Religious Trauma the Invisible Disease

Religious trauma is an invisible debilitating disease which left to its own devices will reduce its victims to insanely obsessed hate-driven workaholic atheists on one end of the spectrum to barely functioning depressives with suicidal tendencies on the other.

The mental and emotional price which is paid by victims of religious trauma is just too much to fathom. So hard to comprehend, in fact, that society has little or no tolerance for it, unless it refers specifically to child sexual abuse, otherwise, any concerns one may have regarding religious trauma is seen as insignificant.

As far as society is concerned, just stop engaging with the religious organization which has upset you, find another one, or stop going altogether and take up a hobby to replace the void left by your vacating the religion. No big deal.

They have no idea the price which is paid for the total collapse of an entire belief system. It’s the kind of thing you could never be able to conceive of unless you’ve experienced it or seen it over and over again in your daily practice.

If you’ve been struck by religious trauma from the neck up, you’re confused, because your whole world’s been turned upside down. It’s hard to make sense of anything in the real world) if there were such a thing). I mean how can you know what’s right, what’s wrong, what should you do next? Especially in world that not long ago, any wrong decision or move, could end in sudden death, or even something far worse, like eternal damnation.

Your emotions are all over the map and you do your best to appear to be “normal” when you’re angry, hurt, unable to find joy in the simple things in life, lack or purpose, and suffering from unspoken grief of separation from community and “God,” for God’s sake.

You suffer the loss of friends and find it hard to trust anyone after you’ve suffered religious trauma, and you feel like a stranger in a strange land, surrounded by a million people whom you may have thought were “evil,” and trying to rectify the idea you’re now one of “them.”

And if you’ve been in the grip of an authoritative religion for a while (since childhood) God forbid! You’re lucky to have made it this far!

You are a super-mess. You have no idea how to function in the real world.

You have no concept of how to act “normal” and for those to try to fit in too soon, they often find themselves over-reacting, as if, since they no longer have any chance of being with God, then they should just engage in everything they’ve been told not to do, finding themselves suffering the consequences of really poor decision-making.

And if you’ve suffered mental, physical, and sexual abuse, in the name of God, you feel as if there is no hope for you, ever.

Those affected by religious trauma often find themselves diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and clinical depression. Along with a long list of mental disorders, including bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, anxiety, borderline personality, eating, social and anti-social, marital and sexual dysfunction, alcohol and drug abuse, suicidal ideation, trouble with the law, and criminal tendencies.

We read about the most extreme cases in the news, hear about it in the media, and online, after some poor victim has found themselves so far outside the idea of having any hope, their names are found anywhere from the front page to the obituaries, and the truth of their struggle with religious trauma may never be fully understood.

But there is hope.

Though help may not be easily found among the secular services which are commonly available via “the social system,” for there can be little empathy or understanding from those who have no idea what it might have been to suffer, as you have.

The bulk of this necessary work of recovery, healing, and charting a new path for you is primarily a solo journey, but there are many who do know what you’re going through, because they, too, have suffered in similar ways (likely not the same but similar). They know, and they pray for you.

They pray? They believe?

Yes, they have found their way to the other side of the trauma and abuse and have been able to realize that their suffering was at the hands of misled, possibly “evil” human beings falsely claiming authority of God, NOT by any deity.

They have not only survived, but they now thrive. So, yes, there is life, wonderfully abundant, joyful and loving life on the other side of religious trauma.

You can live a better life, your best life, and make the world a better place.

See you at the Recovery from Religious Trauma Event in Olympia, September 21st

Religious Trauma Spiritual Abuse

Religious trauma is far more complicated a gnarly beast than you might think on the surface. Of course, the headlines are full of shocking reports of improprieties against the youngsters in devoutly religious families. These young people keep these deep, dark religious secrets until mid-life, after years of struggling with covering up and hiding the truth of the sins of those who they trusted to be God’s representatives.

There is no doubt that this would warp the minds, twist the consciousness, and cause psychological and physical manifestations which are extremely difficult to manage when attempting to integrate with other individuals in the adult world.

The bottling, pushing down, and hiding of it, cause it to rear its ugly head as dysfunction, mental illness, suicidal tendencies, or physical diseases, even cancer.

