By Shane Lems - Posted at The Reformed Reader:
Sadly, there is such a thing as a church bully. He’s the guy who manipulates, pressures, blames, and coerces people to follow his ideas or agenda (for example, see what happened to Peter in Galatians 2:12). This kind of person is very similar to an abusive husband (or wife – but most of the time a husband): he plays mind games on his wife, plays the Bible trump card of submission and patriarchy, and tricks people along the way with his compulsive lies. One big question is, “How do church bullies and abusers deceive us?” The answers to this question are important. Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood have some helpful answers. I’ve listed them below and edited them for length. (Note: Crippen and Wood specifically talk about abusive people, but many of these points could also apply to church bullies.)
1) They create an atmosphere of chaos and confusion. One of the most common effects of the abuser’s tactics is the creation of a cloud of chaos and confusion around him. Victims will tell you what it’s like, though early on they can’t even articulate it. Abusers have many ways of promoting doubt, chaos, and confusion for those who are in their world. Of course, as is true of all the abuser’s tactics, the purpose of this chaos is quite calculated. Confused people are easier to manipulate.
2) They make the real victim(s) crazy. Abusers frequently work to make their victim begin to doubt their own perceptions. A person who no longer fully trusts in what their senses tell them is a person who is very easy to control. For example, many (if not most) abusers play dual roles. One moment they are charming, the next moment evil. This makes the real victim believe (or start to believe) she’s crazy.Read more here...