Defining Spiritual Abuse and the Effect on us as Children


church abuse, religious abuseWhat could possibly motivate a pastor, priest or minister, these “so called” servants of God ~ to tell a child that they are evil and displeasing to God when they seek help by disclosing that they have been sexually abused? And not just sexually abused, but ANY kind of abused. When a child seeks help by telling, what kind of evil manipulative motive makes “a servant of God” tell a child that they are unloved, sinning and disappointing to GOD because they talked about this horror that happened to them? Where is a child supposed to go for help when this is happening in their own family?  Children are taught to trust certain adult authority figures without question.  When those authority figures misuse their power, they have the power to devastate a child for life.

This is spiritual abuse. Some people call it church abuse or religious abuse.

And if everyone else accepts that the church or religious authority IS an authority deserving of trust and respect, the child will be blamed and accused. The child will be labelled a liar a sinner and a disappointment to God or to Jesus. What does that DO to a child? What does that communicate to a child? Have you thought about that? What about if YOU are that child? Have you thought about it that way?

This is spiritual abuse, church abuse and religious abuse.

The child might be accused of being possessed and the procedure that follows that accusation is to be stood up in front of the church, while this “trusted servant of God” announces that you “are possessed with an evil demon, which needs to be cast out and proceeds to “cast it out”. No consideration for the child who is now being re-abused and can now add the terror of an exorcism to the list of other abuses. The child is not heard, not believed and not helped in any way.

That is also spiritual abuse and spiritual abuse causes damage just like every other type of abuse.

Children are accused of lying; they are accused of being “evil” for lying. They are Accused. Not supported, not validated, not consoled, not protected. Only accused.  The child’s story is rarely even investigated. Expressions are used such as “we can’t bring shame on the family” or “we can’t bring shame on the church”.  What does that do to the self esteem or self worth of a child. How does a child DEAL with that? What do you think that leads to?  Depression maybe? An eating disorder? Addictions?  It certainly leads to the destruction of self esteem and a fear of telling. This is spiritual abuse. This is the misuse of power. Church abuse and religious abuse are damaging to the person who is discounted and dismissed. This is not LOVE or grace. This spiritual abuse is NOT pleasing to God. How can it be?

Do these adults really think these children are lying? I can tell you that the children that this happens to end up questioning themselves when they are labelled this way. They are taught that truth is false and lies are true. It gets confusing.Children CAN’T deal with it and it stays with them. They take it with them into adulthood.

This is all part of spiritual abuse, church abuse and religious abuse.  And all abuse does incredible damage to the self esteem and to the emotional health of children.

I don’t think is it logical that children would lie about this stuff. Where would they get the frame of reference to lie about it?  I think it is just “easy and irresponsible” for people to decide the child is lying. Not believing a child who tells about sexual abuse or about domestic violence takes the responsibility OFF the adults to actually DEAL with it.  And sometimes it gives people permission to keep abusing these kids. Sometimes it gives OTHER adults permission to abuse the child too. If no one is going to get caught, if no one is going to believe the child, that sends a message to all other predators.  It also sends a specific message to the child. That they don’t matter ~ and that defines personhood. The defines a child deeply about their value and self worth.

And defining a child as unworthy and invalid is most definitely spiritual abuse.

These “servants of God” teach truth, honesty and love and they turn a blind eye to abuse in favour of lies and cover-ups. The victims of these crimes (both adults and children) don’t realize it at the time, but these “trusted authorities” are actually teaching a very different story from love, truth and honesty.  They teach that the most powerful win. They teach that children don’t matter, that they don’t count and that children are not really “people”. They model that that they can do whatever they want to children without consequence. They teach deception. They teach hatred. They destroy lives. They destroy self esteem, self worth and self love. This teaching that the most powerful wins causes a lust for power in some and a belief in victim mentality in others. This kind of spiritual abuse also teaches that God is a horrible mean and untrustworthy liar. They teach that there is no love or truth. They teach that the teachings in the real bible don’t work.

That is spiritual abuse at its finest.

These spiritually abusive church authorities who have been given positional power in society don’t use their power to empower and nurture. They use it for their own gain. And that is not love.  And children are the scapegoats because they are the weakest and they can’t fight back.

