Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Pagan Priesthood of Appeasement

I want to examine a little further the narcissist appeaser otherwise identified in my last post as "The Peacemaker".

When last describing the 'peacemaker' I put it in a religious context by identifying the N-appeaser as being a member of the Cult of Nice. This cult has doctrines and faith. It punishes and proscribes 'heretics'. The 'peacemaker' himself is a self-appointed priest. His god is the narcissist.

The role of appeaser and so-called peacemaker is not a new phenomena. It has been an important role in human societies for millennia. The lengths to which a peacemaker/priest will go to appease an angry god was seen in multiplied and ancient cultures and always appeared in a religious context. Cultures which believed in a capricious, vengeful and angry god had elaborate rituals designed to appease their pagan god. Up to and including human sacrifice.

There is mild argument about the prevalence of human sacrifice in ages past, but there has been solid archaeological finds which demand we accede to the truth of its existence in some ancient pagan societies. Not all human sacrifice was associated with appeasing a pagan god, but there is proof that some human sacrifice was for that specific purpose. Most times the appeasing sacrifice was either babies, young children or teenagers. It was believed that the purity, physical perfection and innocence of the young were the most delicious kinds of gifts they could give to their gods. I can not help but believe that the vulnerability and inability of the victims to defend themselves also made children and young people attractive choices for their violent bloodshed.

You may not agree, but I see the N-appeaser as a pagan to his core. I know there are people who call proudly call themselves pagan in today's western societies and would take umbrage at my calling the N-appeaser a pagan like it is a bad thing...well, too bad. It is a bad thing. Paganism is not and never has been an elevating force in human societies. Just because some cultures have achieved some recognizable levels of sophistication by our standards doesn't disprove that pagan religions have consistently been the locus of moral vice and debauchery and have often led to the extinction of the cultures that practiced the most immoral of rites. Especially those which engaged in human sacrifice.

The narcissist-appeaser is afraid of his god. He quails at the narcissist's ability to bring down hellfire and thunderbolts on those who displease the narcissist. His fear of the narcissist's wrath is what leads the appeaser to justify his assumed role of priest and his selection of sacrifices to his N-god. He calls himself a 'peacemaker' which are the priestly vestments which imbue his demands with spiritual and moral authority. Perhaps the fear that motivates the appeaser is not so much the wrath of the narcissist, but the fear of losing the convenience which a placated narcissist will afford him. Regardless of which fear moves the appeaser, the children are usually the first to go. Yes, the able-bodied man will be seen essentially throwing his own children into the volcano to buy a limited peace (actually, a truce at best) with his capricious god. The appeaser is, at the core of his soul, a self-worshiper. It is his own comfort and convenience that inspires his behavior and defines his principles. He has something in common with the narcissist...a supremely selfish focus which puts what he wants as the imperative for everyone else to follow.

Only in the most modern of times have humans separated out the religious from what we call 'secular'. The belief that there are areas of living which have nothing to do with religious practice, principle or custom would be a completely foreign belief to most of humanity for most of humanity's existence. I believe it is a mistake to look at the narcissist or his appeasers completely divorced from a religious context. The narcissist operates in the spiritual realm, i.e., what he or she does affects our spirit (and his). It is this immaterial sphere of our psyches which the narcissist uses as his playground. It is the very immaterial aspect of his behaviors which perplex us the most and which hide his agenda so effectively. The narcissist's appeaser also operates in this spiritual realm. You can measure this statement against what you feel in your spirit when the appeaser demands you sacrifice yourself, your feelings, your principles, your best interest, to the narcissist. Demoralized. Depressed. Dejected. Devalued.

My contention that the self-appointed N appeasers are nothing more than pagan priests is of especial significance to Christians. When you are confronted by an appeaser, when you are being mightily pressured by the self-righteous do-gooder who is demanding you bend over for the narcissist, please, please recognize the pagan before you.

What moral authority has the pagan over the Christian? He should have none. He is worshiping a different god than you are. If you concede to the appeasement demands of the narcissist's priesthood then you have bowed down to their Baal. True peacemakers will not sacrifice truth and moral principles for any cause. Do not confuse appeasement with peace.

The pagans who would sacrifice their children to keep the volcano from blowing or famines from occurring fooled themselves into believing they had achieved peace. At some point the volcano would erupt or the rains wouldn't come. These events proving that they had, at best, appeased their gods for a time. In a fit of unpredictable pique the gods unleashed their wrath and previous sacrifices were revealed to be a limited truce at best. All acts of appeasement toward a narcissist are limited truces. You can never placate a narcissist except for a limited time. Because of the unprincipled and immoral mental framework of a narcissist the appeasers learn to be very flexible. Morally flexible. This is why the appeasers will eventually gut their own integrity and morality if they persist in working for the narcissist. What appeases the narcissist today may enrage him tomorrow--just like the ancient pagan gods of the Incas, the Aztecs or the Druids. So the appeaser can't keep his job unless he moves the goalpost where ever the narcissist demands he put it. Morality is a constant. You can't reshape and re-frame morality to suit individual tastes or else you'll corrupt it.

