Casey Anthony Part 1 - Addendum


A Virtuous Life

At film and television school I was taught that the first aim in making
advertisements should be to keep people from reaching full maturity.

The theory held that, once a person has their basic needs met, they will
naturally become interested in fulfilling their purpose in life and lose
interest in things such as consumer products.

Advertising, we were taught, must first aim at making people feel
insecure about themselves, and in a constant state of need, so that
people would remain consumers well past the age that might otherwise
be expected of a person. We were given examples of ads where the aim
was to make people feel self conscious--that they smell bad or have an
annoying cough.

I was repulsed by this idea of stifling people's development on a mass
media level, just for the sake of selling consumer goods that people
didn't really need.

Today, all around me I see people who are suffering the effects of this
negative messaging. How this trend has hurt society is so much worse
than anyone could have anticipated.

You see, working in the area that I do, I see that, when a couple does
not mature, their children suffer terribly.

I was determined to nurture my own children and protect them from my
and Steve's immaturity; finally face the hard task of growing up. But I
struggled without a guidebook until I found a wonderful instructional
manual in the virtues.

But, after teaching countless couples the contentment and even glory that
can be found in practicing virtuous habits, and no longer allowing myself
to be held back by insecurity and self doubt, I started to run into a bit of a
problem at church.

You see, I was very excited about teaching the virtues, as taught by Christ
himself. Compassion, humility, understanding, moderation and valor to name
a few. But then church ministers began admonishing me, saying that I was
teaching salvation by works rather than by faith.

So, in answer to this rebuke, I will share this with you...

When you are learning to drive, you do not pray that God will teach you
those skills, or by faith drive without a teacher.

I have now worked four years in the business of helping partners of domestic
abuse. Countless times people have told me that they have prayed for God's
help with an abusive spouse. The smart, self-reliant ones say that God helped
them find our website. Because, if you pray to learn how to drive, God will
not expect you to do it by faith. Instead he will most likely direct you to a
good driving instructor.

In that way the virtues are similar. They are not works to bring us salvation
in the hereafter, but rather are skills we must learn if we wish to mature and
lead a life that will see us reach our full potential on earth.

How many children are suffering from a lack of virtue and maturity in their
parents and grandparents?

Jesus' life was not focused on his own salvation but upon sacrifice and virtue.
If we are to model our lives on Christ's life I believe we must end our
preoccupation with the doctrines of salvation. That was a gift and a promise
and we should trust and have faith in that promise.

The virtues have been so long forgotten that I see many people in my church
who seem to misunderstand even the most basic virtue, humility. Humility
does not require feeling unworthy.

Christ never put himself down. To say that we are unworthy of his sacrifice is,
in effect, to say that he was wrong to die for us. Christ always wanted us to
recognize our worth, not to denigrate ourselves before him.

Christ modeled true humility for us when he washed his disciples' feet. He was
not afraid to associate with beggars and misfits. He showed humility when he
asked why had God forsaken him as he hung on the cross.

True humility is the courage to do what is right even when others will look
down on you, and to have the courage to love your fellow man without the
need to compete with him.

Humility is also the ability to admit our wrong doings and limitations; that we
are not always the author of the grand plan for our lives.

It is the courage to accept the feelings of powerlessness that not being in charge
will sometimes bring; looking for God's plan in our lives and finding the courage
to follow, rather than always needing to be in charge.

A friend of mine recently said to me that perfection is the enemy of good. I liked
that, for if we feel we must be perfect before we can let our light shine, we will
surely walk in darkness all our lives.

The courage to share our gifts in all their imperfection is just one more way of
practicing humility. So for ourselves and for the sake of our children, please let
the leaders of our churches search their hearts and never shy away from teaching
the virtues. Not to earn our salvation, but simply as the best and most gratifying
way to live.



Kim Cooper
http://www.narcissismcured.com

26 comments:

  1. Love it! As always, very wise, Kim.

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  2. Just a thought - I actually agree with you about this and I'm a long time follower of yours and I think your work is fantastic, but if I was a first time reader I may think from this post that your work is very 'Christian centric' (and I'm afraid quite 'preachy'). If you want to appeal to the widest audience I would suggest perhaps less focus on Christian values/ideas or you may alienate people of different faiths (or no faith) who may benefit from your work but be somewhat dissuaded by this. Just a suggestion..

