I have been needing to post about this for sometime, as it is an important subject. This is a common occurance in spiritual communities, yet it is often over looked or even dimissed. Sometimes, even the Victim is blamed more than the perpetrator. I'm talking about Spiritual Harassment and Abuse. No, I'm not talking about being raped by ghosts, or fondled by spiritual entities. I'm talking about corporeal human beings using spirutality to abuse others.
This was something I have experienced, and sometimes still on occasion run into. A person who thinks they have the right to use, abuse, and harass me because of my spiritual beleifs. Most who know me know what God I worship, and this particular deity is already controversial without the abuse. But there are some people who think that because I worship this deity, that somehow they have to right to do things to me that make me uncomfortable. This is not right, no matter who a person worships. My God is not consent. Period. End of story. Which brings me to the list of things people will use to justify what they are doing to you, and how they are wrong.
First of all, I want to reiterate that [ insert name of deity or spiritual entity] is NOT consent.
Never is any spiritual entity a justifiable reason to touch, harass, abuse, or assault a person.
" But the nature of your deity means you have to let me do this, because your deity would accept it himself. It's what he'd want you to do, right?"
You forget that I'm not the deity in question. Does my god sleep around with people? Yes. Does it mean that I have to? No. And no amount of telling me that he wants me to do it is going to get me to do it. My deity would not make me do anything that was harmful to myself, and if my deity did, then I will just have to find a new deity because I respect myself too much for that bullshit. Deity is obviously not a true friend, nor does he have my best interest at heart if he wants me to disrespect or hurt myself in his name. And if my deity wants me to hurt other people when he knows it will cause me problems, then he is wrong, too. However, I know that unless my deity tells me this himself, you are wrong and cannot tell me what my deity wants, period, end of story.
"You have to have me as a mentor. Your deity said this to me that if you do not take me as your mentor, friend, confidante...that he will leave you and your path will end."
Woah, Woah, woah! Hold the phone? Wait, my relationship with my God depends on my relationship with you? Are you freaking kidding me? That doesn't even make any sense. When was He going to tell me this? If it was so important for me to meet you and speak to you, I think he would have told me this himself in some way shape or form. And it wouldn't be your saying it either. And what makes you so important anyway? You must be a conceited bitch who thinks she's the end all and be all, the center of the universe. You must think you are entitled to sitting at his right hand side like a lot of those whack jobs on the internet boast about. Nope, i think I'll take my chances with losing my diety because I am not comfortable with people who think they have divine right over me. That's the sore red flag of a manipulator. I mean, what you if you told me I had to kill children because my deity would leave me if I didn't? Or you told me I had to have sex with you because my deity would leave if I didn't? Nope. Goodbye!
" But you let your Deity touch you innappropriately, and I worship that deity too, therefore you gave consent for me to touch you."
Excuse me? Might I reiterate that my spiritual practices are not consent. That's cool, we worship the same deity. And How do you know how I interact with my deity? That is none of your damn business, and therefore what you said is completely irrelevant. Besides, even if I told you about it, it means that I found the will to trust you with some sacred and personal information....and now you just broke my trust. Good bye.
" I am now posessed by your deity, and you need to do this for me because your deity is speaking through me, and if you don't, your deity will not be happy."
Ok.....That seems awefully convenient. Ok, Deity....who happens to be posessing my mentor, you really want me to carry all this " horses" luggage so she can have fun at said event? And you mean I have to clean her entire house or our relationship will end? Why is how I interact with this person so important to you? What about me? I thought my relationship was with you, not the person you are posessing. This seems awfully convenient for the person you are possessing. If you wanted to bother to posess a person to give me a message, wouldn't the message been more relevant to me than the person you are posessing. Oh, you say you will leave me? You say you will be unhappy. Let me take my chances with that one. Oh, look nothing happened. Hey, yoohoo...mentor, you can stop pretending, now. You have been caught. Goodbye
" I am the human incarnation of your God, you shall listen to me."
