Scrupulosity, boundaries, and saying no

One of the commentors at Donal’s posted about Scrupulosity a while ago. Here’s the “definition” from wikipedia.

Scrupulosity is a psychological disorder characterized by pathological guilt about moral or religious issues. It is personally distressing, objectively dysfunctional, and often accompanied by significant impairment in social functioning. It is typically conceptualized as a moral or religious form of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), although this categorization is empirically disputable. The term is derived from the Latin scrupulum, a sharp stone, implying a stabbing pain on the conscience. Scrupulosity was formerly called scruples in religious contexts, but the word scruples now commonly refers to a troubling of the conscience rather than to the disorder. As a personality trait, scrupulosity is a recognized diagnostic criterion for obsessive–compulsive personality disorder. It is sometimes called “scrupulousness,” but that word properly applies to the positive trait of having scruples.

Basically, I suppose you could say that this is a form of malformation of the conscience, but in reality it’s just a form of guiltiness of saying no. In fact, there’s a book about that: when I say no I feel guilty.

Generally, this happens to people with people pleaser personalities, but it is also a form of the performance based mindset.

Why is it you feel guilty when you say no? Because you can’t please other people. Pleasing other people becomes an idol, and it’s work based, If you don’t please other people they may not like you or may not want to talk to you. People like this are scared of disapproval.

This is one of the ways that servant leadership can be twisted in order to pervert headship into something that it is not. Husbands are essentially guilt tripped by pastors, churches, or even their own family into playing by others’ feelings or approval insteading of adhering to the Word.

If it is ingrained enough it sears the conscience so that you have men who feel guilty at saying no. This is dysfunctional, and it needs to be removed.

There is an easy way to understand what Christians should do and should not do to help each other out:

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if [a]anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens (baros), and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load (phortion).

G922 — βάρος — baros — bar’-os
Probably from the same as G939 (through the notion of going down; compare G899); weight; in the New Testament only, figuratively a load, abundance, authority: – burden (-some), weight.

G5413 — φορτίον — phortion — for-tee’-on
Diminutive of G5414; an invoice (as part of freight), that is, (figuratively) a task or service: – burden.

Basically, Christians are required to bear their own “phortion” of their roles and responsiblities themselves. This is what stewardship is. If you bear another’s phortion for them, you’re not enabling them to be a proper steward of their own abilities and time. You’re encouraging the “spoiled brat” syndrome where the spoiled brat does what they want and someone else cleans up their mess.

When I wrote Christian nice guys are abused and part 2 I commented about various scenarios of which women, even Christian women, abuse Christian men for their time. This occurs with men to women and men to men and women to women as well. These scenarios are the “phortion” of the person asking and not an a “baros.” Here were the scenarios I referenced:

  • If a woman has a husband or boyfriend who can do the task she asked you then you should never accept. Even if she says he is busy she should still not be asking you. It is the husbands duty to find someone else to help if she has a problem, and the husband should not be asking you to help his wife either. That’s what family is for, or asking the church itself. They’re almost always just going to be abusing your time as a nice guy.
  • If a woman wants to talk about emotions — especially after a break up, or an attractive guy they are talking to — they are just using you as an emotional tampon. Yes, gross. Never accept.
  • Likewise, if a woman comes to you about any issues she is having with men and working things out with him just don’t do it. She should be talking to the man in question instead — not you or her girlfriends.
  • If a woman in a ministry asks for your help, and you know you aren’t called to that ministry. Just say no.
  • A Christian woman (non family) asks you for money, housing, or any type of other big deal. If they have an issue, they should take it through the church first. Most churches have some type of thing where they can help those in need.

As you can tell, the responsibility of portion does not fall specifically on “single men” in this case but on significant others, family, husbands, or the Church. In some of the cases, the responsibility does not even fall on others but only on the person with the particular phortion.

Thus, it is important to know what are the “phortion” and “baros” in your own life, and also what the “phortion” and “baros” are in others lives.

We are required to bear our own phortion. And we are to ask for help if we have a “baros” but it needs to be to the right part of the body of Christ. Men should be mentored and discipled by other men, and women should be mentored and discipled by women. A man should not go be going to a woman with a “baros.”