But there is a far more common type of spiritual abuse which takes place every day, in many (if not most) religious families the world over.

These types of spiritual abuse, or religious abuse, are not dissimilar to other types of abuse, except that they are propagated by religious leaders, their followers, fathers, mothers, and children of religious organizations all “in the name of God.”

Mental abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, all acts of God.

Or, at least, this is how it is represented, or received and/or understood by the victims of said religious or spiritual abuse.

These victims either succumb to the abuse as a necessary rite of passage into spirituality increasing their connection to God as they sacrifice their humanity as a benevolent offering or the abuse haunts and terrorizes them, until they break free from the organization, horrified that God would allow or condone such behavior.

There is no greater crime against humanity than using the highest power to manipulate, torture, or abuse another being, yet these criminals hide behind a protective barrier, which we call, “Freedom of religion.”

These victims, long after their abuse in a “do or die” last-ditch-effort to find a way to survive a life of religious trauma, are speaking out, holding their spiritual abusers accountable, and we read about their courage to do so in the headlines.

The most important thing to remember in all of this is that your victimizer was not God. No matter what he or she claims, God had nothing to do with these crimes against you. I know it feels like God is responsible, but there is no God involvement here, no matter what anyone says.

God is only love; that’s all. Anything that is not love is not God, and the perpetrators of these crimes against you were not representing God at the times when these atrocities were taking place.

And the next thought which occurs to you is, “Where was God?” Or, “How could God let this happen to me?” If your thoughts are left to themselves, following a brief pause, you may conclude, “There is no God.”

No one would blame you. And there are those who would be quick to agree with you.

Know this: God is love. God loves you more than anything, and you are God’s precious creation.

Religion is man’s attempt to reach out to, rationalize, and find God, but God is here, inside of you, all around you. There is not a God out there, hiding, waiting to be found. God is here.

Even when you feel like God is not here, God is here.

Now, it’s up to you, to find a safe place and protect yourself from further abuse, and seek your healing from vicious wounds and scars, both seen and unseen.

If you allow the crimes of this person, or these persons, to separate you from God, then they have exerted their prowess over you, and those who have victimized you, committed atrocities against you, they are the psychotic victors. They’ve won; because there is nothing they would like more than to have enough power over you to separate you from God. And in doing so, they endow themselves with god-like power.

A predatory religious psychopath is excited and finds extreme pleasure in the destruction of others. There is nothing that would please them more than you’re being depressed, miserable, in pain, constant struggle, and abandonment of any idea that there may be a creator or higher energy source that loves you, no matter what.

But, if you can find God on your own, in whatever way makes sense to you, to grow and expand faith and love in any way you can on your own terms, that person, or those persons, who sought to destroy you are rendered powerless, and YOU emerge victorious.

Becoming your highest and best version of yourself, living a better life, your best life, and making the world a better place in spite of all the horrors you have endured exemplifies that God is there, and those who sought to destroy you, failed miserably.

The road to recovery is not without its challenges, and you cannot do it wrong, but you can do this. This is your destiny, your calling. If you can survive this, there are others out there who desperately need to know there is hope for them, and you can help give them hope enough to make it one more day. And that one day can make all the difference.

You are priceless treasure.

Shine.

See you at the Recovery from Religious Trauma Event in Olympia, September 21st

Religious Psychopaths

I have delayed putting anything “out there” about my religious clients for a long time who have suffered from spiritual abuse from religious psychopaths. This is the most highly confidential and personal work that I do with any individual.

The reason for the delay is because I began my journey in the ministerial sciences. I love the religious phase of my spiritual journey and have continued to grow and change without having to abandon my own connection with the Creator(s) and thrive.

When you’ve been victimized by a religious psychopath, something to keep in mind is that just because we’ve used the label of “psychopath” for this type of spiritual predator, drop the need to qualify the diagnosis. Don’t be distracted by the highly educated keepers of the “official diagnosis” (which is often very complicated and can take weeks, if not months, to reach an accurate diagnosis).

Let go of the need to get an official diagnosis and do not be distracted by the “professional” who might dissuade you from taking action until you get an official diagnosis. Just stop.

If you’re a victim of spiritual abuse

Stop it.

