Beware of These Five Character and Personality Traits in People Before You Friend or Date

Beware-of-these-five-character-traits-before-you-date

Thinking the best of people is a good trait to have, admirable even, however, there is a balance between giving people the benefit of the doubt and important behaviors and traits that provide a forewarning of people we should avoid at all costs – as friends, girlfriends/boyfriends, and employees. In this article, we’ll address five character and personality traits that foreshadow the potential for difficult days ahead if we proceed in the friendship or relationship.

With young people, this is especially important; unless a parent specifically discusses the importance of honesty, loyalty, healthy behaviors and character traits, navigating through these waters in our friends and the people we date can be difficult – and once emotions are involved – often impossible to avoid. Experience teaches us a lot, but even adults continue to make mistakes in their choice of friends or significant others.

So what do we do? Avoid dating? Keep friends to a minimum? Only trust our family?

No, we’re not suggesting that.

Our goal is to provide specific, recognizable and proven traits that if observed should be avoided at all costs to young people, teenagers, and adults.  This is not a comprehensive list, yet if you see any of these specific character and personality traits, they often indicate a person may have narcissistic, Machiavellian, or even sociopathic tendencies. These are people we should avoid personal relationships with.

Let’s begin by stating with all certainty that listening to your gut and instincts is always wise. Always.

If you begin to see red flags in a friend’s behavior or words toward you or others, pay attention. Don’t ignore it. Don’t.

The corporate world is more aware than ever of the importance of character and personality traits in determining if a person will be a good, honest employee, or if they will be vengeful, manipulative, high-maintenance, dishonest, and cruel. Many companies go to great expense to determine if a person is a good fit or a bad fit based on several criteria.

So what about the rest of us? We don’t have expensive predictive or psychological tests available to us—and even if we did how weird would it be to ask someone we’re interested in, or just getting to know, to take it? Very weird. Yep, we get it.

The first thing to remember is, you’re in the driver’s seat. What’s the rush? Take your time to get to know a person, their family (Yes, their family, this is a HUGELY important!), their friends, and carefully observe how they treat others.

Don’t excuse bad behavior (lying, cheating, sneaking around, blame shifting, gossip, pouting, possessive behavior, etc.); take note of it. Beware of it.

#1. They Refuse to take Responsibility for their Actions and Choices.
Listen closely to the way a person describes prior relationships, and look for red flags.  Was the breakup “all their fault” (that’s blame shifting and a sign they do not take responsibility for their own actions). When a person can’t or doesn’t take responsibility for their actions—when they always blame someone else—they will do the same thing to you.

#2. They lie and exaggerate.
It’s easy to think that it’s not a big deal when a person exaggerates—but it is. If it’s not the truth, it’s a lie. If it’s a lie, that person can’t be trusted. If that person can’t be trusted, you’re headed for difficult times. If you observe a person exaggerating or lying, and it’s a pattern, break off the relationship before it becomes difficult.
They will lie to themselves and others to accomplish their goal of getting attention and keeping it.

#3. They’re manipulative.
There are many ways to manipulate people. Most of us do it in one way or another, often unintentionally, but nonetheless we do it. They key is to recognize it, and stop. An unhealthy person or a sociopath doesn’t recognize it when they do it, rather it’s part of their ‘mo’ and before long it becomes part of your life if you choose to stay with them. It’s not possible to have a healthy relationship with a person that manipulates the truth, circumstances, events, emotions, facts, and people. How do you recognize a manipulative person?
—They are often passive/aggressive.
—They use your words against you.
—They say something but later deny it.
—They use guilt trips to try to control you.
—They diminish your problems and difficulties and make it about their own.
—They use emotional backdoors. They sidestep honest communication, give you the silent treatment, pout, and act out emotionally to control the situation.
—They want the attention and focus to be on them, and suck the energy out of the room, and you.
—They seek out sensitive and trusting people, because they’re easier to manipulate.

