What Churches and Time Shares Have in Common – Toxic Manipulation

by Suzanne Titkemeyer cross posted from her blog Every Breaking WaveLast week my husband Jim and I spent a week with friends at a resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It's a pretty nice place, perfect if you want to stay in a perfectly groomed white bread version of a tropical resort with fences and guard gates, minus the ocean but plus a pile of fancy swimming pools. It's wonderful for what it is, but it's not to everyone's tastes. The photo to the left was taken from our suite's balcony overlooking one of the pool areas.It's not a time share, nor do you actually own a week or a certain suite there. It's a vacation ownership organization that works on the points system. … [Read more...]

How to Keep From Spiritual Abusing People

by Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church HurtsTell the truth.That’s it.You’re probably thinking that’s crazy, but think about it.  If you have been spiritually abused, think about if the perpetrator had told the truth.“I am not open to questions.”“You have to support the staff and their decisions no matter what.”“We do not allow people to express concerns.”“I’m only interested in getting my own way.” … [Read more...]

Siding With The Many

by Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church HurtsI often reblog or link to the writings, wisdom, and insights of others, not so much because I couldn’t have said it myself, but simply because I fear that were I to address these issues, it would appear that I am simply trying to argue for myself.  As those of us who are intimately familiar with spiritual abuse, doing so would create an immediate dismissal of my writing simply because I would be perceived as only making an effort to defend myself.  In the world of spiritual abuse, this would result in making me the problem for pointing out the problem. … [Read more...]

Misunderstanding and Punishing the Character of Children as a Root of Victimization

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much Grace Originally published January 2012. This is part of a series on Understanding How Emotional Development in Childhood Affects Adults: Fostering Spiritual Abuse via the "Roots of Victimization" A few days ago, I pointed out that the girls who survived incarceration at Hephzibah House (HH) suffered both trauma/torture and spiritual abuse, and upon leaving, they struggle with unique problems including trauma reenactment, revictimization, and an inability to self-protect. Though some of this relates directly to the debilitation of the self created by the harsh conditions at HH, the roots of these related deficits are created in … [Read more...]

Memories of My Own Cognitive Dissonance: Gothard’s Doctrine of Grace as an Example

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from Under Much Grace originally posted in 2010In so many words (!), I’ve already shared what cognitive dissonance felt like after some exit counseling and realizing that not everything I’d believed had been true.I’d like to discuss a bit more about the process that facilitated my acceptance of Gothard’s take on grace (and other ideas introduced at the Institute of Basic Life Principles conference I attended). I only briefly mentioned it in this post. Cognitive dissonance was easy to ignore for me when I first accepted his views, but when I revised my understanding after I left the spiritually abusive system; I had no other option but to let the process … [Read more...]

As an Unbeliever, Is it Possible to Have Christian Family and Friends?

by Bruce Gerencser cross posted from his blog The Life and Times of Bruce GerencserMany of the readers of this blog are former Evangelical Christians. Some readers find themselves somewhere between faith and faithless, while others label themselves as spiritual, pagan, agnostic, or atheist. One thing is for certain, many of us are far away from the Evangelical church we once called home. … [Read more...]

“Pay Now, Play Later”

by Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church HurtsWe heard this quote often at our former church:“Pay now, play later.  Play now, pay later.”One of the most impressive things we noticed when we first began attending our former church was that the senior pastor appeared to be very “servant hearted.”  Unlike the majority of churches that have a reserved spot for the pastor right next to the building, he would park at the far end of the parking lot so that others could park closer.  After services on Sunday, he would return all of his glasses (he usually had three or four glasses of water collected under his chair) to the kitchen and he would go into the restrooms and collect the … [Read more...]

Why Can’t Churches Deal With Disagreement?

by Living Liminal cross posted from her blog Living LiminalYesterday I sat in the school car park being entertained by the behaviour of the man who had desperately wanted to be 'king' at my ex-church. He had to walk right past my car to get to his own, and I'm afraid I couldn't help laughing quietly at his determined attempts to appear unconscious of my existence. (On the upside, at least I find it amusing these days rather than deeply painful like I used to.) … [Read more...]

Differentiating Between ‘Cult’, ‘Cultic’ and ‘Spiritual Abuse’

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from Under Much GraceWhat is the difference between "cult" and "cultic?" (Sociologically Speaking) It’s a matter of degree. Defining terms is vital.Concerning things "cultic" versus a "cult." If you’re the average guy (or gal) sitting in a church or a concerned significant other of someone in a group, the first thing you generally notice is that something bothers you about the group. This realization is true of any subtle deception or of insidious problems such as something wrong with your car. You hear an unfamiliar noise and the right side of your brain become sensitized and unconsiously starts putting things together (as a built in defense mechanism). … [Read more...]

Blame it on the Smurfs – Post-Tramatic Church Syndrome

by Suzanne TitkemeyerWhen I first cracked open my copy of Reba Riley's book, Post-Tramatic Church Syndrome I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I figured it might be much like many of the series we feature here on No Longer Quivering: Girl/boy is immersed in a Quiverfull/Fundamentalist/Evangelical church and leaves for a long laundry list of reasons with a heavy burden of spiritual abuse and a heaping helping of depression only to be heckled/harassed/hounded by those well-meaning 'Good Christians' left behind. Usually the woman/man has a long road of healing with lots of twists, turns and tears before coming to a place that works on all levels for them. A sadder but wiser person. … [Read more...]


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