And those children grow up with all that unresolved horror; unprotected and labelled as sinners, liars, evil and unworthy even in Gods eyes and they end up struggling while society continues to make judgements on them.  New labels and judgements such as “lack of faith” and “unforgiving”, “immature” and “unable to cope” are placed on them and other equally harmful judgements and the cycle continues.

All of this is spiritual abuse church abuse and religious abuse and abuse always causes emotional damage.

And we wonder why there is so much depression, addiction, eating disorders, stress and anxiety related issues and  in our world.  It all starts when a child is discounted.

I was that child.

Please share your thoughts about this kind of spiritual or religious abuse. Remember that you may use any name you like in the comment form.

Exposing truth; one snapshot at a time.

Darlene Ouimet

P.S. ~ I am a contestant in the “I CAN ACHIEVE” contest and I am currently in 49th place overall. (About top 5%) I am asking my Canadian friends and readers to consider voting for me once a day for the next few weeks. First prize is $15,000.00 which would help me to take emerging from broken to the next level. Please help me! Here is the link ~ “I CAN ACHIEVE” There is a daily prize draw of $100.00 per day for the voters too! Thanks everyone!

Related posts: Church lies and religious Abuse

Evil Manipulative people and Emotional Damage

67 response to "Defining Spiritual Abuse and the Effect on us as Children"

  1. By: Sheri Posted: 30th August

    Reading your post was very difficult. It brought up a lot of memories stirring up things from the best that I wish could be forever forgotten. As a child, it never really got to the point of telling. I had already been taught my the religious authority that telling anything would send the native people to hell. It was selfish and against God to ever tell. I was silent. I endured. I was dead inside, but I made it out. Freedom outside of that world is still a bit elusive. The past holds on deeply.
    I picture a story I once heard about a pet whose collar grew too small. Instead of removing it, his owners left it their and it grew imbedded into his body as his body grew around it. That is what I feel like. The future grew up around the pain and suffering from the past. It adequately covers the chains from view, but they are still there cutting into me.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th August

      Hi Sheri
      Welcome to EFB ~ That teaching is interesting; it presume that GOD doesn’t know and telling ‘people’ is what would cause someone to be sent to hell… which is interesting because abusers want victims to worship them in the first place! Wow.
      I like your example; that is exactly what it IS like. This website is all about how I overcame the past. I am glad that you are here.
      hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Tina Posted: 20th August

    This is my story.
    I numb out when reading it. It is painful to see those words. To understand the impact in a new way. For me, spiritual abuse has been the most damaging. The body can heal. Adult relationships can be rewarding. But the spiritual realm…living under the umbrella of falsehood. Believing the spoken and unspoken messages taught from childhood on and continued to this day. It is very difficult to see things differently.

  3. By: Lora Posted: 20th August

    Hi Darlene! this is the kind of crap that I am unravelling right now. I can’t believe the layers of anger that I am still dealing with because of all this. I had to suppress everything I felt that I knew was wrong in order to cope or survive in my family.

    I do understand my depression now, it was from having to stuff all my feelings because no one wanted to hear me. I learned that staying quiet keeps the harmony in the family. One can only hold this crap in for so long before it starts to show up with health issues or acting out. I didn’t realize how messed up I really was until I really started to receive the right resources to deal with this.

    I’m starting to think in general that this world is not equipped to deal with the layers of abuse that are going on. I guess it’s easier to blame the victims and shove it under the carpet and hope it will all go away. That’s how I felt most of my life. Thank god I have the courage and strength to keep fighting for my own life.

    I create my own ways to heal and give myself as much love as I possibly can. I have to admit I lost my social skills because of this crap. I see people in such a negative way and my ability to trust wavers. I don’t want to be this way and I’m doing my best to heal what ever comes up. There is such a fine line between victim and abusers because without help victims do become abusers and this has been my greatest fear. I know I have abused myself in countless ways because I modeled what I was taught. Having to also deal with, do I abuse others too because of the way I treat myself?, just opens up a whole new layer of hurt and disappointment.

    I always thought I was a caring, sensitive person on the inside but I was made to feel weak for being this way. I want that part of me back and I just pray I can heal her into wholeness. I haven’t quite found that feeling of wholeness yet, it does come and go so I know it is possible. I still have some areas to develop and I trust in time I will get there.