#4. They are Irresponsible and lack empathy.
Unhealthy people and sociopaths lack empathy for others; they can lie and hurt someone else intentionally, all the while feeling nothing. They refuse to take responsibility for this, but rather justify it with bigger and more grandiose stories to substantiate their fantasy or primary goal.  They are acutely aware of their actions and have neither shame nor remorse.

#5. They Have Rapidly Shifting Moods.
Because their cool and calm appearance is often staged as a means of controlling the relationship, a person who exhibits extreme and rapid changes in temperament seems to almost flick a switch, and then comes the torrent of verbal abuse, criticism, manipulation, tears-on-demand, accusations against others, anger, and taunting. 

If you are in a relationship with anyone who exhibits these traits—toward you or anyone, talk with a trusted friend, parent, or counselor. Get help to recognize these characteristics of unhealthy, and often sociopathic behavior.

Get out of the relationship, and don’t turn back.

These women and men will do everything they can to try to pull you back into their web. They will accuse you of things you didn’t do, they will try to get people within your circle to go to their side—often they will stop at nothing to pay you back for leaving them—or refusing to go back with them after they’ve manipulated you once, twice, three times or more.

If you’re healthy, and you love this person, it can be difficult to walk away—and they will do everything they can to make it as difficult as possible.

Stay strong. Surround yourself with healthy people who support you and honor your decision.

Don’t look back. Don’t give them space in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

Confronting False Accusations of Abuse and Smear Campaigns

Over the course of this post and future posts, you will learn about a story that began long before the nonprofit ‘Instead Ministries’ was formed.

The Bible warns us to discern truth, and test everything. (I Thessalonians 5: 21)

Martin Luther alerts us to be on guard: “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.”

In this case, a young man has been harmed and targeted by false accusations and false witness; we are saddened by the fact that this happens far more often than we realized, and if it has happened to you, whether male or female, we are here to help. The story below has been adjusted to reflect either gender, often using s/he and he/r to allow readers of all genders to relate to the story; or maybe it is your story, too.