The narcissist appeaser, the self-anointed and so-called peacemaker, is as immoral as his master. He is a pagan priest who will gladly slice your throat or rip your heart out of your chest if it will buy time, peace or prosperity for himself. He is as demanding and capricious as his N god; he must in order to thrive in the narcissist environment. Know it and plan accordingly.

26 comments:

Katherine Gunn said...

What can I say. I do believe you have nailed it. It makes me see my father in a more clear light. Ugh. Thanks for the insight and (yes) the opinion. :-)

Anonymous said...

WOW! This is very disturbing. It comes at a time that I need to look at things in a totally real light. One could argue my father to be the appeaser. Its the very last paragraph that made me breathe a heavy sigh of relief. He has NOT made me the sacrifice. Which is why may aging NM-now declining into dementia-HATES me even more. She know he will only bend so far to enable her--& then he IS moral & principled in standing up for me. Hence she feels at war with me. But mostly behind his back. She tolerates my presence in front of him.

Naive No Longer said...

"when you are being mightily pressured by the self-righteous do-gooder who is demanding you bend over for the narcissist, please, please recognize the pagan before you."

I appreciate so much you calling it what it is, Anna - whether it be the evil of the narcissist or the paganism/evil of the appeaser, your clear-cut method of exposing it is priceless to many of us.

Especially when you've got both the N and the appeaser espousing Christian principles in a twisted way in order to apply tremendous pressure to comply with their wishes.

Only when you begin to see the truth of the matter and not what they would have you believe can you successfully extricate yourself from the sickness that parades as some sort of self-righteous morality.

Your insight Anna is incredible.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...while I agree with many of the concepts, I believe the role of appeaser may be learned and practiced from infancy as a survival tactic. It's not okay, particularly when the lifelong appeaser finds him/herself linked to yet another narcissist and appeases this one through inappropriate soothing or issue-ducking. Lifelong appeasers, however, have never learned how to take a moral stand.

So we're adults, with adult responsibilities and moral obligations, yes? As a lifelong appeaser myself, the ONLY way I could keep my NM from corrupting my own children was to drastically limit contact with grandma. I was not strong enough to confront her and demand better behavior. The soothing microchip that had been implanted in my brain at birth seemed to cause twitching and seizures whenever I even thought about confrontation!

Anna Valerious said...

In my previous post, which was what I built today's post on, I explained that the child and the hostage develop the survival technique of learning how to appease a narcissist, and I specifically exempted them from what I was describing. I am talking about full grown and able-bodied adults who can leave the situation and don't, and who also insist that others bow to the demands of the narcissist.

Lifelong appeasers, however, have never learned how to take a moral stand.

Yes, you are right. This is something that can be remedied. Which is part of the reason for this blog; to help teach those who've been brainwashed by narcissists how to take a stand for truth and reality and not have noodle spines. Defense mechanisms learned in childhood or in times of extremity are usually large impediments to healing and proceeding on to a more abundant life. Long-learned patterns can be overcome with effort and self-education. It isn't easy, but it is certainly do-able. I would not be able to write what I have on this blog except that I have unlearned the infernal training of my malignantly narcissistic mother. It is imperative that we gain our personal integrity if we will respect ourselves. Continually caving to a narcissist undermines our integrity and self-respect. We can't placate a narcissist and maintain our integrity.

You are not faulted in the least by me for not confronting your narcissist mother. This blog doesn't advocate confrontation with narcissists because it is usually unproductive at best. It can be dangerous or damaging at worst. Your tactic of avoidance is what I advocate time and again. Maintaining distance is the next best thing to a complete cut-off. I applaud you for how you've protected your own children by drastically reducing contact. Confronting your mother to demand better behavior would yield no such result, so your course has been a wise one in my opinion. Despite the "soothing chip" that was installed since birth, you are over-riding its "imperatives" by creating distance. Good for you! You have my admiration. Today's post is not about you. It is about people like my father who willingly threw me and my sister to the wolf to save his own sorry ass. It is about spiritual leaders who abuse their flocks. It is about those who feel righteous while they put shackles on us so we can't escape the predations of the narcissist. Doesn't sound like you even one tiny bit. God bless.

Katherine Gunn said...