And I am the Queen of England disguised a 20-something girl. Seriously, if I found out I was a deity, I would not tell anybody, because I read all about what happened to Jesus and the crap he went through dealing with taht shit. I'm not about to bring that on myself. If I found out I was a deity, i would share my wisdom,but I would not go telling people that I am a God. Why? Because the only reason you would have to throw around calling yourself a god is if you want....CONTROL over others...which is apparently what you want. You just claimed you were my god, therefore you want to scare me into seeing things your way. I'm just going to walk away...walk away swiftly.
" I am your gods favourite, you shall respect me. I am higher on the pecking order."
Ok, Mr. PoPo, just let me find the dragon balls so I can do away with your ass so there are no more favourites and no more pecking orders. Eff that...what makes you so special? I never heard of you before I met you at thus and such place. Your name is not even in the paper, or on the internet...you must not be that important. Sounds like you are just stuck on yourself.
" But I gave you all this cool stuff. I bought you that video game you've been wanting, and I helped you through that horrible time you had. I stood up for you and protected you. I helped you communicate with your deity. And you won't let me get away with doing these things to you?"
No, because clearly, your intention was to get away with these things all along. I am grateful for you help, but it should not have been because you wanted to manipulate me. You were supposed to help me as a friend and teacher, because you cared about me and had my interests at heart...and I would have gladly done the same for you as your friend and student. But no, there had to be this ulterior motive. It had to be about getting away with control. You know, this is fairly common in Domestic violence cases. The Abuser goes out and buys her flowers...for what? To apologize and be forgiven...so he can continue to abuse her and get away with it. To rope her in...to appear like he's good for her when he's really not. You can keep the cool video game, I will just go earn the money to buy it myself. Thank you for the good things you ahve done, but as far I'm concerned, I think being put through all that crap is payment enough. I don't owe you shit.
" you are a horrible, ungrateful person for this. I am going to make your life hell now.I'm going to post about this all over social media and talk about what a worthless liar you are. I'm going to say you did all these things to me. Then I am going to tell everyone how I want to commit suicide because of what you said to me."
Let's see how many people actually beleive you. And those that matter will not. I may struggle fora time, but nothing lasts forever. You want to commit suicide...hate to sound heartless, but that's your problem now. I didn't make the decision for you.
" If you hadn't done this action, I would not have been driven to act this way. If you had not been so anxious and confused about your god, I would not have to resorted to these actions."
It could have been handled better. Lying and hurting me was never giong to help. I was going to figure it out eventually. I may have been lost, but I'm not stupid.
So what you have just seen is the usual Manipulation and Victim Blaming that comes with spiritual abuse. And yes, if they fit with anything that fits with Domestic Violence, that fits as well. I'm sure there are plenty more.
Now the biggest question is once you find out you are in this situation, how do you get out? How do you deal with it? What are steps you can take to heal?
Consult trusted friends and family members.
This is important. This is not a struggle that can be fought alone. These manipulators may have a lot of power, whether it's back up from community or physical strength. It is also important to note that since they manipulated you, they probably have a lot of information that they can easily use against you, which is what makes these people terrifying. When I experienced abuse spiritually, I was the one blamed and the entire community hated me for a long time because they beleived that my Abuser was an esteemed Elder.On top of this, she had a lot of sensitive information that she was able to spread around, and I shudder to think what rumors are out there running about . It has since gotten better, and I had a lot of support from my Kindred who stuck by me through the whole thing, but there are still a lot of events within the community that I have to avoid because there are still people who have this person's back, and the minute I show up at these events, they will have my head. However, if it weren't for those I call Family and Close friends, I would not have gotten through it. Or at least, it would have taken me a lot longer. They helped me work through my issues that I had, and figure out what was real and what was not. This is why this is critical.
Find any support you can from the community, if there is anything offered that can protect you.
This of course is for anything that is big enough that needs it. Like if they took action against you that could place harm, find resources that can protect you. I was lucky, I didn't have to go that far. My abuser fled when she was called out, that was because I had several powerful people backing me up, though.
