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The following is a personal spiritual abuse story I am posting during January’s Spiritual Awareness Month. I’ve said it before, but after the media got hold of my story, one of the most startling revelations to me was the overwhelming amount of responses by people who have been spiritually abused. I read literally hundreds of comments on my blog, news articles, and personal e-mails. Spiritual abuse is not something that is done every now and then, sadly. Many leave church entirely and never return. Many who call themselves atheists or agnostics are former regular church attenders who because of the pain they endured, cannot face church, or a pastor, or God again. This must stop!
So on this blog, I call it out. If I see spiritual abuse or agendas that can be abusive that might benefit others, I will post it. This is not solely about my story anymore. My story woke me up to the reality that there are many, many people just like me. I understand the pain and if you have suffered from spiritual abuse, your voice is important to me. You have a place to speak about it: right here! This is our sounding board. Thank you for sharing your stories and sending e-mails.
Thank you for this blog Julie Anne, it will help so many who are currently feeling silenced, isolated, under threat or too scared to speak out publicly and are now desperate with nowhere to turn.
I am struggling with this issue, having literally just come out of a year’s experience of ”counseling” with a pastor who should not be allowed anywhere near victims of abuse ever again.
There is no accountability! We need to push this serious and life-damaging issue wide open and keep speaking out until something is done, as many more victims will be too scared to speak up about what is going on or not understand they were/are being groomed.
I have nowhere to turn to speak out, except here or hope of survivors which is great for resources, I am deliberating over the choices I have, which seem like none.
He is so well respected, I feel guilty, disgusting that I did not see what was happening. I feel like I want to shout at him to give my history of abuse which i shared with him back. I feel violated in that way, violated in trust terms. I am glad I stopped seeing him before more damage was done. Mine was cruelty and emotional abuse. I feel ashamed and am still going through disbelief and intense feelings of hurt and betrayal.
He seemed to take a perverse pleasure in seeing me struggle and then deny me support or help. I became even more dependent, until finally i became so ill I self-harmed. He totally denied any responsibility which nearly sent me over the edge. He had a weird family history situation which involved mental illness and he used that to control me.
I am frightened of him and his power to hurt other victims. When I told him my story of abuse, he would stay on the topic of sex too long. He did not keep my confidentiality private. He played games with it, made me feel unstable and scared, always changing how he gave support, keeping me unbalanced and reliant on him. I got blamed for little things, until I became such a bundle of nerves and paranoia I had a screaming fit at him once, which again he blamed on me. But I now see it was my nervous system screaming at me to get away from him. He is dangerous and i want to stop him doing this or worse to some other victim but i don’t know how to.
The more research I have done into the backgrounds of clergy/ministers, previous professions, the personality profiles, the jeckyl/hyde persona which gradually reveals itself until the horror is staring you in the face. By then the abusive pastor has usually been so adept at pulling you into his world and making you feel guilty, you are emotionally broken and in need of so much support to get away.
We must keep speaking out, to all the victims, you are not alone, we need to support each other and give each other a voice.
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