Helping the Victim Leader

This month’s newsletters will be about How We Love as Leaders.  In my office, I see many Christian leaders, lay and professional who cover the range of attachment styles.  This series is dedicated to helping understand what each attachment style looks like and how they can improve as leaders within theKingdom of Christ.

Candy grew up in a horrible home.  The atmosphere as a child was filled with drugs, alcohol, criminal elements, and neglect by her parents.  When she hit puberty, the boys were all over her… and she couldn’t say no. Frightened at deep levels by years of fright without solutions, she froze when assaulted and had no voice or internal strength to resist.  Life was chaotic to say the least and when she went to the local college, she came in contact with a Christian ministry that shared the Gospel.

Candy was ripe for being drawn to consistency, love, limits, security and care from God.  She felt the love radiating from those around her and was very eager to embrace a new family… a heavenly one and people who gave her hugs without wanting something in return.

Candy grew and experienced some healing and eventually took on some of her own students to disciple.  She was faithful and did whatever the ministry leader asked her to do.  Her thought, “How can I say no to the will of God?” Her unquestioning loyalty and faithfulness prompted ministry leaders to challenge her to raising her own support and going in to full time ministry service to students in the inner city.

As an insecure young woman, raising support was difficult.  Yet feeling like it was God’s will, and never asking harder questions or appealed to others for help. She struggled along year after year with never quite enough money to live on, always feeling the tension between being a willing servant and angry that God didn’t seem to ever let her get ahead. She soothed herself with the mantra “Obey God and expect to suffer.”

Candy is a victim leader and while pleasant and faithful, here are some of the characteristics that describe them and which help to perpetuate their misery.

  • They have been trained to tolerate the intolerable and in the name of God, endure the sufferings of their own doing and those imposed by zealous insensitive leaders.
  • They expect suffering and chaos feels normal.
  • They don’t stick up for themselves or defend themselves well.
  • They lack boundaries.
  • They have poor self care.
  • The ministry (others) runs them vs. running their ministry.
  • Very poor at confrontation.
  • Allow others to victimize them.
  • They don’t ask hard questions or challenge strong leadership.
  • They tolerate chaos and chalk it up to God’s will.

Could it be that some of the noble heroes whom we praise and use as sermon illustrations were really victims who perhaps suffered unnecessarily or for unhealthy reasons? While we may never know the answer, our goal is to put strong people into ministry who as much as possible can carve a path instead of the path carving them.

Next week we will begin to discuss how to help each of these leaders beginning with the Avoidant Leader.

Thanks for listening,



Next week:  Helping the Avoidant Leader.