Narcissistic and Spiritual Abuse: How to Feel Safe with Others Again After Spiritual Abuse — Our Unseen Hope

Spiritual abuse, otherwise known as clergy abuse or religious abuse, is a great evil and social injustice. Spiritual abuse is a common tactic of the narcissistic pastor. Spiritual abuse from a narcissist is simply the worst. In addition to abusing others physically, emotionally and/or psychologically, the abuse has a definite spiritual element.

I enjoyed reading this article below from a fellow writer on how to feel safe after spiritual abuse.

The spiritual element complicates everything and can result in complex trauma.

With other forms of abuse, one may still feel safe with God and their faith. He or she may get relief when turning to God, faith and church for comfort and support. With spiritual abuse, this is most often not the case!

Why? Victims come to think that God is like their abuser. This can be particularly hard on anyone, even mature Christians. Rationally, if they know God is good and loving, their traumatized emotional brain may say something different. Spiritual trauma takes over.

Spiritual abuse is unique and complicated. Interestingly, the Bible warns of spiritually abusive pastors in a few places including 3 John 1:9 and Romans 16:17.

It is a shame we find abuse in churches (whether they are evangelical, Mormon or some other denomination). The use of mandated shunning is also highly problematic and is a human rights violation. Author and Retired Licensed Therapist Bonnie Zieman discusses religious abuse and human rights violations in her book, Shunned: A Survival Guide.

Spiritual abuse from a narcissist church leader of a tax-exempt religious organization or 501c3 is an insidious evil and the ultimate social injustice.

Spiritual abuse can be subtle or aggressive. Personal and societal effects are the same. Since I have written about destructive cults for nearly a decade, I have realized that it is downright flabbergasting the amount of abuse that 501c3’s and non-profit religious organizations can get away with in the name of religion. The IRS guideline “Tax Guide For Churches and Religious Organizations” makes clear that compromises in human rights and public policy jeopardizes the organizations’s tax-exempt status.

Many who were abused by pastors need years of trauma help to recover. Our medical workers, doctors and government-licensed psychologists are the repair shops where the victims of the tax privileged abuser end up.


Spiritual abuse from a narcissist can be impossible to detect at first, like many toxic relationships. Plus, those who experience this tend to have shame due to the amount of trauma experienced. Trauma causes misplaced shame.

There are many reports of spiritual abuse from a narcissist from previous Calvary Chapel pastors and members.

Dr. Darrell Puls wrote an article at AACC years ago. This article offered solace and comfort as it normalized what sufferers are experiencing. I cannot find the article right now and it might have been removed. I will provide his PDF document below for you to download.

If you are or have experienced this, self-compassion and self-care is crucial. Know that you are not alone. We are in a narcissistic and spiritual abuse epidemic. Expressive writing helps to sort out thoughts of toxic relationships.

I enjoyed reading about the following journey. Please click on the link. Thank you to Our Unseen Hope for sharing your story as to bring comfort and hope to others!

God is most like the people who love us well.

How to Feel Safe with Others Again After Spiritual Abuse — Our Unseen Hope

Rebecca Anne

Rebecca Anne is a book author, coach and board certified pastoral counselor who specializes in counter-cult education (helping cult victims) and trauma recovery. She has nearly fifteen years of experience with social work research, psychology research, copywriting, editing and coaching. From the University of Michigan School of Social Work, she received advanced training in practice methods, advocacy and social justice frameworks related to social work practice and a Masters Certificate in Social Work: Practice, Policy and Research.

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