Read on.

~~~

Many of us have experienced that moment when we met someone that we thought was a good person, a nice person even. Their smile was captivating, their personality bold, and their claim Christian.

Before long, negative words about others are spoken by them; gossip, the suggestion of inappropriate behavior toward them by others enters the conversation even as trust begins to bloom, sympathy increases toward them, and then their demeanor changes and their story becomes more dramatic and dire. Tears begin to fall almost daily. They have an audience, a foot hold, and it is all they need.

The next thing you know, you’ve been pulled into their story and life, find yourself immersed in the drama, the tears, the pleading to help them, to rescue them. You start to wonder, what do we do? Why isn’t the church involved? Are the accused really that powerful that the accuser truly believes we are their only way of escape?

Slowly the stories began as family fights, parents arguing, siblings who stay away from home to avoid the violent conflicts. You’re conflicted; this isn’t what you’ve seen, but could it be true? You have heard that many things remain hidden in secret, even with the most respected families.

You love this person, buy into the story that you are their prince (or princess), and they need you to rescue them from distress, abuse even.

To prove their point, they video tape violent arguments in their home and send them to you, and others. They can’t bear to live there anymore. Could they live with you?

Your parents counter, she is almost 18, and can legally leave home without intervention at that point. Is it so dire that you need to try to help her emancipate from her family now? Your family doesn’t have the money hers has.

You love them but have found your life and family’s life impacted by their drama and negativity. Then they tell you the Pastor’s son was inappropriate toward them, and something doesn’t feel quite right. But you love them, you trust them, they would never lie to you… right? How can you turn your back on them? You can’t.

You’re 16, s/he is your first love, and you will protect he/r.

The instinct to protect them intermingles with questions popping into your mind… If it were true, why didn’t s/he seek help before? Why didn’t he/r adult siblings do something?

The videos are the final straw. She’s crying in the background as s/he records the arguments of the parents; people s/he says that s/he loves; people that s/he has told terrible stories about time and time again.

On some level you know that you would never do that to anyone you loved, yet you can’t deny the videos and audio of the fighting, and your heart pulls as you hear her sniffles and crying, you will do whatever you can to help.

Your relationship progresses quickly. S/he always wants to be alone with you. You find her being disrespectful to your parents, and others in an effort to get you alone, in your bedroom, in the basement – but you don’t resist. She/he’s older. Experienced. Dominant. Convincing.

For months s/he snuck around and lied to he/r parents about where s/he was and who s/he was with.  On some level, you knew that wasn’t right. If s/he will lie so easily to them over and over and over again… will sh/e lie to you? You realize that’s possible, but s/he says s/he loves you.

Then s/he convinces you that even though you took an oath to remain celibate until you find the woman you will marry, it is okay to have sex with her — after all s/he loves you and wants to marry you some day. If you’re the one, it’s okay. S/he comes to your home with condoms.

And then it happens. The condoms are found in he/r wallet by a parent, and the parents freak out. The parents go to extremes to keep you apart.

And then you find out – s/he lied to them about her choices, and s/he threw you under the bus.

S/he was mean about it.  For the first time you see a new side of them, but then they say their parents made them tell you those things.  It wasn’t real; it was what they were making he/r do.

You were devastated, but just like s/he did, you blame the parents. They are the terrible ones, they are keeping you apart.

You tell your family. They are disappointed, but they love you, and that love will never change.

S/he tries to engage you at the gym, but you honor the fact that you can’t. S/he gets mad. And then the texts begin. S/he texts you the middle finger. Your Mom sends the text to he/r parents.  S/he swears at you in texts. Your mom tries to intervene.

S/he continues to come to the gym at the same time you consistently work out day after day; one-day h/er parents see he/r walk over to you and she talks to you, and they (again) freak out and try to involve others in keeping you apart. But s/he is 18 now, and the parents don’t have the same control they once did.

Or do they?

Now s/he has someone new in he/r life, in the parking lot of the gym, s/he points fingers at you and laughs.

You do what you have done all along. You walk away and ignore the taunting. You remain silent. You loved her once, although now you wonder why.  Her behavior is cruel, but you endure it because you won’t be like that. You have never been, and you won’t start now.

Then one day you learn of a video where s/he is claiming s/he has been abused by an ex.

You’re curious; who did this to her?

In the video, she references an abusive relationship during a specific time in her life. Wait a mintue. It can’t be. S/he wouldn’t suggest something that horrible against you — or would s/he?

You listen. You’re shocked. It is a horrible, familiar story. It is all the things s/he claimed against her parents, but now it is directed against you. It is all scandalous and manufactured. For what? To cover up their own sin? Could it be that he/r  need to remain the victim, innocent, perfect one is so great that s/he would manufacture this, and falsely accuse you of things you didn’t do — and would never do?

S/he wouldn’t. S/he’s supposed to be a Christian.

But s/he did.

It’s confusing. Your mind fights against it. Your heart fights against it. They must be making he/r do it.

But s/he’s an adult, and you can only use the excuse “My parents made me do it.” for so long.

We all make choices every day for good or evil, and we are responsible for those choices. Your parents have always taught you this.

Regardless of how your heart fights against it, the only one responsible is he/r.

S/he is very convincing, yet every word twists the truth into something awful, and what you believed was a true, sweet first love is manipulated into something terrible — into all the things she sat on your floor and sobbed about — but back then the accusations were directed at the parents.

It becomes clearer now, yet that doesn’t make it any easier. You know that everyone who knows and loves you will never believe it, but that doesn’t make it any less excruciating, any less painful.

Your heart grieves. Why is this happening? How will you ever be able to trust anyone again?

Your own faith was challenged when her mega church turned you away, and your friends who were seeking God saw the unfair and terrible way they handled it. There was nothing Biblical about it. Your friends turned away from God – people they knew who didn’t claim to be Christians would never even act this way.

Your family tries to reach out to this new nonprofit, to ask them to stop. But they claim on social media that you are trying to silence them, and misrepresent the pleas sent via emails and private messages.

You now realize that it is all a twisted, terrible lie, and that they are moving forward even though they know that it is not true.  It’s impossible to understand why.

Will people really go to this extreme to hide their own choices?

Evidently. But you never thought you would be the target of it, and can’t fathom that the lies come so easily to them; worst of all there is no evidence that their conscience is impacted in the slightest.

Friends and family rally around you; you decide to walk away and refuse to give it any merit, but give them permission to expose it if they choose. They want to create their own movement to help boys and men who have been falsely accused by women share their stories. To give them a voice. You are all for that.

And here we are.

