Don’t think spiritual abuse is real? These 5 cartoons will make you think again

Religious PTSD is real.  Spiritual abuse is a thing. Hopefully, these cartoons will create more awareness. 

But what exactly is spiritual abuse? Any attempt to exert power and control over someone using religion, faith, or beliefs can be spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse can happen within a religious organization or a personal relationship.

  1. Hardly Laid A Finger On You Cartoon

    Some think abuse is just violent treatment of another person. But when people’s freedoms are restricted or violated, this is a subtle form of abuse. It’s violence against the human spirit. Like this cartoon, spiritual abusers don't tape people's mouths, cuff their wrists, shackle their feet, put them on a leash, or lock them in a cage. Not literally. But they might silence people, restrict their movements, prevent their freedom, limit their involvement, and control their thoughts and lives.

  2. Sophia's Back
    Just because your wounds can't be seen, doesn't mean they aren't real. Emotional and spiritual hurt is real. I’ve worked with spiritual leaders who were incredibly abusive without ever touching anyone.

  3. You Call It Spiritual Abuse
    Once, when I told a spiritual leader he was too controlling, he poked his finger hard into my chest and told me I needed psychiatric help. Manipulation, coercion, and control are often the primary tools of many abusive spiritual leaders.
  4. Spiritual Abuse Is Invisible Abuse
    Spiritual abusers often hide behind the guise of “Doing God’s work,” or helping you become “The person God wants you to be.” This can leave you questioning yourself, and wondering if you are overreacting.  Spoiler alert – you’re not overreacting! Those inner warning bells are going off for a reason. Trust yourself.
  5. Venn Diagram On Spiritual Abuse
    I admit that I put myself in a vulnerable position because I enjoyed the sense of community, the common purpose and the sense of divine destiny. The trade-off was submitting to the overbearing and controlling authority of the leaders who supplied these benefits. But we shouldn’t have to put up with being controlled and manipulated to enjoy community. Of course leaving an abusive relationship or religious community feels risky and scary (ask me, I did it). It’s walking away from something we thought we loved – something we were lead to believe was good for us.  On the flip-side, discovering your own beliefs and honouring your authentic self makes walking away worthwhile. Living free is always sweeter than the approval of others.

If you think you've been spiritually abused you might want to read my blog post, 10 Questions You Can Ask A Church To See If It's Spiritually Abusive.

Back to blog

Leave a comment