My friend Joy is hosting a link up for you to share your stories of spiritual abuse. Although we have January set aside as Spiritual Abuse Awareness Month, ANY time of year is just fine for raising awareness. In our effort to raise awareness, we aim to see the congregations become healthier. It’s not an opportunity just to bash those we have ill feelings toward, no matter the amount of abuse. The point is not to abuse back, but rather to inspire and promote healing and growth. We want to see healthier relationships.
My story of spiritual abuse is a 15 year trek of my life (plus 2 more years of hard core sorting-out-of-my-baggage) and is found throughout this blog. However, in this post I simply want to address the questions Joy posed in her post.
How has your experience affected you? Although my experience has left me with a deep amount of pain and betrayal, I learned a lot by going through the toxicity. I’ve always been hopeful that any negative experience I go through could be used to help someone else. So I turned my pain around and began the Spiritual Abuse Awareness page on Facebook and have written about it extensively here on my blog, our Spiritual Abuse Awareness blog, and as a guest blogger at Quivering Daughters. The overall experience left me feeling beaten down, feeling worthless, in deep depression, and incredibly alone.
What has it done to you emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, etc.? The toxicity of spiritual abuse affected me in several areas. In this post I share a video of a pastor interviewing me about spiritual abuse as well as a link to a study I wrote on the physical affects spiritual abuse does to a victim.
What has your journey been like? My journey to healing and freedom has been a long and arduous one. The thought of writing it all out again in one blog post for this link up leaves me feeling exhausted. I read a lot about spiritual abuse and keep as up to date as possible with the new stories being published online every day. My heart aches for the many victims out there and I do my best to comment wherever I see the topic come up in an effort to simply offer a ‘hand’ and say “You’re not alone.” But the topic is so overwhelming that I usually end up in a depressed state over the few days following anything I read. I have had to take breaks from it all so I can focus on the good things in life.
How have you gotten where you are today? By pushing through it with all my strength. By having the support of the other survivors. By unpacking my toxic baggage and cleaning house in my mind and heart. By blogging about my journey.
Do you feel you’ve healed? I do feel that I’ve healed in a lot of ways, but spiritual, emotional, and mental scar tissue still hurts from time to time.
What do you still struggle with? Currently, the thing I struggle with are some people who pushed me away when I began blogging about spiritual abuse. These people who have been either uninterested in my story, afraid to face the truth of my story (and others like mine), who have ‘rebuked’ victims and survivors for speaking up…only to see them finally admit it but yet STILL ignore those of us who had the courage to speak up about it before they did. To see them garner positive attention for speaking up, but not acknowledging that they too have spiritually abused others along the way. This is still yet another form of spiritual abuse that they perpetuate.
”I can’t link to HER story. She doesn’t believe the ‘gospel’ the same way I do.”
”I can’t acknowledge HIS story, he’s an atheist now.”
”If I link to her story or his story, I could lose my blog following.”
”I can’t admit that I’ve been abusive too.”
Well, yes you can! You see, spiritual abuse victims HAVE been spiritually abusive before. Because that’s what we were programmed to do. If we fail to tell this truth then we fail to really teach what spiritual abuse does to people. Spiritual Abuse is a very twisted toxicity that plagues the mind, soul, and affects the body. It alters our thinking, our emotions, and our health suffers. That is bound to manifest in our words and actions (or lack thereof). Sometimes the lack of support or speaking up in an effort to protect victims or halt the abuse IS abusive.
Silence furthers the abuse.
We would still be in denial if we attempt to claim that we’ve only been victims and never been abusive in some degree. Part of healing is admitting all of the awful truth..if not to a group of people, closest family, or even a therapist..at least to ourselves.
Confession is good for the soul. Even if that confession is just between us and God. Then the true healing can begin.
I know that Rachel and Joy understand spiritual abuse, although I’m not sure how in depth they have suffered. However, they have a large audience and I’m thankful they have dedicated their blog space to raise awareness of this very important problem. I know the depth of my experience and that of several others, whose stories made national news. Just when you think you’ve heard the worst, trust me…there are even worse stories out there.
Many of us can spot spiritual abuse in it’s beginning stages, whereas others might not recognize it until a teenager gets raped or molested. Sadly, some still don’t recognize it even in the face of undeniable evidence.
But don’t let that stop you from speaking up, becoming more aware, and offering support to the millions out there who still suffer in silence.
Please join our Facebook page for more support. You’re not alone.