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  3. Hi everyone - and to anon, I agree and am glad you mention it, because I have never before mentioned religion and probably never will again - and I certainly do not want people to think that our message is a religious one. The work we do is to vital too be subject to one or other religious belief.

    That said, I did decide to post this article because I felt so passionately about it - if nothing else because I believe that church should be more of a place where people model and learn values and decency rather than a place where people argue about their beliefs!

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  4. I share my Christian beliefs freely on my youtube channel, will NEVER apologize for this, since Jesus was tortured and killed as an innocent man for me and I am NOT ashamed and I KNOW HE is the only One who really sets people free. Kim, Steve, Preach ON and ignore any naysaying comments by people who want you to pour mixture into the message. What you teach is very much a GODLY concept on narcissistic personality disorder and jesus needs to come along with it because HE IS THE MESSAGE!
    ~Laura

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  5. Hi, Kim, no need to apologize for what you've written here. Anyone can see by all of your website that your intent is not to alienate anyone, but to passionately pass along what you have learned and are continuing to learn. Like you aptly said, if we would all learn humility (at the feet of the One who modeled serving from the bottom up - not top-down authority) our homes, churches and world would be a different place. Kim, we need to operate from our hearts, rather than from the need to be politically correct. That's how we get into this whole codependency mess. It's not about agreeing with everyone that is the focus, but to keep an open heart that can learn from others.
    Abigail Berryman, North Port, FL

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  6. Absobloodylutely! Kim, I feel u r right on when u mentioned that we can & should learn from Jesus, the greatest man who ever lived! Even if one doesn't follow him, what beautiful qualities we all can learn & apply in our lives to improve our relationships with others. What he taught 2000 years ago Works today, virtues that never become outdated! Most that are cynical have never even read the Bible, the more I read (& apply) the more faith I hav, why not just read 1 book, Mathew n see for urself! Maybe that's why our world is in the state it is in, Galatians 5:13-26 focus on vs:22,23. Kim thank you for giving the credit where credit is due, and not caving Into pressure to please all~
    Which u know will never happen

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  7. Kim, If anywhere, it is the Christian church that most needs the tools to teach people how to mature. So many of us who have grown up in it have been steeped in a subtle gospel of perfectionism, the precursor to rampant denial of the truth, which is, so few of us are mature. In our lack, we are apt to abuse or be abused, (narcisism and co-dependence)all the while denying there is a problem, since after all, there is not SUPPOSED to be a problem. Sadly we even fool ourselves! The fruit of this is bitter, for us and for our children. So, your post is timely and appropriate, and those who see themselves in it, Christ-centric or not, will be, well, blessed. If first-time readers are put off by the revelation of your world-view, without looking further on your site, perhaps they would simply not be ready to hear you in any format. Please do post your thoughts on the subject again. Thousands who might not be open otherwise need the wisdom you've gained. Thank you so much for having the courage to state it so clearly.

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    Replies
    1. Please do share as you have done in wisdom and discernment of Jesus

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  8. I agree - that's why some of the most well known organisations that promote peace and social justice very deliberately make no references to any particular religious beliefs or political persuasion for the very reason that trying to get their message out to everyone, and promoting peace and harmony is much more important than disclosing their own personal views.

    It's a shame this blog on a very high profile case was the one you chose to be so very overtly Christian on, not that there's anything wrong with being Christian, but it may likely attract a lot of attention and I'd hate people to think that your work is about converting people or appealing only to Christians.

    Those of us who've been here for a while know that's not true - hopefully others won't be confused by the post. Perhaps it was more suitable to go in your church newsletter as it really does seem to be directed quite deliberately at the people at church who have criticised your work...

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  9. I think what you have written is very true and more people should follow these virtues. Well done for taking the plunge, Kim :)

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  10. I'm very glad to read this and am encouraged by your words as a new subscriber of yours. Scripture says- in addition to our gift of salvation, indeed a free and gracious GIFT, that we are to "work out our faith". The discipline of "speaking the truth in love" for instance- a virtue that I am working toward in my marriage- does not come naturally. I am grateful for teachers along the way, you included Kim, that help point me toward the light. Around NPD the interpersonal can feel (and is) like darkness. I had wondered what higher wisdom guides you and now I know- so glad I read this!

