Journal of Heresies

My search for truth in a world of deceit.

Location: United States

I have what is probably an insatiable desire to search out the answers to what may be impossible questions.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Spiritual Abuse and Manipulation

I've been reading a book to learn more about what my brother might be going through in regards to his church and to learn how people might escape from such an environment. To me, the ways in which my brother's church manipulates and the results of those manipulations are pretty serious. I also have not been totally blind to the fact that there are plenty of manipulative people within most churches. I was well aware that I have personally encountered these behaviors. I was, however, surprised to realize just how much spiritual abuse I have been a victim of and how much I have been hurt. I also realized that while I was in leadership positions, I probably unknowingly hurt people as well.

I think that over much of the past three or four years I have been in a process of discovery and recovery. Some of the posts I have written in this blog are eerily similar to some of the examples given in the book. I see now that part of the purpose of my blog is to fight back, to cry out, to warn people. Yet, as I state under my journal title, my body is still stuck, trapped in an abusive system, even though my spirit has found freedom in truth. That is why, I am fencekicker; I want completely out; I want people to wake up; I want to set the captives free. I am tired of being beat up by the church, taken advantage of, treated like a slave, and told to keep quiet.

When my husband began working for the mainstream denomination in which he is currently still employed, we were naive. We thought we would be serving God. We have sacrificed so very much here, but for what? When my husband worked 80-90 hours a week for 10 weeks straight, I used to think it was for God; Now when he works those weeks, I seethe, knowing that he is being taken advantage of and that the organization's purpose for his work is to help bring people into this messed up system. My husband thinks that our presence here can help others to see what we see; I think that we can and will do that wherever we live and work, but at least out there we don't have to be hurt anymore; out there, I can shout and sing-out what I believe from my roof top without restraint. One of the barriers to leaving discussed in the book is the thought that you have already invested so much that you should give it a little more time to see if things will get better. Perhaps this is why my husband feels compelled to stay a little longer.

This book has given me a lot to think about. Maybe the more I understand how we became imprisoned by a church and how we began to see that this isn't the way YHVH intended it to be, the more I'll be able to help my brother and his wife to see what is happening to them. Maybe when we all get out of our abusive systems, we will grow close together as our wounds heal.

I'm planning to give a copy of this book to my brother. In fact, I think I'll just go out and buy about three dozen of them to give away because I think it is very important for people to know about spiritual abuse so they can recognize it, prevent it and escape it. In case you are interested, the book is The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen.


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