Anon Apr 5, 2008 5:33:00 PM -

"...seemed to cause twitching and seizures whenever I even thought about confrontation!"

Exactly. Throughout the last 8 months or so, since I have begun to see and look at my Nmom, I have had problems with anxiety (when I think about her). When I began to seriously think about her in terms of actually being an MN - and what my options were in dealing with that, I began 'twitching.' But you know what? The twitching is what led me to the realization that I, a grown woman of 44 years, was actually AFRAID of my mother. That really made me stop and think. It is NOT NORMAL for children to be afraid of their parents when they have grown up - afraid of 'being in trouble.' The idea of confronting her on her behavior is a twitch producer. There is still a part of me that feels like I 'owe' her the chance to know why I don't want to see her, but . . . since I pulled back (I haven't seen her for 2 months - and have only talked to her on the phone 4 times in that period when she called) there is a peacefulness that is starting to settle in me. (To put this in perspective, she used to come up to see me twice a week, like clockwork, not open for discussion - for years.)

Laughing at myself. Although I don't answer when she calls - let it go to voicemail - I still am afraid not to call her back . . .

I believe the more time you spend NOT seeing/talking to her, the stronger your spine will become and the more that 'soothing chip' will be overridden until it shorts out completely. Change doesn't happen overnight - it takes time - is a process. Like Anna said, good for you that you are not letting her influence your children. That is a big deal all by itself!

Anonymous said...

" I was not strong enough to confront her and demand better behavior. The soothing microchip that had been implanted in my brain at birth seemed to cause twitching and seizures whenever I even thought about confrontation! "

If you were "strong enough" to fight, my guess is that all you'd get out of that is years of draining fights that you would never win anyway. That microchip might not have been implanted at birth, it may well be the result of dealing with disproportionate responses and retaliation to even the simplest of confrontations. N parents 'shock and awe' their children into submission.

"Shock and awe, technically known as rapid dominance, is a military doctrine based on the use of overwhelming decisive force, dominant battlefield awareness, dominant maneuvers, and spectacular displays of power to paralyze an adversary's perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight."

Anonymous said...

Naive no longer said: "Especially when you've got both the N and the appeaser espousing Christian principles in a twisted way in order to apply tremendous pressure to comply with their wishes."

Yes, yes, and YES!

It was shocking to me to see my SuperReligious NILs identified as pagans. But Anna, you are right!

And of course, all of the other members of the family, even those with whom we swapped horror stories for years, have been urging us to fall back into line.

Appeasers, all. Don't rock the boat.

Blech.

We are not going back. We are going to raise our children free of this nonsense. The price of being cut off is worth it. We never dreamed the price would be so high, but it is still worth it.

Renewed

krl said...

Thank you for this incredible post, Anna.
Hmmmmm....I got chills when I read it. My Nmom was a Bible scholar and often gave Bible lessons at a few churches. What I find interesting is that I recall her giving one on this subject...oh, maybe 25 years ago? Not the exact words, but the gist of it. One of the most deceiving things about Nmom IS her 'insightfulness'...how she could connect the dots. She was no 'lightweight' when it came to the Scripture, theology, and doctrine. She was a teacher, no doubt. No wonder I was a bit awed by her...and believed her. BUT...(and this is a HUGE 'BUT')...it was a TEACHING...and intellectual, comprehensive 'study of..' as opposed to something one takes into their heart and lets God 'lead from'. She NEVER saw herself in her teachings, nor held herself accountable for her actions that spoke otherwise. THAT was held for 'other people'. Now, what is interesting to me...and horrific in its realization..is that she could not possibly have drummed these wonderful 'insights' up....nor pulled them out of her ass..(sorry)...without RECOGNIZING THE TRUTH..but CHOOSING to personally do otherwise. Hear that? She KNOWS the Truth but runs. She isn't ignorant, nor backward, nor dumb, nor helpless, nor 'uninitiated' (God, I hate it when she uses that as a frikken excuse for everything!) This can only mean that she is clever and cunning. Speaking the Truth was her SMOKESCREEN! I ASSUMED she was holding herself accountable for her life because she said some awesome things. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.
Oh, man...I just can't say what I want to say....I just don't have the words. Hopefully, some of you can get the point of what I am driving at. It is so twisted up. Arrrrrgggghhhhhh!

Elise said...

Anna,

I found this post to be interesting and thoughtful, coming from your perspective as a believer.

I'm an Atheist who has plenty of respect for my believer friends. One of my friends actually started down the path towards becoming a Christian nun, living in community with an order for a year, before deciding it wasn't for her. I look at the comfort that religion brings to my friends and I say "Good for them. I'm glad they have that".

