What is spiritual abuse? Spiritual abuse (or religious abuse) is abuse administered under the guise of faith or religion. This can include harassment or humiliation, which may result in psychological trauma. Spiritual abuse may also include misuse of religion for selfish, secular, or ideological ends such as the abuse of a clerical position. It is weaponizing faith to exercise power and control over another person, usually from a position of power or leadership.
Tracey is a survivor of spiritual abuse. On this episode she shares her story, red flags to look out for and her story on her escape from abuse, her healing and even forgiveness for those who subjected her to this spiritual abuse.
Spiritual abuse is not limited to a certain religion or denomination. Any person, of any belief system, is capable of perpetrating spiritual abuse, just as anyone can be the victim of it. Signs of spiritual abuse between intimate partners include when an abusive partner:
ridicules or insults the other person’s religious or spiritual beliefs
prevents the other partner from practicing their religious or spiritual beliefs
uses their partner’s religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate or shame them
forces the children to be raised in a faith that the other partner has not agreed to
uses religious texts or beliefs to minimize or rationalize abusive behaviors (such as physical, financial, emotional or sexual abuse/marital rape)
Spiritual abuse is no less harmful or difficult to endure than any other kind of abuse, as a person’s spiritual life is deeply personal. However, it can be very difficult to identify, as many victims may not recognize they are being abused. In addition, the abusive partner may claim that any challenge to the abuse is an assault on their own religious freedom. Regardless of either partner’s religious or spiritual beliefs, abuse of any kind is never acceptable or justified.
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