When Your Story of Spiritual Abuse is Dismissed
Is Your Story of Spiritual Abuse Dismissed?
I posted this cartoon early this summer but I’m posting it again because it’s an important element of spiritual abuse… the theme I’m focusing on for a few days.
My work on spiritual abuse receives angry and defensive reactions.
Why are you so bitter?
How dare you attack Christ’s bride whom he died for!
This hardly happens.
You’re just trying to make us look bad to the world.
Do you have to be so negative?
You’re in the Church so don't bite the hand that feeds you.
You aren’t in the Church so you have no right to criticize it.
I claim spiritual abuse, from control to sexual assault, is actually rampant in the Church.
The Church is the perfect culture for abuse. It has all the ingredients:
Ignorance of systemic evil;
The lack of accountability;
Predation of women and children;
Fear of criticizing something sacred;
Submission as a value;
Unquestioning loyalty as a requirement;
Denial as a default position;
The compulsory forgiveness and restitution of fallen leaders.
These combine to make churches perfect for spiritual abuse.
Denial of this silences victims, dismisses their pain, and nullifies their experience. Just so they can hold on to their fantasy idea of Church. They sacrifice people to the institution.
When someone says their church doesn’t spiritually abuse I think one of three things:
They are right and are therefore fortunate.
They don’t recognize spiritual abuse because we are so used to being assaulted every week and expect to be dominated by their leaders.
Spiritual abuse is rebranded as discipline or authority or our weakness and unwillingness to submit.
Spiritual abuse is real and it’s wrong.