturity as spiritual leaders is that we have been trained to discern between good and evil. Why is that so important? It’s important because evil usually pretends to be good, and without discernment we can be easily fooled (Hebrews 5:14).

When you confront evil, chances are good that the evil heart will stop counseling with you because the darkness hates the light (John 3:20) and the foolish and evil heart reject correction (Proverbs 9:7,8). But that outcome is far better than allowing the evil heart to believe you are on his or her side, or that “he’s not that bad” or “that he’s really sorry” or “that he’s changing” when, in fact, he is not.

Daniel says, “[T]he wicked will continue to be wicked” (Daniel 12:10), which begs the question, do you think an evil person can really change?

Source: http://www.crosswalk.com/slideshows/5-indicators-of-an-evil-heart.html?utm_content=buffer59bb8&utm_medium=fbpage&utm_source=cwpg&utm_campaign=cwupdate

10 Things That Happen When You Meet A Good Guy After A Toxic Relationship

33176715612_a5c237364f_kWhen you are in a toxic relationship you don’t realize how much the emotional abuse impacts you. Not while you’re in it at least. When you’re in a toxic relationship, everything about it is kind of addicting. It’s the knowing and not knowing what’s going to happen. It’s the hope that’ll it’ll change but there’s also comfort in things that are the same. There’s a comfort in someone knowing you so deeply.

And it takes everything in you to not walk away. And even when you walk away, you find yourself going back so many times because you miss him. You miss the adrenaline rush of high intense emotions. From love to screaming to making up.

But then you meet a good guy. And when that happens that’s when you realize how negatively this past relationship has affected you. And sometimes you even push people away because of it.

You aren’t used to being treated so well, you almost reject it.

1. At first, you expect the worst.

After a toxic relationship, you don’t trust anyone. Even yourself. You wonder how you tolerated such a relationship for so long. And you enter every relationship expecting the worst of someone. For a while, you don’t believe good guys do exist. Because for so long you looked for the wrong qualities and you accepted a lot of these people who didn’t deserve you.

2. And overthink everything.

You think everyone has motives or doesn’t mean what they say. When you’ve caught someone in lies so often it makes you paranoid as fuck. You don’t believe people can be honest or mean what they say. You make crazy assumptions and doubt really good people just because of one person.

Next thing you know you’re explaining to this guy how you got to this conclusion in your head and he’s baffled. Not because you’ve questioned him but that someone has made you this way and all he wants to do is reverse this.

3. You’ll think he’s too good to be true.

Someone treating you this well has got to be too good to be true. You’re expecting the other shoe to drop. You’re expecting him to lose it one day. You’re expecting some abrupt ending without closure. But every day he just proves to you he’s the same person he’s been from the start. He’s given you no reason to question him but it isn’t him you don’t trust it’s everyone in the past.

4. After you push him away.

Someone in the past has led you to believe you don’t deserve the best. So when you get it you reject it. You fear something good because you don’t want to lose it. You don’t want to get hurt again so you try and ruin it first. But what you’ll realize that’s different about this guy is when you run he’ll chase you. When you push him he’ll grab you close and not let you leave.

5. You’re going to expect fights.

You keep waiting for a fight. But instead, everything gets talked out and explained. And there’s this wave of comfort afterward and you realize normal people don’t leave the second something goes wrong.

6. Then you’ll apologize too often.

He’s going to wonder why you apologize so often or what it is you’re saying sorry for. He’ll see the pain in your eyes from someone in the past whose made you question yourself. He’ll see the pain in your heart trying so hard to love again when you’ve only known heartbreak. And he’s going to constantly reassure you everything is okay.

When a good guy loves someone who is broken who has only known toxic relationships, what he does is teach her she didn’t deserve anything she got.
He redefines these horrible standards she has and he chooses to be the exception.

7. And question if they are better off without you.

You think they are better off without you but the truth is just as they have made your life better it goes both ways. And I know you’re scared to love again. I know you’re afraid to let anyone that close. But your sensitivity. Your compassion. Your strength and understanding and lack of judgment in everyone is what makes you beautiful.

In the past, you were able to love someone who was completely unlovable and intolerable. You found the good in them. You took a chance on them. You never gave up on them. And it’s your turn to have that reciprocated.