    You have no idea how much your web site has helped me deal with all this. There are not a lot of people who really get what is involved and that just adds to the feelings of hopelessness. Thank you so much for being my bright star to follow.

    God bless you Darlene for all that you do. Namaste

  4. By: DarleneOuimet Posted: 11th July

    Hi LN
    Yes, there are many example of that in this website. In fact even in the comments in this post there are examples of it.
    There is a tag cloud at the bottom of the right side bar above; if you click on the words in blue “spiritual abuse” it will take you to other posts where spiritual abuse is discussed or mentioned.
    hugs, Darlene

  5. By: LN Posted: 11th July

    Wondering if you have ever experienced family members using God or bible verses against you to manipulate you in order to control?

  6. By: Fenika Maalo Posted: 23rd April

    hi! there, I am a Pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I have been impressed with your story Joy. yes Joy, that is exactly call a spiritual abuse. I had a story like your story but in a different way. I was joined a sunday church call LMS Church. when I was a kid. going to church was nightmare to me, very scary. I didn’t learnd anything about God since I went to church every sunday service. The children have to sit right infront with one deacon sitting between us with his long stick. If we making any move he has to hit us with his stick, even if I scratch my head he still hit my head. If this man hit my head, I have to look around if my dad is watching. If I get caught from my dad’s eyes; then I will know what is going to happen to me when we get home. my dad will hit me harder with his belt. I grew up with this kind of church attitude. we have to come to a pastor or reverent’s house to learn how to read a Bible. If I pronounce any word wrong from the Bible. The pastor will so angry and said I am a little imp or evil and he has to beated me so padly infront of other kids. and when I went home, I have to hide all these bruises from my dad. if he knew that I got beated by pastor then poor me will get more bruises. However, I grew up with hatred in my heart going to church. When I turn to 15 yrs of age I change my religion from sunday church to Saturday Church which is call Seventh-day Adventist Church. where I found no more deacon sitting with a stick and pastor was so nice. he always listen to our story when we share to him. he always care for young people. and he love to tell stories to children. and now i become a pastor trying to bread down the wall bricks of stopping children from telling their hurts and their stories.

    My first case since I became pastor was 8 yrs old girl was sexual abuse by her step father. the girl went to their priest and asked for help, he ignore her and covered up her parent from ambarassing in church and the community. that is why she came to me for help. to cut the story short. her step father is now in the jail for doing that. I even talked to her mother about the matter and she understand to her daughter.
    Joy God bless you.

  7. By: Karen Ranes Posted: 3rd June

    Yes I too was raised strict Catholic.
    So many rules and obligations. Confession every week when
    I had no sins to confess. I was 8. I made up sins to confess.
    Thought I had to. How bad is that. The strict obedience and
    compliance at home was further enforced in catholic grade school.
    My dad was going to make good and sure I was beaten down
    to only what he wanted. I would NEVER have told anyone about
    my abuse at home. My fathers rage would have been unspeakable.
    I feel the fear even now 50 years later. He was the perfect
    Catholic in church then went home and beat his wife and terrorized
    his children. Hes dead now. I can finally say Im glad without guilt.
    He used church to control and punish me. I havent gone in 37 yrs.
    I am learning all the ways my parents systematically destroyed me
    and then blamed me. I am seeing the damage to me and who
    caused it. It causes me to feel quite anxious and upset but I
    think it is part of becoming aware of what was done to me.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th June

      Hi Karen
      It is so very sad and tragic when this happens. The damage it causes is major and no small thing to overcome. Thank you for sharing this.
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Robin Posted: 26th August

    Wow. What an eye-opener. Some horrible experiences with my Pastor and his wife left me in a tale-spin for months and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get over it. Now I understand that it was abuse. Honestly, I didn’t want to believe it. When I first came to this site yesterday I ignored the articles on spiritual abuse because I didn’t believe it applied to me. My pastor and his wife were good people, right?

    But I finally made myself read this and it has really set me free. After really taking in this information and seeing my own situation spelled out in black and white, I couldn’t deny what they had done to me. *I* was not heard, not believed and not helped. They told me that if I didn’t contact my abusive mother that God would not be pleased. As I continued to think about it, I realized that I was protecting these people and making excuses for them in my mind the way I used to for my abusive family. I was accepting responsibility for the way they made me feel, subconsciously thinking that my reaction to their behavior was my fault,like I was just taking it the wrong way. But when I began to be honest with myself and admitted that these religious leaders abused me, I felt the ever present tightness in my chest ease. I see now that the panic attacks that I have been experiencing ever since these spiritually abusive experiences occured were coming from self condemnation and self imposed guilt over what *they* did, simply because I couldn’t believe they would be so evil as to abuse me. Last night I finally stopped trying to defend their character to myself. Their fruit speaks for itself. I see now that none of it was my fault…not the abuse I suffered from my family or the feelings that it caused, nor the abuse I suffered from my spiritual leaders or the feelings that it caused.

    Thank you, Darlene, for hearing me. Not only do I have hope, but I have also begun to heal. Thank you for this website and thank you for your courage, understanding, and honesty. May God (the *real* God, not the fire breathing tyrant abusive people have made him out to be) bless you and keep you and cause his face to shine upon you and give you peace.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th August

      Hi Robin
      I am really happy to hear that you had a positive experience reading something you were avoiding reading!
      “Not heard, not believed and not helped” is pretty not nice!
      Thank you so much for sharing Robin!
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Kia Posted: 25th August

    I am soooo sorry that you went through all that. I’m guessing i’m a lot younger than you but the church my bio parents go to is the same way. I got a lot of crap for not complying to thier thinking. And really I had it spiritually and in all the subtle ways you mentioned. I have no desire to ever see a lot of those people ever again either. And that is ok. Martha, it is OK. They hurt you. Let yourself heal without making an effort to see them. All they would/will do is continue digging at you and hurting you.
    I care and i’m sorry you faced that. It is awful how other people hurt you and probably all in the name of Jesus.

  10. By: Martha Posted: 25th August

    This is a big one for me.

    I was raised in a very conservative fundamentalist church and was raised to be compliant and obedient. I wasn’t very compliant or obedient, but I had in my mind and in my life always reminders of how far I fell short in every way. So even though I didn’t ‘measure up’, I still had these standards that I fell ‘short’ of all my life.

    I used that to punish myself all my life for not being good enough- even more- for not BEING enough.

    Even after I left the church and my remaining family left me, I still carried these messages with me.

    Working all the way down to the core, I found out that I really didn’t believe I was enough. I had been brainwashed to believe I was flawed, hopeless, and not worth the effort to help myself-

    Because my parents didn’t take me to bars, or have loud drunken rages, or beat me on a regular basis, or scream and yell at me all the times it was hard to look back and see the more subtle messages that I was worthless.

    I realize that the people around me used God and obedience to control me. On the other hand my father was not a member of the church, and he was an example of what NOT to be, and I didn’t want to be like him, because I didn’t want to be ostracized.

    So I couldn’t live up to the standards set out for me, and if I didn’t, I would be treated and scapegoated like my dad. Not so good choices. I bounced back and forth for years trying to be compliant, and then rebelling. It sapped all my energy for decades. The messages I lived were confusing. I was confused… I felt like I had no other alternatives to live in the situation I was in. I ‘needed’ the approval and support of others but I never had either in an authentic way. In the end I was just angry.

    I went to a 12 step program, which taught me to look for MY part in everything that had happened. There was plenty of good material tere to beat myself up for years. I was still trying to ‘get it right’ and be good enough and have a place to BE accepted.

    I went back to the church, I went to 12 step groups, I was a ‘good daughter, mom, and sister’ and it nearly killed me. No one- no one approved of me, anywhere. lol.

    I finally was too weak to get out and off the merry go round, and just shut down, marking time till I could ‘escape’. By then I was on disability because I simply could function well on a day to day basis.That brought me even more disapproval and shame from others around me.When I tried to assert myself, and pull away from my family there were always people around me who pulled my child back in. I finally felt either my child was going to be torn in two if I continued to buck my family/mother because she and others would manipulate everytime I tried to either get us into another church or go to church less often, or even try to get her into another school.

    And, like I have read here and elsewhere, the more compliant I tried to be the worse I was treated, and the less compliant I was, the worse I was treated in a more obvious way.

    It all came to a acreecing alt when my mother died, and my child turned 18. Suddenly everyone left my life, and here I was shredded, and totally worn out, almost nonfunctional, going ‘what happened?’.

