Archive for spiritual abuse

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I am excited to welcome Christina Enevoldsen, founder of the popular blog and facebook page “Overcoming Sexual Abuse” and published author of the book “The Rescued Soul” as my guest writer for Emerging from Broken. Christina has a wonderful message and I am thrilled to have her voice on my blog this week. I hope you will help me welcome Christina and please feel free to share your comments with us. Darlene

 The Best Advice for the Healing Journey by Christina Enevoldsen

At the beginning of my healing process, my pain oozed out of me. I didn’t seem to have a shut off valve to contain the memories and emotions that were surfacing. Consequently, without intending to talk about my abuse, words or tears would leak out before I knew what I was saying or feeling.

My friend, Claire, had been abused as a child and had been raped as an adult. At the time, I thought someone who had been so wounded and violated would be a good source of the understanding and compassion that I sought (without knowing that’s what I was looking for).

Unfortunately, that’s not what I found. While I sat across from Claire, crying and trembling, she cited scripture and told me I needed to put things in God’s hands. She believed that if I applied my faith to my abuse, I wouldn’t have to waste my time being so sad or negative.

The way Claire dispensed her rational information left me feeling like there was a barrier between us—like I had shown up at her doorstep with a contagious disease and she reacted by throwing her religious rhetoric out on her lawn, quickly slamming the door behind her, hoping I would go away.

Claire didn’t want to hear about my past or about my pain. She wanted me to put a smile back on my face and to be “fixed”. I was left feeling empty and frustrated. Sharing my pain with Claire only added more pain.

I know that Claire was trying to be a good friend and was only passing on what she truly believed. Coldly offering me that empty advice, the same “wisdom” she tried to live by, was all that she had. The trouble was, her advice wasn’t even working for her. Her own life was a huge struggle. Read More→

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness
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anger and child abuseI posted the following quote on EFB Facebook and I was a little surprised by the response it triggered.

“Abusive, controlling, entitled people and the people who are afraid of them will say almost anything to get you to shut up. They will label you as angry, hateful and unforgiving if you decide to stand up to them and the ways that they regard you. I want to shout at them and to the ones that defend them ~ “What do you think I am angry about? Anger is justifiable in this situation!” Darlene Ouimet

The quote came from one of my recent blog posts about spiritual abuse when the name of God is used to Guilt and Shame victims of abuse, and I wrote it in the context of explaining the abuse tactic of being told what God would expect you to do or what would make God proud of you according to what abusive controlling, manipulative people want you to do, which has nothing to do with God OR his/her expectations of you.

For many of the readers, this quote was validating. But for others it was upsetting. As I read through the comments it became clear to me that the word “justifiable” was the primary culprit that triggered so many reactions. Apparently, the idea of “justifiable anger” upsets a lot of people.

Some people believe that justifiable anger is dangerous and inappropriate. This quote is about standing up to abusive people and how those people reacted to me standing up to them to and the control tactics that are used in abusive relationships to keep a victim in the web. As most of you know I have a passion for the topic of parent abuse which seems to be an even bigger hot button. The quote exposes spiritual abuse, and the controlling and manipulative people I am referring to, happen to be my parents. BUT as soon as I mentioned “justifiable anger” the meaning of the quote was lost to some of the readers. The meaning of the quote lost its purpose and its importance because a “fear belief” was triggered. Read More→

Categories : Family
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EFB PVI get really angry when I think about the degree of spiritual abuse that is ‘out there’ and how victims are preached LIES about right and wrong and how the name of GOD is used to back up those lies.  It upsets me that the name of God is used to guilt and shame abuse victims and survivors into staying silent. This is such a common tactic that controlling people use, it makes me sick.