This new relationship isn’t what you are used to but it’s exactly what you deserve.

8. You overcompensate.

And when you finally get comfortable and accept this relationship you are going to love this person with everything you have in you. But don’t try too hard. Don’t think you have to. In the past, you were taught your best isn’t good enough. So you had to try too hard. You had to compete. You had to prove yourself.

What you should have learned was your best was good enough and it was him that didn’t deserve it.

9. Then you trust him.

There’s going to be a moment where you tell this guy everything that’s happened. A moment you trust him to let him that close. And when you tell him about the past and the people who have hurt you what you’ll find isn’t that’s he’s going to take off. It’s just given him a reason to stay.

I know someone in your past taught you about tough love. They taught you vulnerability is a weakness. You’ve had to be strong for so long and you’ve had to endure a lot of things you didn’t deserve. But all of it has made you more beautiful than you know. And all of it will make the right person appreciate you for overcoming all of it.

And with tears in your eyes even you will be grateful for a toxic relationship that didn’t destroy you but rather made you the strong person you are today.

10. Finally you learn what love really is.

You begin to realize that relationship that used to define your standard of love was so far from the real thing. You learn that love isn’t supposed to hurt you or be demeaning. Love isn’t supposed to break your heart just to build you back up. Love is not anything that comes in the form of jealousy. Whether it’s making you jealous or being jealous of you. The right type of love does not play games with your heart or want to see you in pain.

You realize all of that wasn’t love but control.

You build yourself back up and fearlessly love again, only this time you do it right.

The right type of love heals you and that’s exactly what this guy has done.

By Kirsten Corley

Source:  http://thoughtcatalog.com/kirsten-corley/2017/04/10-things-that-happen-meeting-a-good-guy-after-a-toxic-relationship/

10 Ways to Know You Are Being Gaslighted

You feel small, stifled and burdened by life events. Maybe you’re experiencing neurosis, hyper-sensitivity and alienation. Deep down you think you’re going insane. It’s possible that you’re not. Instead, you’ve been gaslighted.

Gaslighting is a method of manipulation, emotional abuse or bullying, often employed by sociopaths and narcissists. It involves making someone feel as if they no longer have their wits about them, as if their sanity has flown the coop. The term comes from the 1944 film “Gas Light,” in which a woman is manipulated by her husband into believing that she’s going crazy.

The gaslighter coaxes his targets into questioning their beliefs, memory and senses. Typical tactics include lying, denial and misdirection. The gaslighter might consistently deny or refuse to accept his targets’ account of their own experiences, so that they eventually relent and accept the gaslighter’s version.

For instance, the gaslighter could say, “I don’t recall that. You must have invented it or dreamt it.” Targets of gaslighting lose faith in the reliability of their own beliefs and feel unhinged, at sea. It’s as if they’re on a one-way path to lunacy.

So, how would you know if you’re being gaslighted?  Here are 10 signs:

  1. Someone in your life is making you feel confused and disoriented.
  2. You tend to apologize often to that person, after they’ve accused you of being mistaken, oversensitive or unstable.
  3. You sense that it’s difficult to make life decisions or capably act in your own interest without that person around to help you.
  4. You feel burdened by the expectations of others, especially that person.
  5. You sense that this person is a threat to you, but you can’t say exactly why.
  6. You start thinking that you’re significantly weaker than you were before, especially in this person’s presence.
  7. You’re constantly second-guessing your good judgment, your ability to recall details of events or whether you’ve seen/heard something correctly.
  8. You experience a feeling of guilt that you’re not as happy as you once were.
  9. You begin to believe that you’re “losing it,” becoming deluded or neurotic. 
  10. You feel alone, without hope, maybe even depressed.