Religious psychopaths are out there, and they are manipulating unwitting victims using religion or “God” as a weapon to subjugate followers to their own twisted ends satisfying their desire to dominate subjects, followers, or members.

They do so by wielding the most effective tools bestowed by The Creator of all that has been, is, and ever will be, but twist and distort the data to create an environment of fear, demanding the full submission of slavery, “or else.”

This god-like power has nearly unlimited potential in the hands of a religious psychopath which can be used for public “good works” to justify their position but can also be used for evil behind closed doors.

The result is spiritual slavery of otherwise healthy individuals who suffer from emotional abuse and a wide variety of traumatic effects which can be debilitating, rendering the victim hopeless, afraid, and trapped (spiritually imprisoned). This is not the work of God, this is

Spiritual Terrorism

If any religious person is committing acts of “evil” under the so-called protection of an ultimate endorsement of “God Almighty,” of you have a problem with referring to such a person as a religious psychopath, forget about that label, and consider him or her a

Toxic Religious Leader

And take action to protect yourself as soon as possible.

Refer to my, “How to Deal with a Psychopath,” and separate yourself from the individual. Do whatever it takes (and trust me, you will not be “struck by lightning” or die). The fear you have of protecting yourself is not real. It has been sewn into the fabric of your consciousness by the psychopath or toxic religious leader.

Seek help, find someone you can trust, join a group, and get yourself to a safe place in your life.

Your religious or spiritual abuse recovery will not be instantaneous, but removing yourself from your prison of abuse is the first step.

Above all, remember this: God is love. In fact, it’s been said, “Love is all you need.”

God loves you, does not desire to enslave you. God wants you to be living your best life, desires to bestow upon you all the gifts and joy that comes from a life lived within God’s grace, free from any terrorism or abuse, spiritual, or otherwise.

Far too many people who have been the victim of spiritual terrorism have turned their back on God, blaming God for the actions of religious psychopaths.

Just because a terrorist commits horrible acts “in the name of God,” does not mean that God has anything to do with the evil acts committed by such a toxic individual who is beyond help. He or she will do whatever they will, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it, but you can get out of their way.

You do not need to participate in their evil plots.

Get yourself free and continue your relationship with God, discover who or what God is for yourself and what that means for you and your life, on your own terms.

Once you have broken free from the chains of the religious psychopath, you can continue your spiritual journey realizing that you now know the difference between religious enslavement and God’s unconditional love, which is the power of all life.

Remember also, unlike what you may have been told previously, you cannot do God wrong.

Then you can continue to grow and expand to achieve your highest and best, live a better life, your best life and make the world a better place.

You Can’t Do God Wrong

I meet people who are struggling with “God” all the time. Some of these people are so broken and in pain and suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and have decided to reject God because of the suffering they’ve endured in His name.

Stop defining God by religious activity. Not that there is anything wrong with religious activity, in and of itself, unless it is performed in the absence of Love.

God is Love and without Love there is nothing. Do not choose to opt out of Love because you suffered at the hands of men serving religion.

If you love, God is there. If you live and breathe, God is there. If you hate, God is there. If you’ve ceased to live, God is there, for there is God’s Love is everywhere, all the time. God will never leave you, or any thing. God is there, 24/7, limitless, eternal, and if you believe this, if you can have an understanding of God’s limitlessness, God is more. God is more than you could ever conceive of.

I’ve known the most scholarly students of God, who know more than I could ever comprehend of God and He is so much more. You cannot define God, but you can seek God and there is no dishonor in attempting to knowing God in the best way you can.

Do we miss the mark? Certainly, for any of us are only doing the best we can with what we have, but if you have all the knowledge of God, all the power of persuasion and miracles, all the words and best intentions, and have not love, you could do better.

It’s easy to sit back in your religious easy chair and judge others for doing God wrong, but you, any of us, cannot do it wrong.

If you’ve been wronged, hurt, victimized by those who are trying to learn everything they can about God, serving God the best way they can with the information they have at the time, God is there, and when it seems like there is no love there, God is there, in you.

When it seems like all is lost, and feels like there is no God, God is there. God will never leave or forsake you. People, on the other hand, are fallible and can do things which are void of love, but God’s love is still there.