Take the forgiveness directive for example and how people insist that blind forgiveness is what God would want us to do; even on the EFB facebook page people post daily that forgiveness is the solution to healing from child abuse and that jumping straight to forgiveness is for the victim’s freedom without ever considering that forgiveness in most of the cases WE are referring to, is towards perpetrators and offenders who DENY that they have ever done anything wrong. Here in Emerging from Broken we are not talking about people who are sincerely sorry for what they have done and are asking for forgiveness and making the effort to stop causing harm. We are talking about people who either say that they didn’t do it, OR they stand behind their entitlement for doing it and they don’t want forgiveness NOR are they willing to repent or stop doing the abusive things that are doing. In this way, by being taught that forgiveness for those types of perpetrators is a solution, victims of child abuse (and even ongoing abuse, disrespect and devaluing treatment on into adulthood) are further invalidated and re-abused.

Often times, when victims of abuse perpetrated by a family member or close friend try to talk about what happened to them, they are told to “get over it” or “forgive and forget” and a whole host of other little sayings designed to make the victim feel bad about talking. And not just to feel bad about ‘talking’ about it, the victim ends up feeling bad about what happened to them as if it was something he or she did wrong to attract it in the first place and even believing that their ‘feelings’ about it are unfounded.

Talking about what happened to me is not “negative.” Talking about it doesn’t bring shame on the survivor of the abuse, the Church or on the name of Jesus Christ. It brings shame on Read More→

Categories : Family
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I am pleased and excited today to welcome my friend Fi Macleod. Fi is a fellow blogger and an amazing survivor of horrific abuse. Fi has a passion for writing and the subject of spiritual abuse is close to her heart. Please help me welcome Fi and her with her second guest post on Emerging from Broken! As always, please we invite you to post your comments and participate in the discussion. ~ Darlene Ouimet ~ founder of Emerging from Broken

child sexual abuse in families“YOU’RE NOTHING BUT TROUBLE! YOU DESERVE EVERYTHING YOU GET” by Fi Macleod

This statement was used many times during my childhood. As a result I developed deep self-blame. I bore responsibility for things which were actually nothing to do with me. The self-blame is combined with deep shame and guilt. The self-blame came through a combination of verbal and non-verbal messages from my abusers and messages from the abuse itself.

 “You’re nothing but trouble, you deserve everything that happens”

“You deserve it because you’re a girl, we didn’t want a girl”

“You deserve it because you’re evil”

“You deserve it because the bible tells us you deserve it”

“You deserve it because….”

 “You deserve it just because we say you deserve it

I never knew when they’d decide I “deserved” a beating, or I “deserved” to be thrown across the room or I “deserved” to be starved or I “deserved” locked in my room or I “deserved” whatever they chose. It was very oppressive. I asked myself many times “what it is about me that is Read More→

Categories : Family
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spiritual abuse false teachingI am pleased and excited today to welcome my friend Fi Macleod. Fi is a fellow blogger and an amazing survivor of horrific abuse. Fi has a passion for writing and the subject of spiritual abuse is close to her heart. Please help me welcome Fi and her debut post on Emerging from Broken! As always, please we invite you to post your comments and participate in the discussion. ~ Darlene Ouimet ~ founder of Emerging from Broken





There is no aspect of my life which has not been affected by religion, religious and spiritual abuse. I grew up in an abusive religious family full of unattainable expectations. I witnessed religion used to explain abuse of all kinds.

I went to a Catholic school from age 8-11 because my mother was a teacher there. During that time I was taught to be a good Catholic, say my prayers, kneel, genuflect, cross myself, do all the right things, say all the right things. I witnessed nuns slap, beat and mock kids in the name of religion. I was taught only Catholics were the true religion, the Catholic way was the only way. To me the Catholic church was cruel, controlling and about keeping people apart. I could not get my head round that. The abuse I witnessed taught me “no matter how religious you are, no matter how good you are, there will always be something which will mean you’ll never be good enough, there will always be something that will mitigate against your religious goodness“. It taught me God was a fierce old man with a big stick in his hand who looked for every opportunity to beat you. It told me Read More→

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness
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Profile of a spiritual aubserI am pleased to have Pam Witzemann guest blogging for Emerging from Broken this week writing on the topic of Spiritual abuse for this miniseries that I have been publishing in recent weeks. Please help me welcome Pam and as always we look forward to your feedback and all comments are welcome. Darlene Ouimet ~ founder of Emerging from Broken.