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  11. Kim,
    I was so glad to hear your comments about your faith. I have learned much from you over the years and have always wondered about your beliefs. I am convinced that human transformation only truly happens with God's grace, but He won't do it without our participation. You have helped me learn how to participate in a way that honors Christ. Thank you for that. The only way to live with contentment is to be Christ centered.

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  12. Kim,
    So grateful that you have shared your beliefs - I have often wondered if you were a Christian and am happy to learn you are. I believe it is only by God's grace that people are transformed but He wants us to participate in the process. Your work has helped me participate in God changing me and changing my responses to people in my life. I am a much stronger and more content person, thank you for all you do and the gentle way you opened my blind eyes to where I needed to change. I agree in salvation alone by Christ's attonement, but once you truly understand that and are free from fear of man you can't help but move on to good works!! Thank you for sharing truth with so many people. Christ's love shows through it all, even if you never say it is from Him.

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  13. I totally disagree with what Anon said and I applaud your stance and was actually EXTREMELY glad that I came across this posting and your views and values because it was EXACTLY what I needed~the missing piece to the puzzle of my faith and trust in your work. I did NOT think it was preachy in the least and in fact I'm going to print the article because I find it so valuable. I totally get the point that anon is making but in that he/she agrees with you about this I just think that there's another side to the equation which is the people that ARE very Christian-oriented and NEED to understand your concepts and WILL be attracted to such an article because it fits in with their belief system and speaks to them. In fact, so as not to "offend" people that think the article was quite preacy~which I definitely did not and in fact thought it was very informative and clarified some of my own problems in thinking about this topic correctly~that perhaps you could have a separate link to articles that address these issues~perhaps a link that says "Articles on Christian Values" because there are many people, myself included, that actually NEED directives in thinking about NPD and not feel GUILTY that they are not reading Christian literature~so I believe it works both ways. There is a huge population of women experiencing DV and think it is their Christian duty to just take it and do nothing to imporove their situation. Thank you for listening to my two cents worth. :o)

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  14. I think you can see from this that the majority of your subscribers (or at least commenters) seem to be Christian.. so perhaps that supports anon's comment. And some very extreme in their beliefs - the person who said the only way to live with contentment is to be Christ centered..well how would a Buddist feel reading this?? I can't imagine very welcome or that this is very relevant to them.

    Everyone has their right to their beliefs and to profess them but I wonder what would happen if Amnesty or an organisation like that started professing their personal beliefs.

    If it's a Christian blog that's fine, but if it is supposed to appeal to everyone who needs help with an N partner how would they feel reading this if they don't believe in Jesus/Christian values.

    I think this is becoming less about Narcissim and more about faith.

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  15. Thank you so much for this post, Kim. The church really needs to hear what you said. We've become irrelevant for the very reasons you mentioned in your post. It's a breath of fresh air to hear your perspective.

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  16. Unfortunately I think by posting this you've inadvertently done what you hope the church will stop doing - created an argument about beliefs.

    And you say in response to anon that you certainly don't want people to think your message is a religious one - but if you read the majority of these comments this is exactly what people seem to think. And why wouldn't they think that given this post relates your work directly to the Christian religion and to one manifestation of God.

    Some people have said that this type of post is necessary because otherwise they will feel guilty reading it because it's not a religious message - clearly their religious leaders have told them they can only read Christian documents, which is a real shame and exactly the kind of message that breeds close-mindedness, religious division and certainly not humility.

    Well perhaps now people of other faiths will feel guilty reading this because their church leaders or someone who they respect has told them not to read material that doesn't support their views.

    Commenters - try to put yourselves in the shoes of someone else - if Kim followed Islam and wrote this blog from that perspective how would you feel? From some comments it seems you'd stop reading, and some people would feel guilty. So that is exactly how non-Christians are likely to feel.

    If you don't want people to think this is a religious message, if you want to appeal to everyone regardless of faith, if this is a site for anyone needing guidance and help with narcissism, if you want to take this message to our Prime Minister (which I read somewhere) who has made it very clear that she is not Christian and is likely to find it a lot more credible if this is a site removed from a religious stance, then please make it completely accessible to everyone and don't create the very situation you hope that we can get past, which is arguing about religious beliefs.

