“9 Tricky Defense Mechanisms That Are Ruining The Communication In Your Relationship”


Hey friends, I was published on Thought Catalog! It’s a post called 9 Tricky Defense Mechanisms That Are Ruining The Communication In Your Relationship. It covers defensive tactics like rationalizing, deflecting, blame-shifting, gaslighting, and other easy-to-spot moves.

The original post is herehttps://jsparkblog.com/2017/03/13/9-tricky-self-deceptive-defense-mechanisms-that-completely-undermine-dialogue/

Here’s an excerpt, the one I’m most guilty of:

6) Value Judgment / Moralizing. Measuring a person’s inherent value as inferior, especially when their preferences or personalities are different than yours.

The way you think is not how things are. Can I say that again? The way you think is not how things are. It’s simply how you think. Your personality and preferences are not the barometer by which the world turns. I struggle with this one the most; I’m always tempted to mold someone into my own image. Even when there are healthy standards to abide by, it becomes a problem when we grade someone’s value based on how well they’ve caught up to them. And surprise!—we rationalize or blame-shift or deflect when we ourselves don’t measure to our own standards. To truly understand another person requires knowing the whole story, and not just a tiny slice of their life.


Read the rest here. Love y’all, friends! — J.S.

Do Christians Have “Stockholm Syndrome” And Make Excuses For Their Abusive God?

eternallyforevereverythinglove asked a question:

Hello! What do you think about the statement that Christians (and generally believers) have Stockholm Syndrome? I’ve picked this up somewhere and did some research. It’d make sense and it makes me feel weird about my faith now. Thanks and God bless!

Hey there my friend: I took some time to read about this, and it seems to be a new form of the argument that “Christians are brainwashed into unquestioning belief and indoctrinated to their oppressive church institutions and cultures.”

Like all accusations against the Christian faith, there is always an element of truth to them because people are people, and we cannot perfectly reflect a perfect God.  We’re messy creatures with mixed motives in a gray-space struggle.

What I mean is: Any argument against the Christian faith will make some kind of logical sense, because it will make sense against everyone regardless of their affiliation. We can blame religion just as much as we can blame human stupidity.

When someone says, “The church is full of hypocrites” — I always say, “Well that’s why you should go.”  Not in a mean way, but I’m saying: There are hypocrites at businesses, schools, hospitals, fraternities, non-profits, and the White House (gasp!), but the difference is, the church is the one place you can admit it and find healing.  Yes, hypocritical Christians have harmed many of us, and we need to confess that.  But as a tactic to dismiss faith, this is a cheap unthoughtful argument that’s a fluffy insubstantial defense mechanism.  Most of these arguments have NOT gone to the bottom of themselves, at all.

So when someone talks about “Christian brainwashing,” here are a few thoughts to consider.  As always, please feel free to skip around.

Continue reading “Do Christians Have “Stockholm Syndrome” And Make Excuses For Their Abusive God?”

Question: Christianity and Psychology Can Reconcile?

joshtheyipper asked:
How valuable is understanding psychology in living a Christian life? Like, how much does it help us understand ourselves? Is the modern understanding of psychology valid (say, as opposed to pop-psychology)?

I’ve had this conversation plenty of times and it appears to be endless.  I’ll break it down as easy as I can.


1) Secular psychology is useful for diagnostics and research.

While I absolutely believe Scripture is the highest court of authority as God’s sufficient powerful revelation, both for salvation and wisdom, there are “lower courts” of authority worth a listen.

Psychology says some whacky things about the human condition, particularly the causes and solutions.  But two things in psychology are helpful: diagnoses and research. 

While certain diagnostic labels like “bipolar” or “manic depressive” are shotgun phrases that cover a lot of things (most psychologists still can’t agree on definitions), it’s a good starting place to know how you’re diving in.  Psychologists speak a specific language that others can pick up on, sort of a shorthand for an array of issues.  So at least upfront, the vocabulary helps.

Continue reading “Question: Christianity and Psychology Can Reconcile?”

Question: The Ground War Against Depression and Anxiety

Facingfugue asked:
Hello! Your posts are a blessing. I see that you come from an area of knowledge in the psychology area as well spirituality . I have been struggling with anxiety attacks for the past two years. Do you have any advice coming from a perspective of a Christian as well? I have been doing C.B therapy but it really is not helping a lot. I used to be very depressed because it made me feel helpless, but Christ has been my refuge and HE has been my joy. The anxiety has been much harder to work out though

Thank you for your kind words!  I’m not sure I’m too knowledgeable about psychology but it does interest me a lot.

I’ve also suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. There was a suicide attempt in 2004 and I have cut myself before. CB therapy (Cognitive Behavioral) can be good for pointing out certain patterns and schemas, but may not be as helpful for treatment as you already know. 

Both therapy and the church can be really bad at handling depression.  Some people stuff it with drugs and others will say it’s “all in your head, get over it.”  Those who do not go through depression have no idea how debilitating it really is. 

There’s probably no formula/advice/plan I could give that’s 100% effective, but I can try to help from experience.  I’m also assuming that you already highly value prayer, reading the Bible, relying on the Holy Spirit, and attending church.  Medicine is also totally appropriate. That’s all the air warfare; here’s the ground war.

1) Be as honest as possible. Without being a victim about it, let people know what’s going on. Tell somebody. I made the mistake of hiding it too often.  Not that you want to announce it with trumpets, but even one or two close friends or your pastor should know when you’re feeling depressed or anxious. Some people will definitely be uncomfortable and ungracious, but then those people aren’t the ones who get you anyway.

Continue reading “Question: The Ground War Against Depression and Anxiety”

Quote: Danger



[In confronting your friend about an addiction]
You are at a critical moment. Pay attention to the relationship. You are raising these issues because you love him. You are not confronting him for your benefit, but for his. Don’t let the person blame and defend. Stay on track, and don’t give in to your own frustrations or fears. Don’t play by the person’s defensive and attacking rules. Don’t take the insults or disrespect personally. Keep in mind that this person is most likely in danger. The fact that you have been hurt by his words and actions might not be the most important issue at this moment. Whatever disrespect you hear is ultimately disrespect toward God himself. You are witnessing a person who wants radical independence, and you know that any life other than that of faith and dependence on Christ is doomed to failure.

— Edward T. Welch


Book Review: You Can Change

You Can Change
By Tim Chester

Summary:
The danger in Christian books about change is the bogeyman of legalism. Some of the “classic” Christian literature is nothing more than a manifesto of Do’s and Don’t’s that have nothing to do with the Bible, much less Jesus. Tim Chester does not avoid these familiar pitfalls: half of his work is a brilliant call to holiness while the other half is counterintuitive to his own goals. It makes for a frustrating read that at times connects deeply but often succumbs to being another screaming manifesto. Overall though, the Tim Chester’s work, despite its “self-help” vibe, does call to a boldness in our ownership of sanctification.

Weaknesses:
First the negatives. Tim Chester, who can be a good writer, writes this book in a clinical, abrupt, academic form that never really “breathes” like one human being speaking to another. For a work of this sort, it makes for a dull read that smears together like a textbook. It’s as if Chester included all the necessary doctrine so that no one would fault him for being shallow. The result, perhaps unexpectedly, is a bunch of fluff that is neither interesting nor practical.

Continue reading “Book Review: You Can Change”