Likewise, we need to be able to identify “phortion” and “baros” in others. This will allow us to say no if someone is trying to foist their own stewardship responsibilities on us. This will also allow us to identify a baros and direct them to the appropriate help in the Church.

While it is Scriptural to turn away people from your help if they are requesting help with a “phortion” or “baros,” it is important to tell them why and direct them to the appropriate help if needed. It is also helpful for knowing why you should say no in certain circumstances, and why you should not feel guilty about saying no in those circumstances.

When boundaries are muddied, it is easy to be deceived into bearing a phortion or baros that you are not meant to bear. Likewise, knowing where the boundaries are it will make you joyful to actually be able to help someone with a baros if it is good to do so.

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18 Responses to Scrupulosity, boundaries, and saying no

  1. Pingback: Scrupulosity, boundaries, and saying no | Manosphere.com

  2. Pedat Ebediyah says:

    Amen, brother.

    When we take on what we don’t own, we rob ourselves of our own joy, and we rob others (women) of the opportunity to be responsible for their own growth and live a life pleasing to the Father.

    Plus, the captain-sav-a-ho thing leads to the wide gate of nowhere. I know this first hand.

  3. jeff says:

    Funny. My “biblical” counseling with my wife, the pastor had my wife read People Pleaser by Lou Priolo, because he said my wife was a people pleaser. I asked him who she was trying to please and when did she feel guilty. He gave me a blank stare because 1) she never had trouble turning me down when I initiated sex 2) she didn’t seem guilty because she did it for the first 14 years of our marriage. She said yes to going out of her way for others. Of course I got a book to read called the Complete Husband and Dealing with Anger.

  4. hearthie says:

    @jeff – that is *exactly* why women need to be counseling other women and reminding them frequently that their priorities line up: God (personal relationship with), husband, children, family, everyotherdarnthing It’s very easy for a people pleasing personality to be guilted, and needing to be perceived as a good person, ignore their true duties (baros) to do whatever has been asked of them. And then you have no energy for your own husband or children, and feel resentment when they need you.

  5. Pedat Ebediyah says:

    Excellent analysis…always on my street…

  6. Don Quixote says:

    jeff says:

    May 11, 2015 at 1:57 pm
    Funny. My “biblical” counseling with my wife, the pastor had my wife read People Pleaser by Lou Priolo, because he said my wife was a people pleaser. I asked him who she was trying to please and when did she feel guilty. He gave me a blank stare because 1) she never had trouble turning me down when I initiated sex 2) she didn’t seem guilty because she did it for the first 14 years of our marriage. She said yes to going out of her way for others. Of course I got a book to read called the Complete Husband and Dealing with Anger.

    I think it was Sunshine Mary who said, “God loves a cheerful giver” should be embroidered on bed sheets. This would serve as a constant reminder to wives who try to please everyone except their husbands.

    Good post DS. Knowing the boundaries is an important lesson and we need regular reminding about these issues.

  7. feeriker says:

    [T]hat is *exactly* why women need to be counseling other women and reminding them frequently that their priorities line up: God (personal relationship with), husband, children, family, everyotherdarnthing.

    Alas, from where would we find significant numbers of such women as would be needed as godly teachers of their younger sisters in Christ? In generations past they would have been relatively easy to find and would likely have been engaged in such instruction without even being asked. Today these are preciously and sadly few and far between.

  8. hearthie says:

    feeriker, you have officially inspired a blog post. After I finish my chores. 🙂

    Hint – we’re all Titus 2 to someone.

  9. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2015/05/13 | Free Northerner

  10. Coastal says:

    “Emotional tampon” – Now there’s a vivid mental picture if I ever saw one

  11. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2015/05/13 | Neoreactive

  12. Cane Caldo says:

    Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load.

    This passage is not about helping with another’s tasks, or whether we should pay another’s rent, or even about about whom we should ask for help. To whom is Paul speaking? The spiritual brethren; as in those spiritually advanced or mature above the other brethren. What kind of burdens is he talking about? Trespasses (sins).

    “For each one will bear his own load” is an indicative; a truth, an inescapable fact of life. But the imperatives here were directed at the spiritual brethren. When you said

    Basically, Christians are required to bear their own “phortion” of their roles and responsiblities themselves. This is what stewardship is.

