Watch Out For “The Presenter” - The Scapegoating Pandemic Series
From The Caring Heart with Dr. Joyce from Spokane Washington

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7:16).

“The Presenter” is someone who acts out different presentations depending upon the situation and the impression he or she wants to make at the time.  To an extent, we all present ourselves differently at various times, perhaps being on our best behavior, say, for a job interview or to meet a potential neat friend.  But the presenter has more going on.  He or she can change from nice guy or sweet gal to exhibit a bad, ugly, abusive side, like a real “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type personality.” Usually, the “really nice person” presentation is just the first act, in preparation for the scapegoating second act.  What the presenter is going for is control over the victim, who he or she can then abuse and continue to destroy.   

In a typical scenario, the presenter enters a new situation, or starts a new, valued relationship very impressively. The presenter is super-nice, super-sensitive, super-generous, and, on top of all that, a lot of fun.  After a time, when he or perceives the others in the situation have gained confidence in him as being so nice, or when he ascertains that he has snared the valued person in a relationship, such as getting married, he changes, sometimes little by little, sometimes very abruptly.  He acts narcissistic, irritable, demanding, controlling, manipulating, and no longer understanding and sensitive.  The presenter’s behavior deteriorates to becoming outright scapegoating abuse, verbal and then often including physical abuse.  The presenter can be very adept at switching personages.  He or she can be in a cold, nasty mood at home, but when the phone rings, and a friend’s voice is on the other line, all of a sudden the presenter is cheerful, receptive, responsive, and everything nice. 

Following are three true presenter stories, disguised to protect the identities of the individuals involved.  All three happened years ago.

I went to a neighborhood church one Sunday, and a man, an old acquaintance, was teaching the adult Sunday school class.  He was surely impressive, holding both arms out to the sides, and expressing strongly that “Love should flow in one side and out the other!”  He radiated sincerity, intensity, and conviction.  Wow!  A while later, he asked my son and me to come to his place to pick up some wood we could use for firewood.  A woman was there, packing her things into a pickup truck.  Well, she was his current wife, and she was leaving “the jerk.”  She was fed up, and gave me a verbal run-down on how lazy, nasty, and insensitive he had been treating her.  We had known his first wife, who had divorced him.  She had since passed away.  She had been a very nice person.  Apparently, this man’s loving, saintly demeanor stayed in the church, and didn’t leave with him when he went out the church door! 

This next story involves a friendship – mine with a new acquaintance.  I thought God had brought this friendship because she was great!   Fun, interesting, giving, sensitive, and, for some strange reason, seeming to think so much of me.  She seemed to be so interested in the topics I wrote about for “The Caring Heart.”  We had many great discussions.  Moreover, she rode horses!!  Mine!!  With me!!  Oh boy, a horse buddy! Well, time went by, and then frustrating, knotty interactions started occurring.  I found I could not reason with her.  The episodes increased in frequency and intensity, becoming very hurtful to me.  I was traumatized many times, and had to eventually end the friendship entirely.  Looking back, I don’t think she was ever really interested in our discussion topics.  She was presenting, pretending so much interest to promote my becoming a close friend.  Many prayers were sent up above over our friendship, but God did not heal it.  It was not His will.  Her winsomeness had been so convincing for quite awhile.  Looking back, it was a bad match.

This third story involves one of my horses.  Being very overwhelmed at the time, I had loaned one of my mares to a Christian family with a beautiful lawn and very cutely dressed daughters.  A daughter’s horse had died, and they wanted my horse in its place for a while.  These folks were at church every Sunday.  I worked with the grandmother, who was a great state employee and nice person.  Their acreage seemed to be such a good place for my mare to stay for a while.  Several weeks later, I drove out to their place with my son to see how the mare was doing.  Oh my! Oh my! She was not the same horse!  She was skin and bones, with her head hanging low.  They had been starving her.  Her yard, which she shared with a pony, was scattered with metal and other objects which could injure a horse. I told them I wanted her back pronto!  It was several days before these people could round up a trailer to bring her home.  (I did not own a horse trailer at that time.)  My son and I drove out there with food for her every day.  When she got home, she was upset and would not budge from the side of another of my mares, needing much reassurance.  After about three weeks she had gained her weight back, and was a content horse again.  I felt very badly for having allowed her to be taken to those peoples’ place.  Because of their appearance and demeanor, I believed my mare would be very well taken care of.  I sure learned a lesson there!  Appearances can be very misleading presentations! 

Presenters’ personalities stand out as being inconsistent.  They live in extremes – nice, fun, somebody every likes on the one hand, and scapegoating, demeaning, abusive, insensitive, narcissistic on the other hand.  As was discussed in the article “Portrait of a Scapegoater,” the presenter does not have a very coherent, well-developed self-concept.  He is unsure of who he is, really.  He is also very angry and blames others for his sour thoughts and feelings. 

Perhaps the moral to this story is that if someone is too good to be true, he or she is probably not true.  Another side, a very hurtful, negative side will start showing up sooner or later.  A friend of mine believes that the best way to operate is to get to know new people very slowly. That’s undoubtedly very good advice.  Be aware of how they treat others.  Do they tell white lies?  Are they rough with their dog?  Do they go through with what they say they are going to do?  Use wisdom in deciding how close you want the other person to be in your life.  Set boundaries around you accordingly.  Protect yourself and your loved ones, including your dear animals. 

Safe, well-balanced people are consistent.  How they are basically “going to be” can be counted on, again and again.  They are comfortable to know and to be with.

COPYRIGHT Dr. Joyce 2015 The Caring Heart

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