Why People Support Abusive Leaders in the Church

by Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church HurtsIn those crushing months after we left our first abusive church (read Part 2 of my story), one of the things I struggled with was, how could the people who knew that abusive behaviors and situations had happened to me as well as others not step up and speak out?  I didn’t ask myself that question after we were tossed out of our second abusive church.  Maybe I just knew that they wouldn’t.  After all, not only had I been through this before, but I have talked to many others and read widely on spiritual abuse, and I am well aware of the way that people rally around abusive church leaders. … [Read more...]

Safety in Optimism as a Learned and Re-Learned Skill

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman and Under Much Grace used with permission. Earlier posts looked at the grand picture in life concerning our expectations for safety in a world where things exceed our control. Camus defines well that we are stuck in the human condition which requires struggle and disappointment that doesn't end. Catherine Marshall looks to the acceptance of what Camus describes but differentiates hopeful acceptance from the pessimism of resignation that seems to be it's own kind of premature death. Today, I'd like to tighten that broad focus on uncertainty down to a more basic and immediate one. … [Read more...]

Safely Tucked in the Middle? Contrasting and Comparing Camus and Christy

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman from Under Much Grace used with permissionCatherine Marshall authored Christy, the historical fiction novel which was based on her mother's experiences in a remote mountain community in Tennessee. In the picture shown here, I included a rendition of her book which features Kellie Martin who played the protagonist in the CBS TV drama that was developed from the novel a number of years ago. (I figured that her work might be more recognizable that way.)Catherine was a Christian who was married to Peter Marshall, the famed, early 20th Century, Scottish-born, Presbyterian minister in Washington, … [Read more...]

Stumbling

by Mari cross posted from her blog Mari's MusingsEditor's Note: Written from the perspective of someone that has managed to keep their faith after being through spiritual abuse.I was talking tonight with a friend of mine about ridiculous things that have happened to us at the hands of pastors and elders and whatnot from “Christian” churches.I don’t think that a lot of what happens in churches and between clergy and congregants is necessarily something that Jesus would condone and I don’t think He would be pleased with a large chunk of it. … [Read more...]

Finding Safety in Myths? Camus as Futility’s Starting Point

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman from Under Much Grace and used with permission I am by far a greater fan of Master of the Absurd, Franz Kafka, who laments in his writings about the nature of man and his limitations, but I could not help but think of Albert Camus' essay about The Myth of Sisyphus concerning the subject of futility and expectation. Can his writing help us find some footing in recovery from trauma so that we can build some type of stability? Trauma robs us of our sense of safety, causes us to feel isolated, and it obscures our memories of stability if we truly had any as a starting point. Trauma causes us to realize … [Read more...]

‘Bloom Where You’re Planted’ as a Thought Stopping Cliche

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman at Under Much Grace and used with permission. Article is 4 pages long.I'd heard that phrase before, but even now and even with my positive experience with the concept many years later, the phrase still connotes something negative for me.The last post detailed my very good experience with the sage advice of determination to bloom and grow, even if it's not where you want to be or the conditions are not that favorable.ion … [Read more...]

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In the Midst of It?

by Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church HurtsSpiritual abuse.  Sometimes, even when you know you are being victimized, it’s hard to break away, or walk away, or run away.  If you’ve found yourself here because you know what you are experiencing is spiritual abuse but you are caught and can’t let go, this page is for you. … [Read more...]

The Good Aspects of ‘Bloom Where You’re Planted’

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from Under Much Grace Platitudes can be helpful when they're used well and when both parties understand what they're meant to communicate. Much like pictures, they can encompass and encapsulate more meaning that just the words in-and-of-themselves. They're verbal shorthand that can sometimes be more direct and concise than long discussions, and they're especially helpful when one party doesn't have a lot of emotional energy to stop and listen to a long explanation. We can all imagine a tenacious flower like a dandelion that grows in a tiny bit of soil that has inadvertently collected in a crack in a sidewalk. Sometimes life requires our tougher nature to … [Read more...]

Safety, Ambiguity, Expectation and Balance

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceThis is part of a series Cindy Kunsman has been writing on recovery from spiritual abuse and trauma. All images by Cindy Kunsman of Under Much Grace and used with permission. As a child, in an effort to comfort me, an elderly woman at my church would encourage me to read what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Philippi. Basically, he says that he learned how to be contented with whatever situation he faced. One of the primary ways of coping with bad situations, according to what he wrote, involves thinking about good things as opposed to dwelling on the bad ones. … [Read more...]

Back to Stage One Healing: More on Safety and Stabilization

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog from Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman and from Under Much Grace used with permission. Article 3 pages total.It's been quite a month, and life is settling back into something like normal. Redeeming Dinah, the blog exploring the Duggar Phenomenon as a function of the family agenda promoted among many Independent Fundamental Baptists is up and running. It's been a month since the panel where survivors of the system talked about their experiences. Afterwards, I returned home from Dallas to be met with a couple of deaths of loved ones, some injuries, and the sadness that goes along with them. The dog days of summer do not make … [Read more...]

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