I've had terrible experiences with religion throughout my life, starting with the fact that my father (not an N, but a garden variety neglectful absentee dad) had gotten 2/3 of the way through Episcopal seminary before deciding it wasn't for him, then giving up on his marriage and abandoning his three children, only to go on and have two more kids. Then he wondered why things weren't going well with his first family. But he was sure big on reading us Bible stories when he got around to visiting...

Two priests at a church I attended as a kid ere forced to leave (one for having an affair with a parishioner while still married to his wife; the second for trying to install a non-Christian guru from the South Pacific as the head of the church, using the parishioners' funds to do so).

It probably didn't help my chances for becoming a churchgoer again that as my mother's narcissism grew worse, she also got more and more religious.

So...as an Atheist, I believe wholeheartedly in ethics, which tend to overlap among all religions (and, in the case of things like murder, are things that you simply can't allow in any functioning society). I don't believe in heaven vs. hell, but rather feel that we ought to behave well in this life because...well, in my case because I believe that this life is all we've got, so we'd better make it the best we can.

All I can say is that I broke contact with my mother (one of the best decisions I've ever made) 2+ years ago because she is deeply, PROFOUNDLY unethical...all the while proclaiming perfect, nearly saintly victimhood.

No thanks, mom...

And for what it's worth, even her spiritual advisors, whose monastery stood to make big money when she passes away, can't abide being in contact with her any more *either*.

http://houseofbonsai.blogspot.com/2006/08/2004-patience-of-saints.html

Thanks for your fab blog, Anna.

Anonymous said...

To KRL:

I have been no contact 3 years from my Nmom and paid the price of being "excommunicated" from large extended family. All "Godly and honorable" history of me has been rewritten.

But the "price" has been worth it.

"Godly" Nmom knows the truths of the Bible:
1)Nmom wares these Biblical truths as a cloak to her evilness.
2)Nmom biblical solutions to problems are to do the complete opposite of Biblical instruction.
3)Nmom does her best to introduce "kaos"
4)It's all about the "show"!

There's no appeasing Nmom. You will forever be asked to compromise your truths. RUN FROM THIS EVIL!

Anonymous said...

I found this insightful as well. From a religious standpoint, I choose to view narcissists as being completely preoccupied with themselves with such a tenacity that a Christian could rightfully call it idolatry. They people put their own ego and emotional self-preservation ahead of all else in life, including their families. Whatever conscious they started out with (the empathy chip) is slowly eroded over time through their willingness to ignore and snuff out that little voice that informs us all of what is right/wrong.

I'd say there's an excellent chance that those that enable and defend narcissists, or seek to "understand" their viewpoint, most likely suffer from some sort of personality/character disorder themselves.

Anna Valerious said...

I'd say there's an excellent chance that those that enable and defend narcissists, or seek to "understand" their viewpoint, most likely suffer from some sort of personality/character disorder themselves.

Your parting words here made me sputter, then laugh out loud. I'll try to explain.

First of all, there seems to some compelling evidence to make me suspect the same; in fact, minutes earlier I had been thinking along those lines. More on why in a sec.

I had a comment waiting for me this a.m. which, at first, made me want to pull my hair out. Then my husband pointed out how it is the perfect distillation of all the arguments Christian appeasers throw at us to keep us enslaved and forever obligated to stay in a relationship with a N. The comment was left on a previous post of mine (From Such Turn Away in February). This person had no idea that I have labeled her/his type as a "pagan appeaser" because they have only read the one post. (Thank you Sitemeter and StatCounter.) Anyway, I read your words above and spluttered because I had this very thought about this particular self-righteous commenter.

By the way, I haven't approved the comment. No, it deserves extra special treatment. I'll post it on the front page one of these days soon so I can rip it up real nice like. Most of you would read this comment and see red, therefore, I don't want to post it without my response at the same time. It is people this that commenter who give Christians a very bad name. Yet, I am the "divider" and non-biblical and faithless one to this person's view. Whatever. Some people have steel plates in their head which can deflect every scintilla of logic from entering. I have the perfect proof of that fact all in one comment. If I were to have a taxidermy display to illustrate my most recent post...this person would be the specimen.

Naive No Longer said...

In response to krl... I get it!!! I lived it.

Naive No Longer said...

elise,

Nothing like some full-blown hypocrisy under the guise of Christianity to make one want to vomit, eh? . . . It is a miracle that God is still very real and relevant to me given all that I have had to stomach "in His name". Hearing you describe what you've experienced causes me to have great empathy for you. Emotionally unhealthy people have a way of giving God a very bad name. It makes both them and the "god" they represent utterly reprehensible, in my opinion.

