Friday, March 5, 2021

Toxic Misotheists, Being Alpha, and the Bible - Part 1

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This is one of my more unusual articles, and it is difficult to categorize because there are several subjects involved. They may seem contradictory at first, but stay with me. Like my prospector friend Stormie Waters says, "See how it all pans out".

There are people in our lives that manipulate us and sap our energy. Many misotheists are often narcissistic, and are more dangerous than others.
Credit: Flickr / Subharnab Majumdar (CC BY 2.0)

It has a strange beginning that involved riding off on side trails and ending up a long way from where I had intended. It happens to many people on the internet, especially when they are not under an immediate deadline. "You may also like..." can bushwhack productivity.


Being the Robust He-Man that I Am

When you're done laughing, I want to tell you that I never viewed myself as an "alpha male". In nature, that is the dominant male in a group, and it involves mating, fending off challenges from other males, and being watchful to help protect the group. There are human males who want "alpha male" traits to be the man who stands out in the crowd, has friends, gets all the women he wants, and so on. There are shades of Darwinism in this. Think about it: Evolutionists say we are animals, so it is fitting to act like them. Or not, when it's inconvenient. Darwinian thinking is flexible that way.

There were several video channels I came across that had coaching on how to be the alpha male, and had things to sell so a man can become a better he-man. Some of the videos had some useful information, and I even realized some mistakes that I am making in my life. Many were interesting from a psychological point of view. What really struck me was that they tacitly agreed with biblical teachings in some places, but for the most part were contrary to Scripture — especially the parts about loving yourself and how you can't love anyone else until you do that. Many were emphasizing how to recognize and deal with harmful people so we can live our best lives. Yes, but...

Toxic People in our Lives

Terms like toxic relationships and toxic people are not exactly common in psychology textbooks, and they were unknown a few years ago. Still, they are apt descriptors. Such people infest our lives, whether at the workplace, social media, friends, family, neighbors, or just about anywhere. Toxies do not have your best interests at heart.

Most of us desire to help others, be liked or even loved, and these people key in on those things. They are very manipulative (especially those discussed later), and we can find ourselves giving them control over our lives before we realize what's happening. They come in various stripes: some are charismatic, others intimidating, and so on.

Looks good, but toxic
Credit: Pixnio (public domain)

Most people want to be loved (or at least liked), that's a given. We interact with each other in give-and-take situations. It feels good to receive, and it is often pleasant to do the giving. Toxies use the good part of our nature to manipulate us. This may not be deliberate, but can come from personality disorders, mental illness, unhealthy influences in their own lives, and so on.

These harmful people may smile to your face, but are using you for their own advantage. This may not necessarily be for material gain, but is often emotional. They "care" about you in that it helps them feel better about themselves. Sometimes this is because they put you down in order to build themselves up, or they get other dopamine advantages by using you.

Quick tip: While we want to be nice and helpful, they stay around people they use. When we refuse to let them manipulate us into doing things for them all the time, we are not helping them because they desire that dependency. Also, they are very resistant to the gospel message because they don't think there's anything wrong with them, no reason to repent. But the Holy Spirit can work in them.

One guy said that we let them "keep us in our heads" so we don't live our lives and express our views. This is also an opportunity to examine ourselves to see what we expect to gain from having harmful people in our lives. Validation? Permission to be ourselves? Mayhaps we think they have higher value than us. That's harmful, old son.

I came across some alpha male coaching videos as well as some by women who say that we do not need to live our lives on other people's terms

Screenshot from Facebook posted on Instagram
(Used under Fair Use provisions for educational purposes)

Sometimes we are unable to say no to requests or demands from toxies. We can be fearful of being negatively judged, but giving in can make us over-extended and increase our stress levels. Important things to which we have committed may be left undone or are incomplete. Decent people do their best to keep their word, but we may break our promises. More stress, more mental and emotional draining.