Remember that it was not your fault.
My abuser swore up and down that it was my fault. I have an anxiety disorder, a really bad one, and she used it to make excuses for why. She said I drove her to make her choices. It took me a long time to realize it wasn't my fault, and I kept blaming myself. I felt terrible, and felt my deity hated me for my anxiety disorder. The reality was, however, that she made the choice to act the way she did. That was not my choice, it was hers. The important thing to remember is that people make their own decisions, and no one else makes them.The Abuser, like all abusers, will blame the victim so that they can justify why they are doing what they are doing. They never admit to being wrong, and the only time that they do is so that they can beg for forgiveness so they can get away with continuing. It's never the vicitms fault. They only their own interests at heart, and therefore it had nothing to do with you.
Since this was spiritual abuse, make sure you can patch things up with your spiritual guide, Deity, etc.
Chances are that damage has been done in your relationship with your deity. In some form or other, whether it's the fear that they left, the fear that they hate or blame you for what happened, or that you blame them for what happened. The important thing to remember is that the only part your deity played in this was that their name was used. Nothing more. Chances are, your deity wishes to make things better, no matter their nature. If they are in your life, and you love them and they love you, they weren't trying to make this happen. They do have your well being at heart. Sure, maybe they want you to learn from this situation so you never get into it again, but they did not make that person do anything. That person chose it themselves. That person chose to hurt you. Not your deity or your guide. They do not blame you or hate you for what happened. They did not favour that person over you. Gods don't pick favourites.. If anything your diety may not be very happy with that person. I know my Deity is particularly protective of those that are His. I have seen some nasty stuff happen to those who chose to abuse me, and it's not pretty. I've seen some nasty stuff happen to those who abused others that are his. I have seen evidence of this protectiveness. Chances are, your deity or guide feels the same...that they want to protect you and help you through it. And most of all...they don't want to lose you. So take some time with your deity; meditate, pray, or make art....anything that could heal any damage between you and them. No one, not a single person on this planet has the right to fuck up what you have with your deity. Your relationship with your deity was never in the hands of your abuser, and it never will be.
If you need to, get rid of anything they gave you.
This may be a tough one, as this may not be necessary for everyone. But honestly, I found this one rather liberating. I told myself that I didn't want to keep anything this person gave me because it made me feel like I owed them. By parting with it, I freed myself from owing them anything. I freed myself from feeling bad about having something they gave me. Not only that, but it got rid of any negative energy that came with the object. Remember you are not obligated to keep anything they gave you. And you can dispose of it by any means that seems appropriate, whether it's burning it or throwing it away, or finding a a middle man to hand it back to them. Remember that this object they gave you was to butter you up for abuse, and that maybe it's not worth keeping. For some, this might be taking things to far, but for others...it might feel as good as taking a good shit. Did they give you something of your deity? It might be hard, but parting with it, and opting for something more personal would help, too. It would even patch things up with the entity in question and help you understand what it is they really wanted, versus what your abuser wanted.
Counseling and other forms of therapy might be needed.
This one is a tough one for me because I can't afford professional therapy, however, I am able to seek counsel within my Kindred, and I have a lot of therapies available to me, even without the professionals. Anything that is healthy and helps you feel better, do it. Colouring, playing with toys, art, meditation...these are all helpful. If you have someone who serves as clergy, and you know that are not abusive, by all means seek advice from them . Not all clergy are like your abuser. This ties in with support from family and friends. Journaling helps as well. And if you can, a professional is a good idea too. I don't push this one so much, because again, I cannot afford it myself, so I had to find other means. But damn, if you can, do it, and make sure they are openminded, as well.
I understand that some might be uncomfortable with turning to others after an event like this, but once you know what to look for , you can get away a lot quicker.
No matter how much they try to apologize and beg for forgiveness, don't go back. Don't ever go back.
This is critical. You can forgive them, yes. You can accept their apology. You can learn to let go of the ugliness that is inside you, however, you never EVER have to have anything to do with them again. You don't have to accept their friend request on facebook. In fact, it's best you block them. You never have to talk to them at events. You don't ever have to be their friend. No matter how sparkly they may make it sound, it's not worth it.
