Spiritual Abuse (Duchovné zneužitie)

There are several ways in which abuse can be spiritual abuse. People use this term with a variety of meanings and it is quite important to keep track of which definition people have in mind.

There is a sense in which all abuse can be spiritual abuse. For example any form of child abuse can do damage to a child’s emerging spirituality. The fact that the damage includes damage to the spiritual self is what makes it spiritual abuse in addition to what ever other kind of abuse is going on.

Some abuse is spiritual abuse because it takes place in a spiritual place/context. Sexual abuse by a priest or pastor, for example, is clearly a form of spiritual abuse in addition to sexual abuse.

The use of spiritual truths or biblical texts to do harm is another form of spiritual abuse. Sometimes battered wives are told that God wants them to be submissive to their husbands. Sometimes children who are being molested by their parents are told that God wants them to be obedient. Sometimes people quote “do not think of yourself more highly that you ought” to suicidally depressed people. These are examples of abuse–even if what is said is a quote from the Bible, even if ‘submission’ and ‘obedience’ are in a general sense virtues. It is the twisting of good things in order to do harm that is so disturbing about this kind of abuse.

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Spiritual Narcissism (Duchovný narciszmus)

Although narcissism is a broad subject, it is marked by an exaggerated self-importance and perceived superiority, abnormal levels of selfishness and entitlement, and extreme self-centeredness. Generally speaking, a narcissist is a person who thinks too highly of themselves and continuously feeds on the egotistic admiration from others, typically rooted in unresolved and exaggerated feelings of inferiority and shame. As a result, they often manipulate and exploit others to fuel their delusions and fend off the ever-looming threat of severe depression. People who pathologically display these characteristics may be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Narcissism Is Everywhere

Today, in the business and political world, narcissistic behavior is often celebrated, encouraged, and even taught to some degree. In fact, it can be argued that narcissistic behavior even contributes to their success (as they define it). But it is not only limited to the business and political world. Narcissism affects every area of culture because it affects people. Therefore, it affects churches, ministries, and families as well.Narcissism is not a church issue—it is a human issue.

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Eight Signs of Spiritual Abuse

Supporting Member – Can you give some clear examples of signs of how a pastor or church leader is crossing the line from being a shepherd to a spiritual abuser? It would be helpful to know when to support a pastor when he is genuinely trying to defend and protect his flock from outside and wrong influence vs. a pastor who has an agenda and is above questioning or accountability. It seems like the lines are sometimes blurred.

 

Spiritual abuse happens when someone volitionally manipulates another person to accomplish an ungodly agenda. All abuse, including physical and sexual abuse, is spiritual abuse.

You cannot physically or sexually abuse someone without harming their inner being, their spiritual selves. I realize your question is not asking about physical or sexual abuse, but you are asking a question about the internal harming of one’s soul, which is what all abuse does.

Humans are two parts (dichotomy), physical and spiritual. The spiritual aspects of a person include the soul, spirit, mind, will, emotions, thoughts, intentions, and so forth. The physical also has several parts, e.g., internal organs and external body parts.

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