People who respect and value us will think and even expect the best of us. I have to indulge in a bit of self praise here. A woman came to our door and accused my wife of cheating with her boyfriend. I instantly said that there was no way. When she said my wife is a "lying b**ch", I slammed the door so hard, it damaged the metal frame. It turns out that the "other woman" had a similar name to my wife's name. The unpleasant woman offered no apologies. The door frame is still damaged.

Sometimes, especially in moments (lifetimes?) of low self-esteem, we try too hard to please others — especially those that are not invested in our lives and don't care about our well being. Healthy self-esteem is good, bad self-esteem is very harmful, and some folks use building their self-esteem as a manipulative tool. They are actually idolizing pride and self

True friends as well as good supervisors will encourage and believe in us. (One supervisor I had would tear me down when I would say that I was getting the hang of a certain aspect of the job. Instead of encouragement, he would point out my other shortcomings, real or exaggerated.) I'll allow that sometimes there's a fine line between influencie and encouragement as opposed to manipulation. It seems that manipulation is based on bad motives, including the other person's enrichment.

In one of the videos by Ashley Berges, she mentioned forgiving the other people in addition to setting up boundaries, and even removing harmful people from our lives. Indeed, we should forgive ourselves for allowing manipulations to occur and letting them get control of our lives. Then we try to improve so that we won't fall prey to those people in the future.​​​

Asking Permission

A phrase making the rounds on social media is, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." Sometimes the phrase is a mite longer. It is falsely attributed to Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), but there is some truth in it.

Variation on a theme, but very important: If you don't care about someone's opinion, they have less power over you. This works when someone is attempting to demean you. In fact, it irritates them when you don't defend yourself and take the bait on an personal attack. It makes it harder to bring you down to their level and get attention.

More importantly, I am a Bible-believing Christian, biblical creationist, politically Conservative, supporting the Second Amendment, heterosexual, and male. Those things make me "evil" to some people, but that's too bad for them. I am not living to please the crowd and don't seek permission to be who I am.

One place I have this problem is in my writing. While I seek to glorify God and edify the saints, I can also become timorous. For example, I wanted to embed a song by Black Sabbath in an article that would have complemented it. But people may not like me anymore! Instead of praying about it, I fearfully sought advice and ended up apologetically linking to it. That may have been the right choice because I don't want to make a brother or sister in Christ stumble, even though I don't need those petty people who would judge me in their sanctimonious pride. Well, another motto I have is, "When in doubt, go without".

Note that standing up for yourself is not an excuse for being rude.

Never Argue with a Narcissist

If I recollect rightly, my original search was about narcissism. While that word is bandied about to describe people who are vain and seem to have an inordinate fondness for themselves, the real problem is narcissism personality disorder. These people are very taxing, and it is best to keep them out of our lives whenever possible. If we cannot, we need to minimize their damaging effects, such as discussed in this video.

Up a level from the personality disorder is the narcissistic sociopath. These people are actually dangerous. Although they are capable of violence, those that walk among us are harmful to our mental health. They have some similarities to "psychic (or energy) vampires". (While some people take a notion to make that a supernatural thing, it refers to how such people sap your mental and emotional energies.) Psychopaths and sociopaths have traits in common, and need to be avoided whenever possible.

Unfortunately, kind-hearted people are their targets. Narcissists and various sociopath types seem to sense the people who will be their long-term victims. Some people want to help these needy sociopaths, even if they hurt themselves in the process. This can happen by making excessive commitments — and having their priorities hijacked. Too late, they realize that their "friend" is a narcissist or sociopath. Or both.

By the way, don't offer psychological analysis. Saying, "You're doing this because..." makes you look petty, and besides, toxies are not interested. Indeed, we can lose ourselves when trying to "save" people who don't think they need help.

We'll end this part now. I'd be much obliged if you'd read the conclusion.

1 comments:

Sue said...

Dear Cowboy, terrific article. Sadly enough, most preachers either do not, or just plain will not, warn the flock about how to limit contact with these wicked people. Meanwhile, the Bible has so many Scriptures about how the wicked manipulate, and that the Lord's people are right to steer clear of them.

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