I realize mind-games and manipulative behaviors go on in every sector. But what I’ve experienced is that when someone is nasty in the work place, they are just nasty, it is recognized as such, and called for what it is. Usually. Not always.
But what I’ve noticed over the many years in the church, in spirituality, in Christianity, is that the nastiness in religious domains is more subversive. Christians, I’ve concluded, generally want to be nice, sincere people of faith. They would never want to hurt anybody.
So when something upsetting happens to them against their will, rather than get consciously angry, mean, manipulative or deceitful, they drive these unpleasant thoughts and feelings deep underground and cover it all in a sentimental spirituality laced with ultimate concern for the church, God’s will, and mission.
What actually happens is this psychologically separates the unconscious drives from the conscious ones, allowing the unconscious ones to bloom with full sanction under the guise of genuine concern. Anyone with any discernment can see the monstrosity of the person’s thinly veiled ulterior motives, lack of honesty and integrity. But the person himself is completely blind to them. His spirituality won’t allow him to recognize it. He lacks integrity. In other words, he is not an integrated person. He is not integrating his unconscious with his conscious, his dark side with his light, his sinner with his saint.
To address the issues head-on would fall on shocked, offended and deaf ears. It is useless. Unless a close friend or relative points it out. Then maybe. Otherwise, from my experience, it takes the mortifying trauma of an understood bad dream, a revelation, self-awareness, or realization (whatever you want to call it) for it to be addressed. Plus humility.