“Certified Life Coaches” are springing up across the country like dandelions (and you, too, can become a “Certified Life Coach” in as little as 90 days!).    Lisa Romano is one “who specializes in codependency and narcissistic abuse.”  She was challenged by a viewer for encouraging the alienation of adult children from their parents, and to her credit Romano gave a detailed response.  In it, there is a glimmer of self-awareness when she considers that her views on “abuse” might in turn be abused by self-centered offspring, but it quickly fades.  After all, she’s not talking about parents “who ask their kids to clean up the dishes after their friends were over to teach responsibility,”and she goes on to cite far more serious cases.  As for all that may lie in between?  Well, if it wasn’t “validation of your feelings,” if it didn’t “fan the flames of the light inside you,” then it was abuse, “dear ones.”

Of course “narcissism” is an elastic term, the spectrum of which can run from the mildly irritating to the violently psychotic.  We are all on its scale now and then – no exceptions.  Romano and her acolytes feel that the command to “honor thy father and thy mother” has been weaponized against them, without considering why it is among such obvious precepts as “thou shalt not do murder” and “thou shalt not steal,” and why it is universal – it can be found in spades in the teachings of Kung Fu Tzu (Confucius) and other foundations of culture world-wide.  As for scriptural directives towards forgiveness, mercy, forbearance, and to reason with one another, well forget about all that.  Once a parent has been labeled a “narcissist” no one is obligated to reason with with them.  Unless you confess your “narcissism” and your obvious guilt – like in some Chinese “People”s Court” – you’re not worth the time and effort.  Oh, by the way, you’re responsible for everything that’s gone wrong in your adult child’s life and every negative thought they’ve ever had – you monster, you.  You are obviously “not yet healed.”  (If you think Ms. Romano is “healed,” go to her site and watch some of the recent videos on the current state of affairs with her own father.  Physician, heal thyself.)

There is a lot of talk coming from these “Life Coaches” about “your truth,” as if truth itself was subjective.  Whatever “your truth” is, it needs to be “validated.” Their solution to all this pain your parents have caused (according to them) is navel-gazing on a grand scale that is, well, narcissistic.  (Ironic, that.)  There is a great deal of psychobabble thrown about, yet no thought given to the possibility that they themselves might be engaging in “projection.”  (We have a Disney picture frame in our house dedicated to our Siamese “Tink,” that proclaims “It’s all about me!”  I am reminded of it.)

The famed Jordan Peterson – who, by the way, is heavily credentialed, dear ones – can instantly tell you where some of these “Life Coaches” and “self-image” gurus have taken a wrong turn.  They have given primacy to emotions, feelings, and elevated happiness (joy) to life’s main goal.  Dr. Peterson tells us:

“Happiness is a fleeting emotion.  It occurs most appropriately along the journey to somewhere genuinely worth going.”

Peterson advocates the purpose-driven life, a life from which mankind is hard-wired to derive ultimate satisfaction.  Cultures that understand and nurture this will survive, and not ultimately succumb to evil that not only rends families asunder, but frays the ties that bind us all.

The 4th of July approaches.  The men who pledged to each other “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor” came from what these “Life Coaches” would call “dysfunctional” families, and raised some of their own.  They would have had no need for a Jordan Peterson – they were instinctually purpose-driven; and the exceptionalism of their American culture gave them their purpose.  Imagine, for a moment, that some 18th century version of the pernicious doctrines described above had infected them.  We could well have found ourselves today in what Churchill called “a new Dark Age.”  If such doctrines gain wide acceptance now, will we ultimately be able to hold on to what God, through our founders, has given us?