What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Church Of God Was A False Front For Gang Bullying Of Single Women

(Nova Scotia, Canada)

I spent the better part of my life in the 1990s, as a young wife and mother, involved with a Church Group that initially was everything I had hoped it would be. A small, well represented by every culture and ethnicity, age and social background, an outwardly kind and supportive group of Christian families, a few that became close friends. I was also in a troubled and abusive marriage, and I initially did not talk too much about it, other than privately with the minister, and as I said, a few close friends also in this "church". Once it was "discovered" that I was probably going to be leaving my husband, because he was becoming more and more violent and abusive, I began to notice subtle changes in the way I was being treated at services. After a once weekly potluck meal, when I came into the church kitchen to help the other women with dishes, and was rolling up the sleeves of my shirt... I was told abruptly..to put my suit jacket back on, because the men may be distracted by my "see through" white blouse (a very demure buttoned up to the neck, ruffled front heavy cotton blouse...) I started to laugh, at what I thought was a rather bizarre back handed compliment, until I saw the faces of the other women turning beet red, and their otherwise smiling faces suddenly changing into clenched uncomfortable smirks...that was the first of many more incidents that slowly but surely branded me as a "jezebel" and the people I thought loved and cared for me, to be nothing more than jealous, self-righteous gossips and bullies....I suddenly became a threat of some kind, just because I may no longer be shackled to my "poor husband" who was now seemingly becoming the wronged party, in everyone else's eyes. ( he had NEVER attended services, UNTIL, I told him I would be leaving him, against the wishes of my minister)...he took that as a subliminal cue that the minister may be somehow sympathetic to him....and as most narcissists would....seized upon that opportunity to come into the church, as a new "convert"... and prove to me that I indeed did NOT have any real friends there. And I hate to admit this, but the man was right. Once I was thoroughly discredited by his malicious lies and horror stories, most of them involving me and some random MEN, I was apparently out sneaking around with, and how he was left alone to care for our children till all hours of the night, and had to do all the cooking and cleaning....which of course EVERYONE believed without question!!...not the ACTUAL truth, which was, that I had taken a job managing a Bar, leaving home after my children were bathed and in bed...and did not get home until 3 or 4 AM in the morning, in time to do my laundry and get the kids up and ready for school, before I could fall exhausted into bed for a few hours of sleep...he also left out the part about him NOT working and leaving his family otherwise destitute, often with no food in the fridge, while he drank any money he could steal from my purse, and slept all day in a drunken stupor before getting up while I would be preparing for work...and calling me a slut, a whore and a bitch for going out to work, as a "prostitute".. in a Bar....twisting every bit of our lives into a "poor self-sacrificing man's" story of horror and abuse....and was believed by both the minister and as I soon discovered, by the entire congregation!! ..I'm sure it was because he made it so vile with all the descriptive and JUICY details!!...and eventually it was ME, that was asked to "leave" the church...He, of course, continued to attend, lapping up all of the attention, and sympathy these women and men showered him with. When I really needed my friends to talk to, or to PLEASE come into the courtroom to testify that they had witnessed my husband punching me in the face, etc etc. They were not there for me. They politely declined, saying they had not seen anything of the sort...it was just a "misunderstanding"...according to my husband, I had made it up, and one of my customers at work probably blackened my eye, and fattened my lip. Once I realized that he had completed discredited my character to these people...and none of them would be caught dead talking to such a horrible wife and mother such as I... My husband, whom they now considered a dear brother and church "prospect"....promptly quit attending!! AHA-HA!!... As I knew he would... His well planned and executed job was done. I now had NO friends, and no church "family" to support me through the horrors of a painful divorce...no one. NOT ONE. I would have to continue writing another 5 thousand words, to tell you of the many incidents of outrageous in MY FACE bullying, shocking episodes where people would turn their heads away if I spoke to them!... and hearing rumours that would make a pornography addict blush!....I endured, and survived deliberate and soul crushing, full on epic attacks of Bullying, and SHAMING, that may have caused others to end their lives..( I am thankful there was no social media at that time!)...I actually think they ENJOYED what they were doing, and would have been delighted to share it with the rest of the "Christian" community!!...But in truth, I felt that I was eventually vindicated and they were shown to be the hypocrites they were, when I was "kicked out", then SHUNNED... and my membership was over...in that now defunct facade of a church!! Once the other "wonderful" married or widowed, and PURE sisters thought that I would be a single young woman, (aka HARLOT)...they suddenly felt threatened that I would of course be trying to seduce all of their husbands or sons at every opportunity. I can only imagine what was going on in their backwards, sexually repressed Victorian era minds. I watched in TERROR...what I thought were loving, Godly, intelligent people, turn into the most hateful monstrous gossips and hypocrites right before my eyes. Just because someone carries around a book that has the words Holy Bible on the cover...don't ever think that you are safe from these biblical bullies. Turning the scriptures into weapons of hatred and condemnation. THEY can be the worst of the worst...especially when they think they are doing it at Gods command or worse, for His favor!!... I had one hysterical woman actually SPIT in my FACE!!... In truth, many of these fundamentalist churches today, have become nothing more than Organized GANGS!! A mind warping TRAP, set up to control you, frighten you, trick you into thinking you are somehow "special" or "chosen" by God...what I call the "set-up"... and then take a good portion of your hard earned income as tithes...And they WILL support you, and comfort you....as long as you DO as you are TOLD...and wives, must SUBMIT to your husbands (even if he is beating you with a stainless steel soup ladle)....and follow the RULES. Once I was free of these outrageous Bullies...The One True Creator helped me to discover that the real church, the REAL Kingdom of God, is simply perfectly and beautifully located within YOU. If you look, you will find it. I am not here to preach, or anything like that, and please know that this is simply from my own experience and personal belief. I have discovered more true kindness and humanity among people living in homeless shelters, than in many outwardly devout churches... My heart feels like it is breaking when I read these horrible stories of bullying and abuse...and it especially goes out to everyone here who is suffering at the hands of these sinister and holier-than-thou kind of Bullies.. outright Thug mentalities hiding behind a suit and carrying a Bible. It can be such a lonely, intimidating and confusing time for our sisters... and brothers...With all of the Media focus now being on the LGBT/Q community, I can only imagine the degree of bullying in some churches regarding these issues! PLEASE do everything you can to stay strong..share your stories...try to find some allies you can really trust..EVEN ONE!..and I hope that knowing you are being heard and understood by many people right HERE, will comfort and strengthen you when times are really rough, or you have reached the end of your tether.. please, reach out, and Never, Ever, EVER, give up! There were MANY times that I did not believe that there could really be ANY Kind, Loving or GOOD people left in this Ugly, yet paradoxically Beautiful world. Signed, "Mary Magdelene". I MADE IT!!...and I KNOW that YOU will as well !! :) xoxo

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