~~~

Can you relate to this? Has this been your experience?

Our society naturally wants to believe the woman in most situations where abuse is claimed, and that’s understandable. Many women are abused, and that is something we will never condone and something we will fight against. We support anyone experiencing abuse to find help from reputable, vetted organizations, and our RESOURCES page does just that.

Abuse is unacceptable from any gender and in any form.

Unfortunately we need to point out that it is also a fact that women can be abusive.

There are times when accusations are 100% false, as is the one we’re representing here, and in that case, the truth deserves to be told, and people warned.

If this sounds like a nightmare or something that a Christian wouldn’t do, unfortunately, we’re here to tell you that is exactly what is and has happened.

Are you wondering, why wouldn’t they (the accused) go to the Church or Elders to seek help or intervention?

They tried. They did. The big mega church hid the truth. The youth pastor colluded with the secret. The senior pastor and elders kept silent even when your parents wrote them and called; the other family has money after all. Young people who were seeking Christ turned away from Him and the Church – it was all so obviously wrong to everyone except those who should have known better. It grieves your heart, and you know it grieves God’s.

~~~

We are aware that abuse, even verbal abuse in childhood, or being exposed to abuse among other familial members that is never actually directed toward a person specifically (a bystander who feels helpless) can be severely damaging to the psyche.

Is that what happened in this case? We can’t say.

But we know it is never right to bear false witness against another, and character assassination, horrendous accusations that have absolutely no basis in truth are wrong – those are things we will not stand for.

That is something we will expose.

False Witness Instead Ministires

We realize it’s hard to fathom that a self-proclaimed “faith based” organization would do this, trust us, we do; but it has, and it does happen far too often, and the only way it will stop is if we stand up for truth and what is right, and stop supporting slander and false witness.

John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

~~~

If you’re a church considering hiring this or any nonprofit (or any of the nonprofits highlighted here) as guest speakers or a spokesperson, please do your due diligence. Test. Discern. Examine.

In our opinion, experience, and first-hand knowledge, there is nothing Biblical or Godly about the nonprofit Instead Ministries, regardless of how it appears.

It is Biblical to seek out the truth in all situations, and certainly, no Christian should support someone publicly defaming another, ever. What does the Bible say about this? Why isn’t anyone asking that? Refer back to the home page of this site to see what God says about slander and bearing false witness.

Our young people deserve models of true character and Christ-like examples, and there are many nonprofit and charitable, faith-based organizations with history and credentials that can stand the scrutiny of truth and the light of Scripture. Check our RESOURCES page for organizations that we have vetted in this regard.

Please, do not be complicit in supporting a nonprofit based in falsely accusing other believers, in bearing false witness.

Jesus said in Matthew 15:19, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”

Spiritual discernment is God’s antidote or first line of defense against decep­tion. Scripture and the Holy Spirit discern the thoughts and intentions of our hearts and give us the ability to discern—the ability to make proper distinctions—if we seek it.  The motive for true discern­ment is never self-promotion or personal gain. Discernment has one primary function: to distinguish between right and wrong so that we may pursue the right and avoid the wrong.

