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By Veronica Fasan

Many people in places of worship find it difficult to intervene even when they suspect a person is being spiritually abused. Spiritual abuse, in this case, means a form of power and control being used by one in a position of authority in the place of worship or under the pretense of a religious belief. This can include sexual abuse, verbal, emotional, ritual, spousal abuse, whatever robs the other person of his or her dignity, confidence, trust in leaders, in men in the church. Intimidation may be used, economic abuse, brainwashing, using isolation, coercion, threat, put-downs, harass shifting responsibility, blame, mind games, guilt trip, humiliation. False prophecy to hold people bound and not leave or to donate more money than they can afford under undue influence.

Those who are supposed to help are in denial or turn a blind eye because the abuser may be a person of influence, a big donor, child of the leader of the organization or that of an influential member’s child. There have been cases where a deacon’s son impregnated a  faithful single parent’s daughter and even when the victim is a minor, there are cover-ups and blames heaped on the minor. Threats, gossips, warnings and the possibility of excommunications.

Like Eli’s sons in the Bible, there were lots of complaints but because of their position as the leaders’ children, nothing was done about it till judgment came upon that family.

In most cases, parents are reluctant to seek help themselves from social services, or from those who can help because they believe their children might be taken from them. Some members of the organization that express their concern might be treated like traitors, The abuser might be a saint, respected in the place of worship and transforms to a tyrant that bullies his wife and abused his family. They command fear and absolute obedience, using scripture out of context to suit their need to bully, punish and terrorize them.

Some have anger issues and slap their wife or victim into submission. To notice signs of extreme control and abuse, one should first realize that a place where there is no freedom of worship has something missing. most people join a place of worship for freedom, to be free from loneliness, rejection, to be in a family where they can worship God together with joy, peace of mind and grow in a safe environment and community.

Secrecy feeds the power and control of the abuser. If you are not comfortable telling a member of the church or place of worship tell a friend, family member that can be trusted with confidentiality. How do you know when an abuse starts and recognize them, and how do you get out of it before it begins to mess with your brain.

Signs of extreme control in the church or place of worship are: to ask yourself these questions  – Are you made to look like there is something wrong with you when you say what you are going through; are you made to look like nobody will believe you anyway; are you made to believe you would destroy the reputation of the organization?

Evaluation of the situation to determine the least harmful environment for you and your family might need to be done so you don’t keep up your morale and self-esteem down. Those who attend places of worship joined voluntarily and must be free to leave without been made to feel guilty and stigmatized. They should not think all churches and places of worship are all the same.

Do a lot of research look before you join and if there is anything illegal, unethical or unspiritual going on, flee. Those who have been through years of spiritual abuse need to heal, emotionally and if there was sexual abuse or ritual abuse report should be made to the appropriate organization so that other people will not go through the same kind of abuse, as some might lead to death if it is witch hunting or a ritual abuse. Counter-cult counseling is available, life coaching and other ways of dealing with unresolved issues and healing emotional wounds.

It is important to break the silence, stop the cycle of abuse. No one has the right to batter you, physically or verbally.

About the Author

Veronica has a legal and educational background, a member of the Law society England and Wales, National Association of Licensed paralegal, An Institute of Leadership management member, she is a Life coach and owner of F C Coaching and consultancy. She is a leader in Prayer and faith Clinic London.

Article Source: What to do if you are being abused spiritually

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