Narcissists abuse their victims in many ways – emotionally, mentally, financially, physically and sexually. Some also abuse their victims spiritually.
Spiritual abusers are not only those who are preachers, deacons or others who are active in their church. Anyone can be a spiritual abuser. When my mother’s abuse peaked when I was in my late teens, she became very spiritually abusive. She frequently told me that I was going to hell for the terrible way I treated her and my awful behavior. She never was active in a church or taught me anything about God. In fact, she always said she hated Christians.
If you are wondering if the narcissist in your life is abusing you spiritually, there are some signs to look for.
• Twisting Scripture around or eliminating parts of it to suit their agenda is a big red flag. A narcissistic parent who tells their child the commandment says to honor your parents, yet never considers where the Bible says parents should not exasperate their children is guilty of this behavior, as is the narcissistic husband who says wives should submit to their husbands while conveniently forgetting the rest of the verse says husband should also submit to their wives.
• Narcissists also may lie to the victim, saying they are doing God’s will by abusing the victim. This can do a tremendous amount of damage to a victim. It can turn someone against God, or destroy their faith in Him. I did not believe in God as a child, since I had no real teaching about Him, but my mother using Him as a weapon to hurt me later made sure I did not want to know anything about Him for a long time.
• Someone who reminds victims of the imperfection of human nature as an excuse to abuse is being spiritually abusive.
• Claiming a victim should not get angry because it is not Godly is spiritually abusive.
• Anyone who tells a victim to “forgive & forget” the abuse, to stay with an abuser no matter what or gets angry when a victim gives an abuser consequences is being spiritually abusive.
• Some narcissists are quite active in their church, making themselves very valuable to the church with their service. They will recruit enablers who are also in the church, so when their victim speaks out, they shun the victim. The logic is something like, “He couldn’t be like she says! Look at all of the good things he does for our church!”
• They also may tell people that the “good” people at church are disappointed in the victim for behaving so badly, whether or not this is true. This can leave a victim feeling unable to reach out for support.
Coping with spiritual abuse is not easy, but it can be done.
• Do you know Jesus as your personal savior? If not, I really suggest you turn to Him now because you truly need help! There is information available at this link: Salvation Through Jesus Christ.
• Learn what the Bible has to say. Use an easy to understand translation like the Good News or New King James version. The more you learn and the closer you draw to God, the more truth you will see and also the more you will see the narcissist has been lying to you.
• Question things the narcissist says to you. Not necessarily out loud, but to yourself at least. “How does this coincide with the Bible?” “Is there Scripture that backs up what he/she is saying?”
• Pray. Pray often & pray a lot. Ask God to show you the truth and to give you clarity. While God is holy, He is also a very loving & gentle Father. He will guide, teach and even correct you while never making you feel badly about yourself.
• Do you have good Christian friends? If not, it is time to find some! If you know someone who has been a Christian for a while, and is actively trying to be a good example of their faith, this person can help you to keep focused on the truth. If the narcissist prevents you from having friends (as so many do), see what you can find online. There are many online forums and groups. You can find friends there that the narcissist does not know about.
• Never forget that your Heavenly Father loves you a great deal. He does NOT want you suffering and miserable. He does NOT condone abuse nor does He want victims to suffer in silence. Speak out and protect yourself.