Here is an excellent video on spiritual abuse I found:
I grew up in the church. But as a 45 year old woman I have had a lot to learn about how to have a healthy relationship within a community. Somewhere in the back of my mind was the idea that as a woman I needed to sit down and shut up. I needed to just do whatever the authority said I should. This resulted in me idolizing everyone. I minimized myself, my feelings, and instincts (or intuition, gut feeling, vibes, sense, and perhaps even the voice of God).
I was spiritually abused.
I am healing.
This is not the end of the story.
And the labels do not define me.
I was a broken and battered sheep. I was a sheeple. I am awake. Maybe a little less trusting and a little paranoid. But I think I am okay. I still believe in God though at times He feels far from me. I hold on to His word that He is not far away. That He is ever-present.
I remember being at my old church and hearing about a small group series. I am introverted and take a long time to warm up to people I don’t know well. I think this saved me a lot. Well, rather than go to the small group I thought I would watch it. It was a series Mark Driscoll did on marriage. My spidey senses were tingling. Trusting my gut wasn’t working well. Well, my gut was talking it is just that perhaps from my childhood I learned not to trust it.
Looking back on what has transpired I think I had no filters. I did have some but I was not trusting what I felt. Well, because feelings are wrong, right? Don’t trust your feelings. Don’t trust yourself. Well so I was told.
I think this was my training ground. I think this was God working in the situation. He wanted me to be honest and to stand for something. He wanted me to think for myself rather than to just accept everything the pastor said from his pulpit! He wanted me to discern for myself. He did not just want me to accept every little thing into myself and most especially not all the hurtful words and actions!
I remember being so upset about Mark Driscoll’s sermon series on the book of Esther. He slammed the character of Queen Esther. And I was deeply offended by that. My mother named me after Queen Esther for a reason. That she was a good woman, a Godly woman.
What I have learned is that I am to follow God. Not my pastor. Not my leader. Not my husband. I question everything. That is not to say that I am a disrespectful, rebel.
But a true Godly leader is going to lift you up, not tear you down.