I was mentally abused by my mother's boyfriend for years, and when I finally left my mothers, I wanted nothing to do with this man. I never wanted him as my friend on social media. I never wanted to speak to him over the phone. I even had to go as far as burning the bridge with my mother because he started to abuse me through her. This hurt a lot, but I had to do it for my own mental health. I found out that my mom was going around telling my friends that I should just forgive this man, and that I was heartless and selfish for not diong so. But in her eyes, she felt that forgiveness meant talking to him again. Dear Mother, I can forgive this man, but I will never put myself in a situation to which he can hurt me. Sincerely, me.
this person also used spirituality to manipulate me into " forgiving him" and " accepting him. " I used to be Catholic, and he very often used the line " Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" to get at me. He would call me a hypocrite for going to church when I wouldn't let him get away with his abuse. This was wrong. Catholic, Pagan, any religion or faith is no excuse for me to let someone abuse me. Which brings me to the next thing.
Always remember that your religion, Faith...whatever it may be....is never a reason to go back to someone who hurt you.
If your deity truly loved you, they would not make you go back. This is controversial in a lot of ways, because this is seen in Chrisitanity a lot. That people are forced to stay with someone who mistreats them because Deity would punish them. In my experience with God and Jesus, they aren't like that. they don't promote violence against women and children, or people in general. Remember it is mankind that made those rules, not God. The same goes for any deity. People will use your religon to tell you to go back, but remember...they are human, not a God. They do not truly know what a God wants, and have no right to tell you what a God wants. And if they claim a God is speaking to them about you....just walk away, because unless you asked them, they would not recieve those messages. If your God truly wanted you to know something...they would find a way to tell you, bottom line. It would already be true in your life, it would already have shown up before they came along and said something. And chances are, what the message is has nothing to do with letting people harm you. Even my Deity, who is said to be controversial...doesn't tolerate abuse. As I said...he is freaking protective.
Most importantly, don't give up on yourself.
A lot of people do sometimes. I know fora while, I let myself gain weight, and my skin got ugly, and I ate junk food. When i saw pictures of myself, I realized I had destroyed myself and let myself go. I felt horrible about it, so I took steps to take care of myself. Remember that what they did to you is not a reflection of who you are. You do not need to destroy yourself because they hurt you. The only thing you should take from it is the lesson of who to avoid. Remember you are still worth something, and even your spiritual guide or God agrees. They are still there, right? They did not leave when abuser said they would. I can guarantee that nothing is lost. You are still a beautiful human being, remember that. You are still worth taking care of, and that the friends and family that helped you get this far see that too.
I still struggle with this one myself, and I often have to remind myself of this, and it's hard, because I spent so long calling myself ugly. And I still do. and what's funny, is I know my deity is still there because he will actually get angry when I put myself down. And if you know what Deity he was, you would be really shocked to know this, because to a lot of others, he is not kind.( I have even had spiritual abusers tell me that my god can't care about me because of who he is.and that makes this more difficult.) But he has been kind to me and those he loves. And I still have people telling me that he is not, and that I am worthless to my deity...but then I get reminded that that person is wrong, and probably no different than the one who abused me during all the times he stops me from hurting myself.
So don't give up on yourself. Those that matter love you, and your deity, spiritual guides, and ancestors love you.
I was hesitant at first to put this up, because I know the person that spiritually abused me is still out there. I was even told that I shouldn't because this person is scary and watches everything,. However, I felt that it was time for me to have courage and stand up and say something. I will never call this persons name out, as this is not meant to condemn anyone. This is simply meant to educate so others can either pull themselves out of a situation or avoid the situations like this.And so that anyone going through this, or who has gone through this is not alone. And perhaps they have more imput. I also want to add the disclaimer that my dealing with the situation may not work for everyone. I may get hate because my advice may not work for everyone...but it's at least something to consider, because it did help me. And it's still helping me.