Saturday, September 22, 2007

An Article: Spiritual Abuse

I have been mulling over thoughts on how to approach the subject of spiritual abuse especially as it relates to narcissists. I've had some close and personal experiences with spiritually abusive people who I am sure were very narcissistic people. There is a close link in Christian churches between the spiritually abusive and narcissism. When those two are combined we start to observe the classic red flags of cultism.

I found an article that is quite comprehensive given its relative brevity. If you feel you've been impacted by a spiritually abusive atmosphere in your church or family then I encourage you to read it in full.

Spiritual Abuse by Major Scott Nicloy

He is covering some important aspects of this problem that I will not be covering. He explains some of the reasons that well-intentioned people become abusive. I will be focusing more on the malignantly intentioned people who use the spiritual club. I think it is important to have it pointed out that not all people who over-reach in their well-intentioned efforts are doing so out of a consciously bad intent. There are plenty of zealous, empty-headed and ill-informed people who can manage the spiritual club with great vigor. In other words, not all spiritual abusers are narcissists, though I consider their behavior narcissistic. As does Mr. Nicloy. The general lack of empathy is a big part of the problem according to this man. I agree.


Anonymous said...

To be upfront, I will declare my religious position, which is negative atheist. This means that, as opposed to a positive atheist who asserts that there is no god, I maintain a default position of not believing in a god until proof is provided.

I am sick and tired of being pestered by religionists who knock on my door early Saturday morning, when there is a clear sign stating "No hawkers, especially religious ones!" Apparently in their zeal to "save my soul," they are showing lack of regard for my choices, including my choice to catch up on sleep on the weekend! This also shows lack of empathy.

I once lived in a security apartment complex in which each resident was contactable through an intercom system. The main point of contact at the front gate had a sign clearly stating "No Hawkers," since it is an obvious security risk for the residents. Also it would also inconvenience the residents to have their intercom tied up for approx. 2 hours by sales people as there were 300 units in the complex; the intercom is for legitimate guests of the residents only.

The above should be common sense, but when my intercom was buzzed at dinner time by religious hawkers (its always either at dinner time or early on a weekend morning!!!), I went down and told them to leave. They told me that they had the caretaker's permission to do this, which was a blatant lie. They finally left when the security threatened to call the police.

It seems to me that there is a problem here between ends and means.


Anna Valerious said...


Cold-calling at homes and apartments by religionists is an especially annoying way to approach people. I can not imagine that a total stranger suddenly being confronted with a religion salesman is suddenly going to feel the need to "buy" whatever this person is selling. And the inconsiderateness of the hours they choose to bang on doors and the willingness to lie (as you've mentioned) in order to justify their intrusion is definitely counting against whatever they are trying to sell you.

I am a Christian. I myself am irritated by these door-to-door salesmen of religion. (It never matters that I'm a Christian to these people. I may as well be an atheist, too, if I'm not their "brand" of religion.) I think you have a point that the means they use seem to be working against the end they are hoping to work toward. Using crass sales techniques is not likely to win many over to whatever brand of religion they are hoping to sell. I'm sorry this is your experience. I get your irritation. Just because a person claims to be religious does not mean they aren't being careless, thoughtless, or just damn annoying. The lack of consideration for how the person whose door they knocked on is likely to be suspicious, inconvenienced and bothered by the intrusion is hard for me to comprehend. How do people get that obtuse?

People are people. Religion or not, people can be asses.

Anonymous said...

I have been working on a blog myself for survivors of spiritual abuse by a narcissistic religious leader. Its still in its early stages, but I included a link today which I found at Wikipedia, of all places, by somebody who sums up what its like to be under a religious narcissist.

Anna Valerious said...

Thank you for the excellent link, Jordie. I've read some of the posts and the points covered are excellent. Great! I don't have to cover this topic. Someone else has done a better job than I could.

Anonymous said...

I had to worry about a religious group in another country, despite the fact that I knew very little words in their language and they didn't know much english they tried to teach me anyway and trying to be polite I listen and then try to get away fast lol.

My worst religious experience is when I was a little kid. There was a rule about not screaming. Well the lights turned off and there was a scream. My mother kept on asking my brother and I "who screamed" but we both denied it. (Personally probably someone outside screamed)

We were in tears saying we didn't do it and finally she pointed at me and said you did it. Then proceeded to make me pray to ask forgiveness for a crime I did not commit. All the while telling her I did not do it and then I had to choke through the prayer.

Unknown said...

Stumbled across your site and ended up reading tons of your posts. I can definitely relate. It feels like a bad movie when the narcissist can fool everyone else, including police and judges, into thinking they are fine/normal.

I just wanted to leave a cool link I found about the narcissism/spiritual abuse connections in more extreme churches (fire & brimstone). It has been very helpful to me in the last week. I didn't realize others also felt as though they survived a cult!

If the link doesn't appear, the website is ex-churchofchrist and the link describing narcissism is called Personalities. I was shocked at #4 because it was spot on about my 'tormenter'. Good luck to all dealing with these types.