leaving to heal cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward


So many of you have suffered from spiritual abuse. You can heal. Here’s how I did it, and you can too:

  1. Admit that you were abused in the church, that an organization advertising love was actually abusive, that people in the people-helping business were actually in the people-hurting business. Don’t deny or minimize or dismiss it. You must acknowledge you were abused. Admit it!
  1. Recognize the symptoms: depression, withdrawal, insecurity, guilt, shame, distrust, fear, doubt, tears. Our ideas of God suffer because we trusted people like we trusted God. Everything spiritual now seems polluted. “Where was God when this happened?” “Where was I?” Good questions! Where could they lead? Be open to the change these questions invite.
  1. Talk with someone who understands spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is serious. Some change churches. Some leave the church. Some leave the faith. Some leave God. But for most, their spirituality freezes into hibernation. Talking with someone will help your frozen spirit thaw. You will change, but your spiritual life will be more organically and authentically yours.
  1. Write in a journal. It’s so revealing! I’ve journaled for decades. It’s an amazing tool for personal growth. A revelatory act. You won’t believe what you learn about yourself. It helps you acknowledge and admit the abuse, recognize the symptoms, and find a way through the trauma. It will help you heal faster, better, and wiser.
  1. Appreciate the process. Many consider recuperation as an unpleasant road to healing. No! This process is the wholeness. Doctors have doctors. Therapists have therapists. The healing process is rich with forgiveness, wisdom, compassion, self-awareness, and confidence that wouldn’t be gleaned without it being appreciated. It deepens us. Healing yourself is your wholeness!

You can get better. Heal yourself!

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