Spiritual Abuse

Are You a Slave of Fear?

"...We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace." Jeremiah 30:5


"Fear" is spoken of over 500 times in the Bible. So, to me, that signifies it's a topic worth noting.

I believe the 1980's science fiction film, "Bladerunner" makes a powerful statement on fear.

There are various discussions about the story and the complexity of the Roy Batty character in particular. He's often viewed as the villain. But, if we dig deeper, perhaps there's more to the story.

Batty is a kind of futuristic robot who has an expiration date of four years. This tactic is implemented to ensure that, in the event a robot develops troublesome feelings, emotions and agendas, humanity is safeguarded by the possible destruction the robot could cause.

However, Roy Batty has apparently experienced these turbulent human emotions firsthand; hence, he is viewed as that much-feared threat to human beings.

Therefore, the "bladerunner," a robot killer for hire, is assigned the task of destroying him before it's too late.

And, after Batty's rampage and search for knowledge about his existence, he eventually shares his observation on fear.

The Under-Discussed Damage of Spiritual Abuse (Part 1)

This is a two part article. See: Part Two

When someone mentions the term, "spiritual abuse" today, sexual molestation of a child often comes to mind. We have too many accounts of priests, pastors and Sunday school teachers preying on the children in their care. And yes, sadly, that is spiritual abuse.

But this kind of abuse can also take on a more subtle form as well. Its definition hinges on the manipulation of power enforced by a spiritual authority figure, with the abused party feeling helpless and coerced.

Children, of course, spring to mind as the most vulnerable. But the net spreads wider.

And a heartbreaking reality emerges: loving God does not exclude us from being hurt, even in the seemingly Godly setting of church. We are all susceptible when it comes to spiritual abuse.

"...Many spiritual abuse victims find themselves struggling to make decisions, and may even have a hard time disciplining themselves to do basic everyday functions such as getting out of bed and brushing their teeth. For so long, we allowed the group/leader to think for us, formulate our opinions for us, and make decisions for us. No wonder so many of us struggle for many years learning how to find ourselves again after leaving a spiritually abusive situation..."
"Spiritual Identity Crisis?" www.churchabuse.com
Used with permission.

Overcoming Self-loathing

I am astounded by the number of young people who approach me with such intense self-loathing. I frequently hear them say things like...

    "I hate myself; I'm so ugly, disgusting and stupid."
    "I hate myself. There's nothing good about me."


When I ask them, however, why they feel that way, I usually get this response:

"I don't know."

For what I am doing, I do not understand..." Romans 7:15

Statistics show...

"One in every 200 girls between 13 and 19 years old, or one-half of one percent, cut themselves regularly."

Is It Time to Let the Cat Out of the Bag?

While going through some of my childhood possessions, I came across something which took on a profound meaning to me: a kitten poster.

This was the first poster I got as a six year old. I immediately was captivated by it because of its cute factor. A small kitten, hiding in a paper bag? What's not to love?

You know, the phrase, "the cat is out of the bag?" Well, I couldn't deny that ditty followed me throughout my life, eating disorder shenanigans and, of course, my disclosure of and recovery from them. After all, within my book, "Thin Enough," I wrote a poem starting the chapter on disclosure, entitled, "The Cat is Out of the Bag."

Disclosure - it is intimidating.

Is Your Finger on the Feelings Button?

Years ago, there was a popular song, "Feelings."

As the lyrics go, "feelings, nothing more than feelings...whoa...whoa...whoa..."
(It's bad Karaoke, let me tell ya).

Anyway, I've been giving some thought to the feelings factor. I've seen how it has done some damage in my own life. Temper tantrums, crying jags, meltdowns of epic proportion- whatever you want to call them - feelings, let's be real, rarely lead us to make great decisions which improve our lives.

But wreck our lives? Well, that's a different story.

For those of us in recovery, for those of us coming from abuse, the feelings thing is a tricky course to navigate. In my case, because feelings weren't safe in my home, growing up, I learned to suppress, stuff, until...boom! Explosion happened. Not a good coping mechanism.

And so, a girl of extremes, when life moved on, I was determined to fully express my feelings whenever I had them. Oh yeah. This was fun and games. No one was going to control me!

Hence, I was OUT of control.

The cliché in life is true: it's about balance and moderation. And that was NOT something I was good at. I was not good at dealing, in a healthy with my emotions.

Scripture tells us, like it or not, we all need to do this:

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

Years after the immediate damage of both my eating disorders and my childhood abuse, God has patiently- and gradually- led me into honestly looking at my heart, the factory producing all of these blessed feelings in the first place.

Another's Critique is Not the Final Say

I recently caught a viral video of a turtle repeatedly head butting a cat. The feline, annoyed, swishing its tail, eventually got up and moved. And the turtle was on its way. Is it a lesson in adversity? In persistence? In forging ahead, despite negative feedback?

Other people hold mirrors up to us. And a significant mirror came to me in the form of a critic to my beloved baby, my book, "Thin Enough."

They say we're supposed to embrace the criticism and the ugly truth. Well saying that, doing that and feeling great about it don't necessarily happen all at the same time. But criticism and unpleasant comments still occur, often while we're in the middle of something as challenging as recovery from a compulsion, addiction or disorder.

What's in a name?

But now thus says the LORD that created you..."Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

What's in a name?

We cannot get around that question. From the start, we are named. As life continues, we bestow more names to children, pets, toys, places, projects, et cetera.

This naming business is far from insignificant. Consequently, it can often subject to negative, extremely personal and abusive behavior. It can challenge the recovery from our individual hurts, histories and obstacles.

I've personally encountered this toxicity. I have had people call me derogatory names; profanity and misogyny have often been at the center of those names.

It's startling, infuriating and potentially harmful to my health and recovery. Often reeling from these encounters, my only recourse is to

What Was I Thinking?

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child... 1 Corinthians 13:11


Many of us, looking back on childhood photos, stare in horror at our various hairstyle and clothing choices. Sometimes, they were made by our family members; sometimes, they were made by us.

Regardless, with hindsight, we reach the conclusion, "what was I thinking?"

Complicating that question further, is the reconciliation/forgiveness/better choices we embark on as we proceed with our lives.

It starts by acknowledging and applying the wrap-around scriptures, encasing 1 Corinthians 13:11...

Faulty Thinking?

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7

We can really do a number on ourselves with our faulty thinking.

How many of us have said the following things to ourselves, about ourselves?

"I'm...
...worthless...
...ugly...
...fat...
...weak...
...stupid...
...a failure...
...never good enough..."

And then, if we're plagued with disordered eating and body image issues, it gets amplified even further.

Abused? God has victory for You!Premium Content

There are many of us out there who have been bullied and abused.

Whether we've been beaten verbally, emotionally, physically and sexually by a family member, have been teased, thrown in lockers or picked last for teams as kids or, worst case scenario - all of the above - it certainly is a challenge to live through that, let alone, overcome it.

Many of us are underdogs, the forgotten, the least likely.

And that is precisely why one of the things that I love most about God is His viewpoint on that status. God's "M.O." is one of championing the underdog, encouraging him/her, and exalting/promoting that individual, not just in spite of the odds, but quite often, because of them.

You are not logged in. Full article & information available to those who support the ministry through membership.
Please: Log in or Join Now

Your membership & donations make this ministry possible.
If you have been helped please:

Join Us  or  Donate

Contact Us

Syndicate content