Spiritual Abuse is Abuse

I went on a job interview a few weeks ago and my blog ended up in the conversation. When asked what I wrote about I said “Spiritual Abuse” which is the sort of standard term we use for what cult survivors and general survivors of abuse from pastors.

The man interviewing me asked what that meant and in an attempt to explain it, I listed some of what has happened to myself and others I know. He said, “Oh, real abuse.”

Lesson learned: rape, physical maltreatment, being hit, verbal abuse–these are all ABUSE. Maybe we shouldn’t use the term spiritual in front of them. It seems that some people (even ourselves) don’t take it seriously.

5 thoughts on “Spiritual Abuse is Abuse”

  1. It’s not a well-known phrase, and people associate ‘spiritual’ with things that are uplifting and awesome. I think spiritual abuse fits and even makes a lot of sense. Maybe the only thing to do is to keep sharing and explaining it to people.

    1. I’ve heard “church abuse” used also, and I think that’s a better term than spiritual abuse. When we say spiritual abuse, it sounds very benign.

  2. I can understand your interviewer’s point, and yours Lisa. Putting the word “spiritual” in front of abuse will raise unnecessary questions for clarification and/or muddy the waters as to exactly what type of abuse we might be discussing. It seems to work for some though, but it seems most of what is being talked about is mental and to a lesser extent physical abuse. What does it imply for a Christian though, crediting the devil as the source????

  3. Hi Lisa,

    So glad that you shared your story online.  Glad that you like to write about spiritual abuse.  It is so important to get the word out to others.  Everyone feels that it is just them, but it isn’t. 

    You might be interested in my doctoral research and book called:  Spiritual Abuse Recovery.  There is some good teaching along with the accounts and statistics of those who experienced recovery after spiritual abuse in their home church.

    My website is:  http://www.churchexiters.com.

    All the best,Barb Orlowski, D.Min.

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