    Looking back I see I was doing alot of things right, but the ‘price’ of my independence, apparently was ‘giving’ my mother and the church my child.When I didn’t fully cooperate there was all kinds of turmoil behind the scenes among family and friends.

    My own sister had left the church,(but was a rabid member of another church just as crazy), lived her own life in another town but she left the care of the last 10 years of my mother’s life to me, and never once offered her help support or assistance.Even when my daughter and I were stalked by a male ‘friend’ of my mother’s, my sister refused to let us stay with her, and have a safe place to stay until we could establish a life away from the area. I was lied to, manipulated, and my daughter jerked around for years. We ran around like rats in a wheel.

    After my mother died I found out my sister had convinced my mother to take my name off of her life insurance, leaving only her name on it. I did get some inheritence but I also had to take on every single task of settling things after mom died, going through her things etc. on top of starting a new life; still on disability, totally worn out from the previous decade of insanity.

    Its taken three years just to recover a sense of some sort of peace and safety. Now that I have nothing anyone wants, we are left alone. Its been a blessing and a curse in a way. I know what the meaning of the term ‘left to die’ means, and it is from my own family. I feel like I stretched myself to the limit for years just to survive and to do the things that needed to be done, and then was kicked in a final huge kick – to the curb.

    I have no use for the church people I encounter occasionally, and no good words for my sister or her grown daughter, who have never even bothered to call and say, ‘how are you doing?’

    I get a birthday card and a Christmas card every year from my sister. Nothing from my niece. They live two hours away.

    Giving up on the idea that I might ever be heard was hard. When I realized that I WAS heard, but it was just that it didn’t matter, I really went through some anger. Now I feel I sacrificed so much for absolutely nothing. I feel as if I had lived a big joke- I was controlled for years, made to jump through hoops, live in fear and turmoil with no escape, for what?

    I doubt I will ever ever enter another church again. I doubt I will ever willingly see any of the people I used to know- family friends, or church people.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th August

      Hi Martha,
      What you have shared is a complete “in a nutshell” story of what really happens. This really is what we are dealing with. I can relate to your story. For me, I had to look at those expectations that others had of me and the ones I then learned to have of myself, and decided how real and true and right they were. All my not good enough stuff and not enough stuff was assigned to me for the purpose of how compliant and controllable that I was. I changed inside of me when I saw the truth. You wrote “the more compliant I tried to be the worse I was treated, and the less compliant I was, the worse I was treated in a more obvious way”. and that is how it was for me too. My family did not respond to my boundaries in a positive way, but other people do. It was like my family said “no you are not worth the effort” but I kept saying YES I AM. I built a new life but sometimes it is lonely and it still hurts that my family regarded me that way. None of this was easy. I hear your pain and I totally understand it. None of this is fun either, I know. I totally relate to your conclusion that you sacrificed so much for nothing… but on the other hand I have ME now. (and they had ME before) and the freedom is sweet.
      Thanks for sharing..
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Kia Posted: 24th August

    Thank you for sticking up for the ones who don’t. I know they are there; I have one in my life who is great. But for me it is hard to believe that there are men/ pastors who are good and don’t abuse, because for the first 18 years of my life I have only known men and pastors who abuse. I’ve been out for almost 3 years now and I’m glad. It was good for me to have it reaffirmed again that there are men/pastors around who don’t abuse. So I just wanted to thank you for that.. Also thank you for taking care of the children in your corner of the world. They are so precious.

  12. By: peaceseeker Posted: 20th August

    What I have found with pastors who do counseling is the ones who tell girls/women they are at fault or that they just need to go home and try harder to get along with their abusers, have problems in their own lives and hearts with being abusive. This makes me sick, too.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st August

      Hi Peaceseeker
      Yes, I have found that too. Makes me sick too. I am so glad that I also learned that when people tell me to try harder, that they are invalidating me just like the ones that I had the original problems with. The statements they make may come from their own brokeness, but I don’t have agree anymore. (and I don’t seek guidance from those types anymore either) Thanks for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Renee Posted: 20th August

