Spiritual abuse: Some abuse is not physical

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What is spiritual abuse? Spiritual abuse happens when a spiritual authority, such as a cult leader or abusive pastor, wants to control you and want completely obedience. A spiritually abusive group often claims that they are the only ones that have the right doctrines. They often claim that salvation only depends  on belonging to their church and that there can’t be a discussion on what the leaders say. Also the leaders might prove their authenticity by witnessing about all the wonders, miracles and healing that happened under their service.

Being a leader brings lots of responsibilities. Most of us humans love to follow strong leaders and obey what they tell us to do. Sometimes it makes me wonder if we want to think for ourselves or rather have someone we trust, doing that thinking for us. Following them blindly rather than standing up for ourselves. It doesn’t have to be in a church. It can be anywhere. Your boss, your football trainer, your teacher. Anyone that has a leading position in your life and misuses that authority to gain power. Try to make you do things maybe even against your will. But you do it anyway.

Fighting back not always an option

Getting controlled by a person makes you losing your self piece by piece (read here  in my post ‘Lost and found‘, how I found myself after leaving the cult). When you don’t do anything against it that person will control every move you make in your life. Fighting back is not always that easy. They will try to manipulate you, to make you afraid of them. They will kick you on the ground and keep kicking you even when you are down.

Fear is a tool they will use to control you. (You can read more about how fear got used as a tool here in my post “No lightning nor thunder“). They will tell you that you know nothing and they know everything. They will make you feel little and them selves larger. When you have a weak personality or stay long enough around them, they might break you so you stop fighting. When you stand up for yourself and go against it, at the end you will feel isolated and alone. And when they really feel that they can’t control you at all, they will push you out. In some Christian communities that means that they will deliver you to the Devil. You are not allowed to enter the church anymore and its members will break all contact with you. Until you come crawling back and ask for forgiveness, submitting totally to their authority.

Giving someone to much control over your life

Some people do give a pastor way to much control over their lives. We got taught that we shouldn’t do anything against God’s will. That He controls every aspect of our lives. We had to pray for everything almost not be able to make any decision alone. You had to be 100% sure that it was God’s will if not you would be out of God’s perfect plan.

Since the Pastor often has that authority and in the eyes of his followers, standing closest to God, some people would rather ask him what they should do than taking the risk of making the wrong choice. They would ask him what to wear, what not to wear, if they should buy a new car, where to travel for their holiday, even who to marry and if they should have more kids.

Me and Johan weren’t really like that. We made our own decisions and never asked for advise only when we felt we really needed it. And even then we didn’t always listen since we didn’t always agree with the advice we got.  I think that it really pissed our pastor off. One day after I decided I wanted my own firm and started to run it, getting really successful, the pastor told us it was from the Devil because we didn’t go to him to ask if I should or shouldn’t.

In my next blog I will go in more details about this subject. To end this one I just want to say that I am really happy I have this strong personality even though it got me in a lot of trouble while being in “The Message”. Some friends told me I am a warrior and I think they are right. I never stop fighting for what is right.


Thank you for reading my post

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Name: Sharon Born: March 1980 in a small town in the Netherlands Currently living in Norway. Grew up in a strict Christian cult from birth. Broke out in 2013. In my articles, I want to share how it is to grow up in a strict and closed community. What an impact religion made in my life and how my life is now.

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[…] my last post: Spiritual abuse: Some abuse is not physical, I explained what spiritual abuse is. I have to make clear that in ‘The message’, which […]


[…] know what Spiritual abuse is you can learn about it in my first blog-post about this subject: Spiritual abuse: Some abuse is not physical. In my last blog-post Spiritual abuse: our first encounter I told about our first encounter with our […]