The gaslighter’s ways of manipulation are subtle, but not impossible to detect.  Aletheia Luna of Lonerwolf identifies 6 techniques:

  • Discrediting you by making other people think that you’re crazy, irrational or unstable.
  • Using a mask of confidence, assertiveness, and/or fake compassion to make you believe that you “have it all wrong.” Therefore, eventually, you begin to doubt yourself and believe their version of past events.
  • Changing the subject. The gaslighter may divert the topic by asking another question, or making a statement usually directed at your thoughts.
  • Minimizing.  By trivializing how you feel and what you think, the gaslighter gains more and more power over you.
  • Denial and avoidance. By refusing to acknowledge your feelings and thoughts, the gaslighter causes you to doubt yourself more and more. 
  • Twisting and reframing. When the gaslighter confidently and subtly twists and reframes what was said or done in their favor, they can cause you to second-guess yourself—especially when paired with fake compassion, making you feel as though you are “unstable,” “irrational,” and so forth. 

Bosses, human resources professionals, business partners and even therapists have been known to gaslight. Their aim is to sow seeds of self-doubt, gain control over your will and ultimately manipulate you.

Are you being gaslighted? If so, resist, reject the gaslighter and refuse to believe that you’re going insane.  
This post 10 Ways to Know You’re Being Gaslighted was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Shane Ralston.

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/all/themes/ito/js/ito-repub.js

25 Signs of Covert Narcissism: A Special Kind of Mind Game

covert-narcissist-798x445A covert narcissist is the worst kind of narcissist there is. Like a stealth bomb, you can’t see them coming until they have left their destruction.

There are countless articles written on the psychology of narcissism. The reason that it’s so highly researched is that someone who has narcissistic tendencies can do so much damage to the psyche of those around them, seemingly without having any idea of what they’re doing. Masters of manipulation, it’s almost inspiring to see the way they do what they do so flawlessly.

There is something to be said about allowing someone to overpower you when you know better and see the signs. But it’s something entirely different when you don’t even see it coming. This is why the covert narcissist is a whole new breed of a narcissist. As if it isn’t bad enough that they manipulate you, make you feel bad for just about everything, and that everything is your fault, by the time you know what’s going on, you’re so sucked in that it becomes difficult to find your way out.

Covert narcissism is one of the most extreme and damaging forms of narcissism that you can encounter. The thing that sets these narcissists apart is their highly defensive nature and being emotionally vulnerable, seemingly without any exterior trace of the planning and plotting in which they engage. Unlike other forms, the covert narcissist is like a stealth bomb—they come without any warning and destroy everything in their wake.

The 25 characteristics of a covert narcissist

A narcissist is someone who can take a toll on your sensibilities and your self-esteem, but a covert one can take a toll on your sanity, too. Many characteristics that are specific to covert narcissism are more difficult to spot. To maintain your self-esteem and your sanity, look for these signs that you’re in a relationship with someone who is keeping their narcissism under wraps.

#1 They are overly critical. Because they have so many insecurities of their own, they have a tendency to be overly critical of those around them. Projecting their own weaknesses onto those in their path, they can leave you to feel stupid, unwanted, or insignificant.

#2 Although charming, you only see it when they want something. Very charismatic when they want to be, the covert narcissist’s charm only comes out when they want something from you or the people around you. Like a switch, they can turn it on and turn it off, but it’s always to get something from the person they’re schmoozing.

#3 No matter what happens, you always feel at fault. As upset as you are with them, if you confront them or get into an argument with them, they manipulate the situation with such mastery that you end up feeling at fault and apologizing. A covert narcissist knows exactly how to spin something to make you feel like everything you were thinking is wrong, even when your own common sense and logic tells you otherwise. This tactic can be so mind-manipulating that you can start to feel like you’re going insane.

#4 They leave you feeling empty in your relationship with them. No matter how long you’re with them, you can feel alone and lonely. Regardless of the time you are together, the experiences that you share with them and the closeness that you crave, it always feels as if something is missing or isn’t quite right.

#5 They don’t care if they have to lie, steal, or cheat to get what they want. A narcissist sees everyone in relation to what they can do for them. Not really caring about anyone but themselves, everyone and everything is merely a tool to get what they want in life. They are not above lying, cheating, or stealing in order to make themselves feel better, more powerful, more admired, or more wealthy

#6 Stubborn and dogmatic, they only will concede if it gets them something. Getting an apology from a covert narcissist can only be accomplished if they want something from you or if it’s part of their end-game. You can argue with them until you’re blue in the face, but even when you get an apology, it’s empty. They don’t mean they are sorry; they mean that they stand to gain something from the concession, not that they believe they’re wrong.

