Spiritual Abuse

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Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse is the maltreatment of a person in the name of God, faith, religion, or church, whether habitual or not. Share your story or someone else's, anyone can join!

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Latest Activity: Jun 13, 2013


Spiritual abuse occurs when a person in religious authority or a person with a unique spiritual practice misleads and maltreats another person in the name of God or church or in the mystery of any spiritual concept. Spiritual abuse often refers to an abuser using spiritual or religious rank in taking advantage of the victim's spirituality (mentality and passion on spiritual matters) by putting the victim in a state of unquestioning obedience to an abusive authority.
Spiritual abuse is the maltreatment of a person in the name of God, faith, religion, or church, whether habitual or not, includes any of the following:
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-Psychological and emotional abuse
-Any act by deeds or words that demean, humiliate or shame the natural worth and dignity of a person as a human being
-Submission to spiritual authority without any right to disagree; intimidation
-Unreasonable control of a person's basic right to make a choice on spiritual matters
-False accusation and repeated criticism by negatively labeling a person as disobedient, rebellious, lacking faith, demonized, apostate, enemy of the church or God
-Prevention from practicing faith(not necessarily faith in God or any gods here, could be a faith in logic and science)
-Isolation or separation from family and friends due to religious affiliation
-Physical abuse that includes physical injury, deprivation of sustenance, and sexual abuse
-Exclusivity; dismissal of an outsider's criticism and labeling an outsider as of the devil
-Withholding information and giving of information only to a selected few
-Conformity to a dangerous or unnatural religious view and practice
-Hostility that includes shunning (relational aggression, parental alienation) and persecution

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Comment by Kairan Nierde on July 12, 2011 at 1:32pm
How's this for twisted:  as a queer Catholic child and pre-teen, I very seriously debated ending my life two or three times because God was not "curing" me.  I always decided I had to "bare my cross" and stick it out until I died of natural causes because I had heard people who commit suicide go to pergatory/hell and can't be buried in a catholic graveyard.  There was also the incredible sense of guilt from the hurt it would cause my mother and father.  The Church made me suicidal and saved my life.  I wish I'd never had a thing to do with that evil.
Comment by jen o on June 5, 2010 at 10:26pm
that's great advice Orange and thank you for sharing that Liam, time to move forward
Comment by Orange on May 26, 2010 at 2:38am
Nothing to be sorry about Liam, you did what you felt to be good and right to those who trusted you at that particular period of your life, their's no blame game to this as a good percentage of us have been conditioned to believe since childhood, guilt is like having ulcer's that eat you out from the inside, it's best some how to try to either forget or forgive yourself for the greater good of "you"
Were all in constant change and our live's in constant motion, just be happy you've woken up to the truth to start a fresh.

not sure if that sounded corny or not or whether that was good sound advice, but it was the best I could give, just the "I'm so sorry" part struck me as feeling guilty of something.

Live long.....
Comment by Liam Fox on May 25, 2010 at 11:42pm
I was the abuser. Raised to believe by the people I trusted. Raised to be a minister, a preacher. I led people to religion. I'm so sorry.
Comment by jen o on May 25, 2010 at 10:58pm
Just keep talking to your daughter, stay close to her and keep a healthy line of communication open between the two of you. Let your family act and think what they want, there is nothing you can do about that, the only thing you have control of is how you react to your thoughts about what you think they are thinking about you. just stay positive and be true to yourself!
Comment by Orange on May 24, 2010 at 8:40pm
Gidday sheryl, i can relate to your story on a whole, Ive been through what you've just described and as well almost lost my son as a friend after family tampering and gossip, I'm the nut bar in the family because of my open atheism, my advice is to try not to let (if any) any gossip about your atheism affect your friendship with your daughter, it's ugly long mess to attempt to untangle, well it was in my case anyhow, though i suspect your fam is a lot different than mine, hope all goes well for ya.

Live long.......
Comment by jen o on May 29, 2009 at 2:14pm
Thank you for sharing your story with us. It's a beautiful thing to see, over a long period time but in just a few paragraphs, just how someone got to where they are now.

The cool thing about our stories is, well, they are simply just that.....stories. They are not what is happening right now, but our thoughts about the past tend to creep in frequently...trying to keep us in the past so we suffer in the present. We miss out on the Now.