Naive No Longer said...

Anna,

Sorry for so many comments but I CAN'T WAIT to hear what you have to say about the yet unmasked comment you received.

We'll be waiting for that one!!! Even though it may make us see red, I'm sure there will be some valuable take-away lessons that will be provided by you that will arm us in the event of future contact with the likes of them!

jacqueline said...

Anna, Amen, Amem, and Amen!! I watched my STB-N ex behave as both the "appeaser" (to his now deceased "religious Nmother") and a full blown N in our marriage!!He would grovel at her immediate whims in spite of the horrible abuse, both emotional and physical dished out throughout his childhood and into his adulthood! UUGGHH!!!!And yes, he did attend "seminary" for a short time!! The God I serve is still my God, my Comfort and my Strength!! Certainly my faith was tried through the fire, refined amd stronger!! I know my God will NEVER leave me or forsake me!! Unlike the N's in my life! God Bless

Anonymous said...

With regard to any potential readers raised in the traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism or any of the other non-Christian traditions, "pagan" may not be the best choice here.

The term has an inherent Christian bias and pejorative connotation.

I love your blog. Don't get me wrong.

I'm just sayin ...

rys said...

You've just described my father quite aptly, Anna. My NM also used religion and the bible as a battering ram to hold the high ground. Nothing like a little cloak and dagger. EF regularly sacrificed his children to appease NM to procure his temporary peace. We've been NC with them (and their enabling staff) for 2+ years and have never looked back.

Thank you for this insightful and informative blog, Anna. Its rare to find other ACONs who address the spiritual issues of Narcissism!

Anna Valerious said...

I used the word 'pagan' in the broad generic sense. I am sorry to see someone naming specific religions because I wasn't thinking of specific religions when I wrote this post. (Except Christianity of all things! I was definitely thinking outside the usual boxes.)

The term was coined by early Christians, and since I am a Christian I am familiar with the term. Let me define the term. Christianity believes in one God. Religions which worshiped many gods, polytheistic religions, were called pagan.

I applied this word to the willing appeasers of narcissists because of the 1) religious flavor of their beliefs and behaviors. 2) because they are polytheistic.

Christian N appeasers have the appearance of worshiping one God, but in truth they worship the N god. And in a very real sense, the N appeaser worships themselves. The N appeaser is polytheistic. So the term I chose to use is accurate and not unfortunate. Considering that many more Christians read this blog than 'pagans', I daresay I risked offending Christians much more. I made it clear that despite a profession of being Christian, they can in real fact, be a functioning pagan.

I stand by my choice of terms. I also am regretful for the naming of specific religions. That is not my point...and the intelligent reader is going to understand that.

ddjango said...

Anna:

I just stumbled here; grateful that I did. I've made you a "Hot Blog" on P! and added you to my mental health link list.

I rage against global narcissism often. I admire your passion.

Be at peace.

Noni said...

Dear Anna, I can so closely identify with you. My FIL is the priest who'll make everyone, including himself, sacrifice at the sacrificial altar of his wife, my N-MIL, to maintain "peace" in the family. It was worst when I was living in that joint family, but thank God I don't live there any more...

Noni said...

" Perhaps the fear that motivates the appeaser is not so much the wrath of the narcissist, but the fear of losing the convenience which a placated narcissist will afford him."

This is so true and I have been made to succumb before my N-MIL's authority for years and years. The worst part is that my brain wasn't conditioned to work like her "submissive prey" as her own kids was; I was a free thinker with healthy self esteem; and it was really maddening for me to adjust myself into my in-laws' family; that too in a conservative South Asian society where elders are given the status of gods.

Noni said...

I must compliment you for all your writing over this blog. I sincerely wish that our society becomes as "non-hypocritic" as yours to be able to see things in their true light.

Dave Hawkins said...

This my my Father, war hero, peacetime coward.

istjkl said...

I am so thankful for your website.

My N mother (enneagram type nine) has an idol named false peace. Since I am finally speaking up for myself and I am speaking out against her idol, my brother is accusing me of elder abuse...

Recently I texted my brother the sum total of my mother's morality:
When morality is based on preferences, then betrayal is right and honesty is wrong.
He's giving me the silent treatment.

This morning, I was reading my Bible:
And Asa did that which was right in the eyes fo the LORD....[Asa] removed all the idols that his fathers had made. And also Ma-a-chah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.
I Kings 15:11-13

The LORD declared Asa as doing what was right...which gives me hope that I am also doing right by refusing to worship my mother's idol.

Hopefully, my comment supports your comments regarding paganism.

May the LORD bless you for rightly dividing the Word of God.