Today we will continue our series of the various abuses for October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Today’s topic is probably one that even fewer people want to talk about… Spiritual Abuse. This abuse includes such a wide range of abuses and is so hidden that many people do not pick up on it. Yes, there have been terrible incidences that have made headlines, but the vast majority occur everyday.
Now, again, for simplicity, I will mostly use Wikipedia, which gives basic information, to help me explain this… I am not here to point fingers or accuse anyone or any specific “religion.” We all need to be aware that this occurs under a spirit of control and manipulation. Here goes…
Spiritual Abuse or “Religious abuse refers to any abuse that occurs under the disguise of religion. It can include psychological trauma, harassment or humiliation and also includes misuse of religion for selfish or secular reasons such as abuse of a clerical position to perpetrate abuse.”
Spiritual abuse includes:
“Psychological or emotional abuse with the plan to dominate and control the victim.
Physical abuse includes physical injury and deprivation.
Sexual abuse includes any action or words that demean and humiliate victims of a sexual nature.
Submission to spiritual authority without any right to disagree or make their own spiritual decisions.
False accusation or repeated criticism by labeling a person as disobedient or enemy of church.
Actions preventing or interfering with a person’s practice of faith including isolation like cults.
Dismissal of outsider’s criticism on the basis that the opinions and criticism of the critic is invalid.
Withholding information and giving information only to a selected few with hidden agendas.
Conformity to an unproven, or unnatural, and often dangerous cult-religious view or practice.
Practice of spiritualism, mysticism, and/or unproven doctrines and theology.
Hostility that includes shunning, relational aggression, parental alienation or persecution.
Exaltation of the primary leader(s) to a God-like status in and over the group.
Financial exploitation with required financial support to the group often including a personal financial lifestyle of the leadership that far exceeds the median lifestyle of the group.”
As you can see, there are many things that fall under the topic of spiritual abuse. Many cases involving the sexual exploitation of children are still coming out into the open. Many things are still hidden…
I pray that everything done in darkness will be revealed and brought to the Light. We all have to answer for what we do in this world and God knows every person’s heart and their own intentions. The Bible even talks about this level of accountability in James 3:1..
“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1 NLT
Spiritual abuse is real and has hurt many people in the name of “church.” We all need to be aware that this spirit of control and manipulation is active, both in and out of the church. Beware of the “fruits” that those in any position of authority produce…
I write this blog to be educational and inspirational, trying to help other victims of abuse to know that they are not alone and that they are not crazy like I and many others have been made to feel… I have also been spiritually abused so I know this one too. I do not represent a church. I do not represent a religion. What I represent is a personal relationship… and I share my own personal relationship with my Rescuer with those who want to follow. It is my own experiences that I write about… and any of you are free to “take it or leave it.”
References and other readings: