As the title suggests, this post is about spiritual abuse. It sounds weird, but it does happen, and I believe it happened to me.
I did a post the other day about it but felt it was a bit too long and didn’t make any real clear point, so I am going to try again and see how I go. I don’t want to put too much of my personal experience here in case it can identify certain people, but some will be necessary to make my point.
I was going to a home church type situation at a friends house. At first it was just a place to learn about the bible, the spiritual realm and how it operates plus other things related to those topics.
It all started out fine and we all seemed to get along well and things were moving along nicely.
Some months later new people started turning up at the meetings and new friendships were being formed and the group was coming along nicely.
New people came and went but there was the main group of us who turned up like clockwork every week. The longer the core group of us stayed in the group, the more like family we seemed to be. Or so I thought.
The person whose house we all went to was someone I had known for years but had lost contact with for various reasons. Her and I used to have great conversations and she was very charismatic, someone with the gift of the gab. She was very funny and knew the right things to say. Not long before the home church type situation had started, we had reconnected via a mutual friend. This person also used to be my counsellor so she knew me fairly well. We got along really well, so when things she started saying didn’t gel with what she had said previously, I just put it down to me being nit-picky or suspicious. I continued to ignore the discrepancies, but inadvertently made a mental note of them.
After several attempts to leave the group, (I was always wooed back) I started getting the sense that something wasn’t quite right. Things just weren’t adding up.
Most of us used to use the NIV (New International Version) bible and didn’t think anything of it. After stumbling across a website one day I saw a post that proved that the NIV was actually corrupt and that it was no good. I pointed this out to my friend and her husband but they didn’t think anything of it.
It wasn’t until a few months later that they then announced to the group that they had discovered that the NIV was bad and we shouldn’t use it anymore. I didn’t say anything as I’m not the type of person that likes confrontations and I didn’t know if it was just me being silly or not.
They also used another “groupies” idea and took credit for it.
(It’s possibly because she was now an “Apostle” and apparently that’s part of their job description. If someone gets a ‘word of knowledge’, or a prophecy about someone or something it had to be run by her first, just so she can check if it’s ok or not.)
The group would also prophecy and I hung on to those words for dear life. I thought that she had direct line of communication with God and because I didn’t, I clung to her words. (as did others in the group I believe)
Some of the prophecies indicated to me that if we, for any reason, were not in the group that we wouldn’t have God’s hand of protection over us.
I now see those prophecies for what I believe they really were, manipulation and fear tactics, although it was ever so subtle.
Another example is a day when I was quite down in the dumps as I had sold something that was quite dear to me and I was upset about it. I had also had a lot of doubts about the group going around in my head and it must’ve shown because her husband decided to corner me and question me about it.
He asked me what was wrong, and because they had been drumming into us that we were family now and needed to all be transparent with each other (and we were to rely on each other now and not our ‘outside” friends and family as they wouldn’t understand and were all demonized) and we all had to be in unity with the group, I told them what was on my mind.
I certainly wasn’t ready for what happened next.
Boy did I get a mouthful. I was lambasted and humiliated. I left the room in tears because this woman made me out to be a liar, which I wasn’t.
The next thing I will say is that we had a group meeting for the core of us and she proceeded to tell us all the things she thought we had being doing wrong. Not once did she mention anything she had done wrong. I’m thinking that could be because she was now an “Apostle”.
I told them I had to leave early because I had to get home. Thinking, “Ok, we’re all family here and family help each other” I stood there waiting for someone to help me get my sleeping children to the car but no one even looked at me, so I ended up bundling them into the car myself. This was a regular occurrence.
The other thing that helped me decide to leave was one particular text message I got from her. It started because I had been on the phone and my Mum couldn’t get through to me. She was worried so drove up to see if we were ok. Thinking that it’s ok if I miss one night of group Mum and I decided to have dinner. I texted my friend and told her I would not be coming and her reply was very much like this: “if your Mum is more important than the group, then you need to think about whether you really want to be here or not.”
I texted her and told her that I don’t think I could be the reliable team member they needed so I opted out of the group. I wasn’t expecting what happened next. Not only did she delete and block me from a certain social networking site, but she got the others in the group to delete me also. She then emailed me and told me that it was not out of anger or dislike, but to see if I needed them to have a relationship with God or not.
All this, in my opinion, adds up to Spiritual Abuse. I will post a couple of links so you can see what I mean.
**Please note. I don’t necessarily agree with the other pages, comments, or links from these websites. I am merely posting them so you can see what sort of signs there are for spiritual abuse. If you decide to read the other pages on the links, please do so prayerfully. Thanks.**
I hope you now have a better understanding of how these things happen, how subtle they can be and what to look out for.