What is Religious Abuse?

Religious (or spiritual) abuse can take many forms, some more obvious than others– pedophilia, giving of girl children as brides to adult men, pressuring followers to send in “seed” money as proof of their faith and devotion.

Sometimes, however, it can be more subtle—exploiting basic human desires, such as those for safety and belonging. Churches, large or small, can use manipulative tactics to sway or even frighten people into a specific belief system and lifestyle, one that generally does not respect their thoughts or feelings.

But . . . what if they’re right?

When leaving this kind of religious or spiritual system, and sometimes even for years afterward, it’s normal to have doubts. After all, the “truth” about right and wrong has probably been a strict part of your lifestyle for a long time. Women, especially, are conditioned to focus on others, excluding themselves. This leaves them especially vulnerable to needing a group—a family, a church—in order to feel their lives have meaning.

You may be:

  • having nightmares
  • distracted at work
  • feeling isolated and lost
  • afraid you might lose your spouse/partner
  • deeply worried about your children’s spiritual lives

Will I ever feel normal and safe again?

You can, yes. The length of the road varies, depending on your circumstances and your personal history. But you can learn to trust yourself, to identify your own rules and boundaries, and to use the inner guidance you were born with.

I am not aligned with any religious or spiritual organization. Whether your choice is to leave a religion, rebuild within your current faith, or construct a different structure altogether, I will be honored to support you in finding a meaningful life that is connected, safe, and healthy. To ask a question or choose a time to meet, please email me or call 253-315-2595.