Profile of A Spiritual Abuser By Pam Witzemann


I am a Christian and my experience with spiritual abuse is in the Christian context. However, spiritual abuse is not limited to Christianity. There are abusers in every faith, religion, and philosophy. Where ever human beings gather, there will be, at least, one abusive person. Spiritual abuse is differentiated from other abuse only by the use of God and the abused’s faith in God being used as a manipulative tool. All abusers want power and control over others and spiritual abusers are no different. This power over others can be used to carry out all kinds of evil and is at the root of the Read More→

Categories : Self Esteem
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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 Read More→

Categories : Self Esteem
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spiritual abuse church abuse

Lynn Tolson First Holy Communion

This week I am pleased to have Lynn Tolson, Author of “Beyond the Tears: A true Survivor’s Story” guest blogging on Emerging from Broken. The following blog post illustrates how religious institutions demand blind obedience from parishioners trained from childhood to defer to the established patriarchal principles of society. Conforming to the religious standards without being able to think for oneself and form individual opinions is a set up for oppression and submission for the sake of a feeling of belongingness. As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section ~ Darlene

Spiritual Abuse and the Catholic Church ~ Adapted from Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story by Lynn C. Tolson

Like many Americans of Italian descent, my family was of the Roman Catholic religion. My grandmother had statues of saints on her dresser and a picture of the Pope over her bed. My mother prayed with me, on our knees, before bed: If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Our family activities and meals, such as eating fish on Fridays, were based on the religious calendar.

In parochial school, Mass was mandatory on Holy Days of Obligation. Each class marched single file to the church; nuns in habits led children in plaid uniforms. I learned the language of the Catholic congregation: catechism, confession, contrition, communion, confirmation, excommunication, and the rituals of the Catholic church: The stations of the Cross, the Cross on the Rosary, and the Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. That included all the important people, but what category did little girls fall into? I was also taught prejudice by the clergy: “Don’t talk to Protestants or Jews; if you do, your duty is to convert them to the One True Religion, which is Catholicism.” This is spiritual abuse. What a load of responsibility on children, to be prejudicial toward others based on religion. Whenever I was in church, I never felt right or good. I always felt Read More→
Categories : Family
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psychological abuseI saw a little saying on Twitter the other day that read ~ “God likes you. A lot. Deal with it” It was a twitter account that was promoting the book, “The Shack” and although I loved the book, the saying itself really bugged me. And not because I am not a fan of God; I am. But it was the “Deal with it” part that bugged me.  I felt like saying “NO” I don’t have to “deal with it”.  I felt “told” and I felt as though I had “no choice”.  Even though this is meant to be a positive statement, that God likes me a lot, I found it to be irritating.

I have the same aversion to being told things like “get over it” I find instructions and directives like that demeaning, as though these people are inferring that I am incompetent, and that I have made the wrong choice where my own feelings are concerned. Those statements often come in larger sentences such as “Oh for goodness sake, get over it already” and there is always an impatient voice infliction attached to them. Tone of voice is used to “remind me” that I must be too stupid to understand “HOW to deal with it” thereby putting the focus back on me, reminding me that I am  Read More→

Categories : Self Esteem
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emotional recovery from psychological abuse

there is peace when the fog lifts

Every day I realize more and more that if the world is going to change at all, it is going to change through the emotional healing of the victims. I think that victims of emotional abuse and all the other forms of abuse that stem from emotional and psychological abuse including sexual abuse, domestic violence and spiritual abuse, make up the majority of the people in the world.  We have a voice; it is time to take our voices back, to heal and to take our lives back. Abusers can only be truly stopped when victims heal. When the people that they have hurt, realize the truth and realize that we can overcome the pain, oppression and rejection we have lived with and finally take a stand against it in our own lives. When victims emotionally heal, we are strong enough to stand up to the abuse and we are no longer fooled by subtle manipulation. There will be a ripple effect and we will raise our own children differently then we ourselves were raised, and the abusers will lose some of their power because the psychological abuse, lies and manipulation highlighted in the points below, won’t work the same anymore. Read More→

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness
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