The problem with people who stop learning, growing, and expanding, is that they think they’ve arrived at their Godly knowledge destination, and maybe they have, but God is greater.

Whatever you (and I’m including myself, here) think God is, God is infinitely more.

People can let you down, talk behind your back, betray you, stab you in the back, and victimize you, but God will only love you.

Please, do not blame God for the actions of others, who may have acted in His name. Some of the worst events in history were atrocities performed in the name of God, but just because someone claimed God’s anointing, doesn’t supersede God’s love. Just because a person claims to be acting on the behalf of God, doesn’t make it so.

So, the ownness is on you. You are loved, you are love, and without God, anything that is would cease to be.

You may have been told that there is only one way to be one with God. This is true, but people get bogged down by the definition of the “one way,” when in reality, there is no way to do God wrong, but we could have done or could do God better.

You can seek God, continue to learn and grow in any way you see fit, and if someone challenges you in your pursuit of God, bless them, for they are only doing the best we can. Could we do it better? Yes, any of us could, no matter where we are in our spiritual journey.

Know this,

You Can’t Do God Wrong

All any of us can do is the best we can with what we have, and you are allowed and encouraged to maintain your relationship with God in whatever way suits you best at any time. You could try to not create the separation of exclusivity and allow others to find their own way, blessing them all the way.

And above all,

Love

Love. That’s who God is

And so much more.

Religious or Spiritual Abuse Recovery

There is hope for victims of religious or spiritual abuse. It is not uncommon for someone who has suffered at the hands of a religious organization, leader, spiritual mentor or counselor to recoil from the event in a negative way.

recovery from religious or spiritual abuse

Of course this type of abuse can take many forms… The abuse could be psychological or emotional in nature or physiological including everything from physical abuse to (thankfully more rare) sexual indiscretions. Primary psychological assaults include the loss of individuality or self-worth in an attempt to promote single-mindedness and ease of group management, loss of personal rights, intimidation and dominance.

Spiritual and religious organizations’ leadership rosters are often infiltrated by sociopathic or psychopathic individuals who are driven to exercise control over others whom they see as lesser or subservient. In the event that you have had the unfortunate encounter with such an overbearing individual; you must know that he or she may not be an adequate representation of the group or organization that he or she represents.

What happens if you ask questions or question authority? In a spiritually abusive environment one may experience ridicule for asking questions and you may sense an increasingly hostile response with threats of excommunication or threats of eternal consequences.

An extremely exclusive organization may promote isolation from outsiders, cutting ties to non-believers promoting an “Us vs. Them,” attitude. Other signs you might be subjected to potential spiritual abuse may include multiple markers indicating levels of spirituality (and/or entitlement), penalties for non-compliance and financial exploitation.

You may have been the victim of religious or spiritual abuse if:

  1. A religious organization or spiritual leader
    1. Defrauds via deception
    2. Manipulates
    3. Exercises forms of mind control
    4. Emotionally exploits
    5. Psychologically abuses
  2. A spiritually-based group that
    1. Has a dual reality (insiders vs. outsiders)
    2. Secret rites or insider’s only, “truths”
    3. Critically denounces outsiders
    4. Expresses dire consequences for non-members
    5. Enforces compliance
  3. An organization that
    1. Denounces criticism
    2. Maintains a false public image
    3. Requires donation of one’s personal belongings
    4. Claims to have ultimate “enlightenment”
    5. Practices an elitist perspective

risk of spiritual exploitation

Protecting one’s self from dangerous, compromising or litigious circumstances is completely normal and necessary for self preservation, yet our defensive response is in the form of overcompensation. It’s not uncommon for a victim of this kind of abuse to turn their backs totally on all things of a spiritual nature.

Believing in a higher power can be one of the most empowering forces in your life; to completely reject the entire concept based on a single episodic experience, could have a devastating effect one’s overall quality of life.

Regardless of the excessive intensity of your experience, you can be among the many survivors of religious or spiritual abuse, with your faith firmly intact. Although you may have isolated yourself from all things spiritual in order to put a stop to the abuse, you can reclaim your spirituality in a positive and life-affirming way.