Staying in the present moment has helped me get over the things from my past. Those awful things aren't happening anymore but in our minds is where it manifests if we aren't consistently present. I hope I am not going off on a tangent : /

I am anxious for part 2 of your life story = )
Comment by T W on May 29, 2009 at 11:43am
My Story Part 1

I grew up in Appalachia and vaguely remember hot summer days, ladies fanning themselves, and a red faced preacher screaming on about how awful everyone was and how hell would be. But then there was the music, sweet music of joy and redemption and ring of banjos, mandolins, dulcimers and guitars. Harmony. The music somehow made all that came before it alright. And it's still rooted deep. It's still comforting on some somatic level even though the words have become fables for me, not truth.

I suppose one could say I was a lucky child - my adolescent parents knew there was no future in coal mining and headed north to make cars in Detroit. Lucky because I escaped the endless cycle of poverty and poor education.

I suppose one could say I was an unlucky child. Uprooted from loving grandparents, a land of terrible beauty, and a rich cultural history. It seemed only the sour parts of our culture followed us to Michigan. The churches of displaced coalfield youth in the north had the same fire and brimstone story but the sweet music of the mountains, where I had found solace, was gone. I lived in a neighborhood of other coalfield migrant children and the second generation (native born Michiganders whose grandparents made the move after the second world war) looked down on the new arrivals from West Virginia and Kentucky.

I was shuffled off to a fundamentalist Baptist grade school. I remember we had to memorize old testament verses - lots of them - every week. Now as painful as this was, it did sharpen my mind. Only my mind was not going in the intended direction.

I asked too many "why questions" and began to repeat the reply myself - god's will, part of a bigger plan, have faith, and so forth. I was labeled precocious but a good student. The only disciplinary actions against me were demerits for missing church - and in a school where you had to report every movie your parents took you to, every record you owned, and every book you intended to read - that was no small feat.

Toward the end of eighth grade I think I just snapped under the pressure. A local businessman (originally from Kentucky) had come to preach in chapel service. He drove a big yellow Cadillac, wore a gold chain necklace, and had a big diamond on his pinky finger. He talked about God rewarding righteousness and how we would all succeed, just like him, if we would only submit to "his will".

Right after that service I meekly made my way to the principal's office and told her she'd have to expel me. She was somewhat shocked to say the least as I proceeded to tell her I couldn't believe in a God that rewards the "righteousness" of the likes the man they invited to speak at the chapel while letting little children starve to death in my home state. She tried the usual replies, and finally gave up - saying I'd suffer eternal damnation because of my sin of pride. She then called my mother and that was it. I was free.

There was no way my parents were going to let me go to public school but I had hatched a plan. There was a "liberal" Catholic high school nearby and I actually managed to convince them that I'd be safe there and not turned into a heathen papist. I had my "get of chapel" free card (since I wasn't catholic) and graduated valedictorian. I even played guitar in chapel! I got a secret kick out of influencing some of their services by getting them to sing some old southern gospel songs.

Part 2 to follow
Comment by T W on May 29, 2009 at 10:59am
Yes, it seems I'm not quite done with coming out of the closet after all. :)

I dealt with my family by calling myself a Unitarian for awhile. Of course, they had no idea that meant "not Christian" for me. I guess it comes down to striking the right balance between feeling I'm being "authentic" and, at the same time, not totally alienating the people I've cared about for a very long time.

Part of me wants to say look, I'm the same person. I'm "good" now because I see a value in it beyond trying to save my own skin in some life hereafter.
Comment by jen o on May 29, 2009 at 10:46am
Yes I think it was Richard Dawkins who said that in his letter to his ten year old daughter. Okay I gotcha T W. I was confused about the closet thing, I didn't know you were referring to you being gay, I thought you meant the atheism closet, so that's why I was confused.

I understand though about the last straw. My husband and I have pulled so many straws with his family, we have almost completely separated ourselves from them now. Lately we have been thinking about actually moving a little further away from them so we can have a little more privacy. It's hard. We just recently told them we aren't 'christians' and they had a hard time swallowing that one. I think it was an easy way to sugarcoat that we are atheists. But I think at the moment my husband leans more toward being agnostic anyways. The reason it was so urgent to tell them something is because they were telling our children bullshit things about jesus and prayer. grr
 

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