The Trauma and Heartbreak of Spiritual Abuse

The seriousness of spiritual abuse and its effects

cannot be overstated!

Some people do not think of spiritual abuse as being traumatic and heart-breaking, especially when a person is in the midst of that abuse. The deception accompanying spiritual abuse often keeps the victim in a state of confusion and disbelief. They may ask themselves, “How can people who are supposed to be helping me grow in the things of God be abusing me?” Unfortunately, spiritual abuse happens more often than one might imagine. The results are ugly and very devastating.

I have ministered to many women who have been spiritually abused since I began ministering to the brokenhearted. Yes, there are the obvious ritual abuse and Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) survivors who suffered extreme levels of spiritual abuse. There are also those who have come out of mainstream churches, Christian organizations, and non-Christian organizations where there was intense spiritual abuse that caused them substantial amounts of pain and trauma.

Anytime a person places themselves in authority over another person in the place of the authority position of the Lord Jesus Christ that is a recipe for spiritual abuse! Anytime someone is told that the person in authority knows better because they “have a better connection to the Lord,” or “to God,” that is a wide open door to spiritual abuse.

One of the ladies to whom I ministered in the past told me about an abusive incident, which was one of many, that she experienced with her husband. She had disagreed with him about something that a man in ministry was teaching. She said that her husband grabbed her arm, twisted it behind her back, and repeatedly yelled at her that she needed to repent for disagreeing with the minister. He told her that she needed to ask God to forgive her for having the “horrible” thought that the man in ministry could possibly be wrong. The lady was in tears as she shared the details of these events with me. That was physical, emotional, verbal, and mental abuse as well as spiritual abuse! This is just one example of spiritual abuse being accompanied by other forms of abuse. It is often the case that emotional, verbal, mental, physical and/or sexual abuse happen together with spiritual abuse. 

The damage that is done to a person’s heart, mind and spirit, to their whole being, as the result of spiritual abuse can be overwhelming. It can be devastating. It can lead to that person not being able to function normally in any way. Survivors of spiritual abuse often struggle with anger. They experience different levels of anger as a result of that abuse. Most of the time, it is righteous anger and not sin.  The pain and trauma of spiritual abuse can also lead to suicide if the victim becomes hopeless about the possibility of relief from that pain.

People who are spiritually abusive often twist Scripture. They take Bible verses out of context. They manipulate people in ways that are absolutely inspired by the kingdom of darkness. Perpetrators of spiritual abuse also use isolation, secrecy, and fear to control their victims. They count on the victims’ silence about their abuse. All of these things make it very difficult for a victim to break free and receive the healing they desperately need for the pain and trauma.

However, the abusers are sometimes deceived themselves into thinking that what they are doing is right. A lot of the perpetrators of spiritual abuse are deceived, and the nature of deception is that the person does not realize that they are deceived. That is no excuse and does not forgive their behavior, nor does it release them from accountability. They will answer to God for their actions just as we all will answer to Him for our actions. On the other hand, many perpetrators of spiritual abuse know exactly what they are doing!

The perpetrators of spiritual abuse do not usually stop because they are convicted by the Holy Spirit, or something inside of them says that they have gone over the line. Normally, someone who is spiritually abusive only stops if they are caught, if they are exposed, or if they fear that they are in danger of suffering consequences for their behavior that are greater than the fulfillment that they receive from being abusive.

Several of the women to whom I ministered were survivors of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA). One of those ladies told me the reason that the abuse finally stopped for her. The high priest was in the process of murdering her in a horrific way when he suddenly, and unexplainably in the natural realm, died. His neck snapped. The lady told me that she believed it was angels that came to her assistance at that time when the perpetrator was going to end her life. I do not believe that the high priest would have stopped otherwise. The Lord came to her rescue.

People will ask, “Why does God allow people to be spiritually abused? Why doesn’t He stop all of it?” It is the same reason that He does not stop sin in general in this world. He has given us all a free will. We need to stop blaming God for all these horrific things that happen and put the blame where it belongs—on the human beings who make the choice to be abusive and on the kingdom of darkness that inspires those evil choices. Spiritual abuse is one of Satan’s many tools to destroy human hearts, minds and spirits.

When people invite Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior, they often have experienced significant pain and trauma in their lives and they are brokenhearted. Many times that is what draws them to the Lord Jesus Christ, because He is so loving and forgiving, and it is an opportunity to be accepted in spite of all of their past sin, pain, and trauma. However, because of that, they are also easy targets for those who are spiritually abusive. Christians, especially new Christians, are normally too trusting.

Jesus Christ is never spiritually abusive. He never tries to force anyone to do anything against their will. Jesus understands the frailty of human beings. He understands the sin nature of human beings and how it can interfere with our relationship with God. He did not accept or condone sin, but He forgave and told people to “go and sin no more.” That is God’s will for us—that we would be forgiven and that we would not repeat the sin in the future. That is called repentance. Abusers rarely repent, although they may call themselves Christians. They are not truly following Jesus Christ.

Back to the survivors of spiritual abuse and people currently going through spiritual abuse… If that describes you, I would highly recommend that you seek help from a trained, qualified Christian prayer minister or counselor who can give you the assistance you need to obtain freedom from the pain and heartbreak of spiritual abuse. Look for someone who can help you receive the healing you need from the effects of that abuse. God loves you and He wants you to be whole. He wants you to be free. He wants you to be healed. He has a destiny for your life and it is not for you to experience or suffer through spiritual abuse and its effects any longer. Please make the decision today to step out and pursue your healing and freedom. It is worth it. YOU ARE WORTH IT.

There are suggested resources on the HELPFUL RESOURCES page on this website (CLICK HERE). You can also contact me for more information by filling out the form on the CONTACT AFJM page (CLICK HERE).

May God bless you! My prayer for you is that you will have the strength to stand up and make today the first day of the rest of your life—free from spiritual abuse.

Kathy Shelton