When a supporter of the truth approached the website designer for ‘Instead Ministries’ about being complicit in false witness, he said:

khiroku website design

Does that shock you? It shocked us too. It is commendable to continue to love a person who you consider to be a friend, even when they are wrong, but it is completely different when you support something that is slander, libel, and false against a fellow Believer. At that point, you become complicit in it.

It is time to call all Believers to the light, and to expect our churches and members to follow Scripture’s instruction for how we are to live. Otherwise there is no light, even as these young men seeking Christ observed throughout this entire situation. They have seen only dark, cruel and unjust behavior.

Ephesians 5:8  …for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light

For the record, we do not support or condone abuse—in any form—ever. It is never right, and it is never okay. Anyone who has been abused should seek help, immediately. Visit our RESOURCES page for vetted organizations who can help.

Unfortunately, the incidences of false abuse claims are on the rise, and discerning the truth is harder than ever.  What makes this trend incredibly disturbing is that it diminishes abuse claims that are true, it makes people skeptical when they hear an accusation of abuse, and false accusations are WRONG. It is harmful to everyone involved, and we need to find ways to vet the truth and turn the tide on this trend—in large part to create a path where true incidences of abuse can rise to the top and receive the help they need.

Here’s what Oxford Law has to say about victims of smear campaigns and false accusations, and the link to the original PDF is below.
In a society which has made so much progress in addressing the needs of victims and in taking account of their perspective, those who have been smeared by false allegations of grievous crimes sometimes see themselves as the forgotten victims (of official errors if not of their accusers). They feel disregarded, and that they and their partners and children are left to suffer the ignominy alone. This qualitative study of people’s experiences of being falsely accused of child/adult abuse in occupational contexts gives a voice to these other victims, by way of a content analysis of first person accounts.
Read more here: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxlaw/summary_report-_the_impact_of_being_wrongly_accused_of_abuse_hoyle_et_al_2016_15_may.pdf

Most people refuse to see evil, because evil is unpleasant. It is ugly. And dealing with it is not pretty either. But if we refuse to see evil, to confront it, to take action against it, we will not only become its ally, we will never see the glory of God’s righteous justice.  Shared from: https://www.facebook.com/A-Cry-for-Justice-196307250499415/

It is our mission to expose and confront evil. It is not easy, and it is not pleasant, and we’re sad (and maybe even more than a little mad) that we have to in this case, but we will.

We will not be complicit or stand by silently when deception is on the move against people we know are innocent and would never do what the founder of Instead Ministries claims. We also feel a duty to protect others—we are concerned there will be other targets because this appears to be a pattern— and so we are vetting this to ensure we are handing this properly from both a legal and Biblical perspective.

We encourage everyone reading this to do the same; don’t accept things at face value; dig, test, and discern in the light of truth and Scripture.

The Bible states that even the devil appears as an angel of light.  Discern, test, and examine everything.

False accusations of abuse—ARE abuse.

Our next post will be focused on steps we can all take to learn to listen to that still small voice that warns us early on that something may be awry with a person and encourage teens, men and women to be wise in their choices of friends, boyfriend/girlfriends, and future spouses.  We want to help others avoid the nightmare, pain, and anguish caused by false accusations by highlighting character and personality traits of people who are prone to exactly this.

We are not saying that you should not listen to a friend or person who claims they have been abused – but rather to encourage them to seek help from the proper channels, and if you begin to hear that same story repeating from the same person directed against multiple parties — it should be a big red flag.  If you hear “my parents are making me” repeatedly from a young adult or adult, realize that at this point it is their choice. That phrase is likely just manipulation magnified by a person who is masterful at appearing to be a victim. We all have the ability to refuse to do evil and make the right choice to do good and not evil. Even children can refuse to do evil at very young ages. Go to our next article to learn more.

We should not rejoice at injustice or support it. We must stand together against darkness.

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Visit our RESOURCES page where you can find many nonprofit and true Christian charities with experienced support and trained staff standing by.

Truth will prevail.