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...]

“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...]

See, Here Is Water

by Samantha Field cross posted from her blog Samantha Field If you grew up going to Sunday school, you’re probably at least a little bit familiar with the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. I’ve never been entirely sure why, but this story, which appears in Acts 8, has always been one of my favorites. I’ve always been fascinated by everything about it, especially since it reads almost like a sci-fi/fantasy story. … [Read more...]

Why Couples Counseling Is Not Recommended For Abusive Marriages – Even Christian Ones

by Virginia Knowles cross posted from her blog Watch The ShepherdDear friends,A friend posted the following quote on her Facebook status, noting that she found it here: The Abuser in Couples Therapy. … [Read more...]

Covert Operations

by Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church HurtsMy friend quixie over at quixoticfaith posted an excellent video about covert narcissists. I have been told that I shouldn’t call my former pastor a narcissist because he isn’t an overt tyrant as many definitions indicate.  The video you can watch from quixie’s blog post is an excellent description of a “covert” narcissist and aptly describes much of what I observed in my experience with spiritual abuse.  Thank you, Quixie, for your post and video! Perhaps the most important section of the video is at the end when he discusses the effect on the victim.  I have written posts about how my self-confidence, my faith, my physical health, a … [Read more...]

Spiritual Abuse – Recommended Reading

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAccording to the Spiritual Research Network, “spiritual abuse occurs when a leader, church or belief system – whether well intentioned or not – dominates, manipulates or castigates individuals through fear tactics, mind control or some other psychological or emotional abuse.”I believe that Jesus dealt with a great deal of this phenomenon and that the Pharisees were the spiritual abusers of His day. They are shepherds who use, manipulate or hurt the sheep for their purposes.This is a difficult thing to understand at first, especially if you are in a church and believe that your pastor or church leadership has subjected you … [Read more...]


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