    I beleive you are right. Grace should be show, is it the same grace that is shown to each abused child that goes to a supposedly trust man and women of faith? Is it the same grace that is shown to the abused and neglected child that took a hugh step and knowingly jeperdized their safety to come out of the closet and is called a liar? Or is it the same grace that a secret child abuser goes to the pastor and says “sir Ive done some bad things in my life that I can’t speak of, but I would like prayer and your grace your offering”, then receives it!
    I truely get what you are saying because after leaving my ex husbands church we went to a church that was just as you speak of. In fact they took my ex a side and the pastor told him if he doesn’t stop abusing his wife and step-daughters they were going to turn him into social services!! This religious jerk went belistic! He told the pastor he was backed by scripture and the pastor said nothing you are doing is of God! That church worked very closely with social services and in fact was an outlet for them in placing foster children. It was the only church I have ever know to have such high standards for their church family and everyone was treated that way. So yes Terri there really are safe churches and pastors it’s just that they are fewer of them than the dangerous ones that think they are perfect.

  14. By: LeeAnne Posted: 19th August

    It’s not only when you are a child that its devistating to not be validated, but to have had a pastor tell you as an adult, that you were lying, is just as upsetting. I went to a pastor who was trained to also counsel people, and was told that I was making it up. How’s that one!! I was seeking counseling and instead was slapped in the face.!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 20th August

      Hi LeeAnne
      I know that this happens also and it happens a lot! It sickens me. I can’t tell you how many times that women have told me the pastor told them it was their fault their husbands were having affiars, or beating them. This is so crazy! One of the things that I learned is that not all professionals with training are any good at what they do. The degree (if they have one, some don’t but just present as though they do) doesn’t make them right. I have no respect for people in the “helping profession” who only make things worse.
      Thanks for sharing. You are not alone!
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Terri Posted: 19th August

    This abuse you speak of is TERRIBLE & I hurt when I hear that it happens. My husband is a minister & I need to speak up in defense of all people in positions of ministry that are NOT doing this. In fact at our church our biggest emphasis of ministry is to the children of our community. We run a children’s club every Monday night that brings in an incredible 65% of the elementary school population. Amazing~! EVERY adult worker is screened & submits to a full background check. I can truly say that in this corner of the world we LOVE the kids & would never strong-arm them in this way. I am sorry for anybody who is subjected to this type of abuse. There is NEVER an excuse or reason for this! If they could truly be offered real grace, as is spoken of in the Bible, it would lead to healing. Thanks ~Terri

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th August

      Hi Terri,
      Thanks for your comments. I know that not all the world is evil and that not all leaders or ministers ARE bad! I know that some of them certainly have the calling and are wonderful people. I think that all my readers know this too. This post is just one example of the things that happen in the world that cause damage to children and then those children grow up and are not helped to get over the depressions etc. that so often manifest when children are devalued. There is good and bad everywhere. We just happen to be talking about the “bad” and how to overcome it now. (personally) I wish that everyone could be offered real grace too… and I am glad to hear that at least where you are, kids are valued.
      Thanks for posting!
      Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: Kate Posted: 19th August

    I went to the library today to get the book Emotional Vampires, and there by that area of books was a live demonstration of emotional and verbal abuse! Problem is that it wasn’t attracting people to that book shelf for help.

    A young man, scrawny, and withdrawn being loudly berated by an obvious druggie, sickening the atmosphere with heavy stench of stale alcohol, a guy in his 40’s. Seemed likely to me that he is a sexual predator as well in this relationship.
    He was loud and loving doing this to the younger man in public, accusing him of several things, none of which matter, several things that just go round like a merry-go-round, until the young man, who insisted that the predator’s dogs were not HIS own dogs, but belonged to the predator, finally asked when they were going to go feed the dogs. And it is amazing to realized that the predator KNEW he could manipulate through several subjects and create so much confusion that the young guy would finally succumb to taking care of the dogs, of which, I believe, he is afraid. The predator was telling the young man that he was worthless and it is no wonder his parents couldn’t stand him, and he doesn’t have any friends, and then the predator said that everyone loves HIM and respects HIM, and the young man said, “Everyone hates you, Alan, because you are arrogant and a prick.” By that time I was standing near the young man behind a bookshelf, where the predator couldn’t see me. I began smiling broadly and shaking my head, like, “Yeah, you tell him.” And he did tell him several times that everyone hates him because he is arrogant and a prick. So, I wonder at the timeframe and likelihood of the young man finally realizing that he has choices, and doesn’t have to stay with a man that is arrogant, that is a prick, and that is hated by everyone??