    Or as one wise commenter said, perhaps you could have a separate section for Christians.

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  17. To make things more balanced, here are some ideas from other religions that are relevant to these ideas and to show that these ideas transcend cultural and religious boundaries:

    Islam
    The following are some of these human rights that Islam protects.

    - The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred. Islam also protects honor. So, in Islam, insulting others or making fun of them is not allowed.
    - Islam rejects certain individuals or nations being favored because of their wealth, power, or race. God created human beings as equals.
    - Islam is a just religion. You should treat everyone justly whether or not they are Muslim.

    Judaism
    - The yetzer tov is the moral conscience, the inner voice that reminds you of God's law when you consider doing something that is forbidden.
    - The yetzer ra is more difficult to define, because there are many different ideas about it. It is usually conceived as the selfish nature, the desire to satisfy personal needs (food, shelter, sex, etc.) without regard for the moral consequences of fulfilling those desires.
    - People have the ability to choose which impulse to follow: the yetzer tov or the yetzer ra. We all have the ability to make our own choices, and we will all be held responsible for the choices we make.

    I'm afraid I can't credit these works as html is not allowed.

    Wouldn't it be great if there was a place to go where people of different faiths and beliefs came together to share their ideas and so we could learn from each other...rather than being told if we don't believe X then we are doomed...that's the kind of worship place that I think could help us all grow up and get past our own biases.

    Hopefully this will get the ball rolling and show that these ideas do not only apply to Christians and you don't need to follow one religion or other to feel okay about living this way or following these ideas.

    Please, anyone from another religion (or no religion), write in about what guides you to live with justice, peace and humility.

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  18. Hi and thank you so much to anon who wrote in about how these ideas would relate to the Islamic faith. I so very much welcome your input.

    I pretty much tell the story of my life in this blog warts and all. At the end of this last post I mentioned that perfection is the enemy of good
    so yes there were some very good reasons I shouldn't have shared this but hey I am not perfect and I think some people got something out of it.

    Interesting someone mentioned the trees - because our whole city is in terror right now that our cities central park will be under the chainsaws tomorrow - and although 10 thousand people have signed a petition and war veterans and hippies alike have protest side by side on this issue nothing seems to be able to stop them.

    The council's own transcripts admit the reason they don't want an independent assessment of the means they have used to give them selves power to do this will make them look bad and so instead they will press on and make themselves look even worse.

    It is not about cutting down trees being wrong - it is about people being ruthless to cover their own lies and not being able to admit that they have made a mistake. In refusing mediation they are causing a huge rift in our community that - if the trees come down tomorrow may never be healed. I really do feel in this case that narcissism is very central to this story.

    Back to religion - please understand that I believe practicing virtue is not limited to religion at all and that all people including agnostics and atheists have a moral conscience - and in our hearts we all would like to
    abide by that inner voice of our innocence and beauty. It is when we begin fearing we are unacceptable, unlovable and unworthy that the rot sets in.

    My article - as I think most Christian's will see - is in fact a criticism of most Christian churches today and certainly not setting Christianity above any other belief set.

    I felt compelled I should share however as it is where I am in my life - but as promised before it probably won't happen again!

    To be 100% clear - What I was feeling is that if I hear another person in church praying that they are a mere speck of dust in their insignificance I am going to scream and probably stop going to church. But I also believe would be a shame. The community connections it gives my kids and drug and alcohol free activities are very important I believe and it is this safety net in the community that is important to avoid all victims of abuse from becoming isolated.

    Church is different than a yoga class, where you come and when the class finishes you leave. It gives isolated people the chance to meet and make friends with other people in the community.

    An ashram however is no different and I have visited ashrams and enjoyed my time there as well as many other types of churches.

    I would love to be able to start a new church - as a doctrine free zone where people can simply come together to share their values and find ways to put the values they find they have in common with others into practice.

    I don't believe this would conflict with any faith or belief set and I certainly have not wanted to do that in this article.

    As someone did mention however I do have a lot of Christian readers and the message of reform in my last article hopefully rang true to some of them.

