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

 

 

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