Whether you are struggling with these issues from occurrences of this kind of abuse in the past, or if you are concerned about victimization that may be taking place in the present, there is hope for you to realize a continued spiritual life, free from bondage or pain as a result of the person(s), group or organization who may have, or may be exploiting you, either indirectly or maliciously.

Unresolved spiritual abuse can have continued negative impact on one’s life harboring resentment, lack of trust, difficulty in inter-personal relationships; blocking personal achievement, abundance, happiness and preventing you from achieving your highest and best.

You can heal from your abusive past so that you can go on with your life no longer being a victim. Take charge of your life, embrace your spiritual healing and don’t let this experience from experiencing all the best things this life has to offer and start your healing process today.

As you peel back the layers of your experience, you may discover this has prepared you for your ability to reach out to other victims as a mentor to help them deal with the same challenges you have survived.

See you at the Recovery from Religious Trauma Event in Olympia, September 21st

Are You a Victim of Spiritual Abuse?

In my practice, I meet many different kinds of people. Certain people are attracted to me because of my skill of dealing with people who have been victims of spiritual abuse. It is possible that my experience in the God business, as well as my continued spiritual growth is appealing to people along with my success in working with people who felt as though they were dealing with issues of spiritual abuse.

spiritual abuse

Based on my experience, one could conclude that there is no one way to define, “spiritual abuse,” as it takes on such a wide spectrum of issues. Without a clear definition, only the individuals can correctly diagnose themselves as suffering from spiritual abuse.

You know if you’ve been a victim of spiritual abuse

You probably have the idea that spiritual abuse comes from religious environments, like churches – though this is the most prevalent source – you might be surprised to find that victims of spiritual abuse come from all walks of life, both religious and non-religious.

Spiritual abuse can come from religious organizations, clergy, religious psychopaths, parents, and other family members, husbands and/or wives, friends, neighbors, employers, counselors, therapists, doctors, and coaches, just to name a few…

The implication is that pretty much anyone could be the source, the source of spiritual abuse; not to mention the invisible spiritual abuse that comes from deep within (or without) one’s self.

This kind of abuse (like any kind of abuse) can show up in someone’s character in what would be perceived as negative (or abrasive) attributes, though this appears without cognitive effort from the individual who suffered the abuse.

If left buried and untreated, it will spread from an attitudinal presupposition to other areas of life, affecting relationships within one’s inner circle and lead to deterioration of health, leading to the spreading of disease, premature aging, and death.

A true zest for life, happiness and joy can be more difficult to grasp while feeling oppressed by spiritual abuse. The happiest and most effective people on the planet have a pleasant balance between the things of this earth and those of the beyond (and this can take an unlimited variety of styles and colors).

There is no right way – and there is no wrong way – for you to find a healthy spiritual expression, and this can have a completely new source that has not remotely connected to the type and style of spiritual expression that may have been the source of the abuse.

I am not saying that people without any spiritual component cannot find happiness; I am just saying that – statistically – those who possess a healthy spiritual perspective (doesn’t have to be religious) are far more successful and happy.

Hidden Abuse

Spiritual abuse is more a taboo subject than sexual abuse because there is far more training focused on sexual abuse in current therapeutic curriculum. It is important to find a counselor or coach who is open-minded, non-judgmental and will not further abuse the victim even more.

Treating Spiritual Abuse Can Be Spiritually Abusive

This is where the victim needs to get a grip on their own personal spiritual perspective and feel free to defend it fervently while moving forward. Everyone will have suggestions, advice, and prescriptions to help you discover and treat your underlying spiritual issues.

Only You are Responsible for Your Own Spirituality

Take responsibility for your own spiritual growth a pursuit. Don’t let anyone else tell you what is best for you. Let them listen and give you ideas, then you decide what to do with the information. Stay true to you – and be willing to change – when it serves you and feels good to you.

It’s a Process

Simply know – and resolve to be okay with – the idea that your spiritual journey is a process. There is no time limit, nor is there any limit to the variety of spiritual expression that is available to you.

Decide what is acceptable and good for you each day and be open to allowing other expressions to be revealed to you on your journey. Something that may not resonate with you today, may seem more like a more viable option in the light of a new day, as you continue to heal and grow.

See you at the Recovery from Religious Trauma Event in Olympia, September 21st