    The imperative (the instruction) is to bear one another’s sins, but to see to it that we ourselves do not sin. By “bear” he means we must not leave them alone with their sin. Don’t condone it. Don’t ignore it. Don’t treat it lightly. (“A little leaven leavens the whole lump”, Paul wrote in Ch. 5.) Stewards aren’t just to point out to whom responsibility belongs, but to be the person who says, “That’s not the way to live. Let me show you how…”; both with his gentle words and with his pure actions. This is the fulfillment of the law of Christ because that is what He did.

    Galatians is primarily a rebuke of the Jewish conservatives who were taking over the church in Galatia. By the time we get to chapter 6, Paul has already rebuked the requirement of circumcision, of feast and fast days, and all sorts of Judaic law. Here we get to his rebuke of the pharisee attitude; which was prevalent among the Jews because the pharisees, as their leaders, had led them to ignore the sins of others; to look down upon sinners instead of stooping down to them. The priestly-class had this problem from the beginning. Over and over in the OT we see that the priests were not going around preaching cleanliness to any but those who appeared clean according to the ways of the world. The beggars, foreigners, lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, etc. were not called to repentance by the priests; which was part-n-parcel of a priests main function.

  13. Pedat Ebediyah says:

    @feeriker,

    Boy have I taken heat for saying similar things.

    I’ve said before that it seems that the deficit of Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 women are either due to death, self-exile, or alien abduction.

    The ones that are diligently making the attempt, have to do so outside of their churches…fa sho.

  14. feeriker says:

    I’ve said before that it seems that the deficit of Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 women are either due to death, self-exile, or alien abduction.

    Death. Simple demographic progress in action.

    When you stop to consider that those remaining of the last generation of women that was not fully immersed in second wave feminism in their formative adult years is now approaching 90 (that would be the so-called “Silent Generation” that came between the “Greatest [sic]” and “War baby” generations), it becomes obvious why the species is for all practical purposes extinct. Unfortunately, the evidence before our eyes today suggests strongly that even most of that generation of women didn’t care to be bothered with all that old-fashioned Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 stuff, assuming that they were even familiar with it at all.

  15. Looking Glass says:

    @feeriker:

    If one takes up reading the good Christian evangelists and writers around the turn of the 20th century, you’ll get a much better appreciation that the rot was far more progressed in 1900 than those today realize. The Industrial Revolution did great things for the Wealth of major countries and terrible things to the moral standing. Much of the West was functionally Godless but for Culture by the start of WW2, irrespective of what the Germans were up to in destroying the Church there.

    So the lack of solid, Christian Men & Women isn’t a surprise. It’s the intended result of years of work by the Devil’s minions.

  16. feeriker says:

    @LG

    Excellent points. Yes, the rot within the church in respect to this topic did indeed begin to set in very early. It simply accelerated exponentially by the last third of the 20th Century. Your point about lack of godliness among both sexes is also a point well taken. As Escoffier pointed out in an excellent post over at Dalrock’s last year, modernism has completely subsumed the modern church, to the point where it’s an unconscious feature of it. It is this modernism that has completely erased the messages that Paul and Peter imparted to the early church, messages intended to apply to all eras and places.

  17. hearthie says:

    I probably should have posted the link to the post I wrote… here. (FWIW I do my mentoring within the church, we have a ministry for that. I also will mentor anyone who gets in armsreach, but that’s just who I am. Without a ministry, I wouldn’t know a younger woman well enough to mentor her, and that’s a huge problem – we don’t know one another very well anymore, and making friends is a pain in the tush). https://hearthtobelovely.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/you-are-someones-titus-2/

    Speaking of “how do we connect”… I’m thrilled beyond belief to belong to a church where you can just grab someone and ask them to pray for you and get immediate prayer, but then you’re grabbing a stranger again. So – do you spend time at the women’s ministry? I hate large groups, I don’t go to that. Do you join a home-fellowship? How do you make an inter-church connection? Interpersonal connections? Are your family connections strong – or local? Making and maintaining community bonds – especially artificial (aka non-family) ones – takes time and work. Do we make that choice?

    Our community bonds are trashed, and lack of mentoring is one of the nastier symptoms.

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