#7 There’s something empty and uncaring about them that you can’t put your finger on. There’s no way to get close to them in a relationship. As if there is a protective layer to them that you can’t penetrate, things never seem quite right or real when you’re with a covert narcissist.

#8 They lack empathy. It makes no difference if it’s you or someone in a third-world nation who is starving to death, they have no ability to empathize, so they never feel sorry for anyone.

#9 They want the good things in life and are envious if anyone else has them. A narcissist rarely wants what they have; they are constantly in the market for what everyone else has that they deem important or worthy. They could be the richest person in the world and still envy others for something more than what they have.

#10 Their emotional intelligence is very low. Like talking to a brick wall, they just don’t seem to “get” what you’re saying. Not being able to feel empathy, they’re very low on emotional intelligence, which makes it difficult to talk to them on a deeper level.

#11 They have an inability to feel remorseful for what they do. Always blaming others, covert narcissists have an inability to feel sorry for what they have done.

#12 They will play the victim often and well. A covert narcissist will make you feel sorry for them, no matter what the truth of the matter is. Everything is someone else’s fault, and they are always merely an innocent bystander.

#13 They will blame everyone for their mistakes and misfortune. They seemingly have no control over anything they do or anything that is done to them. All of their misfortune is someone else’s fault because they bare no responsibility for their actions.

#14 No matter what you do, you can’t get close to them. Because of their low emotional intelligence, you just can’t seem to feel close to them no matter what you do. That will leave you feeling empty and alone.

#15 Whatever they’re feeling, they will project it onto you. They are experts at projecting any negative feelings they have onto the people in their lives. By making you feel bad, they make themselves feel better.

#16 Only one person exists in their universe, and it isn’t you. Highly selfish, they appear to be the only one in their universe. The only time they care about something that has to do with you is when it really has something to do with them.

#17 They are highly sensitive and over-reactive to criticism of any type. If you criticize them, they will overreact, and their anger is quick. Always needing praise and admiration, if you challenge them, they will attack to regain their dominance.

#18 They will engage in high-risk activities to get attention. Attention is the goal at any cost. If they have to do something dangerous or engage in risky behavior, the result is always greater than the danger of the act. There is nothing they won’t do to get the attention they crave.

#19 They see people as objects to get what they want. Incapable of forming bonds with people, they see those in their lives as tools to get what they want and need.

#20 They usually target those weaker than them. A covert narcissist will target anyone they think they can manipulate, whether they are strong or weak. But weakness is easier to dominate, so they very often choose highly sensitive or insecure people to be with.

#21 Although not empathetic, they know what you need and will play it against you. One of their biggest strengths is knowing what someone needs, and holding that over them to get what they want is one of their favorite manipulations games.

#22 They’re very jealous of others whom they admire. We are all jealous at times of successful people in our lives, but the covert narcissist is consumed by envy and jealousy. Not being able to see what they have, they are always searching to get something more.

#23 They will make you look bad to make themselves feel and look better. Working behind the scenes, a covert narcissist will often talk badly about the person they are closest to. Having to paint themselves as the martyr, the only way they can make themselves look good is by making everyone else look bad. That makes them the victor.

#24 Passive aggression is their weapon of choice. If you feel like you’re going insane, you are probably with a covert narcissist. They will plant seeds and let them grow. Making tiny suggestions about who you are or what you have done, they leave it to rest and fester in you until you believe it to be true.

#25 They need constant attention. The covert narcissist is not happy unless all eyes are on them. That makes those in a relationship with them feel as if they are only an accessory. They will charm everyone in their path and often ignore those who are the closest to them, knowing that they have gotten the attention they need from you already.

Like a Trojan horse, you don’t see the covert narcissist coming. They will take everything that they can from you and leave you an empty shell. Highly destructive to your self-esteem, if you are with one, you should find your way out while you can still leave with your heart, mind, and sensibilities still intact.
By Julie Keating via LovePanky

 

Source:  http://mysticalraven.com/relationships/5071/25-signs-of-covert-narcissism-a-special-kind-of-mind-game