Signs of Spiritual Abuse

The following are several signs of spiritual abuse:

  • Stating personal religious convictions and preferences as fact for everyone
  • Religious convictions and preferences are stated as black and white
  • Requirements for church attendance
  • Dress and clothing requirements (appearance is a priority)
  • Closed minded about different interpretations of Scripture
  • Misinterpretations of scripture
  • Questioning the leaders is discouraged
  • Judging others
  • Excessive gossip
  • Hostility towards “heathens” and others who are not believers
  • Only people who go to a certain church are believers
  • Only reading a certain Bible version is allowed
  • Sexuality is seen as dirty, bad, and/or sinful
  • Strict discipline standards for children
  • Promoting spanking above all other forms of discipline
  • Guilt trips for taking vacation and missing church
  • Teaching Tithing
  • Emphasis on traditions
  • Music standards
  • Performance appraisals
  • Push towards perfection
  • Required devotional or quiet time
  • Levels or degrees of spirituality
  • Focusing on the penalty for sinning
  • Emphasis on God “chastening” you
  • Looking down on people who have left the church or denomination
  • Requiring a refusal of medical services
  • Required membership
  • Discarding psychology
  • Mental health issues are considered sinful or non-existent
  • Depression/Anxiety considered a sin
  • Your not spiritual enough if something bad happens to you
  • God is judging you for sin in your life
  • Being told “You need more faith” or “You don’t have enough faith”
  • Child discipline tactics that include warnings about God’s wrath
  • Rigid black and white thinking/answers to questions
  • Too much emphasis on the spiritual and not enough emphasis on the physical
  • Fears about the punishments of God
  • Negative messages about sexuality
  • Taught to deny the apatites of the body
  • Emphasis on reading the Bible and praying heavily to appease God and avoid punishment
  • Messages that you aren’t spiritual enough
  • Your “suffering” (whatever it may be) is a result of some sin in your life
  • Your physical illness is punishment for some sin in your life



Share On :

One Response so far.

  1. […] Click Here for a quick list of some of the signs of Spiritual Abuse. […]


Welcome to your source for Professional Help for Spiritual Abuse Victims. The church has long been a source of contention and strain in the lives of many people. Unfortunately, bad church experiences cause a chain reaction that if left unchecked will lead to a crisis of faith and may eventually lead to cynicism and a denial of faith. Many people grow up in homes influenced by negative and often harmful messages about spirituality. It’s actually quite sad because the church should be a safe haven for people to run to during times of distress. Now, for many, the church has become an enemy, an abuser who’s call sign is manipulation, doctrinal errancy, and scriptural misinterpretations that lead to confusion and chaos. The church has become a place where performance takes precedence over grace and traditions are a priority over proper exegesis.


Spiritual abuse involves using one’s spiritual authority inappropriately…violating the sacred trust of a spiritual shepherd.

~ Barb Orlowski, D. Min.

Spiritual Abuse

If you are visiting this site you are to be commended for taking the first and often hardest step in healing. If you are dealing with issues such as:

  • Legalism
  • Bad Church Experiences
  • Unhealthy Dependency on Religion
  • Distorted view of God
  • Crises of Faith
  • Family Issues Related to Religion.
  • or Anything You Consider to be Abusive

then please contact me. It’s my hearts desire to do all that I can to help.

(c) Copyright 2009-2013. All Rights Reserved.