    Many people seem to forget that Christ was a reformer of his own church and taking a whip to it's leaders is his only recorded act of violence.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.fightbusters.com

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  19. I understand this blog to be about helping people who are dealing with npd and/or similar problems.

    I find it interesting that one "helpful" comment has the ability to stir up such controversy. Reminds me of a little yeast, being allowed to have it's way.

    I believe in Jesus. Even if I don't always agree with others, other people's choice are not for me to judge.

    That being said, I have been reading and listening to Kim for quite awhile now. She's issued a ton of useful content and information. Which has helped me deal with and understand a couple of difficult people, in my life. I have never really known before this piece, what her faith was. She appears to have a big heart and an army of compassion.

    As for wider appeal... there will be those who don't want the kind help offered here. They will have their own ideas as to what kind of answers they are searching for. We can never please all of the people, all of the time.

    This site does what it set out to do and has kept it's focus. Honesty and integrity are also important. I am glad that in her forthrightness, Kim did not "change" the story, to please everyone. No matter what you believe, this speaks to her heart, credibility and character. I can respect and trust that.

    Thank you, Kim

    Debi-Jene

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  20. Thanks Kim for clarifying - I'm the anon who started the religion questioning thread and the one who wrote about Islam and Judaism.

    I'm totally on board with what you're saying and now I feel like I understand much better. But I'm really sad (but not at all surprised) that some of your readers took this post as an opportunity to justify their own beliefs and put them above those of others. I'm also really sad that some people need a reason to read this or a link to religion or else they'll feel guilty. That is so sad. It reminds me of a religious leader I grew up with who said to me "Think of heaven as being like a stadium and people who believe in X religion have the best seats" - scary scary stuff.

    Please, everyone, growing up is about THINKING FOR YOURSELF. Your religious leader is HUMAN and falliable and limited by his or her own biases and human-ness. And he or she won't be there when you're on your death bed and won't be in heaven or whatever you believe in standing at the pearly gates with you. Your life is your own to live by your conscience and with religious and other ideas as a guide - not a strict doctrine never to be questioned. Question things, see if they make sense or have basis in something that is right for you and then make your own choices.

    And if you sometimes make a mistake, that's okay...just try to learn from them. That's truly what I believe life is about and I don't think I'm going to be struck down or hellbound because of it.

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  21. I forgot to mention too that I would love to help you set up that 'church' (we probably shouldn't use that word though). If only I lived in Newcastle!!

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  22. I get your newsletter for my daughter, so I haven't read your material, until today. I was very interested in the use of the word virtue. My particular religion isn't of concern here, but what is of concern to me is this word virtue. ALL religions have a set of virtues, usually saying basically the same things. Don't be a jerk to other people...What Kim wrote was good, what people do with what she wrote is up to the reader. If someone gives you a dollar, it's not the givers responsibilty to spend that dollar for the receiver or to reveal where they got it from.

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  23. I wanted to pass along this article due to it's valued message, but didn't on account of the Christian framework. However, that's only because I'm not Christian, not a criticism or disapproval of the article. I'm sure a more balanced framework *could have* been done, but perhaps this is an opportunity to re-write the message framed in some of the ways other's believe.

    Let's face it. Kim and Steve have bills to pay like anyone else. They've recently been challenged by losing a sponsor to their great work, which limits their ability to give away so much of this work and still pay the bills. Perhaps some of us readers who also feel strongly about these issues ought to step up to the plate and chip in with the work Kim and Steve do which they don't end up getting paid to do, so they can refocus their efforts to keep the bills paid.

    Perhaps, Kim and Steve could establish a charity and have a donation button? How about some training programs, so some of us can volunteer on your help desk? Some times it can be scary to have competition, but often it leads to added business when crafted appropriately, and this is what that training material might look like (and your google ranks go up due to other sites all linking to you).

    Let those who complain that you don't give enough away, or this or that shouldn't be something you profit from, have a challenge to get what they want by helping out rather than to complain. It's all a part of the program, and all a part of "growing up".

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  24. I am thinking you were led by the Holy Spirit to speak of Christianity in your article and I was glad you did.

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  25. Hi just spent the last 4 months let a narcissistic person stay at my place so glad she is out of my life I thought we were friends but as it turns out she is just a abusive,selfish and aggressive person

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