    A more intense, obvious, version of abuse, but the elements remind me of religious settings and other settings in which I have been.

  17. By: Renee Posted: 19th August

    Here we are writing what happened to us in our churches, and it floors me actually im getting mad! All of us as children have been abused as children in the most vial ways possible. Now we are talking as adults and we are recounting our memories of religious abuse. Where do these people get off thinking it is ok to abuse us some more? We are locked into the age the abuse happened so emotionally we are still children. I know I am struggeling with my girls, one is in tears one is pissed and I just want to come face to face with these evil people and call them out for the horrible people they are! GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th August

      Hi Renee
      It is all about keeping us in the trap. And all abuse works this way ~ if we escape and get away, we can talk about it. If we realize that what “they” are doing is wrong, we can expose it. SO, in order to keep their control and keep this crap a secret, they have to keep all victims of this stuff, quiet! they have to keep them in the spin of believing that it isn’t the leaders, adults or organization that are wrong but that it is “you”. It is resistance to the “truth” which is a lie. It is rebellion and a rebellious spirit. That is what they try to say. But really it is that they don’t want to be in any kind of equal value position because if they were, they would not be “special and all powerful” anymore. They would no longer be “god” in your life or mine. They can’t stand that idea.
      Hugs, Darlene

  18. By: Pam Posted: 19th August

    Renee, I didn’t think you sounded pious. I’m just glad you did what God wanted you to do despite the snobbish way you were being treated.

  19. By: Kate Posted: 19th August

    I had an abusive husband for many years and we moved a lot. In a new church, I contacted the pastor a few times by phone with concerns regarding the abuse. He told me not to call him every again. Then as if he literaly took notes on our conversation,he preached an entire “off-topic” sermon for an hour on this conversation. No one knew this but me, of course. He said things to argue with what I had told him and disagree with me from the pulpit. Russian Roullette in that place, no one new who would be that week’s target from the pastor. Then the pastor sat across from me at the mandatory potluck afterwards and talked to me to get in my face to read my body language/response to his pulpit abuse. As I heard this sermon, I told myself that this would be the LAST time I ever entered this church. And it was. I knew that leaving after joining whould get us excommunicated; I just didn’t know that it would take 24 months and harrassment by mail and pulpit (praying for our family).

    I don’t do well in church settings, I stayed in a church until about 2 years ago. I put a sign on my front door, “No religious solicitors”. I stayed in a church until I saw how much of my energy it took, and as a single mom with four, it was WAY too much. When I saw how my kids were hurt by the church, then THAT was it. I am finally free. And I don’t look back.

  20. By: Kate Posted: 19th August

    YES!!! A thousand times YES it is ok if you don’t go to church or ANYWHERE that makes you uncomfortable. I dont’ go either.

  21. By: Renee Posted: 19th August

    Sorry! That made me sound pious! I only wanted to do what God wanted me to do. In no way have I ever felt I was a “chosen one”. I am sorry if it sounded that way. I had a child like faith and only wanted to be obediant toward God.

  22. By: Pam Posted: 19th August

    Renee, Good for you!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th August

      Hi Lynn
      The “programming” is the root of the problem, yes. In all recovery from abuse, it is in finding out how I was “programmed” that I found the keys to freedom. (so trusting God becomes very very difficult and wasn’t the answer for a long time because it is what I learned about him that STILL got in the way)
      Thanks for sharing.

      Hi Beverly
      YES! That was what I found out too. I call what you are describing as “coming out of the fog”. Realizing what “really” happened to me.
      Thanks for sharing!

      I don’t see this problem as separate from any other problem ~ I see it as one more in a long line of being devalued. Spiritual abuse wasn’t really a huge thing for me either growing up although it was everywhere around me, so it did touch my life. And then as an adult it really touched my life as I returned to church when I had my first child. For me there was a bottom line that i had to look at and this is what I am talking about in ALL my posts. ~ the foundation of belief is about what MAN taught me. It is about what I was taught about life, about ME, and how the world worked. This subject is just one more area that gets taught wrong. I just use different examples (such as spiritual abuse) to break through the fog.
      Hugs, Darlene

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