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Abigail

recovery from spiritual abuse

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We have a lot of new posters here these days. I have been thinking about the wealth of information which has been posted here over the years, but is now gone from the forums. So I thought over the next few days, I would see if I could dig up some of it for those who have never had opportunity to see it.

The following is a list of some of the common struggles people face, when leaving an abusive religious organization.

1. You develop a distorted image of God.

A God who is never satisfied who keeps setting higher and higher goals and is eager to let you find out how much you?ve missed the mark..

A God who is waiting for us to make a mistake?then point out all our failures, or to punish or humiliate.

An apathetic God who watches when people are hurt and abused, but does nothing to help?

And there is more ??.

2. You may be preoccupied with spiritual performance.

Preoccupation with spiritual performance often results in a tendency towards extremes of self-righteousness or shame. Self Righteousness (a sense of spiritual superiority based on your own behavior) and judgmentalism (a sense of spiritual superiority based on someone else?s behavior) indicate a performance based life-style.

3. You have a distorted self-identity of yourself as a Christian.

Confusion between guilt and shame. Guilt is a valuable signal indicating a wrong or bad behavior. Shame is an indictment on you as a person. You experience guilt when you do a wrong behavior; guilt is a good spiritual nerve ending causing you to right wrong behavior. You feel shame even when you?ve done nothing wrong;

4. You may have a problem relating to spiritual authority.

They tend to the extremes of compliance or defiance when faced with someone else having authority.

5. You may have a hard time with grace.

You find ways to push away the grace extended by God and the gifts from the other people, so that you end up going with out. Or you accept them with such overwhelming sense of owing that you find ways to "pay back" God and others for what they?ve done.

6. You may have a problem in the area of personal boundaries, an unclear understanding about "death to self" teachings and "rights".

People who have misused their spiritual power have disrespected or beaten down your boundaries. They have shamed you out of your "no", clouded your will and intruded into your life with religious agendas. They have violated your spirituality by playing "Holy Spirit." Having an opinion has come to equal lack of submissiveness. Having a right to not be abused is selfish

7. You may have difficulty with personal responsibility.

You may have learned to be under-responsible?..or learned to be over-responsible. You have a greater sense of God needing you than you needing God.

The most extreme form of over-responsibility happens when you martyr yourself. Being affected by insults and thoughtless actions is immature, and having feelings is being oversensitive. Going without is a prime virtue. Feeling numb to life is the end result.

8. You may suffer from a lack of living skills.

Abusive systems develop a "bunker mentality". This is characterized by being closed and paranoid toward the outside, and secretive about what goes on inside. The mentality is not only separatist, but highly judgmental.

9. You may have a hard time admitting the abuse.

a) You are told that you are "the problem" for noticing there is a problem. That makes it hard to expose the abuse, even after you?ve left the system.

b) Admitting the abuse out loud-or even thinking that what you experienced was abuse-often feels like you?re being disloyal to family, to church, even to God.

Those who have experienced spiritual abuse as "normal" have lost track of what normal really is.

c) It is so inconsistent with everything that is supposed to be happening in families and churches that the excruciating pain of it is short-circuited.

10. You may have a hard time with trust.

Mark Twain once mused, "A cat that sits on a hot stove lid wont sit on a hot stove lid again. But it probably won?t sit on a cold stove lid either." Those who have been spiritually abused will have a hard time trusting a spiritual system again. This is extremely significant, because the essence of living as a Christian is a trust relationship with God, within God?s family.

To every man his own truth and his own God within.

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Abigail, thank you. These things were very helpful to me when I first found WayDale. I'm sure they will be helpful to more people who haven't seen them before.

It really helps put things in perspective.

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Abby,

Seems 8,9, and 10 are especially prevelent...

I know I had to work very hard at geting rid of the over-reacting bunker mentality.

Even number 7, learning what was a socially normal level of inquisitiveness, without the ulterior motive of "hustling" someone to the wrongly-divided bible,-- that was at least a couple years of learning how to talk to people all over again.

WW

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Ex

That was a long article! What do you think about it? While I was reading it, I thought how obvious they were in a cult. Do you think it was that obvious to those we could not get to sign the green card that we were in a cult?

Was it that obvious to the outsider?

Abi - great post

Dot Matrix

[This message was edited by Dot Matrix on February 04, 2003 at 14:17.]

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Likeaneagle...

If you are inquiring about Abigail's 1 thru 10 list, it looks like it is from the book

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen.

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<

Edited by OKLAHOMA CITY WOW 78

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OKLAHOMA CITY WOW 78

I am not sure if this was meant to actually bring this thread back to life but I am glad you did.

Now where do we go from here?

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Hey, I'm a new poster (although I did leave 5 years ago), and for whatever its worth, I think my issue is self esteem. I mean, I like me and all, but not as much as I liked the perfect-invincible-know-it-all-magic-better-than-the-rest-of-the-world version of me.

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Hey, I'm a new poster (although I did leave 5 years ago), and for whatever its worth, I think my issue is self esteem. I mean, I like me and all, but not as much as I liked the perfect-invincible-know-it-all-magic-better-than-the-rest-of-the-world version of me.

You're not the only one! Hang around for awhile and you can join a very elitist crowd who will help you put it all back together! It's the love of god in cyberland coming into concretion, which will ooozzzze through your computer screen under the keyboard and all over your sticky sweaty fingers!

And presto before you know it, you will fly away with a dove, in a christlike halo of complete serenity, into a new world of total foreknowledge UNTIL...

The DELETE BUTTON is pushed and you are banned to the Cult Crypt where unknown horrors await and there is no longer anyone to talk to! :evildenk:

Welcome Nick! Sorry I ate the last croissant! :biglaugh:

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